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Musing on PvP in FFXIV: A Realm Reborn

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Many of you are excitedly waiting to jump back into a hopefully improved Final Fantasy XIV when A Realm Reborn launches later this month. Me? I’m feeling cautiously optimistic overall. Still, even as I’ve kept my eye on ARR’s developments, I’ve always considered the game to potentially (and primarily) scratch my PvE itch.

There just isn’t much of a precedent for PvP in Final Fantasy MMOs. Final Fantasy XI was a decidedly PvE title that eventually got a tacked-on form of PvP post-launch. Final Fantasy XIV also launched without any form of PvP, and if I recall correctly, the original team had no plans for it, either.

While this wasn’t always the case, I now consider a solid PvP component as a very important factor in my enjoyment of whatever MMO I’m playing. This doesn’t mean every MMO I play has to have awesome PvP, though. I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic since beta and while the Warzones are fun, I’m more of a large-scale PvP player. Since large-scale PvP is pretty much non-existent in SWTOR, I get my fun out of the game’s PvE and I pretty much lumped FFXIV: ARR into the same category.

Was I wrong to do this? Have I overlooked Square Enix’s plans for PvP in A Realm Reborn?

I’ve had a basic familiarity with Square Enix’s endeavors to add PvP to FFXIV, but I didn’t find out until recently that game director Naoki Yoshida is a serious PvP enthusiast and that the team has been working on the game’s PvP component in some form since he took over.

If you’re not familiar with these plans, Square is going to add two forms of PvP to A Realm Reborn. The first, Coliseums, is a ‘casual’ form of PvP set to launch with the game. This will allow players to do battle in 4v4 or 8v8 arrangements.

While still somewhat significant given that this is, after all, a Final Fantasy MMO we’re talking about, Coliseums (or arenas, if you will) are pretty much standard fare by now. It’s what Square Enix’s plans are for PvP post-launch that have piqued my interest, to say the least.

Months out from launch, around patch 2.2 or 2.3 from what I understand, Square Enix will add “Frontlines” to ARR. This form of PvP will more closely resemble the Realm vs. Realm combat you may have enjoyed in Dark Age of Camelot or Warhammer Online. Heck, Square Enix is even doing three faction PvP with Frontlines. There are scant few details available on this feature at the moment, but the gist of it is that players will align themselves with the game’s three city-states (Gridania, Limsa Lominsa, or Ul’dah) to compete over ancient ruins in an area dedicated to large scale PvP. 

And yes, Square Enix is also making unique gear sets and even separate PvP skills available as rewards for participating in PvP.

I’ve always found the PvE focus of Final Fantasy MMOs somewhat odd. While the series has been largely single player, just about every Final Fantasy features some massive war or conflict and Final Fantasy XIV is no different. You’d think PvP would have been a major consideration.  While Square Enix’s plan for PvP in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn appears to be bolder and more substantial than I would have otherwise expected, there really aren’t many details available at the moment. That said, if the team is dedicated into really fleshing out PvP in A Realm Reborn as it seems, there may yet be hope for those of us who have dreamed of doing battle with other players in a Final Fantasy world.  I’d love to see massive mounted combat on Magitek armor, for one.  Just throwing that out there.

What’s holding me back on out-and-out excitement here is that lack of information. Adding massive RvR to your game is no simple task. Getting it right even when it’s the main focus of your game has been elusive to just about every developer that has tried it since Mythic Entertainment with Dark Age of Camelot.  You’d think Square Enix would have more details at this point, but we just aren’t seeing it yet and that concerns me. 

Do you feel Square Enix will come through with an amazing PvP component? Or are those of us interested setting themselves up for disappointment? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB

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Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB