AKA reasons why FFXIV has seems troubled keeping newer players

Edit for a disclaimer: I am 50 and have experienced all the content except for the later coils. I have been 50 for near enough to two months, and have been playing for two months and change.

I have had friends trying to get me to play the game for multiple years. After telling them for the longest time, time and time again, every time I read about it it just does not look like my kind of game…here is my honest feedback and major points of complaint in no particular order, though I saved the “style-based” ones for last since they’re more “niche” (aka nitpicky).

I ask you to please listen to my points here, because I’m really trying to stick with this game because I have so many friends that play, but there are so many things, some big, some small, that kill me. Anyway, it’s a compiled list of complaints/criticisms.

Fair warning: some parts of this are angry, but I’ve avoided cursing (I think).

1.)))))))GCD is WAY too long. Like, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too long.

Some people don’t seem to think this is an issue, and have no problem with it. That’s understandable. I think the people that say this game is no slower than any other game must have been struck very hard in the head, or must have played almost no other MMORPG on the market. The GCD is way too long. This is less of a problem at 30+ because you have more to do, but if you want to know THE SINGLE MOST LEADING CAUSE OF NOT BEING ABLE TO RETAIN NEW PLAYERS? This is it.

This is absolutely, positively the first and foremost and single biggest reason why. It is because of the GCD that this game is so mind-numbingly, unbearably boring prior to ~30 for most classes. Because the combat is sooooooooooo slow paced, and you have very few attacks off the GCD. Some say “it’s nice not to have to button mash”, but let us button mash at our own pace. It’s not as if I have fleas and I need 2.5 seconds between every single attack at low levels to scratch myself. I referred two people to this game, myself, to join our start-up group as we all migrated here, and both quit over this issue. Both of them.

It’s less of an issue in large fates, and at later levels, because simply put…you have more to do. The problem? You don’t have squat to do at lower levels. So pacing is absolutely critical. The only reason I made it past level 15 or so is because LITERALLY EVERY VETERAN HIGH LEVEL I KNEW, with not a single dissenter, told me that the game gets better later.

With that in mind, “the game gets better later” is not an acceptable excuse. A game should be fun the entire time you are playing it. It’s fine to have a slow-paced, basic tutorial. This tutorial does not need to last 30 levels, that is absolutely tedious and nigh unbearable (or outright unbearable) for some.

2.)))))))There are way too many main story quests. This is mainly an issue due to so much content being gated behind main story quests. This is for all the people who actually make it to 50, this is probably the next hugest factor for burnout for new players, because a lot of us…JUST WANT TO PLAY THE GAME. BUT SO MUCH OF THE CONTENT IS GATED BY NEVERRRRREEEEENDING MAIN STORY QUESTS.

Stop adding main story quests. Just…Stop. Stop. Just stop it. Stop doing it. stop. stop. stop. You do not need to make everything a main story quest that gates everything. Use the structure of class quests instead. Continuous quest lines that DO NOT GATE CONTENT. It’s fine to have a continuing narrative, but seriously, some of us JUST WANT TO PLAY THE DANG GAME. Good god I must have rage-quit out of impatience at least three times trying to unlock the freaking high level roulette after hitting 50. I just want to play the game, not do endless solo content to unlock everything us. Ugh, god even just thinking about the massive mountain of MSQs makes me want to cry right now.

I understand for you veterans – it wasn’t a big deal getting a few quests per patch as it was released. As a new player? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW TEDIOUS IT IS? Jaysus, it’s so bad, it’s so mindnumbing. The storyline itself? Is fine! It’s just…I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO DO IT FOR DECADES AND DECADES AND DECADES to unlock simple stupid stuff that should just be a given provided I meet requirements that involve me not dying (such as level).

SO please, for the love and sanity for every new player, please break these quests up. Please structure them like the class quests. They don’t need to be MSQ’s, and they don’t need to gate content. People don’t need to “get it” to want to do it. I don’t need to understand the history of basketball to want to play basketball. Sometimes I just want to play. I don’t need to understand why I am killing every last thing I am killing…sometimes I don’t want to solo quest. Sometimes I just want to party. Sometimes I just want to raid. And I don’t want to have to jump through five million hoops to do it.

Now, it’s fine to gate solo content with solo content. IE, you must do this quest to do this quest. And it’s fine to gate group content with group content. IE, you must clear this dungeon, to get into this dungeon after it. And it’s even okay to group raid content with raid content. IE, you must clear this raid to do the next.

