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'Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn'

This thread has been linked to the game 'Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn'.
Tue 01/10/13 at 19:00:
Regular
Posts: 261
The first game in the Final Fantasy series was named so, because it was expected to be the last product that Square was to develop before bankruptcy. After many successful future instalments they (Square-Enix) made a half broken, unfinished MMO and released it as Final Fantasy 14. Due to the very negative reviews it received I never actually played the game in its original form. Now that Square has redesigned the game with a new team and added “A Realm Reborn” to the end of its name, I decided to give it a try. Here are my impressions based on the first month of play.

When I finally managed to get onto my chosen server, I decided to roll an Archer. There are 5 races to choose from: The standard human like Hyur; the elven like Elezen; the miniature Lalafell; the giant hulky Roegadyn and the cat like Miqo’te. You also choose a Guardian and a birthday after customising your appearance. Your choice of race and guardian has a very minor effect to your stats, which I don’t like as an idea. This is because I personally prefer to get optimal stats for my character which ultimately led me to choose an Elezen which has high dexterity for ranged DPS even though it would only affect my late game damage by 0.5%. It may be silly, but this design choice made me feel restricted in what race to pick and I feel they should have had the same base stats across all races.

As for character customisation it feels pretty limited. Each race has four faces to choose from and twelve hair styles and at the beginning I saw many players looking identical to myself. You have the choice of having tattoos but only two to choose from. The similarity between other players in terms of clothing is very limited in the end game as well. This is because the end game set is obtained with dungeon tokens so everyone in a class ends up wearing the exact same thing making it more difficult to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Also even though they implemented Dyes into the game, there are hardly any pieces of clothing that you can actually dye.

There are 3 main cities in A Realm Reborn: Ul’Dah, Gridania and Limsa Lominsa. Which area you start in depends on the class you pick and your starting area has different starting quests than the other. Eventually though you will progress to the same main quests as everyone else. Each main city has its own theme music; my personal favourite theme being Ul’Dah’s.

As I started with an Archer I watched a cutscence where my character faces a mysterious shadowy figure and my character is engulfed in a flash of light and ends up wearing the best gear in the game. I laughed because my character looked quite silly in his Bard uniform and I believe this cutscene was intended to increase my desire to reach my ultimate end game gear.

The story in A Realm Reborn is a slow burner at the beginning, but eventually it becomes more interesting near the mid to end stages. This MMO has more exposition than I’ve seen from other MMOs which may infuriate those who aren’t willing to read a fair amount of text. Some of my friends clicked through most of it, which is a shame as there are usually some amusing lines in some scenes. They also added voice acting in a few scenes, which is nice but it does sometimes feel jarring when the story keeps transitioning between text with and without voice acting. For those who aren’t willing to read the text there doesn’t appear to be an option to skip all text and clicking through it is the only option.

Combat is tab targeted and with a 2.5 global cooldown on skills it may feel slow and clunky to some. This is less noticeable in hectic boss fights, but when fighting normal mobs it shows. Also there are times where skills don’t seem to activate and there is a delay with enemy attack animations and cast times so you may think you have dodged an ability by avoiding a red circle but you find yourself getting hit because it is based on their casting time instead of the animation.

Combat levelling is similar to Guild Wars 2 as FATE’s or Full Active Time Events work in the same way as Dynamic Events. These are by far the best sources of experience and you will probably do many of these when Main quests have dried up.

Unlike Guild Wars 2, A Realm Reborn has an instance matchmaking system known as the Duty Finder which automatically finds players from multiple servers to create a party for a Dungeon or Boss. This makes forming groups easier, but players still shout for groups in certain areas.

Dungeons and Primals are where A Realm Reborn shines the most. Dungeons initially start off easy to teach basic dungeon mechanics and eventually ramp up to request more awareness and mobility from players. Primals are simply bosses that are faced with a party of eight and currently there are three: Ifrit, Garuda and Titan. These bosses look intimidating and they are unforgiving if you fail to learn their attack patterns.

