I was listening to Gather Together’s most recent podcast. I totally understand, identify and agree with many of the points brought up, and the frustration of the boredom that happens during these lulls for sure.
I just had a few thoughts that got touched on, but didn’t have the point of view that I hear most often represented, so I thought I’d comment with this very long post… (sorry.. lol).
I’ve been a part of a super friendly and a bit larger FC whose members are at all very different stages and focuses of their Eorzean adventure. I hear regularly peoples opinions, and hear what they struggle with, and what goals they are aiming towards, and they are truly all very different.
Something that had been brought up often in the past had to do with locking of a story so centric to understanding the calamity being held behind raid content. So because of that, I wanted to tell you a little about my own experience, and offer up some points as to why I believe that SE did a very good thing in allowing a slight separation between lore and raid content completion this time around with Alexander.
RE: Frustration over story not being different for Alexander Savage, or not having story to work towards.
This is a perfect scenario where your placement, predicament and perception will greatly affect your opinion on this subject.
Think back to Coil. You had to travel to the location and already have 8 people in your party ready and willing to go. It was very limiting in that you basically were not allowed to help others get more comfortable with the content. You couldn’t ever assist other friends, because it would impact your regular group. And unfortunately you could often very easily find yourself being the odd man out.. quite literally. There was no Duty Finder option because it was “too hard” for randoms being the “harder-core” endgame content. You could sit for hours reapplying your party finder, and waiting on one or two or three last members to join and still never make it in.
Now if you had a reliable static group who would go in and do that content with you regularly (even if you had ups and downs, but you were able to make actual progress) then you are not going to necessarily understand why they decided to do it different this time with Alexander. The frustration of being willing, but unable to even get yourself inside coil reliably and thus at being “left behind” would not have impacted you.
For many of us though, the Coil experience was quite different, and sometimes rather maddening.
If you were someone like me, who really loves lore, and actually likes to participate in harder content, you may have (also like me) joined some as well as hosted a few different static groups in an effort to experience the story and that content. You may painfully understand all the times where scheduling, player capacity, player patience, and player reliability were often in their own right, a virtual side boss being contended with. If you had, then you might have a slightly different view.
I was lucky starting out. My first static was pretty fun, we ended up getting through turns 1-4 in decent progression. We were one of the groups that did fights by mechanics. We dealt with things like “Allagan Rot”, and we did not ever shy away from proper dealing with mechanics. Things were going well until we hit a wall on Turn 5. Try as we may, we just couldn’t get past it for some reason. Honestly, by that time a few members were not enjoying raiding as much and it became more and more obvious.
We lost some members due to school, and boredom, among other things, and we swapped players in, but whenever you do that, there is a team synergy that needs to be rebuilt, so we’d take a few steps back before we could get back to where we had previously been. For awhile it would seem that every time we’d finally get a set group again, then someone else would trickle away and then process would start all over. This happened more times than I could count.
Players would get impatient and quit, or would move on to perceived “greener pastures”. Sometimes they would simply go off on their own earlier in the week, which would then cause some lockout issues for “the team” and prevent us from going in that week, or working at what we had been working at…. and so like all good things, that static came to an end.
Towards the end there it was pretty frustrating, and I came to realize that me and the few other resilient souls that were left had gotten to the point where our desire was to just get the “stupid” content finally done. We didn’t even really want to be doing the raid content anymore. Our reason for being there had been stripped down to just wanting to finally finish the story.
That in reality is a bad mix when you are wanting to do raid type content. For raids, people should be at their best. They need to be. They need to be able to put their heart and soul into working with their team. It is hard to keep that resilience and level of effort applied up when you start getting so discouraged and when you begin to feel like you were plain abandoned. It can be hard to not begin to take it personal, and I watched some who did, and ended up making them not enjoy the game at all, which was sad.
Prologue – I had been one who started playing FFXI really late in the games life, and really missed out on a good chunk of that story content because of it. “Everyone else” was maxed on multiple jobs it was all super old content, and they didn’t really want to do it again.
