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TheShogun
02-22-2015, 04:45 AM
Like most “modern” MMOs, FFXIV is based primarily on the endgame,after the player reaches maximum level, they do dungeons and content in order to get new and better gear to do more dungeons to get better gear and so on and so forth.

While this is a tried and tested formula which can be effectively used to increase a game’s level of content, there is the issue of what to do when a player joins late in the game. Often when a player begins playing an MMO after many updates are passed, there is a massive stretch of new gear to get, dungeons to do and bosses to fight. While this may seem good as there is a large hill of content for players to conquer, it can often leave people feeling alienated, as fellow players in their guild are doing much more advanced dungeons and raids, and don’t have time to guide a newbie through content in which an experienced player has no benefit from.


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Items purchasable with Tomestones (Item-Level 120)

In order to combat this, FFXIV seems to streamline the acquisition of medium to high level items through their endgame currency system.“Tomestones” can be gained from finishing dungeons/bosses and most content. Tomestones can then be traded for endgame gear such as armour and weapons. These come in different types and flavours, for example; Tomestones of Mythology purchase item-level 90 gear, while Tomestones of Soldiery purchase item-level 100 gear. However, with new updates add new gear which can be purchased with Tomestones, and older Tomestones are often removed, and their gear made easier to obtain (sometimes being able to get several pieces of mythology gear from one dungeon).

Players are complaining about this, saying that their hard work to acquire good gear is being invalidated, as what once took them weeks to obtain can take new players a couple of days. These same players feel as if the endgame is “shrinking” and older content is no longer relevant and has no real purpose, rendering entire dungeons obsolete.When players work months to get to the level that a newbie can now reach in a week, it is hard to feel a large sense of progression, and it can become somewhat disheartening to see gear that used to be rare and difficult to obtain made common and easy to obtain.


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Gear such as this has been invalidated by the easier acquisition of higher
item-level equipment


However,other players support this decision saying that it helps to recruit newer players and get them up and going into guild activities easier,without having to work incredibly hard just to get up to scratch.While some members of a guild can be willing to guide new players through the content needed to get to a higher level, it is much easier for that content to be streamlined, allowing players to easily get the gear required to do the harder dungeons and raids. These players also say that there is still a ridiculous amount of content to pursue, and that the early endgame content pales to the amount of later endgame content (such as levelling relic weapons and doing Hunts).

Should an MMO appeal to long term players over new players? Should it streamline its endgame content (in the process making the game"shorter") in order to reduce the amount of players alienated from a difficult climb to the top? Is there a way to appease both parties, making the game easy to get into without making existing content obsolete? How will it handle the new content added by the upcoming Heavensward expansion? It is still unknown how FFXIV will answer these questions, while FFXIV is just over a year old, it is still relatively young for an MMO, and as for now only time will tell.

Aulayna
02-22-2015, 11:55 AM
The natural course of progression of an MMO is that the gear ceiling will constantly be raising, and those on the bleeding edge of progression will still generally be around 5-10 item levels higher than people running around in vendor bought gear. There is also the theorycraft aspect, in that vendor bought gear may not necessarily be the most perfectly itemised item for that slot. 2 players may have a similar item level, but one of them may be better itemised for their role leading to higher overall efficiency. In all reality, gear that just required running a set amount of dungeons each week to obtain currency for, was never hard to obtain in the first place - and is replaced with new "hard to obtain" gear every ilvl step. The progression curve is always there.

However. Gear in an MMO will always be fleeting. ilvl 135 weapons from Turn 13, which are the créme da la creme now, will be replaced while levelling in Heavensward for example. That's just the very nature of a progression based game.

It is a very dated design to make a new player go through the entirety of the same gear treadmill that someone playing for over a year has. A design that most MMOs released in the past 5 or so years have rightfully ditched. Providing catch-up mechanics and ease of access makes it easier for people to bring their friends into the game and play together. There is an age old saying "friends that play together, stay together." In MMOs this holds very true, friendships are often what will tether people to an MMO long after they've actually grown bored of the majority of the content itself. To be honest I'm actually still surprised that Second Coil of Bahamut is still gated behind requiring a Turn 5 clear (likewise FCoB requiring a T9 clear) and that Ramuh EX and Shiva EX are still gated behind requiring Leviathan EX and Thornmarch EX clears, as those actually seem like major hinderances for newcomers when it comes to getting into the latest tier of content.

That being said, I think Square Enix have struck a decent balance by adding "first-timer" bonuses to older dungeons and adding parts of the relic line to those dungeons too, giving even the highest ilvl players an incentive to re-run that content, rather than just leaving it behind. Likewise by adding things like mounts to EX Primals, and a special mount of obtaining all of those mounts, all of those little things add incentive for players to re-do that content long after the gear reward itself may have become irrelevant. I think FFXIV has done a better job than most of keeping older content relevant.

