Now, I'm sure we've all heard this somewhere before, and we've seen how its turned out for so many years...
It used to be that our biggest complaints as the playerbase would remain largely ignored by the development team, only to be responded with vague answers such as 'we'll look into it' and 'sorry, PS2 limitations'.
And then when fixes did come our way, it was too little to late - an example of this would be with the most recent fix of changing the way land king NMs are spawned. This came well after the bottleneck of rival HNM groups and botters moved on to other things. They might be welcome changes, but at the same time, hardly benefit anyone anymore.
But wait... Something's different this time round. During this version update, they gave us something that they'd always been stingy about in the past - convenience. These are mostly minor things, but they've added up over the years to make a huge difference for players. Raising the maximum number of active trials from 5 to 10, removing exp loss below level 30, adding new Abyssea NPCs in the cities and changing previously unstackable items to stackable ones.
These are the little things that have annoyed players and marred our gameplay experience. Onlookers will probably be wondering: Why do you put up with this nonsense? My
The truth of the matter is probably that these aren't the things that are bad enough to make players want to quit, but enough to bitch. And because this is true, the problems are often sidelined for other things, but not anymore.
Making things even more interesting, wthin a week of the May version update, they announced a second version update for the month, promising major fixes in store. Some of these seemed too good to be true, because they're the exact things that people have been complaining about in the past few months. This was really like the surprise Christmas gift that came on Boxing Day instead.
These changes included multiple spawn points for higher tier NMs in Abyssea, mostly sought after for the drops needed for Empyrean weapons, and new means of obtaining various NM key items.
And this is surprising, because they're actually addressing a major issue that players have now, instead of 3 years later when the problem no longer really exists. In fact, this is what seems the most promising about the new development team in charge - they're proactive with their changes and have shown that they bother to explain why some things are done in certain ways.
A very telling screenshot which I swiped from the BG thread.
Honestly, I think this is for the better. When they give you a proper reason, it gives us less of a chance to complain. And its a clear indicator that they're moving towards more serious open communication with the players - after some 9 years of broken communication lines.
But at the same time one wonder what else on the other side. Maybe they doing this because they know that without a full new add-on like Abyssea in this update, there really isn't a huge bulk of new content to distract players from issues such as this. Or because they actually genuinely care now...
Whichever it is, they've shown early signs that they can't be as flexible as the first impressions have given, but it's still a welcome start. Let's hope they usher in a more enjoyable era of FFXI where communicating with the devs is no longer like talking to a wall and the changes they make show that they actually play their own game.