August 30, 2010 by Tim

The Final Fantasy XIV open beta is supposed to launch tomorrow. I haven’t found anywhere to pre-load the client, but I have the game pre-ordered so I’ll definitely be checking it out this week (in case I want to cancel my preorder!)

I played Final Fantasy 11 for a few weeks, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. The frustrating combat system/menus and struggle to find groups turned me off. Still, I make it a point to try almost any MMO at least once, and at the very least FF14 is looking very attractive from a visual standpoint.

There was a recent uproar concerning the Fatigue system that the game has in place, but only really started to get noticed in Beta Phase 3 after some fixes were made. The initial nerdrage was, ultimately, due to a poorly translated Japanese post. An official, clearer translation was released by Square-Enix, and while the Fatigue system is not quite as harsh as initially assumed (from the poor translation) it’s still got some people in a sour mood.

Before I try to sum up the system (as I understand it), it’s important to remember that Final Fantasy 14 will be sporting a class system similar to the job system in FFXI. Basically any character can have more than one class, and can switch between the classes at will depending (apparently) on the weapons they equip.

Square-Enix has then calculated an average amount of skill/experience points that a person could obtain in an hour if they were solely grinding out experience and doing nothing else. They’re calling this number a “threshold value”. I’m just going to call it a block.

Now, in a given week (think of the week-long raid lockouts in WoW) for the first eight blocks of leveling, you’re earning the maximum amount of experience possible. So this could be eight hours, if you were to spend eight hours just earning experience. For a normal player, it’s probably going to take much longer to reach eight blocks of experience.

Once you’ve passed the eight blocks, the next seven blocks will see your experience/skill gain gradually decrease (per block) until it reaches zero. Once a week everyone’s blocks reset at zero.

Now, if this were the system alone, I’d say players are justified in being angry. However there are a couple additional points to consider. First of all, as soon as you stop engaging in experience-gaining activities, your blocks begin to recover. We don’t have confirmation yet, but I’m going to assume this counts when you’re logged off as well. So basically, while you’re hanging out in town, or offline altogether, your blocks are resetting, even before the weekly hard reset.

So I think maybe this system only realisticly effects the hardcorest of the hardcore grinders. Those without jobs or families who desire to play their MMOs for 12-16 hours a day. I don’t think the average player is really going to be hitting this threshold as often as they think they are.

And even if they do, the next thing to remember is the the skill block countdown applies per class. So if you churn out eight blocks as a Gladiator, and you’re still chomping at the bit for another eight hours of playtime, you can swap to your Thaumaturge class, or your Fisherman class and churn out some skill points on those classes, with a fresh timer on your skill blocks.

I may be missing some crucial pieces of information here, but who even plays that much in a day? Are people legitimately angry because after (roughly) fifteen hours of straight grinding they’ll be prevented from earning experience for a little while? Or ar they just angry because the option to grind 24 hours a day is being removed, even though they’d never even come close to doing that?

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