Final Fantasy XIV and the Experience Cap

Final_Fantasy_XIVOne of the problems plaguing MMOs (and indeed all level-bases online games) is that players who have more time to dedicate to the game will outpace those of us who can only spare a few hours a week. This leads to some disparaging situations where overpowered players wipe the floor with other users in Player versus Player servers since they have the best gear and the stats to match. While some may decide that this is unfair, there’s really nothing the players themselves can do about it. Final Fantasy XIV, the upcoming fantasy MMO for the PlayStation 3 and the PC, is hoping to address this issue with the idea of diminishing returns.

The main way you progress in a Role Playing Games is through experience points, or EXP for short. It’s been this way since the dawn of gaming, and it’s not going to change any time soon. The more time you spend playing, the quicker you get points and the quicker you level up. With Final Fantasy XIV, this is going to change somewhat by limiting the amount of hours each week that you can earn one hundred percent of your experience. Basically, for eight hours of the week, you’ll get the full amount of EXP for quests and killing monsters. After that, though, your gains will start decreasing, eventually reaching a grand total of zero at the fifteen hour mark. This is on a weekly timer, so the experience clock resets every seven days. According to Square Enix, the idea behind this is that, in real life, no one could train at something for hours on end without reaching a plateau. Imagine lifting weights for eight hours a day? Eventually you’d run out of steam, and probably hurt yourself.

Naturally, this sort of artificial barrier is annoying MMO players, most of whom are dedicated to the point of playing more than eight hours a week. Think about it, if you played two hours a night, you’d be at the eight hour threshold before your knew it. An average World of Warcraft dungeon can take upwards of four hours, so this might be a problem in the making. The good news is that the EXP earned during the extra hours are banked as a surplus, but as of yet the developers don’t know what to do with them.

What do you guys think about this? I know we don’t have a lot of MMO players on the site, but as a former Star Wars Galaxies/World of Warcraft player myself, this limiting of player progression seems like it could hurt the game in the long run. I feel that, if you’re paying a subscription, you should play as long as you like with full returns, other players be damned. What do you think?

Update: I’ve read that this only affects up to fifteen hours of each job class, so it’s not an account wide restriction. Definitely better than the heavy-handed maneuver it seemed to be.

Source: FFXIV Core

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

7 thoughts on “Final Fantasy XIV and the Experience Cap”

  1. This idea may seem like a major FU to the hardcore addicts but it actually is far from it. In fact it encourages alternate characters and people end up exploring more content (unless this timer is global which would fail miserably). There has been a game with a similar fatigue system called Allods online (which was superb until the latest major patch) and that game hooked people good while inspiring the higher levels to help with lower level bosses once they ran out of their experience threshold.

  2. Being a WoW player, I can see this not working at all. I used to put out 18 hours a week into raiding (reduced it to around 8-9 hours now). But really, its more like 3 hours a night. 6 till 9 for example. Some people watch TV for longer or even a single Lord of the Rings movie… I can understand the concerns with players putting in too many hours into MMO’s with the whole craziness that happened in Korea, where people were leaving the children unattended for 3 days while they sat in an internet cafe. But, user beware is what I say. If you become addicted, it’s really your own problem and not up to the developer to save the day.

  3. This is a great idea. But I’m concerned kids who can invest 8 – 10 hours in MMO’s will be overcome by a weird condition..

    going out·side[n. out-sahyd, -sahyd; adj. out-sahyd, out-; adv. out-sahyd; prep. out-sahyd, out-sahyd]

    3.
    the space without or beyond an enclosure, institution, boundary, etc.: a prisoner about to resume life on the outside.

  4. As a WoW player I am absolutely appalled by this idea. By far one of the worst design decisions a company could make when creating an MMO. I’ve never seen a company punish people for playing their game, especially when those players are paying for that play time.

  5. I totally see why they did this, as strange as it is. I mean, one of the barriers for me to play an MMO is that I simply don’t have the time to get up the higher level. To me, I think it’s lame that some people have an advantage simply because they have more time than I do. On the flip side of that, it sucks for people that are paying for a service to have to sit out on something they want to participate in.

    I feel like if the thing was raised above 15 hours, it could be better, but that’s a pretty low number. People will probably complain no matter what, and I think they’d have some ground to stand on.

    Ronator also makes a good point that it allows and encourages players to try out more classes, etc. Hadn’t thought of it that way.

  6. At first, this was a bad idea, but I think it is brilliant.

    The idea is that if you change classes, you can still keep the max EXP, so it forces you to change your playstyle up a bit.

    This game is being aimed at newbies to MMO’s and I think it’s pretty awesome.

  7. I just hope you guys know that pretty much nobody played FFXI for the PVP, and I assume that FFXIV will similarly not have a big PVP focus. It’s all about PVE.

    Anyway, this kind of EXP cap would be a pretty cool idea for shooters like CoD if anything. That way, people don’t unlock the intensely sexy weapons and perks and such too soon and leave everyone in the dust. I agree that limiting progression can be frustrating, but the surplus is a good idea. Once the level cap is released, the surplus EXP is added and that player gets all the stuff he would have gotten if there was no level cap. It’s a cool idea and let’s noobs not get left in the dust. Plus, it’s a separate level cap for each individual job, so you can still actively gain EXP and get the rewards as you level up.

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