Final Fantasy XIV’s Fan Festival is incredibly fun, and has you leaving with a warm feeling. Seeing people you haven’t seen in years, meeting new folks, getting into really good conversations about the game (I had an hour long conversation at our AirBnB with a friend-of-a-friend about every game in the Final Fantasy series, and it was hands down one of the funnest conversations I’ve ever had), and the overall awesome feeling of being around people who play and like the same things you do. But is FanFest perfect? No, and not a lot of conventions can say they are, but here are five things my Free Company and I discussed about wanting for 2018’s event.
As I mentioned in the other article, having one room was bittersweet, but the positive aspect of it did not outweigh the negative. In my opinion, three rooms would have been the sweet spot: one that is entirely a Gold Saucer room, with loads of games to play, and areas for people to just chill and hang out (they gave us Triple Triad cards, but a place to actually play it would have been the cherry on top). A room just for the computer activities – this would have also given room for other things besides the 24-man raid challenge, The Feast, and Trial Roulette. Square could have had a free-play area where attendees had up to 60 minutes to play on their own character, or even more primal fights and challenges. Third room could be set up similarly to the room they have now, with the stage, seating, and mini-games. Utilizing a setup like this would give them the ability to add more mini-games, and have plenty of things for attendees to do.
Pre-screening of panel questions by fans
The questions people asked during the panel were honestly quiet embarrassing for all Final Fantasy XIV players. If Square wants this time to be utilized to address genuine, good questions, they need to take all those cards they collected from attendees and go through them. I was helping a friend close a booth at PAX East one year, and they had a box for comments and questions that would be looked at and answered on the forums. They had asked me to do them a favor and fish through the “useless” or “silly” questions – it’s really not that hard, and doesn’t take very long. Square could have easily had two people on the job to sift through the good and bad, and then sift through the “good ones” again to best utilize their time. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of players want Egi glamours (Egis are the summons for casting jobs in the game), but don’t use precious time (probably spent five minutes on this question alone) with thousands of people watching for it. Choose something more pressing.
— MysticGamer (@Mystic_Gamer) October 16, 2016
Better merchandise execution
I’ve got three words to describe the merchandise execution at this year’s FanFest: Holy. Fucking. Shit.
When a line doubles around the entire convention hall, you know you fucked up. Fire marshals shutting lines down, hotel employees kicking people out for camping the halls overnight, things selling out within seconds because of no item cap (I really wanted the Moogle slippers, and didn’t get them, but saw other attendees carrying five pairs of them), stuff not available online for attendees – the list never ends. This was by far the most frustrating part of FanFest, and another reason the line was so bad is because there truly weren’t enough activities for people to participate in (or want to, for that matter), so they just all piled up in the merchandise line. A girl had to leave and go to the hospital because she lost all feeling in her feet.
A solution to this? Honestly, seems pretty simple: First off, have multiple merch booths. In this situation there was one room, yes, but have one on each side, one in the hallway, people walking around selling the smaller items (coin purses and job logo pins could have easily been sold by people walking around with an iPhone and a Square reader).. It could have been done. For next FanFest, I do hope they utilize multiple stands, and set up several computers where people can make their orders, pay, and take their receipts to another window to pick up their items. Although they did have this system implemented, it was run by six cashiers, which really was not enough.
You see your event sold out in minutes, you see the numbers, you see the demand – ask attendees for shirt sizes when they register so you can get an estimate of what you need, hell, even ask them what type of merchandise they’re interested in purchasing/seeing at FanFest! I have no doubt in my mind attendees wouldn’t mind answering a few questions when buying their tickets.
More quests with better rewards
While the quest book with Triple Triad rewards was fun, it took all of thirty minutes to complete. You could avoid doing the quests themselves simply by doing mini-games over and over, or winning the 24-man raid challenge and one other mini-game. In the end, you got nine TT cards, but there could have been a lot more, and not to mention, more ways to get them. Having the base cards in your goodie bag forcing you to interact and trade was a good idea, but poorly executed. The cards came in waves, so whichever bags were left over, technically held the “rarest” cards. I was lucky and got the last card I needed minutes before the Primal Concert began.
More activities to get more cards (like in the Gold Saucer room recommendation I made earlier), and maybe the ability to trade extra duplicate cards for random blind-box cards would make the whole thing a lot more exciting. A friend of mine actually gave me the cards he had in his bag because he didn’t feel like going through the hassle and stress of trading to get all nine cards. Adding more types of cards to this would make for unique decks, and encourage attendees to play among themselves.
Server meet up area
One of the coolest parts about FanFest was meeting people from your server. We even ran into someone who one of our group went to high school with and played on our server. The meetup wall was a great touch, but unless you were paying attention to any other server groups you were a part of on social media, you missed out on unofficial meetups. If there was an area designated for a server breakout at the end of the convention, that would have been a great touch. There was a good grip of friends I had met on the game or social media that I was unfortunately unable to meet up with because of again, poor time management, long lines, and simply missing each other by a few minutes. One of the best aspects of Final Fantasy XIV is the community, and I do hope they embrace it a bit more next FanFest.
Did you go to FanFest this year in Las Vegas? Did you watch the stream? What had you hoped to see, and what do you want to see next Fest? Fire off in the comments below!