Thoughts on Story Dungeons in FFXIV

No, not dungeons that you have to run as part of the main story quests–dungeons that, in and of themselves, tell a story through their mechanics and the ways in which your party interacts with the zone.

As I was writing up a prior post on FFXIV’s content release cycle, I remembered my absolute favorite thing about another MMO I used to play, Everquest II; namely, some of the dungeons in it (usually 1 or 2 per expansion cycle) were significantly longer, more difficult, and more elaborate in terms of zone design than the other, regular dungeons. Those who played EQ2 may remember Estate of Unrest, Erudin Library, Tower of Frozen Shadows, and others in the same vein. For the many more who didn’t, think of each one as something like a zone dedicated to being a mini-adventure game, where you had to solve the zone’s puzzles (along with, of course, fighting mobs) in order to progress through the zone by unlocking doors, summoning mid-bosses to fight, and so on.

The nature of the puzzles varied between each dungeon. Unrest was more akin to games like Myst, with a lot of item collection and environmental interactions that led you through a haunted manor and its surroundings, while Erudin Library was pretty much a zone-wide game of Clue that you had to solve in order to fight the final boss, with different results each time. What they all had in common, though, was some hook that made them more than just a prettily-decorated corridor that you ran through in a straight line from entrance to final boss, with exactly two mid-bosses along the way and a few trash packs between each mid-boss. They also tended to be on the challenging side in terms of both trash and bosses, requiring groups to coordinate and work together in order to be successful–but, notably, they were not raids. They were designed for single groups, and they didn’t require any particular group composition in order to be successful (something more important in EQ2, which had much greater variety in terms of class roles than FFXIV does).

In addition to being generally fun and interesting to play, I think something like what I’ve described would fit a particular need I see that has thus far gone unaddressed in FFXIV: deep, challenging content for light parties. For full parties, we have both ends of the difficulty spectrum covered–for the purposes of this post, let’s leave aside arguments about how well the middle is treated, please–but I think most people would agree that all of the light party content that has been released is definitely on the easy side. More than the difficulty, though, is the complexity and depth; quite honestly, I’m tired of the trash-trash-trash-boss-trash-trash-trash-boss-trash-trash-trash-boss corridor formula. New dungeons are worth doing a few times just to enjoy the scenery and new boss mechanics, but that only lasts so long.

Admittedly, even the most complex, challenging dungeon runs the risk of becoming old after the hundredth time you run it, but at least to me, that’s a lot better than never wanting to see Hullbreaker HM (insert your least favorite dungeon here) again after the second week into the patch. This also ties into the reward structure for the dungeon; right now, dungeons are simple, quick, and easy because we’re expected to run them over and over, day after day, for tomestones. In keeping with the EQ2 source material I’m drawing the idea from, I would propose a several day lockout on any story dungeons, with rewards in the form of direct item drops or high-value tokens similar to Alex pages/parts, rather than tomes–and, correspondingly, not part of any roulette. That way, dungeons of this type would become something extra to do when available rather than something you might feel you have to work into a daily checklist along with your roulettes, beast tribe quests, scrip gathering, and so on.

So, thoughts? Does this–some number of lengthy, challenging dungeons with unique zone mechanics–seem like something people would like to see in FFXIV? Even at a rate of only one per expansion, it seems like it could do a lot to break up what can be a somewhat repetitive content structure, and I think there’s a lot of room to do some more in-depth exploration of parts of FFXIV’s world. Imagine a story dungeon going into the floating city of Nym (the ruins you can see in Outer LN, not WP), for example, or exploring deeper into the ruins that, according to lore, Qarn was built on top of.

ffxivbook – FFXIV's Dungeons Sure Can Feel Like "Duties"

FFXIV

What are dungeon runs for? In Final Fantasy XIV, you mostly run dungeons because you have to. Fittingly, in FFXIV, they’re called “Duties.”

