Perceived Difficulties

I should be studying for my midterm, but whatever. I am here writing out my thoughts because the official Final Fantasy XIV forums simply likes to incite some anger in me that just doesn’t want to go away.

Last night I had checked out the forums before going to bed and was dismayed but the large amount of Final Fantasy XI 2.0 sort of threads that have been making itself popular as of late. Whether it is from people wishing to troll, trying to be sincere, or whatever… I am starting to want to smack them all.

First thing is first: this perceived leveling difficulty in XI has to stop. The first job may take 3+ or it may not. But the leveling therein after actually takes far less if you: a.) know what you are doing and/or b.) have a group that is either carefully put together to get you through levels quickly or you just have a set of friends interested in blasting through the levels quickly. And, no, this not by even exploiting level sync camps, but through using lesser known camps that actually rake in a good amount of EXP.

Yes, leveling is fast in XIV without even knowledge of so called “exploits” of differing camps or a power leveler. But one of the biggest factors in extending the time people were able to cap out their jobs in XI was the fact that people would sometimes wait for DAYS for a party and get no invite. Either people would turn down invites if they came from particular jobs or would gloss over the DRG sitting there for several hours with his flag up.

That doesn’t make the game hard. It makes the game frustrating! People have quit the game because they honestly couldn’t level jobs they wanted to because the majority felt that so and so job weren’t good enough. Remember when DRG was lolDRG? And many people either switched to another job or quit altogether? I know I do. I remember when it happened for SAM, too. That isn’t a way to bring back or retain players! It is sure to drive them away to the point of insanity!

Another thing is EXP penalty for death. This one has me shaking my head because this is also as frustrating and affects the game very differently than it does for shelling out gil to repair gear. First of all, losing out on EXP did mean that people were forced to try things to not die. And, well, that is pretty much it. Because once you get people into the mindset that they can’t or shouldn’t die because they would lose a lot of EXP from doing so, then you have people who are pigeon holed into a particular set up or strategy and are afraid to go outside of that paradigm to try something different.

Yes, you can argue that it would be the same either way and I wholeheartedly agree. However, there is a subset of people who actually LIKE to attempt things in unconventional ways. Strange as it may seem, I am also one of them. I had remembered a time when BLU wasn’t used very much for CoP and then that changed somewhere along the way after I had written about using a trio of BLU to pretty much annihilate a portion of CoP content. I get high off of the success of doing something that a lot of people who have grown to accept isn’t possible to BE possible. But trying those things out is hard to talk people into if they are constantly worried about losing chunks of EXP, and deleveling a level or two or maybe even three (I have seen the later happen). Coupling this with the aforementioned topic of length of time to put together a mandatory party or getting invited to a mandatory party, and you will find that of course people would be resistant to the idea because then the game becomes more like a job than an actual game. The only bonus of loss of EXP by death is that it allows the players to be able to be added to the pool of people to EXP party with for the remaining few levels, but only for those later levels and not for the earlier levels where people often struggle to find groups for.

EXP loss by death and longer duration of leveling a job don’t make the game any more difficult unless you wish to define difficulty under the idea that you are struggling to find a party, get EXP, or even to be able to successfully pull off a battle without death. But if the definition of a struggle falls under trying to think of new or interesting ways of tackling an enemy or group of enemies, then I think we are working more about the actual game difficulty versus player induced or mentally perceived game difficulty.

Either way, I just want FFXIV. I want the spirit of XI, sure. The sense of adventure and immersion of being in a expansive world with engaging story that grips you and begs more of your precious time away from real life. I may not have the time, but I would love to have a game like that. And to be honest, XIV is slowly becoming that. It may not be an identical twin of XI but I am ok with that. I love what XIV is doing and how well it is doing it so far. Why change it to something archaic and that is out of touch with a growing population of aging gamers?

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