Time, Gentlemen: FFXIV Extends Trial Period

By Jim Rossignol on October 18th, 2010 at 8:52 am.


That “free” 30 days you get if you buy Square Enix’s MMO Final Fantasy XIV is now 60 days, thanks to the troubles the game has experienced on launch. As well as the inevitable server issues, there’s a bunch of broken stuff in the game, including problems with a number of quests. Square Enix have announced that “All users who registered a FINAL FANTASY XIV service account and purchased a character by October 25, 2010 will be eligible” for the additional game time. Presumably the publishers expect the worst of the problems to have been resolved by the end of that period, but I’m not getting a good feeling for the fate of this one.

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30 Comments »

  1. Choca says:

    It still sucks though.

  2. Deoden says:

    While this is a laudable gesture, I still can’t help but feel that FFXIV on the PC is being used as a trial run before it launches on PS3. Possibly to punish us for not buying enough copies of FFVII and FFVIII way back when.

  3. Brumisator says:

    I hope this game crashes and burns horribly, maybe SquareEnix will learn something then.

    • jsdn says:

      It’s already crashed and is burning. The question is whether or not the flames can be put out in time.
      I’m not sure what they can learn though. Final Fantasy is still a big name that will sell even if the game is absolute shit. Look at all the positive reviews on metacritic for proof of that. Hopefully the people that learn anything from this are the gamers, because if SE realises that they can sell an empty box for $60 with the Final Fantasy title, they might just do that.

  4. Niels Walta says:

    Getting the feeling S-E rushed the PC launch on this one. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if most of the complaints from players will be taken care of by the time the PS3 release rolls out. But unless drastic changes occur it’ll be hard for S-E to entice people to give it another shot at that point.

  5. 2guncohen says:

    I miss the days when FF was just a simple rpg…

  6. mod the world says:

    How many more failed MMOs does it need until developers realize the “release a beta, fix it later” approach doesn’t work anymore?

  7. Wyrm says:

    Garbage! with big ears!

  8. pissant says:

    you have the wrong impression. The contemporary approach to a MMOG release is ‘make huge bank on preorders and lifetime subscriptions from morons, abandon ship after release’

  9. terry says:

    Translation: “Even more time to rue your purchasing decision!”

  10. Starky says:

    Another half finished MMO (squeezed out early to “beat” Cataclysm) flops face first into the dirt.

    Colour me shocked.

  11. donmarker says:

    Something tells me this game is primarily intended for the Asian market and not the Western. Those fellas sure do like their grind over there.

  12. Arnulf says:

    The simple fact that SquareEnix steadfastly refuses to implement an auction house or a mechanism that essentially offers the same basic functions as searching for wares, comparing prices, and putting on stuff to sell in an hassle-free manner speaks volumes.

    There are many more infuriating details in this game that makes you wonder why they did not just take a long hard look at their own product, namely Final Fantasy XI, before implementing stuff in FFXIV. It’s as if they forgot the last eight years on purpose.

    Just a small example: When used, gear takes damage. As in fighting or simply crafting wears down your equipment over time. When just one item you have equipped is below fifty percent durability, a non-descript message pops up: “You suffer the effect of gear damage.” Also a status icon will display that you have damaged gear.

    However what the game fails to tell you, is which item is damaged. You have to manually check your items in the inventory screen (mind you not the “paper doll” screen) and find the culprit. Meaning you have to click on each item to show it’s durability value. Or you unequip all your items one at a time until the icon disappears and the message pops up that tells you you’re not suffering gear damage anymore. That’s the point where you know the last item you took off was the damaged one. The most annoying aspect is that you cannot see these by looking at your equipment screen (“paper doll”), because the durability is not shown here!

