I’m finally getting around to trying this game and I waited too long.
FFXIV was released in 2013, so it came along after the other titles, which means it can be better looking and doesn’t have a low rez legacy. Wow was released in 2004, but got new models for characters with Pandaria in 2012. Tera was released in 2011. As you can see from those character creation screens, the models are beautiful and varied.
After the nonsense with Level Scaling showed up in Wow PTR, I looked around for something else to play and FFXIV has a free trial. The trial is limited in the standard ways: no cash shop – not clear why Trial’s shouldn’t spend money on the game -, no mail, no making parties, no private chat unless they chat you first, no friending unless they friend you first, and so forth. But you can play as long as you like with up to eight characters up to level 35. So here I am.
I don’t need to do a full-on review. There is plenty of youtube footage out there and plenty of detailed reviews. But here are my general impressions.
FFXIV is a kinder, gentler place. PVP is here, but it’s not that evident. And there are no factions. Everybody is working together against the bad guys. I’m only up to about level 16 to 25 with my toons so far, so the bad guys are local pirates and outside of the Dark Mage that keeps showing up, I haven’t really seen the real world wide threat yet.
Just some general comments:
- No classes are gender locked as far as I can tell.
- Models are attractive, but not downright slutty. I’m talking to you, TERA.
- You start out with a class, but I think you can then train in as many other classes as you like after a certain level. So Alts may be less of a thing. You apparently swap weapons to swap classes, and of course you may want to swap armor too. Armor is simpler than other games and there is a special bag for it and a button to upgrade easily to the best you have collected. I found a complete class description here.
- There are no skill trainers or other nonsense as you level up. Your skills automatically appear. You may want to visit your actions and traits panel, at any time any place, occasionally to pick up any traits – aka “Talents” – since those don’t automatically appear in your hot bar. Everything is free. No gil sinks here. There is no complicated “Talent” tree or choices. You get what you get and you move on to play the game. Nice. No Pesky glyphs either like Tera where you never know what to choose so they put a button on the panel to fix it for you. Nothing like that in FFXIV as far as I can see.
- There is a transmog – armor reshaping- and dye system that work differently. I’ve gained the abilities with a couple of quests, but haven’t used them yet. Buy an Orange Juice before you set out. You’ll see.
- Your starting armor looks pretty nice. But then you are going to look like crap between levels 10 and 20. I guess that’s intentional. But after that, things look decent again. And high level armor looks really sweet. How’s this for sweet?
- The game is designed so that you see lots of high level players in low level zones. At least I see 50’s and 60’s running around all the time with their sweet looking armor and weapons.
- The gear is not handed to you with drops. And you don’t need new gear very often given the very shallow leveling curve of the game. I have learned to be more patient. You can buy stuff at merchants, but I find that often they did not have gear that was any win over what I was wearing, and when I did buy gear, I had the choice after a quest or two to get nice gear too. The good news is that each quest that gives gear, also gives you an option to get GIL – currency – instead. So my suggestion is follow your story quests and wait until you get gear from those or from the dungeon runs you’ll need to do as part of the story.
- There is a Novice Party feature in the game. A fellow with a spout on his head near the dungeon entrance offers to teach you to play your class. I’ve not done it yet, but it sounds like a great feature. I’m going to try it for my healers before I do the dungeons and see how it works.
- Costumes are a thing of course.
- Bag space is not a problem. You get a ton of space out of the box. I don’t even see a way to expand it. Up to level 25+ I’ve never used more than 1 tab and a few slots out a second tab of the 6 tabs you get. I don’t see a bank. Maybe I missed it. But I have not felt the need for it either. There are mail boxes everywhere. There is a “Market” – read Auction House. I’m not sure if players can trade. Of course all these are denied to “Trial” players.
- The Sprout by your name indicates you are a “New Adventurer”. It disappears after 168 hours of game play. Seriously. But you can remove it with chat /nas at any time. You’ll feel less like a noob. Here are the patch notes with that detail.
