First things first:
Up until now I played BD, GW2, Metin 2 (back in the days), Blade and Souls, Aion, Albion, wildstar and tried a lot more smaller MMORPGs that I stopped playing after a while. So I am not new to this "genre".
What classes I tried in ff14: I used to have an account 2 years ago, but deleted it because of some personal reasons (don't ask). I made another one 2 months ago. So what I played in total: warrior, paladin, ninja, samurai and summoner. All of them to at least lvl 60. Paladin and summoner are lvl 71/70 on my current account. I lvled all "side-jobs" (gatherer, smithing and so on) to at least lvl40.
Now to the story people love to heil (Spoiler alert): First of all I listened and read through the main story quest up until the long fetch quest nonsense after AAR ("Seventh Astral Era Quests"´"). After that it bothered me so much, that I just stopped reading anything and just watched some cutscenes occationally, while watching some story recaps on youtube. Secondly I am not playing an MMO to read a book. I am playing one to take my mind off from work/studying. Thirdly I played the story up until the end of stormblood. That being said the story is quite 2 dimensional and a huge mess. You have the "empire" attacking 3 city states, some "heroes of darkness" attacking from another dimension, some wild tribes going nuts and summoning big monsters (called primals) as well as some ultra big monster that is "above the entire planet as some kind of sword of damucles" (Bahamut). Now here is why it is 2 dimensional:
-The Empire is inspired by the roman Empire and some steampunk elements. Yet the "inspiration" is limited to "conquering" and titles. The Empire has no culture, doesn't try to solve anything by diplomatic manners and is incapable of using its superior technology. They have huge ass fucking ships and the technology to absorb the primals, but nah. They will just station some units, talk about their superiority and get their ass whooped, because why not.
-To give an example how ridiculous the Empire or the treatment of them is: In the last story mission of AAR you go and fight against this badass general called Gaius. You infiltrated the base, beat the crap out of everyone and reach him. He sees you with a group of people. He has this mecha-suit of death and destruction behind him. What would the logical conclusion and action be? Of course going and fighting against the group with your damn sword. And after he gets his ass beaten, he starts off a monolog and slowly walks to the mecha-suit of death and destruction, while your sorry ass just watches him like a true gentleman. Yeah this is totally how war works. You just beat the crap out of the enemy and then watch him enter a tank.
-The second major issue that bothers me, is the ridiculous mindset and 2 dimensionality of the world. There is this kingdom called Uldah that is inspired by islamic monarchies. The head of the kingdom is a woman. So far so good. Now one day she wakes up and says to her self: You know what would be fucking awesome? Fucking democracy. Then later on you reach a city controlled by a pope-like figure. Obviously religion is bad and evil and just there to manipulate the people. You defeat the enemy and the succesor thinks deeply about the future. The conclusion: We need fucking democracy. You go to another area. Far away from the continent you started off. It is basically feudal japan with a mix of venice. Long story short: Obviously people need fucking democracy.
Ffs yes democracy is a fency and shit and I am a democrat myself, but you can't just bring democracy out of the blue and expect people to follow it. Imagen the Saudi-arabian king suddenly bringing democracy. It would create chaos, uprisings and maybe even a civil war. Ideologies are non-existend. There are just bad people and democrats. Nothing in between. No racial conflicts (gets briefly mentioned), no civil wars (obviously the Empire gets it, but of course you don't see anything from it, duh) or uprisings despite the dramatic changes that are being implemented or no consideration about people's current mindsets and ideologies.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The combat system is another thing. There are classes, where you feel like you are smashing your head against the keyboard, because it requires fast button smashing and classes that makes you feel like you are in a coma (paladin). However all classes have one thing in common: You basically follow 2 paths. One AOE path for more than 2 enemies and one single target path. Occasionally you press your buffs and that's it. Also all classes below 50-60 are like a sleeping pill.
However not everything is bad about ff14. What is good:
-Occasionally there are awesome soundtracks.
-A lot of "dungeons" (not just dungeons, but let's leave it at that) are awesome and well structured and presented.
-Their trailers, which are not part of the game are awesome as fuck and make the game more intersting than it is, unless you have the necessary fantasy and time to imagen the game like the trailers.
