More on FFXIV, learning as I go

FFXIV can be absolutely gorgeous.

FFXIV’s class system is interesting. It was advertised that players simply equip a weapon and they’re immediately that class. That’s actually how it works. You put on a cane and you’re a Conjurer; put on a spinning wheel and you’re a weaver. It works for combat and crafting and you can be all of the classes at once. When you use your class’ abilities you gain class experience. When you do anything worthy of gaining experience you get general experience which levels up your “physical level”. Physical level determines your stat by granting you points to allocate each time you level up. Gaining rank in a class gives you new abilities and strengthens your abilities.

It’s not as simple as killing a mob and getting 2 sets of exp. You definitely get general experience for just about everything, but class experience is more random. For my Conjurer I do not get much Conjurer exp at all if I nuke mobs dead in two casts — in fact I often get none. If I just use my cane to attack, which is like a wand in WoW, then I get more attacks in per mob which increases my chance to get a little nugget of exp. As you’d expect, the strategy is to just attack with the cane to optimize exp gains. Random chance benefits from repetition so I can’t say it’s a flaw in the system, just an unfortunate reality for casters at lower levels.

Being able to put on any hat whenever you feel like it is awesome.  I think they’ve done a very nice job creating an experience similar to SWG with the one character per person feel.  Spending points into certain stats is a limiting factor, but it appears that you can reassign points.  Mixing and matching abilities from classes is also something worth noting.  The recommendation from most people is that you pick two classes that compliment each other and use their abilities.  Weapon use, stat type, and other limiting factors seem to favor sticking to a lower number regardless of whether or not you have the time to level 5 at a time.

Weaving my Local Leves

The questing system is very important to understand.  There are regional leves and local leves.  Regional leves are the “quests” that you’ll be used to doing which give you some nice coin, maybe an item, and lots of experience.  You’re restricted to just 8 of these in a 36 hour period.  Local leves are crafting and you have a limit of 8 on those as well.  This means that if you play several hours in one day and just do leves, you’ll be out of luck.  You can group up with others and get some credit for helping them with theirs, though.  This encourages grouping in a big way.

What do you do when your leves are gone?  As far as I can tell, you grind.  I like to mix grinding, exploring, crafting, and leves together so that I find a harmony and never really burn out on one thing or run out of stuff to do.  Unfortunately, if you play a lot you’re going to be stuck grinding.

Crafting is beneficial.  The economy is entirely player driven from what I have seen.  Players are hocking their goods in chat channels, putting up their little shop ala Asian style games, and some are successfully getting rich.  Others look like they’re just crafting for themselves.  Many tradeskills feed off each other and when you can be anything and everything whenever you want, it’s not hard to be self sufficient.

The crafting system is one of FFXIV’s better systems.  I chose to be a Weaver which makes cloth armor.  Crafting consists of putting materials in the material receptical that satisfy a recipe.  You learn these recipes two ways (that I’ve found).  1) You pay attention to Local Leves or 2) You look them up online.  Put the right resources in the receptical and begin crafting.  It’s not just a combine mechanism though.  You actually to actively participate.  With Weaving a little colored bauble will appear on my tool.  Based upon its color (Green, white, yellow, red) you will get different outcomes for actions you take.  The actions are to do a standard synthesize, a bold synthesize, or a rapid synthesize.  Standard seems to be the middle and the others are obvious.  You have a quality and durability number and based upon which action you choose matching the color appearing (and your tool quality and other factors) yields your end product.  It’s overwhelming at first and I’m still learning the ropes, but it’s a heck of a lot better than just combining.

  • Is grinding beneficial for anything other than XP? Can you get leather for crafting or other beneficial items?

    Also, a review on Amazon made it seem like mobs just spawn when you need to fulfill a leves. I guess that wasn’t exactly right.

    It looks like it’s good for a more casual MMO player at least time wise since the leves have a limitation.

    The crafting sounds similar to EQ2? Where you have to play a mini-game during the crafting?

  • Yeah is this a game that a casual gamer with one or two hours a day to play at most would enjoy? It sounds like everything is very time consuming and that a casual MMOer would take years to really get anything meaningful done.

  • Keen you sound like a war hostage forced to give a statement on how great your captives are. Is Graev off to the side pointing a crossbow at you. Game does look beautiful but if you only have limited quests per day and have to grind the rest of the time, with that interface and targeting system, yikes. Most casuals do not use macros, and im sorry if i have to grind components for crafting, than grind crafting its gonna get old quick. Anyway this is probably geared mostly to Final Fantasy hardcore players, with lots of spare time.

  • I think it’s very casual friendly because of how the game naturally wants you to go slower. It will take you a very long time to progress though if you play casually. It’s a give and take.

    No negative tone is implied. The only two major issues that I have so far are the clunky interface and controls. If they were standard then I would say this is a MMO worthy of an investment.

    It’s really not finished yet though. I’ve been hearing a lot about how there are parts unfinished and how some classes are still being fleshed out. Standard MMO launch I guess.

