So guys due to CoVid and lack of fresh MMOs on the western market I decided to give FFXIV a go. It was on sale for 20 euros and is being praised a lot altely so I dived in.
I wanna state, before I begin, that I grew up playing Lineage 2, Word of Warcraft in its glory days ( pre Cataclysm), Archeage when it was a "bit" more pro consumer, all-in-all I have been around seeing MMOS rise and fall, go p2w, shut down and so on….
So FFXIV, started like 2 weeks ago, I am lvl 80 doing the Shadowbringers MSQ ( main story questline) so I am really not at the true end game raiding but I think I have seen enough to make an opinion on the game thus far.
So lets review each "feature" :
Leveling experience and Story :
In FFXIV you level by doing quests, a lot of quests, basically all you do is questing with a trial ( 8 man raid) or dungeon (4 man) at the end of the quest chain. Eventho it is said to be the most populated MMO nowadays I had ques larger than 1 hours as a DPS while doing story dungeons.
So ARR ( A realm reborn DLC ) story is slow, really slow, and really long, like a couple hundreds of quests ( they removed some with this current patch but boy they still are many).
Havensward DLC comes after a long and tedious experience with ARR where you wanna kill yourself, multiple times. Everyone I have asked in my Free Company (Guild), or even here on this subbreddit, told me that the story gets better….Well…it does not really get better. I mean the experience itself it does get better since you have less quests in the chains or the quests are shorter but story wise after being through that hell that ARR MSQ is you dont even wanna hear about story to be honest.
The story itself became better, on the writing aspect, but we are in 2020 and the story is written, not narrated to you like you would expect. Some parts are narrated but most of the times the sounds cuts off and there you go, back to reading it. Is like watching an old Charlie Chaplin silent movie…..
I want a story to be narrated to me like in most games and not to read it myself for hundreds of hours like I joined a book club instead of playing an MMO.
Stormblood DLC is next and here is goes a bit downhill again, quests are on the same level of boredom, take a quest from this NPC, go deliver it to that NPC all the way on the other side of the map. You don't get to unlock flying until you finish the MSQ on that said map, and Stormblood maps are the most uninspired, large and boring maps i have ever seen in an MMO (gives me Vanilla WoW PTSD just by thinking of the running you need to do while on Stormblood maps).
Shadowbringers is the "current" DLC and the maps are getting better, they are smaller but the same problems remain… Quests are basically go pick those 3 flowers, go speak to that NPC across the map, go type that random word/phrases on the "say" chat to an NPC and rarely, very rarely, go kill 3 of those mobs. I don't think there were more than 40 quests during all the chains that actually sent me to kill monsters.
I would rate the questing and leveling experience a 4/10.
Check this list of Main Story Quests to see how many they are.
Crafting is the aspect where FFXIV does really shine. Crafting is a game withing the game itself. You have "gathering branch" that includes Fishing, Botany and Mining and than you have the "manufacturer branch" that includes Alchemist, Armorer, Blacksmith, Carpenter, Culinarian, Goldsmith, Leatherworker and Weaver.
Each one of this professions is like a different character, you start from level 1 ( on your main character since FFXIV can have all combat and crafting professions on 1 character) and to level a specific crafting profession you need separate gear, gear that you upgrade, and you go all the way to level 80 on each profession by doing crafting leves ( crafting quests that require you to craft specific pieces or deliver specific ingredients) or simply by crafting gear. Crafting itself is a minigame where you use chains of skills in order to craft and the way you use those skills and the better the gear you have it impacts the product that you are crafting.
Crafting is a unique feature that is executed almost flawlessly.Also crafted gear has a worth since at the beginning of every DLC crafting gear is the gear that gets you the required ilvl for the trials.
I would rate crafting a solid 9/10.
I play a samurai. Combat is, to say the least, boring, with Global Cooldowns that kills all the fun and filler skills that you have to weave( of Lord i hate this concept with a passion) in between cooldowns so you dont lose the parsing momentum . You use around 25 to 30 skills in a rotation and you have to be aware of your position at all times since certain skills do more damage from flank or rear. All that while dodging massive AOEs, telegraphs and 1 shot mechanics in a raid/trial. Is the same boring combat that World of Warcraft and any other tab targeting MMO has to offer. I struggled a lot to keybind all the skills I use on my keyboard + Naga mouse, this 1276326734 skills is just an old concept that is tedious in its core. It does gets better once you practice a lot but still I'd rather have Guild Wars 2 or Lost Ark type of combat where you dont have 1 million skills.
I would rate combat a 6/10.
Dungeon Raids and Glamour(transmog) :
Dungeons and raids/trials are amazingly designed. From lower levels the dungeons have mechanics, aesthetic on bosses are top notch and overall you have the feel of accomplishment when you beat a trial on your first try in a random pug. The experience might lose its hype once you learn all the trials and it becomes a routine to do em but I'll have to see on that.
