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Should I Buy: FFXIV Pt. 2 – Why You Should Buy In

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!

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  1. H00LiGAN

    I’m curious to hear what your PC’s specs are. I’m investing in a new gfx card and hoping it does the trick.

    1. Victor Stillwater

      What graphics card are you currently using? Anyway, the common resource I know of for graphics cards comparisons for FFXIV is at ffxivcore.com/topic/11160-wiki-pages-graphics-card-matrix-and-cpu-matrix

      That should be able to help you out some. :)

    2. Chris

      My setup: 3.0GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB DDR2 800Mhz RAM, nVidia 260GTX, Windows 7 Premium 64-bit.

      Pretty modest in comparison to some people. I run the game on the highest texture and draw distance settings, shadows on standard (not much of a difference between that and ‘highest’ IMO, and no AA. Honestly, I think it could use 2x AA but the performance hit isn’t worth it. In cities, I’m usually around 20-25 FPS, in the field it’s 40-60ish. I wish city performance was better but it’s perfectly manageable considering there’s no chance of getting attacked.

      I wish I’d waited on the video card, though. I paid like $180 for it and for that price you can get the much more powerful 460GTX.

      1. H00LiGAN

        I’m currently rolling with an nVidia 8600 GT…so yeah thats an obvious week point.
        Basically, everything else is similar to your setup Chris, with one exception…Windows XP and I’m wondering how much that is holding me back.
        Hopefully, I can get in game and join you. I want to return to the times I had in FFXI where getting a level meant something.

        1. H00LiGAN

          Oh and I received my 460 GTX in the mail today!

          1. Chris

            Nice! I really wish I could afford one of those about now. I wouldn’t think XP would hold you back much. Actually, it might do the opposite since less of your resources will be put towards the OS. Let me know if you need a linkshell. We’re only doing friend recommendations right now, so we’ll be able to get you the pearl whenever you’re on if you want it :-)

  2. Travis Haws

    I bought in and I am very happy with the game. I don’t think everything should be a huge convenience for players. I swear I will kill anyone with a yellow exclamation point over their head. I want to make a game that you just kill those people and take their reward and don’t have to run 40 miles and collect 20 tusks to get the reward. I love the cut scenes but I also enjoyed FFXI which everyone I know hated it. All my buddies don’t like FFXIV either. I guess it just takes a person who is a fan of the way SE develops their FF MMO games. The freedom in the game is great and I couldn’t be happier being able to do what I want without creating an alt to try something new. If I feel like crafting or going out and killing mobs I still feel I am progressing in the short amount of time I have. I like that everything is useful in some way more or less. No worthless vendor trash items. I highly doubt the vendors would really want [Vile Rusted Stained Ogre Pubes].

    The bad is definately the support. I was not able to create a click and buy account becuase it said I was blocked and no response from them after a couple emails. I also received a bad code in my game I couldn’t get the onion helm. No response 5 days later. I remember the early days of WoW where I had a support issue and a GM would help right away. Maybe those days are gone as I had to wait 4 days to get help the last time I tried there. Sure the game has it’s issues and could have used a while to develop. They were probably under pressure to release before it was ready unlike Blizzard who usually waits a bit longer than most do when it comes to releasing, but I don’t mind being able to play now with some issues rather than waiting.

  3. Drew

    The only thing that’s really killing FFXIV for me right now is the complete mess that is the Market Ward. I saw on Victor’s site today that some changes are coming, but I still don’t think it’s enough. There needs to be a way to have your retainer purchase items you don’t already have one of, or there needs to be a search feature. Obviously, the easiest solution is an Auction House, but I get why they’re trying to stay away from that.

    All in all, though, I agree with you on the points you’ve raised in both articles. This is a game – as I’ve said all along – that is NOT going to appeal to everyone. It is a much slower-paced MMO. I’m loving it; I just wish I could find what I’m looking for when I want to buy something.

    1. Barakah

      Yeah the market wards are a mess ATM. Shopping is a complete pain for a game that is almost entirely crafted gear, and with crafts so intertwined. I have found that having a strong linkshell with a crafting sub-branch key here. Within my linkshell I can find pretty much anyone willing to craft a necessary component or gear for a fraction of the cost that I see on retainers or PCs (assuming I could even find the item on a retainer or PC).

  4. wutfux

    I wouldn’t consider this a “highly social” game. It’s more like “recruit anyone that does not have a linkshell” game. Linkshells are rarely useful; Most of them have newly recruited members just like you and many times even the linkshell leader himself, along with his linkpearl carriers, is weaker than you. You might run into an occasional linkshell that actually does stuff like quest events, but again, if you really wanted to be social then recruit people and do the events yourself.

    The slow pace may be fun at first but it gets incredibly boring. All the good events are usually at the end, that’s why they call them “end game”.

    I know the final fantasy mmo’s are party based and that the bread and butter of the game is to be a better player, that means gear!, but you should really think about the fact that you are just enslaving yourself to be used by others.

    In short, don’t play the game if you have no real life friends who play with you.

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