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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn 

Reviews  » Final thoughts (pre-release)

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44 posts found
  Cymdai

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/05/05
Posts: 1084

It's my job to be objective, it's my right to have an opinion.

 
OP  8/18/13 9:40:57 PM#1

FFXIV has come a long way since it's original release. A game that was once so marred and tarnished that the developing company went so far as to issue a public apology to everyone who purchased the game, it has since been re-built into a potential AAA contender title. Led by the now famous Yoshi, a charismatic up-and-comer in the industry, he has sought to restore the once-sovereign Final Fantasy name.

Admittedly, when I received my beta invite back in Phase 2, I was wary. I didn't want to play this game. I had suffered through the original 1.0 FFXIV, and I had no desire to go back to the worst game ever produced in history. Still, after 2 years of re-development, I wanted to give it a fair try, if for no other reason than because I had been such an FFXI fan for so many years. for the last few months, I have gone through the content of levels 1-30 on nearly every class and craft. I've seen the story line from three different city perspectives, and explored various play styles. I'm writing this because I feel like I've seen enough to comment on what to expect, both as a new player and a veteran, and some possible concerns for the future.

As a new player, the first the you have to come to terms with for FFXIV is that the game is not striving to be ground-breaking. If you've played a few MMORPG's in your time, you've played FFXIV. the game's emphasis is not on the leveling process, but rather, the story-telling and the lore. If you aren't interested in the Final Fantasy Universe, the background, the story, the characters, etc, than you're going to be quite bored. Combat is totally hit or miss; you're either a fan, or you aren't. I personally hate it. But I love the crafting system, and I have to say it feels more polished than any game I've played in the last 3 years. I love the convenience of traveling via teleports, warps, aethernet crystals, chocobos, and airships; there's plenty of ways to save time navigating. A key point that you might not understand is that this game is essentially in tutorial mode until level 15, and doesn't even really start until 20 in my opinion. It can be tough to get that sense of immersion when the training wheels are on for such a prolonged period of time, but if you endure, complexity will start to appear, I assure you. Community will make or break the game for you, as finding a good linkshell fit/free company will help you progress through content and exploration that may be restricted to you as a solo player, and will also reduce your reliance on the duty find. The FATE system is like a better version of Warhammer Online's PQ system, or weaker version of Rift's invasions.

As an MMORPG veteran, you'll appreciate the community of players. FFXIV draws in fans from multiple generations, whether you came in from the Garland Saga, the Cloud/Sephiroth Saga, or the Tidus years. There's tons of FFXI veterans, which I think will add to the longevity of the game, because you're playing with people who are here for the franchise and the long haul, rather than the new flavor of the month MMORPG. The primal battles are really fun and intense, and I only got to see a few of them courtesy of my friend's legacy account. Classes are very specialized, but some of them lack variety when it comes down to playing them early on, such as Thaumaturge. The graphics are good, but not great. The visual effects are top-notch, if not a bit overwhelming. The voice-overs are moderately weak from what was introduced so far, and the cutscenes feel incredibly dated in comparison to other MMORPGs, but they still add a sense of immersion to the game. FFXIV isn't the best MMORPG you'll ever play, nor the most innovative, but it's a solid game that deserves recognition for it's evolution from the worst MMORPG ever released to a competitive AAA title.

Going forward from this last phase of beta, I still have many grave concerns for this game. For the most part, mid-late game content hasn't been thoroughly tested yet. While 1-30 is nearly seamless, it's hard to say what 31-50 will be like. While P2 and P3 of beta essentially presented me with 0 bugs, Phase 4 demonstrated that there are significant concerns related to server and data stabilityError #3102 benched nearly 20% of the game's population from being able to play the entire final weekend of beta, and was complimented further by Error #90000 and Error #1017. It's incredibly troubling, to me, that we have such game-breaking bugs still on the horizon a week before launch. More troubling than this was SE's refusal to communicate with their player base for the majority of Sunday. Rather than post an official response, SE took down their forums and their technical support for the majority of the day, and chose to communicate once via their Twitter feed, essentially saying "We are aware of the errors...and we have no idea what caused, why, or how to fix it at this time" This is most certainly not the kind of statement you want to see with less than a week until the game is released. Furthermore,  since no hotfix or patch was implemented during beta, you will be playing release with an experimental fix that may or may not fix the data/server problem, as it will not have been adequately tested. It's an important note, because it may persuade or dissuade you from per-ordering/purchasing the game.

