The Mog Log: Each answer I give you will only lead to more questions

Eliot Lefebvre
E. Lefebvre|05.29.10

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The Mog Log: Each answer I give you will only lead to more questions
This column may or may not contain any real answers. But it will contain a lot of emotionally satisfying climaxes, and maybe even bring back parts from columns that we've already finished. Unfortunately, there's no way to continue the analogy without making it sound like I was disappointed with the end of a certain well-known television show, which I wasn't. So let's move straightaway to the newest collection of questions and answers about Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV. (And if we could get an island in the latter? That'd be awesome. Just saying.)

Kaio asked:
"What purpose does it serve to jump on top of roofs or jump off mountians with no consequence?"

I've got to say that I do tend to fall with the camp that allows jumping. It's not a deal-breaker if I can't, but it's similar to people complaining about the pretty-line maps found in Mass Effect 2 and Final Fantasy XIII. Sure, it's not like it restricts much of your practical movement, but the fact that the choice is there makes you feel as if you could go anywhere you want. That having been said, it sure seems odd that every single character in most games is able to leap to Mario-like heights without even a warm-up stretch, right?
There are also people, I think, for whom the ability to jump is altogether a token gesture. It's not so much the freedom to slip the chains of gravity as a sign that Square-Enix sort of listened to us. Really, a whole article can (and will!) be written about the communication between the community and our development overlords within the game, but I'd be willing to bet on a population who wants a jump just because it's something that was never in Final Fantasy XI.

And before the comments start: no, I'm not saying that Square doesn't listen to us. Wait a couple weeks and we'll come back to this. I promise.

Joker asked:
"So the caps [in Promathia areas] are being removed but the monsters are going to scale up to the groups level?"

Nope. The caps will be removed, and certain areas will have monsters added that will be level 75 and up. The two changes are separate from one another, with the latter change added so you don't feel forced to shell out the money to buy the Abyssea add-ons. It's still highly recommended, I imagine, but not brutally enforced.

(And yes, this does mean that I was wrong with my earlier prediction. I am still human.)

KURO stated (but I'll respond anyway):
"Eliot, your comment just makes me think you were trying to get out of leveling subjobs!"

No, that was more like a happy accident. And, I'd hasten to point out, nobody died. So it's not like it mattered that much, right? Right.

Garude asked:
"Why do people keep thinking that the game [Final Fantasy XIV] is a straight port from FFXI?"

The letter was longer than that, but the essence of the question is there -- namely, why people think it's the same thing as the predecessor. Because it's not -- the two games have distinct settings, leveling patterns, disciplines, et cetera. Almost the only thing they share are the overall sweep of the races and the name of the franchise.

I'm guessing it's a combination of two factors. The first is that many of the people commenting are people who saw previews for FFXI and passed, and at a glance the two games look very similar. The visual style is clearly shared between both, albeit with a somewhat more realistic look for FFXIV. Both have the same idea of one character playing multiple jobs, and they've both got the certain quality that lets you know right away they're from the same company. Not to mention that Square has created intentional continuity by importing several monsters right away.

The second factor is that there are people out there who left FFXI with some bitterness. I can understand that, myself. There's stuff to be bitter about with some of the implementation. And if you're looking forward to the successor being radically different, it's not heartening to see all of the aforementioned elements walking straight over to Eorzea from Vana'diel. At a glance, it doesn't take a big cognitive leap to assume that the games will include hair-tearingly frustrating moments like its predecessor.

Blancmanche asked:
"Now that Promathia caps are being removed, are you going to stop complaining about barriers to entry?"

Well, you've still got airship passes, subjobs, advanced jobs, Al Zahbi, Kazham, Cavernous Maws... removing the level caps doesn't fix everything. (Remember, I squawk about the barriers to new players. Those people with multiple jobs at 75 do not have to worry about these things, naturally.)

But I'm being contrary for the sake of being contrary. This is actually a great move and I support it wholeheartedly. It warms the cold, dead recesses of my heart and might even convince me of the fact that there is some light remaining in the world.

Lingar asked:
"Do you have any advice for a new player who wants to try the game and will not be deterred?"

I covered a few of the high points in one of my early columns, but if you're just starting new, I would highly recommend hanging around forums and making some friends to meet in-game first. (If we do get a Massively play night going -- responses haven't been large so far -- that would be an ideal gathering, obviously.) The game is heavily group-oriented, and while soloing is more possible now than ever, it does rely a little on already having some high-level jobs and advance job access. Plus, starter cities can feel a bit lonely otherwise.

(Our now-editor and then-blogger Sera Brennan also did a series of posts on starting out new in the game. They're a little older now and some details might have changed, but they're well worth a look for the breakdown of the game's structure.)

Those are our questions for this week -- if you have more for the next column in this vein, or if you just want to argue at length about series finales, you can send a mail along to Eliot at Massively dot com. Next week? We're going to take a look at Chains of Promathia beneath a microscope and look at both sides of the expansion. It seems apropos.
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