Why I Play Final Fantasy XIV with a Controller

Playing FFXIV with a DualShock 4 (or any gamepad) is one of my most comfortable discoveries of this game.

Playing comfortably has always been a goal for me. For that reason, a mouse and keyboard combination has never been a good match. Yes, I've played PC games before, and I understand the importance of a mouse in MMOs, FPS, and strategy games, but ultimately I've only tolerated it as a necessity, and I can't maintain a mouse and keyboard posture for very long. Certainly, there are things like foam and gel pads for the wrists and luxurious bucket seats to get comfy in, but to use a mouse and keyboard usually requires that your entire workstation is set up on a table, with you seated in front of it.

Console games, however, usually use a controller, held in your hands. In a sense, this means you don't really need to be seated next to a table, and allows you to do things like play from the comfort of your couch. It is for this reason that I've liked console games much more than PC games, up to the point where I've even given up Diablo 3 on PC to play it on PS4, despite the many features and frequency of updates given to the former.

Sure, there are still game-related advantages only available to a mouse user, and there are also game-related advantages available to a controller user.

So when Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, was finally announced for the PS3 and PC back in the summer of 2013, I was ecstatic. At long last, an MMORPG (my favourite genre), all playable from any lazy posture imaginable. And it wasn't a compromise either. Square Enix designed a control scheme that would allow a DualShock 3 (and later, DualShock 4 for the PS4 version) player to fully enjoy the game as it was designed, being able to access the many skills that a character would learn throughout his journey just as a mouse and keyboard player could. Sure, there are still game-related advantages only available to a mouse user, and there are also game-related advantages available to a controller user, but that is for a different article.

In terms of personal comfort however, I absolutely love how I can do everything I need to do in the game using only a controller. Sure, I still need a keyboard to communicate, but now I can get away with a basic wireless keyboard placed on the coffee table, used only for chatting. No need to sit upright (or sit at all, when I can lie down on my side instead).

However, I understand that it is not for everyone. There are people who swear by the mouse and keyboard, and of course that is for them. While I do not raid competitively, I have completed end-game content while it was still relevant, and all of it on a controller; a controller player is just as viable as a keyboard and mouse user.

But for me, being able to play the game while resting on my sofa, represents my idea of comfortable gaming. Now, I play on the PC, but I have my DualShock 4 connected to it via bluetooth. Using an application called InputMapper, I have made it behave almost as if I were playing it directly from the PS4. The trackpad will also function as a button and as a mouse, just like the PS4, and the only thing missing is that no audio is played to the controller's speaker. Even if you have no intentions of playing on a sofa, I recommend anyone who has a desire to try the game with a controller to give it a spin.

Published Jul. 2nd 2015

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