I've been playing around a bit, trying to make the blog look nicer. Since my images were always pretty big, finding a proper template was not so easy. I think from now on I may just continue my posts with 800 width images instead of 1000 width. Let me know what you think guys. :)
I've had a few days to experience FFXIV and I thought I'd chime in as well in regards to the complaint and criticism being voiced all over the place.
But before I get to that, time for a few photos. :)
Imagine how happy I felt when I got home from my trip and had my FFXIV CE waiting for me. The nice box now has a spot on my shelf next to my Taru figurines. Shantotto is still missing, will try and buy her off ebay sometime soon.
I love how the EU version got the beautiful artwork as the game cover instead of the CG image. The tumbler is also very well made and I like it a lot.
I haven't gotten to unpacking the map yet but from what I could see it seems nice as well.
The artbook is not really an artbook, but a journal with beautiful printed images on the pages. I really love this leatherbound book and there is no way I am ever writing in it lol.
I found this little guy towards the end of my trip in Jeansmate in Akihabara. He was very expensive at around 18 Euros but I had wanted one for a while but never ordered from the SE shop since they would only ship from 35 Euros onwards.
Now it's time to get to the main part of the post, or more importantly. What inspired me to make this post?
As some of you may recall, I had bought the following two books in Japan. The Dengeki no Ryodan (電撃の旅団) article collections.
For those who are not familiar with these, there is a famous Japanese linkshell that has been playing the game since release. Their adventures were chronicled in the monthly Dengeki Playstation magazine. Each issue of the magazine had a special section dedicated to FFXI and covered all the expansions and version updates, showed the adventures of the linkshell and also featured little comic strip, usually featuring the infamous little Tarutaru leader, Peaberry, with his trademark assault jerkin, dual daggers and feathery beret.
They even have their own website with links to all their printed media available for purchase on Amazon Japan.
You can view their site here: http://ff11.dengeki.com/
You can find an article Elmer wrote last year about them and the books over at ZAM: http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/story.html?story=20251
Their twitter is over here: http://twitter.com/DPS_lb/members
As I was saying, these books that I purchased feature all articles from February 2002 to December 2006. It seems there are also two 2010 volumes, the first being available already and the second being release towards the end of October. I was sadly unable to find the first volume in any Japanese bookstore. :(
These books are full to the brim with amazing images, tons of articles and various little Peaberry cartoons. Since I joined FFXI relatively late compared to other players, I find it fascinating to look through these books and see how far FFXI has come. I haven't taken the time to really sit down and start translating some of the articles so I can actually understand them, but from what I have seen there is tons to find in these books.
And now this brings me to FFXIV. Most forums are filled with complaints and doomsday messages regarding Final Fantasy XIV. The general lack of content apart from levelling and guild leves, the annoying party bug which means no skill points if there are more than 4 members, how mages level way slower than DoW classes...the list goes on.
Now I must say that I do agree that the game was pushed out too early and that a lot is missing. An auction house or a bazaar search system, inventory sort as well some sort of housing system would make a huge difference. But then again, I have been playing MMOs for years and I have not yet played a MMO that was not buggy and full to the brim with content on release.
Sure, it's 2010 and we should be able to expect more from Square Enix. I just noticed in general that Japanese companies are often very slow to change, with SE being no exception. While it is incredibly frustrating to us, it's sadly the way things work. I am majoring in Japanese studies and believe me, this phenomenon can be seen in various Japanese companies. They used to be on top and they felt like they were in the middle of the universe. Sure, the "West" existed and were important trade partners, but things could usually just be done the way they saw fit. Now times have changed and especially in the videogame industry some Japanese companies suddenly feel the pressure and are struggling.
I for one am glad I am not in the shoes of the people at Square Enix. I have noticed a trend in recent months, where it was the "in" thing to bash anything Square Enix. The sheer amount of Final Fantasy XIII hate is just astounding for example. I own the game, I play the game. It may not be the best FF in my opinion but boy it sure does have a lot of unearned hate. It seems that after a while even people who have not even played the game were just quoting Neogaf's hate for the game, or other popular media pages.
So where am I going with this? I just want to say that yes, the game is not optimal right now. But things can only get better guys. I have just found that so many people have way too many expectations of games nowadays. Games get bashed right and left, especially MMOs and JRPGs. I love JRPGs and I am easy to please. I don't have these enormous expectations and I am able to find the joy in little things.
So far I have trmendously enjoyed my time in FFXIV and while some issues do annoy me, I am not letting them ruin the experience for me. I was not able to be in FFXI from the start but now I am able to experience this journey in FFXIV and I'll not be deterred from having fun by issues I know will be history in a few weeks/months.
That is why I made this post about the Dengeki no Ryodan books. In them I was able to see just how bare-bones FFXI was at release. I could see all the different version updates and expansions and how it affected the players and how this linkshell was happily exploring Vana'diel and testing the new content.
Yes, maybe we can expect more at release in this day and age, especially in a p2p game. But Square Enix, while making amazing games, is very slow to learn. We knew this and should have expected it.
But don't give up hope. FFXIV will gets its updates, expansions. We will have some sort of auction house or bazaar search system, inventory sort, a sort of housing system and our little yellow chocobo buddies.
Just look at the opening movie, we can expect a lot of amazing storyline in the following months. Say what you want, we all know SE are the masters of amazing storylines and immersing worlds. And what about the racial differences, Dunesfolk Lalafell live on the backs of gigantic turtles? What about the Midlanders, the different Miquote tribes? I am positive we'll get storylines into these aspects in the following months.
I must admit I am not a very patient person, but patience is an important virtue and it is never too late to learn some patience. Why not learn some patience in a game that can be fun? Explore, hang out with friends, craft some nifty items for your character to wear. Why rush into it and complain about a lack of content. In a year FFXIV will probably become closer to FFXI with people telling you what to wear and what skills to sub. Enjoy the time we have now, enjoy being a little nublet that can just explore and run around to your heart's content.
To end this post I thought I'd show you guys a few pages of the Dengeki no Ryodan books.
FFXI release. Pages and pages of introductions, starting guides and lots of discussions and people excited about the game. Remember, at JP release they did not even have the Zilart expansion yet!
Chains of Promathia Release.
Treasures of Aht Urghan release.
I hope I was able to give some people at least a little glimmer of hope for the game. We just need to be patient and I for one am very excited about all the things to come.
I'll make another normal post with my screenshots and adventures sometime this week, little Buttons has already experienced a lot. ;3