Massively OP Podcast Episode 281: A Steamy summer

    
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Massively OP Podcast Episode 281: A Steamy summer

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin cover the Steam launches of SWTOR and Wurm Online, Final Fantasy XIV’s plans for the rest of the year, a pseudo-reboot for Phantasy Star Online 2, a possible Fable MMO, and FFXIV’s unskippable dungeons.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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Doug

Inspector Clouseau would like to know, do you have a license for your minky(monkey) ? :)

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TomTurtle

The FFXIV e-mail reminds me of, in part, why I haven’t really been interested in giving the game another try. Developers keep making this mistake of gating main story progression behind group content when up to that point it was all soloable. Just reminds me GW2 at launch with the Zhaitan story ending with a group dungeon. WoW still does this with raid and dungeon story content frustratingly.

Bereman
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Bereman

The thing with Prae and Castrum is that they sit in their own queue. With the exception of mentor roulette (which is designed to be a “I’m queuing for where players need me” roulette), if you’re in Prae and Castrum and you’re not a new player, you know what you’re getting into, and you’ve chosen to go into it with the knowledge that you’ll have to watch the scenes for the high XP and the high Poetics Tomestone (currency) count.

It’s even recommended as a good roulette to do daily when still leveling your first character or alt jobs.

If you want to only engage in dungeons that have skippable cutscenes? Outside of your first time through, literally every other dungeon except for those two is an option.

I’ve never seen an entire group leave, though. The occasional single individual (maybe 1 in 50 runs), but everyone else is like “Hey, large amount of poetics/XP for a relatively low effort run, let’s go” and just goes through it.

There’s 72 of those, by the way.

Also, that FFXIV Free Trial explanation….

Uhhh, ya’ll might want to take a second look at its terms. It hasn’t been time limited since like May of 2017, allowing someone to level all jobs (crafting, gathering, and combat) to 35 at their own pace over several months if they so chose, without paying a cent. The new trial takes that, and pushes it all the way to 60, adds in the Heavensward main scenario all the way to the final quest before Stormblood, the new race, the three jobs added with that expansion, all for free without any time restrictions. They are also opening up the ability to experience the entirety of the Palace of the Dead (to floor 200, previous restriction was floor 10).

You just can’t use the Market Board, join a Free company (but can join a Linkshel if invited), send whispers or use shout/yell channels, hire retainers (so limited to just the 140), use mail services, they can join parties but can’t start them on their own, and have a cap on the amount of gil they can earn. Pretty much all of those are meant to deter what RMT/Bots are able to do using the free account, rather than make things annoying for the person on the Free Trial.

In other words, a new player checking out the free trial can experience half of the games content for free, and take their sweet time leveling to 60 on every job except for Red Mage, Samurai, Gunbreaker, and Dancer, as those are unlocked by purchasing the expansion they came with.

Maybe ya’ll got it confused with the much more limited time “Log-in Campaigns” they run a couple times a year, which are meant to entice lapsed subscribers to return with like 4-5 days of free gametime?

Bereman
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Bereman

(so limited to just the 140)

Forgot to mention the armory chest, which has 35 slots for each gear type (weapon, head, etc), totally 420 additional places for gear to go, and the 70 that come with the Chocobo Saddlebag.

So…”limited” to that.

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Paragon Lost

I love cutscenes but game developers need to remove them from raids and dungeons which are meant to be repeated. If you are new to the raid or dungeon and want to watch the cutscene to experience the content as designed you end up dealing with the possibility of one of getting left behind, booted, harassed, or the party might rush off to the next boss fight and lock you out of the fight.

It’s terrible and I’ve experienced it in every mmorpg that has cutscenes in their dungeons/raids. SWTOR was terrible for that experience every time I returned and wanted to check out the new content. It caused me a lot of stress, frustration and general unhappiness.

Game developers need to just make cutscenes a single player interaction and not something that causes all the problems it causes currently. Sounds like Final Fantasy went the extreme route, glad I decided to pass on playing it. Needing to do those cutscenes to advance would totally suck and cause me to walk because I’d not want the other players pissed at me.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I thought there was a fine solution available – provided there’s the development resources – to create story versions with cutscenes and maybe NPC help if needed for mechanics, then group versions that go up to an extreme mode. Even make some other things require a group mode completion … just don’t push groups to have to experience cutscenes every time they do.. or grind.. an instance.

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Paragon Lost

Yes! This would be probably the best over all way to do this. :)

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nuanane

It is actually just two dungeons (from way back in patch 2.0–October 2013-ish) that have the cutscenes. They are in their own two-dungeon roulette by themselves. It’s sort of known to be a problem; the latest solution was to make the cutscenes unskippable by everyone but massively increasing the dungeon rewards to compensate.

I’m sure the developers have ideas about how to improve this further so it’ll be interesting to see what they have up their sleeves.

Bereman
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Bereman

Yep – they are unique in their design in terms of how the cutscenes work (and the sheer amount of them compared to every other dungeon and raid available), and as you mentioned the rewards were increased significantly as compensation for entering that specific roulette.

Even then, they know what they want to do with it in terms of changes. From the Eurogamer interview with Naoki Yoshida:

There are two infamous dungeons in A Realm Reborn, Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium. Both are pretty lengthy, with unskippable cutscenes every time they might come up during a daily dungeon roulette where you can get extra bonus XP. It’s not uncommon in these dungeons for some players to be AFK, and just wait for others to complete it for them. What’s going to be done with these now-archaic dungeons?

