Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Final Fantasy 14: The Free Weekend

Good Wednesday everyone!

How you noticed that over the past few months I've been talking more and more about video games? Not that I mind, I love video games!

Anywho, this weekend saw the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn - Free Weekend which meant any inactive accounts for the MMO were reactivated from Saturday until Monday morning.

So how did I find this game?

Let me first tell you my experiences up until this point:

So the game was originally released back in 2010 simply under the name Final Fantasy XIV. I played this game having preordered the Collector's Edition as I am want to do when it comes to MMOs.

But it was not a good game by any means.

The quests were designed in such a way that I really struggled to understand what I was doing, the game itself seemed unstable, like it was balancing on a razor's edge and could tumble off any moment.

But it was very pretty, and there were certain things like 'gear physics' that I really liked (when you walked or ran you equipment shifted around your body, retaining it's own imagined weight, but taking into account that it needs to move out of the way of your body as it is pushed one way or another). This may sound like something really minor, but it made me smile.

Also it had a tremendous sound track!

Ultimately however this could not defeat the fact that the game itself was pretty darn poor and Square Enix themselves admitted as much by the lead designer resigning and the subscription requirement being suspended all together allowing players to still play, but not having to pay monthly for the privilege.

Then the tsunami hit, and as we know the Japanese industry was knocked for six. As such for the first time after admitting defeat, Square Enix had no choice but to shut down their servers.

Fast forward to the tail end of last year and we saw the 'release' of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Now this is not the same game as the one released back in 2010, I had read the reviews and was pretty excited about it, especially because SE honoured the previous purchases made by their players.

This again might sound like a minor thing, but let's be clear, normally when a game is released, that's it! It's released! And how it fares is based on popular opinion and the income generated. If it bombs then the company just moves onto their next project allowing the earlier one to suffocate under it's own weight before being shut all together (just look at Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning).

But this is not what SE did, they fixed it, made it better in pretty much every way including making it more 'western friendly' and a lot less like the more traditional 'Korean Grindfest'. But not only that, this new game (because let's be clear, ARR is a new game, it is essentially FFXIV-2) as long as you had bought the original version, you do not need to buy the new one! So when I have a look at my account I see not only the original collectors edition rewards, but also the rewards for the new version's Collectors Edition - AWESOME!!

So we're clear, I have never heard of this happening before!

"But the game has been out for months" I hear you cry, "why didn't you play it then?" It's simple: time.

At the time I was fully invested in The Secret World, a great game that I am still subbed to, I'm just waiting for the next content release in a month or two, so with that investment playing a whole new game did not seem viable at all.

But now that I am between MMOs, flirting with Star Trek online and logging in occasionally to WoW for some alt levelling having this free weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity to give Final Fantasy another go.


So now you understand my history, I hope what I say from now on is in context.

This game is great fun!

It doesn't break new grounds, but what it does is superbly executed.

It ran on my rig super smooth with minimal lag and packet loss during peak times and at max quality, but then my computer has been significantly upgraded since 2010, so that will play a part in it.

It was also so much more beautiful, where my wife and I playing together actually stopped playing for about 5 mins just to stare at the most amazing sunrise we've ever seen in a game.

From what we have seen the quests are well laid out and enjoyable with little encouragements for completing content with friends (bonus XP for one) and the sound track is indescribably amazing!

Now of course I have only played for 2 days, and due to having a family that's only a few hours each day so I was only able to reach level 10, but on the back of this I was happy to hand over my credit card details and begin a paid for subscription for this game.


They say that the way consumers vote for something is with their wallets, and in this instance I voted yes!

So it is with great hope that you will join me in this beatific world, as while last night I was sat on my sofa painting models, tonight I'll be donning my armour and slaying mythical beasts with a 2 handed axe!

Until next time, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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