Sunday, May 29, 2016

FFXIV's Murder Mystery Event

This post contains  major spoilers for the latest Gold Saucer event in FFXIV.

Apparently feeling that there wasn't enough seasonal holidays, especially in early summer, FFXIV added a new event centering around the Gold Saucer. The Gold Saucer is a casino with a lot of non-combat mini-games. Things like chocobo racing, Triple Triad card games and some arcade-style games.

The new event was a murder mystery. A customer was mysteriously poisoned. You had to search out clues and then create a theory of how the murder took place over several dialogue choices. It was an interesting try at creating a different type of content.

The biggest problem was the solution to the murder mystery. It turns out that the entire thing was staged, like a play that you attend. This does have some advantages. Since it's just a play, there's nothing wrong with getting the solution incorrect. There's just a bit of acting, and you get a chance to try again. You can replay the event and see the other endings if you accuse different people.

But I felt kind of cheated. Because it was staged, the solution was a bit contrived, and didn't feel natural. I think it would have been a far better experience if it had been a real murder you have to solve.

However, I have no idea how the game would handle getting the wrong solution in that case. Would an NPC simply point out the flaws in your theory until you came up with the correct theory? Would there be several possible theories so that whatever you came up worked? Neither of these two choices sound ideal to me.

In some respects, content is easier to create if you can assume that the players will be successful, if not on the first try, than at least eventually. But if there's the chance of permanent failure, it becomes very tricky for an MMO without saves.


  1. "Would an NPC simply point out the flaws in your theory until you came up with the correct theory?"

    While making dramatic gestures and yelling "OBJECTION!".

    1. Actually, that would be pretty cool. Heh, maybe it's just a matter of style.