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The urgency, and necessity, to complete dungeons is why all ten-plus of my dungeon runs in FFXIV have been beelines to boss fights. But yesterday, when I read about a hidden NPC bar fight in the Sastasha dungeon, I had to check it out.

Usually, FFXIV veterans silently take the lead on “Duties,” with less experienced players unquestionably following in their stead. Players complete the “Objectives,” which generally involve activating and acquiring things, before killing the boss. Like in other MMOs, FFXIV players must run dungeons multiple times, so many know the most direct route by heart.

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The flaw in this custom, obviously, is that less experienced players generally don’t feel comfortable peeling away from the party to satisfy curiosities, like opening closed doors and checking out strange plants. Dungeons in FFXIV are, mostly, not for exploring, despite how gorgeous they are:

Sastasha

After hearing about the hidden bar fight in Sastasha, I registered for the “Sastasha” duty, FFXIV’s first dungeon run. The story goes that The Serpent Reavers, a band of pirates, has been raiding the inhabitants of the La Noscea islands. Glowing neon fungi and shining lakes lead you to a pirate camp of shanties. Different rooms house different mobs and NPCs, some holding loot. The “Duty” allows for 90 minutes, but it’s easily completed in 20.

“Hey!” I said to my randomly-assigned party as we entered the dungeon. “I heard about a bar fight in the Deckhand’s Quarters. Can we check it out?”

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Silence.

Okay, I thought. I’ll ask again in a bit. I let the tank take the lead. We traversed the caves and encountered the first boss, a catlike coeurl. Bands of pirates attacked in waves and we quickly cut them down. Soon, we entered the shanty town housing the Deckhand’s Quarters.

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“So, okay on the Deckhand’s Quarters?” I pressed. Finally, a response: “I think we’re going that way.” I waited. I nuked some mobs. We pushed forward. Completing an “Objective,” the leader took us through a newly-unlocked door. I realized we weren’t going toward the Deckhand’s Quarters. Fine. Some people are busy and just want to finish the dungeon. I’ll just… go check it out on my own, quickly.

Sastasha’ bar fight

I entered the shack and witnessed six NPCs duking it out. The room was candlelit with a wood platform floor. A few stools were scattered on the ground, as if the NPCs were having a merry time before someone said something truly horrifying, and someone was drunk enough to ask on it. I wondered what happened. I watched, a little unimpressed, but satisfied doing something superfluous during a “Duty.” It felt rebellious.

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“There’s nothing in there,” a party member said from several meters away.

“There’s a fun NPC bar fight,” I responded.

Slowly, my party entered the Deckhand’s Quarters. Eyeing the brawling NPCs, they immediately pulled one over and fought it. I watched as, one by one, all the NPCs were killed. They were killable. I guess it was inevitable.

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“See?” the party leader said. “Just a pull and a chest.” I didn’t respond. We made our way over to the boss, swiftly defeated him, and then exited.

The moral of the story: Rebel. Be the person who derails your dungeon run. Just ask permission first.

ffxivbook – Did You Know That FFXIV Has A Jail For Very Bad Players?

From Reddit

Have you been bad? Very bad? Maybe you need a time-out. In Final Fantasy XIV, if you have been very bad, your time-out will come complete with a chastising parent figure and a very literal jail. On the MMORPG, players who spam, boast dirty usernames or otherwise violate the game’s user agreement are sent to what players are calling “GM jail.”

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Inyo Ass, a tiny Lalafell fighter, was standing around in the Vesper Bay zone when he saw a Game Master. “Damn, I saw a GM,” he said to his Free Company chat before, suddenly, he was extracted from the zone. Then, he found himself somewhere he’d never been before. It was a prison. Gray cinderblocks made up the floor, and the walls were dark, lit by small torches. Standing before him was an imposing figure, obscured by a fiery purple mist.

“Hello I am GM Shepenhow,” the figure said. “I am sorry to pull you away from the game but I need to speak with you for just a moment.”

