Fangirl Musings: Not Enough Stamps!

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It’s been a couple of weeks now since Mobius‘ multiplayer mode launched, and while there’s been some pitfalls, it’s been enjoyable for the most part. I haven’t personally ran into any real connectivity issues and latency doesn’t seem to be a problem for most raid runs. The mode is easy to pick up and understand while running almost exactly the same as the single player campaign.

That being said the system is far from perfect. The main problems that crop up during raids can pretty much be tied back to a lack of communication tools. For those unfamiliar with Mobius you can’t actively chat with your teammates. Instead Square Enix decided to follow the growing trend of having its players communicate with stamps: colorful pictures with a small piece of written text to communicate your intentions or wishes with other people. For Mobius specifically they’re all also voiced or come with a bit of sound.

Now I actually do like the stamp system, especially considering that all of Mobius‘ raids have a thirty minute timer. Players also have only 20 seconds to cue  up their actions accordingly, so expecting players to do that while also type out messages would have been borderline absurd. This also limits the amount of trolling and flaming that can take place (keyword: limits. There have been some bad practices floating around, but I’ll get to that in a minute).

However while there are a very large quantity of stamps, we oddly still don’t have enough ways to communicate pertinent battle information. For example: I have three or four ways to say “hello” upon meeting my party, but as a Defender Royal Guard I don’t have an “I’ll taunt” stamp. Many would say “well you’re a tank, that’s what you’re suppose do anyway!” And while you would be very right, what about the support jobs like White Mage? They have an “I’ll buff!” stamp to let the team know to hold their special abilities and let the support go first so that our attacks are more effective, on top of the “I’ll go first!” stamp.

But as a Defender, I don’t have that sort of specific stamp. And (laughably) I have ran into a couple of 2-star Tyro raids where a squishy Breaker, or even a Mage, have used the Record Keeper collab taunt cards and refused to let anyone else go first. Because of this there was a teammate nearly dying before we even depleted the first red break gauge because someone with half the HP of a Defender job was using a card they flat out shouldn’t have dropped first. I can’t even use the “I’ll go first” stamp because, again, that should only be used by Supporters and Breakers. Which is all the more reason we need a specific stamp for the Defender classes.

And that’s just one example of a single stamp potentially making all the difference in the flow of a fight.

Mobile titles need stamps to accurately represent player behavior

What PC multiplayer games still have over consoles and mobile is that it’s much easier to convey a player’s intent or situation because we can more readily type it out. I’ve come to realize that the more I play these mobile titles, the more that I have taken something as simple as being able to type “AFK” (away from keyboard) completely for granted. Frustratingly enough most mobile titles don’t have a stamp or any way to communicate that particular status, which isn’t always because of a lost connection either. And if mobile games are going to continue to insist that we communicate only through pre-made stamps and stickers, then they need to start reflecting more player behaviors that aren’t necessarily controlled by the game’s mechanics itself.

Mobius has already done a pretty good job at covering most of its bases. However here are some stamps that I feel we desperately need:

“I’ll taunt!” – a stamp for Defenders

I’ve already gone over this one, but here’s a fun fact: once an enemy is taunted that enemy cannot shift targets, even if another player uses a taunt ability afterward. The enemy will be fixed on the first taunt user until the taunt debuff counter disappears. The Record Keeper cards with the taunt ability are very high break power cards, so it is a good idea to have them on hand if you still have a developing deck with no cards to match them. But wait for your Defenders to use their taunts first! Then and only then is it safe for other squishier classes to use theirs.

As I’ve stated previously, I’m not supposed to use the go first and go last stamps as a Defender, and the “defend!” stamp doesn’t really convey the same thing as “I’ll taunt!”. Particularly since Echo’s voice for the defend stamp just says “Hold the line,” as if the whole party should defend. Yet we don’t really have a defend action other than accessing our elemental drive, so that stamp alone is actually quite confusing for your teammates.

“Don’t Attack!” – a niche stamp, but a desperately needed one.