In conclusion, I feel that SE has done much to repair their image over the last 2 years. My concern is whether they have done enough. To me, the game feels about 95% ready for release, but would have benefited from more beta testing and stress testing. I think it's a solid game with solid leadership in the form of Yoshi. My biggest concern going forward is that SE has not learned from their past mistakes, and will continue to neglect their customers. Their reputation for poor customer service has preceded them, and they are certainly living up to their reputation. Despite being transparent throughout the development process, the true mettle of Yoshi's character, to me, has been revealed this weekend. It is not fair to take credit and be open with everything while everything is working properly, but then to remain speechless, silent, and invisible when trouble or unexpected setbacks occur. I encourage SE to continue to work on their transparency and feedback to their customers. As many of you may have noted, 2 years of consistent progress can easily be overshadowed by 1 weekend of indifference; there was much outrage over this weekend's problems, and SE needs to work on disarming such public disenchantment with their service.

With that said, I have seen enough good in this game to convince me to pre-order it. I will be playing on the Ultros Server, and have already formed a Linkshell and Free Company on that server. For those of you interested in this game and the long haul, please, feel free to message me for an invite :D. I hope this helps some of you folks on the fence lean one way or another.

 

Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

  Valgar1

Novice Member

Joined: 8/25/07
Posts: 333

8/18/13 9:47:16 PM#2

Very nice preview Cy,

As someone who is on the fence about playing the game i think i will be waiting a month after release and see what everyone is saying. But having not seen the game at all you gave a great picture. Thanks!

  Greymantle4

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 663

8/18/13 9:57:22 PM#3
Originally posted by Cymdai

 A key point that you might not understand is that this game is essentially in tutorial mode until level 15, and doesn't even really start until 20 in my opinion. It can be tough to get that sense of immersion when the training wheels are on for such a prolonged period of time, but if you endure, complexity will start to appear, I assure you.

This right here IMHO was a huge mistake. They let everyone join this weekend and most will be put off way before they get to what you call past the tutorial. You have to engage your customer base from the start not 15 to 20 levels in. 

  Torcip

Elite Member

Joined: 6/14/06
Posts: 610

8/18/13 10:03:36 PM#4
Originally posted by Zeppelin4
Originally posted by Cymdai

 A key point that you might not understand is that this game is essentially in tutorial mode until level 15, and doesn't even really start until 20 in my opinion. It can be tough to get that sense of immersion when the training wheels are on for such a prolonged period of time, but if you endure, complexity will start to appear, I assure you.

This right here IMHO was a huge mistake. They let everyone join this weekend and most will be put off way before they get to what you call past the tutorial. You have to engage your customer base from the start not 15 to 20 levels in. 

But they also needed to do something for the console crowd who have never played a game like this before. I agree it's way too long but there's just so many new things that a console gamer wouldn't be able to take it all in at lvl 1.

  Reizlanzer

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/04/04
Posts: 449

"Pain is only a pulse if you just stop feeling it."

8/18/13 10:09:48 PM#5

First off let me go ahead and say that was a well written and great review.

What I wanted to say though is that the first 30 or so minutes were the hardest part for me. Essentially the entire game at that point in time consists of you running back and forward to nigh irrelevant chat window to chat window. I didn't even really understand who the people I was talking to were until a quest called me back to them later on. I was ready to throw in the towel at 10 minutes, but a friend of mine assured me before I even started "The early game felt like the old FFXIV".

