Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why now?

SE has been adding in a bunch of things lately that players have been demanding for a long time. These are mostly convenience issues, and SE is doing a good job at fixing them, but why now? What about the game right now makes it important for SE to implement these changes? There are several lines of thought to follow here. Maybe they think that by fixing the things that people have been complaining about for a long time will prevent people from leaving the game. The problem with that logic is that the people that are still playing the game have already accepted its shortcomings. Fixing old things, and especially announcing them, doesn't really do anything by draw a target on the things and how long they were broken. Maybe they think that by fixing the old things that they will be drawing in new players because they are modernizing the game. The problem with this is that FFXI is an old game now and the whole game interface would have to be revised if they wanted to really draw in new players with an upgrade. In the end, I think they are just announcing these things because they have nothing else to announce. This is more negative than my normal statements about the game, but I don't think it is a systemic problem. I think it is more a development team problem. Apparently the same people that worked on CoP are the ones that are working on Wings. Now for storyline and mission purposes this is a really good things, but for game play it is obviously going to be a borefest.

Another Berticus interview has been posted, and while I do appreciate the work that he does in trying to get answers from the SE development people, I am beginning to think that we are asking the wrong questions. Everyone is always going to ask them how to beat AV, and everyone is going to always complain about Kings, and everyone is going to always complain about the XP grind, and the low drop rates on X, and etc, etc, etc. Why do we keep asking the same questions when we can already predict the answers? Why do we keep blaming SE for not giving us the information we think we need? Here is a shocking revelation for some, and a completely obvious observation for others. AV is completely beatable, as it exists in the game, right now. We just don't know how to beat it yet. SE wants the players to be the ones that figure out how to defeat it, and that is not a bad thing. If I was doing an interview, I would ask different questions, more subtle and less direct. Instead of asking how to beat AV, I would ask what the players are doing wrong. Are we missing something completely, or are we very close and just need to do one or two things differently? We need better follow up, like when we ask about Kings and they say that they are keeping them but they are going to provide alternatives, we need to ask about the alternatives and not about what they are going to be like in the game, but instead what about them is going to be different. We don't need to know specifics about the event and how it works in the storyline, we need to know how it is going to fix staring at Darters for 3 hours, or how it is going to fix horrible drop rates.

I would also like to know more about their decision-making process. Like how they came to the idea to do Kings, or when they decided to fix Sky or any number of development decisions that effect how the game is created. I think knowing this information would put many of the older questions into better perspective.

Anyway, we are getting new things, but I am less interested in what they are fixing and instead of the new things that are coming down the pipe. Maybe tomorrow.

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