I've now played a fair amount of Final Fantasy XIV. I've done a lot of crafting, and a lot of gathering, and a little bit of actual leveling. I'm up to level 28 (of 50) in my starting combat class, Arcanist, and I'm really not liking the way it plays. Essentially the arcanist is like a warlock in World of Warcraft. I have a couple different pets I can summon to do combat for me, I have one nuke spell, a heal, a couple cooldowns, and 3 damage over time abilities. Each of the dots has a different duration and a different symbol that gets listed underneath the health bar of my current target with a timer.
My dots do more damage than my nuke, so ideally I want to fight by loading up the dots and then switch to another target and load them up too. I have a problem with the controller interface though that choosing the next target isn't as easy as I'd like, so sometimes I find myself cycling through NPCs, or allies, or my pet and waste DPS time. And since I only have timers for my current target, not any other target, I have a hard time knowing when I need to go reapply dots to different targets. If I could quickly tab around maybe I could do it, but with things as they are it's not really an option. And I don't know off hand which button corresponds to the purple background dot instead of the green background dot. It gets even worse when there's a second arcanist around since the distinction between my dots and their dots is a slightly different colour font for the timer!
It also sucks when I'm fighting easier enemies too. All my damage is back loaded, so I end up feeling like I'm not doing as much as other people. And not just with the way dots work, even with my nuke I hit my button and then do damage in 2.5 seconds. The archer gets to hit her button and do damage immediately. They may have to wait 2.5 seconds to do it again but they get one more attack in than I do on every fight. There are no damage meters that I've seen, so I don't know how much this matters and no one can yell at me about sucking. But I feel like I'm sucking, and I don't like that feeling.
The back loaded damage thing really hurts when trying to help out on the public quests that appear all over the place. A good way to level apparently is to join a roving band of people who just mount up and run between these when they spawn. I'm not doing that, but I do want to do them when I stumble on them in the course of doing other things. The problem is the first person to tag a monster gets full credit for killing it towards the quest and everyone else gets credit based on the damage they do. But I can't do any damage because dotting up something that dies in a matter of seconds is not a very useful thing to do and often I can't even cast my nuke before they die. Especially when trying to cycle through 20 players to get to one of the 3 enemies in the incoming wave. I've resorted to just trying to tag monsters with my instant cast dot when they spawn and hoping I get enough of them to get credit for helping out with the quest.
I also can't really control my pet very well. If I hit a button on my controller all of my buttons change to pet related buttons, but that shuts down my ability to do real things. I was never very good at using a pet in WoW either, but at least there I was able to switch my pet to a different target pretty easily. There may well be a way for me to switch up my interface to do it here as well, but I don't know what it is at this point.
Finally, when you're running a dungeon the game has a 'limit break' system where your party as a whole charges up a meter and then anyone can hit a button to consume the meter to do something awesome. A lot of healing, or a big taunt or something. Mine is apparently an awesome AE damage ability and people keep telling me to use it on boss fights. I have yet to do so. Even though it's an ability everyone has the game didn't put it on my bar, so the first time I was told to use it I had no clue what they were talking about. After that run I put it on my bar. The next time I mashed the button, and mashed the button but nothing happened. The people in my group then told me it's a targeted AE so I need to aim it on the ground and then shoot it off. But I don't know how I would possibly do that with a controller, or why it wasn't doing anything when I tried. I'd expect I should have limit breaked in a corner of the room or something! Maybe it's smart enough to only go off if there's an enemy in the targeting circle? I don't know. I didn't see a targeting circle, but I wasn't really looking for one. I can't test it out either, because I can only use a limit break in a group and I haven't run another dungeon since then. The 45+ minutes wait to get into one as a DPSer doesn't help.
On the plus side, I don't need to start a new character just because I hate my combat class. I can just equip a different weapon and switch to something else! The downside is I'll lose a lot of levels and end up unable to make progress on the main story until I catch up. Also I actually really like the arcanist quest chain and like the concept behind the class. I just don't like the combat implementation. I'm also not sure what to do instead... Healing with a controller seems like it might be a real problem considering how hard a time I had with targeting multiple things to dot up, but at least there's an interface showing all the players in my party. There is a macro system, so I may well be able to find a website talking about how to set that up. Generally in a MMO I end up playing a tank, so maybe I should wander down that path... I bet the dungeon timer isn't 45 minutes for them!