Podzilla 1985

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Death of War....hammer Online: Age of Reckoning

It was with a sadness in my heart that I read this morning about the closure of one of my personal favorite MMORPGs - Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. This is a disheartening development, but not an entirely unexpected one. The MMO world is starting to emulate Hollywood in the sense that they'll use you, abuse you, and bury you on a whim. If you've read any of my other MMO-centric blogs you'll become suspicious that I'm very critical of the industry as a whole.

You'd be right on the money, my friend.

Don't be mistaken though - I'm the biggest fan of the MMO genre there could possibly be. I respect it as something unique and ambitious. I had stars in my eyes and love in my heart when I was a teenager and the industry was new. Games like Ultima Online and Everquest showed me that a video game could become something more than a "one and done" single player experience. These games built worlds and relationships between strangers, and we all grew in a new era of discovery.

Fast forward fifteen years or so and the discovery is dead.

The bonds are broken.

The strangers are now enemies.

There are a number of factors you can blame the demise of the MMORPG on.

First and foremost is the player base grew up and apart. Even the worst game can become something spectacular if the players make it that way, but the golden age of gamers is over and has been replaced with this new era of tea bagging, shit talking, and cowardice behind the safety of a computer screen. The good ones have either left their virtual days behind them or barricaded themselves into their own group within these games and have become the minority. They're outnumbered by hordes of kids with their parents credit cards and a lack of maturity or civility. Call of Duty and Halo have taught them to shoot first, shoot second, shoot third and when everyone is dead maybe ask some questions. They bring that sense of territorial isolation to OUR worlds and drag us all down as a result. Some of those players grow up and develop into worthwhile human beings, while others call you a faggot or nigger for doing something as simple as not having the right gear score.

The mass amounts of MMO's released every year is the other big contributor the downfall of my favorite genre. I think there are somewhere along the lines of twenty to thirty games put out per year when you factor in F2P and P2P titles. If you count mobile games the number increases to a staggering level when you consider that when the industry was new you were lucky to have four to five different choices. The community was smaller and more devoted to each other, and the games really benefited from that. Once the flood gates were opened and "casual gamers" started invading the MMO space, they started pumping out new games monthly.

It would be so easy to criticize World of Warcraft at this point for being the ultimate villain to this world we love. A lot of people would point to WoW as the Lex Luthor of our story - ruthless, greedy, and powerful enough to do whatever they want. Games blame Blizzard for opening those flood gates, and some even fault them for ruining the industry with the now standard "fetch and kill" quest style. But, believe it or not, Blizzard and the monster it created are not the Anti-Christ of multi-massive online role playing games. You cannot fault someone for becoming successful. Blizzard never forced anyone to play, and they certainly never forced the other developers to rip them off and take the industry in a completely "copy and paste" direction.

Individuality is up to the individual, that's sort of why it's called that.

Regardless of the reasons, the industry is suffering from a lack of a good community and fresh ideas. A whole slew of games have come out recently that seek to change the way we look at MMO's. From the best selling Guild Wars 2 and radically unique Secret World to the upcoming EQNext, it feels like they're really taking a stab at fixing what we all broke.

But I present to you the argument that fresh ideas have been available all along, and we've just been stuck in a daze. It's like Street Fighter, and the big strong fighter named Cliched Design just hit us with an uber combo that made us puke and stand there with birdies circling our heads.

There have been some games that I've really enjoyed that bit the dust way too early, including ones I've mentioned on here before like Tabula Rasa and City of Heroes. They were great games and revolutionary in their own ways. There have been a lot of titles to be laid to rest in the MMORPG graveyard in the past few years, and yet we're still pumping out title after title like a goddamn Mediocrity Machine (TM).

And that brings us full circle back to Warhammer Online. As I got myself settled in at my other job, which conveniently enough is still in the gaming industry, I read that they'll be shutting down the serves in December.

