That should make the whole process more palatable for a choice-denier. You'd think. The hard work has been done by someone else. The decisions have all been made. The only thing left to do is countersign the paperwork. And yet, somehow, it doesn't always feel that way.
Syp announced today, apparently as much to his own surprise as that of his readers, that he's taken out a subscription to FFXIV, a game he only managed to spend half an hour playing on his first attempt and of whose impulsive purchase two years ago the best he could say was "...that’s a $30 I really regret spending."
Unlike Syp I fell into FFXIV like a warm bath on a cold day but by the time the first thirty days were up the water had gone cold and I was more than ready to get out. Yet, If there was one thing I should have enjoyed about the game, it was the complete absence of any requirement whatsoever to make decisions. In that respect it ought to have been perfection. It was very far from being anything of the kind.
personal agency was high among them. When it comes to making choices in FFXIV nothing really matters. That might start out feeling liberating but the walls soon begin to close in.
You only need one character because everyone can be everything. A single character can level up all the classes through the Job system and max out all the gathering and crafting professions on top of that. A simple Fantasia potion available as a veteran reward or through the cash shop even lets you change your race. There's no chance of getting anything wrong, ever.
With no decisions needed on what or who to be rest assured you'll never be in any doubt where to go or what to do either. The entirety of the gameplay sometimes (often) feels like little more than an elaborate framing device for the true content, which is, of course, the Cut Scenes. As cut scenes go they're pretty good but Mercury of Light Falls Gracefully neatly sums up my own reaction: "I can’t say that I wouldn’t have rather watched it in the form of a movie".
The main storyline, which cannot be omitted, skipped or skimped unless you opt out of
My strongest objection was to the forced grouping but the entire tenor of the enterprise, MMO by diktat, felt increasingly objectionable. Every MMORPG nowadays seems to take authored narrative as a given but FFXIV really takes it to extremes.
The game is, without any doubt, the most paternalistic MMO I have ever played, filled with an all-pervading miasma of Daddy Knows Best. The imprimatur of its autocratic creator hangs over every sumptuous setting from staterooms to farmsteads. The decision to walk away and return to Tyria felt like being let out of a stifling, stuffy, shuttered room into glorious, open countryside stretching in all directions to a horizon far-distant under a vast, open sky.
So, choices, decisions: it seems they are good for something after all. I'll try and remember that when I next log into Villagers and Heroes. I've been following the core storyline there with interest and admiration.
Which is why it was such a shock to come at last to a very definite decision point. I'd been so wrapped up in the investigation that I forgot there's always that final scene in a whodunnit, the one where the detective goes through all the suspects and dismisses each in turn before, finally, revealing that it could Only Have Been One Person All Along.
There are four possible candidates for the role of Malicious Miscreant and now I have to decide which of them it is. As I said at the beginning, if there's one thing I really don't like it's making decisions. Turns out the only thing that's worse is having someone else make them for you.
Eeny meeny miny moe....