These catch-up mechanics also aid existing players by providing them with multiple options, making it easier for them to gear up jobs that they might not regularly play as much as their main job, opening up the avenue to be more flexible and fulfill multiple roles in higher tier content.

The end game when XIV was first released was 2 level 50 dungeons, 3 Hard Mode Primals and Binding Coil of Bahamut and Tomestones. The current endgame right now (assuming you are doing the latest level of content and disregarding everything that came before it) is 3 level 50 dungeons, 1 Extreme Mode Primal (2 if Ramuh EX's rings are best in slot for your job), The Hunt, Penta-Melded Crafted Accessories, World of Darkness, Final Coil of Bahamut, Zodiac Weapon Saga and Tomestones. Quite how that's "shrinking" is beyond me.

Pike
02-22-2015, 12:41 PM
Players are complaining about this, saying that their hard work to acquire good gear is being invalidated, as what once took them weeks to obtain can take new players a couple of days. These same players feel as if the endgame is “shrinking” and older content is no longer relevant and has no real purpose, rendering entire dungeons obsolete.When players work months to get to the level that a newbie can now reach in a week, it is hard to feel a large sense of progression, and it can become somewhat disheartening to see gear that used to be rare and difficult to obtain made common and easy to obtain.

I'm no FFXIV player but this happened in WoW like six years ago when Wrath of the Lich King (and to a lesser extent, late TBC) did exactly this. WoW progression used to involve working your way up through all the dungeons in turn, regardless of how long you'd been playing, but with WotLK every patch introduced new badge gear which made the last patch's dungeons basically obsolete.

Like Aulayna said this is basically modern MMO design now and I would be surprised if FFXIV didn't follow suit. I think some MMOs opt to try the more "hardcore" route but this is often at the cost of a strong playerbase (a la Wildstar). As much as we oldbies like to wave our canes and talk about Vanilla, MMOs being more accessible to new and/or returning players is, overall, a good thing.

Mister Adequate
02-22-2015, 04:09 PM
Yeah, that's just how MMOs work these days in the main, it's an inevitable side effect of new expansions. If you sold an expansion that did not introduce new endgame stuff you'd be burned at the stake, so there's got to be some way to get new players through things so they can catch up.

e; Plus, if you look at the experience with WoW, Blizzard found that a lot of content was simply not seen by the majority of their player base. Endgame raids couldn't even be entered until you did attunements and preparation and stuff, and the number of people who actually got to and ripped Kil'jaedan in Sunwell or The Lich King in Icecrown was miniscule, I believe most estimates place it at somewhere around 1% of the playerbase at best. In part this has led to a major streamlining of the game, of which the stuff you mention is just one element, but it does make sense to make sure people have a decent number of ways to get geared and suchlike, so more playstyles are catered to.

metagloria
02-23-2015, 03:04 PM
On the one hand, I feel the pain of those who clawed their way to the top feeling slighted when new players breeze up there.

On the other, much heavier hand:

It's a video game. Did you have fun clawing your way up? If yes, then who cares about the newbies? You having fun is what mattered. If no, then why did you go through all that? I quit playing FFXIV once I finished the main story and got to that threshold where all that was in front of me was hard modes, extreme primals, tomestone grinding, and incessant gear acquisition. That does not appeal to me.
That being said, knowing I wouldn't have to go through that slog to "catch up" may someday suck me back into the game. My friend still plays very actively, and he always lets me know when a free login weekend is coming up, but I've stopped using them because what am I going to do? I'm way behind, I can't run any dungeons with him, and I'm not going to spend three days trying in vain to catch up (much less three hours downloading the update patch).
Square is smart to realize that in order to sustain their subscription base, they can't just cater to the hardcore few, they have to keep things appealing to the less-hardcore players and make things accessible for new players to come in. I think, from what I can tell, they seem to have done a pretty good job appealing to both sides.

Loony BoB
02-24-2015, 03:21 PM
I think a better way to counter this would be a more reactive reward system for dungeons. To a limit based on how easy a dungeon is (both skill-wise and time-wise), rewards for dungeons should increase when fewer people are playing them, and vice versa. This way people are encouraged to get involved in other dungeons even when they aren't using Duty Roulette, and also if people are clearly spamming a certain dungeon then the SOL/POE reward would slowly drop as a means to encourage them to try something new.

But then, I rarely go into dungeons because I find dungeons annoying by default, so my opinion isn't worth a huge amount. xD