Welcome to another edition of Echoes of Eorzea! Today I will be striving to create a list of '10 reasons to play FFXIV.' Often I will be talking with friends about Final Fantasy XIV and explaining to them the positives, and negatives, of the game; it has dawned on me that it might be easier just to have a list that I can throw at them! Speaking as a very average player, here are just some of the reasons I consider FFXIV to be a wonderful game. Of course, as with any MMO, there are two sides to the coin and the game is not without its frustrations. For now, let's focus on the positives, in no particular order!
For those of you who may not know, Final Fantasy XIV is the second and current MMORPG in the series produced by Square Enix. Released in 2010, the game initially flopped until it was taken down for development and re-released as 'Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn' in 2013 under the new direction of Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P). Set in the lands of Eorzea, we play as an adventurer blessed with the rare gift called the 'Echo,' which gives us the power to see glimpses into the past of others and prevents us from being tempered by the Primals. We follow the footsteps of our adventurer as they travel throughout the extensive and beautiful lands to discover their place in the world following the catastrophic events of the Calamity that took place five years before-hand.10 Reasons To Play FFXIV
1. It’s Pretty
This is somewhat a sweeping statement as it depends on what you find appealing. With that disclaimer out of the way, I will elaborate!
Eorzea is an ever-changing landscape from sunrise to moonset, with beautiful transitions between day and night and all that flows in between. There is a wide range of vistas to gaze over in Eorzea including the Deserts of Thanalan, beaches of La Noscea, dense forests of Gridania and the snowy plains of Coerthas. Each environment has so many idyllic locations to explore. The weather changes the environment tremendously as well, which adds even more character and beauty to the world.
Glamour is the FFXIV term used when referring to creating outfits by changing one piece of gear to look like another. Some say that glamour is the ‘end game’ and for some, this is very true! The armor in FFXIV is incredibly detailed and well designed with lots of depth and texture. This is just not a flat image rendered over a character model; it has detail, layers, and texture.
There is a very popular website dedicated to all things Glamour called the Eorzea Collection. This site has an incredible catalog of gear combinations for you to look over for inspiration if you happen to be lost in the lands of fashion or simply wish to get an idea of what sort of gear is available. I would highly recommend a visit to the site.
FFXIV character creation is nowhere near the realms of Black Desert Online, however, it is not as limited as something like World of Warcraft. I find that it reaches a happy medium between too few or too many options, even though I’m pretty sure that character models will be updated sometime in the future. The creation has five races (six with the inclusion of Au Ra unlocked after the purchase of the Heavensward expansion), each containing two tribes and a variety of options including height, skin color, race or gender specific options, hair and eye color (which has a multitude of color options), many hairstyles, tattoo or make-up, and so on.
Choosing a look you are happy with is relatively important at this point, as the player is able to have every class/job and gathering/crafting profession on the same character so there is little need for alts. In this game, more than any MMO I've played, your character avatar becomes a big part of your gaming identity. Having said that, for each character you create, you are given one free Fantasia potion, which is a complete character overhaul token (name excluded). Should you wish to change your character's appearance several more times, the Fantasias are available from the Mogstation (FFXIV online shop) for a relatively inexpensive £5.75.
The general kindness of the FFXIV community was something I noticed very early on in my time traveling through Eorzea. When I was a tiny new player, one person ran past me and randomly gave me an adorable non-combat pet. Another stranger crafted me a bobble hat and during the Halloween event I was taking a picture of one of the city decorations and I got a PM from one of the people sitting near me asking if I wanted him to move out of the way in case he was blocking part of my screenshot (now one of the longest FFXIV friends I’ve known). Dungeon groups have nearly always been pleasant and patient, although I am aware not everyone has the same experience. Another example of this amazing community spanned across several servers, where players reached a choke point during Stormblood early access and hundreds of players formed an orderly queue and waited patiently in line for 4-6 hours to just attempt to get into the solo duty, which was broken due to the pressure of the release.
The community surrounding FFXIV is not only warm, kind and supportive of each other, but they all share such a staggering passion for the game which leads on to some truly beautiful community content and projects.
As with all things, there are always going to be some bad eggs depending on your perspective and involvement in the game, I’m just saying that it’s a big difference to what I had been used to up to that point. In truth, I think I have come across a total of maybe 10 horrid players in 3 years (in-game), even when using the dungeon finder frequently. I still hold the belief that the FFXIV community is the kindest I have experienced out of all the MMO’s I’ve played so far (about six) and it's made a hugely positive contribution to why I love this game so much.
