FFXI: an excellent game with some excellent ideas…

…completely ruined by stupid game design and stupid policies at a fundamental level.

I was giving a quick look at the notes from the December update. There’s some interesting stuff as they are bringing on the plans connected to the release of the latest expansion (Square releases an expansion with very few of its content accessible right away, then they slowly open up and develop new parts throughout the whole cycle, till the next one).

I still believe that between all the online worlds we have at the moment, FFXI is the very best. Noone creates worlds like Square, noone can even go near to their charm and originality. They only produce masterpieces and today FFXI is still absolutely the most unique and fascinating “world”.

What they are doing with the chocobo rising system is exactly what you would expect from the IDEAL of the virtual world. Systems with some depth, not just focused on combat and only combat. Or gear, or endless levels to ding. It’s an example of something that adds “game”. And adds that “world” flavor. It makes that place feel distinctive. It gives depth. Different activities to pursue and explore, interesting variations.

I can only read things and have very vague ideas about what they are developing, but it gives me the impression of a very good direction. I don’t know about the execution, but the ideas are “sound”. The same for the new “hunting” system that they call “salvaging”.

I’ve already commented positively all this stuff as most of it has been already announced with the expansion’s release and I still believe that Square is pouring some excellent and innovative ideas into this game. It’s very sad that the game is ruined at a much more fundamental level and all that stuff is irrelevant if those problems aren’t solved beforehand.

I’m just reporting that FFXI is still a good example of both the worst and the best that these games can offer.

I wonder what we could have if Square was a little bit more “connected” with the community and understood better its needs.

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