- Magic cast times are long and even melee cast times and cool downs are long comparatively. But the Archer can run and shoot, so you might like to try that class.
- The Arcanist comes with a pet, that tanks after a few levels.
- The Arcanist and Conjurer are the healing classes, when the Conjurer is not throwing stones. Every class that I’ve tried does fine for solo play. Mana exhaustion was only a problem until I learned the strange mechanic with the Thaulmaturge class skills. Turns out that doing frost skills, which are cheap for mana, reduces the cost of fire skills to almost nothing. Then do a few fire skills and they become more expensive, so back to frost and repeat. Once I learned that, no mana exhaustion.
- Apparently there is a way that you can dismount and your mount will fight for you. You get the first mount at about level 25 or so. I know it says 2000 seals are needed, but it’s really only 200, and you get seals from doing “Fates” – World Events, so two or three fates and you are good to mount up.
- You’ll see Fates. they are the blue areas with pink marks in them all over the map. The map features in this game lead you around very easily. And you’ll see Level Syncing too. Which is optional for Fates – Sync and do the Fate, or skip it. Level Syncing is automatic for Dungeons and Story quests.
- Professions, or jobs, are managed by equipping a tool apparently. I’ve not tried jobs yet, but I get the idea that there are no fixed limits about how many you can learn.
- There is a lot of quest “dialoging” and “cut scenes”. At first it seems tedious, and you may not want to read all the text. But, if you don’t want to watch the cut scenes the second time through, or you don’ t want to watch yourself ride the “ferry” or ship or airship the umteenth time, just hit ESC and skip the scene. Travel across the continent on an airship is near instant if you skip the scene.
- Once you Attune to crystals everywhere, you can teleport back there for a small fee. 450 gil for transport across the world may seem like a lot at first, but at about level 20 you have over 10K gil in your wallet, so it seems like a lot less for getting back to work on the next quest.
- There is an annoying set of quests that have you running back and forth with no TP crystal near the lady in the basement that you keep having to visit.
- But you can take a ferry from Limsa Lominsa to her town without the long walk. Just TP to Limsa Lominsa, then use the crystal to the Arcanist Guild and the ferry is a short walk.
- You’ll want to hot key Sprint – I used the middle mouse button – so you can run before you get your mount. Later, you may want to put your mount on the middle button and use another mouse button for Sprint for inside towns.
- Did I mention that the day is only an hour and ten minutes on Eorzea? That means that way too often when you want to take a selfie or other picture, it’s too dark. You may want to turn up the brightness so you can see at night to find your way. Print-screen of course for screenshots. Scroll-lock hides the interface and Home goes to 1st person camera.
- By the way that’s “Ay-ore-zay-a”. Turn up your sound and watch some of the cut scenes the first time through. There is a fair amount of voice acting so you can hear how to pronounce places and other names.
- Rather than one complete place for all things about the game, which for Wow is Wowhead, there are lots of less well organized places with FFXIV information. But Google can find them all. And since trials can’t use the Forums, you can use the FFXIV SubReddit. I got answers that I didn’t know how to ask on Google in a few minutes from very nice folks. And of course folks are happy to help in the game too, but trials can’t initiate private chat.
- Oh. Did I mention Player Housing? There are apparently three areas to choose from – one for each Capital City. And three sizes of house. There is a quest to visit the player housing, which you can do as a trial. So you can see what housing has to offer. But of course you can’t buy a house in the trial. If player housing is your thing, then I think you’ll love it. Seems like something that is a more permanent part of the game than Garrisons are. Who goes back to your Garrison once you’ve moved on to Legion? and who will go back to your class hall once you’ve dumped your Artifact Weapon in the next expansion. I guess I can’t help complaining about something when I see it done better.
That’s enough for now. I want to get back to playing. So this intro and the long download of the trial will get you started. If you are a serial MMOer like me, you’ll want to try this game. That is unless you are a bleeding fingers, Trollling, PVP, Raider that loves what they have done to Wow and is really looking forward to the lousy models and primitive game play of Vanilla. In that case, FFXIV is not for you.