The Mog Log: Each answer is the end of a question

Welcome to this week's edition of The Mog Log, in which we answer reader questions about Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV while staying as far away from the drama of this past week as possible. Seriously, the sky is not falling here, folks. It seemed like such a nice week overall, too, with lots of great news coming out the whole week long. And for the record, there's also a special announcement at the end of the article, so by all means read through to the end in the unlikely event you normally don't.

Roughly ten million people asked or said: "What the heck is the deal with the fatigue system?"

I'm really hoping that by the time you're reading this, the full translation has mollified people somewhat regarding the system. But I'm going to write on the assumption that it hasn't, and believe me, it's at the top of the list for things to talk about next week. And it certainly does put a strict limit on what players can do in the game, much like guildleves and their infamous two-day turnaround.
I could write out a much longer post about this, but suffice to say that it's going to be in next week's article, when I will discuss all of the various hated additions and how they relate to one another. Until then, I'm going to leave it at just not being half so bad as it sounds at first blush. And really, if you canceled your pre-order over this, Square-Enix is the party you should be notifying. Its representatives don't usually listen to me.

Joker asked: "That's one thing that annoys me in Final Fantasy XIV, why should casters have a harder time than a melee class?"

They don't, precisely. It's just that casters have an enormous bag of tricks that they can utilize compared to melee classes. Both of the disciples of magic feature a wide variety of abilities that can be useful for nearly anyone, including several stat drains, several status ailments, and let's not neglect a variety of healing spells. By contrast, you pick up some nice weaponskills as a disciple of war, but nothing outside of varied strikes and abilities. And that's not getting into issues of range...

Long story short, casters get more tricks that can be used by nearly any class, versus melee classes with many useful abilities locked to only their use. It could be argued back and forth which side gets the shorter end of the stick, but I have to admit that I'm personally happy with it. Of course, I also prefer melee classes anyway, so this is not exactly a time of great sorrow for me. Your mileage may vary.

saudrapsman asked on this post: "Why is FFXIV the big brother, when Final Fantasy XI is the older, more successful and experienced one?"

Well, FFXIV is certainly larger in terms of system requirements, and it's certainly bigger in everyone's mind. "Big brother" doesn't have to mean "eldest sibling," after all. Of course, I struggled with the metaphor for a while myself, asking myself whether it was better to call it the younger sibling... but that implies that FFXIV is somehow less than FFXI. And then I started veering into completely different territory.

Then I just stuck with the original metaphor with a shrug. Not every turn of phrase stands up to close scrutiny.

devilsei asked: "You know, I see a reason to stay subscribed UNTIL you get FFXIV, redeem the item, and get the character name transferred (like you need a game to do that for you though). But afterwards? What's the point?"

I'm going out on a limb here, but maybe you just really like FFXI. I have to drift into personal anecdotes here and note that while I'd been considering letting FFXI languish, the drop in subscription price does a lot toward making the second subscription worthwhile. I don't imagine I'll be playing it all that often, but it's nice to have the option there, and considering the fact that the game is more accessible than ever, it's in a good spot for players to enjoy casually. It would still benefit immensely from the removal of several arbitrary gateways, but I've whined this whine before.

Chad asked: "Is Square-Enix trying to dictate player behavior in game by using all different sorts of 'levers', rewards and punishments to force players to play how Square thinks they should?"

Well, yes. But so is every other game designer. By its very nature, game design is the art of trying to make players want to do what you put in front of them. So Square is doubtlessly trying to force players into a specific mold of play. The question isn't whether it's being done -- the question is whether or not the designers are doing it in the most effective fashion.

For all of their positives -- bless their hearts! -- the devs behind FFXI have not always done the best job at predicting what players would do with a given class. Ninjas were not originally meant to be tanks, Chainspell was not meant to live side-by-side with Stun, and white mages were not intended to become the de facto sub for several classes (such as the ubiquitous COR/WHM from the Japanese side of the pond). Players have found a number of ways to circumvent what the designers wanted them to do, which is an indicator that the team didn't put in the right landmarks or give players any motivation to choose one thing over another.

The various limiting systems that FFXIV has in place are no doubt meant to try and modulate player behavior by force. Square wants you leveling several different classes, and by gum you're going to do just that. Are there better ways to do it? That could be argued both ways, as players clearly want to have a main class despite being told they ought not... but it's never good when a system has to step in and tell you to stop. Time will tell.

So, those are our questions for this week. As promised, next down we'll be visiting the most hated features of Eorzea, and I'll be examining how you should stop worrying and love the bomb. Or something to that effect. Comments, questions about non-fatigue systems, and praise may be sent to eliot@massively.com. Questions related to fatigue may be discarded outright.

But before we say good night...

Breaking party

Players who read both of my game columns will already know this, although I'm rather dubious about how much overlap actually exists. For the readers who don't know, however, Alex Fienemann will no longer be providing the title illustrations for the column. Starting next week, I will have a piece drawn by her, but it'll be a standard title piece instead of the ever-changing lineup that has been the norm until now.

While Alex has enjoyed doing the art, she's moving on to other projects that just won't leave her the time for regular illustration work. I've been very proud to have her drawings on display for each edition of the column, and I can only hope that you'll all join me in giving her a big fan-hug for all her work. If you've enjoyed her illustrations, please, do let her know either by email (fienemanna@gmail.com) or in the comments of this article.

This article was originally published on Massively.