I was really excited when FFXIV had came out because I felt I’d have the chance to get to actually experience stories. It was something I always regretted. I really wanted to help others get a taste for it as well, so because of that, when I heard other FC members, and friends from different LS’s voice frustrations at things never really working out for them either…where they ever got to even try the First Coil, I decided I wasn’t going to get too serious about second coil.
Instead I wanted to invest in getting more people the chance to have some kind of “Coil” experience. The way I saw it, the more people that became comfortable with it, and enjoyed it, then then we would have that might be willing to continue on later. Together maybe we could finally all get there. A few friends and I would hold FC runs to give some fellow players their first experiences in first and second coil. It was great, and had a great time doing it, and it I felt important because I think people should have the option to at least experience things.
That said, we still could only help so much, and we could really only help people reach a certain point in that story. The few of us that had been further along, still really weren’t progressing at all. It was ok though because we just figured we’d get a chance once it was in duty finder, which we did… but… it was not quite the full experience we had hoped for.
Also, unfortunately before Duty Finder became an option, and before some of us even made it to the latter parts of second coil, the “story” we desired the experience of so badly was cheapened and partially spoiled by people making comments in passing.
The day came when Second Coil became “old content” I finally got to experience the latter turns once Duty Finder became an option. I was really glad for Duty Finder, and I was able to get through it entirely in just a few days. The sad part though was that watching cut scenes would get you frowned at in Duty Finder… so that kind of stole some of that experience away as well. It seriously is never the same having to wait and then watch it in your inn room.
Beggars can’t be choosers I know, and yes I’m thankful that I ended up being able to at least finish checking out the story by spamming duty finder and finally getting some of those clears, but the whole experience didn’t really end up being very ideal.
Don’t get me wrong. I do get the whole thought behind rewarding players who put extra time into doing certain harder content… I really do… but I still think that there has to be some concessions given that even some deserving players willing to put the time and effort in, aren’t always able to be a part of a reliable static group. I like that they’ve moved the bulk of the story into the main version of Alexander this time around.
I’m happy that I can enjoy the story at my own pace, that I can help my friends do so as well, and that I also can choose try the savage mode because I want to participate in harder content and not because I “need to” in order to finish the story. I’m definitely not opposed to having Savage mode include a “light” side story to enjoy, one that isn’t so important to understanding the big picture of what is going on, but having the bulk of the story behind content that was originally intended for only the hardest core players.. and then making it difficult for even some of those players to participate was not the best plan.
I know there are probably those who will just roll their eyes at this entire post.
I realize its easy to chalk it up to believing that if people “really wanted to achieve it, and get the story” that they would find a way to earn it. Whats realistic though is that in the end, this is still just a game thats purpose is be enjoyed. Players are different and if you want to keep a wide variety of them, you have to be a bit more flexible.
Being a lover of lore doesn’t always mean you are also someone who loves raiding. I know some hard-core players that could care less about the story, and I know some people where only “hard-core” aspect that could ever be attributed to them is their love of the story.
Even the most devoted players have goals that simply don’t always pan out, especially when achieving those goals are so heavily reliant on others.
Personally, experiencing the coil story in such a disjointed process was no where near as nice, as just simply being able to work through the Alexander story this time around. I personally very much appreciate them allowing people the option to go after whatever part of the game they enjoy the most.
During “The Binding Coil of Bahamut” time, there were plenty of the casual to medium focused players who felt forced to do raid content as to “not miss out”. Allowing those players to have access to go through the story more at their own pace is a far better situation.
In earnest it is even a beneficial change too for more competitive groups. Savage in my opinion really shouldn’t really be for everyone. It should be content that is actually more akin to PVP. Not standard, not story-driven, and not something that people are expected, or required to do. We have more casual content, it should also be allowed for there to be more hard-core content for players who simply want something a bit crazier to do. Savage should be the individuals who are there because they are driven to conquer harder content, and not be just something that everyone does “because they have to” in order to not get left behind.