Saturday, August 30, 2014

One Night in Final Fantasy XIV

Near one of the 'portals' in Final Fantasy XIV
Initially when I start this blog, I spent a day playing several games trying to figure out if they were right for me.  I spent some  time playing Lord of the Rings Online before returning to World of Warcraft and playing it since then.  However, I still want to try out new games in my casual style.  I did it recently with Wildstar and when Final Fantasy XIV (FF XIV) offered two weeks to play for free, I decided to try it for a night and see what it was like.  Belghast was an influence since he's been talking about the game a lot recently.

Typically when I do this, it is a day or two after I played, but I became sick the day after I played the game and now, three weeks later I'm coming to write my post (and it was four weeks until I actually finished it).  I apologize in advance that it will be my impressions vague than I'd like them to be.

Some background first:  For someone who has played video and computer games since the 70s and has played a lot of RPGs, it is somewhat surprising I've never played any of the Final Fantasy games.  I have watched others play them briefly, but I wasn't ever really a console gamer so they weren't really an option for me until recently.

Character creation

I created two characters.  The first was a Hyur, the 'human' option.  The second was a Miqo'te (don't ask me how that is pronounced), the 'cat-girl' option for my daughter.  In both cases, there were two branches that had slightly different appearance choices and quite a lot of options.  There were a few options that changed your appearance significantly like hairstyle, but others seemed to be very similar.

There was a 'magic' and 'not magic' option for class and then under those were a lot of options.  Some classes didn't seem to be very different.  I just picked a melee DPS class for my first character since that is usually the easiest option.


I picked Limsa Lominsa to start in.  There was a little intro video with a fellow traveller that tells you something about the game.  It was better than just be thrown into the game but not very exciting.  When I started my second character with my daughter in Gridania, the same traveller was there giving me information about the new location.

There was no question about what you were expected to do.  At first there were a lot of non-combat quests that allowed you to familiarize yourself with the controls and the city (which was rather large) before you got combat quests outside the city.  Even in the very first locations there were 'FATEs'.  FATEs are FF XIV version of dynamic events.  I participated in two of them, but they just seemed like a way to focus grinding.  I guess if you don't like the quests they are better than just grinding on your own, but I preferred questing.  Combat was responsive and I never felt like the controls or performance got in the way.


When I wrote my other reviews, I had an older desktop and performance was a definite concern.  Now I have a gaming laptop and while it isn't bleeding edge, it doesn't seem to be an issue for most games.  In any case, I had no issues with performance in FF XIV.  Along with the quests and the combat, everything ran smoothly, indicative of a well optimized game, not something that could always be assumed for MMOs.

Overall impressions

I enjoyed my time, but didn't think it was the game for me.  I was impressed with how polished the game seemed to be.  I wasn't able to get into the secondary aspects of the game like crafting that I enjoy, but if the main gameplay doesn't grab me, those won't be enough to keep me playing.  The art style, though beautiful, isn't my favorite.  I prefer more the cartoon-like characters in World of Warcraft of Wildstar.  If you played many of the Final Fantasy games, I could see how it could be nice to revisit some of the common tropes of those games, but I didn't have that incentive and I don't see myself picking it up again.

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