After roughly 250 hours of play, I think I’m finally ready to write this article.
MMOs are a genre of games that I used to love growing up. My family would play World of Warcraft together back in the glory days of the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. Back in middle school and a bit of high school, I played the living hell out of Guild Wars 2. We even played The Old Republic when that was still new and I didn’t hate Star Wars with the passion of a thousand suns!
But over time, my love for these games faded. I don’t even remember why. Maybe I ran out of time. Maybe I just got tired of them. Maybe I got sick of the free-to-play shit that always tried to squeeze an extra buck out of me.
Come to think of it, it was probably that one.
Then, one day, I got bored and curious. So I decided to give MMOs another shot. And I figured I may as well go for the one that seemed most popular: Final Fantasy 14.
And something awakened in me. A beast that had been sleeping within me for years. One that woke up to discover that it was hungry.
That’s my long-winded way of saying I got addicted.
There’s a lot to love about this game. The story is great, the community is friendly, and the gameplay is some of the most player-friendly and addictive in any MMO. If I were to try and list every single reason, I’d be here for years. I don’t have time for that, I need to get back to playing FF14!
I guess I’ll start with the class system. One of my biggest pet peeves in any MMO was having to create an entirely new character and start from scratch whenever I wanted to try another class. Did a new class drop with the expansion? Make a new guy and play the whole game again just to try it out! Don’t like the class you started out with? Roll a new character and restart!
Not so in FF14. See, in this game, each class is like a piece of equipment. Once you complete a certain quest to unlock it and equip that class’s specialized weapon, bam! You’re playing as that class now! Don’t like playing Paladin? Swap to a staff and now you’re playing a Black Mage! Don’t like that? Change to a cane and now you’re a White Mage! Don’t feel like playing a tank today? Just swap to DPS or healer! You can literally play every single class in the game with one character!
It’s not just combat classes, either. All the gatherers and crafters are like that, too. In another game, like World of Warcraft, you can only have a few at a time on top of your regular class. In FF14, they’re their own specialized class. Which, again: you can swap at will. Want to be a blacksmith and make weapons and armor? Go ahead! Want to cover all your bases and become an alchemist at the same time? Totally an option!
And unlike other MMOs: the stuff you make isn’t immediately made obsolete by raiding! Huzzah!
Speaking of which, dungeons and raids in this game are pretty fun. Sure, most of them are just ‘run through three hallways to fight three bosses’. But those bosses are really fun to fight! Just challenging and complex enough to be fun while being simple enough to be able to learn that newbies can learn how to handle it quickly.
Also, this game is incredibly newcomer friendly! Newbies, lovingly called Sprouts, are all marked with a little green icon next to their name. You’d think that they would be singled out; it’s like if they wore a badge saying “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING!” on it. But rather than being singled out by more experienced players, Sprouts are often encouraged by them. The icon encourages older players to be patient and teach them how to handle it.
Which is very helpful. Because this game can be very overwhelming for first-timers. It took me forever to figure it out.
There is so much to love in this game. You can go to the Gold Saucer and play minigames for fun cosmetic gear and mounts! You can go to the warfront and battle against extremely high-level enemies with other players. You can buy a house and furnish it with random crap you get across the world. Fuck, dude, there Shadowbringer raids are just NeiR Autamata shit! And you can fight Rathalos from Monster Hunter!
I could go on and on about the combat and the story and all the rest. But I’ll save that for a proper review rather than a fanboy gushing session. Maybe I’ll do it when Endwalker comes out, I dunno.
Point is: I love this game. And if you have considered playing it at any point, I’d highly recommend giving it a shot. It gets off to a very slow start, as all MMOs do. But once you’ve gotten to the first expansion, you’ll begin to understand why this game has become as popular as it has.
Seriously, it’s so popular that the devs had to apologize for the long que times to enter the servers. That’s a good problem to have, if you ask me.