Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Leaving the Cap Off.

With SE's new vision of focusing almost exclusively on end-game (took them long enough), opening the CoP zones is a "free" way to add new content without much work. Tweak some mob levels and you get a whole series of zones that people are familiar with but no one ever uses. I think it's a good idea, and an easy way to cut some corners on development time and costs.

But with every good idea comes the complainers and most of the complainers this time are the old players that are bitter that everyone else is going to have it "easy" now. CoP missions were added back in the day, they were challenging, but not difficult. The problem really arouse when some players that did no work, no research and no preparation assumed that they should waltz right through the new content. FFXI was designed to be intensely challenging. It was too challenging for people that just wanted to brute force their way through the fights and not prepare for each fight with the necessary items. These were not fights you could just leech through, everyone had to do their part.

FFXI doesn't have any of the boss fight add-on's you would find in other games (though honestly, it wouldn't be that hard to make one I don't think) so it really punished those that didn't do their homework. People still whine about it to this day, but ultimately every fight had a gimmick item that could be used to nerf the mob you were fighting. A lot of people still believe that you had to have certain job set ups to do the fights, but those are the same people that never researched the fights to find out how easy they really were.

It may be the end of an era, but it is the beginning of a new one at the same time. FFXI was, is and never will be WoW. It is a more challenging game, and that is the reason it will never be as popular as WoW.

Was CoP cool and challenging back when we did it? Yes.

Is CoP now hard to get a group for because it is old content? Yes.

The funny thing is that these statements are not mutually exclusive. The only difference is when people think we should move on from old content. Many people think that SE should obsolete old content, but then complain when SE revives old content to make it relevant again. They don't really know what they want.

Uncapping the CoP zones is basically free new content for SE. No one uses those zones for much of anything now, so why not make them the new leveling areas and give them some use again? Sure, some small fraction of players won't get the challenge that we got years ago when they were harder, and we had worse equipment and fewer jobs leveled, and we walked to school in the snow, barefoot, uphill, both ways.

The complainers are acting like kids on the last day of high school, saying how much they loved everyone (even though they hated them), how much they will miss everyone (even though they will forget them within days of getting to college), and how this was the best time of their life (even though it sucked for the most part).

They need to sign their freaking year books, cry a little, give a few fist bumps, go to their year-end parties, or do whatever they need to do to move on.

Things are changing and change is good.


Eldelphia said...

Removing the level cap in the zones? Awesome. Level synch? Awesome. Removing xp loss - completely unexpected but freaking awesome. Dumbing down some of the most interesting and challenging mission fights in the game because people are lazy? Stupid. Since when did FFXI ever cater to the lowest common denominator. You learn a lot doing those fights, dropping them to the level ZMs are at where it pretty much doesn't matter if you're at the keyboard or not pisses me off. That being said, wtf do I care, I've done them already.

I do think that perhaps SE needed to rethink how they introduced mission plot/access to areas but ToAU was pathetic. WoTG is getting better but then they cocked that up by sticking in quests which people can't help with unless they're at the same point. In the expansion scenarios, it didn't matter - so WoTG should have gone along that route. It's not like beating a certain WoTG currently gives you access to restricted content as it does in CoP.

CoP still is the mission line I appreciated the most, in part because it was tough and a lot of stuff was new to me. But, I acknowledge that the game is drifting into an endgame holding pattern whilst XIV builds up momentum to take over.

Ringthree said...

Believe me, I loved CoP. I loved the story and I loved the challenge. I also loved beating the missions with a normal party when people laughed and said they couldn't be done without 4 RNG or 4 BLM or 3 NIN.

The history of the missions for FFXI is a really mixed bag. Some were easy, some were hard, some were consistent and some where all over the place. While I am going to miss the old, hard CoP missions, it will only be in memories. I used to volunteer to help people do CoP missions all the time just to prove how easy they were. But even for someone that loved to help doing those missions, I haven't done them in years.

I think the knee-jerk reaction is to remember how fun it was to do those missions, but that is in the past. The reality is that if we had the gear and knowledge we have today when doing those missions they wouldn't have been as hard as they were. There were fewer things to do in the game then too. CoP was a major goal and triumph. Today, if you don't have it done or you are new then it's just an obstacle.

I don't mind them making it easier for new players now. There are few of them, and keeping the fights the way we remember them just means they will have a harder time doing them. They won't have the same love of the challenge that we did back in the day.

So, while I will miss it for nostalgic reasons, the real fun of CoP missions had died out well before the coming of the Wings expansion.

I don't think I would be that far off base to suggestion that you would be more accepting of this change if SE had a more structured retirement of older content. While it does lead to some surprise moments, SE does seem like they are all over the place at times when it comes to dealing with things. The best example of that is the year prior to VanaFest 2010 being the worst year in the game, then at Vanafest they pull the carpet out from under everyone. I think a better pace of updates would make the player base more contented if not happy.

Anonymous said...

CoP made us the players we are, and at the time we did them, the missions were friggin hard! Standing on Ouryu's feet was a novel concept. Standard procedure for 3 angry monsters at once (mammets or mandragora) was wipe and start over with a clean pull. And what do you mean what jobs do I have - I'm whm50!

Until CoP, we were all noobs. :)