Friday, December 18, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: Defending Your Avatar

Morning in Vana'diel is your daily dose of FFXI and all things Vana'diel. Give us your thoughts on the interesting topics of the day! The day of reckoning approaches and in the end have we spent our time well? I think so.

With the coming of the FFXIV beta I have done a little bit of reminiscing about the time I have played FFXI, time I have enjoyed. I have also thought about those that didn't enjoy their time playing FFXI apparently, and I don't really get it.

I never really understood the way some people complain after quitting FFXI, or how they will never play FFXIV because "SE sux". I guess it's just the bitter gamer that is projecting their anger onto the game company instead of themselves.

Whether you like it or not, FFXI is a well run and successful game. A few people complaining about AV does not really effect the experience of 99% of the player base even those that want to fight AV.

Another one of those projections is the complaints about customer service. Outside of the few people that really did have to deal with the problems with SE and getting their account stolen, most of these complaints are from people that don't have the experience to make such claims and are just parroting what other people say.

SE's game development for FFXI is actually very good, especially considering the limitations of the game itself, but remember this game started development about 10 years ago and things are much different now than they were then. I think the problem right now is one of internal resources and nothing more.

SE doesn't "hate" their player base. They have learned from their mistakes and there are many examples of this. There are still some other mistakes they haven't or don't want to rectify (AV) but in the end the game experience in FFXI is excellent and enjoyable. It is far more social and it was built to be this way. Grumpy gamer kids may not really appreciate this aspect of the game, but in the end, we are all probably much better off without them.

And of course, if you just want to dismiss everything I just said, go ahead and call me an SE fan boy.


Tuufless said...

Okay, you're an SE fan boy.

I think it's a little extreme to take the "SE sux" as a result of FFXI naturally taking the back seat to things.

I do not agree with you on the stance that their current slip-ups (stolen accounts, AV) are by any means, forgivable. You may feel rather apathetic towards stolen accounts because it has not yet happened to you. Parroting has nothing to do with this-- had your account been stolen, you might be whistling a very different tune now, so the measure of "it only happened to a few people" doesn't fit here.

On AV's side, it's not so much that AV is undefeatable that's the issue, it's SE's insistence that AV be undefeatable that is the flaw. We've already seen (to great extent) the measures SE will go to protect "their baby."

Development-wise, I still maintain that the original design was (and still is) very good, but sadly, that seems to have fallen by the wayside recently. (Most) people aren't stupid (hopefully), and will recognise if a mechanic is a cheap shot or not.

Anonymous said...

SE made a great game, not a perfect game. They have indeed made some steps toward correcting certain issues in the last year, but they continue to make the same poor design decisions. At the same time, quality control has fallen through the basement.

When the mass hackings first started, you had to get a subpoena - dealing with real actual police - to even get SE to talk to you about getting your account back. Blizzard restores accounts in hours, SE still takes 3 weeks or more if they give back anything at all. Conclusion, SE treats its customers like criminals and is not helpful.

Dynamis and Limbus are still limited to one group at a time. BCs are limited to three groups at a time. If more people want in, they have to wait. People have complained about this for years. So when SE added Einherjar.. oh right, one group per chamber, same as dynamis. Splitting Heirs, three group maximum. I have personally sat at that gate spamming enter for over an hour trying to get in. MMM, 3 groups. And if Sandworm wanted to Doomvoid your alliance and MMM was full, you couldn't get in the zone. Poor design continues in FFXI, and will continue in FF14.

The spell Sacrifice has been out for months now, has to be at least half a year. I still see:
Ringthree casts Sacrifice on Blaize.
You absorb 3 of Blaize's effects.
I am not Ringthree. I did not absorb any of Blaize's effects. I can't imagine this message being a difficult thing to fix, and while it's not high priority or game-breaking, it's one of those little touches that says SE no longer cares about the quality of the game. Seriously it's a five minute fix, they could slip it in to the next minor patch.

Synergy. Chocobo racing. MMM. Seriously. New overly complicated systems with ridiculous effort to reward ratios. And they wonder why nobody uses them. These things are new and they keep coming up with more. What will FF14 be like? Synergy. Chocobo racing. MMM.

I'm not a fanboy, and I won't say SE sucks. I don't see any hope that FF14 will fix what's fundamentally wrong with FFXI, and I don't think removing galka tails and stretching/renaming tarutaru is going to make a unique gaming experience. That game is called PlasticSurgeon and it's available at if you're a dirty rotten cheater. :)


Ringthree said...

