FFXI Burnout: {You can have this.}

[Final Fantasy XI] Being the new guy, I was eager this morning to sit down at my computer (the one I get paid to sit in front of and pretend that I am working at) and see if there were any comments. Lo and belhold, there were! I was prepared to soak up the love and adoration of my fan base, and embrace the kudo’s they were raining down upon me.

Then I woke up.

It appeared from the comments that the general problem with Final Fantasy XI is the grind. When one feels that the time input does not equal reward output in-game (there is probably some kind of scientific equation to be found here, if I understood equations or science). I hate to say this about my favorite game, but this is the state of nature in Vana’diel. FFXI is a grind. More grind than most MMO’s. The problem for me is that I love the grind, but this removes me from the perspective of other gamers (you know, like “normal people”) that don’t. We just can’t connect on the same level. So I engaged in some self-reflective thinking on the issue and even if I can’t justify the level of grind I was hoping to put some perspective for others as to why the grind exists.

The first thing to come to mind is that FFXI, unlike almost all other MMO’s currently available, has a truely international playerbase. More specifically, it is an MMO that was not designed with the American teenager in mind (can’t really think of a reason that is a bad thing). It was designed with the ravenously obsessed Japanese player in mind. I have heard that there may, in fact, be some cultural differences between Americans and the Japanese. There are somethings here that wouldn’t fly in Japan, and there are somethings there that, well, defy definition by American standards (although I have heard that Poki is yummy). The Japanese players enjoy a level of tedium in their games. Japanese games are generally longer, harder, and, by American standards, boring. That being said there are quite a few Americans that engage in, and thoroughly enjoy, these kinds of games. OCD has become a term of art in America, and these people would be the poster children. FFXI provides an opportunity to delve into a world of obsessive/compulsive behavior derived from a thousand years of neurotic and repressive Japanese social hierarchy.

FFXI definitely was not designed with the casual gamer in mind. The problem for me though is this: should an online game be designed for the casual gamer? At the current time, the game most designed with the casual gamer in mind is taking the world by storm. The latest I have heard is that Blizzard has enough people playing World of Warcraft to establish themselves as an independent nation-state and receive recognition by the United Nations. The problem with this is sustainability. The casual gamer not only plays less frequently than the normal MMO gamer, but is also more likely to permanently leave an MMO. I am not trying to doomcast WoW, more explaining the staying power of FFXI. FFXI continues to expand, but this is not observed by those that don’t cover the game or have left the game. FFXI can not capture all the gamers in the world, but for the ones they do catch, SquareEnix has sunk their hooks deep.

But I suppose this is all metacommentary at best, a useless waxing of my superior obsession. I mean, how can you not enjoy repetitively slaughtering the same innocent Couerls for hours on end? Wait, don’t answer that question.


Yet Another Cancelled MMORPG

I hit the old cancel button on FFXI last night. Account good until the end of June. I don’t know why, I can’t quite put my fingers on it, but I just get bored of this game. It is one of the best made MMORPGs I have played, but I have no interest in playing it. Weird.

A comment about cancelling accounts. Most MMORPGs allow you to play out the remaining time on your account when you cancel. Asheron’s Call 2 says good bye. No more access for you, and no money back. Turbine (the developers of AC2) blame that on Microsoft since MS did the billing. Turbine bought full control of the Asheron’s Call games back from MS and yet they still have this same stupid policy.

The timer is ticking, waiting for my World of Warcraft beta invite. Should be in the next two weeks. Hopefully those comets won’t hit earth before then.

No really, I mean WoW!

It is official, I’ll be getting my World of Warcraft beta invite in the next few weeks. I hereby proclaim this the “make or break” MMORPG for me. If it is good, I’m in for the long haul. If not, I’m done. At least until someone tries to do something REVOLUTIONARY!

Been going back and forth over deciding to go buy Thief 3. It looks good, but honestly I’ve never played any of the Thief games so I’m not totally drooling here.

Played some more FFXI last night. Changed my Taru’s job from Black Mage to Red Mage. Thus I had to start all over. Oh well, so far it is a fun class. Raised him up to almost level 5 before I had to hit the sack. With WoW beta looming, I suppose that this game will be getting the old CANCEL button too. Meh.

Got a bite yet? WoW!

So I was fishing in FFXI the other day and one of my friends sent me a tell asking me how it was going. I replied that I had not been seeing my skill go up, but fishing has been pretty successful.

He replied back: Fishing will pick up if you login tomorrow at 4:45 pm. The phase of the moon is just right at that time.

OK, I’m all for making games interesting, but I am not about to schedule my real life around an MMORPG clock. When I have some free time, I log in and I fish. That is how it has to be.

In other news, a friend of mine that is in the World of Warcraft beta has sent me word that he *may* be able to get me a beta slot. Now that would be something.

Only problem with beta testing an MMORPG is that testing removes a lot of the magic that you get when you first play. The magic is a big part of what sucks you in. I am a bit torn as to what to do if he gets me a beta account.

I take that back. I’d play, er I mean test. Yes I would. Stay posted.

Final Fantasy XI

I decided to sign up for another month of FFXI. Since everyone that I have ever played MMORPGs with (including my brother) plays it, it seems logical to give it another shot. That and the fact that at $12.95 a month it is a virtual bargain compared to all the other MMORPGs.

Since I can’t keep up with them level-wise, I’m going to focus on being able to chat with them, as well as doing some crafting and fishing. And if they happen to be playing a new job in my level range I’ll go hunting with them.

There are a lot of quests in this game and I missed most of them because the last time I was playing I was trying to keep up with them. Impossible to do since they play at least 400% more time than I do.

I really wish more games would add the brilliant feature that City of Heroes has: the “Sidekick”. This allows you to team up with anyone, no matter what level they are, and go hunting. Your character is boosted up to a level or 2 below the other person and your stats scale up too. You don’t get any more skills or anything, but the ones you have scale up. Just plain cool.

So for now I begin the adventures of a low level FFXI explorer. I’ll keep you posted. All none of you.