Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Preview 
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Zoe Hawkins
August 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm

The world has been destroyed, broken and reshaped. The remains of civilization gather together to rebuild, without any memory of who their heroes were or how the final moments actually played out. Entering this broken world, you are one of many adventurers. But, of course, YOU are special!

FFXIV is a beautifully polished and designed, typical MMORGP. If you have played WoW, you will have no problem slipping into the combat and structure of FFXIV. After you build your character, you find quests, complete said quests, and return to the exclamation mark on your screen to hand in the quest. Rewards and new quests ensue.

As far as MMORPGs go, FFXIV is not particularly unique.   In many ways, it feels like the end of the MMORPG era – this game seems to be the peak of the genre with beautiful graphics, polished mechanics and well constructed quest patterns. It doesn’t bring anything completely original to the experience, but that experience is still pretty well done. That isn’t to say that FFXIV doesn’t do anything original.

There are randomized public quests that take place in given areas. These can pop up at any time, and are generally met with a rush of players who all work together and take part. Such quests yield a much higher EXP and gold return, and encourage players to work together.

Then there are the Final Fantasy elements. Those who love the franchise will be happy to see Moogles and Chocobos playing important roles in the game. They are integral to the plot and part of the game play, making sure that you know this is a Final Fantasy MMORPG. There are also numerous cut scenes to advance the story. These feel like they would fit right in with any of the Final Fantasy games – beautifully designed, voice acted and put together.

In general, FFXIV feels like a stunning, open world adventure, one that I wish the more recent Final Fantasies had been like. I was able to run around, hunting achievements for killing all kinds of creatures (yes, there is a hunting log), gain crafting skills, and get that specific joy from completing quests. Oh, and I even did a few dungeons.

This brings me to something really important in any MMORPG – the community. In many games, the community is the downfall of the game.  I won’t even touch WoW these days because it seems that the average age is 12 with players acting with the maturity of 5-year-olds. FFXIV is very different in that regard.  People are polite, helpful and go out of their way for each other. Oh, and they actually write in proper sentences with correct spelling and grammar! It is normal in FFXIV to see people asking questions about where to go, how to play, etc., and receiving honest, kind and helpful answers from others. I was stuck at one point, didn’t know how to enter a dungeon – I didn’t know that I had to form a party with others. The next thing I knew, we were all in a party, playing well together. Yup, I actually played with other people and enjoyed myself. They were nice, told me about shortcuts, and we all had a good time together. Who would have thought it was possible?

There is however, a downside. Square Enix has, quite possibly, the worst account management system, ever. It end up feeling like a mission just to get your account registered, the game linked to the account, the account linked to your PlayStation (the platform I played on), the launcher installed and the game downloaded. Each step ends up having about five unexpected extra steps. Add to that the poor communication from Square Enix – I received an email entirely in Japanese one day, only to be sent an apology email in English the next with a link to a forum. Unfortunately, that forum was entirely in Japanese, or gave me error messages in German.

At the moment, the beta is offline. I haven’t received information about when it will be back up and running, showing the Square Enix is not exactly communicating about this thing clearly. However, they obviously are doing something right – I keep checking my launcher to see if the game is ready. They have certainly left me wanting more – I can’t wait to reunite with my character and carry on where I left off.

Sure, I wish I had more communication when I can’t get into the game, but that’s because I WANT to get into the game. At no point did it feel like a chore, a grind or a frustration – the game moves quickly and keeps the challenges coming. I ended up feeling like an adventurer, going off to explore new areas, attempt new quests, and work with different types of players towards a common goal. I could be wrong, but I think that’s the point of an MMORPG.

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • Kyrelimit

    I was very lucky to be given a BETA key by y’all epic folks at Lazygamer and played it every time BETA was open ( which they never gave mention to ! ) and found it a really GRAND experience. Not so much in terms of gameplay but the “feeling of scale” .

    Im a complete fanboy, having played every FF game possible on the PC, PS2, XBOX, SNES, GBA, PSP. I really was expecting more Emotional Connections, more… soul.

    You FELT like you were in a big city with a million other people rather than these 4 house “metropolises” we are used to. But I agree the overall feeling didn’t leave me feeling like I landed on the trademarked Final Fantasy EPICness.

    Despite its direction, I plan on riding it out to the finish ( which hopefully never comes )

    P.S. Used this to tell em when BETA was open : http://arrstatus.com/

    • Tiaan Pat

      Well at least you got to play. All i got was an error message when i launched the app. After sending feedback no one returned to me and i wasn’t able to partake in the beta :( I agree that their communication sucks big time.

