Time is relative. *deep thoughts* Age certainly has an impact on my recollection of events, or even my appreciation of them. The time at the pool watching my kids swim feel so much longer than actually being in lake with them. Observing and not participating makes things take a long time, or at least make me think that they do.
I was baking on the weekend, and the squirts helped out at the start. I’m sure it took 3 times as long to get the work done, but it flew by. Making dinner with the wife to host Thanksgiving was also a real time machine. And last night we watched a bit of Suits and the clock just seemed to drone on. Maybe I’m just more time conscious lately, or perhaps living the moment a bit more. I’m glad that I’m done with the White Rabbit syndrome of “I’m late”, and instead in the mindset of “so what? Let’s enjoy it.” I’d like to think it’s a healthier mindset.
I find that my Esper and Engineer aren’t as compatible as I’d like. Because the Elder Gem experience is character specific, and that exceeding the weekly cap grants a decent sized boost to gold, playing 2 characters is actually worse off than playing one. Housing, Elder Gems, Ability Points and AMP Points are character specific, which is a pet peeve right now. Truth be told, it always has been, but after having played a fair chunk of FF14, it seems downright archaic. The concept that a character is an island just doesn’t work for me anymore, especially if the “long tail” gameplay needs to be repeated multiple times. WoW started paying a bit more attention to this in MoP, then stomped on the idea in WoD and just made everything easy mode, shortening the tail. Making me play longer is a good thing. Making me repeat the bite size pieces ad infinitum is what drives people elsewhere.
I started a Warrior for kicks, to see the starter experience. It’s a whole lot better. Crazy better even. Then it gets into the regular starting zones, though the first quest hub has a ton of content to get a grasp on things. Content overload almost. The skill distribution hasn’t changed, or at least not enough for me to notice. This ends up a bit in the lines of the Tortuga zone in Age of Conan, where the starting experience is amazing, then there’s nothing for a long time, then amazing again.
The classes change so much with skill/amp unlocks, and tier upgrades, that it really makes it hard for the game to properly explain mechanics at the start, in that they are relative at the end. FF14 addresses this problem with forced grouping, through dungeons. They even have mini-instances to understand the ever increasing complexity of group encounters (stuns, avoid AE, AE attacks, running, using items, etc…). I sometimes feel like Wildstar gets you to level 10, then it’s all deep end. The deep end is amazing, without question, but the F2P conversion is showing the cracks at how prepared people are for it. If the game forced players to complete the normal modes (scaled to the appropriate level) before the veteran modes, I think people would be better off. And it’s not like there are 100+ dungeons either.
More ramblings than anything useful, I know. But the game is just screaming potential, with a few tweaks here and there. A metric ton of quality of life items were applied in the F2P conversion. It’s those changes that really put into contrast the core mechanics that are just way more complicated to resolve. Another post will have me get into the topic of solo vs. group activities. The more incentives there are in group work, and the easier it is to access (not complete, just access), the healthier a game becomes. Next time.