View Full Version : ...Was this story not meant to be an MMA?

01-19-2014, 11:49 PM
Now, of any MMO I've played the FF XIV story has been my favorite, though admittedly I never made it very far into other MMO's.

Though there was a lot of shit that bothered me about it, specifically there seems like so many things shoe horned into the plot that only exist because it's an MMO.

One example, MMO's these days like factions and joining groups. Enter the three Grand Companies. You are told by Alphanaud the things you would be doing for each grand company. You are told about the specific area's Primal problems you would be helping out with.

...And then the first plot missions are all about fighting the primals regardless of your choice of company. You're job is already to do all this shit.

It seems as if the story and characters were all planned in advance, and then later they were told it was an MMO, and things started to get rushed into the plans.

Also, you clearly have a set cast of characters that form a party in the different members of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. You are constantly working closely with them, they have distinct personalities, and even at the end When you chase off the Ascian) it's all their spirits that join together. Yet while you work with them alot, it happens sparadicly, so you dont' really feel that unity by games end when that happens.

Also the out of place fetch quests. Ask face about all my yelling when I was tryign to get the guy to tell me how the fuck to fight Titan, yet instead I risked life and limb in a canyon questing for cheese, and then set a table for my own feast. :p

I loved how the game, trough Ysolda, basically acknowledged how much of a waste of time this all was. All this feels like stuff thrown in to pad out the games length and give you reasons to quest random shit.

I feel the fact the game is an MMO hurt it's writing incredibly.

I know that it likely wasn't originally intended to be single player, considering the original FF XIV launch and what not, but that's how the game comes across with a very tight and focused story on your little group.

So, let's discuss the games story here! :p

01-20-2014, 12:36 AM
I thought it was really funny. I mean between this and being a special chosen one among hundreds of other players on the server doing the exact same thing I wasn't too emotionally invested in the plot. I did have fun completing it c:

01-20-2014, 03:15 AM
Most MMOs do not have very strong main stories. This isn't much of an issue for FFXIV, but for the genre at large. Personally, I was marginally more interested in the story for FFXIV than I was for other MMOs that I have played. At least the writers tried to put some effort into it.

Consider it slightly in a different way, though. How much return can you really get from any MMO if you invest highly into the story? Let's say you get the best writing crew and have them go to town with whatever they want, and shoot for an epic? From what most people will quickly find out, the return is never worth that level of investment.

The first problem will be from the players themselves. You're not appealing to the proper demographic by having a strong story. The flavors of MMO players will fall into three major categories: vertical junkies, roleplayers, and casual smurfscrubs. None of these groups will care about a strong story. Really, having a well defined story would just drive people away. Level grinders will get upset that they have to go through so much extra text to get their rewards (God forbid if you can't skip any of it), RPers will write their own story and ignore what is already there, and casuals can't care. Who are we supposed to appeal to?

Single player RPGs as a medium can actually take advantage of a player taking his time. Otherwise, it's as though 10000 other people are trying to read your book at the same time. And you're the only one in town with a copy.

The second problem will be from the design team. There's a number of major limitations, whether it's graphical or engine related. That's like the story team asking the design team "hey we want to do this," and it's as though the response will always be "we can't do anything like that, sorry." You can't just say "we can instance everything" because instances are still bound by what whatever engine the level designers are using. Remember how no one could actually use Tidus' name in FFX, except for those 2 non-speaking NPCs in Kilika? Kinda annoying? Now imagine that they can't use his name, his character model, his gender, or his backstory, either.

This is why we can't have nice things.

01-20-2014, 03:29 AM
Yeah, call me an idealist, but I don't think it's impossible to have a good story that fits nicely into the realm of an MMO. :p

01-20-2014, 03:35 AM
It's not impossible.

You're just not going to get one.

01-20-2014, 03:44 AM
There's plenty of stuff I'll never get.

Like a proper conclusion to Lufia. :(

Huckleberry Quin
01-20-2014, 07:11 AM
I think I remember Del saying that XI had one of the best stories of the FF games he'd played. He can verify that for me, but I know I heard it from someone.

To those who've played both, how do the stories compare?

01-20-2014, 07:29 AM
FFXI had an amazing story. It was difficult to piece together at times because of how long progress in levels took to get to each piece of story content as well as how difficult they made it to watch back over the story.

But it was amazing. I found a guy who had compiled and uploaded the story line cutscenes and watched them all on a splurge and specifically caught up on the Aht Urghan story line that I never finished.

That one expansion's storyline alone was over 7 hours of video to watch. 7 hours of MMO cutscene for one expansion, which was still only a fraction of the main story, Zilart, nations rank missions, individual job quests, etc.

The world was vast and tied together very well.

