Final Fantasy XIV Desperate To Woo China?

By Quintin Smith on September 23rd, 2010 at 3:00 pm.

You think that's a tail? That's not a tail.

There’s been some strange talk surrounding MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV recently, with various corners of the internet claiming that the game was both secretly developed in China and quietly altered, for everybody, in accordance to the Chinese government’s strict laws regarding MMOGs. Which wouldn’t be a huge surprise. According to US based research firm DFC Intelligence, China has more than 100 million MMORPG players, which is just under the entire population of Japan. Except this makes no sense whatsoever since Chinese MMORPG Zhengtu Online recorded 860,265 concurrent users at its peak. Good job, DFC Intelligence.

The hubbub surrounding FFXIV, which was released yesterday, has sprung out of the language in the Japanese version of FFXIV. In summary, Japanese and Chinese both use kanji characters, though Japanese also uses hiragana and katakana character sets for, among other things, writing phonetically. For example, “チョコ” is katakana meaning “Chocobo“. Yet for reasons unexplained by the developers, FFXIV only features kanji. As such, in FFXIV Chocobos are called “馬鳥”, which translates literally as “Horsebird“. And that’s not all.

While kanji characters often mean different things in Japanese than they do in Chinese, Final Fantasy XIV’s kanji for “index finger” was also written in Chinese, not Japanese. A suitable comparison would be if you found a single French line of dialogue in, say, Duke Nukem Forever. It’s very odd indeed.

Another mystifying feature of FFXIV is its Fatigue system, which as far as I can tell is in all versions of the game and stops players from gaining any experience at all if they play the game for more than 8 hours in a week with a single character. The suspicion is that this is because of the Chinese government’s law that all online games must limit how many hours somebody can sink into the game. That’s not how Square Enix see it, however. In an interview with Japanese games mag and site Famitsu, a spokesperson for Square Enix came out with this spectacular line:

We wanted to introduce a system to reward players who don’t have a lot of time to play. Maybe it looks as though we are placing long playing users at a disadvantage, but the idea is really to let play for short periods be viable…

Won’t that cause some concern amongst players who play for longer?

We want these players to try different classes. If you change class the fatigue doesn’t affect you, so you could try non-combat classes as well. You actually have more play choices now as you can make more characters.

With any luck we’ll be taking a look at Final Fantasy XIV are getting you guys a Wot I Think next week.

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77 Comments »

  1. Choca says:

    Anybody playing it ? I had a terrible first impression onthe game when I played it earlier this year, is it any good ?

    • Harmen says:

      Well, they are giving money to RPS with their advertisement. So at least there is something good about it.

    • Kits says:

      Played the beta a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t impressed. About the only thing I could say it had going for it was that it looks pretty.

    • Tei says:

      I have “played” it.

      Imagine Vanguard Saga of Heroes, playable trough script macros and a ps2 control pad.

      I killed some rats, but was something complicated. I trough my experience with the older FF mmo would help me, but nope.

      I still think theres a game somewhere, hidden inside, this pile of unstandard controls.

      The character creation was… weird… who designed this did some weird work, and never looked back. Seriusly, I don’t think any game dev has looked at the character creation process, because is that weird.

      After you creates the character, you are greet with a rather cool intro story, where your character is integrated. in-engine cutscene. Think Allods Online.
      Wen these intro things end, you are dumped in a giganteous city of your election, that act like enormeous hubs. You have to walk a lot to go “somewhere” (not even where you want to go).

      And after that, theres some weird leveling system, and quest system … I think was a quest system. Go kill 10 rats in 30 min. Killing a rat is complicated. You have to shot with your spells, that is complicated, or maybe attack with your axe (if you choose a soldier of some type, my character was a wizard). Theres a global system of menus, and a submenu of a submenu shows your inventory.. I think.

      tl;dr
      If the idea to play a MMO with a ps2 control pad and writting macro scripts is not alien to you (and you are ready for others strange systems), maybe FFXIV is your game.