Unless you know for certain that an attacker on your team has stacked their mana optimally and has powerful attack cards with the 9999+ ability unlocked, chances are you are not going to take down Tyro’s wall buff before its four-turn counter depletes.  This really only applies to random parties for 2-star Tyro the Enlightened, but it is a sign of things to come for future raids. I’ve been in so many fights where breaks and orbs were utterly wasted because people didn’t understand that their 2-star basic free job couldn’t pump out the necessary damage to take down that particular buff.

This is where a “don’t attack!” stamp would prove immensely useful. If you don’t have a party with access to debuff abilities or can’t muscle your way through wall, you can instead use the turns  for orb management. Allowing you to wait to break the enemy until certain buffs pass or the party is optimized in mana orbs.

“AFK” or “AFP”- Away From Keyboard/Away From Phone

Nothing is more annoying than when you get that one jerk who won’t press “pass” for their action cue. Instead they let their twenty seconds run out before the game forces the turn to proceed. At first this doesn’t sound like such a bad thing considering it’s only twenty seconds. However after seven or ten turns of this then you know the player isn’t even paying attention to the phone while burning time off the overall fight’s timer. That repeated twenty seconds suddenly wasted three minutes, which is detrimental to lower leveled parties or those missing a key Job in formation. When multiple people on the team do it, it really adds up.

However life can get in the way, and it’s not fair to make us immediately assume the person on the other side is being a dick. It’s very possible the player had to be called away from their phone. If this stamp existed, it would allow players to let their party know that their absence is a temporary one, and thus, let the party make a more informed call as to whether or not the raid should continue.

“Vote to Kick” – self explanatory

Piggybacking off the last suggestion, we vehemently need this option. While the stamp system limits the ability to troll and flame, it doesn’t exterminate the ability to abuse one’s team. There have been several fights where players literally enter the raid…then do absolutely nothing the entire fight. They don’t pass, they don’t auto, they literally don’t do anything. They sit and leech off their team for the spoils.

For 2-star raids this can be deadly, as it’s no different than entering the raid a man down. In fact it’s even worse because you burn all of those extra minutes away from the fight as the game continues to give the missing ally a chance to enter their action cue. At least if you entered the fight with only three players that particular problem wouldn’t occur.

Worse still this behavior is easy to abuse because, so long as you’re not hosting the party or not spending stamina to earn double rewards, you use no stamina to join a raid. So if an AFK-er’s team loses the raid, the AFK-er didn’t lose anything. They just have to cue up again. Meanwhile the party host is out on stamina as are any other members who might have tried for double rewards. If the team wins, then the player was rewarded for being a lazy asshat.

As things stand there is zero punishment for the players who do this, which is wrong. I feel that if a player lets their timer run out without queuing anything five consecutive turns in a row, a “vote to kick” stamp should become available to the rest of the party. If two out of the three remaining members vote yes, the inactive player is officially kicked so that at least the team won’t have to worry about burning time. We can flee from a fight anytime we want, so this particular mechanic shouldn’t be that hard to implement. And I do mean limit it to only kicking inactive players so as to limit the potential abuse to come from this option.

Let me follow or block my party mates!

Preparing to take down Tyro
Preparing to take down Tyro

The final feature I desperately wish Mobius would implement for multiplayer is the ability to follow or block your party mates after the raid is over. I’ve ran across some awesome players during my adventures against Ifrit and Tyro, and it’s a total bummer that I can’t find them again after we party together. Not everyone playing Mobius is into it enough to use Discord or watch the game’s reddit, so there’s a high chance you won’t come across the players from random match ups ever again. The problem is compounded further since we can’t search players via their IGN. We can follow people after borrowing their rental card, so why can’t we do that after borrowing their time for a raid?

Likewise we really do need a block button offered after raids as well. If Mobius won’t give me a vote to kick option then I at least want some control over what kinds of players I match up with.

Aside from the above, multiplayer for Mobius is surprisingly polished and fun to play. I don’t get quite as frustrated with it as I have with past mobile titles and their take on multiplayer. So I’m really looking forward to what raids will be coming next (if I can finish farming those fucking pencils and quills. Seriously, screw the people that whined over augmenting the Record Keeper cards. You doubled our work!).

What features to the Ring of Braves would you like to see? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!