Yesterday I posted a list of reasons why I think you may want to wait to pick up FFXIV. Despite that, I was there on day one to pick up the Collector’s Edition. As you can surmise, there are lots of reasons why I think this game is worth playing– even now, when lots of people are still feeling disgruntled. The secret those players don’t want you to know, however, is that there are lots of people in the game having a great time.
There’s a lot to like, so here are the reasons I think FFXIV is worth picking up on day one:
- Theme Park AND Sandbox – The Best of Both Worlds: FFXIV is a hard game to define but the good folks over at Massively have done a good job by labeling it “sandpark.” The game offers a good amount of guided gameplay through its story missions; these quests should be instantly familiar to anyone who’s played an MMO in the last five years. Then it opens up. The class system is a veil; a means to an end, really. The game is about skills. Each weapon you use will take you on a path towards getting a certain skill set. From there, you can mix and match those abilities to create a character that is uniquely your own. Want to be a damage dealing healer? Do it. How about a tank-heal-support combo? Have at it. The game is yours to make.
- Epic Story; Epic Delivery: FFXIV has some of the best cutscenes in the genre. As a matter of fact, I would say that this game involves you in the story more than any other MMO currently out. From the minute you step into the game, you’ll go through cutscenes with full dialogue that take you on a journey through the world. The story makes sure that you have your place and purpose in the world, and makes the game exceptionally compelling to boot.
- Exceptionally Social: This may seem odd coming from yesterday’s point about how quiet things seem. The truth is, though, that FFXIV is one of the most social games out there. Square has made a point to make grouping the most rewarding way to play. Sure, you can solo, but you’re better off if you don’t. It’s taking a little time for new players to realize the benefits of sharing leves and offering random invites – it kind of stands in contrast to other modern MMOs – but players that do are better off. Most linkshells use ventrilo, too, so you can look forward to one of the most social gaming experiences in recent memory… just don’t be afraid to extend that first olive branch.
- Tradeskilling is a Viable Way To Play – And More Than a Loading Bar! It’s entirely possible to be a gatherer/crafter all the way up to the endgame. Crafters have a place in groups, a means to explore the world without getting thwomped, and are the single best place to get gear. There are very few set recipes, too, so investing the time to experiment and research your craft pays off. Want to make an exceptionally sturdy bracer? Try adding a little more bronze to the recipe. Want to add some +int to the end product? Add in the right crystal. On top of that, every gathering/crafting path involves a small mini-game. No matter what you do, there’s no “AFK-fishing/mining/herbing” here. Do better at the game, get better rewards.
- A Beautiful, Immersive Lore-Driven World: Just as Keen recently noted, FFXIV is a wonderfully immersive game. The world is big, open, highly rendered, and true to the lore. It still amazes me how many little touches the developers have added. A hanging fountain here or floating island there really fills the world with life. It’s also really neat that each NPX gives you a little piece of flavor text that hints at the lore– above and beyond what I’ve seen in any other MMO to date.
- Uniquely Final Fantasy: If you’re a fan of the franchise, you won’t be disappointed. The developers have really gone all out making this game call up old memories of Final Fantasy Past. The game is filled with art and sound effects from old games. Fans rejoice, you’ll feel right at home. All these little touches make it feel more like one of its console counterparts to me. I can honestly forget I’m playing an MMO sometimes.
- Slower Paced – It’s Not About The Race… to the endgame. The whole game is paced slower. You go in, decide what you want to do, and do it. Things will take longer here, sure, but leves are so rewarding that leveling up shouldn’t be a problem (at least early on, I don’t know about later). It reminds me of Fallen Earth a bit in that I don’t feel pressured to “gogogo.” I can choose what I want to do, when, simply because I’m not restricted to one set class. It’s incredibly freeing.
- So Much To Look Forward To! As Vagabond Sam pointed out in a comment on yesterday’s post, joining now means you’re in at the ground floor. He raised some good points on quests to come, chocobo stables, and the opening of Ishguard. This is a good time to join up if you like being a part of the commotion. FFXI usually had a major patch every three months, too, so there’s a lot in store for FFXIV if they keep up the same pacing.
As you can see, there’s a lot of reasons why I think FFXIV is worth playing and now. These are probably my biggest points but I’d like to hear from you. Why do you think it’s worth playing – or not? I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!