FF14 – Quasi-Review

Right off the bat, my subscription expired and due to the lack of free time for the next while I won’t be re-subscribing until the new year. This is the first game in a very long time that I have not level capped a character in the first 30 days, which is honestly a great feeling.

The idea of this post came up when I was talking to a friend about gaming and he wanted info on FF14. Like it or not, you have to compare to other games to get an understanding. Wow being the baseline in nearly all cases. So here we go, feature wise and in no particular order.

Character Diversity
there really isn’t much here unless you’re a tiny guy/gal or big hulk. Everyone looks the same in armor but only within a class line. There are 9 classes (not counting crafting) so 9 overall looks. Wow has race and class distinction, which is a plus. GW2 is the one that does this best I guess.

Class Diversity
This is odd. There are 9 base classes and combinations of these give advanced jobs totalling 9 as well. It seems complex but in reality somewhat straightforward. There is no skill bloat, so you have 5-7 skills you will use for the given class – great. Better implementation than GW2 and less confusing that WoW/RIFT. The downside is that there is only 1 healer class and they are super in demand. The good side is that any character can be any class – just swap weapons. No need for alts. In fact, alts are a hindrance.

Social tools
This is probably the best part. There are guild tools and levels (5) that provide minor benefits. There’s a guild board and ranks. Guilds work great! There’s and LFD/LFRish tool as well and that is super. No game should launch without. There are random FATE events similar to open world events in WAR/RIFT/GW2. They are the prime way to level. There are many and diverse enough. Crafting is dependent on other crafts as well. Everything seems integrated and there’s a lot of benefit for grouping. There is no solo work at max level.

Dungeons
Since I haven’t raided in large groups this’ll stick to Dungeons. They are well designed and challenging. CC is required in most fights and Leeroy’s are extremely bad news. Bosses can and will kill you in 2 hits but you have a warning and the ability to avoid most of it. The Esper battles are a super example and occur every 10 levels or so. You have a boss with abilities but 1 particular one that will wipe you if not addressed. One downside to this difficulty is that it has little forgiveness for bad play and the general MMO tourist won’t hit 40 because of it. Also, you have to do Dungeons to level up in the main quest. So social is baked in.

Character progression
This is fairly smooth but has some “hell levels” in the 40s. Rested experience is needed and FATE grinds are required. That’s not the end of the world. Gear upgrades are odd in that they are either crafted, come from a quest or drop from a boss. At level 43 my best item is +8, which is nice compared to games with +953 as a stat. Skills are well spread out and make sense. Character battle flow is good. You can level a 2nd (or 9th) class on the same character but at a faster pace. All great stuff.

Combat
There’s a 2.5 second global cooldown. This is more than twice what most games have. It is therefore not action oriented but strategic, like real FF games. You have time to think. This does mean attacks deal more damage when they connect but odds are you had time to avoid/mitigate before hand. Boss strategies have stages and complexity without gimmicks. Tank and spank just doesn’t work. It’s good, it’s smart and it’s fun.

End Game

This is where I am missing data.  There are dungeons, hard modes and some raids.  There’s a gear gear portion, similar to other themeparks.  That said, once you’re at max level you have two options.  Grind for gear (token based) or level an alternate class for he same character. Housing is coming soon.  If you want more than dungeons, then this game is likely to disappoint.

Crafting
Complex and level based. You can be a level 50 crafter and never have to kill a thing. There’s a crafting mini-game or sorts that affects quality and experience from the act, even partial quality. Plenty of skills used so you can increase durability with one or hasten with another. Super smart. It is however daunting for the average player.

Conclusion
Which brings me to the point I’ve mentioned a few times now. FF14 has a learning curve and asks more from a player than just showing up. This is a rather large shift from the past 5 years where most groups were only 75% efficient. Here, if you’re not paying attention, everyone dies. This elevated skill level means that people with level 50 characters are good players because the difficulty has weeded out the bad ones.  Sort of like what WoW had in Vanilla/BC and the exact opposite of today.  Since you have to invest, the value is higher and the quality too.

It is worth the price of admission, no questions asked.  Whether you want to stick around at max level is a talk to have in a few months.

One thought on “FF14 – Quasi-Review

  1. Pingback: Hard Lessons are the Best Lessons | Leo's Life

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