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Maybe SE does get it…sorta

August 20, 2010

Yesterday, I ranted on how Square-Enix has lost its way in responding the wants and needs of its playerbase.  It was based on not only what I have seen in the game since its Alpha state, but also several interviews they have had recently.  Today, we were given a translation of a Famitsu interview conducted yesterday over at Gamescon.  The interview was extremely short but it does enlighten a few things.

1) They do understand how we want mouse controls

SS: Outside of Japan, many PC gamers use a mouse as the main controls for all games, from FPS’s to MMORPG’s.
PT: Gamepad and mouse controls are different at the most fundamental of levels. With a gamepad, you have to go through a layered structure command input for control, a mouse needs to be able to get things done with just a click. We have to set the game up to be able to handle both.

Now the only question is if they can get the UI and mouse controls to that level without adding Hardware Mouse.  Since in the previous interview they pretty much stated they don’t have any intention on adding it.  At the very least we should be seeing mouse controls that mimic that of other point and click MMOs.  Instead of having to run through confirmation box after confirmation box.  This will go a long way to make a lot of people at least more happy to overlook some of the other UI issues.

2) They at least learning a little about communication

SS: We got a lot of feedback about that, and all the feedback was consistent; players’ first concern was the user interface, then the merits of party play. Thanks to this, we know what everyone is focusing on.

It’s not much, but its a start.  Responses like this make it easier to believe that they are reading and understanding concerns both JP and NA/EU.  Now if they could only start an open dialogue within the community and not have to rely on reporters as their middleman they could take the next step they so desperately need.  This era of MMO development demands an open line of communication between players and a game’s community and development teams.  It can come in many different ways, but there needs to be some higher level of communication to the community other than press-release type front page posts that SE currently relies on for FFXI.

3) Everything is going to change, yet stay the same

DK: We feel that the battle system has become pretty set. What we have left to adjust are the abilities, monsters, and guildleve balance. The biggest part is probably the balance of the growth system, so we’ll be looking at that a lot during the third beta phase.
PT: Speaking of which, in open beta, the placement of monsters and their aggro settings will change greatly, so you may have to change your battle strategies, too.

We all figured by now the battle system was set in stone.  So that’s nothing new.  The system itself is pretty damn fun… when it works the way it’s designed to.  The problems in the combat system are either “targeting”, “lag”, or the current biggest issue “AoE vs Single Target”.  These all should be fixed with the upgrades to the UI.  At least we hope they will be.  They may not be completely fixed by launch, but they have said that many systems will be continually tweaked for the first 6 months of the game.

The changing landscape of Eorzea is going to be interesting to see.  As I have thought since Alpha, the world in which Beta players are living in is not truly the world that we will see at launch.  We live in a sandbox that SE has created for us in order for us to test the game systems they needed testing and feedback about.  Monsters are not something they want or need feedback or testing on, so they have placed some new and old monster designs in the world that would inflict both nostalgia and awe into their testers.  In the Open Beta that starts next month, we can expect the world as a whole to change.  It will become more dangerous as we finally are given Beastmen to wander the wilds and when once passive monsters become aggressive.  We can already see this in some monsters.  In Cassiopeia Hollow, there were once non-aggressive slugs, but since the last patch, they will now one shot lower level adventurers wishing to explore this colorful area.

Conclusion

After yesterday’s FFXIVCore interview I was extremely disappointed in the vision that the Final Fantasy XIV dev team currently had when it came to listening to its playerbase.  After reading today’s posted interview, I am still disappointed, but there is more light at the end of the tunnel than there was before.  They have proven that they have heard our feedback, now if only they could prove that they will act on it, then we all could rest easy.

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