Lion of the Blogosphere

FFXIV and MMORPGs

FFXIV is short for Final Fantasy XIV, a game designed by the Japanese company Square Enix, and what I think is the absolute best of the genre of MMORPGs, that is massively multiplayer online role-playing games, of which World of Warcraft (WoW) is the most well-known example.

Yes, FFXIV is definitely the better starting point into this genre than WoW. I’ve been playing it since Christmas weekend. Great way to kill time. (Yes, I am aware that killing time is a very low class thing to do. SWPLs want to use every ounce of time left until they die to do SWPL things like learning a foreign language or traveling around the world with the meager time left over from their hopefully self-actualizing career. Playing videogames is not considered to be self-actualizing, therefore it is low class.)

You do want a PC with a discrete GPU to play this game. I was able to run the game and get 15 fps at 720p resolution on a computer with integrated Intel graphics, but it’s not that great. The game looked choppy. With my Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti (but note that the GTX 1150 is probably coming out in 2019, making the 1050 obsolete!) I get 30+ fps running at 2560 x 1440 with all the graphics settings maxed out. And the game looks beautiful! While 60 fps is considered the gold standard in gaming, you really don’t need 60 fps in a slow-moving game like FFXIV.

MMORPGs are a dying genre of game. People have gotten accustomed to faster-moving games. Like Overwatch. Or Fortnite. Games that also cost less money to play. Overwatch is pay once than play as much as you want. And Fortnite is totally free to play.

I believe that most people playing FFXIV (or WoW) are older players, older meaning at least old enough to drink. Teenagers these days would be playing Fortnite or some other “shooter” game. The monthly subscription tends to keep away players that don’t at least have their own credit card. Most teens would have trouble convincing their parents that they “need” $12.99/mo or (or $14.99/mo for WoW) to play a time-wasting videogame, and besides, all of their friends are playing Fortnite or first-person shooters.

For the most part, battle in FFXIV consists of you pushing a button every 2.5 seconds, and then your skill automatically hits the enemy. In some fights, especially “boss” fights, parts of the ground turn a different color, a warning that something painful is about to hit, and you have a certain amount of time to run the hell out of the way to a non-indicated area. That’s the extent of the fast reaction time needed, which can still get dicey for a middle-aged person with middle-aged reflexes during intense fights where you have to dodge out of the way but still hit the right buttons to trigger your abilities. But it’s not like Overwatch where I am stuck below 1000 skill rank because I can’t compete against younger players.

While FFXIV has a huge amount of complexity with respect to the many things to do in the virtual world, the game slowly introduces everything to you. You just keep following the “main scenario quests” (which are clearly marked) and you will slowly learn everything about the game. Plus there are some important side-quests marked in blue with a plus sign that unlock things you may need. The other quests you can just ignore. If you select to start a character on a “preferred server,” you get double experience up to level 60, which means that you get all the experience you need by just following the main quests, without having to do any “grinding” or side quests. (“Grinding” means the repetitive killing of monsters or other repetitive activities to gain experience points or other beneficial things like better armor.)

The story behind the main quest isn’t horrible. While I find many of the cut scenes tiresome, some people might enjoy watching the story unfold. One of the important quest-giving NPCs is this blonde babe wearing an outfit that shows off her bare midriff. Yay for fan service!

And there are these evil guys called the Garleans who came from outer space in these steampunk spaceships. You know they are evil because they wear evil-looking armor, and evil music plays during their cut scenes.

The main quest line requires you to do “dungeons” and “trials” along the way, which are instanced activities requiring a group of four. Don’t worry, you don’t need to make any friends, the “Duty Finder” will assign you three random teammates. This is why FFXIV is such a better experience than WoW, because it mixes things up and coaxes you into doing group activities like that. Eventually, when you reach max level and get to the “end game,” most of your time will be spend doing group dungeons and raids. Furthermore, WoW is so old that most of its low-level content has become completely irrelevant to the current state of the game.

It is my understanding that WoW offers a better endgame for the top-tier players because it has the most complex 40-man raids, which I don’t think that FFXIV has, however I have never personally played WoW’s endgame, so I’m just going off of what I read on the internet. My impression is that FFXIV offers a sufficient endgame experience for regular players who are not completely addicted.

FFXIV has a free trial that allows you to play the game up to level 35, which is quite a bit of content. The free trial has no strings attached, the whole game is yours up to level 35, except that a few things that would be useful to gold farmers are turned off: no access to the marketplace (where you can buy and sell to other players), and you can’t initiate chats with other players (to prevent gold sellers from using the free accounts to advertise their wares). Unfortunately, to continue past level 35, you need to buy the game ($60, or $30 if there’s a half-price sale) and then pay $12.99/month.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 31, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff, Technology

9 Responses

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  1. I played this game for a few years and got bored of it. If you want to get the most out of this game you need to play with a guild and raid. MMOs are dying because they aren’t innovating. WoW killed the whole genre because everyone has tried to copy WoW. What happens to a market when every game is trying to be the next WoW? Saturation and death. The genre should actually do better these days if they would make the games more sandbox instead of theme park like WoW and FFXIV.

