MMO Chat 19 Comments

Everyone is Suspiciously Nice in FFXIV

How is it that the Final Fantasy 14 community is so gosh darn nice?

I was thinking about it while making coffee this morning — during my last sojourn in WoW back in the middle of Pandaria I ran a loooot of LFG and LFR and yet I find it hard to remember a single run that didn’t have at least one jerkwad in it. Complaints about healing/DPS meters, slurs in chat, revenge group kicks, “go go go go go”.. for just about every random group I would put a movie on the other monitor and explicitly ignore chat. When I think about queuing up for a random group in WoW, I feel nervous about the possibility of being insulted by strangers.

To be fair I’m only level 31 in FFXIV, but I have had plenty of opportunities to use the Duty Finder (aka LFG) while working on the main storyline and seriously every single time I’ve been matched with folks who are at best friendly and helpful and at worst quietly competent. It’s almost spooky.

In FFXIV, the first time you visit each dungeon using the Duty Finder your entire group is informed that “someone” in the party is new. The first time I saw that notice it was actually a little worrying. Oh no, someone will figure out that I’m a supernoob! Prepare for insults or maybe a group kick! But no, instead I discovered very experienced players who actually volunteered to clear extra pathways for my achievements or quests. Once I was even in what turned out to be an all-noobie group, and we took turns quickly reading boss fight descriptions and relaying critical moves to the rest of the party. It has been a universally pleasant experience. What’s the deal?

farmer

This NPC has nothing to do with the subject of the post. I just wanted to share his outfit.

I can think of two differences between WoW and FFXIV that might point to a reason, and first is the age of each game. WoW has been around long enough for folks to get pretty jaded. (If you too are an old school player you need to read this Dark Legacy comic right now because oh my god it’s pitch perfect.) Everyone is expected to know exactly what to do because, ugh, where have you been for the past decade? It doesn’t matter if this is a reasonable expectation or not.

The other difference is that FFXIV moves at a much slower pace than WoW, and so perhaps appeals more to players who are feeling pretty relaxed about their leisure time. WoW has a rush to level cap, while FFXIV has a rush to level cap… and then whoa, slow down and repeat that like a dozen more times for each class. Grinds that might take hours in WoW are stretched out to days in FFXIV. (Whether you enjoy that kind of thing varies, of course.)

Even more importantly I suspect is the fact that WoW’s Global Cooldown is 1.5 seconds while in FFXIV the GCD is a whopping 2.5 seconds. That extra second actually makes a huge difference in play, meaning less frenetic combat, more measured response. In WoW I would spend groups spamming flash heal or hitting Circle of Healing on every cooldown, but in FFXIV the emphasis is on aggro management so I spend less time casting and more time planning my next spell. It’s not for everyone, but I think that slower pace keeps some of the “go go go” crowd away.

Obviously I’m not saying that everyone in WoW is a meanie, but that game sure does have its loud, rotten apples and it’s been extremely pleasant to play a game where I feel good about running random group content on my own. Way to be impressively nice, FFXIV folks!

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Belghast
    February 18, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I think the pace is definitely part of it, but a big chunk is the fact that Yoshi-P and crew seem exceptionally gifted at bribing players to be nice and do things that are for the good of the community. There is a significant amount of social engineering going on with things like the various steps of the relic quest incentivizing players to go back and redo older content. This means there is a constant flow of higher level players going back and doing things like low level roulette. The Atma grind makes sure players are constantly doing FATEs in the 12 or so zones that drop an item for the atma weapon.

    On top of this… each player is given a single player commendation to reward someone with when they go into a dungeon. This ultimately means a lot, because it is a limited quantity, and you cannot collude with players you know to earn them. You cannot give them to anyone you entered the dungeon with. So you have this limited item, and players want to earn it badly. At 10, 50, 100, 300, 500, 1500, 3000 commendations you get some really awesome rewards (http://ffxiv.gamerescape.com/wiki/Category:Commendation_Achievement). When you see a player with a Golden Magitek armor… it means they are a genuinely nice person. So essentially it is a way of creating a system of “verified nice” players… and the community has made it mean something special.