      A week after the beta was finished i received an email apologizing that they never came back to me and that they will let me know when the beta is up again…

      So i hope that i can get a chance to play the beta

      • Argentil

        Just a heads up, but they usually send out an email when a beta phase is announced, so check your linked email address’ spam folder. The next beta is this coming weekend from the 16th (if you’re already registered, 17th otherwise) to the19th. The progress of this beta phase carries over to release, whereas all previous phases had wipes, so this is the one to play. This will be the launch-ready version of the game, with voice-acting, and the new class implemented.

        • Tiaan Pat

          Thank you Argentil,

          Not received any emails yet. Just one question…. Can you only download the game via the launcher? if so how big is it?

          • Argentil

            Yes, and the PS3 client was 6,5GB, but there has been no official word on the size of the client.

      • Grindy

        I had the same problem. You don’t log in with your email. You log-in in with your SE account nickname. So when you registered for an account, you should have set-up a SE account username. That name + the password will grant you forum access to download the client from the forums. The SE log-in process is terrible and misleading.

        • Tiaan Pat

          I did login with my SE account nickname, but as soon as i logged in i got an error that didn’t really mean much to me. I filled out the error report and sent it back to them. Will have to check if it is fixed toinight.

    • Grindy

      The beta forums always announced when beta phases would be up, and when the phases would close. So to say they never mentioned it is complete BS.

      • Kyrelimit

        When I got the confirmation email, after surviving login : it took me to the forums and after finding the BETA forums, there was such a flood of info that to be honest, I dived out of. I found that app online and its been way easier track since.

        Such a hunt, just to let you know when you can play. Firefall was way more on-the-ball, and that isn’t even a great/big game. :(

  • Kyrelimit

    P.S. Keep up the RPG front Zoe, I miss games like FF. :(

    • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

      Fellow ff fanboy I too am like you…I miss the emotion and i miss the connection….I feel you

      • Kyrelimit

        Those were the good ol days. Im so worried that FF XV is going to be like a hack-n-slash-god-of-war-on-crack style game.. with EPIC visuals.

        • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

          I too worry about that but, from all the trailers I have seen the story itself looks really good and seems to have that ff heart. Hopefully the combat will be akin to Crisis Core…but man…those visuals lol

          • Kyrelimit

            The story looks epic, but that being said, If you break it down the FF XIII story was really clever. The twists and turns were very sharp, even the FF XIII-2 story as a continuation of the series – on paper – is BRILLIANT. I watched “Movie” Versions of the games and the story really kicks yo ass.

            Still, I liked CC too, but … but … but… It will no longer be about Battle Strategy ( which was really strong in X and XIII ) but MASHALLTHEBUTTONS HADOUKENHADOUKENHADOUKEN !

          • Argentil

            You should play Kingdom Hearts to get an indication of the emotional level behind FFXV. Kingdom Hearts was heart-wrenching and bubbly at the same time. Same dev team, same director, same composer.

          • Kyrelimit

            Oh, I’ve played Kingdom Hearts !
            To be honest, only 1, 2 and Chain of Memories. I read all the stories behind the rest though as I didnt have those consoles.

            Love the series, and I didnt know they were the same team. Looks promising then. :)

  • Lourens Jordaan

    I wonder when that fantasy would finally be final.

    • Kyrelimit

      Wark !

  • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

    As Kyrelimit said..keep it up Zoe! I love that LG gets some niche love too !!

  • Natty Dave

    gah, I loved ffxi, and I really, really want to love this game too, there are not many things that I get excited about anymore, but this game is one of them

  • Brenz

    Im so conflicted, all I want to do is play this game but I cant because of work and logistical issues. I am considering changing career and getting a normal day job, paying just enough for rent, internet and subscription, and food, i mean thats all I will need for the next few years really.
    Tough decisions in life.

  • Phlorge

    Just a heads up.. yesterday they announced Open Beta starts on the 17th and goes through the 19th. If you participated in Phase 3 it starts on the 16th and early access is the 24th.

    I noticed you felt like FFXIV isnt unique which is pretty suprising considering the intricate and in depth class/job system.. which really makes the game stand out.

  • Johan du Preez

    Playing the Beta this is just another WoW / Guild Wars clone with some extra mechanics …. no thank you …

    • Amy

      Are you kidding me? This is more Final Fantasy than 11 ever was or even 12. What more do you want whining cute male leads?

  • Bleekz

    I liked you’re article but I feel you are wrong about them not being open with there community. It’s widely known that open beta begins August 16 (for people in previous betas) and August 17th for the rest. They even did a live letter/show where they announced this.

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  • Mars

    Useful information for FFXIV:ARR players.
    http://www.buyffxivgil.net provide the pre-order of ffxiv gil.

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