Final Fantasy Open Beta Impressions

Note: These are my opinions and views on this game, I am aware that this is an open beta and that this game is still incomplete. I do not mean to disrespect or hate on this game as it still has a long way to go to being finished, so if your easily offended or harbor some nerd rage about this topic feel free to leave a comment at the bottom.

Over the past few days I have been playing Final Fantasy 14 to simply find out if this is going to be my next big time sink. Initially I was excited and I could not wait to play this new installment, boy was I in for a letdown. This game had so much potential but just does not deliver to the hype its pumping out.  Just getting into the open beta has been half the battle and things have been a mess all over.

The Lack of content, crashes, primitive interface, clunky game play, not enough mobs, not enough quests, poor map, translation errors, poor chat system, poor macro system, lack of skills, lack of itemsvendors, and lack of support. For example when you hit the help button nothing happens, when you alt tab the game crashes randomly making it hard to look things up.

This game just does not seem complete, I almost wish that they would take this game out of beta and delay the launch a few more months just to iron out the bugs and inject some more content. Is it worth the $70+ monthly fee, to me that answer is currently no. But I wanted this game to be good so much, I had a lot of hope coming in but those feelings have since been extinguished and replaced by disappointment. I’m not saying this game is the worst I’ve ever played but damn it’s trying hard. Don’t get me wrong this game looks and sounds Amazing, and is vastly ahead of anything else on the market in terms of graphics in MMOS but this simply is just not enough to sway me away from saying that overall my experience has been poor.

Beta key mess!

(deep breath) sigh……… Ok it took me 6 hours of spamming an unlisted Square Enix beta page to get a key, The email link sent out was not functional the entire night and was found to be false, but a link listed on several forums around the net seemed to work. That was just one of the many problems that came up during the awkward and painful night for many fans seeking an open beta key. This was one of the worst handled opening beta rollout I have ever seen.

To get a key you must spam a page that says “There are no more keys at this time.” And if you continue to spam this page you will get a key……ya about that……and it worked, I got a key! This is stupid I’m sorry but I think sending out codes via email weeks before the open beta would take place would have been a better idea.

Here is how I got a key: 10 steps

Step one – Go to unlisted page found on un-official forums and open the link found like 50 times

Step two – Spam your username and password for at least 6 hours seems to be random on time

Step three – Ignore all signs of maintenance if prompted use F5 then enter your info and hit Enter

Step four – Keep spamming! Till you get a success page!

Step Five – Enter your info agree to the paper work and confirm.

Step Six – Wait for email containing code *takes about 10 mins

Step Seven – Take code in email and login to your master Square Enix account from here go to services and add Final Fantasy 14, when prompted for code put in your beta code.

Step Eight – Download the Client which if you did ahead of time you should be good to go

Step Nine – Patch and adjust your settings in the Config.exe found in the Final fantasy directory on your local hard drive aka where you done the install c:program filesSquare EnixFinal fantasy 14 ß here*

Step Ten – Login and Play!

My guess is that Square did not foresee the thousands of requests all at once and there servers just were not enough to handle the load. Square commented saying that “There is was an error in settings and this led to various problems on our registration system.”

Downloader pain

The game installer works fine it’s the downloader that fails 90% of the time. In an age of ISP’s blocking Bit torrent traffic this idea of an all Bit torrent distribution model is unwise and unfair to consumers. There are so many problems with doing mass downloads and patches via this client it’s no wonder people are finding other ways to get the game and its patches. Many users are having problems with Firewalls, routers, ISP’s, local software, anti-virus software and local settings that affect the downloader’s ability to gain access to other seeds and thus download the game. Another issue found is that the game runs with a funky Low priority cpu usage setting which causes random crashes on slower machines. ATI users are reporting random crashes when running in various modes, the most common is DX compatible device not found on system.

Character Creation

I rather enjoyed the character creation screen but It would really help if there was more information about it and how to build your character in there. It was very confusing at points and flushing out the pros and cons of many of the settings was very difficult. But overall fun and bug free with the exception of the Lobbies which kept going when flooded by players.

Interface issues

It’s the same interface from FF11….. just saying it looks like you phoned this one in…

Clunky, slow and counter intuitive the interface crawls around like a slug on a salt covered sidewalk. It is ugly, pixel ridden poor photo shopped and lacking color. The fact that you have to click on the icons then surf a menu then dig deeper and deeper and deeper to get to something useful is frustrating and time consuming. Poor labeling and poor layout are in plain view and need to be desperately fixed. It is actually hard to equip and un-equip items and weapons, even more of pain to check the stats on those items say to compare them. Both Aion and World of warcraft are miles ahead in interface, learn Square LEARN!