-Even if all classes are kinda repetitive, some feel quite awesome. For example samurai, when you enter your burst phase.
-I fucking hate the alt-lvling, but it is beareable in this game. Additionally changing classes is quite easy and alt-equiping your classes to a proper standard is also easy.
-You have lots of opportunities to earn money and gain passive income.
-Housing and lots of emoticons/movements, which add immersion
-the gathering and crafting jobs at least feel at the begining quite fun. If you ever wanted to play a crafter/gatherer in a game and feel like you are actually doing something meaningful, this is totally your game.
-You have a shit ton of mini-games that are fun.
-Tribe and company mechanics, which not only add immersion, but also somewhat meaning to what you are doing.
-detail. A lot of MMOs have armor like some kind of paint on your character. In ff14 the armor moves (some parts) and and actually feels "organic". Not just as some kind of paint.
-lots of lots of mounts, minions and skins you can easly aquire.
-lots of lots of customization
-lots of lots of things to do.
However there is a shit ton of things that are just pure garbage, boring or just bad and the fan-base of the ff14 community loves to downplay this or entirely ignores it:
-The story is just bad. Read "the godfather" to get mind-blown. I feel like no one ever read a proper fantasy story or any proper story, which is why so many people are "hyped" by it. It is medicore at best.
-The presentation of the story is even worse than the actual story. Lots of lots of lots of text. Maybe this was a good presentation method back in the late 2000s, but there is no excuse to make such a horrible story-presentation in this day and age. They don't lack the skill (see trailers) or the necessary money to present the story in a well mannered way. They are just fucking lazy/greedy/you name it to do so. I am not playing an MMO to read a book.
-Too many fetch quest. The game is basically travel and fetch quest simulator. Yes there are lots of dungeons, but until you unlock them you bore the fuck out of yourself.
-Too many meaningless side-quests. I did ALL sidequests aside from a few (under 10). And I mean it. Some are somewhat interesting (moogle post office, hildebrand or whatever they are called), but most are: Talk to this guy, talk to this guy, kill x amount of this, kill x amount of that, type "xyz into the chat", click on this thing and use this item… It burned me off. I honestly can't do a single fetch quest anymore. Be it within the main story quest or as a side-quest. It is fucking boring. I don't understand why developers put them into games anyway. Most people don't do them and the ones that do them, don't enjoy it. There are many ways to make meaningful quests and world-events. This is certianly not the way.
-Too much grind. If you love to do that, go ahead this is your game. I hate it. The tribe quest offer immersion, but you basically do the same 10 quests 100 times to reach full reputation with them. The mini games are nice, but if you have to do them 1000 times to get a specific skin, you will get burned out of it.
-There is no class-testing, so if you play a "slow" and boring class, you can't know it up until 50-60 and then you have to randomly pick a class and hope it is fun for you. Enjoy torturing yourself through dozens of hours of repetitive content.
-While there is a lot of nice armor, the meaningful armors kinda look the same. There is no variety. Unique looking skins on the other hand require lots of grinding.
-There is a variety of mounts, but aside from the skin, they offer absolutely no uniquness. They all run/fly at the same speed. The only thing that changes, is the animation. Sometimes some mounts can do skills, which are completly and utterly useless, but yeah. You have fun for 5 seconds. At least in GW2 the mounts not only feel different, they also play different.
-Haven't tested pvp, but it is basically dead from what I have heared.
-Annoying level design. You unlocked flying? Enjoy it until the next new map, where your mounts get amnesia and you have to collect some green wind farts to teach your mounts how to fly on the new maps again. It is extremly frustrating.
-Aside from the new cities that look unique and interesting, the maps are medicore. If you liked the maps in ARR, you will like the new maps. If you didn't, you won't love the new maps either.
-There is little to no new features coming with each DLC. Sure some new areas are unlocked (Eureka for example or the city-rebuilding of Ishgard), but the core is the same. The game plays the same. Your classes are the same. I imagened that they change the game dramatically or fundamentally in at least the new maps, but nope.
So in short: If you never read a proper story and you look for something to blast your time off as if there is no tomorrow, this is totally your game. If you are looking for fun, but you don't like grinding: you will get it for a few seconds after torturing yourself for dozens of hours.
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