Console controls for MMOs are not for me
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 June 2013, 2:25 am
Once upon a time I was in the beta of Final Fantasy XIV. I didn't like it, but then nobody did. So the game got cancelled, and then "reborn". And as Square Enix still had my e-mail on file as a beta tester, they sent me an invite to the reborn beta test. Including a code to beta test the game on the PS3. Actually I'm not quite sure if that even included the possibility to also test on the PC, because I didn't try. But as I have never played an MMO on a console, I thought I'd give it a try.

Downloading and installing didn't work any worse than on a PC. Something seems wrong with the resolution, as if part of the screen left and right got cut off, but there is enough left to make the game playable. So I created a character in a rather long process and started playing. The start is typical for Final Fantasy games: It takes bloody forever before you can actually do anything other than follow a strictly linear intro sequence. But at last I was free to roam the big city and the lands outside of it.

I remembered that city from my previous beta test, and to me it seemed as if nothing much had changed. But I didn't play very long then, and I didn't play much this time either, so this isn't a qualified review. Because once I left the city to go on my first kill ten foozles quest, I quickly realized that console controls in MMOs aren't for me. You select enemies by cycling through them with the left and right keys. Then you need to hold one of the keys on the back of the gamepad to activate your hotkeys, and only then you can use your main buttons to fire off spells and the like. For experienced console warriors that is probably easy, but I found it overly complicated for my basic attack.

I don't know if other console MMOs do any better, but to me it seems that you'd either need to simplify the game to Diablo-like hack'n'slash action, or you end up with controls in which every button has many different functions and you need to press combinations of buttons for even the simplest of tasks. Either option isn't all that attractive to me. I think I'll stick to the PC for this sort of game.
Tobold's Blog



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