“Ok,” Inyo Ass responded. He found that he couldn’t speak to his Linkshell, his Free Company or his friends.

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“I’m sorry to say that your character’s name has been found in violation of our Terms of Service.”

“O,” Inyo Ass responded. “I thought that if I could make it would be ok.” It wasn’t. Inyo Ass was told to change his username and that, if he violated the terms of service again, it would result in harsher action against his account.

Videos recording FFXIV players’ stints in so-called “GM jail,” located in the Coral Tower in Limsa Lominsa, are pretty funny. Sometimes, players run around, irreverently spamming emotes. Often, the mood is somber. Warnings can be simple, like “Change your username,” or complicated, like “You have been brought here for Greeding on a Dreadwyrm Grimoire after you had agreed to only Greed on a Dreadwyrm Robe of Healing and a Dreadwyrm Longbow.” Players who have not been Very Bad cannot access the zone.

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Hyperion995, an Au Ra warrior, was sent to “GM jail” while he was away from his computer. When he logged in, he was in a “bland but very scary old brick room in which the only interface elements are the chat and the Support Desk menu.” He waited an hour, wondering what he did wrong. They sorted it out, but Hyperion995 remained unsure whether getting tossed in jail was the right course of action:

“I don’t see how the GM jail is any better than simply using the private message feature to explain evidence and the consequences of reports against players,” he told me. “I believe in effective method of using the GM jail is using it as a ban system.”

A Square Enix representative told me that the jails are intended for GMs to correct improper user behavior “without disrupting the gameplay of others.” She added that, “After discussion, the GM will arrange for the appropriate corrective measures, including name changes, item confiscation, item creation, or account actions.” GMs, she said, are trained to treat players respectfully.

The MMORPG Final Fantasy XI had a jail, too, called Mordion Gaol. Once, years ago, when player RagingPuck was competing for mobs with another party, he got so angry that he “trained a line of monsters and sacrificed myself so all the monsters would attack the other party after I died.” He was, he explains, a teenager at the time. After the ensuing argument, he logged off. The next day, when he logged back in, he found himself in jail.

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“You can’t leave unless the GM releases you,” he explained. RagingPuck was upset. When a GM finally arrived, he was told his “sentence” was 48-72 hours. Later, it was shortened to just a few minutes because of good behavior.

Like Super Smash Bros. 4's “Smash Hell,” Final Fantasy MMORPGs’ jails are an innovative way to sequester and discipline players. But at least in FFXIV, it’s personal—and the reasoning behind your punishment is made clear.

Reminder On What Was Actually Said Regarding PS3 Support After 3.0

I just left a thread where more speculation on future PS3 support was spoken as if it was fact. What’s going on here, IMO, is a giant game of internet ‘telephone’. A development comment was made before HW released (almost 2.5 years ago) regarding the future of the PS3 and has somehow morphed into multiple variations and rumors. This is a translated excerpt from the article posted on 2.20.2014 from game.watch.impress.co.jp (translated by a Redditor; Emiliam).

Regarding future of PS3 version:

Do you plan to continue to support the PS3 version even after the PS4 version is released?

Y: At this moment, we’ve already begun work on the expansion pack, and I can tell you that at the very least the PS3 version will be supported up to that point.

Does that mean there’s a possibility that PS3 users will no longer be able to continue playing beyond that expansion?

Y: It may be a possibility in the future.

How far off in the future are we talking about here?

Y: That will depend on how long people continue to play on the PS3. I’ve mentioned in the presentation this morning that I want to make sure that “FFXIV continues to innovate”, and there’s certainly the possibility that whatever innovation we seek will come with certain technical requirements. For example in EQN, which I mentioned earlier, it would not be possible to realize certain things like physic-based gameplay without meeting the hardware prerequisites. So if this becomes something that players want and we start to see people leave for rival products, then we can’t just sit around twiddling our thumbs either. After all, we too need to ensure we have the necessary weapons to take on other MMORPGs in the future.