At this current time I feel that there aren’t enough servers to cope with the number of players doing certain instances. I feel this is because the end game is artificially lengthened by forcing players to grind for dungeon tokens known as “Tombstones”. There are “Tombstones of Philosophy” which are used to purchase item level 70 gear and there are “Tombstones of Mythology” which are required for item level 90 gear. Eventually you will need to face Titan Hard Mode which has a stomp attack that does unavoidable damage and players who don’t have enough gear will fail at the instance. This means that players need to farm thousands of Philo tokens for the level 70 set. Only two dungeons give 100 tokens per run which is the best means of obtaining them. There is only one dungeon and one primal hard mode fight that gives Mythology tombstones so those instances take too long to enter as well. Mythology tombstones are also capped each week and the cap is too low for you to buy anything in the first week.

Sometimes I’ve had to wait for over an hour to enter an instance but it is typically half an hour. Healers and Tanks usually have far quicker waiting times than DPS classes as they are usually in higher demand.

Apart from farming these Dungeons and crafting/gathering, there isn’t much of an end game. There is no PvP yet. Once you have obtained your weapon drop from a Hard Mode Primal there is little incentive to beat them again. Even though there are many Dungeons, the game only incentivises four of them if you include the dungeon you unlock after beat Hard Mode Titan.

In summary, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a polished MMO. I enjoy the soundtrack for the game. The game looks very impressive even though it has been scaled down to be cross-platform playable with the console version. The game has plenty of Final Fantasy fan service with Chocobo mounts, Moogles and many memorable enemies such as Tonberries, Cactaurs, Coeurls and more. The story was fairly enjoyable for an MMO, although arguably text heavy. Dungeon bosses are well designed and are well animated. However, the content is a bit light for a subscription MMO. Some would recommend playing through the content in the first month and ending it there. However, I have really enjoyed the MMO and if future content is as good as their existing content then I feel that this is an MMO worth supporting.
Wed 02/10/13 at 18:17:
Nin
Regular
"Monochromatic"
Posts: 18,487
Davidm4 wrote:
I found moving round the map pretty slow before getting a Chocobo mount so that should have been available sooner.

I've only just gotten one, it makes travelling around so much easier, though they should have have a "Set Destination" option so you can just sit back while it takes you there.
Disciples of the hand can be a bit of a grind. There are mathematical gaps in the levelling system, so if you do all the levequests and create all the equipment, you can still end up way short of the level needed for the next stage. Being a level 17 leatherworker and knowing the only way you can get to level 20 is by creating 100 aldgoat leathers (which you have to hunt first) can be very demotivating. It's probably my own fault for the way I've approached the game, running 6 full classes (Con, Thu, Ltw, Wvr, Mnr, Bsm) means progress is slow. The sooner I can establish my own Free Company, the easier it should become.
Wed 02/10/13 at 12:36:
Regular
Posts: 261
Nin wrote:

By my memory there are around 16 tattoos

I might be wrong but I think you are referring to face paints which there are more options for.

While you do tend to end up wearing similiar looking equipment, the different levels and dyes also add variation and I haven't noticed a limit on dying clothes, but I haven't explored it in great depth either.

You are right, I shouldn't have said that. Most armour pieces can be dyed as shown by a circle in the right corner. However, none of the gear from dungeons can be dyed. If you want an end game level 50 set that is dyeable you need to buy or create the crafted set but that is the only option so far.

The game has plenty of potential to grow and I'm intrigued by what sounded like a "Golden Saucer" area of gaming hidden away near the Ul'dah markets. They needed to introduce Free Companies earlier though, along with Retainer Vocates and World Transfers, as the social aspect of the game is entirely lost for the first 25 levels.

I found moving round the map pretty slow before getting a Chocobo mount so that should have been available sooner. When I played with friends we all decided on the server we were going to play on. We only ever grouped together to do dungeons and instances when the story requested it. We never grouped up in a party to kill mobs or do fates even though they could have down-scaled to join me.
Tue 01/10/13 at 20:28:
Nin
Regular
"Monochromatic"
Posts: 18,487
Davidm4 wrote:
As for character customisation it feels pretty limited. Each race has four faces to choose from and twelve hair styles and at the beginning I saw many players looking identical to myself. You have the choice of having tattoos but only two to choose from. The similarity between other players in terms of clothing is very limited in the end game as well. This is because the end game set is obtained with dungeon tokens so everyone in a class ends up wearing the exact same thing making it more difficult to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Also even though they implemented Dyes into the game, there are hardly any pieces of clothing that you can actually dye.

