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EDITORIAL: The Silence of the DevsFollow

#1 Apr 20 2009 at 11:48 PM Rating: Excellent
The silence is deafening.

More than two weeks have passed since the most recent update of Final Fantasy XI -- an update which many have criticized as the most lackluster in the game’s seven-year run.

All updates have their shares of glitches, bugs and hiccups. That’s why the community immediately assumed a mistake had been made when the potency and duration of several kinds of magic -- most notably enfeebling spells -- took a significant nosedive.

Certainly, the playerbase said, this is something SE would fix.

Several emergency maintenances later, the issue remains. What was once perceived as a bug has grown to the equivalent of a giant marid sitting in Aht Urhgan Whitegate. Scores of longtime, dedicated players have been left to wonder whether they’ve just been slapped with the most sweeping ninja nerf this game has ever seen.

And SE refuses to acknowledge them.

Allakhazam.com has sought answers from Square Enix. Is this a nerf? Is this a glitch? Is this an issue that’s being worked out, or is it an adjustment that’s long been coming? Why was there no mention of these changes in the recent update notes?

So many questions, yet only one response from SE.

Silence.

The strange thing is, I’ve met several members of the FFXI development team. In person, they seem to care about what we think. I believe they are passionate about the game. To us, they may seem out of touch, but they’re certainly not unfamiliar with the world they’ve created.

It was only last July when I accompanied Pikko to the Premier Site Summit at Square Enix’s North American headquarters in El Segundo, CA. The whole purpose of that summit was to build bridges between SE and the premier sites. Two-way communication is great for everyone. They get great publicity. We get better access and some inside scoops. That fuels our desire to keep playing which, again, is good for SE.

Communication wins. They know this.

At the site summit, the Square Enix representatives reiterated again and again the importance of communication; that the relationship between them and us is about more than monthly subscription fees.

Yet now, when many of SE’s most valued customers are desperately seeking communication, they are receiving none. The players don’t understand why developers felt the need to change such a fundamental aspect of the game, especially something that was a complete non-issue to the playerbase. Flame wars about enfeebling magic never covered the premier site message boards, as was the case when bards were spamming songs for easy experience points in campaign. This enfeebling magic adjustment feels completely out of the blue, no less random than the winning numbers of last year’s mog lottery.

Nerf or not, this adjustment to enfeebling magic impacts many who play, especially those who play as black mage or red mage. If you follow the Vana’diel census -- or if you do much Dynamis-Xarcabard -- then you know that red mage is one of the most popular jobs in the game. Many players have spent years perfecting their red mages as enfeebling specialists. They burned countless real-life hours to merit their skills and wait in line for specific pieces of endgame gear.

For unknown reasons, the results of their efforts have been diminished. Why?

Like all aging MMOs, this game has seen its share of adjustments. There was the infamous ranger nerf, followed by the infamous beastmaster nerf (cleverly disguised as an MPK patch). Dragoons, ninjas and most jobs that don’t rhyme with “samurai” have tasted the bitter bash of the nerf bat.

There’s just one difference -- none of those were ninja nerfs.

Is the enfeebling adjustment a ninja nerf or an honest mistake? Or is it a planned adjustment that, by human error, simply didn’t make it into the update notes?

Therein lies the problem with SE’s ongoing silence. A lot can be said by saying nothing. Problem is, you leave it to others to interpret what you’re trying to say.

What is SE saying?

“It’s a nerf, but our community doesn’t matter enough to tell them.”

“It’s a bug, but our community doesn’t matter enough to tell them.”

“It should have been in the update notes, but we don’t care enough about our community to admit we made a mistake.”

Regardless of which it is, it's clear they don't care about us as much as they should.

I’m as close to a lifelong fan of Square Enix (formerly Square) as anyone can be. I played the original Final Fantasy when I was a boy. The series has held my interest into adulthood. I’ve embraced and enjoyed the opportunity to work with Allakhazam, which has given me tremendous insight into the creators of my all-time favorite series.

Yet I am among the scores of players who are left scratching their heads over SE’s path of inaction. This isn’t the first time concerns have been raised about SE’s response times to critical issues. Anyone who views our general forum regularly will recall the horror stories as people fought to reclaim accounts hijacked by RMT. In response, Square Enix overhauled its account investigations and internal procedures; the company also lined up the new account security tokens. The entire process took months.

In this case, all SE needs to do is speak up.

Tell us what happened. Explain it. Justify it. You won’t make everyone happy, but at least we’ll know we matter.

How much do you care about your customers?