For example, if we were to have a large-scale FATE where players can ride on a flying mount and freely fly around and swoop down at a dragon that is 200 meters long, players would probably be impressed and entertained. However, it would also require us to raise the minimum requirement when it comes to hardware specs.

Our aim has always been to develop the game so that players can have the same experience no matter which hardware they play on. However, if we were to become too fixated on this and become unable to innovate, then this will cease to be a FF game. So I do not plan to say that we will support the PS3 version forever. At the same time, I’m not saying that we’ll be ending support by next year or anything like that either, so don’t worry.

————————
A second comment was made on 10.25.2014 regarding PS3 support, reported by Gamer Escape:

Q&A with the Development Team
Plans to phase out support for the PS3 will be made whenever the system can no longer accommodate their ambitions. It won’t be in Version 3.0, but it will be reassessed in the development of Version 4.0 and on, if necessary.

Player looking for Raidteam

Heya, as the title implies, I’m looking for a raidteam for 3.4 as either BRD, MNK, SCH or PLD. Haven’t looked much for a raidgroup since shortly after 3.3 because my group disbanded and after seeing A7S and A8S I kinda lost the interest in Midas, so I just subbed here and there. But the new tier looks more engaging so I’m looking for a raidgroup again. My role preferences are in the same order as listed above. Times I’m available to raid are Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday as I got school in the evening on the other days, but i can raid from the afternoon into the late-night on those days. If you are interested and from a different server, i’m not interested in changing the server, but we may can make it work with the raidfinder.

What I can bring to the team:
Fast progress-oriented mindset, while still having fun and being fully concentrated during the tries.
Raid-farm-experience starting from T1 back in 2.0 to A7S now on the classes named above and some other aswell and some experience in A8S as BRD and DRK.
Fast learner, aswell as fast to adjust to new mechanics (never watched/read a guide or clear/kill vid until i killed the fight myself and still rarely messed up a mechanic more then twice w/out knowing how to deal with it).
Good DPS on all the above named classes of course.
Always thinking about optimizing own- and raid-dps during progression and farm.
Always open to try new strats/ways in order to clear.

What i want from the team:
A group that has fun between the wipes during progress, but is fully concentrated during the actual tries.
Fast progress.
Keeping up good dps, while handling mechanics from everyone.
Optimizing your own- aswell as raid-dps.
And preferably (but not mandatory) atleast A7S clear.

If you are interested or got questions, leave a post here or hit me up ingame: Kite Kizoku

Face Targeting Changes – Discuss!

Hey folks!

I’m sure many have read the summary of the latest live letter, however, I am surprised no one mentioned this on the forum yet:

Changes to Face targeting System
In relation to the auto-attack system changes, face targeting will also be adjusted. It will become inaccessible while moving, and can only be used when standing still. With this change, for casters, your character will face the direction of the target’s current position and follow the direction automatically. However, please note that there may be times when this won’t happen correctly due to server communication.

We would like to point out that until now, some mechanics required players to stand still or face away from the target to dodge specific mechanics; however, because auto-attack will be active regardless of which direction you’re facing, players will not be able to simply turn around to dodge. Rest assured, you can still sheathe your weapon, or cancel targeting to dodge these mechanics.
This short explanation lacks substance compared to the in-depth explanation for the cross-bar thing for consoles and controler-users.

