I can wholeheartedly agree with people who claim the economy is a little borked right now. The real point of contention isn't whether or not it has issues, it's the reason and volume of those issues and whether or not those issues include being able to make money.
Right now, the lower-grade weapons and armor are severely devalued because of the fact that most of them can also be purchased on a vendor. Even high-end professions often are skewed to support selling component parts over finished products, because the finished products retail for much less unless you've rocked an HQ and someone's willing to pay extra. A few places are actually selling some items for less than the vendor price, which is a quick way for observant players to make some cheap gil but not a good thing as a whole.
The reason, of course, is that right now we also have a rush of people trying to level crafts, which means that Ash Lumber exists in more abundance than the actual logs needed to make that lumber. With more people at high levels and unwilling to waste time on the low-level lumber, things will balance out a bit more. More supply than demand, in other words.
Of course, that's not what most of these complaints are about. Usually if someone's complaining about the game's current economy they're complaining about the fact that it's quite possible for you to mount repair bills in Amdapor Keep without ever seeing a big influx of gil. And the thought is that this must be an oversight, that you're playing the game correctly by chain-running this one instance and the game isn't giving you proper rewards.
Nope! The rewards are where they're supposed to be. The error lies not with the gil rewards, but with ourselves.
World of Warcraft taught us not to worry about money. You could take two gathering professions to make some extra cash, but by and large the game has made money less and less relevant in the grand scheme of things. Between daily quests, vendor trash, and the money directly dropped by humanoid enemies, you fund your usual kill-and-loot-a-thon through killing and looting directly. Half the times I would just sell even rare drops, because it wasn't worth the effort of setting up an auction for the extra money.
Is there anything wrong with the model? Not at all. It facilitates the sort of game environment that the designers want. Money isn't even all that valuable past a certain point, so giving players enough to spend feels reasonably generous. While that has resulted in some uncomfortable currency inflation, the bottom line is that it's a valid model of running a game's economy.
Enemies in FFXIV do not drop money most of the time. The few that do drop piddling amounts. Nor does anything drop simple vendor trash; the only items fit solely for vendoring are the Allagan currency pieces, and those only come from chests and quest rewards. Rare drops are high-quality components, not weapons or armor. There's no such thing as sidelining your gathering; gathering classes are, well, classes of their own, with unique mechanics and gear and so forth.
If you're trying to make money just through vendors and killing things, you will be out of luck in short order. Heaven help you if you decided to aim for the level cap via FATE grinding, because you have no idea what money looks like. The gil rewarded for FATEs is just there to remind you that you're broke.
Not that you can't make plenty of money while still ignoring crafting and gathering. You just have to be smart. Scour the markets, see what sells, and start focusing on hunting and killing enemies that drop that. Be smart and don't exclusively put up full stacks -- there are a lot of crafters who just need ten Animal Hides and will pay a little more not to have a whole bunch of extra cluttering up the bank. You don't need to gather if you don't want to do so.
But you do need to do more than just sit back and wait for the money to roll in on its own. The game does everything short of popping up a message explaining exactly that. If you want to play a game wherein all you have to do is punch things to make money, you've got options out there already. This is not that sort of game.
Not that I'm giving away the places where I'm trying to corner the market. Got to have some secrets.
Feedback is welcome in the comments below or via mail to email@example.com, same as every other week. Next week, as mentioned, I am going to go ahead and drop some major spoilers for the storyline as a whole (past the cut), and the week after that I'm going to talk about boss fights.
From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every Saturday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.