FFXIV Open Beta

A bunch of my guildies said they were going to play Final Fantasy 14, & I said that if the keyboard was configurable (for instance, I like to put Autorun on Mouse 4 & strafes on A & D rather than Q & E) I would be very interested in playing it.   Unfortunately I didn’t know anyone in the closed beta who could tell me what I needed to know.   When open beta became available a few days ago, a number of my friends got in it, & one of them told me that most movement & camera functions were configurable.   But everyone on vent advised me to try it out in the open beta before buying anyway.

I made a Square Enix account.   I then tried to apply for the open beta, but applications were not being accepted.   I tried again last night & not only got registered without much difficulty but quickly downloaded the client & started patching.   That was at 10pm.   I settled in & watched The Cell.   Love that show.

At 5am I went to bed.   It was still patching.

At 8:45am I woke up because one of my dogs was barking at something.   I decided to check the patcher.   It was on another update, but this one was moving fast.   Hopefully, I puttered around until it finished a few minutes later.   Then there was another patch.   And then it looked good to go.

Login error.   Another patch.   Good to go.

I’m not going to explain a whole lot because 1) you can go to the FF14 site yourself & look at it, & 2) I need to go back to bed.

In FFxi I had found myself forced to play a Tarutaru because the female models of the other races (elven, catwoman) had really weird necks.   It was like their traps stretched up to their ears or something.   Or maybe it was that their heads were really small.

I thought the male model was more acceptably proportioned but perhaps I can excuse a small head on a man.   Did I just say that?   Anyway.

The… whatever the new Tarutaru models are called were equally disturbing in appearance.   Check the neck on the one on the far left.   The clown bodies were cute but one of the fun things about playing MMOs is being able to play a character that’s easy on the eyes.   All that looking at a pear-shaped body bouncing around on short legs all day is going to do for me is make me feel like eating an entire bag of potato chips.

So I moved on to the catwoman race, which only has females.   In xi the models of this race were just ridiculous looking, but in xiv they look… normal.   Proportioned.   Or maybe it was the mock turtle halter top.   But anyway.   There were 4 basic looks to choose from & from there you picked various general features, like hair style & coloring.   The character customization is very general compared to other MMOs, which isn’t a bad thing.   Character detailing in EQ2, Vanguard & AoC were, imo, a little TOO much & you didn’t end up with anything much different from the next guy after all that anyway.   Frankly I think the level of detail in Aion’s character design is perfect.   This was just slightly, slightly too general.   Totally acceptable though.   And at least there are some female models with normal-looking necks.

ATTENTION: if either of the next 2 images is cut off, please widen your browser.   They need to be seen side by side.

I found the optical direction of the character during the short customization process to be amusing.   Guys, look at that & tell me you wouldn’t just stay on this character screen for a few minutes.   Who cares how general the customization is, huh?

Anyway, when it came to choosing a class for my horny catgirl I didn’t really have to think long about it.   I’ve always played a caster class.   I’ve had some fun with melee type classes but in my heart of hearts I’m a caster.   I like to nuke things from a distance with cool hand signals & light effects.

I made a Botanist.   That’s right, a picker of flowers.

Final Fantasy has a different approach to “jobs” than other MMOs (EQ, WoW) that I’ve been used to.   You can change your job at any given time depending on your equipment.   That’s kind of a cool concept, & I figured I would open up the limit by starting out with a weeder in my hand.

Anyway, I created Lauren One & jumped into game.   The environment was very nice, though not as nice as Aion.   Definitely nicer than WoW.   The ui wasn’t confusing.   It was practically not there.   There were 4 buttons at bottom left & clicking on the first one didn’t do anything.   The LAST one ended up being the settings panel.    I already had a feeling about this game.   I made my first adjustment accordingly.

The very next thing I looked for was the keyboard configuration.   Ian had SAID I could customize keys.

Ian lied.   And the current presets don’t make any sense.   Toggle run/walk with Numpad1?   Why do I give a shit about run/walk?   This is an MMO.   I run everywhere.   My cardiovascular health is impeccable.   Autorun is R.   The only pleasant surprise was that I wouldn’t need to bind my strafe keys because left/right & strafe left/strafe right pretty much do exactly the same thing anyway.

Ok, I’m going to bed now.   I’m so not buying this game.

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6 responses to “FFXIV Open Beta

  1. It’s hard to believe that SE even has a release date set for this game. The UI lag kills me. I feel like I’ve got molasses in my mouse. When you’re in an MMO, it’s nice to have at least SOME direction. I’ve done the first 4 “Battleleve” and now there are no more. Where the hell am I supposed to go now? I’m only level 6 or 7 but I run to the level 10 camp and of course, “You have no leves at this stone”… GREAT! I guess from level 6 is where you run around randomly killing rabbits and fireflies for the rest of the game.