Keep an eye on the Community Spotlight column for more information on highlighted projects or content creators.
FFXIV is the most visually expressive MMO I’ve played in terms of character emotes and interactivity with other players, possibly because the emotive system is developed using motion capture. Under the social menu, there is a whole panel of emotes for you to use.
Emotes also change depending on which race and gender you are. There are a whole host of facial expressions, dances, happy and sad emotes, you even have three choices of the way your character stands, and three for the way they sit. More emotes and dances can be unlocked throughout the game content through the main story quest line, side quests, beast tribes or the Gold Saucer.
Spell animations are incredibly detailed, not only in the casting sequence but also in terms of lighting and effects. In this case, I will let the images speak for themselves.
4. Group Pose!
Those that have read my previous articles will know that this is my happy place in the game (how I wish it had an XP bar!).
Group Pose, or GPose as it’s more commonly known is, in essence is an in-game camera tool. After performing an action or finding a beautiful location, the tool allows you to freeze the frames or the actions of your character or your group (even individually one at a time), move and tilt the camera, add status effects, light the image and use an array of filters and effects to achieve the perfect screenshot. A full guide to the tool can be found here.
It hasn’t escaped the developer's attention that this is a much-loved area of the game for countless many. As the patches continue to develop, so do the features of the Group Pose tool. If you love photography in real life, this is sure to be an area of the game that you will enjoy! Group Pose could easily be a stand-alone program in itself.
GPose is very powerful in conjunction with ReShade but I won’t go into that just yet! For the purpose of this article, all of the images have been created with GPose only.
5. Seasonal Events
FFXIV boasts nine standard seasonal events each year (excluding one or two special events). To me, they are special because the content changes every year, sometimes developing on from the previous year's story and sometimes containing a new story entirely. The rewards also change annually, giving you the chance to earn various permanent gear items, housing items, emotes and more. The items from the previous year's event will be available for purchase on the Mogstation.
For those interested in the seasonal events lore, I have written up summaries of Heavensturn, Valentione's Day, and Starlight Celebration stories to hopefully give a good impression of the quality and depth of the yearly events.
6. Every Class, Job, and Profession on one Character.
In FFXIV all Classes/Jobs and Professions can be leveled up on one character, meaning that nearly everything you do in the game is beneficial to your game progress. Ideally, you level your ‘main’ job (a class becomes a job at level 30) through the main storyline, and then other classes/jobs can be leveled through dungeons, side-quests, FATES (small events that happen throughout the world) or Palace of the Dead.
Perhaps this section might be a downside for some that enjoy playing multiple races or styles of character (though Fantasias are fairly cheap as mentioned already), but within the final fantasy XIV community, it’s clear that many hold a strong affinity to a singular avatar.
There are also a host of ‘logs’ for the completionist inside of you, including the combat log, which earns you EXP and Gil, and the Gold Saucer log that gives you the Gold Saucer currency called MGP. Also, there are the sightseeing, fishing and hunting logs.
Games within Games
Palace of the Dead
PotD has its own leveling system within the game but offers EXP for the class you are on once you finish a set of floors. There are 10 floors in total per set with a boss on the 10th floor. You may enter with any combat class you have unlocked from level 1.
After you have reached a level 15 travel quest within your main storyline you can obtain access to the Gold Saucer. Here you have the games wonderful casino where you can play Triple Triad, an assortment of minigames and events take part in group events. The Gold Saucer is also home to Chocobo racing (think simplified MarioKart with Chocobos) where you and your friends can obtain, level up, race and breed your racing Chocobo.
7. Main Story Quest
Unlike many other MMOs, FFXIV revolves around a central narrative, which for some may be seen as a negative depending on your taste in story progression. From the moment you take your first steps into the Adventurer’s Guild, your character grows alongside the story and the characters you meet throughout the game grow alongside you. Many important events are linked to your Main Scenario Quests, such as intercity travel, obtaining your mount and access to dungeons.
One thing you will notice from the FFXIV community as a whole is that spoilers to the main story are guarded heavily as there are important and emotional story twists that we all want you to experience first hand. In nearly 4 years in Eorzea, I haven’t come across a player that has had the main plot spoiled for them (yet!).