I haven't found that at all. By my memory there are around 16 tattoos, all reversable, and I haven't seen anyone who looks like me. While you do tend to end up wearing similiar looking equipment, the different levels and dyes also add variation and I haven't noticed a limit on dying clothes, but I haven't explored it in great depth either.

There are 3 main cities in A Realm Reborn: Ul’Dah, Gridania and Limsa Lominsa. Which area you start in depends on the class you pick and your starting area has different starting quests than the other. Eventually though you will progress to the same main quests as everyone else. Each main city has its own theme music; my personal favourite theme being Ul’Dah’s.

The music is endlessly repetitive and gets on my t**s. Can I say t**s? Probably not

The story in A Realm Reborn is a slow burner at the beginning, but eventually it becomes more interesting near the mid to end stages.

I've found it to be extremely slow so far, but then that's probably down to the multi-skill approach I've been taking. Everything up to level 25 is a very solitary existence with little progress, which is kind of strange for an online game.

Dungeons and Primals are where A Realm Reborn shines the most. Dungeons initially start off easy to teach basic dungeon mechanics and eventually ramp up to request more awareness and mobility from players. Primals are simply bosses that are faced with a party of eight and currently there are three: Ifrit, Garuda and Titan. These bosses look intimidating and they are unforgiving if you fail to learn their attack patterns.

They are the best part of the game but they're hard work. The game offers you no explanation of what to do, you're thrown in and expected to just work it out. As you might expect, trying to talk to your team while in the middle of a battle is a nightmare. I've only seen 1 primal but have seen reference on maps to around 10-12.
The game has plenty of potential to grow and I'm intrigued by what sounded like a "Golden Saucer" area of gaming hidden away near the Ul'dah markets. They needed to introduce Free Companies earlier though, along with Retainer Vocates and World Transfers, as the social aspect of the game is entirely lost for the first 25 levels.
Tue 01/10/13 at 19:00:
Regular
Posts: 261
The first game in the Final Fantasy series was named so, because it was expected to be the last product that Square was to develop before bankruptcy. After many successful future instalments they (Square-Enix) made a half broken, unfinished MMO and released it as Final Fantasy 14. Due to the very negative reviews it received I never actually played the game in its original form. Now that Square has redesigned the game with a new team and added “A Realm Reborn” to the end of its name, I decided to give it a try. Here are my impressions based on the first month of play.

When I finally managed to get onto my chosen server, I decided to roll an Archer. There are 5 races to choose from: The standard human like Hyur; the elven like Elezen; the miniature Lalafell; the giant hulky Roegadyn and the cat like Miqo’te. You also choose a Guardian and a birthday after customising your appearance. Your choice of race and guardian has a very minor effect to your stats, which I don’t like as an idea. This is because I personally prefer to get optimal stats for my character which ultimately led me to choose an Elezen which has high dexterity for ranged DPS even though it would only affect my late game damage by 0.5%. It may be silly, but this design choice made me feel restricted in what race to pick and I feel they should have had the same base stats across all races.

As for character customisation it feels pretty limited. Each race has four faces to choose from and twelve hair styles and at the beginning I saw many players looking identical to myself. You have the choice of having tattoos but only two to choose from. The similarity between other players in terms of clothing is very limited in the end game as well. This is because the end game set is obtained with dungeon tokens so everyone in a class ends up wearing the exact same thing making it more difficult to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Also even though they implemented Dyes into the game, there are hardly any pieces of clothing that you can actually dye.

There are 3 main cities in A Realm Reborn: Ul’Dah, Gridania and Limsa Lominsa. Which area you start in depends on the class you pick and your starting area has different starting quests than the other. Eventually though you will progress to the same main quests as everyone else. Each main city has its own theme music; my personal favourite theme being Ul’Dah’s.