But please stop crossing them all over. It makes for an extreme monotony and tedium when some of us just want to do stuff other than solo quest for a million years to unlock stuff other than solo questing, for the love of all that is holy. And yes, I’m aware you can do most bits running around as a group, but I will throttle you if you tell me I have to explain why it’s not the same thing to do group content with a group vs solo content with a group.

3.)))))))Tab targeting is atrocious, the worst I have ever seen in any game ever. This is because rather than attempting calculation based on distance, it simply goes left to right on your screen. Which for any decent player who moves a lot and looks around for spatial awareness, is awful, and a hindrance. I understand the way it works. I think the way it works needs to change because the way it works is terrible. This is a huge pain, and makes me pity tanks and makes me happy that for the first time in forever, I rolled DPS first instead of tank as I usually do.

4.)))))))Cross class abilities, base class vs job. You only get 5 period, but it’s on per 5 levels with base class, one per 10 for job, meaning at 30 when you get your job, you lose two abilities. This is dumb dumb dumb. It’s fine to restrict WHICH abilities you get as you get your job, but restricting the number? For my chosen class, I was already cross-classing abilities that were available to my job. So basically when I hit 30 I lost two of those abilities. That feels like an oversight. If it’s not…this is another terrible design decision.

5.)))))))Cannot send tells/whispers while in a dungeon. Why is this a thing? Why has this not been changed in…how long has the game been out? There’s a simple solution to this, and I’ll use EQ and EQ2 as an example.

Now I get the idea of how it works – it’s probably because of duty-finder being cross-server. Yes I’m aware this happens even if you’re not using DF, but I’ll make an educated guess and say this is still probably why it is the way it is. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. But there’s a simple solution, and EQ and EQ2 did it. You have server ID’s, right? And using this, you can even send tells across server. Hell, you could send tells ACROSS GAMES, from EQ1 to EQ2. Stuff like, let’s say I want to send a tell to someone on Antonia Bayle in EQ2. Their full syntax to send them a tell? Their ID is: EQ2.Antonia_Bayle.Soandso . Now, how did they do this when they made Battlegrounds, which are cross-server? The character makes a temporary server-move, becoming EQ2.Battlegrounds.Soandso . Now I’m sure this might cause issues for people with similar names, but I think this whole idea is something that should be pursued nonetheless. What’s the point of innovation and coding if a simple idea is dismissed as seeming acceptable as-is?

6.)))))))The game holds your hand too much, sometimes, and I think that might be a large reason why so much content is gated the way it is. Example? I hate that freaking gate in Gridania and any other place in the game where it assumes you are too stupid to realize you should run away from monsters higher than you rather than fight them. Going around stupid gates is tedious. In general the game excessively assumes you’re an idiot. Like I see an NPC ten levels above me and can’t figure out “Go around him! Also, if he does aggro, RUN FAST!” and I have never played a video game before in my entire life. And you know the funny part? If you allow me to die for my mistake and it is indeed my first video game ever…I JUST LEARNED MY FIRST VIDEO GAME LESSON! THANKS! I AM NOW SMARTER AS A PERSON!

7.)))))))Can’t join group finder queue with a chocobo companion out. This is very, very annoying, particularly if I decide to do fates while waiting and a boss fate comes up and I need my chocobo to heal me because nobody else is.

I am told this is going to change. Why did this take so long? Why is polish so apparently unimportant?

8.)))))))Invisible walls. These are never okay. Period. I understand why they’re there, though, I guess. Mostly to avoid having to put a swimming system in. Still…Innovation and polish, guys, seriously. C’mon.

9.)))))))The reply function is very…clunky. Work on this. Again, polish.

10.)))))))Combo highlights need to be more prominent. They are very difficult to notice, particularly for new players, without actually looking at your hotbar. The problem with that? There is almost no point having a highlight at all if you still have to look directly at what it’s highlighting. SWTOR is a great example to follow on this one, with its most recent expansion – big bright light highlight around the skill that has been triggered.

11.)))))))High level roulette is completely stupid to unlock. This kinda goes in with the MSQ thing. I just want to play the game, not go on this massive trek across Middle-Earth just so I can reach content gated behind solo material.

12.)))))))Work on the crafting RNG. Or remove it. I would be okay with either. RNG does not equal fun, ever, period. I understand that in combat in an RPG, a certain level of RNG is needed to make attack/defense etc rolls. That’s okay. If you’re going to make RNG as prominent as it is in crafting, it needs to be a heck of a lot more refined than it is. I can’t say I’ve missed seven attacks in a row in any fight I’ve ever been in. Maybe crafting needs an accuracy stat? (Yes, I know about Steady Hands. Don’t throw that at me, or you’re just totally missing my point.)

