#Listmas: FFXIV is the Best, 2016 Plans and MMO Malaise Mayonnaise

Yay for post titles that include nonsensical rhyming! Also: it’s time for look-backs and predictions in MMOing!

New year expectations are treacherous things. Two years ago I talked about my MMO expectations for 2014 and was as wrong as wrong can be: misplaced was my faith in ESO, I’ve not played Archage to this day and my misgivings towards EQNext on this blog came one day before Columbus Nova went public with their SOE takeover. Since then, we have heard absolutely nothing of note about Everquest Next and unlike Bhagpuss, I doubt we ever will. When Wildstar made my MMO of 2014, no one was more surprised than moi.

At the end of 2014 my general gaming outlook had become more varied, with only two MMOs tentatively making the 2015 list (both ended up not releasing in 2015). Again, I was horribly bad with the new year predictions, with exception of the The Witcher 3 which is unquestionably my GOTY of 2015. Shamefully, no intentions stated anywhere towards FFXIV, the game that literally saved my 2015 in MMOs and which I have since paid some much-deserved tribute to. Hell, I even spent one month being subscribed to Draenor this year – a rather short expedition brought upon the powers of nostalgia, which marks the last time I had to learn my WoW lesson! At least that chapter is now closed.

Returning to Eorzea was my MMO highlight in a year that was all about expansions, and not a bad thing either. WoW’s bewildering success spurred a decade of frantic AAA-releases (and not-so-AAA) many of which went for good first looks over finish and substance. From a pure consumer perspective, I do welcome fewer MMOs that bring more content to the table longterm; I know that sucks for anyone trying to break into that market, yet this genre rises and falls with player retention and mutually exclusive appeal. As much as I have become an MMO wanderer, I still want to know where my “MMO home” lies. I trust that in 2016 too, that place will be Eorzea.

awesomeblm

I look fabulous in this MMO and the rest is also quite great!

MMO Malaise Mayonnaise

Ever diligent with his lists, Wilhelm recently put up his personal MMO plans for the upcoming year. As jokingly mentioned by me in the comments, his list presents a rather dire outlook as far as my own tastes are concerned which is not at all a criticism of said games or players who enjoy them. It looks like 2016 will be a year of niche and more PvP-oriented games which is cool for some, not so much for others. If you’re in love with exploration and whimsy, there’s not an awful lot happening in the strictest MMO sense.

Which is not to say that 2016 will be a bad year for MMOs at all. I’ve learned my lesson here: lack of notable new releases must not mean absence of great content to play! Therefore, I already expect my 2016 to rest safely in the hands of FFXIV. It feels like I have something to make up for when it comes to my faith in the franchise that started my MMO career. I still intend to dive into HoT whenever boredom strikes and there are Black Desert Online, Overwatch and other online coop titles to come. Not strictly MMORPG maybe but I have been widening my scope for some years now and greatly enjoyed games like DayZ, 7 Days to Die or Don’t Starve Together more recently. The fact that there’s more online multiplay across the board is fine by me; there’s times when I want some quick and dirty coop, next to my introspect world wandering.

My very down to earth Top 5 MMO(ish) plans for 2016:

  • FFXIV (remaining excellent)
  • Heart of Thorns
  • Black Desert Online
  • Overwatch
  • More new coop titles (like Gigantic, The Division…)

No further predictions from me for me, so maybe I can be right for a change! I have omitted Blade&Soul since I don’t expect to appreciate the aesthetics nor combat. Skyforge seems rather boring too and nothing to lose any sleep over. Speaking of introspect world wandering, I actually expect games like No Man’s Sky to scratch that particular itch, so for now I am good in the upcoming games department. No MMO malaise for me in 2016 – bring on the games, yo!

8 comments

  1. No Man’s Sky might be the first non-MMO I try since I wasted money on the original Dragon Age. Certainly the only one I’ve actually been following.

