Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

This revised, no.. completely remade from the ground up Final Fantasy 14 is now officially out. I had the pleasure of taking part in the last 2 phases of the Beta and have been playing the full game since it’s early access and I have to say, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it inside and out. Now, I’m a fairly big MMO fan, from World of Warcraft, to TERA, to Everquest, to DC Universe, to Phantasy Star, etc. I’ve played MMO’s consistently throughout the last 10+ years of my life. And I have to say, FFXIV: A Realm Reborn is probably one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had in the MMORPG genre.

Here are a few of the things that peaked my interest quickly in A Realm Reborn:

-The environments are BEAUTIFUL. I’ve always loved the way SE design the environments for Final Fantasy games but to do so to the extent of an Massive world is impressive, especially when the desert areas look just as gorgeous, if not more gorgeous, than that of some of the more plant flourished forest areas of the game. Specifically speaking, the starting area of the desert city Ul’Dah I found more appealing than that of the forest city of Gridania, the latter of which is still beautiful and wonderful in it’s own right though, so don’t get me wrong.

-The class system is unique and well put together. Classes, in this particular game, are what determine in which of the 3 city-states you’ll be starting off in. Each with it’s own unique environments, people, quests, and problems. The desert city of Ul’Dah and the forest city of Gridania. The third of which is the sea port city-state, Limsa Lominsa, which I love merely for it’s name. The classes though, each unlock another class after completing level requirements of two other classes. And each of your characters can be ANY and ALL classes if you feel the desire to fill all roles. Obviously you can only use one class at a time, BUT there are certain skills you’ll unlock that can be used on other class’s.

Now, I mentioned unlocking classes after filling level requirements. I’ll give an examples of what I mean:

Lancer Lv30 + Pugilist Lv15 = Dragoon
What this means is that on one character if I level him/her as a Lancer to Lv30, switch classes to Pugilist and level that secondary class to Lv15, I then unlock the Dragoon class for that character.

This is true for each of the 8 starting classes. The class itself needs to be raised to Lv30 while 1 specific secondary classes must reach Lv15.
All-in-all there are 17 classes to diversify your character with.

The 17th class comes from the fact that one of the base class’s, the Arcanist, can advance itself to two different classes. The Summoner or the Scholar, depending on which of the other two Magic classes you choose to play secondary.

*It should be noted that each class can be leveled all the way to Lv50.

Fates are random public events to put it simply. They aren’t anything too special or unheard of. It’s been done in MMO’s before, but I think the one thing that breaks Fates apart from your average random event is how common they are. They appear about every 5 to 10 minutes and only last about 5 to 15 minutes depending on the type of Fate and how many people are participating. Which is usually quite a few people, sometimes close to 50 if you’re lucky. Fate’s can range from a “horde mode” type battle where the objective is to defeat the required number of a particular, constantly respawning monster type before times runs out or my personal favorite Fates which are essentially mini-bosses. Like a dungeon boss in any other MMO, you’ll have 20+ people ganging up on this one poor monster.
Fates are worth completing if you’re near, but not necessarily worth going out of your way for. They grant about as much experience and gil (money) as a quest of the same level requirements.
Like I said though, Fates are common, which is good considering how quickly they’re completed but there’s usually more than one happening in an area at a time from my experience. At most, I’ve seen 4 Fates on the map at once. Specifically in the area called Central Thanalan, right outside of Ul’Dah. A large area in which you’ll be spending most of your time questing if you so happen to pick one of the few classes that start in the desert city-state.

Levelsync is a nice little touch that’s been added to prevent overleveling for ease of main quest completion and Fate grinding. Levelsync will automatically lower your level and stats to the maximum level that’s allowed to complete Main Questline quests and Fates. From what I can tell, Levelsync does not kick in for any quests except the Main Questlines and generally only for quests that are instanced. Main quests are marked by a different icon over NPC’s head than side quests, so they’re easy to identify. There’s not much to say about Levelsync but from my experience it’s made playing with friends, who happen to be a little bit behind me in terms of progression, more fun. This way I’m not taking out all enemies in one shot when we come across a Fate together.

Nothing seems out of place. Whether you’re in the middle of a FATE event, gathering materials, farming experience, or just exploring the world, everything just melds together nicely and there’s almost never a moment where you see any texture clipping, awkward stair climbing (because we’ve all seen what bad walking mechanics can do to games), or even environments that don’t transition well between each other. Going from a desert to a swamp for instance looks perfectly in sync given a few rocky cliffs with some dark water works in both environments. Even the enemies transition well. My particular favorite; the Sand Toad. A rather large toad that indulges himself in both a small desert river area and the swamps on the other side of the area. Movements and transitioning was done exceptionally well.

There’s so much more that I havn’t touched on with FFXIV: A Realm Reborn. It’s a massive, beautiful game and all in all this one of the most fun MMO’s I’ve played in a long time and it’s definitely worth giving a shot, whether you’re a Final Fantasy fan, an MMO player, both, or neither.

The game launched officially a few days ago on August 27th and is 30$ for PC and 40$ for PS3.