Discussion Final Fantasy XIV - Good game, bad community

Dimunsis

varishangout.com
I've been playing XIV since a few months before Stormblood came out. Blasted my way to lvl 60 as a white mage, and experienced what would be a repeated cycle of an endgame for the next few expansions. And over the past few years of playing the game, I've noticed something.
Whether it be a loud and extreme minority or most of the playerbase, you aren't really allowed to criticize XIV without insults hurled at you, the primary one being "go back to WoW". Even if they are legit concerns and criticisms of the game, if you speak out on them, people will shun you and if your name is well known, groups will drop you/drop out of group because you said mean things about their game. And aside from wanting to get some of these critiques onto actual text, I believe I know and understand why the XIV playerbase gets so heated when you bring up the games negative aspects. So, here goes.

Why the playerbase hates negativity
FFXIV doesn't separate the RP and non-RP servers. You can choose to engage in roleplaying if you want, even adding a note to your name when people search you up to indicate if walk-up RP is okay. Players have made entirely new characters just for RP purposes. Two characters can get married. You can own your own personal house and free company house. You can really feel like you're part of this world.
And that's where the issue lies. I believe, between the heavy amount of RPing done in-game, the ability to marry, the ability to own a home, the ability to REALLY make yourself immersed into this world, that when you bring up an aspect of the game you view as negative, these players feel attacked. They are so attached to XIV that any attack on it, they perceive as an attack on them as well.
This doesn't mean that EVERY player is like this, but even if it's just an extreme and loud minority, if the only/primary reaction you receive is vitriol, your view on the game will become skewed.


With that out of the way, I want to bring up a slew of aspects. In order to do so, I'll be comparing them to FFXIVs biggest opponent, World of Warcraft. To be clear, I've been a WoW player for 15 years, have every expansion linked to my account, and experienced the endgame and content of most of them in some regard. Note, I'm not saying XIV is bad because of the issues below. It's a good game and I've enjoyed it plenty. But it's far from perfect and in some regards, does things worse than its biggest competitor.


UI is absolute garbage
The UI in XIV is just...bad. You can move stuff around, make certain parts invisible, and change the sizes of stuff, but when compared to even the default UI of WoW, it's bad. The cast bars for both player and target are way too long, and shrinking it means shrinking the name of whatever spell/ability is being cast. Good luck seeing what the enemy is casting if you have it shrunk down. The target health bar is way too big as well. Same issue, you shrink it down, the name of your target shrinks too. If it's too small, you're gonna have a hard time seeing the name, and if its a mob that needs to be focused, you may have the wrong one targeted. There's a "Target List" window that shows you any mob that is in combat that you have generated aggro on, but it has the same issue; make it too small and names become squished. Now, you might be thinking why you'd need all these things to be small, shouldn't the default UI setup work? If the combat mechanics for bosses didn't require you to be zoomed out most of the time and able to see most of the arena, you'd be right, but alas, it's not so.


Getting banned for mods (even talking about them)
If Square gets wind you are using mods/addons, even if they're just cosmetic (there's an entire community revolving around cosmetic mods that only the player can see), you can get banned. Even if there's no photo evidence and you merely say you use them, banned. You can't even use a DPS addon or program without the risk if being banned. Whereas, WoW has incorporated many aspects of addons into the base game so people don't have to have as many installed. And unless it's giving you an unfair advantage somehow, Blizzard doesn't care what kind of addons people use; music replacers, UI overhauls (you can even make your UI look like other MMO UIs), data bars, quality of life stuff, you name it.


Jobs/Classes have shared abilities
Every kind of class role (4 tank, 4 melee DPS, 3 ranged DPS, 3 magic DPS, 3 healers, 17 classes total) all share a set of abilities and spells. Each set within each category is the same, nothing unique. Whereas WoW has 12 classes with 6 tanks, 12 melee DPS, 3 ranged DPS, 9 magic DPS, and 5 healer specializations. Each class shares base class abilities, but each specialization is different from one another, and no classes share any ability, at least in name. Every healer has a resurrection spell that works as a mass resurrection, but the flavor of it is different between each one. While each XIV class may have their own abilities, some major ones will always be shared with the group they're part of.


