keech / Member

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The Good, The Bad, The Misinformed.

Almost two weeks ago I dove head first into the early release of Final Fantasy XIV Online. Square-Enix's second Massivly Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG). I played Final Fantasy XI Online for several years. I was desperately hoping FFXIV would find a balance between the casual feel of World of Warcraft and the hardcore challenge of FFXI.

The answer? It's not that clear cut. It seems for every step forward SE took with this game, their is something else that confuses or infuriates. I won't get into the details here, though if you are interested you can check out my rather long review.

But needless to say this game has problems. The core foundation this game is built on is solid and has a lot of potential. It seems most people who can trudge through the initial confusion are seeing that. SE has a lot of problems to fix with this game before it has any chance of being accept by the WoW generation of MMORPGers.

However the biggest problem this game seems to have, has nothing to do with the game itself. It's biggest hurdle right now is the gross amount of false information and rumors being spread by gamers. I have seen things like this happen before of course. But never on this sort of scale. It seems a vast number of people talking about this game, have no idea what they are talking about.

False rumors and skewed information such as only being able to play for 3 hours a week before you stop gaining experience points for your character. Only being able to do 3 quests every 24 hours. That the game has very few professions to choose from. I probably bares mention WoW only had 9 to start with, and Star Wars: The Old Republic will only have 8.

With some of the things people are saying about this game, I have to genuinely wonder if they played it for more than 20 minutes if at all. In most other genres of gaming you can make a fair assessment of most games after playing for 20-30 minutes. However any long time MMO player knows that's not the case with this genre. Their is a reason all MMORPG's give you the first month of play for free.

I've come to wonder how it all started to begin with. How did such blatantly false information spread? Can we blame SE for not being as forthcoming and transparent with the games inner workings as they should of been? Maybe, but I'm not entirely sure of that either. Their are certainly many people playing FFXIV that managed to figure the game out within a 24 hour span and separate the fact from fiction.

Have we become so infantile in our gaming mind set that we need the developers to hold our hand every step of the way in games? It certainly seems to be a growing trend to treat gamers like they need to wear a helmet and mittens. I can think of many games that seem overly padded to compensate for players failing a level or segment of a game. Bioshock with respawn points every 100 feet. Guitar Hero and Rock Band with game modes where you cannot fail no matter how bad you are doing. Final Fantasy XIII with its hand holding through the first 2/3rd's of the game. Upcoming games like Castlevania: Lords of Shadow with constant tutorial prompts throughout the game. Marvel vs Capcom 3 with a "simple" mode that allows you to perform complex combos and special moves with single button presses. Some of these simplifications are part of the core game that you cannot alter. I'm looking at you Tatsunoko vs Capcom!

It seems today whenever most game strays from this, it is pegged as "too hard", "unforgiving", or "punishing the players". Even games like Halo, Call of Duty, and other similarly twitch reflex based games seem to be light on the challenge in their most recent iterations, barring a few brief exceptions or being forced to play it on a harder difficulty.

So to sum it up: Should we expect developers to tell us everything and hold our hand like children? Have we lost our sense of discovery and figuring things out in game ourselves? It certainly seems so, because the staggering amount of false information regarding FFXIV seems to be a result of what happens when a developer leaves some things to be figured out by the players.