To some, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn‘s beta phase 4 has been a disaster. Errors everywhere, people getting locked out of their characters, server overloads — it’s been a toughie!
I was one of the lucky few not to see a single error message during my time of play, but even if I had I would still buy and subscribe to this game. I wouldn’t trust Square Enix as far as I could throw them, but hot damn did they make a good MMORPG.
Let’s back up a moment so I can explain
The biggest complaints from people when it comes to MMOs are the following:
- Level grinding is boring.
- There’s nothing to do but rush to endgame, and then go through the gear progression rounds.
- Pay to win cash shop garbage.
Now, here’s the thing: Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t even have these issues. See below.
- Level grinding is masked by the game constantly giving you new things to do. Even if you are just set on leveling, quests are quick and fun. You are always going somewhere new and being distracted from your experience bar.
- Thanks to the multi-class job system and the whole slew of side content to tinker with, rushing to endgame is not the only thing to do in FFXIV. The game wants you to do something other than grind a combat class, and you should be totally okay with that.
- It’s subscription-based and will not have a cash shop. The pay to win complaint doesn’t even apply here.
To play an MMORPG that gets me engrossed in the world I’m exploring and my character’s personal abilities/story just blows my mind in today’s market.
I have been around the free to play block more than a few times, and none but Aion got as under my skin as Final Fantasy XIV has gotten. It’s not the fact that FFXIV is pay to play, it’s that it is just so simple-yet-complicated and relaxing.
Relaxing? What kinda junk you tryin’ to sell me here?
Maybe it’s the global cooldowns, maybe it’s the lack of pressure to hit endgame, or maybe it’s because I love fishing — but dammit, I am just so relaxed when I play. I go about questing pretty quickly, but I don’t feel that urge to just rush through content.
Instead of just grinding, I’m reading quest text. I stop mid-transit to mark new fishing spots in my Fishing Log. I stop to heal other people if their health is low. Things like this, I don’t think I would do in any other game.
The slower pace of the game may be one of its biggest strengths. It’s true that there are plenty of things to do, but I don’t feel any pressure to do them. It is perhaps the first time since Final Fantasy XI that I’ve been able to sit back and just not care that other people seem to be leveling faster than I do, or that I’m not making mad dosh playing the market.
It’s a good feeling to play an MMO and just not worry too much about it. It boils down to pure and simple fun, and Yoshi-P and his team have done a fantastic job of creating all these systems and this whole beautiful world I just want to run around in. The people absolutely bombarding the servers seem to feel the same way.
This is all easy to say before launch, but what about after?
It is very true that during a game’s beta players feel more attached than they do after release.
There is no denying that once the game goes live and the level 20 cap is removed, that pressure to rush to endgame will be there. Maybe not to the extent in other games, but it will be there and it will change the attitude of some players.
Even within this fantastic community I’ve been a part of through the past two beta phases, which has been one of the most pleasant I’ve ever dealt with, will find its few level-rushing hopefuls. There is nothing wrong with that, because there are plenty of other people looking to take it slowly.
The game gives you the option: either rush or don’t, it’s up to you. That is why I love Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and that is why I will gladly give Square Enix my money every month. Will you?
(If you are on the Coeurl server come headstart/launch and are looking for friends, follow and message me on Twitter so we can exchange info. I want more friends!)