Archive for the ‘XI’ Category

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SE Shuts Down Servers – An Opportunity?

March 18, 2011

The devastation in the wake of Japan’s earthquake/tsunami and ongoing structural issues have prompted many Japanese based companies to shift or cease operations temporarily.  Square-Enix is one of the major ones making news with their shutdowns of both of their Final Fantasy MMOs for an open-ended period of time.

While press releases from Square-Enix have indicated that both services could be back up and running as early as March 20th, these are far from solid restart dates for either game.  With electricity concerns and rolling black outs in effect for much of Japan, this time frame could be pushed back.  Now the question is, when that day comes that the power company re-stabilizes itself, should Square-Enix flip the switch back on for both games?

We all know that Final Fantasy XI is going to get turned back on as soon as it possibly can be.  Even with a considerable amount of XI’s playerbase leaving the game since last year’s FanFest and its announcement that the level cap would be increased by 24 levels.  Many players were excited by this news and many other players were dismayed and left the game.  Reports have the game’s subscription levels dropping from the 500,000 mark to around 100-125,000 currently.  While this is a significant loss over the course of a calendar year, the game is old, takes very little development dollars and the income greatly outweighs the cost.

Its baby sister however is not doing even that well.  With less than 100,000 boxes for Final Fantasy XIV sold in North America and Collector’s Edition boxes still sitting on store shelves 6 months after it’s release, FFXIV was the biggest flop in the last 5 years of video games.  The game is in its 5th Free Month.  Should SE take this as an opportunity to take the game offline for an extended period of time and do some substantial redesigning and fixing of issues?  Should SE take this as a sign and an excuse to take the game offline permanently?

I honestly do not think SE will keep XIV off longer than XI, but they should.  The game had so much potential and many former XI players and WoW players alike looked forward to the game for 2 years.  Until the day we saw the final open beta push that is.  This is the definition of opportunity.  We should see a closing of the game for at least 6 months and a relaunch.

If not, then we should see an apology and a closure.  Final Fantasy XIV had potential.  It never lived up to it.  It tried to do far too much innovation without innovating things people wanted changed.  The game was never supposed to live in the same MMO market as WoW or Rift.  It is/was a game that was meant to be different from the get go.  It just never made any of its basic game systems the “good” kind of different.

So, Square-Enix look upon this as an opportunity to fix the game and bring it down for a month or two (or six).

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Beta: Again Into The Breach

August 11, 2010

Again …

Recently I have been able to delve back into the world of several of my old favorite MMOs. Ones that have been “on the shelf” so to speak for a while now.

Most notably of these has been my first love, Final Fantasy XI.  Now I know that there is a bit of “Love it or Hate it” when it comes to this gem of a game, but I am definitely in the “Hate to Love it” category.  I came back for a few reasons.

1) World of Warcraft has become boring and predictable.
With the advent of 15-30% ICC raid buffs, the raiding game just became a chore that had very little reward at the end.  I am not saying that I accomplished all that I would have hoped to do so.  I mean, I have not been a member of a “real” raiding guild in a long time.  I fell back on my “leftovers” roots from back in the end of TBC (and throughout Wrath) and joined the local GDKP run in order to accomplish things, make some money and get some gear.

This was fun at first, but once the 20% buff hit and we were routinely defeating 8/12 HMs with a bunch of scrub alts, it just became a bit… Well, a bit uninteresting.  The challenge and the fun had left.  I ran a few times in Ruby Sanctum and at first that place felt like a challenge, but the encounter design was hackneyed at best.  The trash however, is probably the first decent calibre trash in the entire expansion.

2) A Chance at the Final Fantasy XIV Alpha/Beta.
Well not the beta itself, but I came back to XI because I restarted my account in a vain effort to obtain that elusive invite to the XIV Alpha back in March.  You see, I am one of those nutty people who had never really canceled my XI account.  Square-Enix canceled it for me a few months before, due to their new “Verified by Visa” requirement on accounts.  (Not a bad policy in trying to stave off the number of Fake/Stolen CCs being used to farm gold/gil/ in MMOs today mind you.)  Yet, for a chance to hop into a beautiful new game, I was paying for XI anyway, so…. one thing lead to another.

3) Nostalgia weighs heavily in every decision I make.
Well at least it does these days.  There is something about playing a character that I lovingly and painstakingly developed over the course of 6+ years.  (Yes, I did play off and on in a minor way even while playing WoW, Warhammer, AoC and other games over the last decade.)  You just can’t put a price on that.

In the end, I am back in XI for the time being.  I am in WoW as well (just not as often anymore.)  Yet thanks to a couple of friends, I have been spending most of my gameplaying time inside Eorzea or in post Cataclysmic Azeroth.

Thanks to the recent removal of the NDAs for BOTH of these tests, you can look forward to seeing news and notes, impressions and rants about both games as the days and weeks to come.