I’m Still Playin’ – Final Fantasy XIV

I’m late to the FFXIV party given that I only started playing it when it landed on the PS4, but since it landed I’ve thrown myself into it on a daily basis, reached a mighty level 37 (the level cap is currently level 50) and thought it was time for a little update on how the game plays.

Short version: It’s still as fun as it was back when I was level 5 and venturing outside for the first time to kill the first little furry thing I targeted. Read on if you want to find out why it’s still as exciting now as it was then.

The main reason for the break off from playing to write about my experiences so far was that I’ve finally met Cid. Cid is one of those recurring characters in the Final Fantasy series who usually holds an engineering or Airship role, the major difference this time around is that he now has a voice actor backing him up and giving him more character than ever before.

And if you too have met Cid, you’ll know that the preceeding storyline has just taken a major turn, as if there weren’t enough of those already. This one was particularly special given that I’d just spent 2 days completing menial tasks to progress the storyline which turned out to be not so menial, I don’t think an MMO has ever rewarded me so well for those annoying little grindy kill/fetch quests before. Suffice it to say, if you’re thinking of giving up because NPCs are giving you the runaround just so you can beat up the Primal Titan, don’t, it’s well worth working your way through that bit of the main questline.

I’ve left crafting a bit late and am now frantically working on Blacksmithing, Armorsmithing et al so I can finally start making use of Materia, which you can affix to any slotted item to improve it. Sure I could just ask one of my more advanced Free Company fellows to do this stuff for me, but crafting and gathering the materials required for it is actually good fun too, so I’m happy to be patient for now.

I can glean some idea of my progress by checking the various Logs accessible from the main ingame menu, it turns out that at level 37 I’m still a complete newbie at most things as I have many places yet to see, many things yet to kill, many things yet to gather and craft, much progression to be made with the Grand Companies of Eorzea and so on. I get the impression that once I ding level 50, I’ll have just started scratching the surface.

The biggest draw for me is still the fan service that FFXIV throws at me around every corner. I’ve seen Pugils unleash Screwdriver on unwary tanks, back in FFXI this one move was probably responsible for wiping more level 15-21 parties in Dunes than any other move in the history of Final Fantasy games. I’ve met Biggs and Wedge which reminded me of when I first met them way back in Final Fantasy VII. Some of the music and architecture immediately brings me back to Final Fantasy XII, and so on.

Finally, sidequests. I’ve barely touched them. I’ve taken a few on out of necessity to level my character a bit, but that was before I discovered I could do that via the Levequest/Guildhest system. The main reason for not touching sidequests is that they’ll be useful when it comes to leveling other classes and jobs because the bulk of the XP from following the main storyline all goes to my current main class. From the sidequests I have done, however, I know there are a lot of fun things in store like new emotes, new minions, new dungeons and who knows what else.

Maybe Square Enix in the future might take a leaf out of the book of Defiance where, once the storyline is finished, you can replay it as often as you wish, perhaps improve it with a little Prestige system on top of that, maybe even chuck in a few branching pathways next time.

Overall I’m still loving it. That’s quite important, considering I’m still on my first free month and subscription time is looming. I’m pretty sure I could spend the rest of my free time just unlocking Trophies one by one until the coveted Platinum Trophy pops but, as it stands, I’m still here for the long haul. Onwards and upwards, I need to make the Empire pay for what they’ve just done and I’m looking forward to kicking ass and taking names, no matter how long it takes.