Gameplay or lack there of

Slow and lacking some sort of feedback that better engages the player. Fishing and mining were more enjoyable than combat overall and that’s because you have to pay attention. The combat is slow clunky and very poor overall. I found myself spending 5 minutes just finding a mob to kill due to lack of mobs. And when I found a mob I could engage I had to guess if I could take that mob by myself well turns out that most mobs by starting towns are bad asses that 3 shot you as a tank, great thing they did not implement some sort of difficulty gauge. If I knew I could kill that mob I fought it, by spamming the “1” key that’s it, no defending, no thinking, no positioning just press 1. Its dry and you can get a group to press 1 with but that means messing with that horrible interface. Basically your first day you will be learning dying and getting lost, your second day will be doing 1 quest aka kill 3 things then nothing after that. I hope there is more to do in the retail release.

Lost and still not found

The map is so bad, it’s the worst map I’ve used in an online game ever, I’d rather have a paper map than use that garbage. All I can say is look at World of Warcrafts maps and cry because Final fantasy 14’s maps are horrid.

Music to my ears

The tunes and sound effects in this game are top notch, I could listen to this MMOs music all day unlike the sound track in Aion or WoW which get dry very quickly. Not much else to say here, you won’t be disappointed this games soundtrack.

Eye candy

This game is pretty; this game looks years ahead of Aion and Decades ahead of WoW. Once you see it you can’t un-see it, but if you have old hardware you’re going to feel the lag. I just love the visuals and I really wish they would fix the other things I don’t like, cause if they did I know what I would be spending my free time doing.

Overall

This game is still new and has a long road ahead of it, and I hope they fix it, cause I want to love it but just can’t look past the clunk and junk. This game is fun if you can look past it’s issues but if you can’t just don’t drop the money on the pre-order quite yet and wait to see what happens to the game when the PS3 version drops in like 4 months.

Chris Samaripa
About Chris Samaripa 609 Articles
Writer, Editor &, Photographer for AnimeRoot.com

9 Comments

  1. While I agree with you on a lot of this, Zion. I think its important to know the target audience is in fact different from say games such as Aion and WoW. First things first, I think that Square-Enix wasn’t properly prepared for the MMO following and ‘MMO Hoppers’ that came chasing this game since WoW’s success.

    Initial thoughts on beta access
    ———————————–
    They released the beta sign-ups at the same time world wide. That means they had people from Japan, Europe and the US hitting their servers, trying to get a beta key and then registering that key. They didn’t have much of a pre-download system to alleviate traffic in that sense either. I was one of the many that once I obtained my key, and began the updating and patch process.. began the problems with the downloader. I quickly found that their updater was a Bittorrent P2P client without the ability to adjust upload speeds.. (very sneaky square-enix, very sneaky). I can understand that its a big money saving plot at the cost of your customers but I was actually losing performance in my initial goal, and that was to get my downloads finished. Their client mercilessly took my bandwidth to the point of crippling my downloads to a crawling 5kb/s while my upload was 800+kb/s. Point being, there should be a way to limit these things otherwise you’re going to frustrate your customer-base.

    Character creation and interface
    ————————————–
    The character creation was pretty straight forward for me, I figured out most of the benefits of many of the options right from the get go. To describe this a bit more, they allow you to pick what ‘goddess’ or ‘god’ you fall under as well as what side you want to ally with. Each option grants different stats and bonuses depending on what is selected. The interface wasn’t ‘that’ bad in my opinion, it was almost directly copied from FFXI and relied on either hotkeys, slash commands or in Zion’s case.. clicking them. A lot of the hotkeys require useage of the number pad so players on a laptop that doesn’t have one will probably be stuck with clicking. The other problem with this is.. the hotkeys arent documented, you just kind of have to know or be told. Fortunately for me, its almost identical to FFXI. To shed some light on the cumbersome UI — It has a few main things that UIs from WoW and Aion didn’t have to consider and thats simply the game is pretty much made to be played with a controller. Be it on a console or a PC. Its plain and simple.

    The Map
    ————————
    The map wasn’t the best, and felt almost incomplete. In FFXI you actually had to buy new maps to improve the usability of it, so I am somewhat assuming that something like this is going on as well. One thing that I noticed they had not changed though was the fact that the map still took the whole screen, and didn’t really allow you to move.. unless you had toggled auto-run before hand.

    Eye candy
    ————————
    The game is pretty, and I like the art style. The best part about all of this though is the fluid animations and how your character actually moves. It was most noticeable when my character made a slight strife left or right. There were some issues with the shadows and shaders that I noticed right off the bat but those.. to me are minimal.

    In-conclusion
    ————————-
    This game is more or less a repackage of FFXI with many new features included in it. Avid FFXI players will feel right at home when playing this game. Sadly though, I don’t think it will bring in many -new- people to the genre only please old fans of the game. I found the game to be a little nostalgic but overall wasn’t impressed. It has potential but I don’t see myself running out to pre-order it. One thing that I liked to see was that they ditched Play online but still kept a lot of the ‘spy’ software that was bundled with it, such as the virtual keyboard handler. Rather similar to NCsoft’s Gameguard.