    • jsdn says:

      I played throughout the alpha and beta.
      The game is terrible. Like, really bad. The lighting effects are awesome, the textures are great, the animations are great. The cutscenes are pretty good too. But that’s it. Everything else about the game is on a gradient scale of broken to frustrating. I’m convinced that this game has so many issues that it’s unsalvageable. APB had more redeeming qualities.

    • Diziet says:

      @ Choca

      I played it quite a bit on the PC just before the beta closed down, here were the issues/niggles I noticed during the first few hours alone:

      - Still uses a software mouse. Mouse lag is seriously annoying.
      - Game engine can produce pretty graphics but it seems so inefficient you probably won’t want it to and rather have a responsive playable mouse cursor instead.
      - Within the first 30m-1hr of gameplay alone I noted >10 spelling mistakes and several gramatical errors which rendered the sentences they were in almost like Dr. Seuss.
      - No indication of destination for quests or what you should really do. No waypoints, it can take hours to navigate a mission…
      - …which is compounded by the inability to scroll the map or zoom it in and out.
      - Interaction is controlled by icons not by point click, case in point about 20 odd people standing around a crystal not being able to interact with it because they didn’t know to click on a tiny icon at the top of the script which opens the games main menu which contains another little icon to click. Abysmal awful UI which is in fact worse than FFXI. At least in FFXI you could target interactive components in the same way you could mobs.

      That’s not all of it…. I’m sure at higher levels it will be enjoyable but if you are going to play the PC version it’s worth noting that, in beta at least, should you choose to use an XBOX 360 controller you’ll have to map the buttons yourself. Which is fine, if you knew what the @$!% buttons did!

      Admittedly some of the above points would be moot if you were playing the game on the PS3. If it ever does tempt me I certainly will not purchase the PC version. It’s a shame really as I spent many a good hour in FFXI and with this it seems a huge step back in terms of playability alone.

      On an unrelated note with regards to the playtime/experience thing I don’t think it dwindles to 0 after 8 hours play I believe it tails off if you play longer than 8 hours. There was an explanation of the mechanic somewhere.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’ve not played FF14 myself, but my brother is in the beta, and he has almost nothing good to say about it. Horrible performance issues, glacial gameplay pacing, and a nightmare UI. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the rumors were true at this point, and core development of the game WAS farmed out to a chinese studio.

    • Ezhar says:

      I’ve played the beta (PC) and your terrible impression is spot on. The graphics are very pretty and that’s just about the only positive thing I’ve got to say about it. UI is a total catastrophe, they haven’t learnt one bit from the FFXI online console conversion mess (yes, alt-tabbing still intentionally aborts the game, alt-4 gives you scary warnings about data loss) and the actual gameplay manages to bore the hell out of you before you even kill your first rat. If you don’t get lost finding your way out of the city first, that is.

      Avoid.

  2. ScubaMonster says:

    Not surprising this game is going to turn out crappy. And I can’t say I really care either.

  3. ScubaMonster says:

    Also, of course Square is going to spin this to make it sound “good”

    • Maltose says:

      That’s a bit harsh. What company doesn’t put positive on ostensibly negative things?

  4. Lars Westergren says:

    “チョコ” is roughly pronounced “chyoko”. You forgot the “bo” part – ボ.

    …sorry.

    • nayon says:

      It’s Choko, not Chyoko. The Yo is small so it’s assimilated into the chi, making it cho.

    • Kurt Lennon says:

      Damn, I wanted to post that to finally make some use of the fact that I learned the kana (but am horribly failing at learning much else about Nihongo)

    • Bob Bobson says:

      Surely you mean 촠오뽀 in any case.

      Wait, wrong alphabet.

  5. mrmud says:

    Now our game takes longer to play so you will spend more time paying us subscription fees!

  6. Baboonanza says:

    The fatigue system actually sounds like a good idea, though perhaps a little too restrictive.

    Besides making time-poor play more advantageous it should also promote a wider variety of classes being used.

