Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Final Fantasy XIV - Reborn Enjoyment of the MMORPG

So as I mentioned in my 2014 Year in Review, a friend had bought me Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn (FF14 for short) while it was on sale at Steam a few weeks (or maybe months now?) back.  Surprised me as I was going to buy it the same day he bought it for me.  Anyways, I didn't really play much of it for the first couple of days of my subscription because of school work and I think I was focusing on improving my League of Legends play as the season ended.

That changed once Christmas hit though.  I had no incentive to improve my League play until the next season started so I picked up Final Fantasy again.  At first I wasn't too impressed as the combat was identical to every other MMORPG I had played and there was no voice over in the cut-scenes.  SWTOR I think really set the bar for general questing as the voices added character to the quest givers makes the game that much more immersive.  Mind you there are some cut-scenes in FF14 that have voice-overs but they are kind of random and seem forced at times (not as good as the voice work in SWTOR in my opinion).  I stuck with it though as another friend picked up the game as well and we sort of leveled together, him a healer and me a tank (just as we did in SWTOR).

A couple of things stood out as I leveled.

  1. The game had a group finder right out of the gate so finding other people for dungeons was easy.  Also since we were a tank/healer combination, we never had to wait too long to find a group to run dungeons with.  The groups we got paired up with were also generally well behaved and knew their roles well enough not to mess up too badly.
  2. The instanced dungeons only take about 30-40 minutes to complete.  With a good group most can even be done in less than 30.  For me this was huge as I often don't have a lot of time to devote to running a single dungeon.  The dungeons even have a 90 minute time limit so you won't spend an ungodly amount of time in one even if your group wipes constantly.  I still have memories of the 2-4 hour Deadmine runs I used to do back in WoW vanilla (ughhh, those were terrible) and the 30-40 minute FF14 dungeons are so much better.
  3. Every character can multi-class!  No more alt generation!  On the downside though, there are no hybrid classes.  So you can't suddenly go from a DPS to a tank or healer in the middle of a fight if things go awry.  Now each class does have skills that other classes can use but you won't have the full range of abilities of the other classes so although a tank can get the cure skill from a healer, he doesn't have the same resources as the healer so can't quite do the job as well as say a true hybrid like a WoW Paladin or Druid.  Still, the fact that you can be any class with a single character is pretty awesome.  I hit the level cap with my Warrior class (a tank class) and am now deciding what DPS class to level.  Either Monk or Dragoon or maybe both (Monk because I liked the characters Yang and Tifa and Dragoon because I really liked Kain).
  4. Going along with multi-classing, every crafting skill is available to everyone at the same time.  Though I quickly found out that crafting is a ridiculous time and money sink in this game (more so than any other MMORPG I've played).  Oddly fun though as you try and craft high quality gear and level up your crafting.  And having high crafting skills makes equipping yourself a little easier as you try and level up the other classes.
As for what class I chose, I picked a tanking class.  Specifically the Marauder (which gets the Warrior job later).  It's kind of cool tanking without a shield and the visuals of my character swinging a giant axe to get aggro is awesome.  I started recording some of my dungeon runs and they can be found here http://www.twitch.tv/mrarocena.  No real in depth commentary but  my healer friend said it was helpful to see the fights from my point of view.

We hit level 50 a week or so ago and have started the end-game grind for ever better gear.  I don't usually participate in this part of MMOs but the dungeons are quite enjoyable in my opinion so the grind shouldn't be so bad.  Besides if I ever get bored of grinding, I can go back to League.

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