Trials are easy at the beginning where bosses have 2 or maybe 3 mechanics and their telegraphs are wide and easy to dodge but the get better and better once you up the levels and get to unlock harder tiers of trials. After playing WoW on and off for some 7 years I can say that trials blow WoW raids out of the water in terms of clean design and amazing mechanics. I could honestly say that the end game raiding desire is the sole thing that makes me keep up with the awful experience towards end game…
The Glamour is pretty, very pretty, you can mix different pieces of gear, dye them and they do look so so so good. Characters look and move really good also so that is a plus. A good taste in fashion is what I can say about the way that glamour is implemented in FFXIV.
I rate raiding experience and glamour 8/10.
Just thinking of how tedious and unfair the "get a house" system is implemented makes me throw up. Did you guys played Archeage back when it launched ? Do you remember the need for land and how people used bots and clickers to grab all the land and some people had 100 house while most had no house? Whell on FFXIV is pretty much the same concept but with fewer land plots. I have heard stories on my company of people clicking for 2 days in a row in order to get a house and lost it to someone using a bot. Trash tier. Awful.
I rate housing 1/10.
Player versus player:
PvP in FFXIV is a feature that is just there. Remember how I told you that you have 20+ skills to use on PvE ? Well on PvP the combine those skills into some sort of reforged versions and you have to use those to PVP, after you struggled to learn the other set to PvE… Awful. Terrible. I am a PvPer myself, i PvE and Raid just to gear myself for PvP ( well obviously not on FFXIV ) but boy the PvP on this game sux. There are some 72 players modes and a 4 v 4 mode but as I said, for me, the fact that they revamp your skillset for PvP is a major turnoff.
I rate PvP a 4/10.
After going through all the main features and judging from my wast experience with MMOS I would say that besides the good raiding/dungeons experience and the unique crafting this game is pretty bad.
A huge beautiful open world full of nothing. Besides doing FATES ( Fates are the same mechanics that Rift had where random events generates on the open world – but here there are on a lower scale, like kill a boss or kill 15 mobs to fill a bar) there is absolutely nothing to do on the opem world. Besides running for miles from one NPC to the other while doing MSQ.
I don't want to go and comment how the community tends to lock you away and hide the key as soon as you dare mentioning anything bad regarding the game. I also don't want to get into how the fact that a DPS meter is "illegal" and telling others that they need to revise their positioning or dps rotation might get you a ban ingame and how not allowing you to legally monitor your combat progress leads to a community with way more clueless players than, lets say, World of Warcraft. Without any bragging, the fact that after 2 weeks of playing this game and watching dps rotation guides I manage to be in top #3 DPS on pretty much every trial i que for or do while i do MSQ – even if I do it 1st time – says alot about how casual the big chunk of the community is.
So the year is 2020 and FFXIV is #1 on MMO playerbase but the game is nothing special. For me, atleast, this is alarming. Why we ended up here ? I feel like we made no progress on the last decade regarding MMORPGS. Asian market has a lot of pretty MMOS, with top notch graphics, open world PvP and SADLY with a lot of P2W.
Judging by the sales numbers that Asian companies are releasing to the public, games are making 80% of their revenues in Asia, so I see no reason for them to struggle with all that is to bring those games on the Western market.
All of this while Western developers try to milk old dated games that lost their direction ( I am looking at you Blizzard) or develop games that look bad even judging by 2008 standards ( Crowfall, Camelot Unchained) or just lose their direction and keep delaying them ( New World).
So is this the highest peak that MMORPGS can reach ? Are we done ? Did the survivals and battle royals killed the MMORPGS market due to those type of games being way easier to develop and maintain and being easier to milk from them ?
TL;DR: FFXIV is nothing special, it has a decent raiding experience but to reach end game you have to through literally hundreds of quests that are 80% not even voice acted and they are tedious and uninspired and makes you wanna kill yourself out of boredom. Is the this the peak of MMORPGS, are we done with this niche ?
P.S: My mind is pretty much set on how mediocre this game is, i was mislead by many posts/youtube videos praising FFXIV as God's 2nd coming. I made this post mostly because I am disappointed how such a mediocre game gets to be #1 MMORPG in 2020 judging by its playerbase alone. This are my personal opinions regarding FFXIV and the state that the MMORPGS industry is right now. I do not care if you bash my post, I am fishing for a discussion regarding the MMO state as a whole and what are your opinions regarding the subject.
Thanks for reading through my review/rant and stay safe !
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© Post "So FFXIV is #1 MMORPG judging by its playerbase. I had to play it for myself and I am not amazed neither by the game itself and/or where the MMO industry is on 2020…." for game Gaming News.
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