Final Fantasy XIV has been going steady for over 5 years now and remains one of the most played MMORPGs within the genre, with no sign of slowing down. It was released in 2013 by Square Enix and was a replacement for an earlier 2010 version of the game which was released to much negativity.
With plans for a further expansion in the summer of 2019, Shadowbringers, the game is still thriving, and the developers are active and as committed as ever to breathing new life into the game. What’s more is that you can now play the game free until your character reaches level 35. Yet, is it still a good option to play? We think so, and so do 10 million other monthly subscribers to the game. Read on for our Final Fantasy XIV review.
Setting and Story
This MMORPG game is set in the world of Hydaelyn, a planet the Three Great Continents, all of which have diverse climates and environments. The playable region within Hydaelyn is called Eorzea, which contains four main city-states: Gridania, Ul’dah, Limsa Lominsa, and Ishgard.
After an opening scene in which the player has a vision of themselves wielding a blade of light, players choose to start in either Gridania, Ul’dah, or Limsa Lominsa. After undertaking and completing numerous quests and side jobs, the players then find themselves connected to the Adventurers’ Guild and eventually becomes recognised as a brave warrior akin to the legendary Warriors of Light of yesteryear.
During various quests, the player encounters the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, who claim to have an understanding and knowledge of the origin of the protagonist’s vision. After being inducted as a member, the player then undergoes a long journey to defend their friends within Eorzea from the Garlean Empire and discover secrets about The Echo (the player’s vision) and The Twelve (the gods and goddesses that watch over Hydaelyn.
Character progression is done by gaining experience points and using them to level up and improve certain statistics to benefit the player’s character. Experience points can be gained by defeating monsters in the game world, completing quests and side-quests, exploring dungeons, and participating in Full Active Time Events (FATE).
Final Fantasy XIV Gameplay
Final Fantasy XIV gameplay is fairly consistent with other MMORPGs and features in-depth character customization, a persistent world, character level progression, class and job systems, and a virtual game economy.
The character customization system is fairly complex and is one of the better aspects of Final Fantasy XIV gameplay. The creation system allows the player to choose between six different races, select a Nameday and Guardian, and choose a class. The different classes are Arcanist, Archer, Conjurer, Gladiator, Lancer, Marauder, Pugilist, and Thaumaturge – choosing a class will also determine which city-state you start the game in.
The battle system consists of a combination of physical and magical attacks that the player can acquire as they level up and improve their character. A lot of the battles in the game require a minimum party size of four, and a duty finder automatically places the plater within groups to fulfil the typical MMORPG toles such as healer, support, tank, and damage dealer. An enmity system is used during battles in which the player with the most enmity will be the focus of attacks by the enemy. Therefore, the role of the tank is usually to attract and divert the attention of the enemy from the rest of the party. Limit Breaks (special abilities) can also be used to inflict devastating attacks on foes.
Final Fantasy XIV gameplay also includes an armoury and job system whereby selecting whereby equipping a certain weapon will change and determine the class of the player and, consequently, what abilities the player can learn and use. Every class is part of one of the four major disciplines: Disciples of Magic, Disciples of Hand, Disciples of Land, and Disciples of War. Each of these disciplines have their own unique skills, weapons, magic and armour.
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Final Fantasy XIV Races
There are six different playable races in Final Fantasy XIV, each of which is available to play as either a male or female character.The different Final Fantasy XIV races are:
- Hyur. The Hyur are a human-like race that are divided in to two different clans – the Highlanders and the Midlanders. The highlanders are taller and are native to the Ala Mhigo mountain range. The Midlanders are the most common citizen found throughout Eorzea and have an established population in each of its cities.
- Elezen. The Elezen were the first race to populate Eorzea and were historically hostile to other races looking to settle in the world. They are an elf-like race who have strong internal conflict within some of their clans.
- Roegadyn. The Roegadyn are born warriors, owing to their strong and muscular physiques. They originate from the northern seas and are made up of the Sea Wolves and the Hellsguard clans.
- Lalafell. The Lalafell are a highly intelligent race from the south of Eorzea, who are diminutive in stature and blessed with agility. The race is made up of 2 distinct clans – the Plainsfolk and the Dunesfolk.
- Miqo’te. This race are adept hunters that live reclusively with their own feline compatriots. Historically, they have been considered a pest in parts of Eorzea, but now largely live in harmony with other races.
- Au Ra. The Au Ra race are from the far east and have distinctive physical features such as horns, scales, and tails. The males and females are vastly dissimilar, with the females being small and diminutive and the males being very tall and physically imposing.
One of the best things about this game is that there is no reliance on other players in order to advance in the game. This doesn’t mean that you can’t, but rather that the choice is largely up to the player how much they want to engage in team activity. This is a liberating feature when contrasted with most other games in the MMORPG genre.
Praise has also been given to the story line and its loyalty to the Final Fantasy series in terms of its style and feel – beautiful music, summons, riding chocobos, huge otherworldly crystals, etc.
Another great feature is the game’s graphics. It is graphically one of the best games available as far as MMOs go, with some ultra-smooth textures and breath-taking visuals to be had throughout the course of the game.
Perhaps the most widely heard criticism of Final Fantasy XIV has been aimed at the developers, Square Enix, monthly subscriptions have been known to increase drastically without warning, with some users reporting a 300% increase in Brazil and Russia. For the most part, however, Square Enix do a great job of maintaining servers and regularly providing fresh new content for their subscribers.
Other players have criticized the excessive levelling grind, un-skippable cutscenes, and the high-level requirements for certain unlockable features.
Is It Still Worth Playing?
Final Fantasy XIV is absolutely still worth playing. The graphics and gameplay stand up to any competitor in the MMORPG world, and the lively community of around 10 million subscribers is one of the friendliest we have encountered.
Additionally, the game has an active team of developers who are constantly improving and monitoring the game’s servers, and with a brand new expansion being released in the summer of 2019, there are plenty of reasons why Final Fantasy 14 is still worth playing.
Games Like Final Fantasy 14
If this Final Fantasy XIV review has got you excited to play some MMORPG games, then you may enjoy these games like Final Fantasy 14:
- World of Warcraft
- Guild Wars 2
- Elder Scrolls Online
- Star Trek Online
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Richard, Blog of Games