    Now I’m sure there actually is something else I’m supposed to be doing but there is no way to know.

    Doing that first quest line is really irritating too. If you’re on a step where it says to go talk to X-Name NPC, you open your map.. and it’s just a map. You can’t move the map around or anything either. You have to open the menu, click on Journal, select your quest, select Map, THEN it shows where you’re supposed to go. Now hit ESC, ESC, ESC, ESC, ESC and start running.

    You can’t click on party member’s names.

    If you crash during a quest, you fail it. Forget that you had 28 minutes left. Your game crashed so you failed it. Please come back again in TWO FUCKIN DAYS to try again.

    Some Battleleve quests (btw wtf is this leve shit?) have you fighting pairs or groups of mobs. They’ll all aggro once you start attacking. I love it when one is hiding over the hill, in some bushes fucking meleeing me to death.

    OK I gotta go log in now!

  2. I’m going to admit.. I didn’t look too far into rebinding. I kind assumed since they had the menu, and a “return to default” button that you could mess with them. I apologize.. I should remember.. “when you assume, you make ass.”.

    The game has a lot of faults, I’m well aware of that.. I just hope everyone gives it a real chance before the “shitty game, not gonna play ever” attitude robs me of any sort of real friends in this new world.

  3. So for my impressions:
    Long story short: This game is not ready for release. There are too many things that need work, or reworking to make them functional and/or fun for your average MMO player. The visuals are absolutely stunning, artistically this is a masterpiece of enviroment and setpieces. This is also a problem though since my top 90% performance computer is still having problems with it. If you liked FFXI you can probably see the potential and will stick around to see it realized but anyone who compares things to WoW is not going to like it.

    Long story long for those with a bit more attention span (though I’d be surprised if anyone who reads peoples journals or blogs ever uses the phrase TL:DR):

    Things I like:
    Very VERY pretty. The graphics floor me every time I play and the expressions and animations on everything make me want to be a part of this world no matter the price I must pay. They very likely gave most of the budget to the artistic department. The armor/clothes I’m wearing in game flow around and bounce with my movement, the little buttons on my gambison sparkle when I sit by the fire. Even my skin has a texture to it. Every other game I’ve played my characters flesh was a solid covering for the body, smooth and unchanging. In this game I actually have a sort of .. elephant like texture on my giant hulking guy. The immersion I get from just standing on a bridge and staring at the surrounding landscape is very very satisfying.

    Not a hold-your-hand adventure system (some people may see this as a con). I didn’t like Age of Conan for a lot of reasons but one of the major problems I had was their quest system was like a waterslide ride. It had one way to do it, and you really can’t eff that up. It pointed out the quest giver, and ender, and all points in between. The main story in FFXIV has guidelines but actually have to open up the map to find them. Once you get there a lot of times it’s not just “TALK TO THE DOOD”. You have to wander about a bit to find the right person/area and then the quest progresses and usually a cutscene starts. It feels good when a game gives the player enough benefit of the doubt that they can find someone important looking that they don’t name and give you coordinates for every goal. The “guildleves” are smaller non story quests that usually are your standard “Go kill these, go get me this, make me these” and ARE marked most of the time but sometimes a little extra looking is needed. Main point of this blob of text “I like a little challenge in my quests”

    “Guildleves” are the trash quests in FFXIV. They are repeatable (albiet on a refresh of currently 48 hours) and scalable quests. I like how I can go on one by myself OR crank up the difficulty and take along 10 friends if I so choose to. It’s nice to have an alternative to blindly grinding mobs.

    “checkpoint” system. Once you’ve been to a major questhub area and “talked” to the crystal there you can teleport back there at any time. This uses a slowly regenerating pool of points called “anima” but you start with them full at 100 and each teleport is 2-4 points depending on if its just somewhere you’ve been or your last actual checkpoint. I have a feeling once this game starts I may be a little more conservative with them but at the moment my friends and I burn through them like they’re candy because we’re lazy. Also if your party leader uses his teleport you can kind of freeload and choose to go where he’s going for free. I can see this being a major help later if you’re out of points and need to get to your parties location: friend teleports to you, adds you to party, teleports back.