    It probably is still at the behest of the Chinese, but that doesn’t make it that abd an idea.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      We want these players to try different classes. If you change class the fatigue doesn’t affect you, so you could try non-combat classes as well. You actually have more play choices now as you can make more characters.

      If the game continues to give you experience if you switch to a different character (or class) after eight hours, it’s useless as a way of restricting how long people play for, so the Chinese conspiracy theory is out (unless there is some way of restricting how many characters a play can have).

      But a choice between “play a different character” and “no more experience for you” isn’t my idea of “more play choices now”.

  7. DojiStar says:

    Not into FF MMOs… but surely if it were tailored for the Chinese market they would use simplified Hanzi not Japanese kanji (which are always written in the traditional version of Chinese characters), i.e. not “馬鳥” but “马鸟”。 In my (somewhat limited) experience, mainland Chinese are often rather sketchy at reading traditional characters unless well-educated. Unless there’s a language switch.

  8. CMaster says:

    According to US based research firm DFC Intelligence, China has more than 100 million MMORPG players, which is just under the entire population of Japan. Except this makes no sense whatsoever since Chinese MMORPG Zhengtu Online recorded 860,265 concurrent users at its peak.

    I’m confused. How is one MMORPG having just under 1 million players all logged in at once incompatible with the total number of MMORPG players being 100 million?

    • Oozo says:

      Ah, simultaneous posting. At least I’m not the only one being confused…

    • CMaster says:

      My suspicion is that Quinns is really the confused one, and mixing up his thousands (or at least hundreds of thousands) with his millions.

    • Tei says:

      Heres some nice charts:
      http://www.mmogchart.com/charts/

      Another
      http://www.mmogchart.com/Chart4.html
      This one count in 16 millions the number of active subscriptions worldwide.

      Is probably safe to asume that this is the real value. So if theres 16 millions worlwide, china can’t have 100 millions.
      But the general is is that the most popular game has about 60% of the players, so if the 60% of the china market is 800K players, the 100% can’t be 100 millions.

    • Tei says:

      NOTE: I don’t mean the number of china mmo players is 32, 16 or 4 millions. I mean that probably is not 100 millions.

    • Byth says:

      It doesn’t matter, DFC intelligence said 100 million “worldwide” not just in China. Mr. Quinns simply misread.

    • Flappybat says:

      mmogchart.com is just guessed numbers

  9. Oozo says:

    Ahm, maybe it’s me, but the first paragraph is a bit unclear. Why does it make no sense at all to think that there are 100 mio. MMO-players in China when Zhengtu Online peaked at 860’000 players? Is it, like, the only game allowed? Or by far the most popular one? Or do you wanna say that when this game alone draws in nearly 1 mio., a total of 100 mio. is an underestimation?

    …long day, maybe my brain is leaking.

    • Azhrarn says:

      concurrent user numbers tend to only ever be a fairly small percentage of the total population.
      EVE Online has ~350k subscribers, but the concurrent user record is ~63k.

      So assuming the number quoted is between 10 and 20% of the actual subscriber-base then you’re looking at 4-9 million subs on that MMO alone (and I’m assuming this is a big MMO, why would they mention it otherwise). Take a couple of MMOs at that size and you’re up to a fair number, but still a long way from the 100 million mentioned.

  10. Alistar says:

    I’m still slightly confused as to the logic behind the benefits of the fatigue system for casual players. The only benefit I see is that you don’t suffer the penalty. That seems like less of a benefit and more like something they could have just left at 100% for everyone and changed nothing.

    • Tuor says:

      The fatigue system doesn’t do anything for casuals per se. It does help a bit when it comes casuals vs. hardcore in terms of rate of advancement because the hardcore are going to be held back by this system.

      In WoW, casuals are helped by getting “rest time” that builds up the longer they are logged out, and at higher rates if they log out in an inn or city. In this system, casuals are modestly rewarded and hardcore players are not held back.

  11. orangedragon10 says:

    FFXIV is one of the most boring MMOs I’ve ever played. I had more fun watching myself move on the map, going to my next destination, than trying to “enjoy the scenery”. The whole dang map is a series of copy-paste tubes.

