And I Spoke Too SoonAugust 20, 2010
F: Tell why you decided to implement Fatigue and Latency (note: I really don’t know how to translate that, but it’s something in-game to keep you from playing too long at a time on one class).
DK: We’d like you to think of it as a reward to those players who don’t have much time to commit to the game. Those hardcore players out there might think it’s a little unfair, but the main concept behind it is that you don’t need to put in massive amounts of time to enjoy the game.
What is Fatigue?
Let me give you some background here. Currently in beta there is a thing called “Surplus”. The system is simple, if you do several guildleves and gain a number of levels in a certain amount of time without changing jobs you will start to get Fatigued and gain a certain % of the skill and experience you would normally get at Surplus. Meaning, the game is actually taunting you by saying “you could have gotten all this experience, but because we feel that you are playing too long, we aren’t going to give it to you. Nanner Nanner Boo boo!” This effects you quite heavily as you play for an extended amount of time. Eventually your Class Rank and/or Physical Level progress will start to be effected by this and reduced. If you look over some of the screenshots I have posted previously, you will notice that sometimes the numbers are Green, White, or Yellow.
This is the system that is currently in place in beta that the interviewer is asking about.
What this really means
Basically, we don’t know much. Except to say that saying “it’s a little unfair” is an understatement. As a friend said to me after she read this, “I’m more hardcore than others, but I’m a regular casual player… But yet I get punished for playing a few hrs every weekday and more on the weekend?“ That is about the jist of it. It doesn’t take much time at all to start being fatigued. As it stands SE’s definition of hardcore is anyone who plays for longer than it takes you do to 4 guildleves on any given day. Seeing as guildleves have a 30minute max time limit and most can be done in anywhere from 4-15 minutes, that is anywhere from an hour to 2hours a day, any more than that is hardcore.
There is nothing wrong with tuning a game for the “casual gamer”. The problem comes when you go about punishing those players that are more than that. Someone needs to go to the Square-Enix headquarters and scream at the top of their lungs, “This is an MMO people, they are built on the backs of the hardcore, addicted players who pay you money so they can play for 11 hours a day and feel rewarded by the process.”
Final Fantasy XI was built on the backs of people who were willing to wake up at 3am to play with their Japanese counterparts. People who would put sleep on hold for everything from a Fafnir kill to a chance at Dynamis glory. Hell, I even spent a week of waking up at 3am just try to get a drop from a 21-24 soloable NM out in East Altepa once. The point is, an MMO is not made or broken by those people who get online and play for 2 hours a day. Those players come and go during the lifespan of a game in this genre. An MMO is made or broken by what the players who come home from work, school, putting the kids to bed and sitting down and playing for far longer than they should. Punishing them is counterproductive.
This system will cause the downfall of the game if it is left unchecked and unfixed. You can hold me to that. Any game that already has so many flaws that thralls of people are willing to overlook simply because of the nostalgia that the Final Fantasy name brings to them should really go out of its way to make the masses happy, not slap them in the face for wanting to play.