Force People to Read. Hilarity Ensues.

Beta 3 for Final Fantasy XIV has ended. I’m working on an overview post that gives my opinions on the game, but there is one thing that I think deserves its own posts (if only because it’s too much of a detour in the larger post).

FFXIV has a dungeon finder. That I’m not a big fan of, but I guess it’s the evil we have to live with these days. What’s new is that, probably to prepare people for dungeon mechanics, the dungeon finder also provides a sort of  “training dungeons” that are basically single rooms with a fight that has one educational objective: Pull single mobs or small groups from a room, handle adds that spawn during a boss fight, etc. A very good idea overall. I love it, more games should have it. The scenario I enjoyed most though was the “turtle fight”. The idea is that some rich eccentric guy’s “pet turtle” (which is about twice as large as a player character) has been kidnapped, and he wants it back. I enjoyed the scenario for two reasons: first, the fight was fairly complex for a level 15 challenge. It is ridiculously easy if you do it right (because mob strength is undertuned to make for a training experience with some leeway), but impossible if you do it wrong. It’s also not rocket science at all to do it right, and doesn’t rely on twitch muscles or the like. All that you need is to understand the simple mechanics and act according to them. The mechanics are:

  1. The turtle needs to be tranquilized, but not killed. Killing it means failing the mission.
  2. The turtle can be put to sleep by lighting a herbal pouch that is statically placed on the ground.
  3. To light that pouch, you need to kill a fire elemental that spawns occasionally and drops some sort of lighter (because bringing your own source of fire would be too easy, I guess).
  4. The herbal pouch will only produces fumes for a period after lighting it. After that, you will need to rinse and repeat the last step.
  5. To make it go to sleep, the turtle needs to be brought to low health, and close to the fumes. (The herbs are a powerful turtle hypnotic, but do not affect people at all.)
  6. The kidnappers are not happy about your trying to rescue the turtle, so they will heal it and attack you. Occasionally, additional mobs will spawn.
  7. All of this is explained in the introductory text.

Exercise: name at least 5 things that can go wrong with a group that doesn’t read quest texts.

7 thoughts on “Force People to Read. Hilarity Ensues.

  1. FFXIV is not a game for people who hate reading. I find it an interesting contrast with Wildstar, whose design goal was ‘Make no quest text longer than Twitter-length if possible’. On the contrary, FFXIV obviously relishes being verbose (and outright arcane in it’s vocabulary sometimes).

    1. You make a good point I had totally forgotten and should probably put into my big posts I’m working on: the language! It won’t win a literary prize, of course, but for an MMO, it’s top-notch, and I love the vocabulary.

      I thought for a bit about installing the Japanese client to improve my Japanese skills, but I decided (a) the English version is almost too good to pass on, and (b) if the Japanese version is anything like the English one I will have a very hard time and need a dictionary every sentence, and probably learn a lot of words I won’t have much use for in everyday life (which is fun in its own way, but I think I need to work on my basics first again).

  2. I’m on record as absolutely loving the quality of the writing in FFXIV. It’s one of the very best parts of the game. That, however, does nothing to mitigate how appalled I am by what you describe.

    I haven’t tried any dungeons in FFXIV yet. Unlike everyone else I have found leveling pleasantly slow going and while I reached 15th in one class in Beta2 I only managed 12th in Beta 3. I really, really hope FFXIV dungeons aren’t yet another scripted dance. I was counting on an EQ/DAOC style dungeon experience.

    The idea of having to kill x to get y to use on z to progress in a dungeon is a complete and total anathaema. Dungeons should be about your group’s strengths, skills and tactics against those of the monsters that live there: PERIOD. We don’t have a whole load of clever tricks that monsters need to learn and counter in baroque and bizarre fashion and it should not work the other way round. They should get superior survivability, firepower and numbers. That’s all.

    What with Yoshi P’s extremely disheartening post (which obviously we must not discuss here) and this post about the very bottom-end dungeon play I feel quite depressed about the prospects for this game for which I had such high hopes.

    1. I don’t know, I think this is actually were our opinions differ. I think that addtional fight mechanics can be a very fun thing. The designers should not go overboard so that you need very fast reaction time, and one error of any person in a large group means death (except for maybe fights at the extreme top), but the kind of puzzle-solving that I described here is completely fine with me. To be fair, it wasn’t even much of a puzzle-solving because the building blocks were all explained. I like the variance that comes with this. Not every fight has to be like it, but if every fight is exactly the same, that bores me.

      What I do agree with is that I would have loved to see sprawling dungeons with alternative paths and open areas, like Blackrock Depths in vanilla WoW or Goblintown in LotrO. (I know that probably doesn’t help you much, but I never played too much of the original EQ, and never DAoC). I’m disappointed that FFXIV’s dungeons seem to be mostly the industry standard “dungeon on rails” experience. Though there’s at least a slight chance that at the top end, we’ll see one or two of the other type. One can always hope…

      I’m not sure which post you mean. I thought the NDA was pretty much lifted? If you think it still applies to that post, can you either link to it (if it’s behind a beta login) or send me the link via mail?

  3. Turtle killed. Mission ends. Players boggle and start hating on each other.

    I don’t think one has to go on thinking about more possibilities here. 🙂

    1. Oh, I indeed had one group that showed 5 different difficulties understanding (or acting on) the mechanics. The turtle dying was one of them (and obviously the last one, chronologically speaking).

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