Friday, December 10, 2010

Troubles at Square Enix over Final Fantasy XIV

The recent restructuring at Square Enix is interesting enough for Final Fantasy XIV fans, but the company also apologized "that the game has yet to achieve the level of enjoyability that FINAL FANTASY fans have come to expect from the franchise." I have not tried the game, nor have I played much of the FF series, but that apology does not make me want to try the game until the company works out the problems. The departing producer Hiromichi Tanaka offered his own apology and revealed some of the specific problems the game is experiencing: "A number of concerns that have been voiced by users, such as the design of the user interface, availability of tutorials and game content, and battle system functionality, represent key issues that must be addressed." Those problems, although described generally, are pretty major. Hiromichi indicated that he did not respond enough to player feedback about the issues, resulting in the substandard product. That should be a lesson to all producers of games.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Taking a break

I canceled my pre-order for Cataclysm and froze my account for World of Warcraft. Part of the reason was that I wanted to play Entropia for now. Entropia turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Most people play because it is fun to sink money into a game anyway. I found that the developers started selling synthetic mind essence, seriously depressing the market for mind essence, which is the only known product that can be made from vibrant sweat. Combining the sweat with force nexis produces mind essence. Vibrant sweat is the only way that a beginning player can earn money without depositing money into an account. But selling synthetic mind essence has seriously depressed the market for not only mind essence but vibrant sweat. It all comes down to a trick to get players to deposit money, a method the developers devised to turn around their losses. I also read that Entropia will get a new island by Dec. 13, and land will be offered for sale on the island. The prices probably will be unreasonably high, because I read in the offering that deposits greater than $50,000 will be rewarded with no transaction fee. Sorry, Entropia, I don't have that much cash to invest, and I won't invest in virtual land that may never realize some kind of profit. As far as I can tell, players who own land don't necessarily realize much return for their investment. Many of the land areas were empty when I visited them. A secret may be to hold events on the land to draw players to the land, but promoting events may not draw enough profit. One of the land areas that must realize some kind of profit is Nea's Place, where players are sweating. But the depressed vibrant sweat market probably affected the owner a great deal. If I have any suggestion for the developers of Entropia, it is that it should be easier to get some kind of return for any investment, whether it is time or money. I saw many players getting sucked into the game, but many are disappointed when they learn that it is now next to impossible to play the game without depositing money. I am not sure how the company can make money from players who do not deposit, because it is a closed economy that can only increase if players deposit more, but the company does realize some profit if it charges for things that non-depositors buy.

The other part of the reason why I am getting away from games is that I realize that I am getting increasingly bored with all games. I also feel a need to deal with some real-life concerns, and games are starting to get in the way, so I may not return to gaming, unless it is for brief sorties.