    You can wear around 18 items at the same time. Give or take two items, because there are limits how much jewelry you can have on you at the same time. Yes, all rings can suffer “gear damage”. Also your underwear (pants and undershirt) can take damage and have to be repaired. There’s an NPC in every major city who can repair your stuff up to 75%. Even your underwear! While you’re wearing it! If other players want to repair your panties you have to take them off. And to do that you have to carry a change with you.

  13. Lestaticon says:

    So far, FFXIV is riddled with bad game design choices. The kinds of choices I think other developers would have bit the bullet and scrapped before release. It’s full of ideas which boggle my mind. At this point, I am more fascinated by their choices than interested in continuing to play. To use the cliché, it’s like watching a train wreck.

    I can find no incentive to play or to even finish certain quests. For example, I take a quest to kill 4 of X beasties; the quest is set to solo difficulty. I travel a long and rather boring path until finally reaching the targets; the battle begins. After killing the 3rd target, the 4th runs for it. I give chase for a span of time, occasionally doing some damage to it. Suddenly 4 of it’s friends spawn in a circle around me and hit me in unison. If you manage to survive that assault and run for it, they give chase and continue doing damage. They don’t stop chasing until my character is dead. I then have the choice of returning to the base camp.
    At that point, I’m thinking where is the incentive to continue? Not only do I have to run all the way back to the targets AND it’s violent mob of friends, I now have a crippling death penalty to wait out.
    I rather just log out!

  14. geldonyetich says:

    I hear a lot of negative comments about the game, how it’s terribly designed, how there’s no end game, etc, etc… however, despite the negative comments, I find I rather enjoy it, and I’m not alone there. Judging by how the server player count hasn’t fallen much since release, almost month ago, player retention has, thus far, been rather good.

    I think the reason is because this is the closest thing we’ve got to a AAA open-world sandbox MMORPG in a long time. These days, there’s a marked preference for developing theme parks, where the players are given a whirlwind tour of quest hub after quest hub by a helpful little procession of NPCs with giant floating yellow exclamation marks above their heads. FFXIV never does that to you, which really bothers the people who have come to rely on the kindness of pixelated strangers, but is a godsend to those who are looking for an MMORPG that requires a bit more effort.

    In truth, effort is the main thing standing between you and your enjoyment of Final Fantasy XIV, and for some players that a game asks them to exert themselves is unforgivable. You want me to learn a console-friendly interface? Madness! You think I need to decide for myself what my character’s purpose is in this pretty little world? Tomfoolery! You want me to look up my recipes on a third party site or write them down when I learn them, because the game won’t keep track of them for me? Balderdash! You want me to walk somewhere because my teleport quota is spent? Poppycock! You want me to run in windowed mode to stop the game from crashing when it loses focus? You ask too much, sir! And yet, for players where these seem like minor hurdles at most, the game is quite accessible and enjoyable.

    • Arnulf says:

      It’s one thing to make a challenging game. It’s an altogether different thing to ignore basic usability issues.

      I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XI, my first MMORPG after UO and Planetside, and have been enjoying it for a long time. Because I know it has to work on consoles too. And because it was developed at a time when they just did not know any better.

      So, I think I’m qualified when I say that FFXIV is a worse game than FFXI.

      Heck, at this point, I would be glad if they just slapped the old FFXI interface onto FFXIV. That would be an improvement.

    • geldonyetich says:

      > So, I think I’m qualified when I say that FFXIV is a worse game than FFXI.

      An MMORPG with 7 years of post-release development had better be better than a freshly released one. That’s just par for the course.

      From what I gather, Final Fantasy XI was in as-bad-or-worse-state than FFXIV at release, to the point where we didn’t see it outside of Japan until 2 years of development had been done.

    • Fox says:

      “An MMORPG with 7 years of post-release development had better be better than a freshly released one. That’s just par for the course.”

      One made by the same developer? One would hope they took the things they learned in those 7 years, refined and applied them to their next project instead of, as someone mentioned, forgetting all about it. I mean what’s the point of making a new game if you’re just going to start back at square one of the old game?

