These are fixes to short-term problems that players desperately needed to hear.
Obviously this game was released too early – no way anyone can deny that now – and
players were correct when they called Final Fantasy XIV incomplete. The unfinished
state of the game upon launch day gave players good reason to doubt the competence of
Square Enix. We wondered whether the company had learned anything from missteps in
Final Fantasy XI, or whether the development team genuinely cared about communicating
with players outside of Japan. The bugs and inefficiencies reported throughout beta
testing had made it to the game’s finished product. We couldn’t help but ask
ourselves whether SE was listening to anything we said.
Which is why the extension of the 30-day free trial was so clutch. Although nobody
typed the words “I’m sorry” into the update notes, this extension of free play is
nothing short of an apology. And not only is Square Enix apologizing for the state of
its game, but the company is acknowledging just how incomplete the game really was.
This isn’t just lip service, folks; Square Enix is putting its money where its mouth
is. It’s an unprecedented move by a gaming company that has long been accused of
intentionally ignoring the needs of its dedicated fans.
I’m excited by all of the upcoming revisions to Final Fantasy XIV, but I’m excited
by the olive branch – no, make that the olive tree – extended to us by Square Enix.
I can’t help but feel that this wouldn’t have happened two or three years ago.
Seems like SE has been skilling up its public relations team, doesn’t it? Silliness
aside, continued communication from developers will help Final Fantasy XIV get the
positive exposure the game needs to overcome its shaky start. Further down the road,
improved communication from Square Enix will help keep FFXIV relevant for years to
Hopefully these announcements bring an end to the endless tsunami of FFXIV rage
threads. Obviously, players, bloggers, reviewers and gaming journalists have every
right to speak their piece about Square Enix and Final Fantasy XIV. Some of the flaws
this game currently has are so glaring that I can’t blame people for leaving Eorzea
behind. Lately though I felt as if some critics were grasping at straws in an attempt
to brand the game a failure.
Even before these fixes were announced, Final Fantasy XIV had a lot going for it. The
game has incredibly unique questing and leveling systems, and the crafting and
gathering systems appear ready-made to thwart RMT. The graphics and sound are
amazing. I know I’m not the only gamer who was thrilled to be playing a state-of-
the-art MMO that doesn’t require hours upon hours of free time to make any kind of
Some players want to see these upcoming improvements be implemented before granting
their trust to Square Enix. I’m going to give SE the benefit of the doubt and
predict they will make the majority of these changes on schedule, and that anything
not fixed as planned will be patched soon after. Never before has the development
team been so bold about detailing version updates this far in advance. To me this
indicates a change in the way Square Enix does business. Considering the large amount
of money SE has already spent on FFXIV – and with the Playstation 3 launch looming
– I’m going to assume the company isn’t blowing smoke to temper early reactions
toward the game. The company had better not be blowing smoke, or this game faces a
real risk of going up in flames.
Rest assured, though, these aren’t the last problems FFXIV will face. The risk of
playing an ever-evolving game is that errors, glitches and ill-conceived systems will
always slip by the developers. Call it the MMO Circle of Life; mistakes will be made
and people will complain. I have confidence Square Enix will address these mistakes,
as they did of the time in FFXI.
All that really matters is that Square Enix keeps talking to its players. On Friday
we witnessed how far a few simple messages can go. Let’s hope the developers use
their budding communication skills to remove all doubts from our minds that Final
Fantasy XIV will grow and succeed.
As long as the developers keep talking — and listening — I have a feeling this game
will be just fine.