With all of that in mind, we can be sure that 14 and 11 will be different enough to work side by side. For these guys, it's not about the grind -- it's about the story. I think we can be certain that the new world we're about to explore will be very different than Vana'diel and follow a completely different line of thought with a new twist on their own battle system.
It's not about an MMO
If there's any point that makes me want this game the most, it's the fact that this game isn't being developed to be an MMO. This game is being developed to be a Final Fantasy title. I may have lost you on that, so let me explain.
When many developers begin to approach their new MMO, they approach it as an MMO. They look at it and think about the grind, the world, the interactions, and the other titles in the market. They stare at World of Warcraft for hours and analyze the market so they can capture their audience. Because of this, all games seem to follow this "MMO formula." Grind, level, grind, level, grind, level, endgame. Emphasis is being put on the game and not on the experience.
Final Fantasy XIV is not being developed from the perspective of an MMO -- it's being developed from the perspective of a Final Fantasy console game that just happens to be online. When you pick up Final Fantasy XI, you feel the presence of an MMO, but you also feel the presence of a Final Fantasy game. Storylines, adventuring, characters, and a rich world all seem to pop to the forefront. Even the battle system, which is an MMO battle system, screams Final Fantasy because of the way abilities, camera angles, and party dynamics work.
This is what our genre needs. We do not need to make another MMO for the sake of making another MMO. We're done with MMOs. We want games that feature a massively multiplayer online component. Instead of breaking the Final Fantasy series apart so it fits into the context of an MMO, we're breaking MMO components apart to fit in the context of Final Fantasy. It will feature systems that are unlike any other MMO because they don't come from another MMO -- they come from Final Fantasy.
Two other games are attempting to do this right now -- Star Wars: The Old Republic and All Points Bulletin. Part of the reason we're all excited for these two is because they don't look to be another MMO for MMOs sake. SWTOR is grabbing from Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect's playbook. APB is grabbing from GTA's playbook.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a very, very good thing.
Colin Brennan is the weekly writer of Anti-Aliased who owns Final Fantasy XI for way too many platforms. When he's not writing here for Massively, he's rambling on his personal blog, The Experience Curve. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at colin.brennan AT weblogsinc DOT com. You can also follow him on Twitter through Massively, or through his personal feed.