Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV and the weirdness of Yo-kai Watch

Your manager says you should shut up.
The fact that Final Fantasy XIV has now officially had a crossover with Yo-kai Watch feels rather odd to me. I’m honestly not a huge fan of crossovers in general¬†because they raise a whole lot of questions that aren’t really going to be answered, but at least stuff like the Lightning crossover or Dragon Quest is reasonably easy to smile and nod about. Sure, there was a lady in weird armor marching around; there are golems that look unusual stomping about in Thanalan. I can accept these things.

Yo-kai Watch, by contrast, really never settles well against the game world. But I also recognize that’s my hangup more than anyone else’s, and it’s still something that merits further discussion. To the surprise of no one who has read the obvious headline, that’s actually what I plan on discussing this week. So now that I’ve spent the introduction explaining that the event doesn’t entirely sit well with me, let’s start in on why the event is totally fine even if it doesn’t sit well with you.

Not everything is for me (or you)

All right, this looks pretty much fine.I’ve seen various sources claiming that the real rationale behind the event is that Naoki Yoshida is friends with the producer behind Yo-kai Watch, thus making a crossover a case of friends helping one another out. I’d believe it. I’ve also seen people claiming that the franchise is popular among teenagers in Japan, and thus the crossover can help bring new players into the game to see what FFXIV is all about. I’d believe that, too. And while I might not really be thrilled with the crossover on a whole, that’s all the explanation I actually need. It doesn’t need to be for me.

Unfortunately, I have seen people complaining that the event shouldn’t exist, which does bother me. I think it’s more than fair to, say, point out how badly the art style clashes with the existing art of Final Fantasy XIV, but that comes down to a matter of personal preference. Not every event in the game needs to cater to everyone, especially not an event that you can almost entirely ignore if you aren’t interested in doing it.

The core of the anger (and there is some anger) seems to be the idea that we’re getting this crossover instead of something else, ignoring the fact that there was no either-or. It wasn’t a matter of getting Yo-kai Watch instead of Dark Souls or Legend of Zelda or Dead or Alive. This is just a crossover that happened independently of anything else. It’s an additional thing, some bits of lore and minions and weapon skins that would otherwise not exist. That’s all it needs to be.

I think the art style clashes pretty badly, but it doesn’t need to be for me; it can be for the people who love both games and are insanely happy that they get to mix the two together. I might joke about the idea that the resultant mix goes together like peanut butter and mayonnaise, but the reality is that someone out there likes that. Just because it’s not for you doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist; it just means that this particular thing is not for you. Not everything has to be.

And for the roleplaying contingent who complains that it’s damaging to immersion, well, it’s no more damaging than the number of characters running around completely naked save for a pair of bunny ears. Let’s be real, here.

The mechanics of chance

This is less so. Although I like the idea of blowtorch fists.The other big part of the event that’s getting under everyone’s skin is, well, the random chance of it. Not for the minions; that part is straightforward: You equip the wrist armor and then just do a FATE. No, it’s the Legendary medals, that only have a chance of dropping after a FATE done in the correct regions for a given minion. And that’s without considering the escalating cost of weapons, just like minions; you’re able to get your first one for just 7 medals, but the last one will cost you 30, with no way of adjusting “useless” medals into more useful currency.

Obvious comparisons to relic/anima weapons have abounded, of course, but I feel that doing so misses the obvious point that this isn’t progression. This is not content you need to get through for a certain tier of equipment; this is entirely optional. It’s part of a two-month event that wants you to be doing stuff for a while, which means that it’s naturally going to have an element to keep you playing over the longer term. There’s a world of difference between something that you have to do and something that you want to do.

Which isn’t to say that I like this element. I mean, I’ve gone on record as disliking FATEs in general. Having an event centered entirely around them is not what I consider everything that I want. And really, as much as I might understand it, it’s kind of annoying to have to trek to a specific zone and then just start slamming your head against the tide of FATEs endlessly for a chance at getting the medals you want. There’s a lot of effort and work here required to unlock stuff that a lot of players don’t necessarily want in the first place.

But then you just cycle back around to the fact that you don’t have to do it if you don’t want it, and any frustration feels a lot less potent. It’s a reward structure that works, and it requires a fair bit of persistence to get the big reward for collecting everything. That is… probably the way that it should go, really. It seems fair. If your ultimate goal is a prestige mount that’s difficult to get, that mount should in fact be difficult to get. Short of forcing you to succeed at some obscure rhythm challenge, this is the best way to go about that.

Is it worth it?

I don’t really play Verminion, so I’m not the right person to tell you if your newly acquired spirits are worth using on the battlefield or not; my gut reaction is that you’ll find some use for most of them, but you may or may not actually use them. When you already have hundreds of minions, comparisons become more fine-grain anyhow.

If you’re similarly disinterested in the minions from a gameplay perspective, then it’s worth doing for as long as you have weapon skins worth picking up or if you’re a compulsive collector. It’s no more offensive than any other event in a similar vein. I go back and forth on it myself; I don’t actually care for most of the skins, but I do have a compulsive need to collect things when they’re offered. It’s not a positive attribute, I know.

Feedback, as always, is welcome down in the comments or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I have a few little things that I’d like to talk about in a collection of vignettes, but I’d also like to see what you (yes, you) want to see discussed, so if you’ve got a topic you’d love to see discussed in more depth than my usual shorter comment replies, leave it down there in the comments as a question! Or mail it in, that’s cool too.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing¬†Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.

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