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Final Fantasy XIV: New Player Struggles

Christopher Saxon Posted:
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More and more recently I’ve seen posts from both new and prospective players asking similar questions; what makes the game so great? How long does it take? Is this game for me?  To be completely honest, the answers are quite subjective to each person.

For a brand-new player, FFXIV can be a daunting task. With a new expansion looming ever closer with each minute, hype has driven many new players to the game, yet some are skeptic even still. Questioning how long it takes to reach end game content so that they too can enjoy the new expansion as it lands, fresh out the gate.  The answer to that is honestly not an easy one.  With roughly 550 quests in the main story lineup, you can expect about 200 hours (or more) just to chew through it. Unlike other MMORPGs, reaching max level will not allow you to instantly jump into end game content. Before you can advance through an expansion and move onto the next, you have a hard requirement of completing the MSQ for the previous expansion. This, in and of itself, dissuades a lot of players unfortunately.

The problem a lot of people don’t understand is FFXIV isn’t a traditional MMORPG in the true sense of the meaning. It’s a story driven MMORPG, with actual story on par to a single-player Final Fantasy game. This simple fact is what draws a lot of people to the game, lush lore, fleshed out stories, and likeable characters. In terms of the MSQ, you should treat it as a single-player experience, just enjoying it for what it is.

While a 200-hour grind may seem insurmountable, there are ways around this by ways of the mogstation. Square Enix hasn’t completely ignored the fact that it takes a substantial amount of time to get through old content to reach current content. Most MMORPGs today offer incentives to new players in the form of max level, or new max level characters for purchasing the next expansion, allowing them to quickly join the community (and friends) in the latest content available. This has been seen in World of Warcraft, with expansions gifting you a character 10 levels below max, and with Guild Wars 2, gifting you with a level 80-character right off the jump just for purchasing the expansion. Yet both are far less story oriented than FFXIV. Sure, GW2 has a story, but we can all agree it’s no where near FFXIV standard.  These games are focused on end game content and PVP, so it’s very feasible for them to offer these rewards for purchasing the expansions.

Yet Square Enix still provided us a way to skip the grind in the form of a level 60 upgrade, alongside a way to complete all of the MSQ from ARR and Heavensward, permitting you to jump straight into Stormblood content without waiting. You miss a lot of content by doing this, but the option is there, and at a hefty price: $25 each.  As of the writing of this article, they are currently on sell for $17.50 each. It should be noted that the level 60 upgrade is for a single job, however, but that won’t be much of an issue as if you preorder the latest expansion, you get a nice set of EXP boosting earrings granting an increase of 30% up to level 70.

Still, $50 is a lot to throw down on top of also purchasing the game, and the expansions, plus sub fee. This isn’t the most viable option, unfortunately, and still has a lot of room to improve.

Which leads us to the next question, what makes the game so great?  If you’re about to throw down a substantial amount of money for a game, especially to buy the level and MSQ skips alongside it, you should know what makes the game great.  This will also help you determine whether the game is for you.

FFXIV brings a lot to the table in terms of content. While the list is long, one feature stands out above the rest as the primary reason why you should play the game: the story. FFXIV has an extremely fleshed out story, a story that is on par with many singleplayer Final Fantasy games. This story is intertwined with every aspect of the game, including end game raids. Let’s not forget, the MSQ’s are not the only story quests available. A prime example of this is the Hildibrand questline. Just proving you have plenty of content to enjoy, much of which come with a meaty story attached!

Yet, to say that the story is the sole reason would be foolish, as the game offers many more amazing features to pull you in. You’re given a beautiful game with great graphic fidelity, that allows you to player a single character with every single job (class) available. This one feature draws a lot of players to the game, the ability to have a single character that plays every job, no need for alternate characters. This doesn’t mean, however, you can’t make alternate characters, many do, just that you aren’t forced to. Which also brings up the cheaper sub cost of $12.99, saving you a cool $2 a month if you opt for it.

The last feature that I truly think makes FFXIV what it is, is the community. FFXIV offers a robust community full of social players. Far more socialization takes place in FFXIV than I’ve ever seen in WoW or GW2. Enormous communities built around the sole purpose of networking players together in the form of Linkshells (chat rooms). Generally speaking, new players seek out a community to call home when they join an MMORPG. A question I hear frequently is whether it will be hard to play with other players, meet new friends, find an FC (guild), and the answer to that is a resounding no, it’s not hard at all.  FFXIV is built around the social concept, allowing you to play a character you want to be, and interact with others the way you want to interact. With a large array of gorgeous glamour (Transmog), and emotes to go hand-in-hand, you are free to roleplay to your hearts content, if that’s your thing.

To put it simply, only you can say FFXIV is for you or not. All we can do is lay out the basic facts for you so that you can make the most educated guess possible. Until you dive in and try it for yourself, you simply won’t know. 

If you’re a new player, eager to join the game, yet simply have no idea where to start, send me a message. I have a great FC on Leviathan, a huge resource for all your needs. The first thing you need to do is find a great FC that fits your needs. It makes the world of a difference! Insert shameless plug here…  Pandamonium is an awesome social, relaxed, casual FC on the Primal – Leviathan server. If you need a good home, need help, check us out

Until next time!


Christopher Saxon

Nurse, Gamer, and Freelance Journalist. Saving lives in game and out, nerding it out along the way!