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Suggestion Box: Emotional Attachment to the World!

27 Dec 2010

The next installment of our Suggestion Box comes from MidgardZolom, who takes on the problem of a lack of emotional attachment to Eorzea.

Before we get into this next suggestion though, a word about The Suggestion Box is in order.  These are intended to be suggestions to start a conversation in the community about what we want, don’t want, or maybe don’t care about – and as such, feel free to agree, disagree, or ignore.  That said, for those who disagree with this or any suggestion – please do so civilly, appropriately and in accordance with our forum rules.  We would also like to remind everyone that the Staff here at Eorzeapedia all play and enjoy FFXIV, and spend their spare time working to improve the site and help the community in whatever way possible.  We hope that these suggestions spark dialogue – not diatribes.   If you want to submit your own suggestion box op-ed, just click here and type away.

Stop playing XIV for a week, sit down with a friend and let them ask you one simple question.

“Name your favorite NPC in Final Fantasy XIV.”

Can you? Can you name one you hate? Can you name one at all?  Did you say Sisipu (that’s the only one people ever mention)?  If so, well… name another.  Sure there are a few rare players that can come up with some names – but not many.  Why?  Because there is no Emotional Attachment in XIV.

You probably can’t name the NPCs that give out the levequests in any of the cities.  You probably can’t remember the names of the NPCs on the boat to Limsa Lominsa. You probably can’t remember the name of that NPC that gives you your NPC Linkpearl in Gridania (although you might remember she thinks she is everyone’s mother).

Now take someone whose played FFXI, have them stop playing for a week and sit them down to ask the same question.

“Name your favorite NPC in Final Fantasy XI.”

That list will be huge, varied, and likely might invoke a tear or two.  Maybe most people will name Shantotto – you can’t escape FFXI without encountering her at least once and she was popular enough to have her own expansion and she won the popularity vote to get added into Dissidia: Final Fantasy.

But Shantotto isn’t alone like Sisipu is.  There is Nanaa-Migho from Windurst, Gilgamesh from Norg, Cornelia and Lion from Bastok, Maat, Verena and Fickblix from Jeuno, Fickblix being a real tear jerker for me (poor poor little Gobbie).

So now that we have identified the problem.  What’s the solution?

NPC Quests.

Guildleves sounded like a great idea when FFXIV was in pre-alpha stages.  But after you’ve done them once you realize you typically don’t have to talk to any NPCs… ever.   They replace various methods of obtaining XP, but do not replace quests.  Without talking to NPCs, and hearing their wants, needs, desires, problems, friends, foes, family etc., you have no reason to get attached to any of them.  For example, with more than 750 NPCs, we know of only two pairs that are related – Sthalmann is the uncle of Sisipu and Seserukka and Popokkuli are brothers.  This despite the fact that the majority of these 750 live in only 3 cities, suggesting that a great deal of them are related or at least interact with each other.  NPC quests offer not only much needed content, but a chance to get to know the world we’re inhabiting.

A quick aside on the main scenario storylines.  Yes, they are epic.  But you can (at least for now) only complete one quest line, and the quests come slowly without quests to fill the void.  Same with the class quests – of which there are three per class.  These quests are great, but we want to be able to roam Eorzea talking to NPCs, finding out what they need, and offering our services as adventurers.  Some may just want some food or something made for them.  Some may be looking for some help killing something.  While the activities may be similar to the levequests already in the game, the story is not – and the experience for the adventurer is not.

And that addition – that of hundreds of random NPC quests – will bind us to Eorzea and its inhabitants for years.