As a fan of Final Fantasy even in it's weakest state (Well... everything above FFXIV anyways) I can safely say this one, FFXIV:ARR is a justice to the series. Best MMO out there? Nahhhhhhhhhhhh. Exceptional presentation and a real FF feel to an MMO, more so than I'd even say FFXI? Yes. There will be an opinion about which game is better between the two, it's XIV for me - it will still be FFXI for others.

People think it's fun to pretend your a monster. Me I spend my life pretending I'm not. - Dexter Morgan

  Dreamo84

Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 2772

I actually still like MMORPGs

8/18/13 10:40:10 PM#6
Ya, console gamers couldn't handle FFXI at all even though that game was the most hardcore MMO since EverQuest.

  Dreamo84

Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 2772

I actually still like MMORPGs

8/18/13 10:41:00 PM#7
Boggles my mind how PC elitists think all console gamers are idiots. I am primarily a PC gamer for the record.

  lufiaz

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/10/09
Posts: 82

8/18/13 10:49:25 PM#8
Wow, it's super rare these days to see a fan to be honest about his game's flaws. Big applause to you, Cymdai. I really couldn't stand the 2.5 GCD at first but the lore with the references to the other FF titles and the music helped me get around it. Hey, it's a Final Fantasy game after all, welcome to the mmo version of ATB system.
  RedDragon215

Novice Member

Joined: 5/25/13
Posts: 12

8/19/13 1:06:25 AM#9

Yep, I have to say that was probably the most well written review and opinion on this game. After going through some levels I have to say that the errand quests are pretty annoying but I'm glad I finally could start wailing things at around level 3. Playing through it I was feeling more of a Final Fantasy nostalgia from music to design. All pretty good so far. I just don't understand the complaints on the battle system being slow I mean it's more like Aion if anything and combat wasn't that slow theres several and quick flashy attacks lol.

 

This is obviously an MMO that has grabbed everything good from the past 5 years of other MMO's. I just don't see this one as that "next gen" like EQNext or even Wildstar.

  Mahavishnu

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/17/12
Posts: 333

8/19/13 4:09:38 AM#10

nice post OP :)

This lvl 1-20 tutorial part is horrible, I have a friend who plays only on PS3 and he has no MMO-experience at all. Now let us imagine what happens when I convince him to play this game together with me:

"This guy does a lot of talking. Ehm, there is no voice over? You mean I can download games for 10$ on my PS3 with complete voice over and this game requires me to pay 10$ every single month and is completely silent?"

"The graphics are fantastic!"

"When does the fighting begin?"

"Another guy who tells me, that I have to run through the city to talk to another guy. Where is he?"

"Ah the map - ehm, I cannot see anything on this map."

"Are you sure that this game involves fighting?"

"I understand, that you may like this game, but I am already skipping through all these texts, ehm, when does this game really start?"

"Finally! We fight - ehm... wait - I have only ONE ability?"

"OMG, the invasion of evil killer ladybags!"

"How long are we going to fight with only ONE ability?"

"You know in the first 3 minutes of Arkham City there was more action and fun than in the first 3 hours of this game. Is this for small children and old people?"

"Sorry, MMOs are nothing for me, I cannot understand all the fuzz about this genre."

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.

  Voqar

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/28/04
Posts: 473

8/19/13 4:39:29 AM#11

Nice write up.

 

I think Mahavishnu (or his friend) has a point and I would agree that SQEN seems to be treating players like idiots.  The simplicity, shielding, attempt to not "stress" players, is all way, way overdone.  People who play video games in general are not stupid but the way FFXIV is setup is really as if they think their players have never even seen video games or technology before or have single digit ages.

 

With how stupidly simplistic and easy the early game is, and looking at the very short skill lists for each class, I don't see the game really getting deep at any point.  Maybe there's less solo and more grouping but I doubt that too since that would be pulling the rug out and a huge deviation from the 1-20 solo blitz.

 

Nobody really knows what 30-50 will be like, or endgame, and it makes me nervous too.  Partially because of how crazy simplistic and easy 1-20 is, partially due to the errors that I never personally encountered, and partially because way too much MMORPG history involving disasters in untested content, particularly endgame (huge exploits in endgame of GW2 and NW due to lack of player testing, for ex).

