MMOverdrive: Final Fantasy XIV

11 07 2014

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I was hesitant about starting Final Fantasy XIV to say the least. It was a P2P MMO that also charged an upfront fee to purchase the game and didn’t even allow you to play a demo beforehand. This is basically every red flag you can have for an MMO. I probably would have kept procrastinating had a friend not made the initial purchase for me. I’ve been playing the game for about 3 months now and I felt like this was a good enough time to start sharing my opinions on the game.

ff1401Graphics: 10/10
Let’s not mince words here, this game is beautiful. Right from the opening cutscenes, this game looks and feels like a AAA title. The character customization is detailed but not overly complicated. Many of the story NPC’s are unique and memorable. And the world itself is vast and vibrant. Pretty much everything I want in an MMO. I don’t think I have played an MMO that tops FFXIV in the graphics department and that’s one of its biggest advantages.

Gameplay: 7/10
I have mixed feelings about FFXIV’s gameplay. The controls are easy enough to grasp, with WASD moving your character and the mouse buttons serving as the confirm/cancel/select buttons. Standard MMO fare.

There are various classes, which fall into predetermined roles in the game. There are your DPS classes, your Tank classes, and your healer classes. The only class notable is the Arcanist class which, while all other classes only have one advance class option, has the option of branching into the DPS focused Summoner class or the healing focused Scholar class at level 30.

The early game is a lot of fetch quests, with “Kill X number of Y” being standard fare until around level 15. At this point, if you’ve kept up with your story quests, you should unlock your first dungeon. Dungeons will be the main way you upgrade your armor and equipment as you progress through the story quests. As with most MMO’s, tanks and healers tend to get into parties faster than DPS classes, due to the sheer number of the latter. The game can feel like a grind at times, so I definately reccomend joining a Free Company (the game’s version of guilds) as early as possible to add some social aspect to the game.

Many of the post-game features require a Free Company to access. Player housing is restricted to guilds (and is expensive, so pooling money is reccomended) and getting into a party to fight the post game dungeons and boss fights can take hours if you don’t have a guild to run them with.

Possibly one of my favorite things about FFFXIV is the lack of a cash shop. A side effect of having a monthly fee attached, FFXIV is the only game I’ve played in a long time that doesn’t offer nearly any real money related items with pretty much everything obtainable in game. You have a separate inventory for equipment items and general items as well as multiple storage options later in the game. There’s even a dye merchant that’s accessible relatively early on to dye equipment.

Likewise, one of my least favorite things is the requirement to play real money to move your character between servers. Normally, I wouldn’t have a big issue with something like this, because most games only have 3-4 servers to swap between. Not FFXIV. You’re looking at around 10 servers PER REGION. Unless you’ve coordinated it with friends ahead of time, its likely anybody you know playing this game is on a different server than you which can get extremely frustrating.

ImBlueStory: 7/10
I actually find I’m enjoying the story of this game. Many of the major cutscenes are fully voiced, which helps pull you in to the story and gives all players, including the solo players something interesting to follow.

Music & Sound: 8/10
It’s a Final Fantasy game, so lots of nostalgia here. From the crystals & chocobo themes to the generic fanfare, you’ll recognize a lot of the tracks and sounds in the game. This “feels” much more like a FF game than any of the games in the FFXIII series.

ffxiv_sceneOverall: 8/10
While I really think SE could vastly increase it’s player base by adding a demo to their site, the game is easiy one of the best and most fun MMO’s I’ve ever played. In addition to amazing graphics and and fluid gameplay, the game is constantly getting updates with a new major update coming every 3 months. If you have the extra funds to spend on a monthly MMO, Final Fantasy XIV is worth the price of admission.

Final Fantasy XIV is currently available on Steam or from Square Enix’s website.

Follow me on Twitter @ImmortalDreamer

 

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