I’ve already written a preview on the Beta of FFXIV and now the game has been out for almost 3 weeks (going by the Collector’s Edition release I bought) I think it’s time to have another look at the game and see how it is at the time of release. Has much changed from the Beta? Does it run any better? What are they planning for the future? I’ll answer as much as I can after the jump.
I think first of all, to save the time of anyone reading this; I should just tell you my opinion of this game. I mean why read paragraphs about a game that you probably won’t enjoy playing? This game is pretty damn bad, and that’s coming from a fan of the Final Fantasy games and someone who thinks FFXI is the best MMO around. There are so many stupid design choices and you won’t believe it’s made by the same team that made FFXI. To be fair, FFXI sucked at the Japanese launch and it took a while for it to become good and by the time we got it in the UK it had 2 expansion packs and more than a year of patches and improvements. FFXIV could be a great game but it doesn’t look that will happen anytime soon. It’s almost as if the FFXIV team forgot everything they learned with XI and completely ignored every other MMO that has been released. It does have some good points though, it looks fantastic, the lands are amazing and vast with some breath-taking views and scenery, the music is all composed by Nobuo Uematsu and is great and it has decent crafting and gathering minigames which set those aspects apart from other MMOs. Sadly the crafting is sort of backwards with most recipes needing multiple crafts levelled higher than the level to use the item and it gets annoying when you need to be of rank 20+ to make equipment for your rank 15 Gladiator job.
The story (from what I’ve played) seems like it could be quite good. Each nation has its own story line with your character as the main protagonist. You’ll meet and work with various NPCs from the town and around the world and eventually get your own companion to help you with your story missions. The cutscenes are also pretty good with good animation and some fully voiced sections, sadly the voice acting isn’t too great but by no means horrible, just typical English accents of varying tone and pitch.
Not much has really changed from the Beta sadly but there are changes coming. The first version update will add a few changes and updates one of which will greatly help the market ward system by separating the wards according to what will be sold in them (like a weapons ward and a material ward). There is still no sign of an Auction House coming soon so you’ll still have to use the market wards and player bazaars for your shopping needs or work with your linkshell to get the items and materials you need from other members.
The world is beautiful, both graphically and in terms of views and scenery, and the areas are very vast but a bit empty with not too many landmarks or points of interest (or at least not yet). The towns are big and contain everything you need but the guilds are scattered among the towns so your starting town might not have the guild of your chosen class which means to get class quests or spend guild marks (class currency) on skills and traits you will have to travel. This isn’t bad news though as travel is very easy, well, once you visit the crystal located in the town or camp you want to go to. Once you’ve used the aetheryte crystal at a town or camp you can then spend anima (teleport points) to teleport there from anywhere in the world. It costs 4 anima to teleport to any town or camp in the region you are in and 6 to teleport anywhere else in the world. You sadly have to walk there the first time or ride along on another player’s teleport.
The music and sound effects are also brilliant and fitting for wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Some people seem to be annoyed by the noise footsteps make for whatever reason but you can alter the volume of music and sound effects in the menu if you want to play your own music or don’t want to hear sound effects.
All in all I’d say wait for the first expansion pack or major content update before buying, even if you are a big FF or FFXI fan (like me). At its best it’s alright and at its worst it’s utterly terrible and will remain so until a few updates and fixes. If you want to read a more detailed look at FFXIV check out my Beta Preview. The game is virtually unchanged.