Right now we’re experiencing a season of quiet in Final Fantasy XIV as the game’s players work to reach the prerequisite completion of quests that tie into the Heavensward expansion.
This isn’t to say everything is peaceful. Instead, everyone is preparing themselves for the release of Heavensward, and all that such progression means for the future of Eorzea.
This week, I’d like to take a different tack from the discussion of the game, by focusing on why I enjoy writing about FFXIV and playing the game, even if I am what the gaming world would call a consummate game-hopper.
The short answer is that Eorzea for me is a place to come home to and belong. The longer answer, well, that’s coming up below.
Eorzea is richer than just A Realm Reborn
My time as an FFXIV player began long before A Realm Reborn, when I enjoyed, hated, and then re-enjoyed and re-hated Final Fantasy XIV Online.
I remember getting lost in the maze of corridors of Gridania, of trekking through the game world in earth hours to make my way to Ul’dah, and also of struggling to make ends meet and earning a windfall of gil from selling a Hatching Tide Archon Egg.
I also saw the world burn, though I was never there at the actual end of 1.0. I viewed the ending cinematic of FFXIV 1.0 and just sat there stunned.
That cinematic was my first feeling of MMO loss, and even though I knew it wasn’t a perfect game, it was a game I’d been dying to play since I was old enough to know Final Fantasy XI, its older brother, existed.
That is what I call player-friendly lore: Having that deep connection with a game, where the in-game story and your personal tales of daring combine into your endless journey.
Eorzea’s story keeps coming at players
From a technical standpoint, I have to admit that maintaining a consistent timeline of new content for a game is both impressive and awe-inspiring. My count is of 6 main patches, including 2.55, with a number of side-updates thrown in since the August 23 launch.
The commitment of the developers to further the story and extend the lore also has to be commended.
While I’m still woefully behind the curve story wise, there’s a certain rush that comes with feeling anxious over completing new content, then finding a party that helps you through it to completion so you can progress the story further.
Eorzea is an ever-expanding playground of content
From fighting and progressing through content, to mastering all the character classes and jobs, there’s something for everyone who looks for something to do in Eorzea, and it isn’t always about fighting.
For starters, I spent a good month trying to level my crafting classes during the early launch rush, only to find it a soothing remedy to insomnia.
Through that failure to sustain interest, I learned to pace myself and find multiple avenues of activities to preoccupy my time with.
I’m happy to note that the Square Enix team has added even more stuff to do since th early days of crafting craziness. These include working towards earning and decorating your own home, to player-versus-player content, to harmless gambling and card play, to raising and managing a racing and fighting chocobo, and yes, even gardening.
Eorzea is the playground of my imagination
Most people consider Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn to be a themepark game. In my case, I treat it like the best kind of sandbox: the playground type.
With the sandbox as playground idea, you can play however you want within the rules and structure of the playground.
You are not hampered by the type of person you are because you can become the type of player you want to be, and everyone for the most part is of the like mind, because the way the activities are structured is that there’s healthy, yet friendly, competition and sharing of information so everyone can be the best they can be.
Unlike games like EVE or Darkfall, where some semblance of meanness is involved, it’s a lot less apparent here because the game doesn’t want you to let the darker side of your gaming tendencies take over.
With the exception of some silly dialog and outrageous innuendo here and there, Eorzea also serves as a safe space for people of varying ages and skill levels to become good at some aspect of the game.
With all that said, Eorzea is my home, and while I do enjoy other games from time to time, I always want to come back and recharge by jumping into Eorzea and working my way towards a modest house I can build for myself.
That said, what game do you consider to be your home, and for what reason? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers!