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Monday, September 15, 2014

ArcheAge the Disaster & An Apology to FFXIV

I have a long and tumultuous history with Final Fantasy XIV.

I played the original release way back in 2010, but found it to be lacking in a lot of areas. The questing was boring, the level progression was confusing, and I just felt no attachment to the world around me. I found it unsurprising when they shut down the entire game a little over two years later.

The relaunch came in 2013, and I have been actively playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn  since then on both PC and PS4.

I gave Final Fantasy XIV a lot of grief when it was re-released last year. Looking back on it, I would even go so far as to say that I was overly critical.

It had a lot of problems, but they were problems that seem to follow every AAA MMORPG release.

To be fair, they seem to plague indie MMORPG's, too.

Or any MMORPG's launch, it seems.

For those of you who never got to read my initial thoughts from the second coming of XIV, here is a small taste and a link to the full article -

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.

As someone who writes about the gaming industry, I was frustrated with the launch. As a gamer and Final Fantasy fanatic, I was downright pissed off. I couldn't comprehend how a major company like SquareEnix could botch a launch so badly. I was positive, in that moment of being a whiny bitch, that this was the absolute worst launch in gaming history.

Little did I know that on September 13th, 2014, a title would come out that not only eclipsed FFXIV's traumatic launch, but would also cement itself as one of the biggest disasters in gaming history.

History, say hello to ArcheAge.

ArcheAge is scheduled to officially launch on September 16th, but those dedicated enough to purchase one of the founder packs were able to play the Friday before.

At least, that was supposed to be the plan.

The reality of the situation was much more painful for the poor souls that bought one of the founder packs. Those who shelled out the price of $50, $100, or $150 were promised a four day headstart that was plagued with insanely long queue lines and random disconnections that created chaos across the internet.

And you know how angry those guys get when you take away their gaming and porn. I thought when Reddit banned the Fappening that World War 3 would start and ruin ISIS and Russia's plans for the future.

I could go into all of the details, but I found an informative and humorous video on YouTube from a user named Fox Fires that sums it up pretty well. You can surely view that right here!

It would be easy enough to tell the player base to shut their mouths and be adults about this. As I said before, MMORPG launches have always been problematic. I can't remember a single multi massive online game that has released without a hitch, so in some ways it should be expected.

With that said, it would be completely unfair to criticize the players who shelled their money on broken promises. This isn't a case of impatient gamers who are pissing and moaning on the forums because they're immature. Let me be clear on this - Trion, the company behind the US release, has flat out ripped off their customers with ArcheAge.

The founder packs for ArcheAge promised a four day headstrart to go along with a list of bonuses. In a game like Archeage, a four day headstrart means more time to make money, buy land, and start living out your virtual dreams. The players who paid the extra money deserves first shot, and they were misled, lied to, and robbed.

I want the bigwigs at Trion to tell me how a headstart can have queue lines of 2000-3000 people, with an average wait time of three hours. I remind you that this is not the public launch, but a very specific release only for the people who paid extra. If it's this bad now, what do they expect when the floodgates open for everyone on Tuesday?

This game has been on a lot of most wanted lists for years. It was highly anticipated and very successful overseas, so it's not like the popularity has taken Trion by surprise. There is no excuse for this kind of mismanagement.

For those who paid the extra money to wait three hours just to get into the game, they were greeted with random disconnections every ten minutes that would then put them right back into the 2000+ queue and another two hour wait.

And when they did finally get to play for more than ten minutes? A lot of them found that the largest guilds had already bought up most of the open land, and finding a place to call home was near impossible. One of the biggest reasons to buy the founders pack was to claim your land early before the big rush, and a huge chunk of players came up empty.

I mean, if they got to log in at all, with all of the unadvertised waiting they paid for. Customer tickets filled up quickly, and apparently the average wait time for support was four hours or more.

Needless to say, a lot of people are demanding refunds. Normally I tend to side with the game company in situations like this, and I tell people to research a game before they spend money on it. In a situation like this, the customer has been hoodwinked and absolutely should demand their money back since they were not given what they were promised.

And what is Trion's response to this madness? They're monitoring the situation, of course, but unfortunately they cannot provide compensation for those who paid money to sit and wait.

I was very close to buying one of the founder packs on Friday. I had Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off, and I had hoped to jump in to ArcheAge and maybe find some of those old Ultima Online feelings again. I was excited by the prospect of an MMO that prided itself on being a sandbox, and a lot of the features of the game did sound very old school.

I hesitated on Friday, but by Saturday I was fighting the urge to reach for my wallet. I decided to look around on the forums to see if there were any pre-launch problems, and I was shocked to find that the game is practically unplayable.

Tuesday is an important day for me, from an entertainment point of view. Godzilla comes out on Blu Ray, as does the dual pack of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2. I planned on picking both of those up, and putting them on in the background while I started my adventures in the world of ArcheAge.

I no longer have faith that I will even manage to get into the game. If paid users can't even log in to a game that isn't open for everyone yet, I doubt there is a place for old Freebie Young.

I will continue to wait and watch what is quickly becoming the biggest disaster in MMORPG history.

And to you, Final Fantasy XIV, I apologize for being so angry at you.

I drew this Moogle for you!

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