Again, the silence is deafening.
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#2 Apr 20 2009 at 11:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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I give you an "A", and a gold star.
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#3 Apr 20 2009 at 11:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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#4 Apr 21 2009 at 12:02 AM Rating: Excellent
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Agreed. There is no excuse for silence over this issue on SE's part. They should have enough respect for the players to tell us what's going on, even if we won't like the answer. Even bad news is better than just sitting in the dark knowing absolutely nothing.
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#5 Apr 21 2009 at 12:06 AM Rating: Excellent
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Quote:
Dragoons, ninjas and most jobs that don’t rhyme with “samurai” have tasted the bitter bash of the nerf bat.

There’s just one difference -- none of those were ninja nerfs.



I know what you meant, but just the wording of that made me lol. I keep saying to myself, "The Ninja nerf was not a Ninja nerf." :P



But seriously, youre right. I wish they'd just say SOMETHING, even if its something I dont wanna hear. Closure is a lot better than suffering, and not knowing why.



Edited, Apr 21st 2009 1:09am by Lionheartviii
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#6 Apr 21 2009 at 12:14 AM Rating: Good
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I'd have to agree. Lack of communication is certainly something you don't want between an MMO and its development team.
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#7 Apr 21 2009 at 12:15 AM Rating: Excellent
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Excellent. I hope you sent this to them verbatim.
#8 Apr 21 2009 at 12:16 AM Rating: Excellent
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I know the Community Team will read it, I do wish the devs would as well.
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#9 Apr 21 2009 at 12:19 AM Rating: Decent
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Paskil wrote:
Excellent. I hope you drive to the LA office and read this to them verbatim.


FTFY
#10 Apr 21 2009 at 12:22 AM Rating: Good
Edited by bsphil
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Well done, lad.
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#11 Apr 21 2009 at 12:24 AM Rating: Excellent
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I'm pretty jaded as far as getting answers to specific questions out of devs. But no, you're right, you can't just totally change the game like that and then not explain it in some form or another.
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#12 Apr 21 2009 at 12:27 AM Rating: Excellent
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It's time to get past jaded and get ANGRY. Smiley: madSmiley: madSmiley: madSmiley: madSmiley: madSmiley: mad
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#13ShonaSeraph, Posted: Apr 21 2009 at 12:34 AM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) I would just like to play devil's advocate. It's not that I disagree that perhaps maybw they could say something about what is happening, but isn't everyone overreacting a bit? I read the forums at work sometimes since I can't play at work, and it's a lot of 'the sky is falling' type threads. How many times do I have to read about 'omg they nerfed enfeebling!'. Maybe if it's intended, it's a good change. A fully meritted rdm and blm are quite OP. My personal opinion. I have yet to see anyone in my shell complain about the change so I doubt it's as drastic as you all make it out to be. Has it completely broken rdm and blm to the point of uselessness? No.
#14 Apr 21 2009 at 12:56 AM Rating: Excellent
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^

This is going to cause a massive derail but..

The issue with bind is not "just recast faster". The entire reason many of us are peeved is we spend a lot of time getting great enfeebling gear/merits to make bind stick every time.
I sure did.
Bind is the reason I went 5/5 ice acuracy in my merits.
The other thing we invest much time in is fast cast gear. Everything we can get our grubby little paws on.
Because bind sometimes wears off early. And you want the next one to be ready soon.
Won't hapen without fast cast, the recast is atrocious.

Halving the length of time that bind lasts makes my 5/5 ice acc.. not worthless, but a *lot* less good.

The fact that the devs are completely silent about this, and apparently don't give a toss/ don't understand is what's causing people to be upset, moreso than just the (in the eyes of many, undeserved) nerf.

Hope that cleared that up for you.
Let's not turn this into "Just suck it up" vs "NO U", alright?
#15 Apr 21 2009 at 1:01 AM Rating: Good
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Just suck i... oh, all right.

