With Wildstar coming out, I know that I’ll be leaving FF14: A realm reborn for a while. Unlike so many other times, I’m not leaving because the game is bad or because I have a list of changes that need to happen. I’m leaving because at this moment, a new MMO to discover is more fun than grinding at endgame in a game I’ve done most of the content for, including the majority of Extreme modes and raid bosses.
While not a perfect game, there are a few things I’m taking out of my time in A Realm Reborn that I wish to see in other games. So here’s in no particular order, my list of features I wish MMO developers will steal.
Difficulty is not related to accessibility.
That’s probably one my biggest discoveries. For years, Blizzard has explained to us that the inclusion of story/normal mode and the lowering of difficulty in instances were to make the entire game accessible to everyone. In a sense, they were right that lowering difficulty does allow for more people to see it and I won’t debate here whether easier or harder makes for a better game experience.
FF14 content is harder than most current MMOs out there. In fact, it’s pretty similar to Burning Crusade in terms of difficulty and even the leveling is not as forgiving as WoW currently is. Does it change how many people see the content? Not as far as we can tell. Did I hear or see anyone complain how difficult content prevented them from seeing what the game has to offer? Never…
What I did hear though when people complained was the age old complains about grinds and finding groups. Difficulty? Never.
So dear developers, don’t equate difficulty with accessibility. Sure extremes can hurt but it doesn’t mean you have to nerf everything for the sake of accessibility. Harder content will still be seen by players if the path to get to it is logical.
Less to no trash can be a good thing in end-game
Realm Reborn endgame is quick… There’s very little trash, sometimes none and bosses can be accessed pretty rapidly. If you know what you’re doing you’re done under an hour, pretty great for farming. If you’re learning the boss, you don’t have to navigate an entire dungeon to get there and everyone is back up and ready pretty fast.
I can hear the Devs talking about story set-up and building atmosphere. You can still do it. The primals themselves are single fights in FF14 but they get set-up for a long time by the main storyline that you have to complete to get to them. So when you do get to them you’re already familiar with the why and how and the atmosphere. And this set-up work even better for the hard and extreme modes because at this point you already know the story and just want the fight so getting to it directly without being subjected to trash and other time sinks you don’t need.
Make us visit and revisit your world!
This is something that WoW did great at the beginning but lost somewhere along the way. MMOs offer the unique opportunity to create living, breathing worlds. When we level, you need to make us travel through it by foot, boat, horse and other crazy contraptions. Don’t allow us to skip part of the world just because it takes time. At least not in the beginning. If I have to go to a lost village in the forbidden woods, I should have to actually travel through those woods and feel like it’s dangerous.
Don’t stop at the leveling part either. By endgame send us back to the zones and make us travel a bit from time to time. Final Fantasy was great at this, every so often I had to go back to an old city or village to meet NPCs, go back to a low-level zone to explore a desert in order to track down a fugitive or what have you. It made the game feel so much more like world and reminded me that there was something out there other than that city hub where I would wait for my group finder.
I’m not saying to drop all manners of travel, especially at endgame. I’m saying to send us out there from time to time.
So here it is, three things I wish developers will steal and that will be included in more MMOs. A Realm Reborn has a reputation for being old school but when you look at this list I realize that what I’d like has nothing to do with being old school, just good ideas.