Sunday, August 18, 2013

First Impressions: Final Fantasy XIV

I decided to give the open beta of Final Fantasy XIV a shot. I don't really play FF games, so I'm not too sure what the backstory of this game is like. I did like the trailer very much.

I haven't played a lot, so these are very basic impressions.

Character Creation

The character creation is superb, the best I've ever seen. It offers a very nice balance of options, while still making it easy and not too complex. In particular, I like that you can save a character look, and reuse it.

I think you can download the character creator from the main site, if you just want to see that. The only downside for character creation might be that you cannot really change body types.

Initial Gameplay

The game seems very polished. The UI is clean and colorful.

Gameplay looks like the pretty standard tab-target hotkeys. The GCD seems a little high, it's 2.5s to start with, but I think that there is a stat which reduces it. Combat is decent, though the effects seem very "flashy", with lots of particle effects. It's pretty typical "kill 3 squirrels" stuff.

Talking to people feels very much like a console game, with the speech bubble you keep clicking through.

One interesting thing is that there are three starting zones, but your starting zone is determined by your initial class.


The setting seems like a typical Japanese fantasy setting, with a melange of types. You know, different characters using very different accents, and the word choices and names are mixed in from all real-world cultures.

It's interesting how Western settings seem to emphasize far more cohesive cultures. There is a common culture and style to Ferelden in Dragon Age, for example, which is different from the other countries in that setting. I wonder if it is the influence of Tolkein, or just the structure of Europe in general.


I first rolled a gladiator, which looks like a one-handed sword class, maybe with a shield. Unfortunately, I ran into a bug where the North American servers think that I am logged in, and won't let me log in again. I didn't even get to test out combat on the gladiator.

So I made a lancer, which is a spear-wielding character, on the Japanese servers.

I gather that a single character can take multiple classes, though the classes use different gear. The armory system seems a little complex. I'm not exactly sure how multiclassing works.


It seems like a good enough game. It's colorful, nicely polished, and seems to work well (aside from that nasty login bug).

But it's pretty much the same style of MMO we're all used to and have been playing for years. Indeed, it feels very old-school, closer to vanilla WoW and Lord of the Rings Online (and probably Everquest, etc.). If you're looking for something different, this is not the game for you.


  1. I think dated/oldschool really sums it up for me - which is why I have zero interest by now in FFXIV. I just can't let SE get away with stuff like slow formulaic combat, endless exposition or uninspired fedex questing in 2013.
    for anyone who is okay with that though, there's a lot of FF charm to be had, probably some fun classes and a beautiful world with a lot of story behind it. the gameplay will definitely be on the side of 'satisfaction over fun' though, just to use Psychochild's taxonomy.

  2. Your class is based on your main-hand equipment. Once you've unlocked the appropriate classes, equipping a weapon of it's type will change you to that class instantly.

    You can even save gear sets and put them on hotbars so you can swap on the fly. Unfortunately doing so can't be done in combat, and has a ~15 second or so cooldown on all powers, but it's still handy.

    The reason for the 2.5s global cooldown is because the director wanted a slower pace of combat. After playing for a bit, I got over it feeling weird, and actually enjoy it. Though casters don't seem to work much differently from casters in say WoW; I unlocked Arcanist over the beta weekend and was playing it, and it does play a lot like a more light-sided Warlock, what with a 2.5s cast DoT, an instant DoT, a 2.5s nuke, and a summon. So the combat rotation isn't much different then I was playing as a Warlock; put up the DoTs, and then chaincast nukes, as the GCD is done by the time the spell is released.

  3. How does that work with the advanced classes?

    I want to go Paladin, which as I understand it requires 30 gladiator and 15 healer class. Do paladins not use swords? Or is it just an overlay of extra abilities on top of the Gladiator?

  4. The Jobs are equipped through an extra item slot; you probably noticed that you have a "Soul Gem" slot on the paper doll. That's where it goes.

    But yes, essentially it's an overlay of extra abilities you get on top of the normal class. You can think of it as like taking one of the class specializations in WoW currently. But changeable, since it's just an item you equip.

    Jobs also limit your cross-class skills more, allowing you to only make use of the ones from the classes required to unlock the Job, as I recall. For the most part, if you don't have a Job equipped, you can make use of many skills you unlocked on other classes, as long as it's within the same Discipline; all the physical attackers can share powers, and all the casters can share powers, and a small batch of either one can go between the groups (like Cure is usable by most classes, regardless of Discipline).

    They're going to be adding a few more options for the originally announced classes later, I'm pretty sure. Arcanist was released with some fanfare due to the fact that it's going to be getting both a DPS and a healer Job specialization (Summoner and Scholar), while everyone else only has one Job currently.

  5. The game is great, at least from my perspective as a pre-release customer. Very Japanese... but very cool. I had a blast in vanilla WOW and this game seems to call upon those old feelings. Graphics and sound are outstanding. If you're like the rest of us in our late 20's who want a fun new experience without committing a lot of time... get FFIV.