Final Fantasy XIV
Welcome to Eorzea, a wonderous world filled with many of the species and creatures you’ve come to know over the years in the Final Fantasy series. Join up with others and embark on incredible adventures in a redesigned MMORPG!
Note: This is a buy-to-play retail game.
Publisher: Square Enix
EXP Rate: Medium
Filesize: ~20 GB
Pros: +Wide range of classes and professions to choose from. +Massive world with tons to do. +High production value.
Cons: -Subscription fee required. -Lacks innovation. -Steep system requirements.
Final Fantasy XIV Overview
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a subscription-based, pay-to-play MMORPG from Square Enix based on the Final Fantasy franchise. Taking heavy inspiration from its predecessor, Final Fantasy XI, FFXIV offers characters the ability to take on a massive world with deep storylines, monsterous progression, and multiple classes and professions that can be switched between on a single character. Quests, instances, crafting, mounts, and much more are all available in this big-budget title.
Playable races: Hyur, Miqo’te, Elezen, Roeadyn, Lalafell
Battle Roles (Combat classes): Archer/Bard, Gladiator/Paladin, Lancer/Dragoon, Marauder/Warrior, Pugilist/Monk, Conjurer/White Mage, Thaumaturge/Black Mage, Arcanist/Summoner/Scholar
Disciples of the Hand (Crafting classes): Alchemist, Armorer, Blacksmith, Carpenter, Culinarian, Goldsmith, Leatherworker, Weaver
Disciples of the Land (Gathering classes): Botanist, Fisher, Miner
Final Fantasy XIV Screenshots
Final Fantasy XIV Featured Video
Final Fantasy XIV Review
FFXIV: A Realm Reborn Post-Launch Review
By Jordan Arnold (Pwarp)
These are the first words you hear when you step into the beautiful world of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. Final Fantasy 14 has had its ups and downs to say the least. After its first release in September 30, 2010 failed miserably, it was brought down a year later (November 11, 2012) both at the request of players and developers alike. Most games don’t get a second chance, but A Realm Reborn proved why some games deserve it. With a brand new engine, redesigned combat system, and a beautifully developed world, A Realm Reborn is now one of the best Pay to Play games on the Market. Featuring the ability to switch to any job at any time, an immersive world to explore, and story quests for not only the main story, but each and every job, Final Fanatsy 14: A Realm Reborn has a glorious story to be told.
Final Fantasy 14 has five races and over eight classes, not including sub jobs, to choose from and even more coming with future updates. Depending on which class you choose, there are three different cities your character can start in. The class you pick in the beginning does not have an effect on what class you can eventually become. I found Gridania the easiest to move around and find everything in, and Limsa Lominsa the hardest. Visually, the character creation menu is one of the best I’ve seen. I could spend hours just creating different characters without stepping a foot into the actual game.
Thanks to Final Fantasy 14′s job system, once you hit Level 10 you are free to take the airship to a new city and visit one of the guild locations to switch classes. Once you have more than one class, not only can you easily switch by changing your weapon, you can also bring certain skills over to your new class, allowing for even more customization of your character. This switch can be made even more painless by saving skill and gear sets for each class. Skills are obtained simply by leveling up. One thing I did notice, and didn’t like too much, was that you can view every skill your class can get as your character levels. Although this information could easily be found online, I prefer to be surprised with the new skills I acquire as my character progresses.
Character customization is also very user friendly. You can choose your standard hairstyle, eye type and color (even multiple colored eyes), your facial expression, and accessories. You also have the option to add highlights to your hair to go along with the main color. Unlike most character creation options, you also have the option to choose how big or small your eyes are, along with your height. Although the bulk of customization is based on presets rather than sliders, they at least offer enough variety to avoid seeing clones of yourself everywhere you go.
The UI is also very customizable by allowing you to move around menu areas where you want and scale the complete UI up or down. The only downside to this is that you can only scale it up or down to a certain point. I hope in the future they allow us to modify this even more for those of us who enjoy more of a detailed view of the world and less UI interface without having to turn the UI completely off.