    • jsdn says:

      Yeah, FFXI has far more interesting zones even with PS2 hardware graphics.

  12. MWoody says:

    They’ve reportedly fixed it… sort of. Now they’re called “chocopo.” The recent patch, which addressed the excessive kanji, is supposedly filled with errors wherein the writers confused the different modifiers on katakana that distinguish “ho,” “po,” and “bo.” Adult native Japanese speakers would be very unlikely to make such errors, particularly so frequently (“Physical Bonus” is misspelt Physical Ponus,” “Telepo” is misspelt “Telebo,” “Support Desk” is misspelt “Subbort Desk,” etc.)

    This is on top of the aforementioned excessive kanji (Chinese characters regularly used in Japanese but not exclusively like they were here), rampant allegations of cut-and-paste level design (mountains and even entire towns are frequently just copied in their entirety, sometimes 10-20 times in a single zone), the horrible quality control on the collector’s edition (the included thermos is so shoddily constructed is can contain neither hot nor cold liquids, nor anything with “salt” – not to mention many came riddled with mold), and yes, a fatigue system that just-so-happens to coincide with a newly passed Chinese law.

    Weirdly enough, the best source I found for ongoing coverage on this and other FFXIV screwups is Sankaku Complex, but WARNING: that site is extremely NSFW.

    • Dominic White says:

      The fact that they’ve misnamed one of the unchanging, iconic elements that is shared between all Final Fantasy games, and now TWICE is rather damning. What a screwup.

    • ET says:

      Just about anyone with moderate fluency in Japanese would be unlikely to make that many modifier mistakes, I’d say, unless somebody rewired their keyboard. Wow. I don’t like conspiracy theories, but it seems like something really is going on here.

  13. Tyler says:

    I actually am a firm supporter of FFXIV’s stance on limiting advancement. They are figuring out there is a human element here, and that’s good.

    • Koozer says:

      Fun fact: rested XP in WoW used to be a penalty for playing a lot, instead of a bonus for not playing for a while. The developers changed it so it made players feel happier about being rewarded instead of punished, but in effect the current system does exactly the same thing it did before.

    • Khurn says:

      Rested works for single class type games, where the surplus help people broaden their characters abilites by playing multiple classes. It also limits the crazy experience increases per level, to a more gradual curve since it helps pace the levelling with the system.

      It is hard for folks to remember to treat each game as a distinct entity, and they all cater to a type of player. Not necessarily the largest chunk of the market. I try to look for the strengths of each type and then hope a community forms that i can tolerate.

    • Tuor says:

      Koozer:

      Your “Fun Fact” is wrong. The system you were talking about was only used in Beta, and it was removed when the beta player base reacted very negtively to it. That system was never used in the retail version of WoW (as I should know since I started playing on Day 1).

      So, yes, Blizzard had the idea of doing what Square-Enix did, but they discarded it before any paying customers ever saw it in action.

    • Dagda says:

      Tuor: Indeed! Instead of only gaining half XP for behavior A, you now gain double xp whenever you aren’t engaging in behavior A! [spoiler]Also, it takes twice as much xp to level up as it did back then.[/spoiler]

    • Tuor says:

      Dagda: I’d say the FFIV system penalizes hardcore gamers, whereas the WoW system rewards casuals. Also, IMO, the penalties of the one system are much more severe than the benefits of the rewards of the other system.

  14. Doggy says:

    In some mmo games, the hardcore players get a massive advantage over the casuals because of time invested, casuals = non factors basically. This decreases the difference.

    • Tyler says:

      It was pretty bad in ff11, I remember. It was pretty much a job to keep up with your play-group. I can’t count the number of nights in college I was taking a nap at 7pm so I could stay up a couple hours longer and doze off at the keyboard with my favorite japanese party.

      This means people will play for fun, hopefully, rather than raw acquirement, and I like the sound of that.