The story, nor the dungeon content is not at its strongest early on in the game. Having said that, if we are following the story of an adventurer it seems logical that we need to do a bit of hard grafting before we can wear the 'hero of the world' title. For me personally, the best part of the game starts at level 50 but level 30 onward was good. Yes, the lower levels can be a little bit of a chore but I assure you, if this game is for you, your perseverance will pay off in droves.
Story and Job skip tokens were added to the store following the release of Stormblood (to the sadness of many). I would heavily advise against them unless you truly just couldn’t care less about the game experience as a whole and merely want to focus on something such as raiding, or unless you have done everything before.
Housing in FFXIV is an extensive part of the game, and there are thousands of furniture items available that can be set out in any number of ways (if you have the gold!). Houses are available in limited numbers and belong to ‘housing wards.’ Four of the five major cities have their own set of houses. There are 4 zones, with 18 wards and 2 divisions containing 30 houses. Each district has a variety of small, medium and large plots. The larger the housing plot, the more items it can contain within. Currently, 4320 plots are available in total per server.
Even if a house is not available to you, there are other options to obtain a room such as purchasing one in your Free Company (guild/clan) or purchasing an apartment.
As with the glamour website, there is a very detailed housing website which catalogs all of the available furniture in the game called FFXIV Housing.
To get a great idea of what can be achieved creatively with the housing system please take a look at Nora’s Twitter!
9. Dungeons & Boss Mechanics
Before going into this section, here is a disclaimer about myself: I am not a Savage content raider (though I’m an experienced HC raider in WoW), so my perspective on this is just from a very average point of view. When I say ‘boss mechanics’ I mean either dungeon fights from lv50+ (where you can still wipe if you don’t pay attention to mechanics), Alliance raids (24 man, equivalent to WoW LFR but much harder) and the 8 man raids of Heavensward and Stormblood. In fact, Sigmascape has been, by far, the most enjoyable content of Stormblood so far, for me. Who doesn’t love a ghost train?!
One of the players I used to raid with in FFXIV would say to me ‘raids are like a dance, once you’ve got the steps you’re all set.’ However true that is, I still find them fun, challenging and visually beautiful, whether I’m dead on the floor or not. There is a mix of both raid-wide mechanics and some individual mechanics/requirements to deal with.
I still hold a very fond memory of my first A-8, when the music changed I giggled so much. Killing a giant robot contraption, made up of all the robots in the world, with ridiculous music in the background is just part of the fun of FFXIV.
10. Value for money
I was in two minds about including this here, but I personally feel I get a decent amount of content for my money, and in comparison to other MMOs I feel like I can justify my subscription in terms of content provision. The closest and fairest comparison that I can make is with another MMO of the exact same model, which in this case is World of Warcraft that also requires a purchase of the base game, expansion packs and a monthly subscription.
Please keep in mind, this is just a comparison between models/prices. I’m not hating on WoW, I happen to love it and have been pretty much subscribed for the last 10 years.
FFXIV: £7.69 (single character sub option)/£8.99
Monthly subscription benefits:
FFXIV: Patches every 2-3 months containing (roughly) 1-2 new dungeons, main story quests, new haircuts, new 24-man raid (every 2nd patch), new 8-man raid and potentially a new trial and minion/mounts.
WoW: Access to new raid tier every 5 months or main story development.
The Mogstation is another example of (moderate) value for money, even though lately prices for outfits and mounts has crept up somewhat and perhaps they’ll slowly edge closer to higher prices given time.
Minion/Non-combat pet Price:
FFXIV: £2.88 / WoW: £9.00
FFXIV: £6.90-£13.80 (1 person)- £17.28 (2-person) / WoW: £19.00-£27.00 (1 person).
FFXIV: £2.88- £11.16 (full attire)/ WoW: £13.00 (hat only).
FFXIV: 1 free + £5.75 after / WoW: £13.00
FFXIV: £18.50 (level boost) + £18.50 (story skip) / WoW: £49.00
(All prices are listed as of May 2018)
Keep in mind that the game is not for everyone. If you want a super speedy leveling experience and all your mounts, pets and dungeons thrown at you with minimal effort required, this is NOT the game for you!
Thank you for taking the time to look through this article, I hope it has been of some use to you or to pass onto someone you know who might be interested in picking up FFXIV. There is a host of other things about the game I could have mentioned but I decided to babble on forever might take too much of your time!