Wisdom of Nym: Recurring Final Fantasy XIV systems we could probably get rid of


At this point, Final Fantasy XIV has had a long time to get into a pretty reliable cadence that has not changed substantially beyond the fringes. If you do not like alliance raids, normal raids, expert roulettes, trials, and frontline matches… well, at this point it’s just fair to accept that this is not the MMO for you. It’s fine; there are others. If you don’t like things being gated behind the MSQ, it’s not changing any time soon. You get the idea. Some things are just yelling at a hot dog because it’s not a hamburger.

But that’s not to say that everything the game has kept trying to make work has been a success, and we’ve talked in the past about systems that the developers have, for better or for worse, ultimately abandoned. Today, I want to look at it from another angle by considering the systems the game could absolutely abandon without significant loss. Not things that appear to be the way they are because of system limitations, but things that are design choices that could be stopped but just haven’t been addressed.

Hollow Knee.

Unnecessarily stringent glamour restrictions

Let’s start right here. If we’re not going to get any mechanical differences for having leveled every job in the game – and at this point I think it’s very clear that the ship has decidedly sailed on that particular possibility – we should at least be able to glamour whatever we can equip on every job. If I can wear tank armor, I should be able to use it as a glamour even on my non-tank jobs. Simple.

Yes, I’m aware that Naoki Yoshida had previously stated that he didn’t like the idea of, for example, having a healer in heavy plate. That’s a reasonable stance to have. But it becomes intensely less reasonable when we keep having outfits that anyone can glamour that are very obviously inspired by full plate or heavy mail or whatever. And that’s not counting the fact that you’ve been able to put your tank in a swimsuit since the inception of the glamour system in the first place.

Put more simply, this justification simply no longer holds any water to the extent that it ever did. Especially when you consider that right now there are no rewards for leveling a lot of different things, this provides a reward and avoids the current scenario in which a whole lot of armor pieces have to be added two or three times to fit on different jobs or all jobs. Cutting down on pointless redundancy is a good thing.

And let’s be clear, this has never been about something as conjured as PvP visibility or anything like that. It’s always been stated as a matter of visual integrity of the world… and you can’t use that as a principle if you are also going to sell a couple dozen jobs hammers. You’ve got to pick a lane, and you already sold the hammers.

Ice, ice, baby

The limitations of Expert roulette

The most interesting Expert roulette should not solely be during the x.1 patch. It really sucks that as soon as x.2 rolls around, you are stuck with a coin flip for the Expert roulette for the better part of two years because it is just quite frankly boring. There is always going to be one dungeon you like less than the other, and treating it as if it’s going to be interesting when it is basically a coin flip is really not fun.

It has gotten notably worse over the years as the number of new dungeons has been reduced with each expansion. When we got two new Hard dungeons plus a new original dungeon every patch, the wider pool kept it diverse and engaging. But the number of new dungeons each patch has steadily reduced; we now get one new dungeon as part of the MSQ and that’s it. And the individual dungeons are great, but it is really unfortunate that we quickly start getting another max-level roulette with a smaller selection of dungeons while Expert remains needlessly truncated.

What exactly is the issue here? Fearing that people won’t want to see their gear scaled down? I get that this is an issue, and it is a real one that should be addressed; we don’t want tanks finishing up the Endwalker MSQ stuck with DPS that outgears them up to 6.5. That’s going to be less fun for everyone. But it’s also Expert roulette. This is not where parses matter. You aren’t doing this because you want to prove your progression mastery but to have fun running a dungeon for half an hour. Either we need dungeons to rotate out more slowly or we need more dungeons per patch, full stop.

Yes, I realize that the former option means that, for example, if you really hate the Dead Ends, you have to see it for longer. The whole reason I’m stating it as an either/or is that it ultimately doesn’t matter as much which side of things needs to change. Maybe the best way to address the issue is to start putting out more dungeons per patch; maybe that conflicts more seriously with other things that matter more. But something should give.

A new road has begun.

New players need a catch-up mechanism

I’ve stated before in full seriousness that it makes sense that you can’t just, say, excise the storyline from 1-50. There is important stuff that happens there, and I respect that the developers have worked hard to update quests and expectations to keep things vital. But the current means are not enough – especially since there are skips you can buy, and these are actively detrimental to the experience.

The current situation is not that the story sucks until level whatever and you might as well skip it; the story is doing a build, telling a story, and building important information. But there is a whole mess of content you need to run getting up there, a whole lot of quests to complete, and even though they are not nearly as onerous as they were before, it sucks having to run the Crystal Tower raids while you’re already 54.

It’s not about the fact that players have to group because if that’s your breaking point, you aren’t going to have a lot of fun with the game anyway. It’s about the fact that the patch MSQ adds a lot of chores without a lot of meaning, which is especially true in the post-2.0 quests but really present at the tail end of every expansion. And as much as I love the game, it is not really fun to tell new players that they’re going to have to run the equivalent of like four full games before they get up to the present endgame.

Unlike the prior examples, this one has no single silver-bullet solution. It is, I think, important to have the MSQ as a major component of how progress works in this game. But the current situation needs more than a few quests compressed; it needs a way to tell people who want to get into the game after a decade something other than “get ready for your next Netflix binge.”

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I’m obviously going to be discussing the next live letter. What else would it be?

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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