As I started with an Archer I watched a cutscence where my character faces a mysterious shadowy figure and my character is engulfed in a flash of light and ends up wearing the best gear in the game. I laughed because my character looked quite silly in his Bard uniform and I believe this cutscene was intended to increase my desire to reach my ultimate end game gear.

The story in A Realm Reborn is a slow burner at the beginning, but eventually it becomes more interesting near the mid to end stages. This MMO has more exposition than I’ve seen from other MMOs which may infuriate those who aren’t willing to read a fair amount of text. Some of my friends clicked through most of it, which is a shame as there are usually some amusing lines in some scenes. They also added voice acting in a few scenes, which is nice but it does sometimes feel jarring when the story keeps transitioning between text with and without voice acting. For those who aren’t willing to read the text there doesn’t appear to be an option to skip all text and clicking through it is the only option.

Combat is tab targeted and with a 2.5 global cooldown on skills it may feel slow and clunky to some. This is less noticeable in hectic boss fights, but when fighting normal mobs it shows. Also there are times where skills don’t seem to activate and there is a delay with enemy attack animations and cast times so you may think you have dodged an ability by avoiding a red circle but you find yourself getting hit because it is based on their casting time instead of the animation.

Combat levelling is similar to Guild Wars 2 as FATE’s or Full Active Time Events work in the same way as Dynamic Events. These are by far the best sources of experience and you will probably do many of these when Main quests have dried up.

Unlike Guild Wars 2, A Realm Reborn has an instance matchmaking system known as the Duty Finder which automatically finds players from multiple servers to create a party for a Dungeon or Boss. This makes forming groups easier, but players still shout for groups in certain areas.

Dungeons and Primals are where A Realm Reborn shines the most. Dungeons initially start off easy to teach basic dungeon mechanics and eventually ramp up to request more awareness and mobility from players. Primals are simply bosses that are faced with a party of eight and currently there are three: Ifrit, Garuda and Titan. These bosses look intimidating and they are unforgiving if you fail to learn their attack patterns.

At this current time I feel that there aren’t enough servers to cope with the number of players doing certain instances. I feel this is because the end game is artificially lengthened by forcing players to grind for dungeon tokens known as “Tombstones”. There are “Tombstones of Philosophy” which are used to purchase item level 70 gear and there are “Tombstones of Mythology” which are required for item level 90 gear. Eventually you will need to face Titan Hard Mode which has a stomp attack that does unavoidable damage and players who don’t have enough gear will fail at the instance. This means that players need to farm thousands of Philo tokens for the level 70 set. Only two dungeons give 100 tokens per run which is the best means of obtaining them. There is only one dungeon and one primal hard mode fight that gives Mythology tombstones so those instances take too long to enter as well. Mythology tombstones are also capped each week and the cap is too low for you to buy anything in the first week.

Sometimes I’ve had to wait for over an hour to enter an instance but it is typically half an hour. Healers and Tanks usually have far quicker waiting times than DPS classes as they are usually in higher demand.

Apart from farming these Dungeons and crafting/gathering, there isn’t much of an end game. There is no PvP yet. Once you have obtained your weapon drop from a Hard Mode Primal there is little incentive to beat them again. Even though there are many Dungeons, the game only incentivises four of them if you include the dungeon you unlock after beat Hard Mode Titan.

In summary, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a polished MMO. I enjoy the soundtrack for the game. The game looks very impressive even though it has been scaled down to be cross-platform playable with the console version. The game has plenty of Final Fantasy fan service with Chocobo mounts, Moogles and many memorable enemies such as Tonberries, Cactaurs, Coeurls and more. The story was fairly enjoyable for an MMO, although arguably text heavy. Dungeon bosses are well designed and are well animated. However, the content is a bit light for a subscription MMO. Some would recommend playing through the content in the first month and ending it there. However, I have really enjoyed the MMO and if future content is as good as their existing content then I feel that this is an MMO worth supporting.

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