That one hurt a little bit and I got the same kind of sickly feeling that I had when I heard about City of Heroes. This one is a little worse though, because as much as I liked CoH as a game, I love Warhammer as a universe. From the witch hunters to the space marines, I love everything about Warhammer. My best friend and I play Dawn of War 2 quite often, and I even bust out the original Dawn of War sometimes. I love the miniatures, although I'm way too broke to dive too deep into that aspect of the universe. Besides, I'm more of a digital kind of guy.


I preordered the collectors edition of Warhammer Online and, even when I sold off a huge chunk of my collection, kept it simply because it was Warhammer. I played the game for years off and on, and every time I logged in I felt like I was apart of something awesome. Aside from the stylized and darker graphic style that I adored, I felt like the core gameplay was a real shot in the arm for an industry thirsty for change.

Go back a few paragraphs and read again about the argument that we've been fed fresh ideas for years and were too blind to see it. Warhammer Online was a big push in the right direction and gave us all something new, or at least did it better than previously thought possible.

It was the first game I can remember doing public quests in, so those FATEs you do in FFXIV are nothing new. Hell, Guild Wars 2 based a majority of their game around that system.

The PVP, to me, was a major selling point, atlhough it made it difficult to convince my fiancee to play with me since she absolutely despises fighting other players. I absolutely loved the feeling of real war though, and I felt an emotional investment in destroying the agents of chaos with my witch hunter. I became an incarnate of death, with a sword in one hand, pistol in the other, and a skull painted on my face to let my enemies know that judgment was coming. The battles we had in that game will live on in my memories next to those guild battles in Ultima Online and vanilla WoW when I was a sergeant in the Stormwind army. Warhammer presented a violent and darker alternative to the kind of race wars that games like WoW presented. You really felt like you were apart of war.

As a whole, from the unique questing system, graphics, and PVP, Warhammer should have been a massive hit.

It wasn't.

It sold a lot of copies at first and was quickly praised by a lot of reviewers who found love for WAR. But that was at a time when it seemed like every MMO that came out got great reviews, sold tons of copies, and a few months later suffered a horrible player base loss and a reversal of opinion. I remember Age of Conan suffering a similar fate, and that was another title I feel should have been way bigger than it became.

So why did everyone abandon WAR? It was fun and unique, but also suffered from a lack of content and the people in charge made it clear very quickly that they weren't going to support it like they should have. There have been no real expansions for Warhammer since it's release, barely any updates or new content, and just a general lack of interest in a game from a beloved IP with all potential in the world.

Who can we blame for that one? What company could piss away such a golden opportunity with such a fantastic world to explore and expand?

Oh, yeah.


They killed the Ultima franchise, which is one of the most respected and influential RPG series in history, so why shouldn't they be the one to kill Warhammer?

I'm reading an official post on the WAR website that states the closure is due to the licensing agreement between themselves and Games Workshop ending. For those interested, it reads as such -

We here at Mythic have built an amazing relationship working with Games Workshop creating and running Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning over the last 8 years. Unfortunately, as with all licensing deals they do eventually  come to end and on December 18th, 2013 we will no longer be operating Warhammer Online. As such we will no longer be selling 3 month game time codes or have the ability to auto renew your accounts for 3 months as of September 18th, 2013. If you would like to read some additional thoughts from one of WAR’s Producer please check out http://www.warhammeronline.com/.  From all of us here at Mythic we thank you again for your dedication and support over the last five years.

A lot of people are going to say that this is just a normal closure and I'm blaming the wrong people for this. I call those people naysayers. If EA supported the company behind Warhammer Online then they would have put out more content, more expansions, fixed a lot of the linger problems that held it back, and increased the player base.

The only reason I stopped playing in the first place is because I developed a fear that the game would shut down due to lack of commitment. I was right, albeit a few years later than I originally expected.

