It’s been just over a year in Eorzea. During this period, much has been achieved for a new adventurer like me who had never played an MMORPG before.
I started as a newbie Conjurer who conjures elements of the nature to heal my allies. It hasn’t been an easy journey and I nearly gave it all up if not being helped by my previous FC 7th Heaven and my current FC Order of the Phoenix. Now I am a full fledge White Mage who tries to improve himself through relentless questing and adventuring, while helping others in dungeons and trials. I have also moved from a novice FC member to recently taking up the rein for my current FC Order of the Phoenix as the leader. It is challenging and exciting at the same time but the FC does have some good members who play respectfully. Also all the Council members are extremely good and helpful players.
Final Fantasy XIV had come a long way from being critically panned to now being critically acclaimed. It was a wakeup call for Square Enix that they cannot take their fan base for granted, for people will desert the franchise if they were being treated disrespectfully with one bad game after another. The game code named 2.0 was interestingly titled “A Realm Reborn” and it was Square Enix’s own Phoenix Down for the franchise. Since then, there were several major patches that added huge chunks of contents to the world of Eorzea and not to mention paying homage to a lot of pervious Final Fantasy or Final Fantasy related games. The Crystal Tower quest line has strong Final Fantasy III references throughout, the Ascians that extend the main quest story line lurk in the shadows of Organisation XIII from the Kingdom Heart (a Final Fantasy and Disney cross breed franchise), designs of the Garlean Empire characters look exceedingly similar to the Judges introduced in Final Fantasy XII, the Magitek Armour from Final Fantasy VI, dungeon bosses such as the Yeti and Fenrir in Snowcloak, Diablo in Lost City of Amdapor, Tonberry King in Wanderer’s Palace and the recently introduced Gold Saucer from Final Fantasy VII that conveniently slotted in Chocobo Racing from Final Fantasy VII and Triple Triads from Final Fantasy VIII. On top of that you have extremely popular summons from past Final Fantasy games as primal trial bosses including Ifrit, Titan, Leviathan, Ramuh, Shiva and Odin. All these made adventuring in Eorzea so much more familiar yet new.
Final Fantasy XIV might not be something that could topple World of Warcraft from its throne but it has shaped up to be a very solid experience itself. The fact that I continued to see new players (marked by a cute sprout icon next to their usernames) coming into game means Final Fantasy XIV continues to raise gamers’ interest (although I hope it would stay as a civilised playground unlike World of Warcraft). Square Enix also introduced mechanisms and quest lines that make more experienced players going back to older contents to help newer players, which was nice in my opinion. That said from my experience higher end raid dungeons did not have that treatment making it extremely hard for new players to proceed, as good parties are hard to come by if you don’t have a group of friends from your FC or linkshell to help you.
Of course with all the praises it doesn’t mean the game is faultless. A lot of people were complaining about the prices of real estate and lack of new estate lands. Probably Square Enix has underestimated the popularity and desire of purchasing housing in Eorzea thus accidentally turned their residential regions into virtual Tokyo or New York. They have been continuously addressing the issue, which is commendable so hopefully potential and budding home buyers in Eorzea would be happier. The other most complained issue is the long waiting time for instances when one plays as a DPS. For me my main job is White Mage so I am not that affected by this problem, but whenever I play as my alternates (Summoner / Bard) I did experience such issue and this is particularly obvious when I was trying to level up my Dragoon to get a cross class skill for my Bard. The situation was aggravated by the introduction of Ninja that added a bigger pool of DPS to the job roster. I basically at that time took advantage of the situation and levelled up both tank classes (Warrior and Paladin) for future dungeon grinds for my Zodiac Weapon quests. With the new expansion there will be a new tanking (Dark Knight) and a new healing (Astrologian) class so hopefully that could rectify the issue a bit. But with my and some other friends’ experience as tanks, professional tanks will still be a rarity in Eorzea as they are at times quite underappreciated (second to healers) and thus do not always provide satisfying gaming experience. Also the emergence of groups of elite DPS that pride themselves stealing hate / aggro from tanks did not help the situation at all. For me when I encountered this kind of DPS I just let them die.
Eorzea is not all about questing but also about crafting and gathering. Crafting and gathering are things I used to enjoy immensely in the game. I have all my crafting classes maxed out and only one gathering class still in development. However there was a point where Square Enix had suddenly pulled up the curve for crafting and gathering that got me stuck very long time in terms of progression. I have an experienced crafter and gatherer since the 1.0 days in the FC quitting the game because of this. Square Enix had since admitted the fault and attempting to rectify the situation but the previous change had discouraged a lot of people and now there emerged another set of elite crafters and gatherers that just capitalise the situation on the market board. For me, as a player who does not have unlimited resource and time to play the game, it became a constant struggle and juggle between improving my battle classes to progress or improving my crafting and gathering classes to seek satisfaction in crafting. This at times became extremely frustrating and taxed my enjoyment with the game. I believe once you went through that threshold it will be fine but this is, in my opinion, still a deterring and discouraging factor for new players to enjoy the experience.
The current main story in Eorzea will come to end with the upcoming patch before the expansion pack Heavensward drops. I am sure Square Enix has a lot up their sleeves. I do hope they continue to make adventuring in Eorzea a rewarding and varied experience so time spent in Eorzea is not time wasted. For me I still have a lot to do in the game and plotting along slowly. As someone who does not have a lot of time to play I need to prioritise my tasks when I log on but the feeling of I can always do something such as questing, trialling, gathering, crafting and even just stay idle chatting to my FC and linkshell friends on silly topics or getting tips from them is extremely enjoyable. If you haven’t pick up your gears for Eorzea yet, I would still recommend you to do so as it is never too late to start adventuring there. If you happened to go on to the Tonberry server, you can find our friendly FC bunch welcoming you to this exciting land.