Home > Video Games > Looking forward to Eorzea

Looking forward to Eorzea

While browsing Youtube today I came across a video posted on the official Final Fantasy XIV channel that shows improvements made between the alpha and the beta. The alpha received a bit of criticism for being slow, and it looks like they’ve revamped the battle system with a clever variation of the “segment” ATB system in Final Fantasy XIII: namely, you have a ATB/Stamina gauge  that charges at a constant rate, and actions take chunks out of that gauge, with more powerful moves costing more Stamina. The battle music sounds pretty snazzy too.

Final Fantasy XIV

I’m really looking forward to FFXIV. I played Final Fantasy XI for about a year back in 2006, and to this day it remains my favourite MMORPG. Don’t get me wrong, the game has incredible flaws- such as an incredibly steep learning curve; an incapability to solo effectively (for the majority of classes) after Lv.10; a unhelpful quest log that practically requires that you look up the solution on some online resource; and a slow experience gain that can see you earning two levels a night with a good party- but the world, the lore, the feeling of being a part of a real, living, epic world… I’ve yet to find an MMO that matches that. I was fortunate enough to find a good linkshell (guild) straight from the get-go, so that probably had something to do with it. In FFXI, if you don’t make friends fast then you’ll sink like a stone.

I still have a lot of fond memories of FFXI. The time when I first rode a chocobo and got the chance to experience the vast, beautiful world of Vana’diel without fearing random monster attack. Defeating each Avatar (summon beast) in intense one-on-one battles to gain their loyalty and power. The time I learned how to Magic Burst (an advanced technique that deals additional damage by precisely co-ordinating magical and special attacks) with the Astral Flow (limit break) of my Avatar. The time that myself and another Summoner were abandoned by our party in a high-level zone and escaped using only our wits and teamwork between our summons. Learning how the phases of the moon, days of the week and even the direction you stood in affected how good the bread you baked was. Working with my Linkshell to take down one of Vana’diel’s numerous and dangerous Notorious Monsters.

My FFXI character Aia, celebrating after making a contract with Garuda.

My FFXI character Aia, celebrating after making a summoning contract with Garuda.

What’s more, I really grew attached to my character (Aia, a white-haired Mithra who spent most of her time as a Summoner/White Mage) over that time. The problem I find with most MMOs is that your character is effectively disposable: you’re confined to one class at creation, and if you want to try another then you have to toss your old one on an ever-increasing pile and make a new one. FFXI’s method of allowing you to switch job classes pretty much at will was inspired, encouraging you to bond and grow with a single character. Of course, it made things a little frustrating since you didn’t have enough storage space to keep gear for more than a couple of class builds (even with the upgrades to storage space you could later unlock), necessitating the use of mule characters for an extra quid a month.

My old laptop didn’t come close to the specs required for FFXI, but managed to play it just fine. I’m hoping the same is true for the laptop that I have now: without a PS3 I’m stuck to one viable platform. I was hoping that it would follow in the footsteps of FFXI and be available for the 360, but that doesn’t look likely due to the “closed” nature of XBL.

“The main reason why we couldn’t go with Xbox 360 was the Xbox Live system,” he explained at E3. “[Live is] different to the normal internet environment, so when we wanted to introduce this game in the same environment as Windows PC it had to be PS3, so that was our choice.

“Microsoft has a different point of view: they want to have a closed environment for Xbox Live. We’re still talking to… We couldn’t come to an agreement on Xbox Live.”

I find it strange that the “closed” system of XBL prevents the release of FFXIV but was perfectly all right for FFXI. In fact, aside from Phantasy Star Universe I can’t think of another MMO on the 360.

Regardless, I’ll be really disappointed if I can’t play what looks like a great successor to FFXI. Here’s hoping that either the minimum specs are lower than anticipated or Square Enix and Microsoft reach an agreement. Or someone buys me a PS3. Please? 🙂

  1. YamiNoAeris
    June 30, 2010 at 10:02 am

    This was -the- best MMO I had played. It just felt like you were more ‘there’- though it sounds cliche to say. But most MMO’s you don’t feel as involved. FFXI was the one that really grasped me and I would love to go back if I could. There was a steep-ish learning curve but perhaps this is harder on players who don’t tend to play MMO’s or Final Fantasy games. I started off in Windhurst and the biggest problem when starting was the black birds who were only a little ways off from the entrance. But once you learned to stay away from them it wasn’t too bad. But I can’t say for other city starters. I am looking forward to trying FFXIV- I do hope it keeps most of the same elements.

    I think I would like to read a post that involves more of what we can expect from FFXIV if you can find much information on it? Perhaps what races there are, the environment and where it is set. Is it set in the same world? Is it a coninuation? Etc. 🙂

    • June 30, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      I think the learning curve was a little too steep and probably put off a lot of casual gamers who didn’t have the time and patience to learn it. For better or worse, World of Warcraft has made it so that MMOs these days -have- to have that accessibility/casual factor.

      Information on the setting and such is still a bit limited since the game’s in development, but I’ll see what I can do. FFXIV isn’t set in Vana’diel, nor is it related to FFXI. The reason that it has similiar races to FFXI is because the producers wanted some aesthetic familiarity, and the ability to remake your old FFXI character in FFXIV without much problem.

  2. Birthdayboy
    July 2, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I played it on the xbox and found it to be a very troublesome experience. Getting to level 2 was a slow and tedious experince. And possibly due to lack of players, a lonesome one at that. Phantasy Star’s experince was somewhat more overwhelming then FF’s was but FF did have the epic setting, and the indepth characters. But the gameplay was really hard to get into and after the free month I gave up. But from I have read since the Alpha I really want to get into 14 and give it my all, but I worry they may have nto learnt from their previous entry. Only the news from the Beta can really settle my worries. But I was impressed by the news of the PC’s special box set that is coming and it’s acompanning art book looks great.

    • July 2, 2010 at 12:52 am

      Don’t rely too much on news from the alpha and beta. Remember they’re still “in-production” versions. I see a few websites (cough Sankaku Complex cough) using the rough alpha version as an excuse to claim the game will be crap. But look at what they changed from alpha to beta.

      I think I’ll be getting the boxset myself, and crossing my fingers that I can play it.

  3. Gil
    August 24, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    I’m concerned about XIV. I feel that it’s getting released too early. Beta tests are still being done and it doesn’t seem like they are going overly well. With release being less than a month away, what are people going to be playing? A Gamma version on release. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m tired of games being released incomplete with the intent of correcting problems with patches. That’s not right. What happened to buying a fully functioning product with your hard earned gil?

    I loved FFXI and I will be on FFXIV. I just hope the many problems they will have on release day will be fixed by the time the PS3 version gets released next year.

    • August 25, 2010 at 12:31 am

      MMOs are funny like that, aren’t they? They’re one of the few game types where it’s somehow acceptable to release it in a flawed or incomplete form, with the promise that the problems- whether they be technical issues or related to gameplay- will be patched out and improved over time. I’m glad that patching exists and has become widespread for games outside of the MMO genre, but it has led to an amount of complacency when it comes to QA.

      I intend to try for the open beta when it starts next month, if only to see if my laptop can actually run it. I doubt it, but I may as well use the free open beta to try before I spend any money.

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