EA is one of the most corrupt and evil entities in the gaming industry. Screw those bridges, let's burn them all down right now. From their arrogance to their shady tactics like repackaging the same sports titles and selling them at full price, EA is a devil that needs to die. They buy people up just to destroy what they've done. They pushed out Richard Garriott and took Ultima away from him, in the process turning my favorite game of all time into an uglier version of WoW with poor quests and gear progression that destroyed it's soul.

Sure, I'm bitter about that. I've never forgiven them for it, and when news like Warhammer's closure comes out I realize I'll never have to forgive them.

I'm honestly surprised that Ultima Online is still active,  much less a completely P2P title when so many others have converted to a free system. It's just a matter of time, really.

I know that Ultima will soon be dead, and EA can add another notch to it's bedpost. On this day, though, we have Warhammer to mourn.

From Leinhardt the witch hunter, I lay my pistol and blade down for the last time.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jim Ross Retires...or Does He?

I was pretty shocked to see that good ole JR retired today. To me and a lot of fans, and this is not taking away from Micheal Cole, he is and always will be the voice of the WWE. Not only he was the best play by play guy that they've ever had, he was also a beloved on air personality and a big name backstage on the talent relation side of things.

So, with his unabashed love for the business, why would he suddenly retire with so little fanfare?

Well, this IS wrestling after all. You have to expect a swerve somewhere, right?

I was completely unaware of the situation until the news broke on my favorite wrestling website, pwinsider.com. Which, as a cheap plug, I've had the joy to work with on more than one occasion and let me just say those guys are class acts. It's hard to find good journalism in the wrestling world, and it doesn't get any better than PWI.

With the cheap plug dissipating, I'll come full circle back to PWI's reporting of this strange turn of events. Jim Ross was working in a very high profile position with the company as recently as a few weeks ago, when WWE and 2k14 held their big round table to introduce the new game. It was there that a blatantly drunk Ric Flair stole the show, and not in the way that the WWE wanted him to. He cussed, he rambled, and he told heartbreaking stories about his recently deceased son. You know, he was being human, while remaining damn entertaining. Well, apparently the WWE didn't see it that way and were highly critical of how he behaved himself, and reportedly escorted him away as to not "embarrass" the company any more.

JR, as a sort of master of ceremonies, was apparently the scapegoat for the fiasco and has been living on borrowed time since then. PWI is reporting that apparently Vince McMahon himself was the one who decided to let JR go, and that the whole "retirement" announcement was just a way to fire JR without angering the wrestling fans who would never forgive the WWE for their treatment of a beloved legend.

I don't know why they would see it as a problem, considering they've been pissing all over Jim Ross for as long as I could remember. Whether it was dopey angles like the fake Diesel/Razor Ramon, or the embarrassment he suffered with the Kiss My Ass club and Vince's obsession with constantly burying him, JR has long been the WWE whipping boy. They didn't like his honest attitude, they didn't like his age, and they certainly didn't like the fact that his face didn't fit the "image" they wanted. Let's not forget that at the height of his popularity, they replaced JR with Micheal Cole and basically told the WWE universe that the powers that be will tell us who to like, and our opinion really doesn't matter one damn bit. If you want further proof of that, just go look up Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and Zack Ryder.

The WWE has had this self touted reputation for listening to the people and letting them decide which way the company goes. Well, Vince, if you listened to the people, the people wouldn't be listening to Micheal Cole!

So, to be clear with you readers, it very much looks like the WWE fired Jim Ross because, deep down, they've always wanted to fire Jim Ross. And, to be fair, they have fired him numerous times before. I truly believe that Vince McMahon hates Jim Ross, just like he hated Dusty Rhodes when he snatched him from greatness and forced him to wear yellow polka dots. If Vince didn't make you, he doesn't like you. Sure, he gave JR his hall of fame ceremony and sang his praises one night out of thousands upon thousands of days, but don't fool yourself into thinking that he was anything more than the dirt that HHH licks off of Vince's shoe.

I'm pissed at World Wrestling Entertainment, but at this point in my life I don't even know why. This isn't the first time they've been completely unfair to an undeserving individual, and it certainly won't be the last time.