    It has been interesting to raid in both FFXIV and WoW at the same time and compare the two communities. When I played FFXIV at launch, there were a lot of what I would have always termed “WoW Tourists” that came in, set up shop and brought their bad attitudes with them. Now over a year after the launch, those folks have gone back to the motherland, or on to other shores leaving only the players that really cared about the Final Fantasy franchise. Coming back to it, was like discovering the most magical place… one that I just want to make even better.
    Belghast´s last post: Flamebending for Fun

    • Reply
      Elbne
      February 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Building on what Bel said, the most efficient (as a tank anyway) method for capping my weekly top end currency is the daily “Expert Roulette” dungeon que. It’s a 3 dungeon rotation and it’s generally filled with people in a hurry to some extent. I can’t say how the que is for most people because, as the tank, I have a ton of control over the pace and feel of the group, but at it’s worst I get people “pulling for me”.

      Which effectively works to filter them out of the leveling dungeon population. The low-level que is actually pretty inefficient as far as time to currency, so the people that use it tend to be people that genuinely like those dungeons and that experience.

      Also, SE has banned addons, so people aren’t really willing to discuss dps meters and related crap. Which I strongly approve of.

      Lastly, there’s no open world pvp. So people that are into griefing/ganking just don’t stay.

      It’s all pretty brilliant honestly.

      • Reply
        Ashgar
        February 19, 2015 at 7:06 am

        I think the point about add-ons is quite relevant. They’re in sort of a grey area where SE isn’t likely to ban you for running a DPS meter, even though that’s against the TOS. They will ban people for using said meter to ridicule others.

        That said, I don’t think everything is entirely sunshine and roses. But it’s still the best I’ve seen in any game I’ve played so far.
        Ashgar´s last post: On Saving Time

  • Reply
    Kodra
    February 18, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    FFXIV also rewards everyone in a group if there is a new player in it, and those rewards tend to be significant. I’m typically excited if I’m grouped with a new player, because the rewards are much greater.

    There are some downsides especially at level 50 doing some of the cutscene-heavy story dungeons, but when you get to that point, you should let me know and I’ll try to pull together a group that won’t power pull those places.

    • Reply
      pkudude99
      February 18, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Cutscenes can also be viewed after the fact in the inn, so a lot of newbies will simply skip them and do the dungeon quickly anyway, then go back and watch them later. Or they may not even care about the story and simply skip past anyway.

      Even when they don’t, I’ve never seen anyone complain badly about the “wasted time” standing around. We all just dance the Manderville or show off gear to one another or even *gasp* chat with each other to pass the time. Occasional “The bonus tomes aren’t worth the wait” grumbling is the worst I’ve seen.
      pkudude99´s last post: [FFXIV] A Burst of Leveling

      • Reply
        seemsthatway
        February 21, 2015 at 6:19 am

        I see this posted a lot but, contrary to popular belief, not all of the story cutscenes are available at the inn. That and if someone is running it for the first time, it’s a better experience for them to see the scene before the boss fight. I’ve run the story dungeons tons of times, and I always try to get my groups to wait for the new players so they can see it the way it’s meant to be seen.

      • Reply
        Kiryn
        August 3, 2015 at 9:14 pm

        Those level 50 cutscene-heavy places were the first FFXIV experience with terrible people for my partner and I. Everybody before then had been super nice, always going out of their way to explain fights or craft high quality gear to help us out.

        Basically, they sprinted ahead through all of the trash mobs to a teleporter they didn’t tell us about. We died and tried to run back but had no idea where everybody else went. They got to the first boss, which triggered a cutscene, killed the boss while we were watching that cutscene (apparently the second tank and healer are completely optional if you’re being scaled down from level 60), which triggered the next cutscene, and they ran to the next boss while we were watching that, and so on.

        Completely ruined the climax of the story for me. They tell me to skip the cutscenes and watch them later, but… either I watch the cutscenes and don’t get to see the boss fights, or I skip the cutscenes and still don’t have any idea where everybody else went.