There’s not much to say except that Final Fantasy 14 has some of the most stunningly and vivid environments I have seen in an MMORPG. From the details of the sky, the cities, and even the NPC’s, every part of the world looks alive and begs to be explored. The only thing I can see that could use an uprgrade is the floral environment textures, but they may be less detailed as to provide less lag for people with older PC’s. However, it would be nice to have an extra option to turn the graphics up for them. There haven’t been many games that I could turn off the UI and just bask in the realistic world view, but Final Fantasy 14 is definitely among them.
The music in Final Fantasy was composed by none other than Nobuo Uematsu, who has worked on previous Final Fantasy games. There’s not much to say about the music, except that it’s absolutely mesmerizing. The music really makes you feel one with the world, and Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn has one of the best soundtracks in the MMO genre. I’ve found myself listening to just the soundtrack for hours and can’t imagine it improving beyond what is in-game now.
Final Fantasy 14 uses your standard keyboard and mouse controls with the option to use a gamepad controller similar to Final Fantasy 11. The gamepad controls are done really well, and it doesn’t affect gameplay very much at all. A lot of games have trouble implementing controller support (Dark Souls PC Port, anyone?), but as I tested it, I found it just as easy to use as a mouse and keyboard setup.
Oh, the wonderful world of gaming communities! You always have that bad bunch of players who refuse to communicate, help out, and just bash every single thing you say or do. Final Fantasy 14′s community is, for the most part, one of the best I’ve come across. This might be due to the IP of the game itself, but anytime I had a question, I just posted it in Shout and there was always someone to quickly reply with an answer or offering to help. As the game has progressed into maturity over the past few months, this has seemed to only improve as the patient gameplay style and subscription model has weeded out a lot of the undesirables from the pool.
A Realm Reborn’s gameplay is similar to most point and click MMO’s out today. Although some would say that this type of control scheme is outdated, as most games are moving towards action oriented combat, I would say that with Final Fantasy games, you almost have to go this route. Since a flash of the screen and turn-based combat wouldn’t work too well in an MMORPG of this scale, I found that the point and click combat system of Final Fantasy 14 was done very well. You have twelve skills available per hotbar, and you can add up to three bars total.
The monsters in Final Fantasy also have their own skills, and will switch up their strategies depending on what you’re doing. When a mob is using a certain attack, you’ll see a red indicator in the area it’s going to effect, giving you time to move out of the way. This means that you have to be aware of your surroundings. You can’t just sit back, spam your skills, and browse the interwebs, because it’s very likely to get you killed, especially during boss fights. My party was wiped out several times during our first run-in with Ifrit before we found out exactly how to dodge his hellfire attack. Regardless of how many times we died, it was a very fun battle, and I loved the challenge of it!
Dungeons in Final Fantasy are very interactive and fun to explore. There are items hidden everywhere, and they even throw in some fun puzzles in order for you to progress. Some dungeons take a lot of cooperation to finish, which gives players a reason to group up to make their objectives easier to complete. Dungeons could use a bit more interactions and puzzles, but other than that, they’re fun and almost as gorgeous as the outside world.
With Patch 2.1 releasing on December 17th, two PvP modes will be introduced. There are three types of Levels for PvP; 30, 40 and Level 50. The battles will be fought 4vs4 and there will be some exclusive skills to use only for PvP. This will keep things balanced and separated from PvP and PvE. We’re not sure how balanced it’ll be right after the patch comes out, but as always, balance issues will be watched and changes will be made accordingly. The bright side of this system is that when those balance changes do arrive, we can rest assured that our favorite class won’t be nerfed into oblivion in PvE just to level them out in PvP.
Guilds in Final Fantasy aren’t called guilds. Instead, they refer to them as ‘Free Companies’. Once you create a Free Company you can manage it from the easy to use Free Company Menu. Not only can you create and choose ranks for members, but you can also customize the names for each rank if you’d like to change them from ‘Recruit’, or ‘Captain’, etc. Free Companies can rank up as they do company quests. Leveling up in rank gives the Free Company even more options such as a Company Chest, Company Crest (logo), all the way up to Rank 5. At this latter rank, Free Companies unlock Free Company Actions that can be activated by the Free Company Leader. These actions range from increasing the amount of exp earned from certain battles, gathering resources, and even perception, which increases what you can see.
