So a debate is going on in the Final Fantasy XIV community about the recent post made by Yoshi-P that discusses the use of Jumping Potions in the future. To better define this, it’s an item that you purchase from the cash shop that allows you to “jump” over content in the game – such as auto-leveling a character or bypassing story content.
This thread seems to be seeking feedback about a system that has already been implemented in the Chinese and Korean versions of the game. So, setting aside my own thoughts on the matter, I’d like to take a closer look at the debates this idea is causing.
Reasons for a Jumping Potion
FFXIV is a game that is slow to build, both in story and in mechanics. The idea behind this is to slowly introduce new players, some who may have never played an MMO before, to their jobs and the world of Eorzea.
For players who are there to play a game with story, this may not be a big deal. I personally never had an issue with the game pre-level 30. However, when I introduce the game to someone new, or we get a new player in our Free Company, I do hear myself saying things like, “It’ll get better after 30.”
And that’s sad because there’s lots to love about FFXIV when the game does get rolling. It’s just getting players to stick it out through the beginning… when it’s most vital that the game makes a solid impression.
When Heavensward released, this became even more apparent. Because FFXIV is a story-driven game, if a player did not finish the main scenario story in the 2.0 series, they could not enter Ishgard, play the expansion, or even unlock any of the new jobs until they completed all the main quests and dungeons of the base game.
The team got a lot of backlash about this, and they did their best to speed up leveling and make those quests relevant by giving out gear. Some folks in the community, however, are really just not there to play a story-driven MMO. They want to get to end game to play with their friends or to raid.
I recall that Yoshi-P said they were looking into ways to not gate content for the next expansion due to the feedback from Heavensward. It seems like their answer to this may be the Jumping Potion.
What is the Jumping Potion?
There are two types of Jumping Potions in the Korean and Chinese games. Yoshi-P provided these details in depth in his post to better enable players to provide feedback. I’m going to give a brief overview of what we do know.
Adventuring Records of A Realm Reborn is a story-skipping item. Currently, all this does is unlock all quests and dungeons from the main story in the 2.0 game. This allows you to begin Heavensward. If you didn’t already have a chocobo mount or a Grand Company, you will get these upon use. This will also unlock all aetherytes in the base game.
What it doesn’t do is advance your job level. That’s the purpose of the Adventuring Records of the (Job), where “Job” is the job of your choice to insta-level to 50. Yes, you must purchase an item per job.
This item also levels any secondary class to 15 that you’d need for that job. You’ll receive an ilvl 120 weapon, 300,000 gil for buying gear, and silver chocobo feathers that also can purchase gear. All your job quests are cleared and all skills unlocked. However, unless you purchase the additional item to skip the story, you will need to go through the story to reach the expansion as normal.
The current cost for each of these potions is 2,500 Japanese yen, with no confirmation of what the cost will be in other versions. At this point, these items only clear up to Heavensward. When Stormblood releases, they will upgrade the items to skip Heavensward and level a job to 60.
Just as with any established MMO that decides to add an item like this, there is certainly debate. While some people are fine with the concept of Jumping Potions, and may want to use them for their alts, there are just as many players who bring up arguments against it.
The biggest concern is how a new player with no experience who has jumped content will struggle when given a level 50 or 60 character to play. They may have the basic gear, but without practice and time, will these players be able to function as a party member in dungeons and raids?
Considering that the endgame of FFXIV is very group-oriented, and unpracticed players will affect the experience of other players, this could be a valid concern. Other people argue that no matter what you do, you’ll always encounter inexperienced players, even at end game. So what difference does a Jumping Potion make to this?
Some feedback suggests that providing a Jumping Potion, rather than addressing the existing game’s early level design, is taking the easy way out. They feel instead of skipping story, the team could have tightened up the story and made the leveling process faster for everyone.
Another group feels a little stung at the fact that it takes purchasing two items to by-pass both story and job level requirements for the expansion. Is this double-dipping in this case? Again, why not just change the story requirements, rather than have players buy their way past? Also, isn’t it enough that every job requires a potion, on top of skipping the story?
Another point I’ve seen debated deals with player longevity. If the idea of these Jumping Potions is to hold on to players by allowing them to jump content, then end game really needs to have enough content to maintain their attention. Some people argue that those who are too bored by the early levels aren’t going to be any more entertained by skipping all the game’s content to reach end game, either.
And yes, while this does allow people to catch up to play with friends and FC members, FFXIV is known for periods of down time between major patches. It’s become pretty typical to see attendance and interest fall off with players at end game once patch content is no longer new. Each time this happens, there’s always a chance some of those players won’t return. So is it really a good idea to skip players ahead to the point where their sub is in flux?
Many of these debates have really good points. However, there are just as many good points to giving players the choice to play the game the way they want to. The feeling I get from the post on the forums is that the team does want community feedback. But, I also sense that releasing Jumping Potions is an inevitable thing for the future, regardless of how the community responds. This isn’t the first game to do this, and it won’t be the last.Related: Column, Eorzean Evening Post, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, MMORPG