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Thoughts on the Final Fantasy XIV Beta

By Shepton on September 21, 2010 in Blogé

Another MMO, huh? Oh well. A bunch of my friends are making me play it, so I figured I’d try out the beta to at least prepare myself for how shitty it’ll be. But, to my surprise, it turned out that (for an MMO at least) it’s not so bad. I even kinda enjoy aspects of it.

Alright, so, FFXIV is FFXI-2. Every aspect of FFXIV is designed to remind you of FFXI and be familiar to the losers who played it. Yeah I’m one of those losers. Up yours. You think I give a shit? ‘least I have chicken. And ‘least I haven’t ever and will never play WoW. That’s a whole step down from just regular MMO playing.

Basically, FFXIV looks the same as FFXI, feels the same, plays very nearly the same, has similar classes, has the same races and so on. There have been VAST graphical improvements, though. XIV looks really good. And not just for an MMO. This looks better than pretty much all games. At first I was like “Holy crap graphics this good in an MMO?” but then I realized MMOs are where the money is now and all video game companies are going to be putting every effort into MMOs and then I wasn’t surprised by that any more. I was actually kinda depressed.

There aren’t many classes in the game right now. There are only 6, in fact. Axem’n, Lancem’n, Punchm’n, Bowm’n and then Rick Spellm’n and his brother Dan Spellm’n. You may have heard that there are like 20 or so classes. This is not the case. There are only 6, because at least 15 of them are shit like “Fisherm’n” and “Blacksmithm’n”. Crafting is not a god damn class. They don’t do anything. They just sit around in the city making orange juice and sticks for somebody else to tie pointy rocks onto. So yeah, none of those classes count, and there are only 6 meager classes to choose from right now, and that isn’t changing at launch. Square-Enix claim they’ll be adding more classes in an update really soon, but frankly I think they’re only going to add more crafting classes. Like Shepherd. The fuck kinda class is that? What’s it gonna do, have sheep? And that’s it? Just… have some sheep?

A big change from XI to XIV is the combat system. It’s a lot different now. In XI, you had access to all of your abilities and could essentially use them at any time that you had the TP to do so, and it auto-attacked in order to build that TP. However, in XIV, there is no auto-attack. You don’t have a basic, simple “hit the enemy” move. Every move you have is essentially a special skill, and you can only assign a limited amount of them at one time, meaning you have to pick and choose depending on the situation. That aspect of it I like a lot. This, coupled with the fact that you can manually adjust your character’s stats (Strength, Dexterity, Vitality etc) means you can essentially specialize your character and be quite unique. I imagine this’ll pan out like Ragnarok, with two or three variations on each class, specializing in certain things. Like you’ll have a Tank Punchm’n with tons of Vit and evasion gear, or a Fight Punchm’n with tons of Strength and accuracy. There’ll probably be a bunch in between as well.

Anyway, I’ll quickly sum up some of its more obvious flaws. I won’t talk much about the actual gameplay because, honestly, it takes years to fully understand the best ways to play an MMO as complex as this. I mean, after several years of playing FFXI I still feel like I don’t understand half of it, so it goes without saying that FFXIV will be much the same. What I will discuss here however is its user interface. It’s… weird. Some of it is more convenient than XI’s interface was, but most of it is significantly less convenient. Also there isn’t a hardware mouse. It uses a shitty software mouse that’s like threading a needle with boxing gloves on. They claim they’re adding hardware mouse support on launch, though. The menus are often slow to load and slow to interact with. However, after several patches throughout the course of the beta, this improved a lot, and they’ve promised further improvements for launch.

In fact, they promised a metric shitload of really good stuff for launch, but I won’t go into it here. It’s all pretty cool/interesting/useful stuff that gave me a lot of confidence in them. They seem to be super serious about keeping the game updated all the time, so that’s a relief.

Anyway my copy should be arriving today and the servers go live at some point in the next 24 hours so I’ll be playing it pretty soon and let you know what I think I suppose. If you even give half a shit. Which you shouldn’t, because it’s just an MMO.

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