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Casuals Are Fine And You Are Too

9 Aug 2013


Director/Producer Naoki Yoshida is aiming to make Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn an accessible game that will be friendly to casual players that may or may not be familiar with the MMO genre as well as rewarding more skilled, experienced MMO players.

Unfortunately, some members of the community seems to be having trouble understanding the balance that Yoshida is aiming for with the second iteration of FFXIV. Several threads sprung up on various forums after the latest live letter with people saying they were going to quit because they don’t want to play a game that’s “made for casuals.”

What some fail to realize is that a community is made up of players from all around the world, with different amounts of free time, different play styles, and different amounts of experience with the MMO genre. Unfortunately for these players, they have a negative outlook on players that are different from themselves and blame them for making the game more easy. But is this really the case? Let’s take a look what what we know!

With the eighth live letter from the producer, Director/Producer Naoki Yoshida talked about the levels of difficulty that players can expect to see with certain content in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.

The Crystal Tower, a 24 man raid will be able to be accessed via the game’s Duty Finder- making it easy for anyone to join a group and experience the content. In the live letter, Yoshida said that at present, they found the difficulty of the content in the Crystal Tower to be too high, so they’ll be adjusting that and releasing the tower in patch 2.1.

The concern is that the Crystal Tower’s difficulty is being made less difficult and added into the Duty Finder so that anyone can just go in, get clears and earn gear. Why is this a problem? Are people worried that after they get their Sword of Awesome, some “dirty casual” will be able to jump into the Duty Finder, join a Crystal Tower group and then get their own Sword of Awesome?

When it comes down to it, difficulty levels, while set up by the development team, can be easy or difficult depending on the group of players that are doing the content. Ask yourself this: What group has a better chance of succeeding? A 24 man alliance from a Free Company that does the Crystal Tower? Or a group constructed via the Duty Finder that’s full of people who may have never met one another, and are unfamiliar with each other’s playstyles, and have not previously discussed various strategies of the content they’re about to do? Hopefully the answer is pretty clear. Duty Finder doesn’t guarantee success- it only allows quicker entry into the content for those without a large shell or company.

Chances are pretty good that the first groups that run the Crystal Tower will fail. They’ll be defeated and walk away with nothing. This is the same with any endgame level content in any MMO and Final Fantasy XIV is no exception- in fact things already transpired this way in version 1.0. Any time new content comes out, the community throws everyone on it in order to be “first.” After that title is claimed, the strategy for how that group completed the content is released, and then more and more people will use that information to complete the content for themselves.

The level of the content won’t change, but the amount of knowledge the players have about it will increase dramatically. A bad player is still going to be a bad player in this regard. The worst thing that could happen in a situation like this is one such player gets into a Tower group via the Duty Finder and then wins a piece of equipment over someone else that feels they deserve it more. Here’s the thing though- that’s the possible consequence of using the Duty Finder for content. If you’re afraid of something like that happening, grab 23 other members from your Linkshell or Free Company that have a better sense of “who needs what” to do the content with.

Let the players who don’t have the luck or schedule to have raid nights use Duty Finder to experience the content in the game that they’re paying for. Whether they’re winning or not, they’ll still be able to try the content and that’s the important thing here.

In Final Fantasy XIV, each job has a special set of armor that can be obtained via quests. In 1.0, some of those quests required a full party in order to beat some of these quest’s bosses. For A Realm Reborn, Yoshida stated that a skilled player will be able to solo these quests and obtain the special armor by themselves. There will be NPCs within these fights, Yoshida said, that will help you so that you can solo the fights.

A Realm Reborn will have a progression for players to proceed through for content. Players will level up the classes and jobs of their choice to their cap and then do the various types of endgame content which will reward them with powerful equipment.

Endgame content will be such that in order to complete the Great Labyrinth of Bahamut, it would be strongly advised that players gear up from the Crystal Tower. To be successful in the Crystal Tower and get gear to take on Bahamut, players would get equipped via the Primal Battles. How do players get ready for the Primal battles? By completing their sets of job specific armor.

What is it about the aspect of soloing this gear that makes beta participants so upset? Note that Yoshida said that a skilled player could solo these quests. It’s not like you’ll go in and spam one through zero on your hotbar without paying attention and be rewarded with new shiny armor.  Many will fail. Even if they succeed so what? They’ll be walking around with the same armor as you? If you’re an amazing hardcore player, you’ll have better gear- from hard mode dungeons and extreme mode Primals. Meanwhile, they’ll be able to move on and try other content, and because of their equipment there’s even a chance that they’ll be able to succeed.