Final Fantasy XIV Review: For The Avail Of Our Dear City-States

Final Fantasy XIV welcomes the gracing masses into the world of Hydaelyn and the energetically vast adventures of the Guildleves to begin the journey that Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) experience players around the world are highly unlikely to relive or forget. Final Fantasy XIV ushers in an age of adventure that can not only be shared by companions far out even to Eorzea, but also exchanged in the native tongue through stunningly decorated taverns and wondrous sites throughout the Final Fantasy XIV online universe and world of Hydaelyn. Final Fantasy XIV brings more exciting quests from Final Fantasy XI and engages on developing a unique and individual character to appeal to those that love challenges on their own but would not mind a companion to thrust a bow into a ferocious monster at the same time. Final Fantasy XIV takes a new definition on the character growth impact from the previously established job system, reaching as far as beyond the new armor system and quest selection freedom. Levequests are currently the staple of the MMO, and regardless of a lack of variety, there is never a limit to how much fun can be gained from engaging quests with a team of your best friends or any stranger you meet in the world, with equal payoff to the mission rewards. Final Fantasy XIV has opened up the doors into a dexterous realm that is exciting just as much as it is vast.

Final Fantasy XIV introduces a world where the gods and goddesses have lived and not forgotten. Final Fantasy XIV takes place in vast greenery called Eorzea, which consists the continent of Aldenard and its surrounding islands, all situated in the world of Hydaelyn. Eorzea contains several independent city-states from pirate hideouts Limsa Lominsa to wealthy cities such as Ul’dah and even poor ones deep in Gridania with its forest woods. It has been said that the land of Eorzea was inhabited by gods and goddesses, called as the Twelve. The gods blessed the tribes that came to the land to reap its benefits and give in return, but they soon began to quarrel and war erupted that tore Eorzea apart. In this weakness, colossal airships from the Garlean Empire invaded the largest of the six city-states and subjected its people to their rule. The remaining city-states banded together and created an “Age of Calm,” where rebuilding efforts and defense took high priority. To better protect their lands and moreover their freedoms, the city-states formed a industrious venture to find a network of adventuring guilds, those who took defending the peace of the calm for generations to come.

Fifteen years before the events of the game, metal-clad warriors invaded Eorzea with flame-spewing weapons and colossal airships. The army came from the Garlean Empire, and it didn’t take long before the mightiest of the six city-states, Ala Mihgo, fell under their force. The other city-states united their power to defend themselves, but just as fast as it had arrived, the imperial army was gone again. A new era began at Eorzea, known as the “Age of Calm”, which the city-states spent by building up their defenses and training their armies. Before, the cities had hired mercenaries for their inner wars, but now they trusted only professional soldiers, leaving the sellswords unemployed and restless. To keep them from causing harm and steer their energy into helping others instead, the city-states founded a network of adventuring guilds.[1]

Final Fantasy XIV begins the construct of any MMO by allowing a character creation. There are no predetermined skillsets or essentially a central defining value point that gives a race benefit in terms of different classes or varying people. The Disciplines are what create the entire game combat structure and experience point levelset that is introduced to the player. The ingenious Armoury System allows for these disciplines to be utilized separately based on an iconic type of weapon or tool used to indicate each type. Disciplines include areas of the Battlefield & War, Magic, Land, and finally Hand.  Archer, Marauder, Gladiator, Lancer are all types of Battlefield discipline classes.  This level of customization begins the character growth that Final Fantasy XIV is clearly aiming for: a way to keep players constantly engaged in customization without giving such a high priority to making characters difficult to individualize.

Final Fantasy XIV brings a revitalizing gameplay mission structure that assigns challenges and rewards through the Guildleves. Guildleves are rectangular construct cards forged from stained crystal placed into a frame of prized metal, continuing to depict a virtuous deed of one of Eorzea’s patron saints, referred to as Guardians. To issue tasks or quests, guilds provide these plates, which allow access to hunting and harvesting on private lands, confiscating good, and negotiations with enemies of the major city-states of Hydaelyn. Players are required to join a guild in order to receive Guildleves. The manner of approaching Guildleves is different than the traditional quests, each which have their own types of levels and scaled-back quest award system which is disappointing. Final Fantasy XIV eliminates this system by engaging in honor conduct and giving everyone that engages in a quest the same benefits. Players can continue to do multiple leves at once with the use of aetheryte portals, providing quick access to task areas. Guildleves also grant use of aetheryte portals, ensuring quick travel about the region. As such, Guidleves can be shared and everyone can benefit doing quests together. While different quests have varying difficulty and more difficult enemies, nothing prevents anyone from attempting a true adventure in the safest sense or even in the most dangerous sense.   Leves are classified into three simplistic but varying types: Battlecraft leves, Fieldcraft leves, and Handcraft leves, for the Disciplines of War and Magic, Disciplines of Land, and Disciplines of Hand, correspondingly. Currently, levequests can be more varied in terms of the online action and pacing. Battlecraft leaves are typical find and grind, Fieldcraft relies on resource points counting and repeating, while Handcraft leves involve using the hands to obtain something useful for the craft and blacksmith professions. Final Fantasy XIV is undoubtedly still engaging in trying to make these daily-changing quests more dynamic, but currently that is the only thing lacking in the title itself: the mission storyline and the variety of the missions.

Final Fantasy XIV brings the lively setting of Eorzea to life in a soundtrack composed entirely by Nobuo Uematsu, one of the first fully created musical scores he has engaged in for a Final Fantasy title after ten years since Final Fantasy IX.  The music contains an enormous orchestra that fills each minute with violins, a continuing symphony of drums along with a mixture of bass with synth that creates a conspicuously determined sound score that touches the heart in places of this war-torn land. There are a total of 84 tracks for the title and the soundtracks will be released as installments: Final Fantasy XIV/Field Tracks and Final Fantasy XIV/Battle Tracks.

Final Fantasy XIV brings a lively world with incredible character growth and development through a more complex story, greater mission controls including freedom with parties and benefits, and finally an engulfing setting with musical score that keeps the visitors of Eorzea dedicated to protect it. The title’s mission structure is currently lacking from something more than a series of grinds, but there is an extreme level of potential for the MMORPG to improve and perfect itself as a title that is both rewarding and fulfilling as a duty to the protection and well-being of Eorzea and all the other city-states.

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