Final Fantasy XIV: An MMO Reborn
When Final Fantasy XIV went online in 2010 on the PC and PS3, it was plagued with bugs and glitches. Some of the game’s mechanics weren’t fun and actively prevented players from playing too much.
It seemed destined to remain a sour footnote in the history of the Final Fantasy series, But Square Enix would not let that stand. And now, Final Fantasy XIV has been reborn in the wake of three years of disappointments.
The races, classes, and the lore of the world that debuted in Final Fantasy XIV have been carried over to A Realm Reborn, and everything else has been improved or completely overhauled. For returning players, it’s a breath of fresh air. To new players, it can be a little overwhelming. There are a lot of mechanics to get used to, a lot of ground to cover, a lot of quests to finish, and a lot of menus to navigate. Let’s take it one step at a time.
After you choose a server and design your character, you will enter the world of Eorzea.
It’s five years after the events of the first version of the game, and the citizens of Eorzea are adapting to the changes happening the world over. Beasts run amok, rival tribes are testing boundaries, and shadowy figures are appearing. It’s your job as a fresh-faced adventurer to aid those in need, and discover your true potential.
Quests are the bread and butter of any MMO, and Final Fantasy XIV aims to please with the variety of things to do in Eorzea.
The main story quests keep you involved with what’s happening in the world, and expands your capabilities and available destinations. Class Quests require you to be a certain class to initiate (like Archer or Leatherworker), and open up at every 5th level. Levequests are also tuned to your level, but are repeatable and can be taken on by any Class.
FATE Encounters also appear on the map frequently, which invite players to participate in a tough battle with the help of whoever happens to be in the area. These aren’t quests exactly, but they give you experience and gil bonuses based on the player’s performance. This is smartly balanced by only allowing a character to participate unless that character’s level is synced to the recommended level, so everyone is on equal footing.
Battling takes some getting used to, but becomes intuitive very quickly.
Holding down the R2 or L2 buttons highlight your Hotbar, a list of commands tuned to one of the four action buttons or four directional buttons. Once you use a command, a timer will let you know when you can use it again. There are many ways to take advantage of this, and as you progress you’ll gain more abilities, summon pets, and even call Chocobos to your side to use in battle. The only problems with this system come from targeting; while it’s simple enough to lock on to a creature in front of you, switching between targets when there are a number of creatures, other players, and NPC’s all in the same space (like a FATE encounter) proves hellaciously difficult.
To the developer’s credit, the game’s engine remains silky smooth with no slowdowns no matter where you go or how many player characters, NPC’s and monsters are on screen. Sometimes, however, sprinting through a town for long enough will cause load lag for NPCs and other player characters. This isn’t a huge deal since most interactions aren’t timed in any way, but it can be a tad annoying if you’re impatient. The only other complaints have come from the initial and overwhelming demand for server space from the sheer number of players, and those issues were resolved quickly with the addition of new servers. As of this writing, there have been no further issues to report.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is shaping up to be far better than its initial 2010 release, and a highly addicting experience.
The graphics, music and gameplay gel seamlessly, projecting a very atmospheric MMO filled with heart, fun, and Moogles. The community is just getting started, and it seems as though players are readying themselves for a long ride. Time will tell if it lives up to the Final Fantasy name, but it’s already off to a great start.