 

Right now I'd have a hard time recommending FFXIV to friends of mine that have MMORPG experience because the early game is pretty much an insult.  It's nearly a waste of content.  The very early game does literally feel like it was designed for young children who've never seen a video game before.  It's very, very hard for me to believe that 20-50 will be that much slower or that this game somehow has a stockpile of endgame content that will keep people playing for more than a short while and/or that will justify a sub for any length of time.

 

I preordered before OB and will reserve final judgement until after playing to higher levels but I can't say that I'm all that impressed at this point.  The final fantasy thing is neato and all but yet another dumbed down (more than usual) and generic MMORPG isn't going to hold anybody's attention very long.

 

I'm on Ultros too.  For the past few pretenders (MMORPGs that didn't hold our attention for more than a few months) my friends and I have pretty much kept to ourselves.  For FFXIV the plan is to join up with others, meet some new people, and get more group content tackled.  Hopefully this game does frickin' actually warrant such an approach.

 

 

 

 

 

Premium MMORPGs do not feature built-in cheating via cash for gold pay 2 win. PLAY to win or don't play.

  Stark3

Novice Member

Joined: 4/14/13
Posts: 20

8/19/13 4:57:32 AM#12

You'll have to blame whiners from the earlier beta phases for the somewhat ez-mode gameplay. I played on phase 3, and I'd have to say that the pre-20  content was a LOT more challenging, specifically the lvl 15 storyline quest and lvl 15 class quests. The lvl 15 storyline quest can easily kill you many times over if you're not paying attention, or using your character to the utmost. 

There were too many people posting on the forums that the content was too hard tho, that something that hard shouldn't be on the early portion of the game, and most especially shouldn't be something that blocks storyline progress. A shame really ... That kind of challenging content made me look forward to what else I can expect moving forwards. What we have now is a pale anemic version of what was available then.

  Djildjamesh

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/09/11
Posts: 404

8/19/13 5:19:38 AM#13
Originally posted by Mahavishnu

nice post OP :)

This lvl 1-20 tutorial part is horrible, I have a friend who plays only on PS3 and he has no MMO-experience at all. Now let us imagine what happens when I convince him to play this game together with me:

"This guy does a lot of talking. Ehm, there is no voice over? You mean I can download games for 10$ on my PS3 with complete voice over and this game requires me to pay 10$ every single month and is completely silent?"

"The graphics are fantastic!"

"When does the fighting begin?"

"Another guy who tells me, that I have to run through the city to talk to another guy. Where is he?"

"Ah the map - ehm, I cannot see anything on this map."

"Are you sure that this game involves fighting?"

"I understand, that you may like this game, but I am already skipping through all these texts, ehm, when does this game really start?"

"Finally! We fight - ehm... wait - I have only ONE ability?"

"OMG, the invasion of evil killer ladybags!"

"How long are we going to fight with only ONE ability?"

"You know in the first 3 minutes of Arkham City there was more action and fun than in the first 3 hours of this game. Is this for small children and old people?"

"Sorry, MMOs are nothing for me, I cannot understand all the fuzz about this genre."

Well, not everyone is bound to like MMO's.

Then again. We all putted up with the 1 ability fighting in our first MMO and we still love it.

 

The genre is simply not for everyone.

And PS: I agree with the person who wrote that console gamers are not idiots so we shouldn't threat them like they are by introducing a 15min tutorial, if anything console gamers are most likely better with gaming that most PC gamers.

  Shadanwolf

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/13/10
Posts: 1867

8/19/13 7:01:25 AM#14
Waiting to see what FRONTLINE brings to the game.
  ZenTaoYingYang

Elite Member

Joined: 6/23/13
Posts: 289

8/19/13 9:32:14 AM#15
Originally posted by Stark3

You'll have to blame whiners from the earlier beta phases for the somewhat ez-mode gameplay. I played on phase 3, and I'd have to say that the pre-20  content was a LOT more challenging, specifically the lvl 15 storyline quest and lvl 15 class quests. The lvl 15 storyline quest can easily kill you many times over if you're not paying attention, or using your character to the utmost. 