First of all, does this apply for legacy-controls or standard as well? Second, how can I picture this? For example: I am using the standard controls (going backwards with S, strafing with Q and E). As soon as I am using a skill, the character will automatically face in the direction of the enemy, however, as soon as I am turning away, my character will stop the actions such as auto-attack. I am aware, that the auto-attack will now no longer stop (which already is a questionable change if you ask me).
Second, does this only apply with the “Lock-on” mode (Numpad 5) or in every situation?
And last of all, did anyone ask for this? I wasn’t aware, that drastic changes where needed. If they want to change things to targeting, they should fix the clunky TAB-targeting (WoW shows how it’s done).
I am afraid, that you will lack control with these changes. I don’t want to be forced to sheathe my weapon if I have to look away from my foes. I don’t want my auto-attack to continue when I am not facing the enemy. Controls are there for a reason. If people really want it, make a toggle, let it be an optional system to help those, who are not good with controls, but don’t force such unnecessary changes on me, who’s playing with these controls since release now.

Now, go ahead and discuss!

Sugggestion : Free Company Mail/Communications QoL

Major QoL improvments for FC communication.

Suggestion;
Add the ability to send moogle mail to every FC member in a mass mail.
Add permissions so that FC Masters can grant officers tha ability to mass mail their FC too.
Create a FC buletin board in-game for company announcements and information.
Add permissions to allow for different levels of access to the FC notice board, allowing read only,write access and modification/deletion of messages on the board which can be set by the FC Master.

Currently thre is no real way to communicate with all FC members unless you have a very small group who all play at the same time. Without resorting to the use of external systems, FC masters/officers cannot communicate with the entire company. Even with external systems, many players do not use such systems, and having the ability to communicate in Eorzea would resolve that.

The current message size in moogle mail is also very restrictive and I would suggest quadrupling the character limit at least.

The Company Board message in the game allows for a very short message, but it is inflexible and not very good as a means of communication due to the character limit.

An in-game FC Notice board would replace or supplement the current Company Board message which serves more as a vision or mission statement reminder in any case.

I find it incredible that with all of the things we have in FFXIV, and the emphasis on Free Companies, we still have no way as a free company to communicate in this manner. Not all players play in the same time zone, or the same time of day, so the FC chat channel is unabkle to accomplish company wide communication. Even a game as old and comparatively simple as White Knight Chronicles featured an in-game email system for Guilds to use, it also featured in-game company discussion forums.

I feel that a major overhaul of these features would aid in strengthening both Free Companies and the comunity in general because it would allow players to communicate about in-game things while in-game, whether they play at the same time as others or not. Right now, the lack of communication of this type leaves players who play at differnet times feeling isolated.

Please consider these changes, or something similar to help Free Companies develope and strengthen their memberships.

FFXIV Housing Demolition

SE is reactivating their Housing Demolition program, which was designed to make more housing available to the community via automatically demolishing houses of inactive players/FC. It seems to me that this isn’t much of a solution to the problem at hand: not enough player housing available. Server space is a real issue, but let’s be honest here: the problem isn’t a few players owning houses and quitting. The problem is a few players hoarding houses. Here on my server, there’s an 8 man FC with 40 houses. That’s just one example. A sizable percentage of the housing available is in the hands of a few.

So with a bit of background provided, here’s my solution:

1) Limit the number of houses a FC can own to some sort of combination of number of members and house size. This can’t be a static number per FC because some FC are larger than others. One small house would be appropriate to an 8 man FC, but a three large house equivalency might be more appropriate for a 150 man FC. I’d set the minimum here at 1 Large. And move upwards from there.

2) Limit the number of houses an individual can own to two: and this is account-wide. The only reason this isn’t one is because a player should have the option to upgrade.

3) Implement new wards with the above suggestions in place, and “grandfather” in current home owners. Current home owners shouldn’t lose the houses they already possess with implementation of this system, but they should be prevent from purchasing new homes until they come within compliance of this series of rules. Because grandfathering is a necessity, more wards are a must. As an alternative, add in Ishgard housing wards and make this system only apply to the new wards.

The fact is, many of us who CAN afford a house and want one will never have one because SE couldn’t possibly devote the amount of server space necessary to make housing ownership for everyone a reality. Still, this feature should be open to as many people as is realistically possible.

