Ive played off and on since the Beta back in 2009. I played 1.0 for a while, and then came back for 2.0. Ive been a long time sub. I take long breaks on occasion but have kept my sub active. Im at a point however where even long breaks are not revitalizing the game at all anymore. I could write a wall of text on why, but really it boils down to one all encompassing problem. The content formula for this game has gone stale – Its growing mold at this point, like bread that has sat on the counter for far too long.
We all expect some big revelations for 3.5 and, most importantly, the 4.0 expansion at fan fest this weekend. If they do not shake things up in a big way I dont know how much longer Ill be around. I know my sentiments are shared by many long time subs. Yoshi P put in a solid content formula when ARR released. It worked well for a long time, but they have sat in that rigid formula now since patch 2.1. Its a predictable formula. I could write 90% of the patch notes for the next patch 2 months before it hits. They rarely deviated or dared to try anything new. Its just gotten old at this point. 2 new dungeons, new leg of the 24 or 8 man raid, depending if its an even or odd number patch, 9-12 new main story quests, couple new side quests sprinkled in, if its time for an ilvl step up then we get a new currency that essentially just has a different name and icon. When the patch goes live we go through the same motion we did with the last dozen patches of getting the new currency to buy the new gear to increase our stats a bit higher. Itemization hasnt changed, The gear formula hasnt changed, the “weekly chore list” hasnt changed. FFXIV has a strong foundation, but lacks imaginative content. This needs to change. Its time to shake things up in this game. If they plan to move into 4.0 following the same formula I will be sorely disappointed.
So what am I hoping to see? Ill paint with a broad brush here at some things I hope to see happen.
Revamped Itemization – New ways to acquire gear, and new unique stats on gear. I would also personally like to see a little shift away from the currency system of acquiring gear. Its predictable and uninspiring. Gearing up just feels like a chore zapped of any excitement. Never is there a rush of excitement at acquiring anything because you can plot and plan every piece of gear weeks in advance. We all wear the same basic gear. Its literally 1 or 2 sets of gear for each job at 60, and each set has the same handful of stats with varying different numerical values.
Overworld Content – This is one of the biggest things we need to see. Ive played this game for years but have spent probably just a handful of hours in several of the zones. There is rarely a reason to traverse the overworld. Give me good reason to be in the actual zones. FFXIV has the weakest zone content Ive seen in any MMO in 15 years. The zones feel empty and lifeless and just waiting for content to be put into them.
New Types of Content – Deep Dungeon was a good addition, but we need more unique types of content – and make it relevant. Diadem was a good addition as well but it died after 1 patch cycle and has not been supported since. I loved the RNG Diablo’esq drops. Its some of the most fun I had in the game in a while and was really hoping to see diadem expanded upon.
Shift away from fluff content – This has been a big pet peeve of mine as the game is seemingly being over run with meaningless fluff content like glamour, minions, mounts, and fate grinds. I realize some people like to “collect” these things but it feels like this is one of the biggest driving forces in the game right now. Most days I check these forums the entire front page of topics is related to some fluff topic. Playing dress up or collecting minions simply does not motivate me in the least. I will not grind for hours and hours just to get some in game outfit. The game feels overly watered down and Id like to see a shift to more meaty content.
When new content is put in, go ALL IN! When you put in new content like verminion and triple triad, they should have been in the duty finder from day one. Both of these content items are a good example of flops, which sounded exciting at first learning but turned out to be largely panned by the community. I feel its because of how restrictive or inaccessible they make content sometimes. Dueling is another, more recent, example. WHY is dueling relegated to one small area in the wolfs den? Open it up world wide. Let me duel in Uldah or at my guild house yard. I feel like SE’s overall approach to content sometimes is really rigid and limiting in this way.
I could go further but Ill stop there. The point is that its time to shake things up, its time to break this predictable and stale mold. Its time to make each patch feel new and fresh and not just microwaved left overs from previous meals. While the story content and the dungeons are always well designed, its the overall formula that has grown tired. Every patch since 2.0 has largely been the same thing. I will be watching for some big changes to be announced at fan fest. Something to re light the fire and breathe some new excitement to the game. If it ends up being more of the same I may finally be dropping my sub.