MMORPGs have gained popularity as both a game and a social hub, allowing players from all over the world to meet, engage in activities, and chat. While some aspects of these games can be enjoyed alone, they also offer features that promote cooperation and competition among players. In the Japanese gaming industry, only a few MMOs have managed to rise to the top, and one of those is the highly acclaimed Final Fantasy XIV.
Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) is the fourteenth installment in the Final Fantasy game franchise and the second MMO released in the series. While some may be unaware that Final Fantasy XI is also an MMO, it is Final Fantasy XIV that has garnered a larger fanbase and greater exposure. The game’s popularity is evident from the numerous memes circulating on the internet.
A Journey of Redemption
The initial release of FFXIV was met with harsh criticism and negative reviews. The graphics and sound were impressive, but the user interface and overall gameplay experience fell short. The player limitations and deficiencies in design were also significant issues. As a result, the game was considered a failure, and Square Enix made the decision to pull the plug.
However, Square Enix did not give up on the game. They restructured the development team and the design process, with Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida taking on the role of director. Under his guidance, improvements were made, and the game was rebranded as FFXIV: A Realm Reborn. Yoshida drew inspiration from successful MMO, World of Warcraft, to create a more engaging and enjoyable gaming experience.
Upon its re-release in 2013, FFXIV: A Realm Reborn received overwhelmingly positive reviews. The launch on the PlayStation 4 even caused server overload due to the high demand. The game had successfully redeemed itself and attracted a large player base.
FFXIV allows players to immerse themselves in a persistent open world as they create and customize their avatars. Initially, players can choose to be a Disciple of Magic or a Disciple of War, but they can unlock additional classes as they progress. The game offers a range of activities, including story-based quests, raids, exploration, dungeons, and the Golden Saucer. The FATE system also provides opportunities for players to engage with others and earn rewards.
In addition to adventuring, players can also pursue professions and life skills, allowing them to craft items and materials. PvP is available as an optional activity in specific areas. Other player interactions include parties, free companies, and forming friendships within the game.
When it comes to subscriptions, FFXIV offers different options. Players must purchase the base game ($19.99) and the Endwalker expansion, which includes all previous expansions ($39.99). Subscriptions come in two tiers: Entry and Standard. The Entry subscription costs $12.99 per month and allows for one character per world (up to 8 characters). The Standard subscription, priced at $14.99 per month, offers up to 40 slots for characters, but the maximum allowed per world remains at 8. The Standard Tier can also be purchased in bundles of 90 days ($41.97 total) and 180 days ($77.94 total), providing potential savings for long-term players.
FFXIV also offers game time cards as an alternative, providing 60 days of the Standard Tier subscription for $29.99. It is essential to note that buying the game from retailers or stores other than the official online site may provide additional subscription benefits, but caution should be exercised when purchasing the Steam version, as it has encountered issues for some players.
Expansions and Storyline
Currently, there are four expansions for FFXIV: Heavensward, Stormblood, Shadowbringers, and Endwalker. While Endwalker concludes the main storyline, there are still unresolved plotlines and mysteries that await players. The game is set in the diverse land of Eorzea, where players can choose their adventure as they aid others or pursue their personal goals. The main storyline can guide the player, but ultimately, they have the freedom to pursue various activities and engage with the game’s social aspects.
Award-Winning and Community-Oriented
FFXIV has won numerous awards for its immersive gameplay and has a dedicated and passionate player base consisting of millions of players. The game has been refined and improved over the years based on player feedback, ensuring that it provides a complete and enjoyable experience. While there may always be a few negative experiences among players, the community as a whole tends to be supportive, helpful, and filled with kindness. Whether players are seeking lore, raiding dungeons, crafting, decorating homes, or socializing, FFXIV offers something for everyone.
In conclusion, Final Fantasy XIV stands as the premier Japanese MMO, offering a vast and engaging world for players to explore. Its success can be attributed to its redemption from past failures, interactive gameplay, subscription options, and dedication to continuous improvement, making it a must-play for MMO enthusiasts.