Final Fantasy 14 has a lot going for it. If they continue pushing out updates and expansions, I see no reason that it won’t last as long, if not longer, than Final Fantasy 11, which is still going strong to this day. I do, however, believe that they should release a new class as soon as possible due to the fact that most players that played pre-A Realm Reborn have most classes maxed out, giving them not much to do except for maybe grinding dungeons and socializing.
If you are looking for a MMORPG that has an interesting storyline, wonderful graphics, and enough to keep you hooked for years to come, Final Fantasy 14 would be a great choice. With the eight classes, even more sub-jobs, and plenty of story quests to keep you entertained, there isn’t much else on the market that offers such an immersive voiced story and hard dungeons to keep you going for hours on end. With Final Fantasy 14, it’s easy to lose track of time- I know this from experience. Some would argue that Pay to Play is over with, but with Final Fantasy 14′s sheer amount of content, they can take my money every month as long as they continue updating us with even more content patches and new things to do. Did I mention they’re bringing in the Golden Saucer sometime soon?! What more do you need from a Final Fantasy MMO?
FFXIV Review By Tagspeech
NOTE: Final Fantasy XIV is a buy-to-play, subscription based MMO.
Most MMORPG gamers are aware of the sordid history behind Final Fantasy XIV. The original release was some time ago, and it was met with such furious backlash from players that Square actually recalled the game, apologized, fired staff leads, and took the game back in to be redone under new management. Now, that product has been re-released, and the world waits with bated breath to see if it’s actually possible for a company to undo what was (apparently) a gigantic screw-up. I personally didn’t play the original release, so I’m going into this with fresh eyes.
Character creation is fun. Plenty of options, even different clans/cultures to choose for each of the races, and a patron deity as well. Gives you a good sense of what the world is about from the beginning. The art direction, as is always the case with a Final Fantasy title, is superb. The game is crisp and gorgeous. Facial expressions and animations are first-rate, making every character truly come alive on the screen. The environments themselves are beautiful and a joy to walk around in. And the music, of course, is lovely. Aesthetics have never been a shortcoming of any Final Fantasy title.
The cutscenes are a bit tedious, and the expectation of most modern gamers is for these kinds of things to be fully-voiced. This is not the case in FFXIV, and for some, that’s going to be a bit of a turn-off. What’s unfortunate is how frequent the cutscenes are. Good writing in a video game is when things are happening around you, when the story is being actively told through the gameplay without interrupting or deviating away from it. A good example would be the open quest system in Guild Wars 2. FFXIV is a conscious step back toward frequent cutscene interruptions that force the player to passively receive the story while unable to play the game. It’s just not good design, skippable or not.
Most MMORPGs will drop you right down into the action after character creation. This is not the case with FFXIV. You’re obligated as a player to sit through tens of minutes of passive cutscenes, while the game does its best to “show you how the world works” depending on which city-state you wound up with at creation. These cinematics aren’t exactly gripping theater, and for players that like to get right into the action (like myself) they can be frustrating.
Once the initial cutscene is over, you’re dropped into an instanced version of your starting city, and forced into registering with an adventurer’s guild before you get to do any actual adventuring. I realize this isn’t exactly an Elder Scrolls game, but I’m not sure who this fantasy world was created for. Aren’t adventurers typified by their lust for freedom and action? Signing forms in triplicate and then passively listening to someone don’t really strike me as adventuring behavior.
While first (and second) impressions are important, it’s unfair to judge a game based solely off of the introduction. What matters is the meat of it; the gameplay itself. So even though I was stuck in a giant city surrounded by boring NPCs, I had a job to do. I was going to find the gameplay. Thus began my saga, as documented in the following excerpts from my Adventurer’s Journal (one clear sign of a true adventurer is diligent note-taking).