There were too many people posting on the forums that the content was too hard tho, that something that hard shouldn't be on the early portion of the game, and most especially shouldn't be something that blocks storyline progress. A shame really ... That kind of challenging content made me look forward to what else I can expect moving forwards. What we have now is a pale anemic version of what was available then.

this 1000 times this. I actually quite afraid that SE will keep listening to those said players and dumb the end game down too. I also remember previous phases that while still easy, required more attention then this. a monster hit me for 8 dmg? seriously!.

  voltt

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/16/07
Posts: 213

8/19/13 9:43:39 AM#16
OMG always about the voice overs, with the mount of story in this game its a waste of time and money since alot of people just skip it anyways, dont know what with people and reading, guess many dont red books. Have they not played any ff game before?? and yes there are some voice over for main quest line
  TwoThreeFour

Novice Member

Joined: 3/26/12
Posts: 2148

8/19/13 10:24:03 AM#17
Originally posted by ZenTaoYingYang
Originally posted by Stark3

You'll have to blame whiners from the earlier beta phases for the somewhat ez-mode gameplay. I played on phase 3, and I'd have to say that the pre-20  content was a LOT more challenging, specifically the lvl 15 storyline quest and lvl 15 class quests. The lvl 15 storyline quest can easily kill you many times over if you're not paying attention, or using your character to the utmost. 

There were too many people posting on the forums that the content was too hard tho, that something that hard shouldn't be on the early portion of the game, and most especially shouldn't be something that blocks storyline progress. A shame really ... That kind of challenging content made me look forward to what else I can expect moving forwards. What we have now is a pale anemic version of what was available then.

this 1000 times this. I actually quite afraid that SE will keep listening to those said players and dumb the end game down too. I also remember previous phases that while still easy, required more attention then this. a monster hit me for 8 dmg? seriously!.

Pots have extremely long cooldown, maybe that's why? I haven't played a healer class and I assume "higher tier" pots share same cooldown as lower tier.  So yeah, given that pots have long cooldown, you won't die instantly, but you will slowly see your hp bar get depleted faster than you can deplete the enemy; this became appearant when I tried to solo the lv12ish tree in Central Shrouds at level 3 XD.

  Acvivm

Novice Member

Joined: 3/25/10
Posts: 311

8/19/13 10:30:59 AM#18

Taken from OP.

"As a new player, the first thing you have to come to terms with for FFXIV is that the game is not striving to be ground-breaking."

That is the biggest thing that stands out for me right now, what is this game doing that warrants me to move to FFXIV? I don't have the time to play more then one MMO at a time so there has to be something, some feature that really makes me interested in seeing it through into the end and I didn't see that in my time with the beta. The crafting is good but not something I would drop a game for, the combat is lackluster from what i played, the world was very nice and I really like the character models and animations, but I have to ask myself what is it about this game that is going to make me continue playing?

"Combat is totally hit or miss; you're either a fan, or you aren't. I personally hate it."

For me the combat is a negative as well, perhaps past level 20 it gets better but really I never once felt threatened even with upwards of 7 enemies pelting me during a Fate. As an Arcanist I had a heal and a life drain that were considerably strong, almost healing to full health in one cast. While I am not the kind of person to get all pissed about a lack of challenge in leveling, (hell, I still enjoying playing WoW) but in this game its compounded even more with the long CD on abilities. When the enemy takes just as long to attack that I could literally avoid every heavy attack with time to spare, it just comes off so dry and unstimulating.

"The FATE system is like a better version of Warhammer Online's PQ system, or weaker version of Rift's invasions."