      Anyone know if the servers are going to be multinational, like last time?

    • K says:

      So what? If I spend 200 hours playing chess, I’m a lot better than you who only played 1 hour. That’s a feature, not a bug.

    • Ozzie says:

      No, since Chess is purely skill based.
      But with FFXIV you can level up your stats with time, which doesn’t necessarily mean that you got better at the game. You just invested more time, therefore you solved more quests, got more points and levelled up your character.

  15. LewieP says:

    Did y’all see this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La9nLBfH44c

    Looks like there’s been lots of corners cut.

  16. Arienette says:

    Must be awful for the Japanese gamers, no hiragana or katakana is akin to destroying half their language, it certainly removes any notion of grammar.

    • K says:

      Japanese without Katakana and hiragana is like english without vowels and spaces. Trtmgnsmthnglkthtfrscnd. No, doesn’t work.

    • Geoffrey says:

      mgndtfrscnd,ndwsntrtndbthpssblts.Srprsd,tbhnst.

  17. Brumisator says:

    With any luck, Final fantasy will get its final fantasy soon.

    People really still care about this competely antiquated and boring copy/paste game series?

    • Dominic White says:

      Given that almost every Final Fantasy game has been wildly different from the previous, copy/paste is one thing they are NOT.

      FF12 and FF13 are practically in different genres, gameplay-wise, and entirely different settings.

    • Flint says:

      I’m not much of a FF fan either, but I’m not sure how you can say it is a copy/paste series when it changes the whole of the setting and some gameplay mechanics in each game (and in the last two non-MMO parts even some rather huge gameplay changes).

    • sfox says:

      Have you even played any of them?
      The gameplay changes drastically with each new installment., especially with the most recent installments.
      Perhaps you confuse Final Fantasy with Dragon Quest.

  18. Taillefer says:

    This just made me think about how much fun it must be to translate mostly made-up, fantasy words into Chinese.

  19. Himself says:

    Desperate

  20. teliach says:

    I was in Closed Beta, and can say this is the worse MMO I ever tried, only good thing i can say about it is that’s pretty, besides that is pure trash, awfull design on almost ever aspect, it really has no redeeming features, it really raises the bar on how to make a bad game.

    Avoid at all costs!

    ps*
    UI designed for consoles that plays extremly badly on a PC, endless grinding, no jumping so have fun running around 20cm ledges that you cant climb, extremely slow combat system, amazingly bad mana regen mechanci for caster, limited playtime based on how fast you acquire experience, extreme convolted pay system, could go on and on about it.

  21. Duoae says:

    I couldn’t find out (perhaps worryingly) whether FFXIV has a monthly subscription fee. If it does then it could also be taken as a way of extracting more money from subscribers. If it doesn’t then it’s not really a problem – there are many MMOGs where there is a low level cap but you specialise quickly and/or can move your points around. E.g. Planetside.

  22. Malibu Stacey says:

    Since when does

    “With more than 100 million people worldwide logging on every month to play interactive computer games, game companies are already generating revenues of $3.6 billion a year from subscriptions, according to DFC Intelligence, which tracks the computer gaming market. ”

    equal

    “According to US based research firm DFC Intelligence, China has more than 100 million MMORPG players, which is just under the entire population of Japan.”

    the linked article even says the following at the end

    “The Chinese government estimates that there are 24 million online gamers in China, meaning that nearly one in four Internet users here play online games.”

    Normally I’d defend your journalistic integrity to the bitter end Quinns, even more so now that through the power of Minecraft you’ve reclaimed your iron, however that’s just plain sloppy.

  23. Mr Fossy says:

    You’re quite right. There are many differences between Japanese kanji and Chinese characters; some are subtle, others are quite obvious. The only locals I know in Shanghai who can (reliably) read the traditional characters are ones who have studied Chinese literature at university.

    While the things Quinton has pointed out are definitely peculiar, and there are plenty of simplified characters that are identical to the traditional ones, “Horsebird” for the mainland Chinese market would be “马鸟”, as you say. Although “馬鳥” would apply for Taiwan and HK.

