FFXIV Early Impressions

We’re two days in to Phase 4 (Open Beta) for FFXIV, and it’s time to start sharing thoughts on features, mechanics, how the game is faring, and whether or not we’re having fun.

ffxiv blackmageClass/Job System
I am loving this approach.  I just switch my weapon, and I turn into that class.  It’s like logging off and logging into an alt, but I get to keep my character’s identity.  I’ve been leveling a Conjuror with Graev’ Lancer.  We want to stick close together, so it’s awesome that when one of us can’t play we simply swap over to another class and go have fun.  Being able to keep abilities from the other classes is like a sudden boost to the depth of the game.  I can play a Conjuror and pick up buffs, then swap to a Gladiator but have the ability to use those spells.  This means much later down the line players will want to combine classes to maximize their potential. Awesome system with tons of gameplay built in.

ffxiv fate

Lots of people doing a FATE and not one hitch or drop in frames.

Performance is shocking.  It doesn’t freeze or hitch at all.  “It’s like magic,” said Graev as he waded through hundreds of people in Gridania.  Graev is on a 6 year old rig, and albeit he has lower frames than I do on my 3.5 year old system, neither of us see a decrease in performance with other players on the screen.  There are TONS of people playing, and all of them are visible since I haven’t once seen a lobbied zone.  Square Enix did something here right in a big, big way.  I want whatever they’ve done here to provide ridiculously good performance, and good looking visuals, to be used in every MMO ever developed again.

FFXIV GroupingQuesting
Hrmm. For the most part, I don’t like it.  Most of the quests are in the ‘kill 5 squirrels’ category, with a lot of ‘Go click this basket of fish then talk to me’ mixed in.  I’m glad these can be done once, and that any other class I play will have to do FATEs (public quests), dungeons, or grind experience chains.

The story quests, albeit hard to understand since I never played 1.0 or really any FF games, are better now that I know what’s going on.  Some of them have been like the side-quests (blah) but some have cutscenes and really do break up the gameplay nicely.  One of my biggest gripes, however, is that you can’t go into these in a group.  You have to disband every time and do it alone.

Launch (beta?) Issues
The worst issue – BY FAR – is how they’ve handled servers.  Instead of queues, they’ve simply locked servers so that no new characters can be created.  That completely screws people out of playing with their friends.  We have at least six people trying to get onto Leviathan to play with us in our guild, but they can’t until Square decides to stop opening new servers and just let people queue. I didn’t get to play on Friday at all because I was 1 second (literally) behind Graev pressing ‘Play’ and the server locked me out. I know that all of these issues will be gone in a few weeks, but that doesn’t make them suck any less.

There’s still a lot more info to come.  Graev and I are about to run the first dungeons.  I’ve only begun to dive into the crafting.  I hate the questing, but I love the combat.  I feel like at times I do spam the Stone spell, but that’s because I don’t have any other abilities yet.  I would rather use the same ability than have to spam 20 different ones.  The subtle things like the experience bonus for going on a killing streak, the way my character’s eyes follow his target, the way the world feels full of people (maybe not to subtle), and just overall traditional feel of the game give me a very optimistic view of FFXIV’s future.

This is sooo much better than FFXIV 1.0, and I hope it stays that way.  Tons more info to come.  Stay with us!

FFXIV Pre-order Code and Launch Details

FFXIV Pre-OrderFFXIV launches into the final phase of beta on the 16th for previous testers, and the 17th for everyone else.  Characters created during this beta phase will carry over to launch, so as you can imagine people are considering this the soft launch.  There’s just one problem: I have no idea where to enter my FFXIV pre-order code!  I think I found an email amazon sent me with a “promotional code.”  I assume this is my pre-order code.

I went to the Pre-order page, but sure enough it just wants to email me when I’ll be allowed to enter my code.  I assume that’s it? (I’m doing a lot of assuming) I took to Twitter hoping to find more information, and a few people told me to go to the Square Enix Account Section (which I think they refer to as “Service account”).  Sure enough there’s a section under Select Server > FFXIV to redeem a code but it is currently unavailable.

Being totally confused about how a launch will work has to be one of the worst feelings, especially if you’re like me and want to jump in the game the second it becomes available.  I’ll just have to live with it for now, unless any of you can help clarify the details for me.

To add to the confusion, we had to figure out that Graev apparently doesn’t qualify for early access to the game.  He pre-ordered the collectors edition of the original FFXIV but all that means is he gets 2 free weeks and doesn’t have to rebuy the game.  I guess playing in the head-start is reserved for “legacy” members who played the original for 3+ months.  I don’t get why he can get the game for free, 2 weeks play free, but not the head-start.  Now we’re left trying to figure out if we can pre-order off Amazon then cancel the pre-order yet retain the head-start key.  Thoughts?

