For most people, the first MMORPG that comes to mind is Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. I was one of those people. When it came to playing an MMO, I would never even give the time of day to games like The Elder Scrolls Online, DC Universe, or Final Fantasy XIV.
But times change, and I’ve finally decided to take a look at Final Fantasy XIV and I’m absolutely blown away by what the game brings to the table. Between the quality of content and the sheer volume of gameplay, it’s time for all MMORPG fans to take the plunge into Final Fantasy XIV.
Content, Content, Content!
One of the things that makes an MMORPG so great is the ridiculous volume of content offered within one. Final Fantasy XIV, which first came out in 2010 (and relaunched in a greatly-improved state in 2013), so it’s had years and years of expansions and improvements.
In fact, there was just a brand new expansion called Shadowbringers released early in July 2019. That means it’s a perfect time to jump in and play, as there are tons of other players experiencing the new content right now.
Overall, you’ll find that there are easily hundreds of hours of content in the game, and potentially more if you decide to get into leveling professions, playing mini-games, and getting into collecting mounts and companions.
Speaking of Content, The Value Is Crazy!
One daunting thing about getting into an MMORPG so late in its life is the price of all the expansions. Thankfully, you can jump into FFXIV for only $60 total. That gets you the base game, all of the expansions, and a month of game time (the subscription starts at $12.99/mo).
When you compare what you’re getting for the $60 price tag to any traditional AAA game, the value is absolutely tremendous.
You Don’t Need Any Previous Final Fantasy Fandom
I’m far from a Final Fantasy fan. I’ve played a little bit of the first game on NES and I made it about halfway through FFVII on the PlayStation before I lost interest.
I’m not disparaging those games, as I acknowledge that they’re great, but they aren’t for me. However, my minimal Final Fantasy knowledge hasn’t been an issue at all with FFXIV. Even though the game is incredibly focused on the story, it doesn’t assume you’ve played other games in the series, and it’s quite self-contained.
You Want Endgame? There’s Endgame for Days!
While Final Fantasy is definitely a leveling-focused MMO, there’s still tons of endgame to keep hardcore players coming back long after they reach the level cap. There are multiple tiers of raids (they are smaller than WoW raids, requiring eight players), world bosses, hunts, cosmetic glamours, the Triple Triad mini-game, multiple PVP modes, collecting mounts, and plenty more to do. You should never run out of content to play. But if you do…
Alts, What Alts?
Final Fantasy XIV uses a really interesting system for its characters. While you do choose a class at the start of the game, changing classes is as simple as changing your weapon. That means there’s no need to create new characters when you want to switch up gameplay.
Want to try out a healer? Simply visit the Guild for the class you want to play, change your weapon, and get started.
Craft All the Things!
Unlike World of Warcraft, you’re not limited in the number of professions you can take on. Just like switching combat classes, you just need to equip the weapon for the crafting or gathering class you want to be and go to it. Want to make armor? Grab a hammer. Want to do some leatherworking? No problem!
And Here’s the Clincher…
For me, this is the ultimate thing that puts Final Fantasy XIV ahead of every other MMORPG on the market: it’s completely playable on a console without watering down the core elements that make the game fun. FFXIV certainly isn’t the first MMO on a console, but it does a fantastic job of replicating the PC experience while kicking back on the couch with a controller in hand.
Are the drawbacks to playing on PS4? Absolutely. But rather than watering down the game to get rid of those issues, Square Enix elected to find ways to work around those issues while keeping the game experience exactly the same.
Do you have more options for managing spells and abilities with a mouse and keyboard? Yes, but the developers came up with a control scheme that lets you accomplish what you need to do in a way that feels good and doesn’t feel like you’re at a disadvantage.
Basically, what it comes down to is that FFXIV feels like a PC MMO on a console, rather than feeling like a console game that’s trying to be an MMO, which is exactly what I was looking for as a dedicated WoW player looking for a console MMORPG.
Did I Mention You Can Try It Without Paying?
Like most MMORPGs, Final Fantasy XIV offers a very generous trial that lets you play a character all the way up to level 35. And you can level up multiple classes, jobs, and professions, meaning you can try out a little bit of everything the game has to offer without spending a penny.
Of course, if you’re an MMO fan you’re going to love the game and want to buy into the full experience, but if you just want to dip your toes, you can do so on PlayStation 4 or PC painlessly.
To get started, just go to FFXIV’s website and sign up for the free trial. And while you’re at it, check out the official FFXIV beginner’s guide to help you get up and running with the game’s deep but complex systems.