    It’s weird nonetheless, though. It might still mean that a Chinese developer has deemed it sufficient to switch the characters for the Japanese language version, without regard for the way it was done in previous FF games.

  24. Zyrusticae says:

    I need to point out a (very common) error here:

    The “fatigue” system is not related to time, in any way shape or form. It is based entirely on hard XP values; basically, once you reach a certain amount of skill points gained in a period of time, it starts going to “surplus” XP. The surplus currently does nothing atm, though that COULD change (but probably won’t, as it would defeat the purpose of the system to begin with). Also, the “fatigue” continually decreases whenever you’re doing anything other than fighting. In fact, some players have played and grinded for 20 hours straight without ever getting into the “surplus” phase…

    Which, of course, begs the question – what is the purpose of the system, if even the most hardcore players are completely unaffected?

  25. Melchior says:

    “I played it quite a bit on the PC just before the beta closed down, here were the issues/niggles I noticed during the first few hours alone:”

    I attempted to help out during the beta too, but since open beta testers were not authorized to report bugs and the game really wasn’t anything I’d ever pay for I jumped ship pretty quickly. But I’ve kept up with some people who are going to play it and I have some comments about your post.

    “- Still uses a software mouse. Mouse lag is seriously annoying.”

    People made a pretty big deal about hardware mouse being in the options menue for the release client, so at least this is solved. Took them about a year too long, I think.

    “- No indication of destination for quests or what you should really do. No waypoints, it can take hours to navigate a mission…”

    There is, but you need to dig quite a bit in the menues to find it. First, you have a Journal that recaps your current quests. Second, in this journal there is a Map button that shows you the area your current goal is in as well as a coloured dot for the exact location. For most quests, once you get to the actual area it’s also shown on your minimap as an arrow or coloured area. So it’s there but takes way too many steps to access.

    “- …which is compounded by the inability to scroll the map or zoom it in and out.”

    You can scroll the map, but for some reason you can’t use the mouse for this. If you have a gamepad with a stick for the camera, it’s trivial. If you use a keyboard, it’s the i,j, k and l keys for controlling the camera. If you have the map out they work for that instead. Yeah, not what you’d try out at first. You can’t zoom the map in and out, even thought that’s been possible in games for decades now.

    “- Interaction is controlled by icons not by point click, case in point about 20 odd people standing around a crystal not being able to interact with it because they didn’t know to click on a tiny icon at the top of the script which opens the games main menu which contains another little icon to click. Abysmal awful UI which is in fact worse than FFXI. At least in FFXI you could target interactive components in the same way you could mobs.”

    It works really well if you’re using a gamepad. Basically just press “menue” then “accept” will interact with whatever is closest to you, with no need to target or move the camera. If you’re using a mouse and keyboard it does not work well at all. This game is so gamepad-centric it’s hillarious it’s released for the PC only right now.

    “Admittedly some of the above points would be moot if you were playing the game on the PS3. If it ever does tempt me I certainly will not purchase the PC version. It’s a shame really as I spent many a good hour in FFXI and with this it seems a huge step back in terms of playability alone.”

    Yeah, I’ve played FFXI too. It worked just fine on the PC, once you got used to it. I got the feeling they did as well as they could with the UI there. The rest of the game was just too harsh for my tastes. And yes, I was hoping for something as interesting as FFXI but with the accessibility of more modern MMORPGs, but what I saw was a huge step backward.

    “On an unrelated note with regards to the playtime/experience thing I don’t think it dwindles to 0 after 8 hours play I believe it tails off if you play longer than 8 hours. There was an explanation of the mechanic somewhere.”

    Yeah, it’s one of the most mis-represented things on the net right now. The idea is that if you spend more than about 8 hours time per week actively engaging in combat or constant fishing or whatever, you’ll slow down a bit. If you spend about twice that you’d stop getting experience as well as skills for that specific class. Any time you spend just screwing around or traveling or chatting with people wouldn’t count.

