Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
A player’s review
This is the first MMO I’ve ever played and it hooked me in.
I started playing in October 2014 and I’m still (totally) absorbed by the world of FFXIV:ARR.
FFXIV: A Realm Reborn is a reboot of Square Enix 2010 MMORPG, FFXIV. It was a PC only version that shut down in the wake of A Realm Reborn.
FFXIV:ARR not only has been remade from scratch, it’s playable on 3 different platforms, PC Windows, Playstation3 and Playstation4. With the upcoming release of Heavensward, it’s first expansion, it will run on Mac OSX too.
Why I chose FFXIV:ARR?
After all there are so many MMORPGs on the market. Indeed, I tried Guild Wars 2, before FFXIV:ARR. But — I’m horrible with a keyboard, having always played on consoles. Unfortunately GW2 does not have a console version so after several attempts and many headaches, I gave up. Ok, not completely, I’m still planning on overcoming my handicap and play the game.
One Month Free Trial
FFXIV:ARR is not free-to-play. It requires a subscription. The first month is free though and there are no restrictions on what you can do in the game. Square Enix offers several membership options, through its dedicated service Mog Station. Choose the one that’s best for you! 😉
Maybe it’s not a popular choice, but trust me, Square Enix has put a lot of care into crafting the best gaming experience possible. It’s worth the money.
Tell me a story
Square Enix had always weaved great stories in its rpgs. FFXIV:ARR is no exception. A beautiful, nuanced story is the backbone of the gaming experience. The narrative is pretty solid, the NPCs interesting; the secondary quests carefully crafted to add to the main narrative.
A war between the Garlean Empire and the Eorzean Alliance provides the historical background. It happened 5 years prior to the Main Story arc and has culminated in the Battle of Carteneau and the fall of Dalamud (the moon). The fall has brought about the Calamity but 5 heroes known as the Warriors of Light have brought Eorzea salvation and now the land is recovering from damage, while the three main cities of Gridania, Limsa Lominsa and Ul’dah thrive thanks to trade and good relations.
The player begins a story of its own as a simple adventurer in search of glory and fortune but ends up being entangled in Eorzea’s woes. The Empire is a menace still and in the shadows the Ascians plot to bring about Darkness.
Weave your own story
That said, FFXIV:ARR is also a MMO, so it’s structured in such a way that the player weaves its own story while playing. The first step is the creation of your character.
The game offers 5 races to choose from: Hyur, Elezen, Lalafell, Miq’ote and Roegadyn. Your character is fully customizable, from the color of the skin down to the small details, like the color and shape of the eyes.
I chose a little, cute Lalafell, the Hobbits of FFXIV:ARR. Without the hairy feet — oh, and they wear shoes. 😄
NB: the choice of a race doesn’t limit the professions the player has access to. Every race in the game can take on every profession the player wishes to try.
Choose your class
Professions in FFXIV:ARR are called classes and they evolve into jobs. There is a wide range of classes to choose from, though the starter classes are limited to 5 fighter classes and 3 mage classes. The 2.4 patch introduced another class, the Rogue, but it’s not playable as a starter. Not in the current version of the game, anyway.
Classes fall into four broad categories: Disciple of War, Disciple of Magic, Disciple of the Hand and Disciple of the Land.
Choosing a fighter or a mage as a starter class is mandatory, while the craft and gather classes are optional and can be picked at any moment in the game, as soon as they become available or much later in the game — it depends on the player’s style.
The Land of Eorzea
The land of Eorzea is divided into five main areas, each offering beautifully crafted scenery. The Black Shroud, is a land of lush and verdant forests; La Noscea is renowned for her white cliffs and beaches; Thanalan is a desert region, rich in mineral resources; Cohertas is a land of snow-covered moors and craggy peaks; Mor Dhona a barren land of ruins where crystal formations sprout from the ground.
The adventure advanced by doing quests. There’s lots of them: story quests, character quests, beast tribe quests, levequests, duties, trials and guildhests.
The Main Story quests advance the story. They’re mandatory and shape the player’s adventure throughout the game, up until patch 2.57 which is the latest one and end the main ARR story arc. New material will be introduced in the expansion. There are a number of side-story type quests that add to the main narrative or are mini-stories in and of themselves. Beast tribe quests fall into this category.
Character quests are specific to the class or classes/jobs the player chose and add facets to the story as well as to the characterization of your avatar.
The levequests are daily quests for various types. They are not related to the narrative, but they’re useful to gain experience, money, materials and objects. Same can be said for guildhests.
The Duty Finder is an intelligent system that makes up parties to explore dungeons, undertake trials, do guildhests and raids. Dungeons are accessed through the Duty Finder. If the player is already in a party, the team is transported instantaneously in the instance. If the player is soloing it is matched up with other players who registered for that particular instance. The Duty Finder is also used to access the PVP arena.
Free Companies are FFXIV:ARR player guilds. They are founded and run by players. They are the backbone of interactions between players.
FC members have access to several benefits but it’s also the place to forge new friendships.
The message log
All messages are displayed in the log. Chat between players is also shown in the log. In addition to basic channels such as FC or Tell/Say/Party provided by default by the system for all users, using linkshells, a player can add additional channels. Each channel has its own color and colors can be further customized through the option menu. Filters can be applied to expand or limit the info in the log.
HUD (Heads Up Display)
The player interacts with the world through the HUD, the user interface. On it are shown all the useful info, from the mini-map, to the quest list, to the log. Skills and commands are on the Cross Hotbar, which appears as a set of icons at the bottom of the screen (it can be customized). The HUD is designed to work both on PC and console.
Battles in real time
Enemies are visible on the map and battles take place in real time. To win pressing buttons at random is not enough, it requires strategy, especially with dungeon bosses and Primals.
To wrap it up
FFXIV:ARR is a great MMO with potential to grow even more. If this article has intrigued you and you want to try the game, the starting point is The Lodestone, the game’s official website.