Well, i’m throwing my hat into the ring for now and quitting FFXIV for the foreseeable future. I don’t know if it’s just me, or if the game itself has gotten stale, or if I’m just itching for a new adventure. Something about the game since 2.0 just hasn’t been sitting well with me, and I feel like it is time to part ways.
Part of the reason may be that as of last year I have been working more, leaving very little free time aside from nights and weekends. Back when I started FFXIV in 2010, I had a lot more time to invest into the game. I had met a lot of interesting and fun people, did some RP, joined a popular guild, and it was an overall fun experience. The game went well for me and I enjoyed what it was up until it went down in preparation for 2.0.
When 2.0 came around, it was very amazing and fun. I started a class I hadn’t played before (marauder) and played it all the way up to level 50 while at the same going through the story, unlocking the map, and picking up on the new lore along the way. And the game was fun for this journey that lasted a couple of months. Combining this progress with my other level 50 classes, I found myself sitting at end game pretty quick. All dungeons were unlocked and the maps were complete and the story was played out. I felt a sense of happiness and accomplishment. I couldn’t want for what was next.
But there wasn’t much next. It turned out that at end-game the only thing to do was dungeon grind for tomes and when I had tomes I could spend them for gear. I did this for a while and got my darklight armor and again was decked out with the best gear. Then another patch came with new gear to grind for and a couple new dungeons. I got sick of them but unlocked the new gear. Then more difficult dungeons came and more gear. It seemed all end-game was consisting of was dungeons and gear, which got very old very fast. That’s when I tried doing other things with my time, and when I realized just how much 2.0 was different from 1.0 and that the game I once loved no longer existed.
Let’s start with one thing I never really paid much attention to in 1.0- gathering and crafting. In 1.0 gathering and crafting classes were just that – classes. They were things you could spend time and hard work on and gain levels in and have as much pride in doing as any DOW/DOM class. IN 2.0 – this feeling was just gone. I found it was fun for a short time, but after a while it did get repetitive. Gathering zones were concentrated to a small area of a few spots on the map. Instead of roaming far and wide looking for objects, now you just ran back and fourth between five spots. Very dull. And discovering objects no longer took skill, but rather just equip high enough gear and push button to receive materials.
Crafting wasn’t much better. Recipies were much simpler and already written down in the journal, so there was no sense of discovery as in 1.0. Perfecting a crafting class didn’t render many rewards either. Mob drops and dungeons raids yielded items much better than what could be crafted, and markets were flooded with decent gear that was dropped for quests. The economy was wonky because nobody really bought anything crafted as decent gear was laying all over the place for next to nothing. The really good things that could be crafted at high levels cost waaaay too much to craft due to the materials needed. Repairs/repair requests were no longer relevant since repair NPC’s could repair to 100% thus phasing out a major need for crafting. Oh, and leveling a crafting class? It didn’t take skill. All you had to do was buy a bunch of items on the market and repeat the same quest in town over and over to turn that in. Very disappointing.
So the game it turns out was very focused on only dungeon raids and gear. End game content was geared towards unlocking the best equipment and raiding more dungeons. More hard modes came out, more extreme battles, and more fancy items like mounts and hats for doing difficult fights. All great and fun – but that was ALL there seemed to be to do. In 1.0 – FFXIV seemed more about the community and world, where 2.0 seems more about dungeons and gear.
The world of FFXIV 2.0 is much smaller, and much more crowded than 1.0. Yes, the game looks great and the maps are gorgeous in 2.0, but there isn’t a lot to see. That, and the world is so full of objects and people that it doesn’t feel all that open or epic. There are aetherites everywhere – making traveling on foot extremely quick. Combined with mounts of all shapes and sizes, that make travel even faster. Not only does this make the world feel smaller, it also makes it too crowded. Mounts can be HUGE and there are so many of them. Gone are the days of simply having different sized chocobos that can have different gear. Now you have goobles, fat chocobos, behemoths, horses, ahirmen, magitec mounts, courels, flying chair thinggies, and so many other annoying mounts that take up the screen and look ugly. All these mounts make the chocobo feel useless and not worth keeping around, which is disappointing considering all they can do.
I remember when playing Guild Wars 2, I asked why there were no mounts. Guild Wars 2 is a much bigger game with more maps and vistas and fields and valleys and open areas and sights to see. I asked why such a game had no mounts to get places faster. My guild members stated very bluntly it was because there were so many waypoints (teleports) that having mounts would make the world too small. Why then, does FFXIV allow for so many mounts and aetherites in a map that is much smaller? I am not sure, but that upset me.
Of how small the world is, it also doesn’t feel very alive. The community seems to have dried up. It was promising in Alpha/Beta, but it died off. Players are standing around, but nobody is talking. Everyone is gathered to the end zones and maybe talking in their guilds – but I don’t see actual conversations. I don’t see anything in world chat or area chat. I don’t see people RP like I used to. I don’t see people needing help on quests. Everything just feels lifeless and dead. Even in such a small world – this is what bothers me. In 1.0 you could stand in Ul’dah and hear shouts for parties and different groups bantering back and fourth. It was fun to know I could jump into a conversation and make some friends or ask questions about the game or look for a group. This is no longer happening in 2.0. Take a game like TERA online – people are always chatting and having a good time. I miss this in FFXIV.
In the end for me, FFXIV just feels like too small of a world with too much candy and not enough meat and potatoes. If the world does someday get larger, if they go back to only chocobos, if they make the crafting system more involving again and allow for more customization of characters – I might be back. But I don’t see that happening here. The game just gave into the themepark MMO model – which was fun but now I have to move on to something a little more interesting to me. No, I do not care about having the best gear or being max level. I care about the people I meet and the adventures I have along the way. When a game cuts out the adventure and socialization of a game to the point where all you do is log in, complete daily limits, and log out – that isn’t fun to me. I need something more to spend my time on. And for that, I am out.
Luckily though, there are some very nice MMORPG’s coming out in the next year or two. Archeage, Black Desert, Bless, Blade and Soul, Phantasy Star Oline 2, Everquest Next, the Crew – so many new worlds to explore. Uriah Nool may be out of FFXIV, but where he goes next will only be told in time.