Why even HAVE job crystals?
Back when the game came out and throughout the first expansion, Heavensward, in order to access the 'job' instead of the 'class', you had to obtain a job crystal. In order to obtain one of THOSE, you needed certain class combos to be at certain levels; to get the White Mage crystal, you needed a level 30 conjurer and a level 15 thaumeturge (one character can become any and every class/job if you desire). To get the Paladin crystal, you needed a level 30 gladiator and a level 15 conjurer. That's how the system worked. Having the job crystal equipped gave you access to a new set of spells and abilities, but if you unequipped it, you would lose those abilities until you re-equipped it. Essentially, the game counts a conjurer and white mage as 2 different classes, and the white mage gets all the cool stuff. This worked fine until they did away with the multi class system in Stormblood. Now, all you needed to do was reach level 30 in a base class and you get the job crystal. As well, the new jobs added in Heavensward (Machinist and Astrologian) and Stormblood (Samurai, Red Mage, and near the end, Blue Mage [but its not even a real job]) don't have a base class. When you swap over to that job (via changing weapons, that's how job/class swapping works), it auto equips the proper job crystal and can't be removed.
So I ask the question; why even have the job crystals as a game mechanic? They were a novel idea and fit the bill as a trope for Final Fantasy, but as a gameplay mechanic, it's useless. Just another thing to add onto your saved equipment sets, because if you don't save the job crystal to the class set you want to swap to, you won't have access to all your abilities. You already have to swap weapons to change classes, why keep an outdated mechanic that is literally just a drag and drop?


Dungeons are hallway sims and non-existent in the world
People LOVE to give WoW shit for having linear dungeons, especially comparing modern dungeons to Classic dungeons, but they have nothing on the linearity of XIV. Every single dungeon is just a straight line that someone used the wiggle tool in Microsoft Paint on. None of them really let you explore and most of them are inside caves or buildings, so you're not able to really get a feel for where they exist out in the world. There are some that have outside areas, but where are these areas? Where can I see them in the game outside of the dungeon? Hell, you can't even look into the dungeon or turn around at the start to see outside. XIV dungeons are literally closed off from the outside world. Whereas WoW makes the dungeons feel like they actually exist; the moment you enter Deadmines or Ragefire Chasm (depending on your faction when you start), you can turn the camera around and look outside the instance portal and see the area just outside (and vice versa) albeit without any NPCs if they exist on the other side. Hell, there are some locations that you can explore that are outside of the instance dungeon but are actually part of it (AQ20/40 come to mind, and the BWL balcony being the entrance to BWD). They are actually part of the world.
And that's not even touching on XIVs "raids". There's 3 different types; Alliance Raids (24 player raids), Normal Raids (8 player) and Trials (8 player for anything past ARR). Alliance raids follow the same linear design of dungeons but the boss arenas suffer the same problem Normal raids and Trials suffer; they're just flat squares or circles. For Normal raids and Trials, its literally JUST the boss, nothing before or after. In a single room that feels like it doesn't exist at all. Again, WoW has this beat by its raids not only being longer, and by comparison harder in a lot of ways, but again, they feel like they exist in the game world. Venturing into Molten Core after seeing all of Blackrock Depths, you can really feel like the area exists deep underneath the mountain that houses it. Icecrown Citadel has the platform where you fight Deathknight Saurfang and the actual top where you fight the Lich King. These places FEEL like they exist, whereas XIV raids don't.


DPS gameplay is just combo rotations with no real resource (and healers are 3 buttons)
I don't have much experience with playing DPS in XIV (because I main White Mage), but from what I've experienced while leveling them I feel can be applied overall. The DPS classes are just combo bots, and aside from the magic DPS, they have no real resource. The melee and ranged may get a secondary resource (Chakra for monks off the top of my head), but in regards to the 10k MP they all have, why do they have it? Black mages can get MP back fast with their mechanics (which revolves around blowing shit up with Fire 4 and then restoring MP with Blizzard), haven't touched Summoner, and Red Mages can just fuck off (possibly the most complicated and active job over lvl 50, but IMO is too complicated). Each job/class has an MP bar but 7 out of 15 jobs actually use it. Why?
And while DPS seems simple from what I've said above, healer DPS is even more simple. You have a single target spell, a DOT, an AOE, and with Shadowbringers, a big nuke that takes time to build up to. Hopefully their entire philosophy around healers (and DPS) changes in Endwalker, but I'm not getting my hopes up. And to keep the theme of comparisons going, my Holy paladin has (with base abilities) 5 spells to use for damage (one of them can be used to heal as well, and the other is woven into your ability to heal). Counting the talent spells and going for pure DPS, I can get another AOE that damages and heals, and a single target/AOE spell depending on who I target with it (Holy Prism can deal single target and heal allies nearby or you can heal a single ally and deal damage to multiple enemies). 7 abilities for DPS, each one being useful, whereas the XIV healers AOE spell is useless on single target fights (all raid fights IIRC).