    Battle system. There is no auto attack. You pick every single strike you make. Each strike is a “special move” you bind to your attack bar and requires you to actively select it to use. E.G.: I bind “light strike” to hotkey bar 1. I engage the enemy, press 1 and I hit him. I can then either just push enter to do the same move again or use a different strike. There are further mechanics to this system but I’m still under “things I like”.. so I’ll leave them out for now. I like this way of combat simply because it requires me to pay attention. It’s very hard for me to fall asleep when I know that my character will just stand like a mental deficient if I do not input any commands. It’s much more engaging to me than the autoattack that’s been present in almost every other MMO I’ve played in the past 2 years. You also build up “TP” which you use for heavy attacks, usually high damage and/or status inflicting moves. Very like the “rage” bar in WoW. Battles feel like you’re a participant, not a spectator or coach.

    Gathering/crafting are a viable leveling mechanism. You don’t HAVE to go out and kill stuff to continue your march to max physical level. Physical level Vs Class level is mostly about how strong your actual character is Vs how well he can do his current job. A high physical level means you will hit hard even if you pick a class you arent very good at. Anyway, you can gather and make stuff and gain significant XP. This is a big thing for me. I hated grinding my crafting (and having to grind gathering to do so) and getting nothing but better levels of crafting. Now I can sit down to make an assload of benches and possibly get up a couple levels higher AND able to make better benches at the end of it. It even feels like you have more control over whether it fails or succeeds. The crafting system isn’t just *boom* it worked/failed, you have a chance to either progress steadily toward the goal which gives you average results but has only an average possibility of failure, OR you can pick one of the other two options as you go to speed towards success but lose quality or make less progress but increase quality. Quality in this case being whether its a +1 Pokey sword or just a Pokey sword. You can even change tactics in the middle of crafting, say you were trying to make a high quality item but you keep botching it, you can switch to the high speed low quality track so you don’t lose the materials and still manage to get something out of the craft. Gathering is also a minigame, you are given a choice of a notch/spot/depth to start. This is where it determines what possible rewards you get. When you initiate the gathering skill it creates a random table of loot, each corresponding to a certain notch/spot/depth. Pick one and then you get the actual gathering minigame, all of which follow the same formula: a slowly oscillating marker plays over a little area and you stop it by pressing enter. You then get a message with hot/cold clues or you get the item if you randomly guess the right spot. It mainly just makes gathering feel more like a game and less like a chore to me.

    now.. on to things I don’t like:

    Lag. This is the big one. Everyone has a problem with this and I don’t really blame them. It has been steadily getting better with each patch but a giant block in any ones descision to get this game is going to be the delay between when you input your commands and when the game responds to them. Menus take 3-4 seconds to come up and that only gets worse if you are interacting with another player since their lag gets added on to yours. (trading takes a good 30 seconds to complete). Selling vendortrash is a HUGE chore since there’s no one click sell system I am aware of. It’s goes “select sell, select item, confirm item, pick amount of single item, pick sell, confirm sell, repeat” when each of these commands takes 2 seconds it adds up. Combat suffers as well in this aspect, your strikes take a couple seconds to manifest and spells up until 2 patches ago were pretty useless since they almost never went off before the melee killed the mob. The “regiment” is a special move combo we’ve never gotten to work most likely because of lag. Unless they get rid of the UI lag, this isn’t going to ever attract the people who are used to the instant interfaces of other games. The software mouse has to go as well, having my mouse track slower simply because of a low framerate is very annoying.

    Item acquisition is difficult. Squeenix says they are planning to have the entire economy be based on player crafters and “retainers”. Retainers are NPC’s you can hire to stand around in designated areas and run your bazaar (sort of like a on character shop). This is so far a bad idea. Everyone in the beta is crafting and then grossly inflating the price of mundane items that you cannot get through anything except crafting. You can get very basic items through the guildleve quests but so far the only way to upgrade past nigh-starter level armor is through player crafted items. Weapons from NPCs are almost non-existant. The only weapons you can buy are the first weapon for any job (so you can switch to that job). The most money I’ve had so far in the game is 50,000 Gil. I have bought 9 things since level 1 and all were under 1k from NPCs. Every single time I’ve seen a player vending something useful it has been 30k +. Now if it was a “Mask of Badassery +10” I could understand, but so far the coolest thing I saw was a brass helm. That was 60k. Really, I need to give this system a chance since nobody CARES about the economy right now, we all know it’s gonna be moot in a few days but I’d like to get some nicer equipment without becoming stone broke. I also think that the only reason we got a 30k starting quest reward is BECAUSE this is beta and they needed to give us money to fart around with. Likely the actual starting quest reward is going to be 2-4k tops. What was so wrong with the auction house?

