I think I’ve mentioned before that one of the greatest things about all Final Fantasy games is how all their different in-game systems complement each other. Like Blitzball in Final Fantasy X, play a few games and maybe get bored and leave it, but grind a lot more games out to get new limit breaks and other game changers.
FFXIV is no exception. At first the Materia system might seem a little pointless as it adds so little, but then you discover the ability to add even more Materia to items that already have all their slots full of Materia, something that’s especially important in Gathering and Crafting as you’ll need these boosts to firstly create better equipment, which you can then use to gather better items, which you can then use to master the rarer and more difficult recipes that affect all other aspects of the game.
Getting my three Gathering classes to level 50 was just the start. They’re each now spending their time converting old equipment into Materia to use to boost their stats so they can gather high quality items which, when turned in to an NPC, will reward them with even better equipment.
I’ve nearly got all of my Crafting classes to level 50 as well, with the bonus that it hasn’t cost me anything because I’ve used my Gathering classes to supply them with everything they need. The Crafting classes are now using Materia to boost their stats too, this time around so they can craft turn-in items to access Master Recipes with which they can create more niche equipment, like high ranking PvP gear.
Along the way each gathering class and crafting class has had their own questline to follow, my favourite so far being the Goldsmithing questline, as it had a decent reveal at its life or death ending. On the main combat job front I’ve only completed the Paladin storyline, which is now being put to shame by the Dragoon questline which gets rather awesome around level 45. And I’ve been so distracted by all these individual questlines that I’ve still yet to finish the main campaign, at which point even more awesome stuff starts to happen – Relic Weapons, Dungeon Grinding, new Mounts, better Gear – so I don’t yet see an end in sight.
On the social front I’m still with the same Free Company I started with, recently promoted to the second highest rank by the boss. So far I’ve had no responsibilities thrust upon me which is a good thing as it allows me to just get on with things like helping the newer members through their early dungeons or joining in some of the larger events that other members need lots of to progress their own characters. There has been drama too, some of our best end game raiders recently hissy-quit due to personality differences, but then has there even been high end raiding without a little drama? I’ve got all that to come as I’ve yet to go raiding. Finally, my Friends List is building up with a great collection of contacts – fellow gatherers and crafters, others who tip each other off to rare spawns, random people I’ve met along the way and formed some kind of bond with.
I’ve always said about MMORPGs that it’s not the end game but the journey there that counts, and so far the journey has been great. I’ve still got lots of journeys to start out on with my other jobs and though I’m fast approaching endgame as I’ve done in many MMORPGs before, this time around I’m actually looking forward to it. That in itself makes Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn unique to me, so it’s now a contender for favourite game of all time, Red Dead Redemption is already starting to wobble a bit on its lofty pedestal and I think World of Warcraft already fell off.
All this, and more to come. We’ve had new jobs announced for future updates, questline extensions, more systems are being mooted like Player Housing and Chocobo Raising, things just keep getting better and better.