  2. While I disagree with some of your points, I really enjoyed reading this post. Very well put, and you said it very well. Since I just got my beta key this morning and am at work all day, I can’t speak for what they have done in Open beta but as for beta 3, I know that you could move around with the Map open, even with auto run off, using (a controller) you could continue to move and the map would update your position.

    Having been an avid FFXI player, I rather enjoy the map and the mini map, makes the game so much better.

    As far as the game goes, I have had a blast playing it. I really enjoy the combat system, and while the menus need work, and they need that hardware mouse, overall I can’t wait to see what this game has to offer in terms of story and adventure.

    I do agree that people who have these issues should hold off for a few months, at least until the PS3 version launches to get a better idea on how the game is progressing. I feel that Square will support this game very heavily and just because somethings wonky when the game launches, I’m sure they will fix it. The question is, do you want to pay to play a game (or test it if you will) and since I’ll be able to keep my charter, and play though the story, and since I plan to move from XI to this game, the answer is yes.

    For all those who the reasons listed above are deal breakers, Zion said it right, just wait a few months, enjoy Wow, Aion, or your current game and let’s check back in a few months. I know I’ll be there at launch, but that’s my choice. 🙂

  3. Thats’ mostly the main point I was trying to get across — and that is simply the game is made to be played with a controller and not a mouse or keyboard. (hence the somewhat bulky feel Zion mentioned) I too am a avid FFXI player, so I had little trouble picking up and running with it but to someone with little to no experience.. it does require a little more introduction.

    (Also.. Hurray for comments)

    • Hey to all those out there posting comments thanks, I enjoy the feedback. And hey if a comment was dropped or removed it was due to spam filter or you posting a false email. Thanks again.

  4. I only played the beta for about 15-20 minutes, but I got a few things out of it. Most of my replies are in direct correlation to the main post.

    1) Beta keys – I think this was quite possibly the worst open beta rollout I’ve ever entered. The second the beta signup page went live Square Enix’s account management and beta signup servers got instapwned and error/maintenance pages came up no matter what you did. To top it off the entire account management service was messed up for all end users. This included FFXI, FFXIV, etc users. I would think that an entity like Square Enix would be smart enough to realize that a highly-hyped open beta for a popular franchise could lead to DDoS’d servers and increase available resources temporarily. Apparently I was wrong. It took me 3 days to even get a key because I couldn’t stay up for 6-8 hours to get a key on opening night. Some of us have day jobs and can’t spam a page for hours on end in hopes of getting a key. I really don’t think it would’ve been as bad had beta keys been signed up for in advance and mailed out in advance, thus alleviating server load.

    2) Downloader pains – I understand the cost benefit of using a distribution method such as bittorrent, but this downloader was frankly a pile of garbage. Luckily I did not have any of the crashes as encountered by several friends so I guess I just got lucky. One thing to note and mainly in agreement with Yudothat’s response was that the downloader was just down right aggressive and basically donkey punched your upload speed. There was no way to enforce a cap on the upload speed and as a result the fact that the upload was hitting your internet connection’s cap would cause your download speed to plummet into oblivion. This is a common issue on bittorrent so this is nothing new. Get with the program.

    3) Character creation – This was actually pretty painless and easy to do. There were lots of options available and it just works ™.

    4) Graphics and sound – The graphics look absolutely amazing assuming you have a machine with enough beef to turn on all the eye candy. The soundtrack is equally as good. With as nice as the graphics look it will take a good machine to handle this on a high resolution with everything on.

    5) Maps – I only briefly played with the maps, but unless I’m braindead I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to use the piece of junk. The map couldn’t be moved around easily and could not be displayed in a smaller size or transparently displayed over the screen. I’m sure I’m missing something, but before I could go further with it I must go into my next point…

    6) Bugs, the size of mutant cockroaches – Around 15-20 minutes into playing I went through a cinematic (which by the way appear to be un-skippable…another turnoff) and when I got through the cinematic I hit a loading screen. The loading times in this game make it look like I’m trying to load this thing off of a CD because it takes forever. Anyways, during the loading screen the game went bonkers and dropped several error screens in the game and then quit the game. These were errors shown within the game, not game executable crashes with errors to desktop. Moreover, after starting the game back up and logging back in, the error still happened. I tried several times and even hours later to my disappointment it still was broken. Yeah this is a beta, but coming across something that made me have to delete my character and start over from scratch is retarded. Preventing errors is one thing, handling them gracefully is another. Lastly, this game is less than 3 weeks from release…and problems as big as this exist?!?

    Frankly I’m not even going to touch this game for a while and just maybe if I’m lucky when I check it a few months down the road things may be working better. I want this game to be good and maybe given some time it will be better. I’m crossing my fingers, but only time will tell.

  5. Who the fuck are you. you freaking idoit. While i think the game is far from perfect and i myself have some grips with the game.
    I have to say that some of your points you made are just plain stupidity on ur part. Like not being able to gauge mobs strength. It’s displayed right next to the mobs name you freaking noob.

    Yes i agree FFXIV is not for everyone. This game actually expects you to have some sort of neural functionality.

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