Having resubbed to ‘Final Fantasy XIV‘ recently, I am somewhat amused to report that in the past few weeks, hours of my life have somehow slipped by, and seemingly vanished into thin air. It has been a long time since I have been so engrossed in a MMO, and a longer time still since I had this feeling of being lost in a fantastical online world.
A large part of my current engrossment, I think, is due to the core designs of the game. Having been away so long, I had almost forgotten how uniquely different this game could be. Despite what anyone else might say, I personally really appreciate some of the core designs and gameplay elements that went into the game – things like the classless jobs system; the crafting/gathering minigames; and even things like the random XP system that was based on skill usage and not on kills… Most would disagree with me, but I believe the devs had gotten a lot of things right, where the rest of the genre have been failing in in the recent years.
As I had mentioned previously, I had left the lands of Eorzea over a year ago, just before Christmas 2010. Needless to say, there had been a lot of changes made to the game, as well as a ton of content added in the time since.
The game did not do well when it was first launched, bombing critically with generally negative reviews all around. And thus, I can understand and appreciate the fact that in order for this to become commercially viable, major changes were needed. But while it saddens me to see the game failing as it did, and while I do want the game to turn around and secure a place for itself in the market, a large part of me is disappointed in seeing the more unique elements of the game being patched and phased out, and seeing the game becoming more and more generic and mainstream-friendly with each patch.
Having said that, it all just serves to highlight just how dynamic and mercurious MMOs can be. In fact, it is exactly that precarious nature of these worlds which makes me love the genre so much. I love the fact that MMOs are constantly evolving – shifting and changing, adopting new features, graphics, storylines, characters and more on a sometimes day to day basis. There are always exciting new things to see and experience, and you never know what each new patch might bring. Each MMO is literally a never-ending adventure; a constant companion that thrives and grows alongside you in realtime.
Anyways it was my plan originally to talk more about my thoughts on some of the changes in the game, using screenshots to highlight some of my experiences – but, I’m sure you would agree this post has gone on long enough already. I am still in the process of revamping and improving the blog by the way, and at the moment one of my main focuses is on shorter (and perhaps more regular) posts, and I am also thinking of perhaps adding a separate screenshots page. But… it all depends on how lazy, and how bothered I could be on any given day – so, as usual, only time will tell.