    Overall, I’d say that if you want a MMO to play and you have $50 to spend go for it. If you’re hesitant to spend the money then wait a couple of weeks. I won’t tell people to go out and buy it until I do.

  • I had a blast for the 2 hours I played last night. BFFs video regarding running from place to place is exaggerated. The run distances really are not that bad. I would honestly say WoW, before you get a horse, is worse. The world is much more pleasing to look at and this takes the edge off of travel.

    I was not aware of any limit for Levequests. This disturbs me a little, as they already limit linear progression with the Fatigue system. Why prevent questing?

    It is true that mobs only spawn and can be attacked once a Levequest is activated. They reason this by stating that the Guildleves (the coloured cards, from which the Levequests are activated) act as permission to slay the target mob, which is otherwise banned.
    If anyone knows of grindable mobs which aren’t under sanction of Guildleves, please let me know 🙂

    One annoying aspect is leaving the user in charge of choosing the attack vs rest state. You can only recharge HP and Mana in the Rest/Passive State, and can only attach while in the Active State. The user must actively switch in and out of these states, and you can find yourself running low on HP or dieing if you forget to switch to Rest/Passive between fights. Really, this should be automatic and detected like every other MMO (In or Out of Combat flags).

    Unable to change Font Size/Colour of Chat Box. When you level, I never noticed any Fanfaire or visuals. I looked at my Char window and discovered I was suddenly level 7/5 and I didn’t even know I had leveled at all.

    So far, better than WAR, AoC, Aion and WoW for the first 2 hours of play. Not quite as good as first 2 hours of EQ2. We’ll see how long it lasts.


  • For a guy who really likes fantasy rpgs and mmorpgs, but has never even been remotely interested in every playing any final fantasy game…this one actually has me a little intrigued. Huge world, doesn’t sound like it has a supersonic leveling speed, little or no fast travel. How similar is it really to, say old EQ or Vanguard (the idea of Vanguard anyway)?

    Is there any instancing? A ton of it? Big dungeons with bosses? A lot of both solo-able and party-type content?

  • @Lokked

    Are you saying that the first two hours of playing FFXIV was better than your first two hours of playing World of Warcraft?

  • I am so glad i played the beta, otherwise i would probably buy the game and give it a go. Your pictures look fantastics.
    I really dont think the game is very good at all though unfortunately.

    I cant believe they only let you do 8 guildleves every 36 hours, its like they are slowing you down on purpose to get more $$$ in the long run.

  • @ Steve: Perhaps you are right, but it could theoretically shift the game from the uberleet power leveling kids to one that needs to occupy player’s time with other community building pursuits? I actually think that the majority of games level way too fast, but if they didn’t they would risk losing a large market share of players with short attention spans and mom’s credit cards…

  • I just wasted 50 bucks on the game after reading Keen’s impressions. I wish I hadn’t.

    1.) Horrid controls, both gamepad and keyboard. You should not have to fight the controls to do something in a game. Everything in the game takes more effort that should be needed. For example, to craft 1 item I had to click through 14+ slow loading menu buttons… to craft 1 item.

    2.) Crafting is dull, boring and tedious. Yeah crafting is a minigame, too bad it is just plain boring. I literally fell asleep for a moment crafting last night. ( I have never fallen asleep before at my desk until last night)

    3.) The game offers little to zero direction. Once you finish the 1st quest chain, you are solely on your own. As a EVE and Fallen Earth player even I was lost.

    4.) While the game gives little guidance, it sure puts is boot on your neck when you just want to have fun. Done your 8 quests for the day, ok now either go craft..snooze… or go grind… snooze. It really seems as if there is zero content in the game and they are hiding it by making everyone drive through the game with the e-brake on.

    5.) When playing a new MMO, I tend to immediately cancel my account right at the start so i avoid forgetting about it and incurring charges if i forget about the game, yet still able to play until my next billing cycle. I’ve done that with 15+ MMOs so far with no problems. I did that to FF this morning and my account is now void, no time left, not accessible. Account is really closed.

    6.) There is some good stuff to FF, the graphics are great, but good graphics do not make a good game. It’s all about the gameplay right? With the controls as terrible as they are and the in place restrictions on fun, the game is a chore to “play.” I want to enjoy the game, I really do..the characters and little story I have seen look fun, but that fun is buried under stupid controls and archaic implementation.

    It’s like the devs looked at everything ever other MMO has done right, then turned around and said “Yeah screw all that, lets do the opposite.”

  • I told you not to go and buy it yet. =\

    You pretty much echoed what I have been saying all along too. Don’t impulse buy this game!! Make sure bad controls and an interface aren’t a deal breaker. Make sure you want slower gameplay. Make sure you don’t want something new but instead want a slightly different spin on FFXI. Make sure you’re okay with a game still in development. If those aren’t deal breakers then you might find something you DO like in FFXIV.

