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.

Likes

  • 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.

Dislikes

  • Early on the questing is dull
  • Lots, and lots of text
  • Abilities at lower levels for some classes all look the same
  • Sounds effects are blah.
  • Invisible walls

I was immediately bored by all of the early-game questing.  Run here, talk to him, run back, talk to her, grab this, talk to him, kill that, talk to him.  It seemed to go on for hours and hours.  I’m told that this type of questing is limited to the earlier levels, and that later on the game becomes more about dungeons, story, and simply killing mobs.  If I have to do kill quests I’ll get bored really fast.

The amount of text without voice-overs bothers me a great deal.  I think there will be voices at launch, but the amount of text makes me antsy and wanting to just skip it all.  The story was getting interesting, but that wasn’t until after level 10 — at which point I had already read a novel.

The sounds and ability graphics haven’t been anything amazing.  Then again, they are traditional Final Fantasy.  The ‘shwing’ and ‘hyah!’ and crystal breaking sounds are aplenty.  Graev commented on multiple occasions that he felt his archer abilities all looked the same.  One ability graphic I did find really nice though was the protect shield group buff that showed this crystal-hex graphic when players get hit.

Lastly, the invisible walls drive me nuts. There was a really cool river and waterfall just begging me to jump, but I was stopped by an invisible wall which spanned the entire length of a river of water.  I could walk on both sides of the water, but I wasn’t allowed into it.  These walls are plentiful in the starting areas, and I hope they open up later on and let me explore and do more.  I tend to feel locked into a path when I don’t have control over where I can and can not adventure.

Overall

I have had a lot of fun.  My mind is already made up to pick up the game and play for however long it takes me to get bored.  I’m hoping there are many months of adventure to the max level, and plenty of content to keep the adventures going after that.

  • This game felt like the same; kill 10 rats, collect 5 stones.
    got bored fast. though having that in the final fantasy skin would
    attract fans for sure.

  • Just posted my own thoughts on this. Agree with pretty much everything you say except for one major difference of opinion: I LOVE all the text. It’s by some margin the best-written MMO I’ve come across since The Secret World and one of the very few that can begin to approach that game for nuance and and irony. Of course, if I had to rank things I like doing, reading would come above gaming every time so it’s no hardship for me to read a lot of text in a game – it’s a positive bonus so long as it’s as well-written as this.

    The invisible walls drive me nuts too. I suppose we have to be thankful for small mercies; at least we can jump now. Last time it was a five-hundred yard detour every time you wanted to step over a six-inch kerb. The sounds are a bit meh it’s true, although I’ve heard plenty worse. The animations are fabulous, though.

    I played an archer in beta 2, about which nothing must be said, ever. Suffice it to say I plan to make that my first class when we get to permanent character time. I’m enjoying the Thaumaturge a lot though, especially now I have the 30 second mez.

  • @Bhagpuss: The animations are indeed very nice. I love my Conjuror’s motions when he casts, and I think the emotes and character expressions are phenomenal.

  • I think I bought this game years ago when it first released. If they still let me play I’ll probably try it out. If not, meh. If I remember correctly, it was a console port or console hybrid. And I’ve never really been a fan of MMOs that try to grab up console customers.

    We shall see!

  • @Rawblin: You should be getting the game for free if you bought it back when it originally released. The game is very, very different now — for the better.

  • Voice acting is supposed to be in at launch, and I assume Phase 4. I’m really enjoying it a lot, and really looking forward to actually trying some dungeons and group content. Been too busy to test it out these past few weekends. The FATEs are nice, but they can be really crowded and kind of annoying. Still looking forward to playing FF14, at least until WildStar.

  • I think we’ll have a ton of fun playing for however long it lasts. We can form a guild with a handful of us, recruit some more people, and do dungeons and see the content.

  • I’m glad to hear reports of improvement from the MMO bloggers of late.

    I had a roommate who pre-ordered for the first launch, and the gameplay and progression I observed was agonizingly painful. It takes a tremendous improvement to lure back players that were burned the first time around, but it sounds like they might have done it.

    Hope that it does well and redeems the name of FF.

  • I recently started playing the ARR beta after dropping FFXIV shortly after launch. I wasn’t even considering playing it until one of our Game Geex wrote a post about the end of the 6th era video that players saw when they brought the servers down. I admit I was sorry I hadn’t been playing the game so I could be part of such an epic sunsetting of a game version.

    Then I got the chance to try out raid combat at E3, and I was again shocked — this time because I was actually able to pick up a class I’d never played (the Marauder) and successfully tank a boss battle against Ifrit. Just starting the beta, I’m shocked again, that even though the world was destroyed, the same exact cutscenes start off two out of the three starting areas. I guess rebuilding the world after a moon crashed into it doesn’t mean you aren’t still ambushed by the same bandits on the way to Uldah.

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