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Editorial: The State of F.A.T.E.

By on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm, in Article, FFXIV  |  Comments: 3 comments

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FFXIV’s FATE system is certainly a great way to level. Who can argue with being able to get from 35-45 in just over 4 hours, simply from riding around on your mount, waiting for an event to pop, and rushing to get a few hits on mobs? Especially when dungeons and quests give so little experience in comparison.

While plenty of people tolerate the FATE system due to the experience FATEs give on completion, an equal amount of players seem to have their own complaints. Many suggest that FATEs are creating the problem of people not knowing how to play their class. After all, where’s the skill in spamming abilities to get a hit on every mob within range? Even more suggest that rewards from these need to be reduced to push players towards dungeons and other methods of leveling. But what do the devs have to say about all of this?

Well, they may not make many adjustments to the FATE system, but they have plans to try and mitigate some of the issues with picking up players who aren’t, by SE’s definition, properly equipped to enter a certain dungeon.

“The development team feels that there is no problem with players leveling solely through FATEs. They understand that there are concerns that leveling in this way will take away from potential skill growth, but feel that the item level restrictions to be added in patch 2.1 will resolve this as players will not be able to access dungeons without first procuring the proper equipment from other dungeons or means.”

One of the posts in response to the devs’ stance seems to sum up what a lot of us are thinking.

“This is a disappointing change of stance. Every interview I saw leading up to the game described FATEs as a fun dynamic thing to do while you are out doing something else. Not a sit on your chocobo until one pops and destroy it in 30 seconds unfun grind event…..So many different ways this could be fixed.”

Complaints aside, many players like the concept of the FATEs. However, it stops at concept. There’s certainly nothing “dynamic” about the current system. But there’s only so much the devs can do with complaints; constructive criticism is the way to go.

Unfortunately, so many of the suggestions on how to “fix” FATEs aren’t suggesting a way to fix them. Many responses in the forums suggest lowering rewards, putting a limit on how many FATEs can be done, or cutting the spawn rate. Personally, I think punishing those who level up with FATEs is a terrible way to fix things, and it’s not focusing on how the FATE system itself can be fixed.

So how can FATEs be saved? Here are a few starting points.

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Scaling

Make FATEs scale to the amount of players that are in range. Many times, players have a difficult time landing hits on any spawns at all. As a caster, I have time to pop one DoT before my target almost instantly goes down. For each player that enters the range of a FATE, make subsequent spawns harder to take down. And of course, vice versa: if people are leaving, subsequent spawns should gradually get easier to kill.

Give us a challenge

Scaling is just one piece of the puzzle, so we might want to add a bit more to that. As so many have mentioned, FATEs discourage any kind of tactical playstyle. Players run around the map in a giant mass of players, instantly overrunning any events they cross. We like EXP. What we don’t like is mindless games of whack-a-mole. While this isn’t the only reason we run into less than stellar pick up groups, giving content (or lack thereof) certainly doesn’t help. In its current state it’s tab and hit or AoE spam for easy farming.

Reduce the number of players per FATE

“Nerfing” FATEs as so many people are suggesting isn’t going to solve the problem. While this will upset a number of players who enjoy the activities, most likely that’s all it’s going to do. Simply provide alternatives to leveling via FATEs. If dungeons and side missions gave better rewards, the numbers would even out. This would also create more balance if scaling were to be implemented. Players currently don’t do dungeons due to the fact that FATEs give way better EXP, and the dungeon finder queue is ridiculously long. However if we had better rewards for dungeons, we’d have more people doing them, thus shorter queue times. As a side effect, the horrible lag fest that is the FATE train has now died down a bit to something SE’s servers can handle.

And don’t forget, EXP isn’t the only reason we grind FATEs. FATEs are also the best way to rack up those Grand Company seals. Even the daily tasks for gathering and crafting give far less. You would think a task limited to once a day would provide better rewards than something players can do around the clock.

Cause and Effect

What happens when you successfully complete a FATE? Nothing. What happens if you fail? Nothing. So what incentive other than EXP do you have to complete a fate? None whatsoever.

Write a story. Every story has cause and effect. When a bunch of enemies attack an area (cause), I expect all the NPCs to run away like any other defensless civilian would (effect), and the only reason they should return is if everyone successfully completes the event and clears the area, making it a safe spot to return to (resolution). If the event is failed, there should be a post-event for repairing the damage done or driving out the invaders (the aftermath).

While SE did take the time to put in FATEs that chain together, most of them don’t have much variety. For the most part, it’s just killing things, moving to an area a few feet from where the last ended, killing more things, moving a few more feet, then smashing into a giant boss for insane amounts of EXP. How about something with a bit of depth?

Change!

As Laura mentioned in her editorial on dynamic content, we would certainly like to see some change. We’ve all seen the same system in RIFT, Guild Wars 2, Defiance, and now FFXIV: ARR, and that’s just to name a few. New ideas are only new once, and then they start to lose their effect. As a result, developers need to avoid the mindset that because something works in one game, it’s going to work in another. Much like piggy-backing in the movies, it gets old.

“The large, looming issue with current ‘dynamic’ content is the simple fact that’s it’s not dynamic. It’s not dangerous, it’s predictable to the extreme, and it has no lasting effects on the game world. When farming dynamic event becomes as dreary as farming wolves for leatherworking supplies, there’s a problem.”  (Source)

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In short:

We the players, of the united states of Eorzea…

…just want Square Enix to spice things up a bit. Dull and dynamic should not be in the same sentence, but SE’s dynamic events are just that. Give us a little more to work with, along with providing other methods of leveling so the entire player base isn’t doing the same thing to level. Maybe we’ll even see an increase in skilled end-game players in the process. Many of us came from years of playing MMORPGs. The last thing we want to see is a repeat of the “dynamic” events from the last game. Been there, done that, and we don’t care to do it again.

Lauren Connally

Lauren Connally

With a start in MMOs such as Ultima Online and Lineage, Lauren has been gaming since 1997. She balances out her free time and work life with a combination of gaming, writing, and information technology support.
Lauren Connally
Lauren Connally

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  • DigitalFowl

    Giving a better payout via Dungeons and Leves sounds like a good idea. I also think scaling and adding story components to FATE’s would be a good call.

    However, instilling player caps on FATE’s I am concerned would ‘only’ lead to people exploiting that and Cblocking other players from participating that don’t have the right connections. I’d suggest that maybe they cap it in the same way allowances work. Not that you can run a number of FATEs per day, but run each one only 2 or 3 times a day.

    Toss that in with increase leve/dungeon/guildhest/trial payouts and you’d have people shifting their play style quickly. More importantly, that suggestion of ‘try something new’ cannot be suggested enough. Add a FATE queue system (Be pinged when you log in for FATEs available to play, ask the player if they’d like to sign up for running it later that day), allow FATE’s to have completion bonuses… Difficulty, speed of completion and random generator for things that could happen in the event. Turn those in, get a higher seal/gil payout or create a ‘third’ currency and allow it to be traded in for gil or seals or something.

    I understand the concern about the FATE system and while I do believe that the main scenario and class quests ATTEMPT to turn the player towards trying to learn how to play their initial class, playing your own class properly is determined by guidance from other players AND the willingness of the player themselves as to whether or not they’ll follow the rules and guidelines of the game or just do whatever easiest.

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