Player Assets deleted (FFXIV Housing)

Let me first say that ‘packing up’ or ‘rolling up’ houses and making way for actively subbing players is ALWAYS a great thing regardless of the online game. Ghosts of the past shouldn’t be interfering with the present.

That being said, Square’s decision to straight up DELETE your hard earned assets is alarming, shocking, and uninspired.

I am one of these people (Diabolos, Ventus Vero and Vengillian Vero). I was very excited to jump back into game when 3-4 friends said they wanted to all play an MMO and mentioned FF14 (originally left as life happens, new job, moving states, buying first house, death of mother). I found i had 5 days of game time for some reason, logged in and discovered the ugly truth. 2 GM tickets later it was confirmed that if you do not log in for 45 days, your house and all the items in it get deleted. I never got an email or I would have used my free game time to sell the house and store the items in my person FC bank. Anything but deleted en mass.

-Why couldnt square keep the ‘deed’ list? Why delete it completely. Is a 170KB or so file with itemIDs, gil, and positions for an instanced lot/house so crippling? We already know they ‘packed up’ houses and put them on vendors for all items and 80% of the gil, so why delete such a file for 45 days of inactive (even is actively subbed).

-Why not have a paid restoration? Even if, lets say, all 5 million subs or so get houses and then have them redeed, the collective item list/gil wouldnt be crippling (I offer to buy a couple 2TB drives…) but actively keeping something for nothing wouldnt be reasonable. You’ve got dozens of services on the mogstation already, including additional retainers and such. Why not capitalize on rolled up houses by charging for recovery of 80% gil and the items?
Everything here points to a conclusion along the lines of “We don’t care” or are talking steps to prevent re-subs. Clearing housing for active subs and archiving inactives… it could have been both, even at financial gain (i would have paid to just get the items and 80% gil back from my private house, over 2 years of memories there).

I was really excited to dive back in, wanted to get a collectors heavensward and catch up and see whats been going on. I’m sure the manderville man has been at it again. I left after the final coil came out/the golden saucer.

In the end, however, there is caution to advise to players investing in characters and assets in FF14 ARR when Square Enix will delete said investments so easily.

Just another sob story from some online player, im sure, but I wanted to relate plainly that if you own a house, your house and items will be deleted in 45 days if you dont log in and visit your house. I received a lot of “its just re-deeded in 45, you can pick it up from vendor” and other wrong misinformation. Definitely one of the best MMOs ive ever played (second in my mind only to my beloved SWG of old) but one must have principles, and this sort of practice is something I would prefer to avoid supporting, even if that means no more Hildebrand for me.

Perhaps one day Square will offer MogStation restorations of the gil and items (unlikely, but I am keeping the dream alive). Until then, take care of Eorzea for me (and stay classy Diabolos).

Mobius Final Fantasy tops 3 million downloads outside Japan on ffxivbook

Mobius Final Fantasy has topped 3 million downloads outside of Japan following its launch on August 3. To celebrate, Square Enix is launching a series of new updates, including the following:

  • Cooperative Multiplayer: Starting September 8, players can use the jobs and decks they’ve developed to fight climactic battles against colossal opponents with a party of up to four players. This will be accessible through the new Ring of Braves region.
  • A New Sidequest Region: In the first exploration region, The Silent Ruins, players can enhance their cards and get a better understanding of the main story while obtaining different items and skillseeds.
  • New Samurai, Assassin and Red Mage Job Cards: Three new powerful jobs, the samurai (warrior), the assassin (ranger) and the red mage can now be acquired. Fifteen new ability cards including three Fast Learner cards are also being added, greatly expanding players’ tactical options.
  • Limited-Time Final Fantasy Record Keeper Cards: “Legend” cards featuring Final Fantasy heroes as seen in Final Fantasy Record Keeper will be available from September 8 until October 7.

Additionally, Square Enix has released a number of new artworks for the game. We’ve collected everything in the gallery below.