    The idea is to make it so that instead of reaching max level in one job as quickly as possible, you’d revisit the same areas multiple times but as different classes, and build up your character more slowly. This also means that level progression is a lot more equal between various types of people. This is further compounded by the semi-daily quests which offers very nice rewards.

    Ultimately, I think it’s a good idea that’s presented in a horrible way. And given how mediocre the game is in general it’s not something people will just shrug off.

  26. chesh says:

    I discussed this article with a friend of mine who plays XIV (and played XI, as well) using the Japanese client. She has encountered plenty of katakana and hiragana, and has yet to find any horsebirds, both in the open beta and the current limited release for people who bought the CE of the game. The Sankaku Complex link MWoody supplied doesn’t site any sources, but it is apparently (for those in the know about such things) pulled from 2ch, which is even more notorious than the general Japanese population for anti-Chinese nationalism.
    In short, this story is pretty much bullshit.

    • stache says:

      Thank you for mentioning this! What RPS probably doesn’t know is that Sankaku Complex is like the Daily Mail of blogs: uninformed, outrageous claims based on wild rumor. There is NO evidence of the “horsebird” claim, but people love to read about bad news like this, even if it’s fake.

      Sankaku Complex also claimed that FFXIV’s fatigue system would give you 0 experience if you played more than 8 hours a week. This is completely false, but you can see the effect it’s had in all the comments here. I don’t know why Sankaku Complex hates FFXIV so much they have to make up fake news about it- there’s enough to criticize based on actual facts- but it’s sad to see these rumors show up as news on this site.

    • MWoody says:

      While I will not even begin to argue that Sankaku is an upstanding news source, there’s clearly more here than #chan antics. All of the allegations I cited above where backed up in multiple places by screenshots and videos. Granted, screenshots could be faked (videos not so much), but if it were totally made up, why would Squaresoft respond to, apologize for, and promise fixes to the problems?

      To summarize, my list of warnings regarding the release included:

      – excessive kanji, backed up by screenshots and information directly from the developers
      – cut-and-paste level design, back up by a truckload of youtube videos and screenshots
      – poor quality and quality control on the collector’s edition, backed up by a quote from the included documentation and photographs of the included items received in unacceptable condition (in the latter part you might have a point; it may be an unrepresentative sampling)
      – a fatigue system that, based on the company’s own description of its function, does indeed coincide with a widely reported recent change in Chinese law with respect to Internet play

      So yes, it’s not all from particularly reliable sources, but I see no reason to doubt the facts in the matter. The conclusions, perhaps, but ultimately, whether or not FFXIV sucks because Square-Enix focused on the Chinese market first matters little: the important part is that, based on the tremendous amount of bad early buzz coming out from people actually playing the game, it DOES suck. This is one to steer far clear of, and we’d be doing a disservice to our fellow gamers if we waited until release to point out it was going to be poor (see: APB).

    • ET says:

      But you can’t remove katakana and hiragana completely anyway, since there will be things that just can’t be kanji’d—city names, et cetera, and the grammatical structure would collapse in on itself without hiragana unless you go back to pre-Heian times. Naturally there would be plenty of both still.

      It’s just weird that there are so many long strings of pre-20th century kanjis floating around. Definitely not impossible to read and understand, but I won’t expect even the average Japanese teen to be able to read a few of those without some head-scratching. Perhaps it’s not statistically significant in numbers, but it’d be like word-dropping Middle English in WoW. (And no, I don’t mean Elizabethan.) Or, considering that there is a bit of a trend for literature intellectualism = Chinese versions, using Real Latin and not the pidgin version we often see in fantasy.

      I’d give them the benefit of doubt for atmosphere. It’s an odd choice, but it could’ve been a choice.

      Now if that Chocopo/Ponus thing is true, on the other hand. That’s an impossible mistake to make if you’re even moderately familiar with the language.

      P.S. I admit that I get my recent complaints from the Japanese side over from Nicovideo, which isn’t the best place ever, either. But you can find trends, no?