FFXIV has echos (no pun intended) of that. Honestly, having gone back and watched some of the 1.0 cutscenes, it seems that it was closer to the FFXI style... a little more cinematic in delivery and such. However, ARR does keep the same FFXI idea that YOU are the agent of change. YOU are the center of this story. Honestly, that conceit seemed a little silly in FFXI, but also led to you feeling amazing. I find that it works less well in XIV.

I am at least glad that XIV is better than some other MMOs I've played. WoW was great and the depth of the lore was amazing, but you had to dig a lot and the presentation didn't make you feel integral at all. There were story lines that would bring you to tears, but you were so used to "collect 10 bear pelts" type quests that you didn't pay attention when an amazing story was unfolding.
As silly as the idea is, it's really amazing to have yourself working along side the big players in the story and seeing yourself in the cutscenes in FFXI and FFXIV. I'm also glad that you know which bits are main story and which are just filler, though even the filler quests can be pretty interesting.

I've personally found the story arcs for the crafting jobs amazingly fulfilling considering what they are. The main story still hasn't grabbed me, but coming from FFXI and see what they turned into as far as ever deepening story, I have faith that what's going to happen in the future of XIV's story is going to be awe inspiring so I'm paying attention closely now and looking forward to an episodic release of content that lets me drink in a little at a time, digest it, and hunger for more. I'm chomping at the bit for the next chapter in the CT portion of the story.

01-20-2014, 08:36 AM
I played FFXI for a very long time (from release until around the start of 2012), and I can attest to the amazing storyline and lore written among some huge road blocks gameplay-wise. It wasn't until they made content easier that people could experience the story at a much better pace.

FFXIV 1.0 during the later part of its life, as Yearg said, resembled FFXI a lot in terms of its presentation and pacing of the story. I played 1.0 for the last 4-5 months of its life, and it was quite an interesting tale.

Yearg is pretty spot on in what I feel about ARR and its story / lore. Whilst they have done some really great stuff with it, the amount of fillers and lack of being able to really pull me in, has overall left me hoping for a huge turn around leading up to the next expansion.

Loony BoB
01-20-2014, 11:14 AM
If I were to pick out a bigger issue in FFXIV:ARR when it comes to story, it would not be "the amount of filler" but rather "the stories involved in the filler should be sidequests, not main story."

There is a lot of filler that has nothing to do with the overall storyline, and it does annoy me. Given that there are a number of generals we have to take out at the end, why is it that 90% of their storylines are fleshed out the second before you kill them? Even the 'big bad guy' doesn't really have much of a feeling from me. The storyline leading up to the main fights needed to be a lot more involved. I'm talking run-ins with the generals on frequent occasions, a la the FFVII Turks. Why didn't we attempt to fight them on numerous occasions? I can't think of many bosses in games that you have so little gametime with prior to their "epic battles" (which in some cases were not epic at all).

01-21-2014, 01:04 AM
That's very true BoB, not sure why a lot of the fillers are completely irrelevant.

Dr Unne
01-21-2014, 05:07 AM
Also the out of place fetch quests. Ask face about all my yelling when I was tryign to get the guy to tell me how the smurf to fight Titan, yet instead I risked life and limb in a canyon questing for cheese, and then set a table for my own feast.

The whole game is fetch quests. What other kinds of content could there be, besides dungeons, boss fights, fetch quests and cinematics?

I think most play MMOs for the MMO bits rather than the storyline, so the story has to be just good enough not to make people barf and cancel their subscription. I think the story of FFXIV was good enough. I expect MMO storylines to be the bottom of the barrel, and FFXIV's was slightly above the bottom.

Try Guild Wars 2 if you want a terrible storyline. First 1/3rd of the main storyline was amazingly good, last 2/3rds were cringeworthily bad. Bad voice acting, bad writing, and it made your character feel like they were a spectator to other people saving the world. FFXIV's plot had decent voice acting and was largely player-focused at least.

01-22-2014, 07:27 AM
I expect MMO storylines to be the bottom of the barrel...

You should seriously have a look at FFXI's story, I and a lot of people that managed to get through it see it as one of the strongest stories in the series.

01-22-2014, 07:31 PM
Strongest, after three expansions and several years of community interaction and feedback along with a dedicated lore team.

The stories that come with the initial package are almost always bare-bones. GW2 is great example. Sure, the racially-locked stories are decent, but by the time you choose a faction, you're tossed aside in favor of DurTreeHurneDurHur. The main character could have been from any race, and suddenly you get to clean Orr and save the world from Zhaitan with him?

... nah. Imagine the politics and racial dick-waving. How do you even write for that?

On the other hand, the Living World plot actually gets to build on the medium and uses the suspense of bi-monthly updates to keep people speculating and guessing. It took a year before they even had the first Living World introduction, and all they did was add some satellite dishes in some never-touched low-level zones.