    I am still somewhat mystified by the positive reception FFXIV gets from a number of bloggers I read. Although I had fun there for a while, looking back that was no more than what, four or five weeks? Even were all the very serious roadblocks and railroading removed (which Yoshi P suggested would happen eventually but which I doubt will ever happen) I very much doubt I’d ever be able to spend all that much time there although I would dabble. It seems like a triumph of style over substance to me and I remain perpetually surprised not by it’s ongoing commercial success (it clearly plays very well to ex-WoW subscribers) but by the way it appeals to people for whom it would seem, logically, to be almost an anathema.

    We’ll see about EQNext. Something will get launched at some point that uses some of the assets is about as far as I’d be prepared to bet. Whether it will either come out under the EQ name or be recognizable as an EQ game is entirely another matter. I don’t think they’ll just junk it unless the entire company folds, though, and I don’t think Columbus Nova will want to write off the entire investment like that.

    1. I feel the same way about GW2 to be honest. The game seems thin and shallow. And now they are trying to slap on a progression system to things like gliding in an attempt to fatten the emaciated cow. In the end, I think it is about what content innately appeals to you. I enjoy dungeons and instanced content so for me I do not see the mandatory FFXIV dungeons as roadblocks. But if you are not into that type of content, it can seem as if you are forced to do something which you find wholly unenjoyable. I know people who have turned off from FFXIV because of it and prefer GW2’s meta events and never tire of it.

      TLDR: to each his own I guess.

    2. @Bhag
      Why are you not playing Witcher 3, if I may ask? The open world and exploration appeal is insane, above Skyrim even. There’s the main storyline for sure but god, there’s so much besides that! :D

      About FFXIV: well I have written plenty about the beautiful world, lovely details such as the NPC interactions, and there is the very well done story which is something I appreciate. The regular content patch intervals have helped a great deal to keep FFXIV relevant. Knowing how you actually prefer the ‘single-player MMO experience’, I am surprised that you’re not playing it tbh. :) I don’t interpret the roadblocks the way you do – they’re not really blocking anything; the story IS the content, the dungeons are part of it and they are quick, easy and so easily soloable/puggable. Given their simple access, there’s nothing standing in your way there (Wildstar dungeons…now those are roadblocks) and they’re not exactly blocking any content further down the line because the dungeons are part of the whole endgame. So I don’t follow that particular criticism. Everyone is doing all dungeons constantly in FFXIV. There’s a linear story progression for sure, but nothing to skip because there’s nothing else to get to?

  2. I have to completely disagree about the FFXIV dungeons being either quick or easy. Maybe that has changed but when I was playing they were very difficult and very time-consuming. All of them took multiple attempts to clear even once just to get past the roadblock in the questline and one in particular (I forget the name) took almost a week of queuing for several hours a day before I eventually lucked into a group that managed to scrape through.

    It reminded me strongly of the worst aspects of playing MMOs ten or even fifteen years ago, where there was a lot of content that simply could not be accessed without devoting hours of your time to sitting around trying to form a group. In those days, however, that was not coupled unavoidably to the direct progression of your character. You always had the option of slowly drifting upwards on whatever content you felt able to manage. In FFXIV that’s not an option.

    In general, though, I always found combat in FFXIV noticeably harder than in most non-action MMOs. I think it’s a hard game to play, something that I don’t think gamers with a higher skill-set recognize. I would rate it as one of the most difficult MMOs I have played for any length of time and it’s primarily that difficulty that I find off-putting.

    1. That does sound like a completely different game to me! :D Not pulling a leg here or boasting, FFXIV dungeons are among the most easy and boring to play through I can personally think of. Bad runs and wipes have been very very rare for me, there’s nearly no mobility or communication required up and until raids (and not even for most of those) and runs take 20mins on average. Basically the ideal short session, predictable gameplay which I found very relaxing after playing WoW, GW2, WS. I am mystified our experiences could lie so far apart!
      Give it another go, hmpf! ;)

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