On to the details I know!  Our gaming community will be playing FFXIV.  We have somewhere between 12-15 people ready to go already, and we know we’ll be growing even more after launch.  If you’re interested in joining our Free Company (Guild) then head over to our forums to enlist.  The leadership for our FFXIV chapter is hard at work already planning ways to bring players together to have fun and get the most out of time spent playing.

I hope I can figure out a way to get Graev into the head-start, and that the rest of this beta and launch go smoothly.  Do us a favor and share any details you find about redeeming codes, and be sure to share any tricks to help get Graev some head-start access.

Green Man Gaming: 25% off FFXIV. Code: GMG25-OGRUH-7SM8H
FFXIV on Amazon: $5 Amazon Credit w/ purchase of digital version.

Beta Fatigue

MMO Beta FatigueI’ve been playing a ton of beta tests these days, and I’m once again reminded of Beta Fatigue or Beta Burnout.  There comes a time during a beta test when I believe playing becomes detrimental to my future enjoyment — to everyone’s enjoyment.  For me, that’s usually the second I realize I’ll lose my character to a wipe.  I become emotionally detached, unable to form any connection to my character or the game.

Yesterday I talked about the newbie experience being one of the best experiences available in a modern MMO.  Ironically, that’s the part of the game the devs keep people testing the longest.  I get why it’s tested so extensively, and I don’t.

I want to experience one of the best parts of the game with fresh eyes, fully attached to the game and my character.  Now, I completely understand that beta tests are optional and I am under absolutely no obligation to opt myself into them… but I suffer from wanting to know what other people know.  I’m naturally curious, and the urge to ‘try before I buy’ dominates my decision.

To further complicate things, some of these games are destined to be 3-monthers. Does part of that 3 months get eaten up by testing time?  You better believe it.

Do developers work harder to limit the number of exposures players have to their content before launch? Do they severely limit testing to a select few, then not wipe once more people get access?  I think there needs to be greater emphasis on true testing and less on utilizing a ‘beta’ for marketing efforts.

FFXIV Early Beta Impressions

FFXIV Keen Graev Beta

Now is as good a time as any to share some of my FFXIV impressions.  I’ve been playing in the beta weekend events for three weeks now as a Conjuror alongside Graev who is playing as an Archer.  I’m in love with the conjuror class and the idea of being a White Mage later on.  Graev hasn’t been too impressed by the Archer, so he plans to switch to the Lancer and ultimately become a Dragoon in Open Beta.


  • Open world (other than dungeons)
  • Combat takes a little more time than usual
  • Environments are pretty
  • UI is nice on PC
  • Class / Job system
FFXIV Beta Lalafell

Our adorable Lalafell striking a pose.

I love how I have already felt lost.  I was trying to find out where a quest wanted me to go, and it took me several minutes to get myself oriented with the map.  Not that finding quests is hard once you figure things out, it’s just slightly more effort that I can personally appreciate.  Navigating the world has been a lot of fun so far.  I’m loving the terrain and environments, and so far the game runs beautifully on my 3.5 year old PC.

The UI is waaaay better than it was back at the original launch.  While still a hotkey system with the typical inventory and character sheet, it looks nice and functions adequately.  Visually, I think it matches.

The class and job systems are going to add a lot of time to the game.  If you want to be a White Mage you’re going to have to level multiple classes — same for every Job.  To me, this presents plenty of opportunity to *hopefully* make it past the 3 monther mark.

In general, FFXIV just feels slightly more… traditional, might be the word.  There’s a touch of difficulty, a slower pace, an appreciation for the (again) tradition that makes these games enjoyable for me.  FFXIV sits right between themepark and psuedo-sandbox, and its suits the games well. [Read more…]

Picking a Class

Graev and I are playing in the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn beta.  We’re not even close to a point where we can share our thoughts on the game.  MMOs are a tricky beast, especially when you go as long as I have without playing one; they have a way of being really fun early on, then quickly turning 180 degrees on me.  Playing has reminded me of a topic unrelated to FFXIV: Picking what class to play.

I like the conjuror class.  Conjurors are a caster that can combine with another class and become a White Mage.  Something about the healing in FFXIV feels really good to me.  FFXIV has this old school grouping vibe to it that makes me feel really needed and appreciated as a healer.  I can tell I’m going to really like being a support role.

Okay, so much for waiting to talk about FFXIV.  Now the real point I was trying to make. [Read more…]