Nothing to ready you for trials or raids
For how much praise people will give the raid bosses in XIV, there are no in-game resources to help you in the fights. Even the Lodestone, their 'official community site', has no information on the fights. Just the in-game description of the requirements and the lore. Like, WoW had an in-game dungeon journal in its third expansion, giving you loot tables, mini guides for a straight 'this is what YOU need to do' for tanks, healers, and DPS respectively, and a full in-depth rundown of boss phases and abilities. And even with that knowledge AND DeadlyBossMods (an addon that assists you with timers and warnings for fights), Heroic and Mythic raids (and Mythic+ dungeons) can still wreck your shit. But it seems the only way Square knows to make their fights hard are to give you no resources. Not even a primer for AFTER you cleared it just to refresh yourself. Can't count how many times I queued and got part of a Heavensward Alliance raid and had no clue what the fuck I needed to do even though I cleared it in that expansion. You need THIRD PARTY resources, be them written or video, to know a fight beforehand. XIV bosses are only hard because no one knows what the fuck is coming when the patch launches.


Fights are fairly static and mechanics are reused with no real flavor
To bounce off the above topic, not only do they give you no resources to learn what the boss does, it's primarily because nearly all the mechanics are reused; stack markers, meteor markers, get the fuck away from me markers, boss AOE damage in a single location, around the boss, around the boss in rings with openings between them, taking up part, half, or most of the room, and on Extreme/Savage fights, they straight remove any indicators. If you play this game and are more focused on everything else OTHER than the generic hand gestures the boss does or angle their elbows are at, you're gonna take an AOE and die. The devs don't even teach you that certain abilities have certain tells. And good luck with the bosses cast bar taking up a good chunk of your screen if you want to notice what ability they're casting and the names actually matter (too bad you might be focusing on your rotation or keeping the retarded DPS alive because they stood in fire because Square thinks its perfectly okay to teach players that topping meters is most important [despite not allowing players to actually use meters]).


Community/developers REQUIRES healers to maximize DPS
And to bounce off the above tangent on healers, not sure if it's a community thing or a developer thing, but the consensus is that if you're not reaching certain thresholds on DPS as a healer, you're a bad healer. You're a bad healer for not doing enough DPS. A lot of fights have a lot of downtime, so having healers pump some damage isn't a bad idea. But if the community sees all this downtime as 'every GCD needs to be spent, if you miss one, you're bad' is just wrong. If a healer wanted to be doing damage and FOCUSING on it, they would have rolled a DPS class. If it's a developer idea, you're just designing bad fights and mechanics. Requiring DPS thresholds from your healing classes just screams 'I don't know how to make healers actually heal'.
In contrast, raid fights in WoW (at least modern ones) have some sort of damage going out most times, each fight have wildly different mechanics and arenas, so healers are on their toes, especially on higher difficulties. I'm not bored while healing in WoW, and as a Holy paladin (the healing specialization of the paladin class), I actually NEED to do damage to an enemy to maximize my healing. Crusader Strike gives me the secondary resource I need to use my stronger heals, and the Mastery stat makes my heals stronger the closer I am to the person I'm healing (every spec has the Mastery stat and each do very different things). I need to worry about my mana because I have no mana regen ability with a 1 minute CD (like FFXIV does that all healers share), so comparing the two games, healing in WoW feels a lot more active and you feel like a HEALER, not a watered down DPS.


