The Fate of FFXIV: Can it be saved?

May 30th, 2011

There's been quite the discussion about whether or not Final Fantasy XIV can recover from its poor launch and poor first year over on Eorzeapedia, an FFXIV fansite I like to follow. The thread's getting a little long, but it's still a good read: there are a lot of insightful posts from a lot of enthusiastic fans. If FFXIV does fail, it won't be because of a lack of support by the people who love the franchise or the previous MMO, FFXI.

For my part, I'm not sure if the game can come back. Although I'd like to remain cautiously optimistic, I have to keep in mind how much I disliked Final Fantasy XII and XIII. Then again, I disliked those because of AI control of party members, something that doesn't happen at all in a single-character MMORPG. Final Fantasy XIV's problems are a different kettle of fish: rather than one poignant issue that breaks the game, its instead riddled with little issues all around.

Like, for example, combat and music. The player has an explicit "in combat' and 'out of combat' mode toggle, but the game also has an internal in combat/out of combat flag based on whether or not a monster is attacking you. If you're just fighting random monsters for loot or XP, you're staying in 'in combat' mode as a player, but flipping in and out of combat mode in the game state. The problem is that the music changes based on whether or not you're being attacked by a monster, so each time you kill a monster the music flips back into the field song and each time you engage it flips back to the combat music. The worst part is that it keeps restarting each track at the very beginning, so you end up hearing the first 10-20 seconds of each song over and over again. And that really sucks, because the music is one of the best things in FFXIV, currently. (which, I suppose, doesn't say much about the rest of the game...)

You could fix this easily by remembering what frame of the song you were on when you toggle, so you can resume the previous song as you go back and forth. You could also extend the combat music after the foe was slain if the player stays in combat mode and attacks another enemy within 10-20 seconds.

Of course, this is a relatively minor issue and probably isn't anywhere near the horizon of things to fix. Which really illustrates the problem, in my mind. Will FFXIV ever get fixed enough that the devs could even consider fixing my problem with the music? I think only when fixing the music becomes one of the "pressing" issues will the game have been fixed up enough to become viable. I just don't see it happening on the near horizon.

Posted by: Soulrift

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