Welcome to the FFXIV Survey Results series. In this series of articles, I will be presenting the results of the recent player survey advertised in game, through the community forums, Anook and Reddit. The purpose of this survey was to ascertain the experiences of a wide variety of players, regardless of whether those were positive or negative! This week we will be taking a brief look at the introductory statistics collected as part of the survey and presenting some of the reasons why players choose to stay within the realm of Eorzea.
Originally it had been intended that I would write this series of articles covering my own opinions and experiences regarding certain aspects of the game, from the introduction, user interface, and game play. However, I decided that my voice alone would not give a fair representation of the game and therefore I set about creating an online survey. Just shy of 700 players filled this out, so I thank you for such a wonderful response! I understand that this is not wholly representative of the extensive community that Final Fantasy XIV holds, however, it seemed more constructive to present information from a wider range of players rather than just presenting my own opinions!
The information gathered in the survey is vast but gives a good insight into the range of opinions and feelings that various players have regarding Final Fantasy XIV. Please keep in mind that the survey was created in June 2017, just prior to the Stormblood release. The combat system has changed significantly since then but many other game elements remain the same. The changes will be noted alongside any information relating to alterations in the game to reflect how the game has developed in the meantime.
I’d have loved to leave the survey open for longer but the sheer size of the project has to be taken into consideration and the line had to be drawn somewhere! Once the dust from Stormblood has well and truly settled, I will create a sister survey to gauge the feelings from the expansion.
Above shows the age graph from all 687 responses. The youngest player that filled out the survey was just 16 years of age (though I'm sure there are younger) and our most senior Eorzean was 59 years of age. The vast bulk of the age bar chart is filled by those between the age of 21-29 years of age, with age 22 being the highest age represented and then taking a gradual drop as we enter the years of 30+.
This just goes to show that no matter what stage of your life you are in, there is something that can resonate within you in the MMO sphere and Eorzean life can appeal to the youth and elders alike!
Type of Player
Obviously, we all have our own individual playstyle, yet to see if there are correlations between certain sections of data I have had to generalize ever so slightly! The majority of players who took part in the survey (62%) consider themselves to be focused players and by extension, value the game and achieving goals within it quite highly. Our ‘casual’ and ‘hardcore’ players rather surprisingly almost equaled each other, falling at 18% and 14% respectively. There was, however, the option for the entrant to offer their own ‘type’. As such, the list of player type was extended to ‘Midcore’, ‘Dedicated Casual’, ‘Semi-Hardcore’ and ‘Pleb’.
“I'm a weird one. I play too much to be casual, but I don't really do any hardcore content.” - Kaleo
“I consider myself a Freelance. On off duty, working on crafts and helping FC or non-FC people.” - Londrac
Length of Playtime
The result of this pie chart was both surprising and interesting. Out of the 687 players who took part in the survey, I had made some vague (uneducated) assumption that most would be long term, veteran players. However, here the data clearly shows that each of the ‘time played’ brackets are very similar in numbers. The greatest time bracket lies with 1-2 years at 25% and the lowest being ‘Since 2010’ at 9% excluding the ‘other’ section. Other custom answers included ‘Beta’, ‘2.5 years’ (my error!) and ‘37 days'.
Out of 683 responses, 654 players reached between level 51-60 (with Heavensward being the current highest content at the time of this survey). I think we can safely say that most who took the time to fill out the questionnaire gave the game a fair shot and were able to make it through the majority of the Main Scenario Questline. No player who filled out the survey quit the game before level 11, hooray! I will be very interested to see what those 5% sighted as their reasons to discontinue as it can really help to see and understand what may be deterring new players.
Leaving & Returning
For this question I asked, “Did you ever leave the game and return?” This question may seem a little disjointed but I was shackled by the functionality and layout of the form utility (as this will lead into the next segment regarding former players).
The majority of players at 63% answered 'yes' to this question with the smaller chunk belonging to the ‘no’ category at 32%.
Some of the custom answers to this question follow along the lines of the quotes from players below:
“I've taken breaks, but I've never unsubscribed” - Corn
“Dropped sub due to expenses, picked the game back up when I could afford it.” - Ackerman
“Have taken a break while waiting for Stormblood.” - Durga
“I was *forced* because I lost my old Japanese account due to region locked subscription system so I started again on a NA account 1 month after that.” - Estheim
“Can't afford subs. Used login campaigns/return campaigns” - Anon
From what I can ascertain from reading all the answers is that generally, it’s either money, account problems, moving, end of expansion blues or education that cause the majority of game breaks (as far as my survey players report). All of the reasons given are perfectly normal as they are a part of life and will occur in any MMO you encounter. The only reason given that would raise alarm bells would be the account support issues. As customers, we pay money not only for the game but for the subscription as well (which is a rather outdated model in the current MMO market). I’ve often heard friends and community members complain about locked accounts and support confusion or failure putting them off the game. This is such a great shame as it can be such a negative influence with some players in the longer term.
For those that answered ‘yes’ to the above question, I proceeded to ask them what made them return. The following players explain what brought them back to Eorzea.
“My Lalafell... I miss her so much. Oh yeah and my friends!” - Lulu
“I missed the world of Eorzea, the friendly community, and the fun of gearing and levelling new jobs.” - Severa
“Took pauses when had other obligations, always intending to return to play with friends!” - Kirsche
“Starlight Event was the reason for the exact date of return, but the main reason was that I felt it was a suitable amount of time to distance myself from an old group.” - Nonoko
“Only MMORPG that seems to be non currency base. Gil = glamour for luxury in a sense. I love fair games and this one takes the cake. Love the graphics and lore as well. It's the best in my opinion. Grew up as Final Fantasy fan so... loyal to the game!” - Deus’est
“It was after the 1st month I got bored in the low levels, so never quite got my chocobo. I felt bad about that, so I came back just to get the chocobo, and then got hooked, so I've been playing ever since.” - Pkudude
Other examples include re-joining friends, money, finishing education, the visual aesthetics of the game, their Free Company and the arrival of a new expansion.
The next article in this series will be looking into some of the reasons why players have left the shores of Eorzea. We’ll also be taking a look at some of the more functional aspects of the game such as character configuration and user interface.
I did get rather a lot of criticism (via the game forums) over the structure of the survey for which I do apologize. It was a hard task to plan and to structure it in such a way to capture the information I would have liked for the articles. There are still vast amounts of data for me to sift through but I will read each and every answer as this is an important project for me. I’d like to reassure any player that may be thinking that I could be using this information to shine a poor light on the game that it is quite the opposite, and that I only wish good things for Final Fantasy XIV and its continued success.
I’d like to once again thank all the players who took the time to complete the survey (regardless of the Moogle Cap bribery)! It’s clear to me that a great deal of players care very deeply about the future of FFXIV and the community surrounding it.