So, it’s been a while since I was able to dive into the world of FFXIV, and it’s making me kind of bummed out. I’ve tried countless other MMORPG’s since November 11, 2012 but nothing has since filled that void. I’ve tried TERA and RIFT, but they seem like generic WOW clones (fight these mobs, collect these items, talk to these people, grind grind grind, get this equipment, get slightly better equipment, do generic quest, get this equipment, yadda yadda yadda.) I’ve tried SWTOR and The Secret World – both of which had good stories, but the game play seemed too dated and clunky and had generic MMORPG feels to them. I tried FFXI – which was fun for a bit, and had a lot of the FFXIV terminology and community, but ultimately had an interface and world that just seemed too dated, too empty, and difficult to work with.
I’ve decided the final days before Beta of FFXIV 2.0 I would bite the bullet and try WOW again. I played WOW a few years ago and had some fun doing so, but never was too involved with it. Seemed again like something that had been over done and had no real depth to it. But I had heard that the development of 2.0 would have a lot of WOW elements to it, and after watching the videos of 2.0 and wanting to get ready for the experience that would be inspired by WOW, I decided to dive in and give it another shot.
Looking into my Battle.net account I saw I still had the standard version of WOW on there, so I downloaded the client and began the install. I also didn’t have any time on my game account, but I saw there was a free 10-day trial of The Burning Crusade, I went with that. So for the next week and a half I should have some free game time available. One thing I appreciated was how the client was a large download, but after the critical files had been loaded, I was able to start playing while the rest of the game downloaded in the background. I was playing after 10 minutes of launching the client. I didn’t bother with trying to revive my old characters but went with a new character. I picked a human hunter that came with his own little wolf pet. I think i’ll ride this character out to see how far I can level him up before FFXIV opens up.
When I first started the game, I had to chuckle over how many noobs were like me, just starting out in the beginning town and jumping around and talking smack about each other. I took some time to get familiar with the menus of the game, adjust the UI the best I could, filter some chat settings, set some graphics tweaks, and messing with preferences. Once familiar with all that I dove into the game.
This time around, WOW felt different. I could tell that some changes were made to the gameplay, the graphics, and the leveling system. Whether that was for the better I cannot say, but I am enjoying it. Many of the elements are the same old tired elements I remember from a few years ago, but the starting missions seemed different, the character creation was different, and the way abilities are learned is different. It was much more fluid and streamlined as far as what to do and where to go and who to talk to. It was nice to have map markers and a quest tracker – things I really yearned for when playing the older FFXI and one thing that really turned me off from the game. It was nice to have an HD user interface and to be able to look at the screen and know exactly what needed to be done next. I’m going to appreciate these featues in FFXIV 2.0 now that I’ve been using them again.
It was interesting going into a community of such a large scale and population as this one. As I stated earlier, right off the bat people were talking and cracking jokes and asking questions and trying out new things. It was easy to start up some conversations, ask for help, and join a guild. And oh how I missed being in a guild (Also known as a Linkshell in XIV of course).
The other MMORPG’s i’ve been playing since XIV didn’t have that whole fun guild community I found while starting WOW again. To just simply belong to a group of people who were in the game for fun, that would help out, could hold a fun conversation, party up, answer questions, or talk about what was going on with the game and the community was such a breath of fresh air. To me, having a group of people who actually are there with you make a game much more enjoyable. The whole point of an online RPG isn’t to simply grind and get to max level, but to make friends and enjoy the company along the way. That is what made games like The Secret World and SWTOR so difficult to work with – their world was segregated into different zones that catered to different level groups. Great for temporary parties, but not for lasting bonds. I never felt like I was in one world as everyone else or one community – always a separate part with strangers who were trying to leave as soon as possible and move on to the next zone or area for higher levels. To have a world where new players and veterans come and go for different reasons is invaluable and really makes the community feel more relevant no matter what stage in the game you are in.
I also did like how the map was blank until exploration. I always had that sense of wonder for what else lay out there, and what is waiting for me on the horizon. For a new adventurer, that sense that I am lost and piecing the puzzle together is a feeling that only happens once in a new game, and a feeling I always enjoy. Even offline games like Skyrim, I always enjoy making that new character and finding places and leveling up from scratch. (However, one thing I will appreciate with FFXIV 2.0 is that I don’t have to make an entirely new character to explore a different job or abilities). Travel in the game seemed appropriate too, with the ability to have mounts go get places faster, roads between settlements that were generally safe to travel on, and gryphons and other flying creatures for fast travel between settlements. I know XIV is one to use aetherites, airships, and chocobos for travel, but the concepts are the same.
So honestly, if you do take the mechanics that work for WOW, get rid of their generic Lore and put in Final Fantasy Lore – add Lalafells and Miqo’te to keep things more cheerful, put in chocobos and moogles and mobs that are relevant to the series – there are the makings for a great FFXIV 2.0. I like WOW’s quest tracking, settings, chat mechanics, interface, and controls. If they do base the UI in XIV 2.0 with that of WOW, I will be OK with it. If they add map markers and make travel easy to work with like in WOW, I will be OK with it. I can see where using WOW as in inspiration for 2.0 does come in handy and how it will attract a lot of new players and make a greater community. WOW has been changing and updating over time to keep up with being relevant and being the #1 MMORPG over so many years for a reason and the reasons are all ones I will be able to digest when 2.0 comes around. Because what I want from a good MMORPG are four things – a great community, sleek graphics, A good user interface, and always having something I can be doing when logged in. If those four things are there and easy to work with, then I welcome any game that can meet those demands. So far the only two games I have been able to choke down and enjoy playing are XIV and WOW. While I did like XIV astronomically more than WOW – knowing WOW was still far more enjoyable to me than any other MMORPG that has been dished out to me – well let’s just say there are far worse things that could happen.