But this is the voice of the WWE, goddamnit! You don't just toss him away like he was Mike Adamle. How can you condone letting Randy Orton, a two time wellness offender who is notorious for his antics that have literally caused people to QUIT, become world champion when you fire Jim Ross for being entertaining?

Classy move, WWE. Real classy.

I'll be waiting down here at the bottom for you. It may be where I'm at, but it's where you belong.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Hideo Kojima Makes the Sexy & Ineffective

I just hope you were as confused by that headline as I was by the decision to dress Metal Gear characters the way that he does.

I'm not a prude by any means, to be honest you'd be lucky to catch me wearing pants most of the time. Court orders be damned! Still, even I'm kind of looking at the designs for the new Metal Gear V game and wondering where the line between a touch of sexy and blatant sexualization will be drawn.

I understand the concept of sexing up your characters to sell it to the horny gamers, and I'm usually not too
offended by it. I play Dead or Alive and appreciate the skin on display, but it's being displayed in a fighting game based around sexy ninjas and is generally not seen as a "serious" title. In fact, you could argue that most of the "sexy" characters are generally female fighters, although the femi-nazi agenda would lead you to believe that men aren't treated like the same pieces of meat. While it's true that men aren't subjected to the same "dog panting" that someone like Kasumi or Helena would, it's hard to ignore the fact there are plenty of shirtless guys on parade for the female fan. Hell, have you played these wrasslin' games? I dare you to find a guy wearing a shirt!

What troubles me is the overt sexuality of these designs are spilling over into all genres of gaming. Sure, you've got the booth babes at the conventions, you've got the increasingly stripper-like appearance of Cortana in the Halo series, and the less said about the outfit possibilities for the Saints Row women the better.

It's actually kind of an odd and disturbing fact that someone like Lara Croft, the original video game sex object, actually covered up and became more of a real women in the most recent Tomb Raider game. While Lara is trying to class up her image, it sometimes feels like the rest of the industry is trying their best to cater to that stereotypical video game virgin who tries to angle the camera in just the right way to look up a characters skirt.

And so we come back to Metal Gear, which I have always thought of as a semi-serious series that has a pretty big following and reputation as an action packed thrill ride with an intriguing storyline. Imagine my surprise when I saw the design for this new character Quiet; a sniper with a past. Because all snipers have pasts, but none of them are as cool as Ed Harris in "Enemy at the Gates."

Quiet is a pretty lass, but her outfit leaves little to the imagination. I understand it's a video game, and with the territory comes the need to cater to a certain sad demographic, but this one has me shaking my head. I mean, I don't see the tactical advantage that wearing a skimpy bikini and a thong will offer the new age sniper. Unless she's taking cover in a flesh colored jungle I don't see how all of that skin is going to keep her alive.

Maybe I just don't understand because I'm not in the military. Maybe that's how they're going to wear it in Syria, considering that's where we're heading next.

It's not that the women of Metal Gear haven't always been a little sexy, they just weren't so blatant before. The female character from the PSP Metal Gear games was a highly attractive lady in an extremely tight outfit, but at least it covered most of her. Kojima has said that with his new game he wants more "erotic" designs for his characters.


It's not just Metal Gear, either. Look at the progression of Lightning in the FFXIII series. If you can get past the initial anger over the fact that a Final Fantasy game has had two direct sequels, you'll notice how Lightning's outfit has gotten significantly smaller as time has gone on.

Is it the way of the future, or are we catering to a stereotype that needs to die a horrible death? IGN has a good report on Kojima coming under fire for his comments on the need for etoricism in his games, but I'm sure the negative press will dissipate once gamers get their hands on what will probably be a pretty good damn game.

Once they get their hands off themselves, I mean.

Cause they're virgins.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Commentary on video game commentary.

