So first time reviewing a MMO as such everyone will have different experiences so it would be unfair to give a review rating. Some may have more of a single experience playing more on their own, others might end up with a group of friends and have a much larger social experience.
Final Fantasy is a long running franchise (I know it says 14 but there have been more than 14 games, much more if you include remakes and rereleases) and 14 is their second (but as you shall see, it’s technically 3rd) foray into a MMO. When it was originally released it was… rather poorly received so they had to do something drastic. They ended the world with a dramatic cut scene and haunting song before then relaunching the game, set in the same world but with much better gameplay and set a few years after, keeping the plot going but now in this changed world.
The game has 2 expansions, starting with the core game called “A Realm Reborn” you then have “Heavens Ward” and most recently “Stormblood“.
There are currently 5 races:
- Hyur (humans),
- Elezen (elves),
- Miqo’te (cat people, basically humans with cat ears and tails),
- Roegadyn (big people… no can’t think of a better way to describe them),
- Lalafell (adorable little people who are either bundles of joy or the most evil people in the game… yeah its one or the other with them)
and for those with Heavensward the Au Ra (kind of human dragony people).
Each come in two subraces which I am not going to list here in full but for example with Lalafell you get Plains folk and Dunesfolk.
From that you then can choose your starting class, which will determine your group position, be it tank, healer or dps. As you progress these classes will evolve into the more recognized Final Fantasy jobs such as palidan (tank), white mage (healer) ,dragoon (dps) and many more, black mage, warrior etc.
When making your character there are many levels of customization on appearance including height, eye colour, facial markings and many more so no 2 Lalafells should look alike. Your starting class will also dictate which area and city you start in, for example an arcanist (which becomes summoner later) will start you out in the port city of Limsa Lominsa, while thurmaturge (which becomes black mage) sets you to the desert city of Ul’dah and so your starting experience and story for the first 15 levels may be different from the others.
As you venture out into the world you will enter combat using your skills to complete quests, kill random things progress the plot, find out the mysteries of the world. Later you group up with others to complete dungeons, fight gods and much more. Fortunately getting into random groups couldn’t be easier thanks to the duty finder. It can be annoying though when you come to a point in the game where you can’t continue the story until you complete a dungeon, so you are sitting about waiting for a queue to pop (especially bad at points where for story purposes your say stuck on a boat).
For a MMO the story is amazing. It’s a great single player experience that thankfully didn’t get to the stupid points that some of the other recent Final Fantasy games got to (we’re looking at you 13) though there was a point where in a cut scene I was unable to do stuff even though in the game I took down numerous gods.
Of course it’s not just combat, I know many people who have chosen instead of doing end game raids to treat Crafting as their end game, forgoing almost all combat to craft things instead, some for the houses you can purchase for your character to stay in. Non combat jobs can be split into gathering and crafting. Gathering has classes like miner, fisherman botanist etc, while crafting includes the likes of alchemist, carpenter (yes you could if you wanted pretend to be a cat boy Jesus… to be honest I’ll be surprised if this bit stays in). So you see you can play the game as you feel at high ends though you probably will have to complete the main story to unlock the full zones and fly about (on mounts, they haven’t implemented a superman cape yet).
Also worth mentioning are the number of events for limited time, so you probably will have missed a few Halloween events like the quest chain that gave you a witches broom, but these are just cosmetic stuff and often a good laugh with a neat item at the end of it.
The world is full of characters that thanks to a strong story have a good degree of personality to them. You will remember the enemies you crushed as well as the people you save (like her royal cuteness Nanamo Sultana of Ul’dah). Because of this, villains you take down have a lot more weight to them rather than just being told a guy is someone you have to kill. You saw why they have to be beaten and when you fight a major boss they have their own unique boss music. And let’s talk about that for a bit.
Final Fantasy games have great music and this is no exception, when you fight a story specific single boss it’s accompanied by an unique boss track, often with vocal accompaniment. Dungeons also have their own music but boss music is standard (different for each expansion though) and you can even unlock the sound track in game to play in your own home.
The game is very expansive, though you can’t just fly over mountains into the next zone like you can in WOW as each zone is its own instance. You do get the feeling of this expansive world that we have only seen a portion of it so far. If you are a fan of Final Fantasy and have a decent internet connection, or looking for a good MMO this is one I can recommend. But with all MMOs you get more out of it the more time you put in. There’s a good amount for people of all skill levels though or even those that want to just live the life of a small 2 foot tall blacksmith.