With Valentine's Day right around the corner, Daniel Cunningham wrote up five reasons to fall in love with Final Fantasy XIV. Even if you're not a typical fan of MMOs, he's got plenty of reasons why this game is worth your time (and affection)!
I’m not typically a big MMO guy. I’ve dabbled in World of Warcraft a bit in the past, but it was never really to my liking. I am, however, a pretty big Final Fantasy fan. I’ve been familiar with XIV ever since the release of A Realm Reborn back in 2013, but for years I just assumed it was another MMO that I probably wouldn’t enjoy. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to give the game a shot. At the behest of my friend, who promised me it was “way different” than its contemporaries and that I would love it, I purchased the game. And after a lengthy install, I finally began my journey into the world of Eorzea.
I’ve been an avid Final Fantasy XIV player for well over a year now. So, what's the reason I hold this game in such high regards? Here's five reasons why I love Final Fantasy XIV, and you should too.
#1 The World
The first thing that immediately stood out to me was the setting. Eorzea felt like a place I wanted to inhabit. Everything from the atmosphere, the diversity of cultures and people, and even the slightly elevated style of speech made me fall in love with the world instantly. It felt remarkably lived-in, as though it were a place that could have very well existed at some point in the distant past. My friend and I soon met up in New Gridania, and he began guiding me through the Black Shroud and showing me some of the ins and outs of the game. As we wandered around completing FATEs and filling out my hunting log, I couldn’t help but marvel at the visuals. While textures can get a bit muddy up close, the lighting effects and overall art design are nothing to scoff at. Final Fantasy XIV is a beautiful game.
But what's an interesting and beautiful world without a compelling narrative? As it turns out, Final Fantasy XIV also has a very rich storyline. As a sucker for a good story, I was very quickly wrapped up in the tale of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn and their struggle against the Garlean Empire. After about fifteen hours of playtime and a few dungeons and trials under my belt, I knew I was in it for the long-haul.
#2 The Combat
My first impression of Final Fantasy XIV‘s combat was that it was just standard, tab-target MMO fare. Upon playing further, though, I found that it was a bit more nuanced than that. It can feel a bit basic at first, but the intricacies slowly unravel the further you progress. By level 50, you’re managing a complex array of offensive skills, buffs, debuffs, and combos. It actually reminded me heavily of Xenoblade Chronicles, which is one of my all time favorite games. There are a number of different jobs to play as well, and each one feels very distinct–which brings me to my next point.
#3 The Job System
Final Fantasy XIV and its expansions offer over a dozen different jobs–with more being added quite often. One thing I appreciate about the job system is that you can level each job on a single character. There's no need for alts in this game (unless you’re just into that). I spent a good portion of the game playing the Dragoon job, but decided to play through Shadowbringers as a Gunbreaker. It’s very convenient (and fun) to be able to swap among jobs as you please.
#4 The Music
In true Final Fantasy fashion, the game also has an amazing score composed by Masayoshi Soken. You’ll find just about everything in this soundtrack: calm atmospheric tunes, delightfully catchy melodies, bombastic battle themes, and even some heavy metal. There are also several remixes of classic songs from past Final Fantasy games, which is a welcome addition.
I still remember reaching the first battle against Titan and being completely surprised by the direction they took the music for that fight. The soundtrack is simply incredible, and it only gets better as the game progresses. I feel that Soken really came into his own with the Heavensward expansion and onward. It’s also worth mentioning that the game even contains some tracks by Nobuo Uematsu, who was the composer for many of the earlier Final Fantasy games. They’re all great, of course!
#5 The Accessibility
It’s no secret that MMO’s are a daunting genre of games. They are often grindy and demand a lot of time and dedication from their players. The beauty of Final Fantasy XIV, though, is that you can invest as much or as little time into it as you’d like. Free time is something of a hot commodity for me. I’m usually able to invest anywhere from 5-10 hours a week into the game, but I’m often surprised by the amount of progress I’m able to make.
Besides being respectful of your time, the game also incorporates features to help new players get a feel for things. The Novice Network, which is an in-game chat designed to offer newcomers a place to ask for helpful tips and advice, really helped me when I was still new to the game. There are also “Mentors”, who are experienced players given the opportunity to impart their knowledge upon newcomers. I really appreciate the measures the developers took to help make the game more approachable, and I feel that the game has a great community as a result.
Love Made to Last
As you can probably tell by now, Final Fantasy XIV is a game I love, and I have no plans of stopping anytime soon. I recently completed the main story for the Shadowbringers expansion, and I’ve begun dipping my toes into the Extreme Trials and the latest raids. If you happen to be reading this and haven’t played the game yourself, I encourage you to give it a shot!