   Whenever I'm really "into" a video game and I'm away from home unable to play it, I occasionally like to bring up YouTube on my phone and watch a little gameplay just to sate my thirst for more.
I would rather not get into whether there's an underlying game addiction there or if the developer is just really good. That's not what this is about.
It's not really anything other than wanting a little taste of game's atmosphere, music and all, to hold me over.
I did it with Fallout 3. I did it with Red Dead Redemption. I did it with Bioshock Infinite.
But I take issue with a currently popular trend.

   I'm not sure how many of you are aware, but there's a thing that's kind of taken off and I'm not sure when it did. That thing is Let's Play videos.
Let's Play videos, according to Wikipedia, are recorded videos of video game plays including a commentary by the gamer.
Not to be confused with a walkthrough which I'm not sure has a real specific definition. Could have commentary. Could not have commentary.

Let's Plays and Walkthroughs are popular enough at the moment that it's pretty common to have to wade through tons of them just to find gameplay that doesn't have someone between the ages of 15 and 30 blathering on over it.
That's where I take issue.
Let me be honest here. I don't REALLY have a good reason for complaining about this topic. The only reason I take issue with commentary is because of the small amount of effort I now have to put into just finding simple quality gameplay videos and the saturation of YouTube with people trying to become "sensations".

You may be asking "What do you mean 'sensation'? How does one become a sensation with video game videos?"
(Just pretend you asked that and pretend you didn't already know the answer.)
Well, it happens. A couple of currently popular YouTube personalities are Tobuscus...

...and PewDiePie...

(Can I just say, I hate most YouTube video thumbnails. The ones that involve a real person. I'm easily annoyed by them and it makes me not want to watch the video. But I digress)

Okay. So as you can see, people love people who do commentary over video games. They like them enough to then subscribe to certain people or make their own. The relative ease means nearly anyone can do it. This love of watching them though is something I just can't wrap my head around.

I like the occasional TV show/movie commentary. I LOVE Mystery Science Theater 3000. The difference is in the case of MST3K, the commentary(jokes) are the focus. In TV show/movie commentary, you usually go out of your way to listen to it because you want to hear the thoughts of those who worked on the product.

Let's Plays and other commentary videos are just... nobodies. Nobodies talking over a game about things ranging from how THEY play it to jokes to real life issues. And the part that boggles my mind the most is people seem to actually prefer this to just straight forward gameplay videos. I'm not talking about instructional videos on getting past certain sections of a game. I'm talking someone just...talking. Commenting.

I like to sometimes do a thing where I'll have a specific thought or opinion and I'll Google it... you know... just to see if there are like minded people out there.
Apparently there aren't when it comes to this particular subject. The internet loves them some chattering unknowns mixed with gameplay videos. The recurring thought process is "If I wanted to just watch the game being played I'd just play it myself."
I understand that...but...but...that's not really the point.

All of that being said, I GET it. I get the whys. I understand that people like to hear other people's thoughts on a game as it's being played. Heck, I've even enjoyed a few myself... given they were either bad games being played specifically for the humor of it or the Yogscast guys playing Minecraft. I hold that those are completely different things.

To get back to my ranty point:
-I have a desire.(To watch some gameplay from a game I'm currently playing)
-I go to YouTube and search it.
-Suddenly tons and tons of videos with commentary.
-I'm sad.

And to put it in an even simpler way:
I. Don't. Care. About. Your. Thoughts. On. A. Video. Game. Or. Your. Jokes. Or Your. Take. On. Real. Issues.

I MIGHT care about a developer's thoughts(I listened to the commentary track that you could listen to on Monkey Island 2 Special Edition with Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert). I like them. It's one of my favorite games. I was interested to hear what they said. It makes logical sense.

Why does it bother me so much?
Maybe it's the narcissism of people thinking anyone cares about their thoughts getting in the way of me wanting a simple thing. Then I find out no one else seems to be against the narcissism and they feed it.

I'm fully aware that this is basically a non-issue and I'm fully aware that I'm a hypocrite who, if I found out people liked hearing me commentate on gameplay videos, would dive into it head first.
It probably wouldn't even be an issue for me to rant about if YouTube wasn't A.) Flooded with them and B.) It was easier to find straight gameplay videos minus commentary.

