FFXIV is the current MMORPG in the Final Fantasy franchise, and was originally released in 2010. Since then, the game has tripled in size with 3 expansions, each massive in story and gameplay.
- A Realm Reborn (ARR)
- HeavensWard (HW)
- StormBlood (SB)
The 4th expansion, Shadowbringers, will release this summer on July 2nd.
Being such a huge and long running game, it can definitely be intimidating to start without knowing what you’ll be getting into. But for the people who are on the fence about trying it out, I wanted to write this article to highlight some of the main points that could help your decision.
I first played FFXIV in 2014, but quickly fell off the wagon because I got distracted by other games. In 2017, I learned that some close friends of mine had been playing it regularly as well. And since there was a bundle sale going on (which happens rather frequently), I decided to try my hand at the game again.
When I first got back into FFXIV, it felt pretty much like the first time I played. A Realm Reborn is a pretty standard start to the game, which means it’s a bit dull, unfortunately. Luckily, the leveling system has changed quite a bit since I last played. Sticking to the main storyline quests was more than enough to level, so I was able to get through the dry introductory parts without much grinding and risk of losing interest.
When leveling your first class, you can pretty much shoot right through the expansions without any hiccups. It doesn’t really slow down until about 60, but by that time, you’re already so immersed in the story that it honestly doesn’t matter.
Like I mentioned earlier, A Realm Reborn is a little plain at the beginning, but once you start getting to the end of that expansion, things really ramp up. It was around the end of A Realm Reborn and the beginning of Heavensward, that my love for the game truly bloomed.
There’s so many games where you beat the bad guy, then just move on to the next one. But in this case, the bad guys not only have stories, they also have affiliations and/or nations tied to them. You defeat them, you have to do something about the political unrest that you start. It’s that respect to reality and the parallels you see with real life that make me love the writing in this game. It touches on everything from love stories to politics to Final Fantasy lore, and the characters are written and built in such a way that even the ones you didn’t care for before become dear to you.
If it’s immersion you want in a game, I’d recommend sticking it out into Heavensward to really get a taste of the appeal.
Since this is an online game, there’s obviously going to be parts where you play with other people, mainly in dungeons and raids.
I, being the online gaming chicken I am, relied heavily on my high levels friends since I wasn’t sure if I was playing right, didn’t know dungeon mechanics, and didn’t want to get yelled at. It took me a while, but I eventually got over that anxiety this way:
- If you go through some of the beginners’ training quests, they’ll teach you how to play your class right. And you get some good, long lasting newbie gear for it too.
- There are short summary videos on YouTube for every dungeon in the game, that covers all the mechanics to not get you or your party killed. This helped me a ton in getting off my friend crutch. As long as I had a gist of what to do, it helped boost my confidence to party with strangers.
- Most people in this game are actually very nice. Out of all the MMOs I’ve played before, this is probably the least toxic one so far. As long as you say it’s your first time with dungeon, someone will usually gladly explain things for you.
If you want to invest your time in a game that gets more satisfying the more you level up, I’d say by all means to give FFXIV a try. And to not give up until you get into HeavensWard! I finally caught up to level 70 (the current level cap) at the beginning of 2019, but the game just keeps giving, and it’s only gotten more fun the more I play.
Whether you decide to jump in and try to catch up for ShadowBringers or take your time and appreciate the existing expansions, I think it’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking to get into an MMO.