[PODCAST Episode 270] Blizzard, Like Any Corporation, Can't Be Trusted To Care About Anything Past Profits

As much as any corporation says it will espouse certain values, you can absolutely count on them to drop those values if it threatens their bottom line. Blizzard's recent actions against a player coming out in solidarity with the Hong Kong protests are a prime example of this. Even with employees asking management to explain these decisions, they've yet to issue any formal statement. It's gotten to the point where right's organizations are getting involved. We discuss this complicated issue on this week's Waypoint Radio. You can read an excerpt and listen to the full episode below.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/d3a5dx/blizzard-like-any-corporation-cant-be-trusted-to-care-about-anything-past-profits

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re: FFXIV - I am mid-HW now and I can still vividly remember back in ARR when I too could not stand Alphinaud for a looong time. He was just so insufferable, and honestly it was kind of compounded by having Sam Riegel on VA. I like Riegel! But wow that was a mis-match IMO.

Honestly, the Beast Tribes are the worst part of FFXIV for me? Both in the side-eying that Austin laid out pretty well but also they are the most boooooooooring part of the game. Everything grinds to a halt when primals are around. I personally think they realized how rough that whole concept was and started to explore it with Shiva and Lady Iceheart and then the plot of HW but for that entire period it’s just oof.

Also, Patrick mentioned the NoClip documentary on the failure and rerelease of FFXIV and it’s a tremendous story.

If it’s any consolation, FFXIV isn’t a FFXIII situation of “don’t worry, eventually you’ll get used to the cloying themes and the main cast’s aggravating personality quirks”, most people who really like the game will tell you the base game story and progression are just not very good.

It’s a situation very similar to the first Neverwinter Nights, where there just wasn’t enough time to make a deeply compelling story while they (re)built out the structure, and so you get a really default template. Also like that game, the expansions are where the writers were able to fully stretch their legs and explore a lot of cool ideas.

I won’t sugarcoat it though, there’s still a lot of dull story for Austin to slog through. There’s an excruciating period between the base game and Heavensward which I’d compare to that massive block of interminable filler in Naruto before the start of Shippuden. I bought a story skip token about a quarter into it.


Yeah, the appeal to FFXIV’s story is less to do with getting acclimated to the tone set by 2.0, and moreso the writers completely reworking all of the stuff that didn’t work there. Like with Alphinaud: the devs totally recognized how much of an insufferable little shit he was, and go so far out their way to bring him to reality by Heavensward that I completely forgot about that “the pirates have a boat on their flag because they sail ships” sequence. But beyond that, by HW the pacing improves immensely, the characters suddenly develop personalities, the dialogue becomes less overbearingly Shakespearean, the stories have actual (good) themes, and by Stormblood they even try their hand at anti-colonialist narratives/recognizing that the whole “beast tribes” thing has always been kinda fucked (one of my favorite parts from the end of that campaign being where the emperor of the antagonist nation meets with all of the leaders in Eorzea and more or less says, "Yeah. I’m the imperialist villain here, but what the fuck do you think you all are? In what way are any of you actually any better than me?).

It’s such a bummer though because everything from Heavensward on is legitimately great, but goddamn does that initial campaign not care about your time or getting you interested in anything happening.


Yeah, like, as the NoClip doc makes clear… this story was written fast with no time for revisions. I’m actually legitimately very excited for the New Game Plus update to see how they whittle it down and hone it.

If they touch the 40 minute cutscene, I will scream tho. My FFXIV vet friends told me its Super Unpopular but I legitimately loved it. The end of ARR and the final transition into HW is completely amazing. I was already enjoying FFXIV but that point in the story was when I finally locked in.

I didn’t buy a token to skip it, but I will say that I button mashed through any non-voiced sequence until I reached Mor Dhona, and I was served p well by it.

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Austin mentioned the beast tribe quests where you meet the “Good Ones”, and despite the uncomfortable nature of that specific aspect, I think the best story I’ve gotten as someone just coming out the tail end of A Realm Reborn was the Sahagin one of those. It actually represented a feeling of an actual internal conflict within Sahagin culture, and avoided the sorts of bad tropes I was expecting going in. You aren’t centered, it’s all about the lead dude and his many Large Adult Sons, and he kicks ass.

Still, I was definitely well served just powering through the main story barely reading any of it. Y’shtola’s become the voice for a lot of the concerns I shared with Austin at this point, and it’s started to venture into Big Deal story beats that have me very curious about how they shake out. I should get some more game time at some point.


i mentioned it in the discord already, but thanks for the timestamps in the description! and thanks mods for the tags in the title.

Something that isn’t obvious for new players is that a good 40% of the base game (“A Realm Reborn”) story content is a literal remake of the same story beats from the original shut down version of the game. How do you make a brand new MMO in just 2 years? You copy and paste the salvageable parts of the old one, warts and all!

As for Alphinaud, he’s such a little shit at this point in the story that his twin sister, who calls out the Grand Companies for nationalist baiting, fucks off and does more important shit for the rest of the expansion (see the Binding Coil storyline). There’s interesting stuff that peeks through the edges of the beast tribe stories, even as the early writers fumble the delivery. For example, the Kobolds had a non-aggression treaty with Limsa that Limsan miners broke the terms of by prospecting on their lands. They’re acting in self-defense, not antagonism. This gets expanded on Later™.

