Well, that explains everything.
As we all know, the first iteration of the second Final Fantasy MMORPG, released in 2010, pretty much sucked . Players were miffed, which prompted Square Enix to rework and re-release the game in 2013 as A Realm Reborn, to much better results. But what caused FFXIV to fail in the first place?
Overly detailed flowerpots was just a symptom of a much larger problem, as explained by Square Enix's GDC presentation, photos of which have recently been shared by Japanese gaming mag Famitsu (via Sankaku Complex).
According to Square Enix, FFXIV ended up like it did because the developers, instead of adapting to changing trends in game design, opted to focus on graphics quality, failing to realise in the process that their game would just not be fun to play. The slides show how they came to the conclusion that in the end, it's entertaining gameplay that matters: