Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Review

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is an mmorpg with a Final Fantasy theme developed by Square Enix. There are two genders and five races to choose from, which are the hyur(humans), Elezen(elves), Lalafell(small childlike creatures), Miqo’te(cat people), and the Roegadyn(large hulking people). You can fairly customize your character’s appearance, such as height, colors, face, and even voice. After this there are a few roleplaying choices that you can make, such as a birthday and the deity that they worship. Your character’s name requires a first and last name, and if you can’t come up with one you can have one be randomly chosen for you depending on your race.

There are eight classes to start out as in A Realm Reborn, and the nice thing is that this isn’t permanent choice. After playing the game for a little while, it is possible to start the quest at every classes guild and after that you can easily swap to any class you want just by equipping the weapon required by it. Three magic classes, five physical classes, three gathering classes, and eight crafting classes. A lot of classes have abilities that can be shared between another, and even the gathering and crafting classes have these abilities as well.

When you get one class to thirty and the correct secondary class to fifteen, they will combine and allow you to start using a specialized job, such as the paladin job which requires thirty gladiator and fifteen conjurer. These jobs get a slight attribute bonus, their own special abilities only available to them, but a lot less slots to equip cross class abilities learned from other classes.

Crafting in A Realm Reborn is a lot like playing a minigame and you are actually manually crafting an item instead of it doing it automatically. As your crafting classes go up in level, you will acquire more abilities to use that will help you become successful and creating higher quality items. It actually is possible to automatically create items after making one yourself the first time, but this is more risky with a very low chance of getting better quality items.

Instead of just clicking on a rock or tree and automatically getting resources from it, you can choose exactly what you want to get from a particular node and your gear will even determine how successful you are. Just like crafting, gathering classes have skills that you can use while collecting items, such as decreasing the chance of failure and increasing the chance of obtaining higher quality items.

You can expect the usual economy mechanics in A Realm Reborn, mainly with ways to buy and sell items through a market. You can easily see what items are being sold for currently, and even the past sales of items which can all help you with deciding how much is good for an item you’re wanting to buy or sell.

Most enemies you will come across in the game have been in the Final Fantasy world for a long time, such as tonberries, malboros, cactaurs, and bombs. All enemies have a basic attack that they will hit you with, along with either one or two special attacks that project an area on the ground that you need to avoid, or lots of damage and even status effects will be applied to you. Bosses in dungeons act the same way as well but sometimes have unique mechanics, such as summoning additional monsters or instantly killing you with doom if you’re not paying attention. Later on you will fight the primals, which are basically the summons that you have seen in previous Final Fantasy games, such as Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan.

A major difference in the abilities in this game compared to other is that there is a two and a half second global cooldown, instead of the usual one second cooldown found in most other MMOs. However, getting speed stats on your gear will not only let you cast abilities faster, but will also lower the global cooldown as well. A lot of the abilities in the game, especially magic spells, resemble a lot of the spells you’ve seen in many other Final Fantasy Games. You can cast ice, fire, flare, holy, cure, etc… and even the dragoon or lancer classes have the jump ability. A fair amount of the abilities on each class are actually shareable between classes, such as using the cure spell on a paladin.

The quests available will be mostly the same as other MMOs, but there are a lot less of them to complete which shortens the time to get to max level greatly. You can expect the quests that want you to go kill a certain amount of enemies or use an item at a certain spot. Rewards for quests include experience, gil, and a choice of one piece of equipment. A single player story plays out while you complete the quests, and there will even be cutscenes for you to watch. Most dungeons and all end game content requires you to play through the story in order to play through them.

Out in the world of A Realm Reborn you may stumble upon fates, which are randomly appearing world quests that you can complete for a large reward. These generally require you to kill a bunch of enemies that spawn, a boss type of a normal enemy, collecting items and returning them to their owner, or guarding a traveler as they wander through the land.

Existing in a large world, many options of travel will help with cutting down time when you need to move from location to location. The major cities have teleportation points scattered around them and you can use them for free. You can hire chocobo porters to take you to already visited areas out in the world. Later on you can acquire your own chocobo that you can direct wherever you want. The best and fastest way to travel is through the aetheryte system, which will let you teleport to any crystal that you have tagged in the world no matter where you are. This includes a small fee however, which will only seem expensive in the beginning of playing the game. You can however select a total of three points to be your favorites, which will cause the gil fee to be halved. Finally, a home location can be selected where you can teleport to it at any time for free, but you must wait 15 minutes between each time of doing it.

Instead of being called guilds, free companies are groups of players playing with the same goal in mind. They can gain ranks that will gain the whole company bonuses, such as being able to use the guild vault and providing everyone with experience bonuses.

A dungeon finder tool called the duty finder allows you to automatically get put into groups with other people to complete the dungeons and boss fights that require more than one person. Even though you can be every class on one character, you can only queue as one class or job at a time instead of multiple. There is the option of choosing to play with other people on different regions and language servers, such as french or japanese. So far all group content is available through the finder, even large raids.

One of the biggest differences in these dungeons compared to other game is that they require a party of 4 people instead of 5. You will encounter multiple groups of enemies usually in groups of three before each boss. While exploring the dungeons there will be treasure chests hidden around that have the chance to drop good gear. Most will have three bosses in them which sometimes have unique mechanics about them, but most of the time you just need to avoid danger zones. Endgame dungeons will award you with tomestones along with the usual gear, which can be enchanged for some of the best gear in the game.

As of now, the endgame is fairly lacking but is also being actively developed for as well. There are only two real dungeons to play through after you reach the max level of 50 to obtain gear and tomestones. After you obtain some new gear, the next step is to fight the 3 harder versions of single boss fight encounters that you did while playing through the story. When these are defeated, you will finally have access to an actual raid which consists of 5 mini dungeons with bosses in each. A 24 man raid will be available soon in the first major patch.

With A Realm Reborn available on the Playstation 3 as well, both platform versions are actually completely playable together. PC and PS3 users are all playing together without even realizing it. This increases the chance that you will be able to play with friends, since it gives them another option to play the game.

Being Final Fantasy themed and the ability to do everything on one character is pretty much the only big differences between A Realm Reborn and most other major MMOs. For the first few major updates of the game, you will receive them every 3 months at first. You can expect to see new dungeons, new raids, new jobs and classes, as well as completely new mechanics such as PvP and housing.

Other than the large amount of options available in A Realm Reborn that exist in all other MMOs, one unique thing is that you can play it with a controller since it is also designed for the Playstation 3. The graphics aren’t pushing any boundaries, though if you have a fairly good computer you can easily max it out and get good FPS. Texture quality could be better in some cases, since during cutscenes objects can appear ugly when you’re looking closely at them. Except for a select few cases during cutscenes, there is almost no voice acting in the game. You will recognize a lot of familiar songs and sounds from previous Final Fantasy games, such as the victory tune and chocobo riding.

The base game doesn’t feel very well put together, and the restriction of only being able to do one thing at a time gets annoying at times. You can’t talk to NPCs while mounted, your inventory can’t be moved around when you’re doing another action, and other little things just like these. After getting your main class and job to max level, which was easily done with the quests available to you, leveling up additional classes has very few options. Since most, if not all, quests were completed already on your main class, this means the only way to level up anything else is through doing tons of fates and dungeons. Even though you will get a 50% increase in experience to begin with, doing either of these activities over and over can get boring fast.

Dungeons and most bosses found within them all feel mostly the same and can get repetitive quickly. Enemies are almost always in groups of three and they never do anything special other than attack the tank and sometimes use an AoE attack. Most bosses just require you to avoid attacks and rarely have any real unique mechanics of their own, though the ones at the end of dungeons usually do something different than normal.

The end game raids and boss fights are challenging and fun, but the path to get to them could have been a whole lot better. There is only two whole real dungeons to go through at max level to earn currency and gear, which will get boring very fast when similar MMOs have multitudes of dungeons to do at endgame.

There is almost no customization at all when it comes to your character and classes. Attribute points and the sharing of cross job skill do exist, but there is almost never a reason to not build your character the way as everyone else. There are few sets of gear at the end of the game, and everyone of the same job will almost always look the same. Only crafted gear can be dyed or have materia slotted into, which further reduces the amount of customization since most gear that you will wear at endgame will be special pieces obtained through currency. Being available on the Playstation 3, as well as the exact same as the PC version, it could be said that a MMO on a console can potentially prevent it from being developed in ways that have made other major PC MMOs great.

As long as you know the general idea behind MMOs and the class that you have chosen, there is very little difficulty until you get to the end game fights and raids. Even then, getting better gear and simply practicing the fights will allow you to beat anything. Crafting, gathering, and leveling up your character allows you to stop at any time, though doing dungeons and events with other players might not be the best for people with tight schedules. The shortest dungeons can take at minimum 30 minutes. When you get to level 50 though, the single boss fight raids only take 10 minutes if they are done in one attempt.

Until you get to the endgame raids, the game is very simple and easy, especially for veteran players. You can expect around the same amount of difficulty for new raids and boss fights as most MMOs, as in it stays challenging until you get very good gear and have done the fights many times. Harder versions of similar fights are available, and will allow people to attempt their favorite fights at a higher level. The usual achievements in MMOs exist with A Realm Reborn, but the ability to level up every class and job on one character adds a whole lot more for people to do. MMOs don’t really have a game length since there is always stuff to do and updates add new content all the time, but the amount of time spent getting to endgame is a good thing to know. Depending of course on how often you play the game, it can take 1-2 weeks to max out your character if you focus on one class or job only, and branching out into multiple classes will of course slow you down.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn costs 30 dollars on the PC, along with 70 or 50 dollar collector’s edition depending on whether it is a physical or digital purchase. It is possible to upgrade to the collector’s edition later on if you don’t currently want to spend that much money. The collection includes physical items such as the box, art book, soundtrack, art cards, security token, and a movie. Digital in-game items that you can get with it are a cosmetic hat, a Coeurl mount, baby behemoth pet, and armor for your chocobo.

If you are only interested in having one character to play, the game only costs 13 dollars a month which is slightly less than other subscription based MMOs. It is possible to pay 15 dollars a month instead if you want to have more than one character on the same server, but with how you can accomplish everything on one character, there isn’t really a reason to pay more for this.

There are currently no additional purchases that you can make, and everything is available to all players without having to pay additional money, such as free MMOs having a cash shop.

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