I didn’t actually know that the last time I played Final Fantasy XIV would be the last. It wasn’t like I threw down my gamepad and kicked my computer over. TG and I just started logging in less and less, and I finally admitted how the game felt like it was sucking out my soul. Dramatic as that sounds, that’s how it felt. FFXIV’s grind was just not a typical MMO grind, and it constantly frustrated me.
The game started out fun. It really did. We joined the game after they put in some much needed patches, and we mostly enjoyed the classes and combat. As we got higher level, the advancement seemed more and more out of whack. There were grinding spots but only for mobs that were much too low or inefficiently high. The levequests were becoming more and more worthless for a duo, as if we were being pushed toward grouping. We don’t game to play with strangers; we game to play with each other.
Suddenly we were getting behind on our levequests — logging in just to accept our next set so that we wouldn’t miss the reset. Our crafting jobs had fallen 10 levels behind our combat jobs, and we were struggling to keep them high enough to repair even our pathetic gear. The few patches being implemented just seemed to be changing and ruining targeting both in and out of combat. They promised dungeons and vast improvements, but they were far off. Plus, we were sick of our character models and the few weapon choices we’d be stuck with for end game. And, more importantly, there’s no random loot drops in FFXIV yet. What’s the point of playing if the only gear is craftable?
With other games, we’ve quit in an angry, flouncy huff. With FFXIV, we never even told our friends we were quitting; probably because we really didn’t know we were at the time. We just stopped logging in. Now even our friends have reverted back to FFXI. At this point, I don’t think I could play FFXIV even if they fixed the issues it has. It’s hard to get passed that feeling of ‘What a Game Used to Be.’ I think that’s why the release state is so important for an MMORPG. If World of Warcraft had launched as incomplete as FFXIV did, there’s no way WoW would have been as successful as it was (and why so many release players long for the days of the original World of Warcraft). Case in point, it’s not like SOE was able to save Vanguard: Saga of Heroes after it’s disastrous launch, and I say that as someone who enjoyed the game immensely for a time.