Another Extension - Critical Analysis

November 16th, 2010

I just wanna start by saying: "I so called it." Final Fantasy XIV is getting another free trial extension, bringing the total free time from an original 30 days to 90 days. It was absolutely necessary, as the earliest core adopters of the game (those that bought the collectors edition) would have had their accounts expire November 20th, long before any of the much described fixes would have been released.

So now that there's 30 more days, what's Square Enix going to do with them? For starters, they could read my recent article: Virtual Economic Theory: How MMOs Really Work on Gamasutra. The final part of that article is a case study of Final Fantasy XIV's economy.

One thing I didn't get to touch on in my article, because it wasn't revealed until after I sent it for publication, was that Square Enix has suggested removing +1 and +2 loot items to improve inventory management. Personally, I think this is a bad idea. I think the full range of items (+0 through +3) adds a great dynamic to the game. What really needs to be done is a chance to the inventory system that allows all four qualities of items to reside in the same inventory slot. This, and vastly increased stack sizes on arrows (999 a stack please) with similar increases in production (320 arrows a synth rather than 32).

There's another issue that needs to be addressed: bots. I've never seen so many bots in an MMO before. Maybe I've just lived a sheltered life: I saw a bot once before in DAoC but the GM came and dealt with it minutes after I reported it. Not so in FFXIV. A bot logged in and camped right ontop of me and, despite three reports, he was still there harassing me an hour later when I gave up and moved on.

Square Enix's customer service has been utterly abysmal. First the bug that denied me my path companion, now bots... frankly, they need to massively step up their game in the customer service department if they're going to keep the casual players they've clearly been trying to attract. Having a GM that actually chats with you would be a really good start, hint hint.

Posted by: Soulrift

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