Sunday, April 12, 2009

How many different design philosophies are in this game anyway?

How many completely different design philosophies went into FFXI anyway?

Risk vs. Reward

There's some events where you complete them successfully, and you get a set reward with maybe some bonuses. In Einherjar you kill a few waves of monsters and get a set number of ampoules. Kill the boss and you get a chest that might have some cool stuff in it, but (except for Odin) usually does not. Do Assaults, clear them, get a set number of Assault points redeemable for items. And maybe appraise some ??? items into cool stuff, but usually it does not.

Other things like Salvage, Limbus, Dynamis all have mostly random rewards. Maybe something somebody wants will drop. Maybe it won't. People can and do repeat these events for years without even seeing an item they'd really like.

Mission Progression

Another stark contrast is in Mission progression. In FFXI, you cannot get much done on your own. Sure, if you're level 75 you might be able to solo a second job's artifact quests or something. But the majority of Missions you can't do without a bunch of other people. So, it would make sense from a game design standpoint to make missions that adventurers need to team up to complete allow as wide a variety of fellow adventurers as possible.

A few minutes at any time of day standing in Aht Urhgan one can see something like this:Nyzul Isle shouts. Any adventurer more or less can join such a group. Never been to Nyzul Isle? You can still help on Floor 100. You can still get some of the occasionally, but not always armor drops from bosses. You can still get Tokens upon successfully exiting. The weapon skills aren't feasible to obtain without getting close to the top floor, but anyone can help out and potentially be rewarded.

Compare this to Nation missions. Need somebody for one of the Rank 6+ BCNMs? You'd better hope you're San d'Orian and your friends are too (and Rank 6+ too) or you may have some trouble finding people. Is there some reason people from other countries really can't come help with these?

Need to do a Wings of the Goddess Mission? You'll be in for even more fun. With the regular national missions, you can tell a person's allegiance with /search. With WotG, you have no way to know other than asking him or her. So, you can try in your LS, your friend's list, people fighting Campaign battles in your nation's areas, etc. There's no in-game or out-of-game way to know who's eligible to enter battlefields.

It could be argued that being able to go to Lumoria to help with CoP Mission 8-1 wouldn't make sense for players still on Promyvions. But with missions that take place in standard areas why so restrictive? Square has added EXP bonuses to CoP (and apparently in Crystalline Prophecy random item bonuses) to help entice people to work together. Yet at the same time added more WotG national missions most people can't work together on.

Does this make any sense?

1 comment:

  1. FFXI is so heavily based on player helping player that I understand completely what you are saying.

    The ONLY problem, and I know SE would say the same, is that they just can't expand the game much more. The PS2 can only handle so much. Xbox360 and PC ppl have it easy, but if you play this game on PS2 (I play on all 3) you would notice a difference.

    Sadly, it comes down to what SE CAN change in this game and what they are going to add in their next MMORPG... which I pray will not flop like last years list of launched "WoW Killers".

    And considering FFXI has been out since '02... I think SE has done a good job of keeping ppl in the game despite it's restrictions!