Welcome to the FFXIV Survey Results series. In this series of articles I will be looking through 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 look at why players have left the shores of Eorzea.
Originally it had been intended that I would write this series of articles covering my opinions and experiences regarding certain aspects of the game from the introduction, user interface and gameplay. Just shy of 700 players filled out the survey, thank you for such a wonderful response. I understand that this is not wholly representative of the extensive community that FFXIV holds, however, it seemed more constructive to present information from the community rather than just myself!
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.
Former FFXIV Players
This sections data comes from those who answered a set of questions because they are no longer playing Final Fantasy XIV. Firstly let’s take a look at the reasons they gave for leaving. Keep in mind that out of the 687 responses, only 25 players filled out this section. Although it’s a small percentage of the overall completed form, the opinions are no less valid!
The two winners in this category by a long shot were ‘content fatigue’ and ‘subscription price’.
As far as content fatigue goes, I think we are safe to say that it’s more or less been remedied by the release of Stormblood. Having said that though, I have heard the odd rumblings of boredom!
Content starvation is a problem that every MMO seems to face, though I think it’s impossible for the development team to churn out content at the speed of the fastest player. Some players were finished with Stormblood MSQ and side quests within a couple of days from release, yet some take their time or have many real-life commitments which allow very short gaming periods. Content will also dry up a lot faster for those of us who don’t raid.
Having sat through a year of almost no new content at the end of WoW: Warlords of Draenor, I was absolutely shocked when coming to Final Fantasy and seeing new content, quests, dungeons, emotes and store items being added nearly every 2-3 months. I know that this may not satisfy the content cravings of some, but I really do see this as being as something hugely positive about the game which makes me feel that I’m getting something for my subscription.
Subscriptions in an MMO nowadays seems to be a rather outdated model, so if you’re asked to pay a monthly fee, the game content really does need to justify that cost.
Obviously, when money gets tight the subscription will be one of the first things to go and that’s just normal for all of us, so I fully expected to see this as being one of the more popular answers to the question.
A few other things that turned players away included:
- Traveling or relocating for studies.
- Free company and raid group collapse.
- Misunderstandings and social issues.
- The combat system.
- Too many MMOs!
Combat is an area of FFXIV I hear complained about the most by far! Prior to Stormblood, the combat felt somewhat like trying to run through caramel. For some classes it was staggeringly jolty and at low levels you really don’t really have many inspiring or interesting abilities. Combine this with a very slow global cooldown (GCD), plus the very slight perma-lag when using each ability or avoiding boss mechanics (always be 2 seconds ahead!), and things don’t feel too shiny! You are bound to feel this difference more if you have come from games like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2 which have responsive, fast-paced combat systems. The new changes with Stormblood have made combat far more fun and fast-paced, although you still have the lag and slow GCD, there’s no avoiding it! All I can say is that it does improve when you reach higher levels, have more abilities and experience more complex boss encounters.
Social activity for some players can either make or break a game. For many, they find a wonderful Free Company and forge new and exciting relationships with other players. Fun and shiny experiences are had all around and you create some of the happiest MMO memories to date. However, sometimes not all things can go to plan and it leaves a gaping hole in the game or leaves players feeling they are no longer welcome or fit within that community. Some move on to find new homes, others decide that there is nothing for it but to give up entirely.
For your MMO experience to work, you have to be really honest with yourself about what you are trying to achieve in the game and what makes the hours you spend in Eorzea fun. I have been heavily involved in the social side of MMO gaming for many years and I’ve seen many good and terrible things come to pass. Some events occurred because people can just be cruel and manipulative, some for misplaced emotions and some for misunderstandings. I, as well as others, have been so close to giving up gaming for good on so many occasions primarily due to the actions of others (this doesn’t negate our own actions!). What we need to remember is that we all come from different cultures, speak different languages, live different lives, have different illnesses, and yet we all have to live in this e-world together. Respecting and accepting that people are different and that they enjoy different aspects to the game is key to removing a big chunk of drama. There is nothing wrong with being different. Not all of us can be friends, but all of us have the ability to be truthful and respectful.
The community of FFXIV, as I’ve said many times before, has been one of the most pleasant to reside in. Friendly faces pop up so often, it’s wonderful. Yet sometimes even with those who are in friendship groups together, events can cause a clash and even the best intended words can explode into a nightmare. How we deal with this is, of course, up to us and taking time away from the game to clear the head sounds logical enough to me. In short, stay close to those that bring you happiness, avoid those who bring you pain.
This is a subject I’m really interested in and would love to rant for a long while about all the various categories of social interaction in MMO’s, but I shall save that for a future article!
How Many Classes Did You Level?
This chart confused me a little bit however, it’s data and I’m sure I can unravel it eventually if I stare at it for long enough (survey fail)! I think it’s safe to say that a good chunk of our leavers gave at least a couple of classes a try to a wider variety of the combat.
Returning to Eorzea
Now for one of the most important bits, player retention! Will these players who shipped away ever be sailing back to us? I think the answer is clear!
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 to for the articles. I did my best! 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 hope that my other articles and community involvement reflect this.
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.
In the next article in this series we’ll be taking a look at positive and negative player experiences, along with some of the more functional aspects of the game such as character configuration and user interface.
I’ll be conducting another survey shortly on post-Stormblood attitudes so keep your eyes peeled for that – there’s also Mogstation goodies to give away!Column, Echoes of Eorzea, Final Fantasy XIV, MMORPG, Square Enix