I don't really have an answer for AV except for sometimes we have to realize that this is SE's game and they can do what they want with it. We can rage and scream, but they aren't budging. It's not worth the effort, either try to beat it or don't. Stop whining about it.

I will also say what I always say when people claim that AV is not undefeatable. You are wrong. I have no doubts at all the AV is defeatable. It just takes very specific requirements to kill it. It is a puzzle with a very specific solution, and the instructions are written in ancient Sumerian and your dog spent all afternoon chewing them up.

Kaeko has already proven that the video SE provided was correct if not incredibly vague and convoluted.

As for stolen accounts, this hit every MMO out there, not just SE. Blizzard had the same exact issue and dealt with it in a surprisingly similar manner. Denial, bargaining, acceptance. SE was a bit slower, but came up with the same exact results. Getting your stolen was traumatic and disheartening. I had very close friends lose their accounts.

There are two factors here you have to consider, the first is that for some reason in MMO's you get a distended sense of time. Like when I was raging about SE not dealing with RMT in Sky, or for people that thought SE was doing nothing about stolen accounts, the time for recognition to solution was not all that long. It was just so frustrating that it made you think it was taking forever to fix the problem.

When dealing with account issues, you have to step back and separate the FFXI developers from SE's corporate culture. All corporate cultures are slow to react, it's not just SE, and the grass isn't greener on the other side of the road.

I am always one for the occasional rhetorical flourish, but you really have to look at the situation and consider just how bad these "crimes" really are. You claim that they are "unforgivable" but I usually reserve that kind of term for cheating on your significant other or murder or something of that ilk.

I will never say SE is perfect, they are not, but I can critically look at the game pick the things that I enjoy and accept the things that I don't. If I didn't, I would just play something else.

While I generally disagree with you Tuufies, I understand where you are coming from, and you made a great post! :)

Ringthree said...

Cel, just so you know, when the hackings first started Blizzard had pretty much the same initial reaction. Deny, deny, deny. I think they might have come around a little faster but we are talking a difference of weeks, not months or years.

I don't know exactly their turn around on account restoration but it definitely is in the week+ range as reported by and other WoW websites. They also do not do true account roll backs, they have a GM give you back your gear piece-by-piece and they have a limit on replacements. Lose a legendary and it's pretty much gone.

Cel, you essentially make two different sets of complaints. The first deals with technical issues, Dynamis, Limbus, etc. Those are issues that WILL be resolved by FFXIV because that is something that has to do with the way the game is built from the ground up. I don't worry about these problems for FFXIV much at all.

The second is the attention to detail problems. You pretty much hit that one right on the head. Like I said in the post, I think that has everything to do with a lack of programming resources currently. I also think that they really bit off more than they could chew with the mini-expansions and that is why the content updates have been so mediocre as of late.

You already know I agree with you on MMM and those other systems. :) I don't agree though that FFXIV will have the same problems as FFXI. I am sure it is going to have all new problems all for itself!

Qtipus said...

jebus...Cele must've been really bored at work today...

I'll put it out there that I don't have any other experience with MMOs other than years of FFXI, a couple months of EQ and a fan-boy creating "Qtipus" in WoW...

With that said:

Working in retail/service and owning a business for the better part of my adult life, I understand when an issue comes up on a large scale that it takes time to figure out what's causing it and to address it.

I also know that when an account gets compromised after the main brunt of the account hackings are over, it shouldn't take more than 30 days to get it recovered and if it does, there should at least be some sort of update on the status of the account.

Chahya was hacked in early October. It's now mid-December and there's been jack and shit out of SE regarding the status of the account. The problem is that SE has one...

count them...

One representative that reviews banned accounts. You catch said person on holidays, you're fucked.

That's the primary example of piss poor customer service. Did Blizzard, Sony, etc have the same issues? Probably. Do they still have them? Who knows. I do know SE has them STILL. Just because other companies have similar issues doesn't make it right.

As for AV...I buy into Kaelis' theory on that. AV is nothing more than a honey pot for SE to catch people doing stupid things and fixing them. AV is not meant to be defeated.

Is that stupid? Yes, but it's their game and if you understand that, you just don't go screw with AV.

Have to keep in mind where these companies started from too. SE started off as console. You generally do not have to provide customer support for a CD/DVD. Blizzard started off as console-ish, but quickly morphed into the PC/Online realm. Sony is obviously Sony for a reason as is Microsoft.

The million dollar question I have for XIV is...

Did SE truly learn from the growing pains they went through with XI?

If I had to give an honest answer as it relates to customer service, I'd say no and that doesn't bode well for XIV.