    RichardTheFist

    December 31, 2018 at EDT pm

  2. Well Overwatch’s peak is already over and the number of users are starting to decline with Fortnite being the new popular game.

    Is the MMO genre actually dying or is it just not the hot thing anymore? I checked and WoW still has millions of subscribers. Apparently the original business case for it only required a couple hundred thousand. It has to be the biggest cash cow in the history of gaming.

    Alex

    December 31, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Because millions of people pay $14.99/mo, it can be a lot more profitable then a game played by ten times as many people.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 31, 2018 at EDT pm

  3. It is not so much SWPL, what kills your video game playing days is kids, you just don’t have much time for it anymore, then you play a bit with the kids when they get into it but it is more you trying to entertain them than actually enjoying it, then you just give up on it because you are too old and you haven’t done it for enough time to not get excited about it anymore.

    Hashed

    December 31, 2018 at EDT pm

  4. I hope this really catches on so that I can be alone on the golf course.

    Marty

    December 31, 2018 at EDT pm

  5. Online poker is still the best mmo. Some sites that allow Americans these days are Global Poker, America’s Cardroom, and Ignition.

    Anon

    January 1, 2019 at EDT am

  6. It’s really Blizzard that’s dying, not MMOs. MMOs are doing fine in Asia but in America and Europe the MMO market was monopolized by WoW which is old and tied to Blizzard which is crashing hard. Within ten years someone other than Blizzard will release a new MMO in the Western market that will capture a fanbase comparable to what WoW had at its peak.

    In the 1990s Blizzard built up a reputation of making relatively expensive games that are always among the best games of the genre, a reputation as a company with persistent, good internet support and so on. It’s this reputation that allowed them to make their big market coup with WoW. Every gamer knew that if you bought a Blizzard game you paid a bit extra but you got one of the best games in the genre with the best customer support and the best internet connectivity.

    In the past decade Blizzard has switched to cashing out mode. It’s games are no longer extra quality but it still prices its games higher and gamers have still been buying them because of its past built up reputation. This is now coming to an end after games like Diablo 3, Overwatch etc have been disappointments – Diablo 3 was an average game but it had the extra Blizzard price. Despite the enormous sale figures, the game was considered one of the biggest flops of all time after outraged fans abandoned it instead of becoming years long Blizzard fanboys like happened with Diablo 1 and Diablo 2. Expansions were canceled, development team was cut down etc.

    All of the original Blizzard leaders who built up the reputation have now left the company. They’ve seen what’s coming and cashed out before the crash. The future of the company is that they’ll run it as a hollow shell with a minimal crew keeping past franchises alive as long as they can cash out on them. Blizzard has become the Star Wars of video games – the brand still sells even though the production values have been cut but it will slowly decline as the new stuff can’t maintain the reputation.

    Hearthstone is also a declining game. Blizzard has responded with hiked up card prices and it’s still making profits from the old fanbase but the original game designers left, the production values have been drastically cut and HS isn’t gaining enough new players to replace quitters.

    Jaakko Raipala

    January 3, 2019 at EDT pm

    • “It’s this reputation that allowed them to make their big market coup with WoW.”

      WoW had a vastly superior user interface and quest-based tutorial than any other MMORPG on the market at the time. To play Everquest or FFXI, you had to really really WANT to play it to be motivated to figure out how the game worked or what you were supposed to do.

      “Overwatch etc have been disappointments ”

      Overwatch is a great game, and has reached parity with much older FPS titles, but then Fortnite came.

      Also, Blizzard has a good hit with Hearthstone, but they are in danger of ruining it with a greedy pay-to-win model.

      “All of the original Blizzard leaders who built up the reputation have now left the company.”

      That happens to a lot of companies. The A-team that started the company eventually gets replaced by the B-team, who only look at quarterly financial statements and don’t understand what’s special about the company or its customers.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 3, 2019 at EDT pm

  7. I live one stop from the headquarters of this game’s publisher. Have never visited, though.

    When I first played this game a few years ago I was annoyed because it was full of people who were veterans of WoW (which I’ve never played) and were using all kinds of impenetrable in-group lingo from that game which I couldn’t make head or tail of.

    Which was all the more disappointing given how unabashedly advanced the English-language dialogue is in this game — they borrow from various periods of history and regions and it’s all very flavorful, unlike the Japanese dialogue which is colorless and boring. And call me a SWPL, but I love all the cultures they borrow from when creating their world. They tend to get it right, too, including spelling, unlike a few decades ago where classical references would fly right past the translators.

    There were also all kinds of concepts that someone who had been playing “normal” offline RPGs for two decades would never think about. (E. g.: you can toss fire magic at a monster made of fire and it will harm him just as ice magic will. Huh? Somehow I was expected to know that.)

    Eventually I got the hang of it, and I sign up again for another month every time there’s a big addition to the content, which is a few times a year. No reason to be subscribed all the time.

    Kyo

    January 4, 2019 at EDT am


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