Massively OP Podcast Episode 308: FFXIV’s endings and beginnings

    
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In this week’s show, Bree and Justin talk cover the Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker reveal, Skyforge’s big Nintendo launch, World of Warcraft’s and Guild Wars 2’s finances, Google Stadia’s misfortunes, making progress in multiple games, and frustrating MMO 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 question to the show, use this link or call in to our voicemail at (734) 221-3973.

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TomTurtle

Making dungeons more varied and interesting is not an easy problem to solve. A big issue with that is how developers expect you to run dungeons repeatedly. A big sprawling dungeon to explore with traps and puzzles might be fun the first few times, but loses its luster quickly when done over and over.

Developers don’t want to put in a ton of effort to one and done content either, so I’m hard pressed to think of a better solution. I’m all for choices in MMOs, and I had initially thought, why not give players the option to run either a straightforward kill dungeon or a more exploratory, puzzles and traps kind of dungeon. But I quickly realized that players will meta the crap out of that and the players who want to run the latter will struggle to find others who’d want to as well.

The developers would probably see the low engagement in the exploratory dungeon design and decide not to do that kind of style of dungeon again. It’s both a developer and player-created problem that I honestly can’t blame anyone for how the dungeon design has refined itself over the years.

When content loses its novelty, players are motivated by rewards. Many want to just get through as quickly as possible and not have to think about it too hard. Killing provides that quick, less thought process intensive activity. You could tie in rewards to a more exploratory dungeon run, but then that’d just be boiled down to a linear experience as players end up doing what’s the best route anyhow.

I feel like developers have keyed in on player behavior enough to recognize this and design directly for it instead of fighting against it. I’m not saying it’s the best outcome as I do miss the sense of wonder, but it does make sense why things have turned out the way they have.

Also, your idea of making a spreadsheet reminded me of the podcast question I just submitted about easing in returning players and gave me an idea for that. Like, imagine a diary or to-do list that you can save in your MMO that you can leave for yourself for when you return to the game to better help guide yourself as to what to do next.

You actually kind of answered the question here with that last reader e-mail. It’s amusing to me how that worked out. I feel like it’s a common problem, and it doesn’t surprise me it’d come up like that.

The suggestion of having a guild to help you is another good one.

Damon Anderson
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Damon Anderson

Thanks, I enjoyed the podcast.

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Ryan Allgood

I’m surprised Bree wasn’t super excited for the Island Sanctuary announcement for FFXIV! Haha. Seems like exactly what she’d like (chill farming and raising animals on an island that your mini pets run around on). Also I’m super excited for that part, and hoping we can have a house on it.

On dungeons:

Maybe I’m the odd one out, but I like the linear dungeons. Non-linear dungeons are fun the first time, maybe the second time, but they very quickly wear out their welcome imo. I like running dungeons to interact with the battle system on a group level, not to run around in circles forever getting lost.

Also I absolutely HATE skipping enemies. This is one thing I’ve really disliked about WoW’s more recent dungeon design and why I actually prefer FFXIV’s dungeons. I really dislike the whole “If we mount up, press ourselves as hard as possible in this corner, and jump at just the right time, we can glitch out the game and skip these 2 trash packs, but if you mess up, you pull everything.” This also puts a ton of pressure on the tank to know the exact precise path that skips as much trash as possible for every single dungeon (which is why I refuse to tank in WoW, but love tanking in FFXIV).

Anyway, I’d prefer the more varied, puzzle type content you mention be in a solo capacity, or as extra bonus content you do once. I loved the jumping puzzles in GW2, but if I had to do them every time I wanted to run group content, I’d hate them.

That all being said, I think if that’s your cup of tea, FFXIV just isn’t the right game for you. I agree with Justin on the suggestion of DDO, as I hear that’s what that game is all about.

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Dantos

That’s where I am with dungeons. I remember some of the old school dungeons and just the amount of camping done to get a single item. I remember the TIM scope farm in AO, every 20mins was a 15% chance to spawn the boss then 100 people attack all try to get looting rights. or a super high-level character gets somehow into one of the lower lvl dungeons and camps the end boss and sold looting rights to people or guilds pema camped certain bosses to corner the market on access to certain items. Obviously, these problems can be alleviated with better design but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

I think linearity has gotten a bad rap in past years, although some variety would be nice since we are expected to run these things over and over.

For ESO dungeons, base games dungeons are speed runs if you pug, always, so a guild might be helpful to get the story aspect, they aren’t hard at all. the DLC dungeons are a huge step up in difficulty and mechanics, so much so that people will often skip the daily quests involving them, let alone doing them on vet difficulty.

Faye
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Faye

On the topic of cloud gaming, Nvidia and Microsoft are pulling it off quite well. The reason Google failed isn’t because cloud gaming is doomed to never work, but because they botched the launch. Stadia launched with an anemic library of games (games most people didn’t want to buy again) and without support for most of the platforms it was supposed to work on.

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Sarnaut Explorer

I wish SSG hadn’t soured my desire to play Lotro because I had gotten the free quest packs and the expansions up to Mordor for $5

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Sarnaut Explorer

Justin! Argonians are where it is at in ANY elder scrolls game. Big lizards or amphibians are my favorite to roleplay

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Sarnaut Explorer

Hearing Bri have a second life™ in swg just makes me smile every time. I even took my sorc in bdo and started working on gathering nodes and goblin workers to start processing wood to make boats…just cause. I can’t wait for mansion style homes!

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BalsBigBrother

Justin, I would suggest you grab that dungeon story guild if you have any interest in doing ESO dungeons.

I am trying really hard with dungeons but it seems if you are not running through them at over 9000 mph you are a wasted spot. It’s weird because in pretty much every other aspect of the ESO folks seem much more relaxed and laid back. That is all thrown out of the window with dungeons and it’s rush, rush, rush

I am not one to give up easily but I am finding doing dungeons in pugs in ESO extremely frustrating. It’s swaying dangerously close to not fun and if I cross that line then my dungeon adventure will be over, sadly.

Still tons of other things to do ESO so I won’t be going any where but dungeons are a big part of the content and it would be a shame to not see it.

Dantos
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Dantos

Once I get my undaunted skill and gear to the right place I hardly touch dungeons outside of getting the skill point for doing the quest the first time.

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TomTurtle

It’s also worth checking out public dungeons. They have a more exploratory feel to them, though they can be difficult to solo, at least at lower levels. I’ve not reached max level nor power in that game so it might be a different story then. It’s worth grouping up with people to do them, whether by asking for help outside the dungeon or inside.

I’m hoping with the upcoming companion system that you’ll be able to effectively solo them.

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Paragon Lost

I have found that overall they’re a mad rush as well. :/ The companion system would be a boon for sure if it helped being able to solo them.

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Paragon Lost

The mad rush is real. (sigh) I end up reading as much as I can about the dungeon before hand just to hopefully not miss anything while doing it to get the achievement out of the way. I thought it was bad in SWTOR and WOW, ESO players make SWTOR and WOW players look slow in comparison.