Monday, December 30, 2013

Player Commendations in FFXIV

FFXIV introduced a new system to try and promote good behavior in groups. It is a new currency called Player Commendations. At the end of the run, you can give a give a commendation to whichever other player you want. You can use these commendations to buy various unique items.

I'm sure that you are all thinking of the myriad ways this system could be exploited. However, Square did something brilliant here.

You can only give give a commendation if you queued up for the run in the group finder by yourself!

If you queue up as part of a group, you can receive commendations, but you cannot give them out. So to get a commendation, you have to rely on the goodwill of a perfect stranger, someone who you may never see after the run. As well, you only get the commendations when you leave the instance, and you don't see who gave you the commendation.

I think it is an excellent system considering the balance of power in a group. The solo player has the least power in the group, but since she is the source of commendations, that is incentive to at least try to be nice.

As well, the solo player has no stake in who gets the commendation. She will never see these people again. So she may as well give the commendation to the person who deserves it.

Now, I don't know if it has made a large difference in the quality of groups. My groups are always nice, and mostly competent.[1] I've gotten 12 commendations so far. However a good deal of that comes from the fact that I play a tank, and so am pretty much the default option for commendations. I've tried to make an effort to recognize good dps. Judging by the forums, others are making the same effort.

I think the Player Commendation system in FFXIV is inspired. I hope that Square stays with the notion that solo players are the only source of commendations. In my view, that restriction is what really makes the system work.

[1] Except for Hard Mode Titan. No one expects success in Hard Mode Titan, so the overall mood is not very happy.


  1. Huh, that's freaking brilliant, actually. Square Enix came up with that system?

    Snark aside, I really kinda want to get back into FFXIV again. I had a blast for the month I played... so many games, so little time.

  2. Nice idea. I wonder if WoW will copy it. A currency to unlock deco items would probably go well, or a kind of rep grind which gives you access to more stuff as you climb up. It may even work :)

  3. Well they tried.

    Standard Operating Procedure quickly became to just give it to the tank to click it off and get out of there.

    So it's already just a mechanism for occasionally punishing tanks you don't like by withholding their commendation.

    Also if you queue with just one person you get commendations without having to (or being able to) give any out. I never queue alone, never gave one out and am just quietly collecting commendations totally unable to contribute.

    All this said it won't hurt the game any, but I feel it's going a bit far heralding it as genius.

  4. A problem with the system, however, is that if someone leaves the party before you open the commendation window, you are unable to give them a commendation.

    Now, I'll probably just use that as "Hey, if you didn't want to stick around long enough to give a commendation/wait for someone to finish the cutscene/get loot, then you probably don't deserve the commendation. But it's also still kind of a goofy problem.

  5. It's an interesting system I'll give you that. It would be kind of nice if we, the groups, could give something back to the solo player too though.

    I'm nearly always grouped with people in my company so I never get to give these out, but we're a really small company so we always need at least one extra body to fill out the group. A lot of times the people we get are more experienced players than we are, and really help us learn the instance. Or solve problems we're having with various fights. I would love to be able to do more than just say "Thanks!" to those people.