13.)))))))Housing. There’s not enough of it. Consider making it it instanced so that the instance closes when nobody is present, just like every game that’s ever done housing well – just like, I believe, this game does dungeons. This allows more people to have housing and doesn’t more or less force people into guilds for single rooms as opposed to full on houses, due to how finite and limited housing plots are.

14.)))))))Can’t underman dungeons. Why? This is terrible. What if I want to grab a friend and just kill the first boss in Sastasha for a single piece of armor I want, but don’t want to subject one or more strangers to this, or incur a lockout from duty finder? This is a bad design decision.

I’m told this one will be changing soon, too. Good to hear, if so.

This next one is the last one on my list that is kind-of style-related, but in my opinion qualifies as not entirely style because it impacts gameplay.

15.)))))))The particle effects are too much, in my opinion I feel like I can never see any of the actual action because there are so many particle effects. I’m thinking of this primarily from a ninja/melee DPS point of view. This is a major hindrance in large scale fights where you need to be looking for AOE target rings, among other things.

I understand you can turn off particle effects, but maybe the solution is to expand on the current particle options, because…While I do turn them down to fewer or none for outside-of-party players, I don’t like turning it down/off for myself because of little things. While I feel all my awesome animations and cool stuff are lost in a cloud of bright colors, thus, imo, undermining their awesomeness…If I turn it down even one step? Suddenly, my knife-throwing AE doesn’t actually throw any knives. I just jump and grunt.

So I’ll file this under “polish”. Polish, guys, c’mon. Polish polish polish.

OKAY THE REST OF THESE ARE MOSTLY NITPICKY STYLE RELATED STUFF BUT HERE IT IS

1.)))))))Don’t really like the art style. The word “childish” comes to mind, but that’s not quite right either. Adolescent, maybe. I was told this was a conscious decision to use blended shading rather than higher contrast stuff. The end result is that it looks kind of bad in comparison to higher contrast, honestly, and just bad next to games that even pre-date this one. Maybe the DX client upgrade will fix this, because I really feel like the biggest reason I don’t like the art style is that the shading is too blended and it just, to me, makes the quality less…I dunno. Just less, I guess, and I don’t like it.

2.)))))))Character creation in general is very limited, particularly if you’re not a huge fan of the art style. Not much I can say about this, only the hope to expand on it over time. More sliders, and make them effective. Some of the muscle (and boob *cough*) sliders could stand to be more effective and have more scale to them. I’d like to have a muscular human, for example, one that’s fit and athletic, but not ridiculously robust. For this image I have in mind, midlander can’t quite muscle-it-up enough, but the highlanders are a little too on the ridiculous side and have these huge thick necks and stone faces. :\

3.)))))))Can’t make a midlander that doesn’t look really young or old. This seems like a design oversight. You are either 20 or younger, or you are 50+. I kinda wanted to make someone in the neighborhood of 33-35 because I like it in the middle of the road. There are other races that suffer from similar nitpicky things, this is just one example, but…more sliders, more customization. These are good things. All my complaints about customization are very minor in comparison to the in-game stuff, including the shading and particles, though.

AND FINALLY, NOT GAME RELATED BUT STILL EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING ALL THE SAME

Account is locked constantly, this annoys the poop out of me. Particularly if I disconnect while in a dungeon and getting back quickly is kind of important. I am apparently not the only person this happens to, and this is very common. I thought it was just me for awhile until I started complaining out loud when it would happen to me in Teamspeak, as I usually get on TS before getting in-game.

I’m told that if you only have one IP ever this is less of an issue, and to that I say….Adopt the GW2 method. Verify once per IP, then stop locking me out all the freaking time. I swear I have to verify three times a week because I have poopy internet that bounces between three IPs, and occasionally use my phone to connect (surprising, but it does actually work) which has different IP’s too. GW2? I have to verify maybe once every couple of months, and that’s usually only if I’m connecting using my phone.

Oh, one more as an after thought:

The glamour system. Unrestrict it significantly. Wanting to achieve a certain look for yourself and your character to me is fundamental in an MMORPG. Particularly in an MMORPG that mandates a monthly payment. I do not find FFXIV’s level of restrictions on this excusable in a subscription model under any circumstances. If this game had a free to play option, I would see this as something that I could compromise on, in terms of my opinion.

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