I should have quit during character creation…
Some of my EQ2 friends have been playing Final Fantasy XIV for the past few weeks, and thoroughly enjoying it, so when I saw the game on sale at my local Target, I figured I’d give it a try also.
I should have quit when I noticed that the “face” slider controlled the size of my character’s boobs.
I couldn’t stand the game after about 20 minutes, but I stuck it out for a bit longer, thinking it would get better. It didn’t.
First, I had to create a Square Enix account. Then I have to add a FFXIV account to that account. Then, I had to add “options” to the FF account. “Options” are equal to characters. So I have 8 available “options” which means I can create 8 characters, but they charge me for using each option. I have to pay per character slot?! The base monthly cost of the game is $10, and each character costs another $3. So one character costs about $13 a month to play. Ugh. Then I see the payment options…
I can pay either with a credit card, in which case they’ll charge me a $2 additional fee, or I can pay via Crysta, which is virtual currency. The available Crysta amounts I can buy don’t match the amounts I’d have to pay, so I’d always end up paying for more Crysta than I need. Ugh again.
I choose 1 option, which gives me one character slot, but since I get the first 30 days free, I don’t have to pay anything yet. I start creating my character, but the game isn’t full screen. That’s okay, I figure. Once I’m in the game, I’ll find an option to set it to full-screen mode.
The character creator “face” slider changes the size of my boobs… huh? They didn’t even try to come up with names for the handful of slider options, and the mouse slider and menu are TERRIBLE. Many of the options don’t seem to make noticeable changes at all.
I enter the game, but I can’t find an option to switch to full screen mode. I log out and look up forum posts, discovering that I can’t adjust the config from inside the game. It’s a separate program that needs to be run. Annoying and old school. I can’t remember the last time I had to run a separate config program to change the options in a game… Baldur’s Gate, maybe?
Back into the game… My character “wakes up” in a room with a bunch of NPCs and no indication of what to do. I fumble through the menu system and find a journal option, which says something about how I heard a song and someone must know something. I decide to walk around clicking on random people with names like “Garrulous Adventurer” and “Tired Adventurer,” none of which say anything interesting. It takes me a second to realize that I need to click off of the people to get the dialogue box to disappear. Like everything else, that part of the interface is ridiculously clunky. Finally I click on the door and get a warning about leaving. Once I leave, I can’t come back here. So I think, “Hmm… I’m supposed to find something in this room.” I spend another five annoying minutes clicking on people and finally just click the door and think, “Ugh, whatever….”
Outside there’s a crazy long (yet beautiful!) cut scene where I watch people fight. Then I’m given control of my character, and I go through what is supposed to be a combat tutorial with a little flashing notepad up top that I think is supposed to be a help tip. I learn about active and passive mode and end up clicking one button over and over while watching the stamina bar make pretty colors. My teenage daughter observes that some of this stuff is common Final Fantasy stuff, and that it looks like a DS game that was ported to the PC. Watching the NPCs fight during the cut scene turned out to be more fun than using my own combat abilities. That’s pretty sad.
Another cut scene and my boat is arriving at the starting town. I get a client error, and it crashes as I reach Lomsa Li-whatever-the-name-is. So I restart, and my character is back in the little room with all the NPCs at the start. My journal has been updated, but I still have to go through the stupid fight tutorial thingy again, so I suppose the character data is saved separately from the journal.
I zone into Lomsa-whatever thinking that I’ll finally be in a city, but I’m in yet another instanced area with NPCs that I apparently need to click on. I check my journal but it says the same “maybe someone knows something” crap. After some bland dialogue, I finally talk to a guy who zones me into a tavern via another ridiculously long cutscene. And surprise! It’s yet another instanced area, with yet *more* NPCs sitting around that I apparently need to click on in order to figure out what to do next.
At this point, I’ve spent at least an hour playing, and have controlled my own character for a small fraction of that time, mostly just clicking on people trying to figure out what to do next. I suspect they spent more money trying to make slow motion water droplets in the cut scenes than they did trying to make a usable UI.
So I bailed and went off to play Vindictus for a bit. According to my friends, FFXIV gets a lot better, I chose the wrong starting town, and the developers are making weekly improvements. Meh. I don’t have the patience to wait around for weekly improvements, and I’m certainly not going to pay while they do stuff that should have been done in beta.