      As to the myriad issues you somehow managed to ignore, no one’s lazy (as you imply) by being put off by them. It’s 2010. The industry has evolved considerably in terms of basic, functional, accessible UI design and FFXIV completely ignores it all. That said, I might have put up with the ridiculous menu system a bit more if there weren’t the pervasive UI lag. Moving the mouse and clicking on anything was a huge chore.

    • geldonyetich says:

      This really isn’t the place for a lengthy debate. Suffice to say, amongst those who do currently enjoy the game, any level of existing inconvenience the game delivers is considered surmountable. Amongst those who do not, one or all matters of inconvenience were considered unforgivable.

    • jsdn says:

      @geldonyetich If you agree that FFXI is and should be a better game than FFXIV, why aren’t you playing FFXI? It’s not like they’re particularly different flavours. I’m afraid I can’t follow your logic.

    • Manley Pointer says:

      FFXIV is simply a bad game. We can go through the incredibly long list of its design failures and frustrations, but that has been done so many times before that everyone reading these comments must already be familiar with the issues. FFXIV strikes me as having no redeeming qualities or features that make it worth playing; it’s not a game like Deadly Premonition or God Hand that some reviewers didn’t “get,” it’s a game that is all weakness and has no strengths.

      The only thing interesting about the game is the way it reveals the absolute blindness of some MMO consumers, who become so invested in the properties they subscribe to that they lose all perspective. FFXIV is as bad as a game can be, and the arguments of its fans are all based on low expectations.

      They can’t plausibly argue that the game isn’t terrible at the moment, so they say “all MMOs are terrible at launch” or “that other game was just as terrible as this one.” They can’t argue that the interface isn’t awful, so they say “only shallow gamers care about awful interfaces.” They can’t dispute that the game lacks both leveling content and endgame content, so they say “you just have to use your imagination to figure out things to do!” And of course, they can’t describe anything specific in the game that is actually fun; they can only make excuses for the glaring problems with the game that others have pointed out.

  15. Hindenburg says:

    Doesn’t seem that long ago that Vanguard was released, truth be told. BOY, that sure ended up well.

  16. Baines says:

    If you read the articles at (the extremely not-safe-for-work) Sankaku Complex, you’ll find plenty of evidence that Final Fantasy XIV was developed cheap in China.

    Things like how the Chocobo was originally wrongly called by its Chinese name. Or how the various “h/f”, “b”, and “p” hiragana (which differ only by tiny marks) were mixed up in a rather non-Japanese way (including “Chocobo” when it was changed from Chinese to hiragana). Or how Square Enix had to hire Chinese speakers to run the servers.

    And the just general bad design, like the copy-paste nature of the maps (which also had at least one hilarious YouTube video where someone ran around constantly seeing the same terrain repeated again and again.)

  17. Polysynchronicity says:

    This man with the annoying face has a great summary of the “new user experience”.

  18. jordans says:

    your post are very interesting
    it is also helpful for me
    thanks for sharing
    look forward more posts

  19. FieryBalrog says:

    It’s going to see geldonetyich valiantly defending this game from horribly biased critics and immature WoW-heads, just as he does on every other videogame outlet he can get his posting rights on.

    Remember kids, if the UI is complete shit even by console standards, full of completely pointless pop-up confirmations, bizarrely obscured information (like the durability mentioned above), idiotic design choices (want to equip a hat? Enjoy scrolling through your entire, non-sortable inventory!) and above all crippling UI lag that makes the entire game some sort of post-modern nightmare:

    well, then, you’re an ADD-riddled WoW-kiddie who needs to learn some maturity.

    After all, what mature, sophisticated gamer could pass on a game where it takes several minutes to clear out vendor trash from your inventory?

  20. DCCTV says:

    Remember kids, if the UI is complete shit even by console standards, full of completely pointless pop-up confirmations, it is also helpful for me, thanks for sharing.

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