MMOs of 2015: FFXIV

Last year my MMO adventures included five games primarily: FFXIV, ESO, Trove, SWTOR, and WildStar. At the end of 2015 I saw a number of bloggers doing a “review” for the year however as I was not actively writing at the time I missed out. Instead, over the coming weeks I’d like to write a little on each of the five titles I focused on, noting what I liked, what I didn’t, and what factors ultimately led me elsewhere (if any). First up, it’s Final Fantasy XIV.

I started playing FFXIV off and on in the fall of 2014 but started the new year with an expectation of staying with the game long term. It had many of the features I was looking for in an MMO: I could progress all classes on one character, the combat while slow at first was the classic tab targeting I preferred (that’s changed since then), the atmosphere was beautiful, the community was friendly, and there was a steady cadence of content that included dungeons which were and are my favorite form of group content.

ffxiv_04052015_005102

The day I earned my Ninja merit badge.

 

Previously I had hopped around between jobs but with the introduction of the Ninja I had finally settled on a main class and leveled my way up to 50. Even now the FFXIV Ninja easily ranks as one of my top three favorite classes to play. I loved the layered rotation, having to manage one set of abilities on the surface while weaving in another set in between. It was fast, complex, and very satisfying to execute well. Had my decision been based purely on class mechanics I would probably still be playing Final Fantasy, but eventually I moved on.

Unfortunately I don’t remember all the specifics of why I took a break from the title, but I do remember why I never picked it back up. When I stopped my subscription I was a little burnt out and figured I would take a little break before Heavensward. There was probably another game I was planning to play in the interim (maybe Trove?) but I don’t recall. I hadn’t finished the main story questline but assumed if I popped back in a few weeks before launch I could finish it up and be ready. Then I learned that the reality was far more complicated.

For whatever reason, Square Enix has designed the story aspects of FFXIV like a single player game, locking players out of the next tier of content before the previous one has been complete. Of course all MMOs do this to some extent but generally provide a way to “catch up” when a new expansion is launched. That’s what I was expecting, for Heavensward to be a kind of equalizer and help me catch up to those players who had been around for much longer. Once I realized that I had a solid month of content (and that was if I played nothing but FFXIV) including group dungeons and raids before I could even step foot in the new expansion I decided to move on.

While I wouldn’t mind seeing the conclusion of the story, I didn’t then and I don’t now want to work through the gear progression necessary to access the dungeons and raids that make up the rest of A Realm Reborn’s storyline. Heavensward sounds like it has been an enjoyable expansion but now with even more content between me and everyone else playing the game I don’t think I’ll ever return. There’s simply too much barricading my entry. To some extent, this “laziness” is just an illustration of how I felt about the game in general, it was good, but never great. It didn’t grab me like it has other people and with the way the game is designed I would have had to work harder than I was willing to be on par with the current patches.

ffxiv_03072015_222834

Preparing to ride off into the sunset to see what other MMO worlds are just beyond the horizon.

 

I’d rate Final Fantasy XIV as one of the best MMOs on the market, and I love that so many people are enjoying the game. There seems to be a really healthy community coupled with an exemplary rate of content production; you can’t ask for much more than that. That said, it’s not for me. Between the required subscription and the gated content it’s one of the few games from last year to which I don’t think I’ll ever return.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “MMOs of 2015: FFXIV

  1. Just a thought here. You noted:

    “While I wouldn’t mind seeing the conclusion of the story, I didn’t then and I don’t now want to work through the gear progression necessary to access the dungeons and raids that make up the rest of A Realm Reborn’s storyline.”

    Not trying to convince you to change your mind, but I did want to toss out this info, which some folks aren’t aware of. They see a long line of quests that are blocking them from entering Heavensward, but don’t know how the quests were changed and the benefit they provide to a first time player passing through that spot of story.

    At the launch of Heavensward, all the quests between the end of ARR and the start of Heavensward were revised. They now just throw all sorts of high level armor and upgrades at you, as well as a lot of experience, if you own the expansion. Heck, the level 45 and 50 class quests now award you with ilvl 90 gear right out of the gate!

    So by the time you finish doing the main quest lines and the few dungeons/trials within them, you’re completely geared and ready to take on Heavensward without needing to grind through the previous level 50 gear progression. The game gives that gear like candy at this point. The only gear progression players have to engage in is at level 60 now, and the next patch is going to make that easier for new level 60s.

    So, while I understand the grouchy feeling towards barriers between the original game and the expansion, the benefit that those quests give are now very much worth running. You’d probably be entering Heavensward fully geared and three or four levels ahead of anyone who already completed those quests before Heavensward launched. That’s a huge time saver compared to the hours I spent gearing up at 50 for the same ilvl stuff. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s good to know, I didn’t realize anything had changed after the expansion launched. In terms of getting ready prior to the launch I was looking at having to finish the base story through level 50 and then do all of this:

    http://massivelyop.com/2015/04/27/wisdom-of-nym-how-to-catch-up-in-final-fantasy-xiv-before-heavensward-arrives/

    I was so discouraged staring up that hill and knowing I was either not going to be ready for the launch of I was going to burn myself out before launch I had a mini-rage quit moment and just moved on. It’s good to know that if I do come back the transition will be easier than I was expecting.

    The sub is still a problem though. FFXIV was one of those games that I enjoyed, but not $15/ month enjoyed. Wildstar was the same before it went free to play. Plus, now that I’ve bought the grand master pack for TSW and pre-ordered the explorer’s pack for BDO, it’s going to be a while before I would ever look at it again. That said, I’m definitely more likely to come back at some point knowing things have changed.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s