It's basically me being an old man yelling at the kids to get off my lawn when the reality is that the old man wishes he was young and still had the energy to be out on the lawn playing....or an old man giving a really bad, inaccurate analogy.

So...c'mon people. Just start putting up some quality gameplay videos without you talking on them. Do it for me. You owe me...you know... for that thing I did for you.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Final Fantasy XIV - Frustration Reborn

I want to like Final Fantasy XIV. I really, really do. I swear on my replica gunblade and wall of FF merchandise that I want to like this new attempt to save a supposedly hated game. I want to, I just can't. I don't blame FFXIV's myriad of problems and mediocre gameplay on any one person.

I honestly believe SquareEnix has finally just stopped giving a shit.

You can look at the past few Final Fantasy games and quite easily say that they've "lost the magic." Final Fantasy X was decent, X-2 was serviceable, XII was interesting, XIII was pretty, and XIII-2 was pointless. Now they're coming out with yet another entry into the tired FFXIII world, which not only completely goes against the origins of the once beloved series, but also stretches out a story that few people actually cared about in the first place.

Logic dictates that when you're losing popularity you start changing some things to win it back. Look at Microsoft! When they were vilified for the XBox One's policies they did a complete 180 to please the fans and save face. But SquareEnix decided the best way to win back the fans was to keep pushing their own vision, as skewed and disliked as it may be. 

Hey! Did you want that FFVII remake finally? You know, the one that has been rumored since the PS2 era that would sell about a billion copies and rake in tons of money for the company? Well too fucking bad! Instead, let's enjoy some more time with Lightning, a FF character so bland that she makes Cloud look like the Macho Man Randy Savage. 

I have not been in love with a Final Fantasy game since Final Fantasy IX on PS1. That was, to me, the pinnacle of the series in terms of graphics, story, and characters you actually cared about. I actually got that from a good friend when I was younger as a gift, and I played it four days straight until I beat it. I couldn't get enough of Zidane, Garnet, Vivi and their lot, although SE has sure tried to make me hate it with that Dissidia fanservice bullshit.

Since that amazing entry into what was my favorite gaming series, I have only cared about one Final Fantasy game since then. Much like FFTactics, another stellar title, it was a huge departure from the FF we knew and loved, but it was a welcome addition and a damn legendary adventure. 

That's right, I'm talking about Final Fantasy XI.

Oh God, I can remember reading about XI every day while I salivated in anticipation for what would be the most awesome experience in the history of existence. I played Ultima Online at that point, and you all know my love for it, but I was obsessed with FFXI. An online Final Fantasy where I could adventure with my mates and have my own chocobo? 


When the day finally came I bought it and never looked back. I also bought the collectors guide, which I read any chance I could. The game was so in depth and massive that you needed a guide just to figure out where to go. It did not hold your hand through the gameplay, so you could only rely on your guide and helpful players to get you from point A to point B. Some of my best memories of the game were trying to figure out what the hell to do for my class quests, and being helped through by a group of old friends that were far better than me. When I finally got my Samurai class I felt like a damn hero.

It was an experience like no other and one that will never be replicated. But you knew that SquareEnix sure as hell would try. 

So we got the much maligned little bastard that would be called Final Fantasy XIV.

I actually played in the beta for XIV and loved it. It reminded me a lot of XI, but prettier and seemingly more casual friendly. I played the beta for hours upon hours and I think we all agreed that the game was pretty awesome.

Then something happened, and to this day I'm still not entirely sure how. When FFXIV was released, everyone seemed to turn on it. I myself just couldn't bring myself to play it anymore, even though I liked it so much that I bought the collectors edition of the game. It still sits on my shelf as a constant reminder of how a good thing can go wrong so quickly. It wasn't that bad of a game, really, and in my opinion it certainly didn't deserve the beating it took. 