    Map navigation. Logan is mistaken, you CAN scroll the map around with the IJKL keys, but you CANNOT zoom out. You also can’t adjust the minimap. Why am I limited to a 10ft radius around me on the minimap, I don’t NEED to know that the path I’m on is slightly wavy, what I NEED to know is if theres a ramp up ahead or if I’m going the entirely wrong way. The map also suffers from UI lag. The useful, readable overlay of names and important locations takes a few seconds to come up so I find myself walking around with the map over the entire screen a lot since I can’t quickcheck it by tapping the button. I have to press M.. WAIT FO IT…. oh there it is. Then walk. Having the map overlay also deprives me of my favorite part of this game, walking through the enviroment, I can’t appreciate the scenery if I’m looking at it through a 80% opacity map haze.

    Failing quests due to disconnection sucks. The guildleve battlecraft (involve killing things) quests are all timed. I have no positive things to say about this part of the system. It doesn’t seem to have any purpose other than pissing off beta testers. Why in the HELL would you have us play an unstable game and make the quests that take 2 days to refresh INSTANTLY FAIL if you crash? It doesn’t make sense. I hope beyond hope they change this mechanic because I can see people up and quitting because their late level, UBER-difficult guildleve was failed because the computer bugged right before they finished. This part needs to change.

    Monster checking lies like hell. the system should be easy to understand, when you look at a monster there is a dot next to their name:Blue = easy, Green =even match, yellow= difficult, orange = very hard, Red = impossible. I am constantly walking up to things with blue dots and getting wtfpwned. This is just a bug that needs to be fixed, i can’t see how this is a gameplay element I’m not understanding. The monster difficulty also ramps up really badly between zones. You walk across an invisible border and all of a sudden the monsters go from laughably easy to “just run, don’t even look at them funny”. We were fighting things that were difficult but not impossible and all of a sudden we met something that cracked someone for 3x their life bar. That shouldn’t happen unless it has a special name or is a unique monster, but it was in the middle of a clearing with about 5 more of them wandering around.

    I think I’m being very long winded about the whole experience , but I really want this game to go well. I like how it looks, and how it feels for the most part but my friends seem to be making quick judgements and bowing out early on ever trying the retail game. My first impression.. as bad as it sounds is this feels like an early beta game, not a release candidate. Square rushed because they wanted it out before cataclysm and that was a bad call. Do not judge too harshly on what it is now, but try to see what it will be with some polish. I don’t blame you if you wait for others to get their toes wet though.

  4. I don’t really have too much to add about what was said already. I will 100% not buy this game if some things don’t change about it soon. Having to redo your whole bar every time you change classes? OK, I understand that there are commands so you can make macros to add all of your skills back to your bar and that, but is that really necessary? Seriously, the game can’t just remember what skills you had on which bars and put them back? So frustrating.

    Software mouse sucks. I’m glad my buddy found a patch that basically changes a value in the system from true to false and then you get your hardware mouse back. Again, seriously? It’s in there but you don’t make a button or option about it and you’ve left it this way for months? I can’t even begin to understand why you would do something that stupid. I only have slight lag on my mouse, but it drives me insane.

    Doing leves is a pain in the ass. I know there’s 2 types of mobs for 2 quests on the way to mine the ore for the third quest, but I can only do one at a time? OK, I’ll just go back that way 3 times then. UGH.

    I agree with the quest mob thing too. One mob has a nice red icon and I one shot it. Another red mob hits me for 1200 when I only have 850 life. Ouch! And they’re like, 10 yards away from each other. That level differential is crazy.

    I was so happy for this game, but at this point I’m not even considering buying it. There’s no sense in me paying for a game that’s just going to end up pissing me off most of the time I’m playing it. Please please get better!

  5. i can deal with everything but the input lag because lack of response is a cardinal sin in gaming. still haven’t decided if i’ll pick it up at launch or not because it’s definitely not ready for prime time yet.

    the graphics and underpinnings look good to me so it has the potential built in from what i can see, but it’s not there yet. needs lots of little UI fixes which everyone has mentioned already. i dunno if the built in roadblocks are intentional or not due to the nature of beta but i’ll give it benefit of the doubt for a little while.

    it took me awhile to figure out the crafting but i like it’s active nature, reminds me of SW:G a little. i’ve given up on solo range combat and combat in general in favor of fishing which apparently can level my stats just as well without having to get my ass kicked due to bugginess and lag.

    haven’t tried any grouping yet but honestly i just want to craft and gather in peace. reminds me alot of a better and prettier SW:G which hopefully means its something i can play and enjoy at my own speed. i want to play it but from what i’ve seen so far i can wait till it’s ready. once enough people play i’ll give it go, but i don’t expect most of the kinks to be worked out in its first year.

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