Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Journalistic Integrity

People generally seem to have concluded that FFXIV is basically a disaster. Like a pre-alpha version of FFXI from six years ago with HD graphics. It's kind of expected for there to be lots of problems when an MMO launches, but 14 seems to be setting a new record. A veritable zenith of sucktitude.

Part of a discussion on a gaming site about FFXIV brought up the topic of journalistic integrity. Do you deal with official PR people and whatnot to get inside access for previews and free review copies of games? Or do you go to Gamestop (ugh) or whereever on release day like everyone else and buy a copy, play through it, and get reviews out less frequently and later? If you go with the former you'll be probably feel pressure to be favorable towards the games you get access to. You might end up blacklisted if you tell everyone how god awful something is in a preview or review. The PR person you deal with might also be nice and you don't want to be a dick. Or you could just be a money-grubbing douche who will lie to readers to get free shit. I like to think that the huge gaming sites and magazines aren't the latter, but generally find myself sticking to smaller indie outfits anyway.

In any case, I was inspired to go check Wikipedia's Reception section, and then compare some reviews of the released game with the previews (of earlier less "polished" versions of FFXIV). And some of them are pretty funny.

Here's the conclusion to Gamespot's Preview:
Unfortunately, our play session was cut short after a few hunting expeditions, but we got a fairly good sense of much of what FFXIV will attempt to offer. The new game brings everything you love about Final Fantasy, and FFXI, into modern times with detailed, colorful graphics and a much better interface. The PC version of the game will launch in September while the PS3 version is scheduled to launch next year.
And here's "The Bad" from their Review:
Absolutely miserable interface
Does a poor job of communicating important information
Limited questing means you're always looking for something fun to do Everything about the economy stinks
Every aspect of the game is filled with dumb obstacles.
Granted, it would be hard to tell the economy sucked in a beta version that you're playing with only a few other people (and what a shitty way to setup a demo for journalists of an MMO), but the interface went from being better than FFXI's to absolutely miserable? lolwut?

Did different people write the two? I'm too lazy to go check, but I think it's pretty damn funny either way. And to be clear, I'm not saying, "Gamespot takes bribes from Square-Enix!!!!"


  1. Having played 14 myself for a couple weeks now I have mixed feelings about the game. Yes, there are big flaws in the game right now but they have already fixed some of them and have released notes saying they will be updating some of the other stuff at the end of November or beginning of December. The one really nice thing is they extended the free trial period an extra month which I think is quite fair considering this game didn't really feel ready for release. As of right now the game is still fun and but I feel like I'm just cruising through the game doing a little bit of a grind with not much exciting material (still no NMs). This game really does still feel like a beta right now though. But, I can't imagine they didn't do something like this with FFXI because it was released in Japan long before NA. FFXI wasn't even offered without the first expansion in NA.

    - previously Treubond of Cerberus

    P.S. Sorry for the jumping train of thought but they give such a small window for comments and I'm too lazy to proofread.

  2. I've been playing 14 since the first beta invite and one thing that's very noticible about the people not liking the game is they are the loudest critics. From the first, anyone that enjoyed FFXIV was labeled fanboi and shouted out of forums and they quickly gave up trying to convince the loudmouths of the folly of their misconceptions. We pretty much figured we didn't want the idiots in the game anyway.
    However, as previously Treubond up there said, there are some things that are incredibly annoying in the game. For instance, you can't reply to a tell without typing in the person's full name. But they're all things that SE knows how to fix and has scheduled to do in the next update or two. Many of them have already been addressed.
    I haven't ever played any other MMOs upon release. However, everyone else does and one thing that seems very different is in other releases, the games weren't ready in the sense that there were too many glitches for it to play smoothly and not enough content to play consistently. In FFXIV, they've given us a very finished product when it comes to storylines, graphics, NPCs with developed personalities, a well thought out leveling process, and a very smooth game that plays without flaws. There's an awful lot about it that I, and people I play with, really like which makes it pretty easy to keep playing while waiting for the additional adjustments that are coming.

  3. It's going to be awhile before people take 14 seriously. It will naturally have its flaws upon release (which I still don't understand why games do this), but it is also being compared to 11. While 11 has issues galore, it's been around longer and still has a lot of adoration from its playerbase.

    Anyway, where's your application? I haven't even seen you online. >.>

  4. Yeah, I've been lazy lately. I'll get one in tomorrow and hopefully get more jobs capped out at 85 too.

  5. There's no such thing as gaming journalism as long as it's dependent on revenue from the game industry.

    Previews serve as a hype machine, and reviewers have lost jobs before for being honest about a game.