  • @ gankatron, i guess it depends on your personal taste, I play MMO’s for the friendships and the community but i also play because of the progression and exploration they offer.

    I understand that MMOs are all about grinding, but when you know youre grinding is when you arent having fun. When the game hides the grinding by moving you foward to new quests and new areas, thats when you forget about the grind.

  • 😀 Yeah I was so surprised by your impressions I must have skipped over the do no buy warning. More than anything I think I am mostly just flabbergasted that MMO devs in today’s age would buck such common staples and MMO common sense.

    I mean before being unable to play any longer I had one crafting session where I had to sit through 17 menu clicks, all the while listening to serene put yourself to sleep music and the grating sound of 30 other people hacking away at the same time.

    Basically in all my years of MMOs, (Back to Ultima Online) I have never before been so put off so quickly by a game in my life.

  • Look, beyond the comments on this site, which are more apologetic than enthusiastic, I’ve seen nothing but ire for this game across the gaming and review community.
    I don’t know why anyone would take 1 review, which itself looks like a second-chance favour to the reviewer’s brother (no offence) and hold it aloft above the abundant evidence that this game is giant, festering, turkey.

    I predict Keen won’t buy it and if he does he will have quit within 1-2 weeks – even if he likes it the empty servers will do the rest as I know a sense of community is important to Keen. If that community only exists to tell you how to play the game (because the Devs sure have not) then it won’t be thriving so much as subsisting.

    I respect the opinions on this site and read all the reviews and I was pleased to see that Keen ultimately said “I currently don’t recommend you rush out and buy this because I am not sure yet” but I hope soon that evolves into a plain “Don’t buy this; it needs another year of development”.

    We all harbour hope for a new, wonderful, old-school MMO to capture our hearts, time and wallets again but FF14 absolutely is not it and there’s no point desperately wishing otherwise.

  • The bottom line is that my reaction to first hour or two of gameplay when I very first tried it in beta was to skip it entirely.

    For those who want a little more than my gut reaction and less of a knee-jerk reaction to the game, that’s what you’re getting by me playing for 30 days with my brother. I played again for a couple of hours with Graev and we had fun, but we had unconventional fun. If you want to know more about that, essentially that’s why I’m writing these entries.

  • Hey I was wonderin what settings you were running on and what the stats were from running on them. I run on mostly high but with stuff checked off and sadly only hit around 30fps. Do you get higher than this or this normal for you as well?

  • Oh, just to point it out.

    I a thoroughly enjoying the game so far. The beginning is extremely rough, but as someone who spent 3 months on Tattooine in SWG without ever knowing more planets exist, I know how to make due. The game is dramatic in the sense that your in a sprawling world and your not super-human. After exploring, I found myself in the midst of creatures that could half-shot me and are as big as a tall building. The feeling was cool watching a couple of higher-level friends tackle a gigantic half turtle-dragon thing.

    Opinions are subjective and I honestly think this game is more for the hardcore MMO’er than it is just for FF fans. You really need to appreciate working towards a goal with no direction to enjoy this game. It just so happens this is my forte’, which will explain the reason behind me enjoying myself. I only play on weekends now due to school, so i do not get much done, but I enjoy my 3-6 hours on sat/sun that I do.

    Just my two sense 🙂 Oh, to let you know, i’ve despised FF games in the past, so please do not pass this off as a fanboy response. I simply just love the genre, and believe that FFXIV delivers that for me.

  • @ Chris…that sounds like what I am looking for. A huge, challenging game where you have to work together to get anywhere, and it still takes a long time to get there. Anything that sounds the opposite of wow is worth giving a shot. 😉

    Think I need to check this one out.

  • I attempted to play the game again by myself (rather than with my 2 other usuals) and I’ve gotta say that the game is completely boring when playd alone. The Levequest limit feels that much more burdening and in the end my RCE instincts took over.

    On that side of things, the game memory and function structure layouts are the most anti-hackerish of any MMO I’ve seen to date. This may have been on purpose or it may have been through lazy and inefficient coding, but it’s been more of a challenge none the less. This coding style is probably why the game runs so sluggish w/high requirements.

    So, worth hacking, but not playing.


  • the game is so going to fail. its not just another wow copy. no quests leading me from a to b. i have to go out in the world and find things to do ? wth this is 2010. i wanted another game like wow.

  • The problem with today’s market is players have been spoiled by all the spoon feeding and hand holding massively abundant in WoW. People seem to be dismissing FFXIV out-of-hand because they might have to think for themselves, and maybe do a little exploration and research. Just because you don’t just get gobs and gobs of free loot and gold shoved down your throat doesn’t mean the game itself isn’t great.

    And on the levetimers: 8 leves, if you choose challenging ones, could potentially take you up to 4 hours. This is a considerable chunk of time every 36 hours, when a large portion of the fanbase (who grew up with the early FFs, and who played FFXI) now have adult responsibilities and commitments. Stop crying about quest limiting and go get a job.