May 2013 – I just got my free registration code for the beta testing of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and got to play it right away! Unlike its other flagship Final Fantasy series known for being single player role-playing games, it’s the next MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) after FFXI designed to simultaneously cater to millions of players around the globe in an open-world environment via the internet. So yes, basically just like World of Warcraft and Ragnarok Online.
The game will be released to the world this August 27, 2013 to both the PC and PS3, for $30 and 40$, respectively. There will also be a monthly subscription of $12. Come 2014, a version for the PS4 will also be released, and characters from the PS3 platform will be transferable to the PS4 game. The best thing about this is that it’s cross-platform compatible! Meaning console players can meet and play with PC users.
The Story: In the supposed peaceful Astral Era, the forces of Garlemald attempted to lay siege to Eorzea with goals of dominating it. The war between Garlemald’s forces and the Eorzean people led to the elder primal Bahamut being released which led to it eradicating the whole of the land, thus ushering the beginning of the cataclysmic Umbral Era.
Five years have passed, and the people have tried to rebuild what it had once lost. But newer, stronger and darker forces are plotting for Eorzea once more and those with the means, power and skill must protect it at all cost. A new adventurer arrives in Eorzea, “His story yet unwritten.”
Character Creation includes a lot of detailed customizable features to make your character look like no other. For the female Miqo`te race, which I chose, this includes Height, Bust Size, Skin Color, Tail Shape, Tail Length, Hairstyle, Hair Color, Face, Jaw, Eye Shape, Iris Size, Eye Color, Eyebrows, Nose, Mouth, Lip Color, Facial Features, Tattoos, Tattoo Color, Face Paint, Face Paint Color and Voice. Similar to any game, creating your character should take quite the amount of time already even before starting to play the game itself.
Now, for the various customizations:
1.) RACE – Hyur (Mid-Landers / High-Landers), Miqo’te (Seekers of the Sun / Keepers of the Moon), Elezen (Wildwood / Duskwight), Roegadyn (Sea Wolves / Hells Guard), and Lalafell (Plainsfolk / Dunesfolk)
2.) NAME DAY and GUARDIAN – Attributes and specialty elements would depend on what options you’ll choose
3.) STARTING LOCATION – The great cities of Ul’dah, Gridania and Limsa Lominsa
A. Disciples of War – Gladiator, Pugilist, Marauder, Lancer, Archer
B. Disciples of Magic – Conjurer, Thaumaturge, Arcanist
C. Disciples of Hand – Carpenter, Blacksmith, Armorer, Goldsmith, Leatherworker, Weaver, Alchemist, Culinarian
D. Disciples of the Land – Miner, Botanist, Fisher
5.) JOB – Paladin, Monk, Warrior, Dragoon, Bard, White Mage, Black Mage, Summoner, Scholar
6.) SERVER – There are 3 regions, US/EU and JPN, and both have 10 servers each
At the start of the game, your character will be on a caravan on the way to the city of your choice. I’m not sure how it goes with the other races in other cities, but mine was in Ul’dah and upon arriving at the city, I was asked to first join the guild before anything else. There I was tasked to a barrage of minor quests to help me get used to the game’s environment.
For character movement, you are given an option between using a keyboard and a controller. I preferred the former since I’m more used to using KB/M. With the keyboard, you can move around with the usual WASD keys, or right click + left click to move forward and move it left or right to navigate the camera.
The city is pretty damn big! I was confused at first with so many entrances and exits around town, but I guess that’s just because it’s a first for me and I’m really not that savvy with MMORPGs. Parts of the town include the various guilds you can be a part of, the individual peddlers, the official marketplace as well as other features I’m not yet familiar with like Mooglebox, the Chocobo Stables, etc. The public marketplace is also looking good mainly because real money isn’t involved! Of course nobody wants others to just buy in their way to win, right? Unlike some other online games out there.
The battle system and character progression are no-brainers– you just get out of town if you want to fight lesser monsters and you’ll get EXP for that, but leveling up is mostly accomplished by completing quests. To fight enemies, you just approach them, left click or tab, then use your abilities thru their corresponding assigned hotkeys. Of course, your strategy and abilities will depend on what class your character is.
One of the things I find most enjoying is the FATE (Full Active Time Event) System. A FATE is a battle event that randomly appears outside towns and cities where a strong foe or group of foes must be defeated. Anyone and everyone can join in even in an already started FATE while how much EXP and gold you get is determined on how much you contributed to the battle. This gives off that feeling of a need of teamwork even with strangers as you cannot defeat FATE foes single-handedly.
I don’t have much experience with playing MMORPGs so I can’t give out a clear-cut statement on how better this is versus other games. I have played WoW and Ragnarok before in their free trials, but that’s it. There’s Diablo III, too, but I guess that doesn’t count as one. Calling a 4-player cooperative gameplay ‘massive’ is an overstatement. What I can say though, is that I enjoyed playing the game and am definitely determined to buy and play it until I reach the maximum level cap or even more. That simple, I guess.
You can try it out yourself for free by requesting for a Beta Key here. The release date is nearing, though, so you might as well buy it after reviewing cinematic and gameplay videos online. If you want to pre-order, you can do it here and get to play it earlier than the release date as well as get a bonus Caith Sith Doll Minion and a Moogle Cap for your character! Anyway, I leave you with further screenshots of some of my character’s different emotes:
FXIV: ARR Minimum System Requirements for the PC
Operating System: Windows® Vista 32/64bit, Windows® 7 32/64 bit
Processor: Intel® Core™2 Duo
Graphics: NVIDIA® Geforce® 8800 Series, ATI Radeon™ HD 4770
Memory: 2GB (4GB recommended for 64bit OS)
Disk Space: 20GB