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Old 05-19-2014, 04:17 AM
Sorce Sorce is offline
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Final Fantasy XIV
I'm not a fan of Final Fantasy, and I'm not a fan of MMOs. So why the hell am I playing a game that is a hybrid of the two?

Because it's fun.

FF14 launched to much fanfare a few years ago... and then basically got railed against by everyone who played it. The game was horrible, the market boards/auction house was crappily organized, glitches everywhere... after the initial month, Square Enix started hemorrhaging members every month that it was possible to. It got bad enough that SE decided to stop charging people to play the game, fire the entire staff that had developed it, and start (almost) from scratch. wHile the servers were kept online, and then-current players were allowed to play, SE started revamping the game from the word go, tweaking this, adjusting that, and in some cases, redesigning dungeons and quests to make the experience better. Eventually they relaunched the game as "Final Fantasy XIV 2.0: A Realm Reborn" to much fanfare and... everyone loved it. Players came back in droves, and new players (such as myself) flocked to them as well just to see what the hubbub was about.

Well, for one, the game looks absolutely gorgeous. The character creator gives you an option to be one of five races, Hyur/Human, Elezen/Elves, Mi'quote/Cat-people, Lalafels/Midgets, and Roegadyn/Giants (each having two sub-races AND both Male and Female genders), along with being able to pick such things as height, muscle definition, eye color, skin tone, tail length (if you have one), hair style, facial structure, and the like. Females even get a Boob Slider if you feel the need to get extra jiggly, or prefer a more streamlined look.

The gameplay obviously depends on which of the 8 (initial) classes you choose. I say "initial" for two reasons. Every Class, when properly leveled turns into a Job; and I don't mean in a grindy sort of way, but in the "I know WTF I'm doing" way. In order to unlock a Job, you need to get your primary class to 30, but also a sub-class to 15. Those of you familiar with MMOs know what I'm talking about (I hope?). There's also a tertiary class that you can pull skills from, but that's not a requirement for the Job.

As an example, I started as a Marauder. They swing a big fuck-off axe; however at 30, they have the option to become a Warrior (who also swings a big fuck-off axe), but they need to get the Gladiator class (sword and shield) to 15 first. It's also recommended you level Pugilist (fisticuffs!) as the tertiary, which I did a little, but whatever. Though this brings me to one of the negatives of the game; there's only so many missions you can run before you run out of XP. Don't get me wrong, you can run Dungeons until you're blue in the face, and there's also class-specific Hunting Logs, and level-appropriate Levequests (never-disappearing missions), as well as FATEs (random spawn kill fests in the world), so there are ways to level up characters... but yes, it does feel a bit grindy at times.

But in the interests of making this a fleshed out world, you don't have to kill things or heal things in order to have a good time. There are also crafting and gathering classes, such as Blacksmiths, Culinarians, Botanists, and Miners. And of course any character you make can be any class (provided you have at least one class at Lv10), all they have to do to change classes is to equip that class's primary tool, whether it's a big fuck-off axe, a frying pan, a magic wand, a book, or whatever that class requires.

So I briefly touched on one of the negatives (some grinding), so let's cover the other ones. Well for one, this is a social game. Any dungeon you want to run has to be done in a party. The upside is that there's an app for that. You open the Duty Finder, select the dungeon (or multiples) you want to run, and the DF takes that information, as well as your current class, and finds other people that fit the missing classes (from both your server and across all servers) that also want to run the same dungeons so you can run the instance as soon as possible. This makes the game less painful, but sometimes the DF can't find people immediately, so you have to wait. Thankfully it doesn't stop you from playing the game, you just can't immediately jump into the dungeon. And of course if you party up first, the less need for the DF to do it's thing is required.

The other irritating thing is the fact that since it IS an MMO, there's a monthly fee. Now it's "only" $12/month, which isn't too bad, but it's something to think about. Thankfully the game comes with a free month to help you decide if you want to keep playing. The main story itself is kind of lackluster, in so far as it's kind of the generic take on a Hero's Journey, but there are moments that are fun. This is where the aforementioned social aspect comes in, because who doesn't want to kill evangelions with their friends?

There's also a PvP arena, but I don't do PvP, so fuck it.

But yeah, I do recommend the game, but not as a Must Play. It's enjoyable enough, the classes/jobs are fun, running dungeons can be fun, but you gotta pay to keep playing.
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