Final Fantasy XIV:ARR
Category: 3D MMORPG
PvP Support: Yes
Pros: +Multiple classes on one character +Varied dungeons and raids +Unique crafting +Cross platform support
Cons: -Pay to play -Typical combat/questing
Final Fantasy XIV:ARR is the completely revamped version of the original Final Fantasy XIV that was seen as one of the biggest disappointments of all time for Square Enix (SE). The entire system was overhauled with an emphasis on ensuring that the game was accessible to as many people as possible and what has resulted is a stylish MMORPG with many familiar elements to veteran gamers and easy to understand mechanics for newer players while still bringing unique elements to the table.
Multiple Classes/Jobs - One of the biggest factors that separates FFXIV:ARR from other MMORPGs is that one character has the option to level every battle, crafting, and gathering class. There is no need to create alternate characters; you can be a tanking Warrior, healing White Mage, or damage dealing Dragoon. Reaching level 30 in a particular class opens up the job advancement system, where new quests become available along with new abilities that will strengthen your character. Job advancement requires one class at level 30 and another class at level 15, such as the Warrior job requiring Marauder at 30 and Gladiator at 15.
Unique Crafting - Crafting in FFXIV:ARR is unique because you cannot simply click one button and wait for the progress bar to automatically finish. Every item has its own completion and high quality values and the player will have to use their skills to ensure a high quality craft is successful. Similar to the battle system, certain abilities must be used at the right time, making crafting a distinct challenge.
Immersive Story - The main storyline in FFXIV:ARR is all-encompassing. Every instance brings with it detailed care. Many scenes have full voice acting and there's a reason for every action your character takes, although sometimes those reasons are rather odd. Reaching level 50 will also open up the Hildibrand story which is worth every minute of your time.
Operating System: Windows® Vista 32/64bit, Windows® 7 32/64 bit
Processor: Intel® Core™2 Duo
Graphics: NVIDIA® Geforce® 8800 Series, ATI Radeon™ HD 4770
Memory: 2GB (4GB recommended for 64bit OS)
Disk Space: 20GB
Square Enix is known for stylish characters and animations, grandiose music scores, and immersive environments and FFXIV:ARR does not disappoint in these areas. I started in the harbor city of Limsa Lominsa, with striking white stone buildings and bright sea. Eventually I found myself surrounded by the grand forest of Gridania and vast desert of Thanalan. Each zone is completely different yet equally impressive in scale. FFXIV:ARR can be a very pretty game, even on a system that is not top of the line.
As stated previously, one character can level every class and job in the game. You have to choose one class to begin with and at level 30, every class has a job advancement that adds unique abilities that build off the original class such as the Warrior building off the Marauder class. At 30, class quests stop. New abilities that are tied to the class can continue to be gained, but job advancement is a necessity for content past level 50. Simply visiting the guild for the class you want will allow you to start leveling. Classes are tied to the main hand equipment you have and switching is as simple as selecting new equipment or saving each set of gear. The same idea applies to crafters and gatherers as well, although there are no job advancements for these classes.
Crafting in FFXIV is quite different. Instead of having a one-button system, crafters have abilities that progress a craft, increasing the progress bar certain amounts and each item has a certain amount of steps it must be completed in. Depending on how difficult the synthesis is, crafters must strategize how to best use their skills if they want to make a high quality item with better stats or XP rewards or even complete the craft at all. If you sit long enough in any city or housing district, you'll see the animation of people failing a synth with an appropriate emote to go along with the destruction of that craft.
Now This Seems Familiar
While the classes/jobs and crafting are pretty unique, much of the rest of the game is very familiar to those who have played other MMORPGs. Combat, while supplemented by very nice animations, is still tab-targeted. Click a target, hit your abilities, wait for them to come off cooldown, and repeat. Quests mainly involve killing X number of enemies or collect X amount of things. Dungeons, which are 4-person content, open up at level 16 and are the best place to gain gear and experience. The trinity of tank, healer, and DPS (damage dealers) is present here and each class/job fall under these categories. FATEs are real-time events that spawn in each zone, usually involving killing waves of enemies or a single boss and give a decent amount of experience for those leveling. If your level is too high, there is an option to sync down to the correct level in order to help a friend or complete the FATE for certain end-game quests. Eventually, raids and trials will become available which are 8-person content. The first 8-person guildhest (single battle instance) is available at level 35 with 8-person raids and trials opening up after level 50. Trials usually involve battling primals, so if you are familiar with previous Final Fantasy games, you will certainly enjoy seeing Ifrit, Garuda, Ramuh, and others with each instance having its own set of unique mechanics to deal with.
There are many recognizable elements to FFXIV:ARR. Tab-targeting can be boring, even with flashy animations. Questing isn't overly unique and while it is very nice to be any and all classes, each class/job is still relegated to a certain role in the MMO trinity. But the developers have taken great care to respect past Final Fantasy games. There is mostly fantastic music, past characters make cameo appearances, and there is reason given for every action your character makes. The story is detailed and the instanced battles all bring mechanics that are fun and interesting. And there is plenty of content for everybody, from end-game raiders to casual weekend players, or those who just enjoy the MMO grind. However, while developers keep pushing free-to-play games into the market, FFXIV:ARR is still a buy plus subscribe game, so if you can't afford the game, you can't play. FFXIV:ARR isn't perfect, but the constant updates and visible care the developers give to the game make it quite fun.
Resources & Videos
Resources & Videos
Official Website - Final Fantasy XIV:ARR Homepage
Official Forums: Final Fantasy XIV:ARR Forum
Final Fantasy Play Guides - Final Fantasy XIV:ARR Play Guide
Wikipedia Information for Final Fantasy XIV: Final Fantasy XIV:ARR Wiki
Final Fantasy XIV:ARR Official Youtube Channel - Final Fantasy XIV:ARR Youtube Channel
Our Official Review - Final Fantasy XIV:ARR Review
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