This is another game that falls under the category of, ‘I bought it because someone I know will be playing it and they asked me to’.
I hadn’t looked into FFXIV at all, either the initial release — other than hearing how generally bad it was — or this rerelease. So unfortunately if you’re wanting to know what specific improvements have been made since FFXIV initially launched and now… Uhm… I can’t really tell you. Oh. You want to know how it compares to FFXI? … Uh… Things?
No wait, I got this one!
You actually can solo effectively and efficiently beyond level 5 in this one. I am told that in FFXI this was not a possibility.
Is it fun though?
Consider my answer to be somewhere in the middle region of, ‘Meh’ and ‘Yay! So many joy-making things!’.
Case in point: Quests are completely run of the mill kill x of y, or take z of a to b. There are some dynamic events called ‘Fates’ which somewhat emulate the dynamic events from Guild Wars 2 or rifts in Rift, but these too, are typically just, ‘Kill all the things!’ type. Occasionally you’ll get gather the bits to give to the dude or protect the dude while he does the thing.
However, on the other hand, you then have Chocobos.
What, need more? Ok. You can ride the Chocobos. A little later on, you can learn the ability to bring your Chocobo into combat with you as a party member and train it up. Glee!
Then there is also the fantastic classing system, of being able to multi-class (well, switch classes earlier on) to level each role individually on a single character, then at certain points (generally 30 in one class and 15 in another) become a new class entirely based on these combos. For example, I am a level 31 Conjurer and 15 Arcanist, so I was able to become a White Mage. \o/
However, I will say that how much enjoyment you get from this new class off the bat will vary dramatically depending on what you go into. Summoners get their first summon almost immediately. White Mages get… Um… a 10 second haste buff cooldown. /sad panda
The story of the game has actually not been too bad though, I must say. It’s certainly nothing revolutionary and if clicking through many, many, many mostly non-voiced chat windows sounds like not your thing, then you may not particularly enjoy it, but I certainly appreciate the effort to bring in some elements of a single player FF’s story into the multi-player environment.
It does perhaps overplay the ‘You are the one true hero,’ card a little much though. But then… There are moments in the story where the game actually convinces you it was well deserved. (Even if everyone else around the quest giver is currently standing there idle whilst watching the same praise cinematic you just received.)
Overall, quite a mixed bag of experiences. Longevity of the game for me, and I suspect many of the players, is going to come down to the speed in which SquareEnix can put out patches of both the Quality of Life and Content types. FFXIV has no-where near the number of classes as XI, but more are on the way. It is rumored that Red Mage may be next up which could be fun. On the Quality of Life front…
If there isn’t an auto dismount option when trying to engage combat enabled soon, I may just burst a vessel in my neck. Along with either dismounting us, or better yet, simply allowing conversation with NPCs whilst still mounted. Little things like that are driving me bonkers currently.
I think even more so than the actual login issues due to users far and away out stripping the servers current capacities. There was some work done to alleviate that situation today though, I believe, so hopefully they will resume digital sales soon for those of you still wanting to give FFXIV a try.
If you’re currently MMOless or simply looking for something new for a little while, there is certainly a lot to do within FFXIV — I haven’t even touched on the crafting system yet! These are actually classes in their own right though and level seperate to your other roles, and then have an EQ2/Vanguard style of actual crafting where you have skills to effect quality and progress vs. a stamina / item durability setup — and you may well get your purchase cost’s worth of enjoyment out of it.