Square-Enix takes unique approach to MMO staples
Square-Enix‘s Final Fantasy XIV is not taking a traditional approach to gathering and crafting. In a new trailer with alpha footage, developers unveiled a crafting and gathering system with some fairly unusual depth.
Most MMO players are now used to the traditional approach to gathering and crafting. Go to a rock, shrub, or tree, click it to gather, and use the gathered mats to craft. Final Fantasy XIV is adding steps to make that process less monotonous.
The trailer, which uses the botanist class to explain the gathering process, shows a player locating a tree and then approaching it to gather. But instead of just clicking the tree and automatically receiving loot, the player is given a menu to choose between a variety of items. Each item has a different chance to be successfully gathered. Presumably, the idea is rarer items have a lower chance to be gathered, so players gamble between security and quality. But Square-Enix didn’t stop there. On top of the gamble for better items, players are also awarded experience chains for each consecutive collection. In other words, players don’t just gamble for better items; they also gamble for more experience.
Crafting takes a similar approach. The video shows a carpenter making use of the wood that was gathered as a botanist. It begins with the standard MMO fare: The player opens up a list of of crafting options and material requirements, and then selects what to craft. But, once again, the game adds another layer. Instead of just having an item crafted, the player is asked to choose between a few options that place luck against safety. The player can choose to use his/her limited CP — crafting points — on building up the item’s quality, but that also uses up durability, giving the item a chance to break. So the player also has to balance out CP use to repair the item as it’s being crafted. To top it off, actually synthesizing the item costs CP, which means players will have to save some points for the finishing touch.
The Final Fantasy XIV approach adds a mini-game of risk vs. reward. Instead of the traditional point-and-click style, players are asked to take chances for better loot. It’s a twist that will probably take getting used to, but it could make what’s traditionally a straightforward, monotonous feature in MMOs a little more varied.