The Great Escape
“So, there I was, trapped in an unfamiliar city, surrounded by noobs and NPCs with exclamation points over their heads. I’d been tasked by some tiny woman to spend my time running around exploring the city and checking in with things. I did not roll a Gladiator to be a tourist. I could care less. But everywhere I looked, there’s an NPC demanding that I accept their task of going to some other NPC to collect or ‘hand over’ something. I should really take a moment to talk about the innovative new UI feature they integrated into FFXIV called ‘handing things over.’ It even has its own tutorial tip explaining how to do it. See, when you have a fetch quest and need to give another NPC an item, you have to manually click on the item in your inventory to drag it into a new window, and then click the ‘hand over’ button to complete the transaction. Mind-blowing.
Every moment I spent in that city surrounded by nagging NPCs wanting me to run thirty feet to deliver a note, I felt my sanity unraveling. I had to get out. I had to escape. I consulted my map, which was an arcane device with no helpful markers, and even lacking in a proper orientation marker for my own character. I wrestled with it for a while and finally had to just throw it away and rely on the minimap. After getting lost in a palace and hitting dead end after dead end, I finally managed to find an ACTUAL KILL QUEST. A quest for killing things! Overjoyed, I bolted for what I hoped were the city gates.”
Fight Ladybugs, Fight Like a Ladybug
Let’s get serious again. There’s nothing I’d love more than to report that the combat in FFXIV is a heart-pounding thrill ride. It is not. Now, I understand that there’s a lot of MMO gamers who prefer a more laid-back approach to combat. I can understand that. I enjoy plenty of turn-based games, myself, so it’s not like I’m some kind of twitch-addicted FPS jockey. But there’s just something inherently wrong with the combat in this game. It’s slow for the sake of being slow. It’s dated for the sake of being dated. It’s about as basic and exciting as World of Warcraft was at release, nearly ten years ago.
Example: the game starts you with an ability called sprint. It has about a 20 second cooldown, gives you a small speed boost, and lasts for around15 seconds. They could have just made it a toggle, but that would have been too convenient. Most modern MMOs just build a sprint key and stamina bar into their games. FFXIV instead resembles something I’d expect from a 2009 WoW clone. This is on top of the fact that the global cooldown for all abilities seems to be somewhere in the realm of two seconds, and that may not sound like a lot on paper, but it’s twice as long as most, meaning you’d better find tab targeting and auto-attacking incredibly rewarding and exciting; it’ll be most of what you’re doing until much later levels.
So, with all of this known to us now, doing those initial kill quests to murder cute, cuddly ladybugs and marmots is just… the opposite of impactful. It’s dull. In a genre ailing from years of copycats, cash-ins, grinds, and an over-reliance on stodgy, Dungeons and Dragons-centric rulesets – a genre in desperate need of a title with a clear vision and a little innovation on basic, core gameplay concepts – Final Fantasy XIV seems to have made the conscious choice to go backwards in time, returning our MMORPG gameplay experience to around 2005.
But at least we can jump now. Couldn’t jump in the first Final Fantasy MMO.
Join the Party (or else)
Of course, I’m coming at the game with all of these criticisms as a soloist. As we all know, party-based combat can be rewarding, and some games choose to focus on it more than others. FFXIV, just like its predecessor, is one such game. The bonus experience received just for small parties is generous, giving players great incentives to group up and tackle the world back-to-back. As is standard-issue for most MMORPGs, soloing is actually quite possible, and forming a party is only really necessary when a player is trying to access the highest levels of the game’s reward system; the power of the “Primals” for example. That’s all I can say without spoiling too much.
All of this is likely going to strike a strong chord with the “hardcore raider” crowd, the people who need a game that has extremely punishing late-game challenges that require the coordination of large groups of people to accomplish. From what I can tell at release, FFXIV very much caters to the kind of gamer who needs to turn their hobby into a job. While that might have been me at one point in my MMORPG gaming career, these days I find myself less and less willing to herd cats in a guild. But some people never tire of the power trip, and I suspect that WoW veterans tired of that game’s constant “dumbing down” of the raid content will probably find something to like in FFXIV’s raid content.