To me the fate system comes off almost exactly like Warhammer's PQ system, they pop up in the same place, on a timer and the mobs tend to be the same ones that are seen in the area except in mass. I don't know if the Fate system eventually starts dropping loot for completion once you start getting into the higher levels but I don't recall getting any loot from a Fate outside of experience and gil like you would get in Warhammer with the loot bags.
 

My final thoughts...

Overall the game at this point, from what I played at least...is alright. The things that do work well for me is the world, the animations and the creatures in the game. The creatures are probably the coolest thing about the game so far, even the most basic creatures look great and some are downright disturbing like the Goobbue and the Gigantoad. The game world looks ok as well (I played through Limsa-Lominsa) but the low resolution textures are noticeable and kinda degrade the style up close, I would hope that they would use better textures then the ones used on the console for the PC but I did not see that with the beta. The ground textures especially look bad, compared to the textures used for the cliff sides which actually use heightmaps they look super flat and boring. Outside of the lighting, the game looks like it could have been made in 06.

To end, the game comes off really uninspired outside of its looks, its very basic and by the book, making sure to grab a little bit of the mechanics from recent games (like public quests) without really doing something huge to set it apart from everything else. IP names don't do much for me so the Final Fantasy IP isn't enough for me to automatically jump on board. I play MMOs mostly because there is that one thing that makes a game really cool and worth seeing through into the end (tera's combat, swtor's storylines and WoW's raiding for instance) and I still haven't seen anything with FFXIV that has yet brought that feeling for me and until I see that something I can't justify taking the plunge as off this moment.

HEAVEN OR HELL
Duel 1
Lets ROCK!

  ZizouX

Elite Member

Joined: 5/17/11
Posts: 657

8/19/13 2:32:30 PM#19
Originally posted by Zeppelin4
Originally posted by Cymdai

 A key point that you might not understand is that this game is essentially in tutorial mode until level 15, and doesn't even really start until 20 in my opinion. It can be tough to get that sense of immersion when the training wheels are on for such a prolonged period of time, but if you endure, complexity will start to appear, I assure you.

This right here IMHO was a huge mistake. They let everyone join this weekend and most will be put off way before they get to what you call past the tutorial. You have to engage your customer base from the start not 15 to 20 levels in. 

 

Maybe i'm in the minority here.. or just an old dude (32) but I really don't get this complaint about the "tutorial" phase being too long or boring.  Boring is subjective so I won't comment on it.... but "too long."

 

People play mmo's for months if not years.  It will take you 2 - 3 DAYS to get to lvl 20.  Hardcore players will get to lvl 15 in a 4-5 hours.  In the span of the game's lifetime (possibly years), you complain that 2 days of leveling and introducing players to the game is TOO long?  What about someone who's never played MMO'S before?  I think up to lvl 15 is TOO SHORT.

 

SE is in a Catch-22.  Make the game "boring" for the first few levels, and people will leave and won't try the 20+ content.  Make the game too hard, and only the hardcore players will stay, while people who have never played MMO's or do not have the time will leave.

 

FFXIV strikes a PERFECT (imho) balance between new and old players.  If you can't "test" a game for a few hours, or a day before reaching a substantive opinion, I AM HAPPY that this game will not cater to you.  It just means that people with a little more patience and perspective will stay, while others who want "fast food" mmo service will leave.

Sorry for sounding elitist, but at this point, this argument has been so nerve racking to me that I had to /rant.

 

BTW, FFXIV:ARR is a Final Fantasy First and an MMO second.  It starts out EXACTLY how like the previous final fantasies started... by easing you into the combat and teaching you teh game systems before you reach the end or end game+.

  Doomedfox

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/01/10
Posts: 696

8/19/13 2:36:01 PM#20
Originally posted by Fendel84M
Boggles my mind how PC elitists think all console gamers are idiots. I am primarily a PC gamer for the record.

The funny thing is that FF14 1.0 released only on pc and without much of a tutorial and there was a lot of whining bk than and everyone wanted a tutorial.

Now with ARR we got a very long tutorial as result to all the whining of the pc gamers and the very same claim now its for the console gamers lol

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