“We came to the conclusion that it would be easier just to create those two eight-man dungeons from scratch, rather than tweaking the existing content,” says Yoshida. “We totally understand that those two dungeons are very time-consuming, so we have discussed it, but we let go of the idea. We were looking into it, and we thought that it would be best to create new dungeons, but kind of separate out the battle against Ultima Weapon as kind of standalone content outside of those two dungeons. When we do that we will make sure that it will be trust system compatible.”

So they have a plan for what they want to do with them, and much like when they first started talking about the possibility for an ARR revamp (a couple years ago was when it was first mentioned), it seems it’s more a matter of when will it work its way into the development timetable than a “nothing is changing” situation.

Till then, they sit in their own separate queue with large rewards for the effort involved (you can find better sources in terms of XP per hour, but they require significantly more effort), new players only have to go through them once if they so choose, and pretty much every other dungeon (with a couple exceptions) puts almost all major cutscenes outside the actual dungeon, either before or after.

Each dungeon starts with a load-in cutscene that last maybe 15 seconds as it pans over the environment…that can be set to be autoskipped after the first time, and still manually skipped even when watching it for the first time, and literally have no story so they can be safely skipped anyway. The whole group is also loading in at that point and the barrier for movement doesn’t go down until everyone is ready so there’s no chance of getting left behind. The final boss gets a brief cutscene that is maybe 10 seconds in length. Even if the boss gets pulled at the very start of that scene, the barrier doesn’t go up until 15 seconds into the fight, and if somehow you got stuck behind it the option is there to teleport into the fight.

With the exception of Thousand Maws (the final boss has a 2:30 minute cutscene before it) and Stone Vigil (another 2:30 minute story cutscene), just about all dungeons in the regular dungeon finder selection play out in that brief manner in terms of cutscenes.

24 man raids do often have a bit of a cutscene before the final boss (usually taking maybe 30 second or so to play out), and now that they added the ability to teleport in after the fight barrier went up then you maybe miss 10-15 seconds of the fight…and that’s if the players immediately pull. About half the time I’ve run it I’ve seen the group wait 10-15 seconds before pulling it.

8 man raids and trials? Not an issue, since the cutscenes are before and after the fight itself.

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prezpat

I decided to post to say, thanks for reading and discussing my email. I was not expecting it to be featured on the very next podcast.

To answer Dantos, this happened to me just this past weekend. I think what upset me most was the whole party bailed knowing I was new and hadn’t did that dungeon before. Prior to that, my group experience in FFXIV had been very positive. I’ve seen individuals bail, but never a whole party. I think of the two, Praetorium is slightly faster and gives a bit more XP, so you may be right it was a pre-made hoping to get Praetorium and bailed when it was Castrum Meridianum that popped up.

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Paragon Lost

I had a similar experience happen to me in SWTOR instance some years ago. Really stressed me out. Bioware makes this whole push towards voice and cutscenes because players demanded it (something I wasn’t for for various reasons), and then aren’t patient about those who want to experience it.

Bereman
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Bereman

Castrum is actually faster, by a good amount it takes about 25 minutes to run through, versus 45 minutes in Prae.

Thing is, Prae gives both better experience (quite a bit more) and takes a lot less effort. Like 10-15 minutes worth of actual combat in a dungeon that takes 45 minutes.

Dantos
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Dantos

How old was that mail? You cant skip the cutscenes no matter what in those dungeons now. Also, that particular queue, Main scenario roulette, there are only those 2 dungeons, but you get a ton of exp, like more than half a level. You cant get those dungeons in a regular queue, you need to specifically queue up for them and you have a 50/50 chance of which you get.

If people bailed, I’m guessing it was a pre-made fishing for the other one that gives more exp.

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BalsBigBrother

Great super serious podcast as always. ;-)

The FFXIV free trial doesnt have a time limit anymore, iirc it used to be a 14 day trial but that was removed in favour of the soon to be raised level limitations instead.

So once the next patch hits the game will essentially be free to play for as long as it takes you to reach level 60 assuming you are on a brand new account. Which is a huge chunk of content to sink your teeth into especially considering all the classes you have access to.

As for the dungeons I pretty much had the same experience as Justin described and found folks were for the most part fine with running the story dungeons with me as a newbie. I had a some that it took a couple of days to get a group for but nothing too bad from what I recall.

I will be interested to see if the main story quest rework / streamlining does anything regarding the story dungeons.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I’m looking forward to the FFXIV changes and I made a new account to take advantage of it.

However, I hope the upcoming pruning of ARR isn’t *too* much, as some side stories are perfectly fine. Instead, I want the intentionally charmless and pointless filler gone, as well as some time-consuming steps to more central quests, and I hope Square doesn’t determine that to include some nice NPC dialogue throughout. I like going to that town over there to learn its history, and I like following that group of adventurers until their disbanding due to deaths. That fleshes out the game to me, not ruins it into tedium.

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Minimalistway

In an old episode i complained about FFXIV dungeons, there are so many of them and the game require them and without them the player can’t progress, so i have to wait for dungeon finder, i thought they should just remove the group requirement, let me progress at my own pace.

I haven’t played FFXIV for months now, clearly the developers have a vision and if it does not work for me then i just need to stop playing the game.

In Legion i did so much group content and i’m tired of dugneons and raids, in BFA i haven’t touched LFR and did just 2 dungeons because they are required on the Alliance side to unlock flying.

Bring back the dad jokes :-D

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nuanane

In the latest FFXIV expansion, the dungeons required for the main scenario can be done solo with NPCs. From what I understand, retrofitting older dungeons with this technology is non-trivial so not sure whether that would ever happen.