I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn over the past couple of weeks. The fact that it’s one MMO that I have yet to touch on top of a looming expansion made it the perfect time to jump in. I’m level 31 at the moment, playing a Lancer class on the Japanese server Atomos. There are lots of things I like, and some I don’t, and we’ll get to that later.
It’s important to state that it wasn’t always like this. Remember, FFXIV had a tumultuous start to life. The 1.o was poor and critics trashed it. It was unplayable in many forms that Square Enix had to take it down and remake the entire game. Thus, A Realm Reborn was born, literally. Having only played the second iteration, I must say it’s a rather enjoyable start to the world of Eorzea. Here are a few standout points on Final Fantasy adds to the MMORPG landscape.
A Single Player Story Experience
More than most MMOs, FFXIV accentuates its main story to players. It knows that the main story is the superstar, and is the center of the game that players must progress in order to unlock more features. The game’s main story is a traditional Final Fantasy adventure in every sense of the word. There are long drawn out dialogue cutscenes with fully voiced characters, and the lot of them are a likeable bunch. It’s an immersive treat if you want your MMO to offer a deep story that’s worth following. Those long cutscenes are not common in the genre, which is why FFXIV is closer to a single player experience.
It’s also important that you do them and keep it up to date. Doing the main story quest chain will eventually unlock a lot important gameplay. For examples, you get to unlock Dungeons and the Duty Finder (LFG tool) at level 15, and the mounts at level 20. It’s a love-hate system that forces you to play the main story to unlock these, but when the story is good, there’s nothing to complain about.
The Class System Is Interesting
FFXIV also does an interesting job in differentiating the various different classes for the game. There is a huge reliance on the trinity here, so Tanks, Healers and DPS are all important roles especially for group dungeons. There are a decent amount of classes, each with unique skills for combat and a separate main class story to play through. Doing them unlocks appropriate gear and some skills as well. Later on, players can specialize in a class Job, which unlocks more specific skills for your role.
The combat overall is a much slower pace that other MMOs, but fits the game well I must say. I’m playing a Lancer, which is a DPS polearm wielding class that deals high DPS when attacking an enemy’s flank. But at level 10, I am free to go pick up an entirely different class from any class guilds to level. This allows me to switch between them, but will need to level them up individually. It’s a cool system to have if you don’t want to level alts.
Is It Worth The Monthly Subscription?
In short, it could be worth your monthly allowance. It really depends on what you want out of it. The amount of content in FFXIV is staggering – layers of main story quests on top of sidequests all over the world. There’s dungeons, trials and PVP at level 50. If what the game offers is not to your liking, then it’s hard to justify maintaining a sub. Luckily, there is a 14 day free trial that allows players to check out the game for free beforehand.
But from my experiences, this is one of the best narrative driven MMOs out there currently. And if story is your thing, then this game is absolutely worth checking out.