But wait, this isn’t a new game. Oh wait you must be doing this post because you are trying the game out for the first time! Oh, you left the game for a long while and you are going back to it! WHAT THE HELL! Why are you doing this post?
There are many reasons to do a post. I have been playing XIV for such a long time now. I want to write this as an explanation of why I am so attached to the game. Forgive me if there is some rose tinted glasses with this writing, but it is going to happen! For this we are going to have to go back a few years!
The year is 2010, yep that far back! I had tried two MMORPG’s at that stage, Final Fantasy XI and World of Warcraft, but I couldn’t get into either of them. Whatever it was about them, I just couldn’t stick with them. Then in August of 2010 I tried out this open beta for Final Fantasy XIV. I didn’t know much about the game. I had seen the announcement trailer for it at E3, but didn’t really know a lot more than that. And so I went into the game. The first thing I felt was immense vastness. Running through Gridania was wonderful. What a beautiful game.
I remember, very clearly for some reason, running through the forest and being excited. I remember running down to one Bentbranch Camp and loving the feeling of exploring. The feeling of danger when I was running, the feeling of wonder when I saw another player. And then it happened. Fighting until my dying breath, but my breath did escape me. The dastardly beast below took my life. That wasn’t the issue, the issue was that I missed the message of how to revive. I did not see that I had to open up the laggy menu and click on the return button. And so I waited, until someone was running by! And lo and behold, another player! I said in chat that I need a raise, and I waited. And waited. And nothing. How rude! Someone would ignore someone, but why! I waited for someone else. And they didn’t do anything either. So I logged out! Later on, I would find out that when you say something in general chat and you are KO’d it doesn’t actually send.
At this time, in my life, I was living at home at the age of 24 and working in a shop in my local town. All of my friends were living about 40 minutes away so it wasn’t feasible to go visit them on a regular basis. What I found with this game was, that it gave me a goal on the days I would play it. I’m not saying that is the healthiest of options,mentally, but it definitely gave me something I was missing at the time. Anyway, back to the story, I was unfortunate enough to have some computer problems for the next few months. Mainly, I bought an Acer computer that broke and was repaired 3 times before I got a refund. It wasn’t until the following March/April that I rejoined the game. The only reason I did was that I heard there was a lot of issues with the game. For this reason they were not going to charge for the game until it was worthy of it. I rejoined, the game was running better than before and I loved it. It still had the feeling of grandeur, a feeling like you were taking a step into this new world. A world with so many possibilities. And so I began my real journey. It wasn’t until the following week or so that I joined this group. Seraphim Linkshell (guild), a group of people that seemed to enjoy playing with each other and helping each other out. This was where I also met Mike and Evans, so by far, best group I have ever joined online!
And so it was that I came to play with friends, or at the very least playing with new friends. It was a wonderful feeling, playing with a group of people and helping them with content. And also joining a wider community, I made my forum name and started posting. It was a feeling of being a part of the world.
I continued to play and even hit physical level 50 right before they removed physical level. I continued to play even through the fatigue system which was a strange solution to the ever struggling problem of social players and hardcore players. One of my biggest highlights of 1.x was running around a few dangerous zones of Coerthas and Mor Dhona with a character Captain Grimlock. The danger was that if one mob saw you, you died. They were level 90 or so and would one shot you. Some detected movement through visuals, others by sound.
When I started playing there were a lot of issues with the game. One of them being that the only thing to do at end game was 5 different HNMs. In the time after, they added a lot of really good content such as, but not limited to: Ifrit; Garuda; Job Quests; Dzemael Darkhold; Aurum Vale; and Cutters Cry. They changed the way we played the game with skill combo’s. Yes the game was a lot different and the battle system a lot slower. But it had its merits as well.
And so came the end of 1.0. We stood around waiting for Dalamud to hit Eorzea after all of our efforts to stop it. And then it happened. The servers black out. And a small little video hit youtube.
The excitement was incredible. We watched our world burn and we were then asked to wait. That was difficult. The break was good though. It gave us all a time to play other games. We started back into 2.0 and loved playing the game again. But lots had changed. First and foremost, the world had changed. A lot for the better, each area was individual while retaining a semblance of the general area, but one big big issue. The world was now one big lobby. I enjoyed the story and the dungeons but the game had lost a big part of what the game was. Instead of feeling like you were making an impact on the world, it felt like everyone was just waiting in a queue for a dungeon. After about patch 2.3 I needed to take a break. It only lasted a few months but I needed it. I came back to the game and just played it essentially solo and sparingly. I didn’t have that draw to log in, I didn’t have a group of people around me that I called friends.
Taking it from this all the way into 3.0, it has never really gripped me, and although the story was incredible, it was never the game from 1.0 that I fell in love with. In recent months I have enjoyed getting back into the game a little more and found a good group to play with. In the coming months both Mike and myself are planning a let’s play of Final Fantasy XIV. Coming into Stormblood, the next expansion, it will be interesting to see how the game changes again. They have already announced that there will be a battle system overhaul. Of course there will be new jobs, rumors of only two from a deleted tweet from the NA Square team. One job announced is Red Mage, which is exciting for many! The other job is yet to be announced and I’m not one for speculation. I hope both of these jobs are exciting and fun to play.
There is a lot of hope for the future in Eorzea, and I know a lot of people already love the game in its current form. I hope everyone continues to enjoy the game in whatever capacity they play. There is something for everyone in it, you just have to find it.