        I’ve still never had a character at endgame in this MMO, and I’m not sure how long I’ll want to keep playing when I do. It’s not the grind that bothers me, it’s what the grind does to people who used to be friendly.

  • Reply
    Pai
    February 18, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Back in the day, when WoW was shiny and new, I remember the bitter divide in the MMO blogosphere over its terrible community, and what the causes for it were (‘too easy’, ‘no social accountability’, ‘B-net kiddie contamination’, and other theories abounded). In that climate of games, WoW was the aberrantly hostile, unfriendly MMORPG amid a selection of older games that were slower-paced in various ways and also largely populated with far more friendly and helpful people.

    FFXIV’s community isn’t perfect — at the higher levels you’ll find your share of the more uptight folks, but it’s true that overall it has one of more sociable and friendly communities I’ve seen. If you can get into some active Linkshells, those really help build inter-server friendships and have been really positive social experience for me, personally.
    Pai´s last post: [10 Years of World of Warcraft]

  • Reply
    Aywren
    February 18, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    For the most part, leveling dungeon groups and roulettes have been pretty good folks for me, too. You run into someone every now and then who doesn’t care or doesn’t have patience, but it’s not too often. I take time to teach folks what I know when there’s someone new, and usually we run a successful instance. Encouragement goes a long way. I’ve earned my share of commendations. ;)

    End game is a slightly different story. I’m not saying everyone is a jerk, but once you hit hard mode dungeons and higher level instances, I’ve noticed people with a lot less patience for newcomers.

    I once mentioned I was running a hard mode dungeon for the very first time as a DPS, and the healer promptly moaned, “Just kill me now.” They ended up dropping before the first boss because the tank, who was trying to be kind and not speedrun through the dungeon for me, wasn’t pulling fast enough for their liking. To the tank’s credit, he stuck out that whole dungeon for me and we did finish it. So while the healer (who was replaced) was a jerk, the tank was a great guy!

    Some upper level folks are so caught up in this speed run mentality that when you get on “their turf” they expect you to know exactly how everything works, and if you’re new, they expect you to have watched a video. Oh, and no waiting for cut scenes much either. :(

    Sooooo. Yes! I do overall agree that there’s lots of great people willing to help. But I think it depends on what content you’re running and who you randomly end up with. About 95% of the time, people treat you kindly in FFXIV and are willing to help out in every way. I was also surprised at how accepting folks were to me when I was new, and it really helped ease me into the dungeon experience, since I’m much more the soloist.
    Aywren´s last post: GW2: “Backpacks are the New Hats” (No, They’re Just Carrots)

  • Reply
    Chestnut
    February 18, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I think, as a new player, what gets me is that there seems to be so much content to do, that it will take me years to complete it, so I don’t feel any of that “go go go” attitude. And I feel like folks who *do* have that attitude almost burn themselves out, because they can’t take it at a slower pace.

    For instance, someone I gamed with picked up FFXIV about a month and a half ago, same time I did, and hit 50 last week. They’re so over the game already because they ground the CRAP out of their levels to get their job, and then their job. Instead of taking it in, and having fun with it, they made it a chore. And it’s due to their ‘go go go’ mentality. Whereas, I’m only level 12ish. And I’m having fun, and I see the YEARS of content ahead of me, and while it does feel a *tad* daunting, it also feels exciting, because there’s lots of activity in even the lower level zones.

    And it makes the world feel *whole*, which I think is also a big draw. Games where folks live in main cities sitting around and queueing constantly don’t feel alive, and feel like a chore.

    Anyway, I think I sort of kept on point, haha. I do agree, though, FFXIV folks are WAY nicer! :)
    Chestnut´s last post: IntPiPoMo 1-5: A Random Assortment

    • Reply
      seemsthatway
      February 21, 2015 at 6:21 am

      You’re my favorite kind of MMO player :)

  • Reply
    Murf
    February 18, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    FFXIV’s pacing may be the closest we ever get again to classic MMOs. It’s really nice, at times, to be able to relax and just enjoy the ride.
    Murf´s last post: Today, my valentine is Tales of the Aggronaut.