WAY too many things to 'unlock' to experience what the game has to offer
If you play what is known as the Main Story Quest, many dungeons, raids, and trials will be locked and hidden away. Because, for some reason, Square decided to put a lot of content behind quests that are designated 'extra content' quests (they have a blue tint with a + symbol on their maker). And as the game grows, more and more unlockable stuff is created, but the older stuff is still locked behind the old quests. As I said before, many of these quests unlock dungeons, trials, and raids. You need to unlock those to unlock the dungeon roulettes, which aside from the MSQ and your class quests, will be your main source of XP (because the base quests give very little XP or gil and are there for a 'story' or to pad out the gameplay). At lvl 70, a single 'side' quest will give you 230k XP. You'll need to do over 50 quests for one level from quest XP , discounting mob kill XP (which is roughly 2k per kill at lvl 70). So, you have the MSQ and class quests that give you a lot of XP, unlock quests that have content locked behind them (and can vary in XP), side quests that give a negligible amount compared to the amount you need, and the dungeon roulettes that give you a lot of XP once per day, but you first need to unlock dungeons to have a variety. Just make the older content auto unlock at certain levels and still allow people to do the quests.
In contrast, many of the locked content in WoW is the story/patch content stuff. Take the final patch of BFA, which introduced the N'zoth raid and the Horrific Visions. You didn't need to do any quests to set foot into the raid (the primary piece of patch content) but you did need to do a quest storyline to unlock the Horrific Visions (the secondary but still useful patch content). Hell, every dungeon and raid is unlocked at the start, you just need to be a certain level to actually do them.


Making money is impossible with abusing the auction house/marketboard or straight BUYING it
Just like side quests XP, side quest (and MSQ quests) give very little gil. You NEED to level crafters to make any money, because buying the best crafted gear that outclasses the JUST RELEASED RAID CONTENT is a surefire money maker. People will sell gear for millions of gil a pop because they know cutting edge groups will buy it because they need the stats. Want to buy a house? Hope you have a few million on hand. There's not much to say on this point except earning gil requires a lot of grinding for mob drops and crafting. The gil bonuses in the dungeon roulettes are crumbs compared to crafting, so if the roulette is the only way you get money, you're gonna be saving for a LONG time for anything. Or you can just buy the job boosts which give you a sellable item that goes for 500k gil total. You can literally pay real money for in-game money, but Blizzard are the ones in the wrong. And side note on that last sentence, the WoW tokens don't just magically create in-game money. You pay cash for a token and it gets put on the token auction house. A player has to put in their gold for a token. You get that gold and can spend it on stuff in game. It isn't just spontaneously created, whereas XIV gives you 500k gil for $25. And you can do this 17 times (once for each job), for 8.5 million gil. That's in-game currency created out of nothing and being pushed into the market. And if you have enough disposable income to do this again on an entirely different account, you can repeat it and trade it to your main account.
That's not to say WoW doesn't have an inflation problem; they WERE selling a 5 million gold mount that came with a transmog vendor and an auctioneer for a reason, but making money has gotten easy over the 15+ years the game has been out.


Gear means NOTHING
To clarify on a line above, the gear in XIV is just to be stat pieces. Players love playing dress up with their characters, so there's a lot of variety in the DESIGNS, but in regards to gameplay impact, gear feels unimportant. There's nothing unique about any piece aside from the LOOK of it; my White Mage will want the same exact pieces as the other healers, save for my weapon (since weapons are single job specific while most pieces of gear are multi-class specific, primarily sorted into tank, melee DPS, ranged DPS, magic DPS, and healer). I might be able to make my character LOOK unique, but in regards to the gear I use and want to get, I'll be using the same exact thing everyone else in my role will be using. And that's not getting into how Square does crafted gear; when you craft an item, you have a chance to make it a High Quality item, indicated by an (HQ) in the name. Certain patches in an expansion will give players new gear and items to craft, and every other patch gives them gear that outclasses just released raid gear, sometimes the raid is released alongside these items, so essentially, the raid gear is automatically obsoleted by fucking crafted gear the same day. And you can make your entire set yourself if you feel like it or sell it to cutting edge raiders for a lot of money.
WoW on the other hand has a LOT of unique pieces of gear. Stats still matter, but many procs or on-use effects can change how you play. Some pieces of gear released at the start of an expansion can still be almost as good, if not BETTER, than the final patch gear. A trinket in Legion that was dropped by a world boss was best in slot for EVERY class just on stats alone and it was best in slot for the ENTIRE expansion. Trinkets themselves have many different procs and uses, alongside any other gear that have their own procs and uses. Two players having the same class and spec might have entirely different gear sets based on gear drops, skill levels, and how they want to play; I loathe on-use trinkets, so I prefer proc trinkets whereas another player might use multiple on-use effects because that's how they want to play.


