The Illusion Of Choice – Final Fantasy XIV Grind
As we approach the end of the free 30 day period for the recently released Final Fantasy XIV, we take a look at one of the bigger problems that may result in less players subscribing come next month. The mass of problems with end-game and current lack of PvP have already been addressed in the form of the upcoming 2.1 update, but there’s another problem that doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves. When compared to other popular MMORPG games the grind in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, isn’t all that bad. At least that’s how it appears at first.
I decided to go for Warrior and as I near the completion of my journey to level 50, I can honestly say it has been a very enjoyable experience. I’ve completed every dungeon, every GuildHest and every quest available to me in a variety of areas. However this method of leveling has actually caused me serious problems when attempting to level my next class/job. The crazy amounts of bonus exp awarded for the initial completion of certain events is nowhere to be seen and the lack of main story quests is another exp fountain that I’ll miss the second time round.
When players talk about leveling in Final Fantasy XIV, they make it appear like a matter of choice. Personally I feel this is wrong. The experience points rewarded from dungeons is terrible without the completion bonus and the gear/items are questionable as well. Using Leve’s can work in the lower levels but that’s assuming you haven’t used any previously and you don’t want to level quickly with crafts. So that leaves FATE grinding, that’s it.
Yes, there is a choice on how you level in Final Fantasy XIV but that choice is really an illusion. You can spend a good 5-6 hour session running dungeons and maybe gain a level or two. You can FATE grind at level 20 and reach level 30 within 4 hours. So there’s your choice. Waste days doing fun content at the cost of severely hindered progression or mindlessly spam AoE’s while watching Netflix as you run from FATE to FATE.
The dungeons are more challenging. They require more skill, more communication and more attention than any other content in the game, yet the rewards do not justify that level of time investment. The average group will complete a dungeon in 40-60 minutes but using that exact same time with FATE’s will return much better results; every time.
The first time you play through Final Fantasy XIV you’ll probably enjoy the story content. I didn’t feel the need to rush to end-game so I was happy enjoying the story and side-quests on offer. However that option is no longer available to me so the only reason to level a new class is the enjoyment of progressing. That enjoyment is minimized by the repetition involved in grinding FATE’s but everyone’s doing it.
Every map you explore you’ll see groups looking for members and individuals looking to join FATE grinding parties. I don’t have a problem with that. If you enjoy FATE’s that’s great, or even if you don’t but your patient enough to join, awesome. However, I don’t like the fact players that don’t enjoy FATE’s are not given a seriously worthy alternative. Boost the experience points for dungeons, keep the completion bonus in place, there must be something Square Enix can do to make that illusion an actual choice.
What do you think? With the grindy nature of today’s MMO games should players expect variety or should they be happy with what they’ve got?
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