When it launched in 2013, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn showed lots of promise. It took the traditional MMO formula and gave it enough improvements to make it feel fresh. From an unique crafting system that was more than just clicking a “make all” button and walking away to animations that gave combat a fresh feel, it felt like this was an MMO destined for greatness. I was hooked indefinitely…at least until the endgame.
Upon reaching the level cap of 50, you’re treated to endless hours and days of grinding the same 3 dungeons over and over again in order to gain the currency needed for gear upgrades. Not only that, but the queue for these dungeons could last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. The game also lacked any sort of gear customization and because of this, everyone looked the same. I held on for two months before calling it quits. A year later, a friend of mine convinced me to give the game another shot. After a week of being back, I’m hooked again.
Since quitting, Square Enix has introduced a host of new features that breathe new life into it. 11 new dungeons have been added to the game, including hard and expert modes for many of the older ones. Couple this with a new random dungeon finder that rewards you for its use with extra rewards, and dungeon grinding is no longer repetitive and tedious. Rather than take the easy route and make the hard modes more difficult versions of the originals, Square created all new versions that offer new bosses and challenges.
These changes to dungeons also helped get rid of the game’s worst aspect: it’s toxic community. The original endgame was made worse by an elitist community. It got to the point where newly level capped players weren’t even allowed to join groups. Not because of a lack of skill but because they didn’t have the gear to make a dungeon go 2-3 minutes faster. While there are still groups that speed through dungeons, the addition of multiple new dungeons has eliminated the toxicity for the most part. This has made the endgame experience more enjoyable. In fact, helping new players get through content is actively encouraged now. If you enter a dungeon with a new player, bonus items and currency are rewarded upon completion.
Customization is a big thing in MMOs. Even if the game is great, seeing a sea of people wearing the exact same thing can bring the experience down. FF XIV was guilty of this at launch but the glamour system remedied this. Not only can you customize any piece of gear with the appearance of another but you can dye them with a variety of colors. Since starting back up, I haven’t seen any exact clones of myself. The game still looks gorgeous as well which doesn’t hurt.
If Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn turned you off during its initial launch, consider giving it another shot. With the newest patch, Before the Fall, adding multiple new dungeons, raids and challenges (along with the next patch promising to add even more), it’s clear that Square Enix isn’t to be taken lightly in the MMO world. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself getting hooked again.
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