No but really, what's getting angry going to do? I don't like having unrelable sleeps. Doubt anyone does. But it's not people like me that get answers to my questions; it's you ffxi community site runners. And if you guys aren't getting any response from the devs, well, what's left to do? Complaining in forum topics is all good and fun, but I like to know that my effort is going towards some goal. So what's the plan here?
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#16 Apr 21 2009 at 1:03 AM Rating: Excellent
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ShonaSeraph wrote:
I would just like to play devil's advocate. It's not that I disagree that perhaps maybw they could say something about what is happening, but isn't everyone overreacting a bit? I read the forums at work sometimes since I can't play at work, and it's a lot of 'the sky is falling' type threads. How many times do I have to read about 'omg they nerfed enfeebling!'. Maybe if it's intended, it's a good change. A fully meritted rdm and blm are quite OP. My personal opinion. I have yet to see anyone in my shell complain about the change so I doubt it's as drastic as you all make it out to be. Has it completely broken rdm and blm to the point of uselessness? No.
So binds and sleeps don't last quite as long... oh well. Guess you'll just have to cast it more frequently and pay closer attention. But hardly completely destroying the jobs to the point of quitting the game. Stop being so emo.


like the op, i've moved on from getting ****** about what happened and now i'm irritated that they can't even acknowledge that it did happen.

nice to see an admin is willing to write something like this.

to shona, i look at your jobs and i look at mine. no wonder you aren't too concerned with this update and i am.
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#17 Apr 21 2009 at 1:07 AM Rating: Good
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/kneel

Wonderful

Thank you for being the voice of FFXI :D
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#18 Apr 21 2009 at 1:11 AM Rating: Excellent
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The dev team isn't going to listen to one admin voice about the issue, but add in an entire community's voice and it's likely to get more than just their passing attention.
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#19 Apr 21 2009 at 1:11 AM Rating: Good
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ShonaSeraph wrote:
I would just like to play devil's advocate. It's not that I disagree that perhaps maybw they could say something about what is happening, but isn't everyone overreacting a bit? I read the forums at work sometimes since I can't play at work, and it's a lot of 'the sky is falling' type threads. How many times do I have to read about 'omg they nerfed enfeebling!'. Maybe if it's intended, it's a good change. A fully meritted rdm and blm are quite OP. My personal opinion. I have yet to see anyone in my shell complain about the change so I doubt it's as drastic as you all make it out to be. Has it completely broken rdm and blm to the point of uselessness? No.
So binds and sleeps don't last quite as long... oh well. Guess you'll just have to cast it more frequently and pay closer attention. But hardly completely destroying the jobs to the point of quitting the game. Stop being so emo.
People have spent years working on gear and merits to perfect enfeebling builds. In one ninja nerf SE has basically **** over everyone who worked at that, and by their lack of response, don't seem to give a **** about it.
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#20 Apr 21 2009 at 1:14 AM Rating: Good
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Pikko wrote:
The dev team isn't going to listen to one admin voice about the issue, but add in an entire community's voice and it's likely to get more than just their passing attention.


you have my attention. how do we do this because this is definitely something many of us want to get behind and support.
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#21 Apr 21 2009 at 1:16 AM Rating: Good
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If they will not just listen to one person then I want to be one person one voice to help lead us to un-nerf this crazy enfeebling matter.
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#22 Apr 21 2009 at 1:20 AM Rating: Excellent
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This goes beyond the nerf itself. It's about respecting the playerbase enough where they acknowledge that we deserve to know what is going on with the game that we continue to pay to play. This adjustment affected a lot of people and we're just left twisting in the wind trying to understand it.
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#23 Apr 21 2009 at 1:23 AM Rating: Default
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Well I quit - they can ignore my little voice but -1 subscription speaks extremely loud.

EDIT: LOLZ to the post below me saying "STFU" (here have some popcorn while you read)

Edited, Apr 21st 2009 5:31am by Abbottone
#24ShonaSeraph, Posted: Apr 21 2009 at 1:24 AM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) to psubond - it's not that i'm of the mindset that since the enfeebling 'nerf' doesn't affect me, that it doesn't affect me. It affects everyone. My point is that if I were a new player coming to the game and reading the forums, this would seem no better than a WoW forum with all the complaining. All the negative posts and threads seem counterproductive. Judging from post counts, a lot of people should probably spend more time playing the game than QQ'ing constantly in this forum. I know that's probably not a popular thing to say, but should probably be said. Work with what you're given in this game, as well as life, and try to be content with it. Or work towards improvement. Complaining and crying over spilt milk will accomplish nothing.
#25 Apr 21 2009 at 1:24 AM Rating: Excellent
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Posting to add my voice to those going "SE, wtf?"
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#26 Apr 21 2009 at 1:29 AM Rating: Good
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Speaking as a very avid Red Mage and a fan of Square Enix in general, I agree in total with the views expressed by Thayos in the editorial and the comments by Pikko. This sort of adjustment unannounced is a bit of a shock and puts to point how bad the communication lines are on SE's side.

And it's gotten worse. It seems since the January 22 Bannings SE's been keeping an extra tight lip on things, and it's getting very painful for the game in general.
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