Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Morning in Vana'diel: Dead Game -->

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! Is FFXI dead? Yeah, didn't you know? This game died 3 years ago! We are just playing with it's rotting zombie corpse.

Let’s take the worst case scenario: SE has decided that they really are done with FFXI and they are going to shut down the servers as soon as this year is over. This scenario is completely remote, people are still going to play FFXI, and SE is still going to make money off of the game, but just go with me here for a minute.

Say all the quitters and whiners are right, does it even matter? I say no, because even if this is SE’s last hurrah for FFXI it’s a great last hurrah and one that I am going to enjoy.

Even the most ardent FFXI defenders will admit that the last three updates have been pretty poor overall. The storylines in the expansions were great, but they were far from challenging and did not have the epic feel that many other parts of the game have felt. The other content in those updates was of generally casual appeal, and not for the end-gamer. The problem is that end-gamers are what drives a game that is 7+ years old.

While it has taken SE far too many years to realize that this is the case, it doesn’t mean that the coming updates are any less earthshaking in their effect. The raising of the level cap is for end-gamers. It is for the long time fan FFXI that even if they were not experiencing burnout were at least understanding that the current content had gone stale.

Even if SE was shutting down the servers, they are doing it with style. The coming year is a FFXI player’s wet dream. Almost all new end-game content, multiple new advancement paths, new gear, new everything. This is what we have been hoping for. This is what this game needed over the past year. I would say that it is probably a year late, and with SE’s iterative over radical design decisions I can understand the delay.

Finally, the evidence that this game is not going to die anytime soon can actually be found in the “proof” that the nay-sayers provide as evidence of its demise. It is true that the number of players has been gradually dropping off over the past year, to combat this SE took some rather radical steps to please the player base and keep them happy and playing. If, as so many of the negative Nancys claim, SE really wanted to kill off the game, they could have just continued that status quo and let FFXI peter out into nothing. This coming year is an attempt to keep people happy, and to bring back old players. Is it good for new players? Probably not, but after 7+ years I don’t think that is SE’s main concern. To be profitable all they need to do is keep those that like to play happy. And that is exactly what they have done.

1 comment:

Blake said...

Ring can I touch your bow?