Here’s an in-universe excerpt from the Lore Book that aptly illustrates the current writing team’s more nuanced perspective on “beast” tribes:

Beastmen—a most common term in the modern Eorzean lexicon, yet one that proves nigh impossible to define. Why have we as Eorzeans chosen to brand a select few of Hydaelyn’s children with an epithet that serves only to demean? What is gained by drawing this line betwixt hypothetical “us’” and a “them?” Does not this line merely serve to separate us further? To foster confusion and hate by veiling our eyes to the truth—the truth that these men we call beasts are no more beast than we?

The Folly of Bias

What exactly is it then that separates man from beastman? It cannot, for one, be the capacity for language, for those that make up these so-called “beast tribes” have also been undeniably classified as spoken—the slyphs and goblins having gone as far as adopting our own Eorzean as their preferred means of parlance. It cannot be culture, for as we have explored in these very publications, the beliefs and customs of these peoples are as rich as they are diverse, and as complex as any of those seen amongst the “five races” (a similarly questionable term in is own right suggesting that Hyur, Lalafell, Elezen, Miqo’te, and Roegadyn are somehow above the Garleans, the Au Ra, the Bangaa, the Seeq, or the myriad spoken races that call Hydaelyn home). Many of the realm’s most notable inventions prove the answer does not lie in a lack of skill or intelligence—the sprawling kobold forges and refineries of Vylbrand, the Ixali dirigibles, predating the realm’s earliest airships, the goblins’ colossal walking fortress, all of these arguably equal to or rivaling creation attributed to that small slice of civilization known as “mankind.” Just as the answer does not lie in fairness of feature, for if it did, then who could say that the leonine Miqo’te are not beasts, or that the horns of an Au Ra make them more dragon than man? Or that a Roegadyn is but a gigas of diminutive stature? No. There exist no distinctly plausible linguistic, anthropological, or biological variance that might warrant a separate classification. Yet, one exists, and the poison of its twisted logic, conceived for the political and economic benefit of a select few, has permeated modern society, breeding animosity where there ought be none.

In the year 1559th year of the Sixth Astral Era, the sultanate of Ul’dah, under heavy influence by the Syndicate, officially coined the term “beast tribe,” using it to describe those “foreign” entities whose interests directly oppose or interfere with those of the city-state. Amalj’aa were declared enemies of the people for opposing expansionist policies that saw the tribe’s traditional homeland divided up by mining concerns. Citing the protection of “local interests,” evictions were issued for Qiqirn, goblin, and sylph traders, and all dealing with the victims of circumstance strictly prohibited. The Syndicate had swiftly and effectively sown a national distrust in entire races so as to create a diversion that they may profit in the confusion—a distrust that remains to this day, and has become accepted amongst even our most educated. Yet, as stated above, if there is naught that separates our peoples beyond a term born of convenience and fostered in self-serving sanctimony, then does that not make us beast for insisting that these, our brothers, are in some way beneath us? Are we Eorzeans so insecure that we must continue this practice which historians will almost certainly look back upon with both disgust and disbelief?

The Padjal

There are none in Eorzea so foolish as to suggest the wise Padjal leaders of Gridania might be of inferior stock. Yet if we are to compartmentalize the realm’s denizens based on whether they are to be counted amongst the five races, then where does that leave the Seedseers? Their fawn-like horns, their ceased aging, their ability to commune with the elementals, are all traits more commonly associated with those peoples dishonored with the “beastmen” designation.


And what of the dragons? If intelligence is to be measured by the volume of knowledge amassed over one’s lifetime, then how might we conceive the intelligence of one who has lived a hundred lifetimes? A thousand? And how might we even begin to claim any manner of moral or intellectual superiority over such a being? If anything, the prevailing theory that Midgardsormer’s First Brood are not of Hydaelyn and came to this world from some distant star suggests that the dragons are neither man nor beastman, but instead something wholly unclassifiable by modern standards.

Signed, a concerned editor.​


Copperbelt Mine dungeon was my clear break with the narrative first time I played FFXIV. The lore behind it is putting down a delayed slave revolt because it is interfering with business. Looking back now; I’m glad it’s there, almost everything in the Ul’Dah story zone feels connected and it’s a good early way to highlight the sheer control the Monetarist faction has.

Just do the chores Austin; do them until you rage out of 2.0-2.X because god it is slow, buy the skip to Heavensward, watch the cutscenes you missed in the inn, and come join the community in just how bloody good the game gets sometimes.

I just came here to say 1. my excitement that the podcast crew even mentioned Legend of Dragoon and 2. all I want in the world (of things that don’t matter) is an hd remake of Legend of Dragoon. It’s my Final Fantasy 7. I love that game so much.


Here is my big bit of advice for folks when it comes to ARR. It served me well when I was powering through it to play with friends in Heavensward, and now I’m passing along my ancient wisdom to you…

If a cutscene doesn’t have voice acting you can skip it or just not pay attention.


It might be worth noting also, when A Realm Reborn came out (and especially when the originally FFXIV came out) the game having as much of a story as it did was considered impressive. Like, fully voiced cutscenes with mainline final fantasy animation/graphics quality was pretty impressive. So I remember the vibe at the time being “well it’s nothing special but it’s there and that’s pretty neat”

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Honestly, same. The Legend of Dragoon is such a big part of my childhood and I’ve gone back to it many times. I’m still surprised its combat mechanics (Additions) didn’t make it into much else.

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Me too! I always thought it was such a neat system. Here’s hoping someday it gets redone. Maybe even just make it playable on the PS4/PS5. I’ll buy it from the shop again.