After a couple of months the game was deemed so awful that they didn't even charge to play it, and eventually they completely shut it down so they could rework it into a game truly fitting of the astonishing Final Fantasy legacy.

Unfortunately, I think they were aiming for the post PS1 era legacy of mediocrity and not the inventive days of yonder.

When FFXIV : A Realm Reborn was released last week, I decided to take advantage of my free trial to see if I could grow to love this new vision as much as I loved XI. After all, they openly admitted it was a flop and poured untold money and resources into it because they didn't want to give up on it. That's admirable, but after the experience I've had with this "new" version of XIV, I think they should have just let it die and laid it to rest next to Tabula Rasa and City of Heroes.

I finally got into the pre-launch one day early, as opposed to handful of days I should have gotten as a Legacy member. Once I was finally in the game seemed to work like a charm, and I was creating and playing without any problems at all. The game itself is still rather bland, but I'll get to that in a second. My problem free experience would only last about two days, and after that it became a nightmare. I couldn't play with my buddy Josh because they actually placed restrictions on the amount of characters that could be created on certain servers to control populations, since so many people were having trouble logging in.

And why, you ask, are so many people having problems getting in? Well, unlike most games, FFXIV does not kick idle players. You could literally go to sleep and your game on and the server would never boot you, or so I've been told. if enough people log on and refuse to leave out of fear of never logging in again, it prevents others from even creating a character on said server. 

That's baffling. I for the life of me can't understand how these MMORPG companies are always so surprised by the response to their games, and never seem to have enough servers or server capacity to handle all of the players pouring in. This isn't like when Ultima Online launched and MMO's were a new experience, we've had close to twenty years to learn from our mistakes. I don't understand how SquareEnix, the mega rich corporation that they are, were unprepared for the relaunch of an MMO that they were specifically campaigning to win back everyone's faith with. 

As soon as you try to log in to the game you're already slapped in the face by the same company trying to win you back!

I finally got a character made on the Siren server after reloading the server list for nearly an hour. I get into the game to discover a very pretty world with a very uninteresting storyline and quests so cliched you'd think they just read a handbook for dummies on how to put an MMO together.

For the uninitiated, here's how questing goes in FFXIV - PC walks up to NPC, NPC talks about not trusting players, tells player to go kill 6 of something and come back. PC kills 6 of something, comes back, NPC thanks him and tells him to report to a buddy somewhere else, who then tells the PC he doesn't trust him and to go kill 6 of something and come back.

I shit you not, that has been the majority of my questing. I have not come across a single quest that did not involve killing X number of things, or interacting with an object and bringing it back. If the story behind these quests were better maybe I'd be more forgiving, but they are so pointless that you just can't bring yourself to care.

The graphics are nice, but the world and the characters seem so uninspired. It all has a very FFXI feel to it, but in the sense that they're forcing it to get that nostalgic reaction from you. It doesn't seem natural, and I definitely don't feel immersed. The only real saving grace so far has been the community. Though I can never seem to find someone to talk to, the chat feels mature and more patient than any MMO player base that I've seen in a long time. 

Despite the negatives, I find myself at my computer wanting to jump into the world and take part in more of these basic fetch quests. Why? I don't know. Maybe I want to give it a chance to open up more before I pass a full judgment. Maybe my old fanboy dedication to Final Fantasy and the great memories of XI drive me to make more of an effort. 

Either way, It doesn't matter. Instead of playing and trying to find my happy place I'm blogging about it instead, because there is yet another server error that prevents the NA shards from even showing up. My "Start' button is grayed out and I can't find anything anywhere to explain why I'm not logged in killing yet more mushroom men.

FFXIV has potential, but that potential is quickly fading into a sea of error codes and mediocre gameplay. I want to like it, I hope it gets better, and I'll keep trying to find my place in this new world. At least, I will until my free trial is up. 

The way things have been going so far, I'll be riding my chocobo into that EQNext colored sunset instead.