I’ve been busy lately tinkering with my site, but I thought I’d like to post something before too many days go by. So let’s talk FF14! For the record I have a level 50 Monk (finished the story quests!), and three level 50 crafters (Goldsmith, Culinarian, Carpenter), and 1 level 50 gatherer (Miner). I have some scattered lowbie fighter classes too, like a Lancer too 22~ sort of thing.
My first impression of this game was back during the beta, and I was amazed. To put things into perspective, I never pre-order games unless I’m absolutely sure I’m going to enjoy them. Basically I’ve only ever done this twice: Starcraft II, and Mists of Pandaria. However after Beta Phase four, I jumped to pre-order it asap.
Now, let’s be fair, there are some negatives in this game, for instance the animation lock takes some getting used too (and IMO is a big failing of the gameplay). Now only are your skills determined by a global cooldown, they’re also limited by various animations. You can’t chain-cast off-the-GCD buffs (eg: like in WoW). This isn’t necessarily bad per se, but it is a but off-putting coming from a game as smooth as WoW is. There’s also quirks relating to dodging aoe effects (usually seems like “lag”), and some of the classes seem a bit out-of-balance. And some other stuff I’ll touch on further down.
But otherwise? This game is absolutely gorgeous. Even the gear sets at lower levels are cool, granted the quest reward ones you end up with are dyed really funkily, but that’s part of the fun! It’s been awhile for me playing a Final Fantasy, so ARR really struck it out of the park as far as graphics are concerned. It also gives off a vaguely Ivalice feel (see:FF12). Something else to note: The attack animations themselves are pretty cool as well, especially the limit breaks.
Storywise this game is pretty solid as well. Coming from WoW, it was a different experience for me to play the hero as you do in ARR. No longer is it a “group of heroes defeated big bad lore bad guy” it’s, “you defeated it!”, which gives it a sort of a solo-game feel, yet in an MMO world.
Gameplay is where this MMO loses a couple of steps; I already mentioned the animation thing up above but there are some other things: After you get to level 50 as one fighter class (Discipline of War), you really don’t have any quests to do to level up a second one. Since most DoW classes aren’t technically finished until they pickup a 2nd or 3rd skill from a level 3x class it means that one of the cool draws of this game is steeped in some major grinding. The most efficient way to level is via FATEs, which are sort of random-fights that spawn in various location that involve defeating a group of enemies, protecting an NPC, defeating a ‘boss’ monster, etc… However, to be blunt, I can’t imagine anything more boring (And I leveled a Miner to 50 before they got an experience boost!). Dungeons are technically viable, but if you’re a DPS class, expect to have a long wait.
Another issue is the disparity between melee and ranged DPS, it is extremely punishing to play a Dragoon or Monk in a serious boss fight. I’ve also heard that Warrior tanks are seeing balance issues as well.
Still this game is fun for me, personally I’ve decided to focus on Crafting (hence my lack of posts lately, I’ve been recouping some of the gil I lost leveling Carpentry and letting my level allowance grow) so I can eventually be super self-sufficient… and/or rake in tons and tons of gil, muahahaha!