Refreshing and engrossing, with the element of fun beckoning you into its world filled with creativity and wonder, FFXIV feels like a whole different game this time around. I made a post about the problems with version 1.0 of FFXIV back in 2011 – The Journey Into Eorzea, this post will talk about some of those problems (quoting them from my post) and how the changes in A Realm Reborn have changed those issues for the better.
A Realm Reborn delivers and presents itself in a significantly different manner (to me at least) then the first installment – rather then a game which goes out of its way to make things increasingly complex, the game is now…genuinely fun – and because of that it feels (forgive my exaggeration) a hundred times more enjoyable.
The character creation process is quite extensive, but when choosing your class you are to an extent overwhelmed, well I was because I no idea how the classes weighed up against each other as I didn’t know what exactly each class does, even after I read the summaries given. I chose Alchemist, expecting something like from Fullmetal Alchemist, well not really, I was hoping though it would be similar =P. But the FFXIV Alchemist isn’t a combat class role =(. It was probably a wrong move by myself to choose a profession-type class as my starting character class. As it is explained early on, you can change classes based on the weapon you wield. But me, being quite slow didn’t realise that the Alchemist was a profession class and couldn’t (and actually wasn’t meant to) fight. Expecting abilities to help my character fend for themselves against level one monsters, I was shocked to find out that all I had available was this “Stone Throw” ability that did 1 damage a throw and no auto-attack…..
…only hours later did I realise just how Final Fantasy XIV functions…after finding a store to buy a weapon and earning some Gil from quests I bought a melee weapon which when equipped changed my class to Pugilist. And how sweet it was to mow down level one monsters, which I found shockingly hard before when I was an Alchemist. It seems so obvious now, but when you are ignorant of how a system works, you are ignorant…
This is where the changes in A Realm Reborn start to become noticeable, Square Enix has gotten away with their overwhelming extensive character creation and went with something more mainstream while still keeping that Final Fantasy style and flare. When choosing your class you are now limited to choosing classes within the Disciple of War and Magic, the classes which can actually battle (this should prevent players from going down the road I took before).
It teaches you some basics, for the most part, it just leaves you to figure out what to do.
This time, along with easing down on the complexity of the game and its functions, it offers more guidance to players, especially newer players, with its help boxes and new integrated features to the certain functions (for example the maps).
I find it annoying having to access the journal to get the location of quest targets or givers…it really should have been integrated in the normal map which is tons of times easier to access. A lot of times you will find yourself having to access menu’s and sub-menu’s and sub-sub-menu’s and so on and so on to get to the menu you need and when you want to get back to the game, you have to close each individual window – they really should make all the menu-windows disappear when you click on the background game screen when you want to get back into the game.
Square Enix realised the advantages in maps having integrated features, namely quest objectives, this makes questing much MUCH easier, unbelievably so much easier then before.
Combat is pretty fun, but I wish there was more quest to make leveling and fighting that much more fun. There are levequest (you get levepoints every few hours which accumulates over time – you need those points to take on levequests), but those quest just repeat themselves. FFXIV needs some more sub-plot quest, a lot more. I want to spent my time leveling through questing and follow quest-chains, rather than spending it grinding so I can reach the required level to do the next quest in the storyline or for the small amount of general quest available.
One of the big changes in FFXIV is that this time there are quest! It’s amazing how something so simple can add so much to the game. In version 1.0 leveling up was a pain and rapidly sapped any fun and enthusiasm you had for leveling right out of the game, especially when the combat system in FFXIV isn’t all that dynamic when to compared to combat systems in games like say TERA.
I had some issues with how the gathering and crafting system worked in the first installment of FFXIV, but since I haven’t tried those systems out in A Realm Reborn, I’ll hold on for talking about this until later.
The music in FFXIV: A Realm Reborn is still epic, just like any Final Fantasy game. Having a great soundtrack to compliment a game really does make one immersing themselves in the world before them that much easier.
There still two issues which I have about A Realm Reborn, but I suppose they are mainly subjective; there is no dodge roll/evade skill, which is a shame as the addition of a dodge roll function in an MMORPG makes combat so much more dynamic and exhilarating (GW2 sure has spoiled me). The second problem I have is that you start up in a main city which equates to pretty much chucking new players in the deep end plus with no combat, it makes for a boring start. I find it would be better to ease the player into the game and its functions by having them start up at a small camp or town and then move to a big city.
FFXIV wasn’t a game which was user-friendly before, A Realm Reborn twist that around completely and has changed into a game that is very user-friendly. In my post in 2011 I said FFXIV was rigid and needed to be made easier and more flexible, Square Enix did that and now instead of feeling like a chore to play, FFXIV: A Realm Reborn is fun to play. Thank goodness, a game with so much potential is finally utilising it and no more are you required to have a herculean amount of patience.