Single player narrative in an MMO world
Final Fantasy has been known for their stories; narratives that flow well because you are in control. FFXIV tries that, making YOUR character the Warrior of Light. The entire story is focused on your character being the main hero. And it would work wonderfully, if the other 23 people in this raid to take down Ultima Weapon wasn't also deemed a Warrior of Light and the main hero in THEIR story. Square has made a single player narrative and tried to make you feel like the sole hero in this MMO, and sometimes it works, but most of the time, I'm seeing a guy in a chocobo costume in my raid cutscenes because that's how he wants to look. And I hate this cop out of 'your party members are just your weird friends/mercenaries' because it doesn't explain how THEY are the Warrior of Light as well. There's a plot line in Shadowbringers revolving around alternate worlds and people say 'oh, that's where they come from', but that doesn't explain how the chocobo guy I just killed God with is standing right next to me in MY world in a tavern or something. Wouldn't I also be in HIS world at the same time? Trying to make a single player narrative for your MMO is just asking for players to wonder just what the hell you're doing.
To compare, WoW doesn't treat your character like the sole savior of Azeroth. You're an adventurer/soldier for your faction and you are part of a collective known as the Heroes of Azeroth. There are still issues with how the story plays out (and Blizzard have decided to have a sort of cop out with using time travel for your adventures for leveling in Shadowlands), but they're acknowledged by the playerbase, seemingly unlike the issues with XIV.




If I remember any more, I will add them and update the thread. But for now, this is all that was on the list.
 
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DosonTheIrate

varishangout.com
I no longer play the game after I got kicked from my group for not being a commie, lewding lolis, and calling covid fake and gay, but having playing FF14 for 8 years, I can safely say it has the worst community in any game I have every played. You will never meet a greater bunch of snowflakes than the fucking crybabies in FF14. It's because the developers coddle their retarded players instead of telling them the truth.
 

Moritsune

varishangout.com
I was on a data center that was on the other side of the world, because that's where my friends were. Once they stopped playing, I moved to a closer data center, and had such a fucking bad static, it just killed the game for me. Well that, and holding a house for 3 years on a high pop server.

Imagine joining a static for Savage, and one of the first things that happens is the co-leader of it asks you to share your steam library with him. On top of that they got some dragoon that kept fucking wiping to the same mechanics on Ifrit/Garuda for two weeks, and they had the gall to blame me for it, because my melee class on a fight with a lot of downtime wasn't parsing high enough. Fuck parse trannies, fuck statics, and especially fuck housing.
 

Dimunsis

varishangout.com
I was on a data center that was on the other side of the world, because that's where my friends were. Once they stopped playing, I moved to a closer data center, and had such a fucking bad static, it just killed the game for me. Well that, and holding a house for 3 years on a high pop server.

Imagine joining a static for Savage, and one of the first things that happens is the co-leader of it asks you to share your steam library with him. On top of that they got some dragoon that kept fucking wiping to the same mechanics on Ifrit/Garuda for two weeks, and they had the gall to blame me for it, because my melee class on a fight with a lot of downtime wasn't parsing high enough. Fuck parse trannies, fuck statics, and especially fuck housing.
Should have reported them to Square for using third party programs lol.

Sorry about that my dude. I've yet to try a Savage raid (really, how are they different from Extreme trials? harder versions of 8 man fights), but from my experience with Extreme Titania and Extreme Innocence, if they're anything similar in difficulty, the only issues I see happening in any fight is bad positioning and Square never-wait, that's something I'll need to add to the first post. Being a healer and having to watch everyones health, my MP, and boss mechanics, Titania was damn near a cakewalk for me, and Innocence wasn't that bad but some bad matchups of abilities fucked us over, and I don't think I cleared either one. Both times it was different groups, neither were 'Static' (hate that term honestly), but if my brain dead ass could do it, how were others fucking it up?
And fuck housing in general. Millions of gil just for a place you'll hardly be at if you intend to play the game as an MMO? Instead of a glorified VRChat world? No wonder Blizzard hasn't tried it yet, garrisons were bad enough.
 

Tamamo

varishangout.com
This shit is why i'm done with theme park MMO's. The last one i played was Tera is it shared allot of the same problems. The devs clearly stopped giving a shit at some point, yet retards were still defending even the dumbest and greedy shit the devs did.

I'm honestly surprised they haven't put that game out of its misery yet. I guess there are still enough whales left to milk with low effort, recycled content.
 
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