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FF14: The devil in computer game form

I just recently purchased Final Fantasy 14, Square-Enix's most recent MMORPG.  It was originally released somewhere near the middle/end of 2010 and was a complete disaster.  It was so bad that they let people play for free for about a year, then they finally started charging subscription fees (most likely because they were just running out of money, not necessarily because the game was good enough to pay for).  Anyway, these are my thoughts after having played (or, more accurately, tried to play) the game for a few hours.  I do not recommend this game to anyone who is thinking about getting it anytime soon.

I've heard that v 2.0 is going to be released simultaneously with the PS3 release, which should be near the end of the year.  Perhaps they'll have it slightly more playable by then.  (They can't possibly make it any worse.)

Seriously, why does anyone even play this game at all? I heard that it was a complete flop when it first came out, so I didn't buy it. Then I heard that they had made some serious improvements, so I finally decided to try it out. I would have hoped that over the course of a year and a half they'd have it all worked out. If there has been significant improvement, I shudder to think what it was like back when it was first released.

When I'm playing, the NPCs will randomly disappear. Sometimes it's everyone, sometimes it's only some people. I was doing one of the beginning quests, where you escort the two kids through the forest, and one of the kids and the enemy were invisible. I could see the one kid taking damage, but I couldn't kill the enemy attacking them because I couldn't see it. 

I've read several threads on this forum and others of many other people having the same problem. It seems to be linked with people who have the Radeon graphics card, so it might possibly be a driver problem. But I don't have any problems with any of my other games. All my other games run just fine with my graphics card, so the only logical conclusion is that it's Square's fault. 

Also, the gathering is entirely annoying. I don't want to play a guessing game when I'm chopping wood. If I go up to a tree and start chopping it with an axe, I should gather wood. There shouldn't be some random chance that I'll get wood if I chop in just the right angle. Just let me click on the tree and end up with wood in my inventory. Making me decide where to chop and at what angle makes me not want to gather wood ever. 

The synthesizing menu is completely counter-intuitive. It's like it's designed to drive players away. Other games will give you recipes that you can make and then you just go find the ingredients and then complete the recipe. Here, it seems like I have to guess what ingredients to put together (or just go look it up online somewhere) and then hope that it'll make something good. I don't like that at all. It makes me not ever want to synthesize anything. 

Make it easier to change gear. I think it's fine to have different weapons that allow you to change to different classes, but don't make the change so clumsy. Make it so I can hotkey my gear and switch quickly from one to the other.

The shop menus should allow you to compare the item you're about to buy with the equipment that you have on, so that you can know whether it's worth buying. I don't want to have to memorize everything that I'm wearing when I go to the shop to buy something just to see if it's better than what I have. 

Anytime I switch applications (using Alt-Tab) the game crashes. I should be able to switch to another application and then come back to the game--especially since you have to look up how to do anything in the game because there's no tutorial in the game for how to do it. 

The game will randomly tell me that there was a server error and then log me out. Why are the servers having errors? The server should be stable, it should have redundancy to ensure that it still runs properly even if some part of it fails. If it's not really a server error, if it's really just a connection error, then at least let me stay in the game and just catch up once the connection improves. Don't log me out. Most online games let you lag a bit but don't kick you out of the game for it. 

When I first started playing, there was also an error that said "Final Fantasy XIV stopped working" or something like that and just quit the application at that point. I think I fixed that by installing DirectX 11 or something, I'm not sure. But I'm really disappointed in how easy it is to crash this game. I have a nice system, there isn't anything that is wrong with my system itself that should make a game crash. It seems to me that this game is very poorly coded and that all of the effort was spent on the graphics and zero on stability or playability. (The graphics are amazing, btw, but that's entirely useless and pointless when I don't even want to play the game because it's so annoying and crashes all the time.)

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