    • stache says:

      @MWoody: The claims regarding the overuse (and subsequent change) of kanji in the Japanese version of FFXIV do seem to be supported, so I’ll agree to that. However, Sankaku’s wild “Chinese developer” speculation comes from nothing but 2ch blather.

      I disagree that spreading rumor is an acceptable way of discrediting a game (or anything, really). People complaining about the software mouse, lack of windower, tempo of battle, balancing of guildleves, and so on all had valid complaints, some of which S-E addressed and some of which they didn’t. That’s a good reason to dislike a game. In contrast, this Chinese developer stuff is just muckraking. If a game is bad, there’s no reason to destroy your own credibility with outrageous claims.

      RPS will hopefully have a WIT up soon- that’ll be a good place for reasoned discussion about the game.

  27. Namos says:

    Well, one explanation to this would be the fact that the article Quinns pointed to says the number of MMOG players stands at “With more than 100 million people worldwide…” The article is also from 2005.

    One of the recent Sunday Papers quoted the results of a study on the Chinese market:
    http://www.game-newswire.com/index.php/the-news/151-niko-2014-report.html
    Dated March 2010, it claims 68 million players online.

  28. Danarchist says:

    If you combine the sub numbers for wow and lineage 2 its over the numbers in those charts already. And thats just two out of over a hundred “popular” mmo’s.
    I know for a fact there is an mmo in India that no one here has ever heard of (and I cant spell) but my neighbor plays it every night and his server alone has 10′s of thousands logged in when he does its version of a global “who”. It’s actually got sort of a….borderlands art style that is very cool too!
    100 million playing in china is not only a reasonable estimate but may even be slightly low balling it. Remember that video games don’t have the same social stigma in the rest of the world that they do in the UK/US/Canada.

  29. fallingmagpie says:

    I hope the inevitable war between the Glorious Coalition of Western Democracy and the Great Communist People’s Republic of China happens in my lifetime. Then I’ll have some stories to tell the grandchildren. From my Beijing internment camp, possibly.

  30. Alaphic says:

    I think I played the beta of this for roughly 2 minutes before quitting in disgust. It basically wouldn’t run on my old graphics card (which played Bad Company 2 and MW2 just fine, thank you very much), and trying to lower the graphics didn’t make it run better, and, from what I can tell, didn’t do anything but super-pixelate everything. SUPER. The fact that their download client (i.e. their torrent client) didn’t work, and I found no less than 5 different forums full of other people who had the same problem and had started seeding on other networks, didn’t help my opinion much either.

    The Final Fantasy series ended at 8 for me. Someone was asleep at the wheel on 9, and deep in the throes of heroin detox on 10.

  31. Melchior says:

    Yeah, it was pretty hillarious when they had problems with their patcher not being able to finish downloading updates and tried to release a patch of it, though the same patcher.

  32. Mike_in_Ohio says:

    Those pesky Chi-coms are at it again!………. first rubber dog pooh and now this – outrageous

  33. Mol says:

    Old men, running the world. A NEW AGE.

  34. Ken says:

    I just wanted to say that there is no such thing as Kanji in Chinese. It’s Hanzi, Kanji is a Japanese word for Chinese characters.

  35. Node says:

    From the time I’ve spent in beta (not much), I think it has some good ideas but misses some execution that really ought to be super-basic at this point. For instance, I love how you can gain “general” exp no matter which job you’re leveling, while still leveling up those specific jobs. The crafting and gathering systems are pretty nifty, and the world is simply beautiful.

    But at the same time, you can only do eight “location guildleves” (gathering / hunting quests) every two days, which is just mind-boggling. The UI couldn’t be much worse than it is, and the amount of lag for performing basic actions (combat, interacting with the aforementioned UI, simply walking around) is beyond unacceptable.

    It’s like SE came up with some good ideas of their own to fix some of the issues that FFXI has, yet refuse to admit that western MMOs have also found perfectly decent ways to do the same years ago. Ah well, at least the cutscenes were pretty.