Thoughts on Final Fantasy XIV

Well, the reviews are in, and it's unanimous: Final Fantasy XIV is a turkey.

There's no denying this. I'm sure as hell not playing the game for the game as it currently exists. I'm playing it for the game I hope it can eventually become. So now, the question is: will it improve?

Well... it's hard to say. At the very least, the developers are being much more responsive than they were for Final Fantasy XI, at least when I played it.

However, at present, that just comes down to answering basic gameplay questions such as "how do you play the crafting minigame?" So it's unclear if they're actually listening to feedback or just ignoring it.

That being said, here are some things I'd like to see improved on in the game, roughly sorted in order of importance:

Allow Inventory Sorting

I mean, really. This should have been done back in alpha, it should never have entered beta without allowing the inventory to be sorted.

Client-Side UI Caching

Allow me to transfer items between my retainer and my character without making a round trip to the server. There's no reason the UI needs to wait for the server's OK to show an item being transfered between the two. I should be able to request a bunch of items from the retainer without waiting for the server's OK.

Similarly, cache vendor data client-side. It shouldn't take three seconds to pull up a vendor.

Drag and Drop

Really. Allow me to drag and drop items from my inventory onto the character's equipment, and allow me to drag and drop items into the crafting pane. Again, how the hell did you make it out of alpha without these features?

Customizable UI

World of Warcraft has a completely customizable UI that you can customize using third party mods. Implement this. This should be the top priority. I don't know how feasible that is based on the current design, but I don't care. The sooner third party addons can be used to fix up UI flaws, the better.

If they shipped with this, the first three issues would be moot, because they'd already be fixed.

Fix the Crafting UI

Hey, again, this seems to be something that a customizable UI would make moot. But in any case:

  • Display a list of recipes by craft.
  • Show us the "recommended rank" for each recipe. You already tell us the needed crafting facilities, why not this?!
  • Automatically assume we want to repeat the same recipe after finishing the crafting minigame.
  • Use the same minibar used for combat for the crafting minigame. Seriously, I should be able to just tap 1-4 for this. (Plus additional abilities on the right.)
  • Allow players to "experiment" to learn recipes by displaying the existing "eight boxes" crafting UI.

I think that ends what I'd do to improve crafting.

Auto-Target Enemies

When fighting a group of enemies, automatically target another after the first enemy dies. Final Fantasy XI did this. Why doesn't the newer game?! Also, there should be a button that targets "next enemy." There's one for "target party members" and "target PCs" why isn't there one for "target enemies?!"

No Random Skillups

Crafting and gathering don't use random skillups. Why do the combat classes? Make skillups either constant based on ability, or just give them along with XP on defeating an enemy. Kind of like, say, crafting and gathering.

The current random system makes leveling combat classes impossible. It doesn't make me want to keep playing, it makes me want to quit playing the game in disgust.

Final Thoughts

So, is Final Fantasy XIV a bad game? Yes. Can it become better? I sure as hell hope so.

Don't let me down, Square Enix.

Update:

Apparently none of these are new issues. All of them are things that Square Enix knows about, and they've confirmed that they will be fixing none of them.