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Final Fantasy XIV New Player: General game review

First a little back story into my days playing MMO's. I played WoW for 4 years, it was the first MMO i had ever played. I raided endgame content as a healer for those 4 years and was positive i would never play a different MMO. After the recent Draenor expansion, i realized that the game i had used to love and play each day was no longer holding interest for me. I would log in, do my garrison dailies and log out. Nothing made me want to go out and explore after reaching the end game raid. Nothing made you go out either. You could sit in your garrison, go raid and nothing required you to step one foot out your garrison door. A lot of the WoW forum posters were expressing what type of different games they were moving to and Final Fantasy was one of those mentioned quite often. So i decided to download the game and give it a shot.

What a complete breath of fresh air, and the amount of things to do picked up my interest right away.


Graphics/Details first impression: 10/10

Graphics are so much better compared to WoW, and a lot more life like (water, trees, ect) Wandering around my first few days i took all of the landscape in, so much attention to detail was paid by the development team that kudos are in order. As a side job and hobby i am a photographer, so landscapes and lighting effects are usually the first thing i notice about an outdoor environment game. The movements of the characters and the muscle/joints seem to be very fluid and life like as well. The wind effects on robes was one of the first things i noticed about the armor and was impressed how something very small that many might not notice can impact a more immersive experience.


Questing/Classes: 9/10 (would have been 10/10 had the mobs in heavensward had slightly less HP)

Quests are pretty standard throughout many games, and it always bothers me when people say "Oh the same old go collect/kill so many of these things" The problem when people use that statement is that they give no example of what they think a good quest would be. Questing was fast and fun, followed the main story line while doing a few things here and there outside of it. When the MSQ turned red, i just did a couple dungeons until i leveled. I started out playing a Conjurer knowing i would want to be a healer in this game as well. One thing that FF does very well compared to WoW is that healer classes can actually quest and not feel like they are hammering on something for a half hour to kill one thing. One thing i would like to see is healer classes when solo could have their dps mana costs reduced. There were a lot of times i would go to kill 3-4 in a row only to be out of mana. Not a big thing, just a thought.


A big thing was how the quests made you feel the part of the hero the whole way. I love the story and lore behind FF and enjoyed how many cut scenes there were. You got the backstory and was made to feel a part of the events the entire way. You the hero are just that, the hero that the entire adventure is based around, and not just a side character like a lot of games make you feel like as you watch CGI rendered videos that never mention you.


Dungeons: 10/10

They are not just pew pew, it takes a group effort, and sometimes even for low levels a little bit of planning for pulls. Fights in later dungeons may take once or twice to get right but are easy to pickup and learn. While you will need to learn the fights, it isn't impossible and the content is very much accessible for all. The way aoe or boss attacks worked took about a day to get used to (the orange AoE indicator) that you had to be out of before it disappeared even though the attack hadn't landed yet was different, but easy enough to figure out after a day or two of playing.


Music: 11/10 This score receives a +1 modifier to it's score as the music in this game has something for everyone. Heavy metal (not a fan of, but hey the tempo is consistent with the fight speed), Instrumental (The Praetorium...my favorite and enough said), ect. Music can make or break a game. Movies and tv shows are a prime example of this. Watch a movie/show with a drama scene and listen to the music in the background, how well does it convey the mood of the scene? Music in a game is no different, and in most cases the music in FF is spot on.


Raiding: ?/? Tentative 9/10

The only raid I have gotten to expierence is the new Alex raid. What i was most impressed with is that people could join in Duty Finder, and actually down bosses on a difficulty level that wasn't completely dumb down like in WoW LFR (Looking for Raid). For those that have never played WoW, or tried raiding, LFR is the most mind numbing version of boss fights ever. 25 people, half could literally go AFK and the boss would still die. Content For All!...at the expense of any actual mechanics or challenge at all.


I was very excited to see that Duty Finder used the same level of difficulty that premade groups could do (now i understand extreme cannot be done via duty finder, the highest level of difficulty should not be accessible without a preformed group, in my opinion) This allows for the casual players to get loot and shiny stuff, while still allowing the more dedicated players their level of gear and rewards. I think that this balance is very well done.


Why this gets a 9/10 score, is i felt that few added mechanics would have been nice for some of the bosses, as they felt at times a little to pew pew and not so much "Pay attention" type fights.


Crafting 8/10 The one thing that makes FF really break away from other MMO's is that you can do everything on one toon, and not have "alts" unless you really want them. One thing in any game that i despise is the "handouts" game developers give because so many people think that just because they pay for a game they should get everything handed to them instead of working for things as other people that put more time into the game have. However crafting all the way from 1-50 to be ready for heavensward was a chore. Since i was new, i was unaware at how much the crafting classes were intertwined, had i known this i would not have discarded all of the low level crafts since they could have been used in others. There was also no quick catch up mechanic, but again i do not mind working for something that others had put a lot of time into. Just a small little gripe. Now with that said, my weaver was the first to hit 60, GSM at 55, and all others 40 and below, with most being around 20-30. Now to get the recipe book for master crafts for weaver, you need to craft a lot of items, and those items require mats from other professions. So unless you were someone going into heavens ward with everything at 50, and then leveled everything to 60 at the same time, you were really put behind in the way of crafting unless you had millions upon millions of gil to buy the items.


Flying: 10/10

This is exactly how flight should be handled. Exploration and a few quests to unlock flight in an area. And the most important thing, once you unlock flight with the last MSQ quest in that zone, you still have to go back and get to use flying for later quests! You are returned to those zones multiple times, so unlocking flying as you go is a nice way of rewarding you so that later when you have to go back, you can get to were you need to go so much quicker. Brilliant design!


Community: 9/10

Overall not anywhere near as toxic as WoW, people are generally helpful and friendly. Each time i was new to a dungeon, never once did i have a single person complain to me about anything, they were understanding and helped explain things if i just didn't get it on my own. Since then, i have started leveling other classes as well through the dungeons, and i can count on one hand the amount of times, i have ever seen anything said in party chat that was putting another person down. The commendation system greatly helps with that and is something i feel should be more in the center of the screen when leaving a dungeon. I always try to remember to click the box and give one out, but sometimes i forget it's there, especially if i am not going for gear, i just leave the instance because leaving negates my roll anyway, and in doing so, i forgot to click the commendation box that was right about the loot box.


Overall General Score: 9/10


To SE, you have an amazing game, and i truly hope with how Blizzard handled all the customer/player complaints with Draenor that you have seen your subscription numbers rise higher and higher. Keep the direction of the game going the way it is, and you now have a new subscriber that you will keep for a long time. There is a fine line with keeping casual players interested and rewarded, and also rewarding the "hard core" players as well that put a lot more time into the game. The balance you guys have come up with is in my opinion spot on.

Again, thank you SE for breathing life back into my MMO playing days.

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