Line up, raiders. The dungeon dominatrix is back in business. Enjoy simple ability rotations, moving to avoid abilities, memorizing choreography, watching for telegraphs, and generally playing the very complex version of Simon Says that is old-school WoW raiding. May all your lewtz be phat, and all your wipes be free of nerdrage.
Final Verdict: Fair
While I understand there’s a demand for the punishing and polarizing “old school raiding experience” among a large group of gamers, and that FFXIV fills that need, I cannot in good conscience give a glowing review to a game that so willingly avoids innovation or excitement in its core gameplay. They have literally improved nothing on the WoW model, instead delivering an experience that would have done phenomenally if it had been released instead of the first Final Fantasy MMORPG. WoW might have never been, if this was Square’s first attempt at an online game.
Unfortunately, it’s ten years too late. The only people that are going to be stuck to this game are die-hard Japanophiles, Final Fantasy fanatics, hardcore raiders, and auto-pilot grinders. If that’s you, then knock yourself out, this is the game you’ve been waiting for. I’m personally going to continue waiting for a game that attempts to advance the genre into a new era, not drag it back in time.
Tagspeech is the alias of author W.B. Wemyss, who was responsible for the bizarre cyberpunk fever dream called Children of Athena
Final Fantasy XIV Videos
FINAL FANTASY XIV E3 2014 Trailer – A Realm in Peril
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – Launch Trailer
Final Fantasy XIV Links
Final Fantasy XIV System Requirements
PlayStation 3 Requirements
Hard Drive Space: 12GB
Controller: DUALSHOCK 3
Keyboard Support: Optional (only supports text entry)
Video Output: NTSC: 480p, 720p
Windows (PC) Minimum Requirements
OS: Windows® Vista 32/64bit, Windows® 7 32/64 bit, Windows® 8 32/64 bit
CPU: Intel® Core™2 Duo
Memory: 2GB (4GB recommended for 64bit OS)
Available space on hard disk/SSD: 20GB
Graphics Card: NVIDIA® Geforce® 8800 or higher, ATI Radeon™ HD 4770 or higher
Screen Resolution: 1280×720
Sound Card: DirectSound® compatible sound card (DirectX® 9.0c or higher)
Windows (PC) Recommended Requirements
OS: Windows® 7 64 bit
CPU: Intel® Core™ i5 2.66GHｚ
Available space on hard disk/SSD: 20GB
Graphics Card: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX 660 or higher, AMD Radeon™ HD 7950 or higher
Screen Resolution: 1920×1080
Sound Card: DirectSound® compatible sound card (DirectX® 9.0c or higher)
Final Fantasy XIV Articles
- PAX East 2015: 10 Reasons To Be Hyped - Posted on March 5, 2015
PAX East is my first time visiting one of these expos as a member of the press, and the level of excitement I am feeling will only be paralleled by the level of exhaustion I will feel by Sunday's end.
- Final Fantasy XIV ARR: Over 4 Million Registered Users Confirmed - Posted on February 26, 2015
Square Enix Inc., today announced that the total number of registered accounts for FINAL FANTASY® XIV: A REALM REBORN®—not including those from free trial— now exceeds 4 million globally.
- Manderville Gold Saucer Comes to Final Fantasy XIV - Posted on February 24, 2015
The update implements the long-awaited Manderville Gold Saucer, inspired by the famous theme park attraction the Gold Saucer from FINAL FANTASY® VII.
- New Manderville Gold Saucer Details for Final Fantasy XIV - Posted on February 19, 2015
Event details, screenshots, and rewards revealed for Manderville Gold Saucer event in upcoming FFXIV 2.5 patch.
- FFXIV A Realm Reborn: Free Login Weekend Begins Friday - Posted on January 28, 2015
Following the release of Patch 2.5 - Before the Fall last week, which brought a whole host of new and exciting content to FINAL FANTASY® XIV: A Realm Reborn™, a Free Login Weekend will take place from Friday 30th January to (08:00 GMT) to Monday 2nd February (08:00 GMT).
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