  • Reply
    Dahakha
    February 18, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Dammit, Liore, it’s like you and Aywren and Jaedia are tag-teaming me with super-nice peer pressure into buying this game!

    Sooooooooon……
    Dahakha´s last post: Steam Challenge – SBCG4AP Ep. 1 & 2

  • Reply
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    February 19, 2015 at 5:12 am

    […] admittedly she is stuck in a cut scene I believe when I took this picture.  Yesterday there was an excellent post by Liore talking about how good the community is.  There are times however when the community is not amazing, but […]

  • Reply
    Shintar
    February 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Sounds like FFXIV gets a lot right in terms of social engineering! Now if only the devs of other MMOs would pay more attention to things like that…
    Shintar´s last post: Day 1: Bugs

    • Reply
      elbne
      February 19, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      They really did. Another small thing, unrelated to the community, that I like has to do timed quests (daily quests, weekly hunts). I realized how much I liked it after seeing that post about WoW and opportunity cost that’s going around.

      FFXIV has one set of daily quests. There are 4 factions, but you can only get 6 per day total, so you have to pick and choose. The key word is “get” because you can hand them in a different day without preventing you from getting your daily allocation that day.

      I like this because one set of dailies (the crafting dailies) are incredibly rewarding (in game currency wise). So they’re always worth doing. But if I have a short session that day and don’t really feel like doing them, I can pick them up and forget about them.

      Then the next day (cause I’n an addict) I can do them and hand them in and then get them again. So I never feel like I “lost” them. If I have the inclination I can then do another set that day and I’m caught up.

      The same is true (amusingly) for the “weekly elite hunt” target. If you can’t find it that week, just get it next week because you can still pick up a new one.

      It’s really liberating for me personally. Last night I’d finished my daily quests, but hadn’t handed them in yet, when my wife asked if I wanted to watch a movie. I didn’t have to say “5 more minutes” because I didn’t lose my reward by logging for the night.

      When I get home, I’ll log in and hand them in and get a new set. No harm no foul.

  • Reply
    [FFXIV] Random Acts of Kindness are Contagious |
    February 27, 2015 at 8:00 am

    […] don’t know if it’s just Cactuar or the general culture in this particular MMO but yes, everyone is suspiciously nice in FFXIV and I can’t help but wonder along with my fellow bloggers what makes this one so […]

  • Reply
    All about the games - To Boldly Nerd...
    March 2, 2015 at 10:41 am

    […] often think about trying FFXIV, because great people like Liore and Syl report about how fantastic the community is. Let’s not forget how enthusiastic […]

  • Reply
    YukariOro
    January 26, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    One important thing that I think is being missed is that a good portion of FFXIV’s playes are FFXI vets, and a good part of the poplulation transferred over from XI. While the FFXI community did have its issues at time, it rarely reached the toxic levels you found in WoW. A large part of the reason for this was because you could solo very little in XI, help was required to do pretty much anything progression-wise.

    This had the impact of most times creating a more positive and helpful community, where your reputation as a co-operative team player totally influenced your ability to progress in the game.

    In fact, in my early days in XIV, when I ran into talkative and good team players in DF groups, I usually discoverred they were also XI vets.

    Sad to say, XI instilled better teamwork and cooperation, as well as patience, in their players. The few players who are not XI vets that I’ve run into with these same ideals usually end up being EQ vets instead, which was apparently a bit tougher even than XI, which in my eyes was plenty tough.

    So, kerp in mind, when you join FFXIV, you are also intergrating yourself with a pretty stable XI community that has transplanted over into XIV. And the FFXI community behaved vastly different from the WoW community.

    Sadly, the players who are the least nice often end up being WoW vets, I’m sad to say. And I’m both a FFXI and WoW vet, but WoW’s toxic community, especially after LFG was included, just plain scared me.

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