FFXIV: ARR Phase 2 Feedback

Some of the longer more in depth feedback I wrote on the Beta Forums.  I will be posting an update to each of these feedback sometime after Phase 3 Test 1

Disciple of Hand and Land General Quests

Loving all the quests, the side quest story lines are wonderful and carefully thought out.

If possible, please consider adding in additional general quests for DoH and DoL, along the lines of quests for other classes. Along with future involvement in FATE, the addition of quests for DoH and DoL will make them feel more invested and wanted by the NPC community along with other tangible objectives such as:

  • experience points bonus
  • gear rewards
  • motivated gathering or crafting in an effort to collect what NPCs need

Enhancing Target Icons/Signs

Target Icons/Signs are very well done. Being able to use <tags> to define these targets in macros is just GREAT! Good to note also that this system is unique only to XIV and I can see it being utilized in depth in all manner of play style.

Some Small Issues:

  • Only party leader can assign Target Icons/Signs
  • In the absence of original party leader (either via death or disconnect), the signs dissapear
  • Once a target has been marked by Icons/Signs, this indicator only appears over their nameplate and no where else

Potential Solutions

  • Please allow party to confer and decide who is the primary target marker, other than party leader.Example: 
    In the thick of battle the original Party leader disconnects whereby the party leader role is transferred to another player. Signs are lost. When rejoining the game and party, disconnected player needs to get back into the thick of battle and the new party leader is too busy to promote.
  • Please make signs permanent once they have been applied, unless a player updates the sign in any way (marking another target with the same sign or marking the same target with a different sign)Example:
    In the thick of battle the original Party Leader dies. Signs are lost. Upon being raised, instead of getting back into the thick of battle, he will need to mark all targets with signs again, thus wasting time.
  • Please add the target sign appear at the end of the Target HP bar. (or somewhere else as appropriate for design purposes) Currently Signs only appear above nameplate. When clicking on the target, there is no indication what the signs are.Example:
    All enemy within encounter has been marked with signs. When Tank runs in and gathers the group up, everything is close together making the signs harder to see. Party member either tab through or click the list of targets, however is unable to see which HP bar belongs to which Sign. For example of implementation in an actual game, please review WoW raid icons and unit frames.

User Created Content (UCC)

From the number of posts requesting this and that on the Beta forums, one can surmise that no matter how many hours, effort, manpower and finance a company invests into a game, the players will never truly be satisfied.

With the success of many UCC portals online (youtube, wikipedia etc.) a few games companies have experiemented with and successfully implemented UCC within their games (example: Star Trek Online, the now defunct City of Heroes). Moblin Maze Monger from FFXI is another more structured and rigid example of UCC. UCC helped expand and maintain certain player interests in these games.

If Square enix was to build a system which allows players to design/create their own dungeon, FATE and quest objectives for the purpose of gaining experience points, fame points or party play experience, it may go along way in alleviating some player concerns as well as encourage player loyalty and participation.

Include with it also a rating system which allows other players to provide numerical feedback on whether said content is acceptable, fun, repeatable and the this system may become a culture of it’s own.

FATE Feedback

FATE are fun, fast and rather addictive! An overall great job to this system, which has shown to be an improvement over other game versions.

Favorite parts about FATE:

  • Quick and easy access to battle content
  • Fast and rewarding exp
  • Promise of additional rewards is enticing, cannot wait!
  • A good all-rounder type of content

Some Issues about FATE which may already have been addressed:

  • Some events end too fast, additional balancing need to be made to scale difficulty based on participation (many feedback and ideas already regarding this)
  • Some events end before they even update on mini-map or map (possibly due to server latency/delays)
  • PC Display priority, whereby when there are large number of players, some computers may not be able to function normally during event (I believe this may already be addressed by the future ability to scale number of models to render?)

Additional View Points on FATE:
Because the content is well done and addictive, it frustrates players when

  1. they are not able to participate for various reasons, (some addressed above)
  2. they feel that FATE could be so much more and it excites their imagination, and some desires are not met,
  3. because the gameplay for FATE feels urgent and reactive, players react negatively when there is no current and immediate reaction in the game environment to their efforts (with the fort defense, currently there is no benefit to winning the fort because the enemy will come and recapture again and it’s just a rinse repeat process where the only benefit is Experience Points for participating)

Potential Solutions:

  • Allow a system in Beta to provide user feedback for each FATE upon completion.
  • Insert town criers who announces when a FATE is occuring within the same zone
  • Add a FATE journal where a player can view all types of FATEs participated in, their contribution, reward, success/failure. Allow the journal to have a player Notes section where they can enter any information they wish.
  • Currently, hovering over a FATE icon in the map will display the event name. Please add the ability to view additional information such as time left on event, number of player participants currently active, recommended level. If this takes away from exploration, then in conjunction with the FATE journal, this information only appears if the player has participated in this FATE before. Lore wise this could be explained by “This adventurer has already assisted in our cause once, we will update this adventure on our status moving forward so they may choose to assist us again”
  • Automatic Level Sync when Level sync is added, hopefully the ability to automatically be synced down to the recommended level of the FATE will be added. (I am ware that this may be heavy processing for the server and may not be feasible)
  • Allow a user created suggestion system in game for when a player encounters a game situation/content which can also be made into a FATE encounter. This will encourage players to actively participate and invest their time in the game not just as players but also as contributors.

Stoneskin

Please rebalance stoneskin to allow for more usefulness. Currently at level 34 when we receive this ability, there is not much use for it. You can choose to cast Stoneskin or you can heal through thrice the damage that Stoneskin absorbs.

