TLDR at the bottom.
All the debates about open world content vs dungeon/raiding content that popped up the last 2 days due to info that monsters were going to be harder to fight has made me realize that perhaps there’s a disconnect between what I expect from an mmo and what the majority of my fellow adventurers expect.
As a disclaimer, I’d like to say I greatly enjoy FFXIV as the game it currently is, and the dungeon/raid content in this game is absolutely top notch and highly enjoyable. However I think there was some lost potential in ARR that can be reclaimed in Heavensward.
I guess you could say I’m a bit old fashioned when it comes to mmo’s. Here’s a few reasons why:
I miss the risk and danger of going into an open-world area unprepared.
I like to play with other players I don’t know AND talk to them.
I overall enjoy the “journey” to the reward more than the reward itself. (ie: the funny conversations you have with people in your group when working towards something; exciting encounters where we weren’t sure we’d make it but we pulled through.) I’d take a night full of laughter and comradery over a night where I got all my drops in one go.
I’m focusing more on the first point, but obviously the other two points are tied in with it.
To be honest, I think people are overreacting to how challenging these open world zones will be.
Even in older MMO’s where difficult open world content was the norm, there were many ways to easily traverse areas that were far too difficult to tackle head-on. I remember back in XI if I and a couple of friends needed to get through a dangerous area, we’d pack a few prism powders(invisible), echo drops(mute), and maybe even deodorant(no smell/chicks dig it). Yes there were mobs that had true-sight and could spot you no matter what but they were few and far between. The areas in Heavensward let you use flying mounts so that alone will reduce difficulty traveling dramatically.
I’m really glad they’re putting some more challenge into open world content vs duties, as pretty much 95% of this game’s challenge is through duties. And to the people complaining that the zones will become empty after most players get what they want from that area: we’re talking about the same dev team that’s still going to make us do dungeons over and over in 3.0 that were released at the start of ARR. Not to mention all the FATE grinding they’ve been able to implement into endgame content ala relic weapons. Do you really think they won’t implement ways to keep rewards for challenging open world zones relevant?
For a game that focuses so much on your character being an adventurer, there’s very little adventure and very little risk to actually be had. There’s very little social elements happening between people outside of FC’s which is itself an RNG game if you don’t join one with friends you already knew beforehand. These things imo are very disappointing and it feels like a major appeal for playing an MMO in the first place is lost.
I’m not saying difficult open world content is the ultimate solution to that, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. To be honest with you though I think some sort of way to connect with other players outside of your server through some sort of data-center wide party finder/friendlist system is probably the best way to go about the social dynamic issue. And heck, maybe the FC airship exploring will finally scratch that adventuring itch I’ve been craving, but that won’t be fully implemented until several patches into 3.x. If the airship exploring thing does turn out amazing that still leaves the issue of FC content gating which is another topic entirely that has already been done to death.