A game mechanic that drops the amount of experience points earned after a set amount of play time has Final Fantasy XIV fans in an uproar. Game director Nobuaki Komoto explains the eight hour a week limit.
Fans have been railing against the Final Fantasy XIV experience limiting system for a while now, but Komoto was too busy getting interviewed at Gamescom in Germany last week to respond. Now he's back in Japan and has issued a statement regarding the system on the Japanese beta test website, translated by FFXIVcore's Savalithos.
Massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft have systems in place to reward players for taking a little time away from the game, but few if any have directly penalised players for playing too long. That seems to be exactly what the Final Fantasy XIV game mechanic is doing. Komoto's message begins with an explanation of why this system is in place.
First off, the main concept behind FFXIV is allowing those players with little time on their hands to play effectively, and game balance is based off of that. Furthermore, it is being designed to not give those with more time on their hands to play an unfair advantage. Because of that, systems such as Guardian's favour (a bonus to Guildleves) have been implemented to make leveling in the short-term easier than leveling in the long-term.
He says to think of the experience limiting system as a counterpart to real-world fatigue. "No one could train ad nauseam in the real world with no ill effects." That's true, of course, but we don't play MMO games to be burdened with real-world limitations, now do we?
Here's how the whole thing works. Once you begin training in a class, you have eight hours in which you can earn full experience. Once those eight hours is up, the amount of experience you earn will lower over the course of seven hours. At the end of those seven hours you will no longer be earning experience.
Final Fantasy XIV's job system allows players to switch classes on the fly, however, so if you begin to approach the threshold on one class, you can switch to another class and play that instead. The system is on a weekly timer, so seven days from the time you begin training your skills, you'll be able to start again with full experience.
OF course this is all still being tweaked and tested. Komoto says they are still looking into tweaking the rate at which experience points begin to drop off to make the system a little bit friendlier.
I can understand how players could be outraged over such a system. It effectively limits one class to an hour and change per day of full experience in any given week. That seems awfully low, and won't sit well with players hoping to focus on a single class.
Asking folks to pay you a monthly fee to play your game and then dictating how long they can play their favourite class without penalties seems like a very bad idea indeed.
It works out for me, though. I'm going to have to review this beast, and get a taste of every class while doing it, so chances are I'll be switching up so much the system will never touch me.
But for your average MMO player? This could be a deal breaker.
We've contacted Square Enix for comment on the mechanic, and will update should we receive further information.
Surplus and You: Komoto Speaks! [FFXIV Core - Thanks Steven!]