Issues:

  • Stoneskin MP cost is 151 MP at level 34
  • Stoneskin only absorbs up to 10% damage based on target’s HP, Example Damage Dealer has 700HP, Stoneskin will only absorb up to 70HP, which is decidedly less than a mob or Boss at level 34 will hit for.
  • Stoneskin currently lasts up to 30mins, however dissapears after one hit

Potential Solution:

  • Reduce MP cost to around 100MP
  • Reduce duration to around 15minutes
  • Increase amount of damage absorbed to around 30% HP (which will cover for only 1 special/Critical by a boss or up to 2 hits from a regular)

Alternative Solution:

  • Maintain current spell function however add in % chance to completely absorb 1 hit without using up the Stoneskin regular %

Conclusion:
Stoneskin is normally regarded as a very special ability that all healers look forward to. Currently it has been downgraded to a useless spell. Balancing needs to be done to Stoneskin in order to bring back it back to it’s beloved status.

Regarding GCD Complaints on Forums

Although it is too early to give a final feedback on GCD Duration, to appease the concern which has been loudly voiced by beta testers, perhaps Square Enix will consider addressing this by giving specific examples of how this will change by level 50.

When I reached level 34 on my CNJ my GCD was only reduced to 3.39s from gear upgrades and innate speel speed increases, however, perhaps due to the HP level of the mobs, the efficiency of my tank and fellow party mates, and the familiarity I now have with every single skill in my repertoire, I never felt hindered by the GCD at all, in fact the small amount of decrease felt large and meaningful.

I was able to cure, deal damage, buff party, cast raise mid battle and crowd control all within the framework of the GCD. So yes, to agree with YoshiP it does feel different after level 30.

However, we cannot completely ignore the earlier levels. Unfortunately in today’s trend of gamers with limited attention span, if a game does not capture the audience with the first 10 levels, most gamers loose interest.

Issues:

  • GCD feels too long when you first start the game
  • GCD causes the first 15-20 levels feel like I’m spamming only 1 action
  • First 10 levels of the game does not feel epic
  • Introduction of the game does not feel epic (I understand that what is in Beta is not the final product and is merely a placeholder)

Summary of Issues:
When a new player starts the game, they do not see potential for greatness or the epic adventure awaiting them, they only see the small tasks and the small amount of abilities they start of with. Liken this to a child who is newly introduced to the world via a series of small tunnels, instead of a child being taken to the best lookout and being able to view the entirety of the vista ahead of them.

Potential solution:
(I understand that this could be the plan for all I know since Beta will not include this, but if not, please consider the possibilities what the first 10 minutes of the game could mean to a new player)

  • Perhaps the introduction for first time players with no legacy status could be a higher level battle with all types of skills available and a tougher fight, this way the player is introduced to a more complicated ‘future’ self which they will quickly realize is fun and challenging
  • The scenario could then switch to reality, where their character comes to the realization that every beginning has to start slowly.
  • A good example of this type of implementation can be found within the cutscene for FFXIV 1.0, where the midlander was thrown into a battle of epic proportions but reawakens to find himself just starting the journey.
  • Or in Final Fantasy XIII-2 during Lightning’s sequence, where you can feel the power of the character but then you are brought back to the level 1 character you have to actually advance.
  • Or Aion (another MMORPG which utilizes GCD) where you begin as a much higher level and more powerful being, but is then brought back to a lower level in order to actually experience the game
  • However in both instances you now know what your future could be, and what you can strive towards.

Conclusion:
Regardless of SE’s final decision, or the number of users who just wishes to complain for the sake of complaining, the fact remains that something does not feel right with the first 10 levels of the game and needs to be addressed.

Ability to Save A Newly Created Character

Not sure if this is viable on current build, but if possible please bring back the ability to save a newly created character, sort of like a template.

Reasons:
– with the fun of multiple options, it takes longer to create characters, occasionally connection to lobby server may drop so after all the hard work, the character is lost if unable to connect to work server correctly.
– allows players to save favorite character models/templates they have created for quick character creation either on other servers or for future test server purposes (assuming SE adopts the test server model after launch)

As a Healer in Haukke Manor, Thoughts on GCD

As a healer in Haukke Manor, my thoughts on GCD has changed almost entirely. Was extremely critical of GCD previously during Alpha and first week of Beta. However, I now think that YoshiP was right, wait until level 30+ to judge. Having used the same abilities and with absolutely no ‘pointless’ abilities taking up my action bar whatsoever, I used almost every spell in my repertoire effectively, including timing Raise during combat (you get a class ability that allows this).

Went in with all possible available combination of classes in current beta (sometimes with 2 arc and with 2 cnj). Other than heals, DoT, Fluid Aura > Stone II to inflict Heavy, we also used sleep whenever 2 cnjs were present. Crowd Control finally has purpose again in 2.0. When mobs are slept, healer spends less time spamming cure.

With the innate spell speed, the gcd went down by quite a bit and makes a difference. Will not go into detail on stats yet as gear choices etc. may change come Phase 3.

One thing I appreciate in the new system is that between 1-30, a player of any skill level will become so comfortable and used to their abilities, what each does, how/when to execute them, that it becomes muscle memory. A player of any skill level should be able to react and think of next actions all within those few seconds of cool down.

Keep in mind that by level 50, it’s expected for GCD to be as low as 1s depending on gear choices. Studying healer gear choices for example demonstrates that spellspeed seems to be present in almost every piece, while what is more suitable for thm appears to favor int and acc above all else. So there will be a lot of interesting combinations/choices to test with come Phase 3.

So in conclusion… Just wait and experience it. Regardless, balancing is a given in any case, we do not even know what the other classes are capable of yet. Assuming that the dev team will make no balance adjustment whatsoever is unrealistic.

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