Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hunts in FFXIV

For a very long time Blizzard has not allowed ordinary quests to be done in a raid group. When asked, they've always said that they feared everyone always joining large raids to steam roll content. In a lot of ways, it looks like FFXIV is proving this stance correct.

In the last patch, FFXIV introduced Hunts. Throughout the world, there are named monsters running around. The monsters have different difficulties: Rank B is roughly tuned for a 4-person group. Rank A is an 8-man group target, and Rank S are rare and require multiple groups.

However, SE did not include tagging with these mobs. Anyone who gets a few hits in gets credit for the kill and the reward.

So the etiquette that has developed is that if you find a Hunt mob, you announce it to the zone, wait for everyone to assemble, and then zerg it down. Doing this has made Hunts into the optimum method of getting endgame rewards, which has pushed even more people into doing them. You can actually see the effect on queues for instances and dungeons, as they are much longer than before.

Of course, since so many people are gathered in the zerg, there is no challenge. Interestingly enough, people who play late at night or early in the morning report that Hunts are a lot more fun when done in small groups, closer to how SE intended them to be done.

The obvious solution is to enforce tagging. Yet that might lead to uncooperative gameplay. I joined a guild group that was going after a Rank A in one zone a couple nights ago. We advertised in zone chat, and ended up with a full 8-man group and 2 others. It was nice that those two others could still participate and get rewards, rather than be left out.

SE could also greatly reduce the rewards. But then doing Hunts "as intended" is no longer a decent experience.

The other idea I've seen is to make Hunt rewards a "once a week" thing. You can only get rewards from a given named mob once per week. This is probably the best solution. It doesn't stop the zerg entirely, but it does thin it out.

All in all, FFXIV's Hunts are a cautionary tale for MMO devs looking to make world content for small groups.

7 comments:

Liore said...

This is a little sidebar to your post, but why is everyone playing FFXIV all of a sudden?!

You, Belghast, Spinks.. I see a ton of old school bloggers talking about it just in the last few weeks. Is it actually good?

Rohan said...

Eh? I've been playing it since A Realm Reborn came out last year.

Here's my review.

I think it's good, but it's also a bit old school. Heavy emphasis on the Trinity, very vanilla WoW era, but cleaned up and polished a fair bit.

Clockwork said...

I just started playing it and I was wondering what hunts were. Too bad about them getting zerged though, but I wonder if there is a way to make them meaningful without harming the queues for dungeons.

RJ said...

S-E shouldn't even be surprised about this, because this is also exactly what happened with their previous world bosses. Behemoth and Odin were basically the prototypes for Hunts, and this is how players handled them as well.


And to be fair, WoW also has the same things happening with the MoP world bosses, since they loosened the tagging on them a while ago.

Rohan said...

I think SE expected this to happen with the S-rank mobs. They're like world bosses, so everyone will cluster and kill them like Behemoth and Odin. But that's part of the fun for those mobs. That's why S-ranks are rarer and have spawn conditions.

I think SE were caught off-guard by this happening to A and B rank mobs as well.

Kring said...

> The other idea I've seen is to make Hunt rewards a "once a week" thing.

The terrible WoW world boss solution. Kill it on reset day or don't bother to build a group.

Skypirate said...

Similar things happened in ffxi and they did nothing to curb it so it can't have been a surprise with this.