Not For Me: Final Fantasy XIV

Anytime there’s a conversation about MMOs, Final Fantasy XIV always gets talked about as being one of the best currently available, and many of my gamer friends are playing it, or have played it in the past.

With the current sale going on, I wanted to give it another shot. I played a trial a few years ago, but I couldn’t remember what exactly I didn’t care for, and I wondered if I had really given it a fair shake back then.

The character creation process is involved, but I don’t mind that so much. What did bug me was how long it took from finishing my character to actually being in control of my character. I put aside an hour the first night after re-downloading the trial, and I actually got to play for about 10 minutes.

I spent my second play session being lost. This is only the slightest of exaggerations, but I really had issues with the map and figuring out how all the (tiny, oh so tiny) zones were connected. This was also the first time I actually got to work on combat, and I pretty much hated it instantly. While I know 2.5 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s an eternity as a global cool down between abilities.

Still, I decided to give it one more session, and although the levels were coming fast enough, I felt like it was somewhat lacking in everything else that makes MMO progression feel good. There wasn’t much happening the way of loot, and in fact, when I came up against someone who wanted to inspect my gear for a quest, I found myself having to go through two additional zones to find a vendor to buy myself some upgrades. Don’t get me wrong, I like shopping as much as anyone, but it’s kind of yawn-worthy in an MMO.

At this point, I’ve pretty much decided I won’t be going back to this one. I’ve heard people say that the story is absolutely worth it, but so far? I don’t care about any of this, certainly not to the level which would make me struggle through weird maps and unsatisfying combat. The truth is, I already have other MMOs that I already own that I would be more interested in playing.

6 thoughts on “Not For Me: Final Fantasy XIV

  1. I got this when it was released on PS3, waaaay back… I’ve since came back to it on PC, then PS4, then PC again… I keep trying but I just can’t get into it. When I tried FF7 a LONG time ago I really didn’t like it – I went back to it a few years later and it clicked, I realised what I’d been missing out on. I still hold out hope that at some point, XIV will click, because it’s huge and it’s a genuine (arguably the only) competitor to WoW … ultimately, so far, I share your sentiments… on paper it seems so appealing, but even the way it handles just doesn’t feel like it weighs anything; there’s no substance to the movement which means the combat feels empty, lacking anything visceral or impactful, and on my character that got the furthest, I’d only experienced what felt like run and fetch or run, attack and fetch quests. I managed to get to level 14 because I was motivated by the halloween event, thinking that hitting level 15 would unlock a pumpkin mount…not sure why I wanted it for a game I don’t play, but it showed me that it didn’t take much to make me feel something vaguely like a desire to play, and that was that I (Thought I) was working towards something tangible…that doesn’t negate it’s drawbacks though, so even if I continued playing, I’d probably have burned out shortly after….and back to WoW as usual. That said; No Man’s Sky is so good right now.

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    1. Oh, the temptation to pick up No Man’s Sky is STRONG, but I’ve resisted so far. Once I gave up on FFXIV I started poking around in GW2, and while I’d be lying if I told you I was finding it super exciting, it is working for me for short play sessions.

      Maybe I’m still not giving it a fair shake because I’m having major problems engaging with much of anything right now, but I’m also uninterested in forcing something that’s not working.

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  2. As I posted at some length a while ago, I found FFXIV was at its best if you completely ignore the story and avoid followinf all the coercive, directive, intrusive prompting. Just treat it as a sandpark, explore, pick up sidequests as you happen across them, ignore anything that tries to send you anywhere you don’t want to go. Do some leves, work on the kill count thing for different mob types, generally wander around looking at the countryside. That way it turns into a very laid-back, enjoyable ramble. The zones aren’t tiny at all that way, either, when you get to see all the bits the narrative doesn’t bother sending you to.

    FFXIV apologists these days frequently dismiss the story in the vanilla game and tell you it only really gets good in the first (or even second) expansion. That’s not what they were saying before there were any expansions, though, when the game was already praised to the skies for its story. It was slow and overwrough tthen and it still is now but then so are most MMORPG stories. They don’t all have the insane amount of cut scenes FFXIV has though.

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    1. I mean, generally speaking, story isn’t what retains players in MMOs, even if it’s what drew them in initially. Without a satisfying gameplay loop and some kind of repetitive content that’s engaging or rewarding (or that manages somehow to be both), people aren’t going to keep playing once they run out of story content.

      With FFXIV, since I wasn’t having enjoying the core gameplay element of combat, exploring and achievement hunting never crossed my mind.

      As far as I’m concerned, no matter how good the story gets, or how well done and engaging gathering and crafting are (another pro-FFXIV argument I’ve heard), if a game doesn’t deliver a new player experience that makes me want to keep going, it has failed for me.

      While I get it that MMOs need to work as a long game, I wonder sometimes if enough thought was given here to working as a new game.

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  3. That extremely long GCD is one of the main reasons why I can’t stand the game too, the extreme hand-holding and gating of content behind the main story the other.

    That story, as far as I’ve seen it, isn’t bad, but it’s not that good either. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter though, as what it really does above all else is hold you back I feel.

    So, yeah, haven’t played in quite some time, and probably won’t do so again.

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  4. I gave it a try a month ago or so. I’d initially thought of writing down my experiences in the blog, but it would have been much shorter than yours. Same conclusion, though. It’s not for me! I didn’t even care for any of the races, so character creation was meh. I was also annoyed that it took so long to be in control of my character and, just like you, I was disappointed with the combat.

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