hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

MMO

Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

Jun 19 // Chris Carter
Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixMSRP: $39.99 ($12.99 per month)Released: June 19, 2015 (Early Access), June 23, 2015 Picking up directly where the last campaign left off, the first quest of Heavensward is located in the Coerthas Central Highlands, directing you to Ishgard. Yep, you heard that right -- it continues the story of the core game, so you'll need to complete the main campaign (ending with "Before the Dawn") and reach level 50 first. Newer players will find at least double the experience from the original vanilla quests to help boost them up a bit. According to Square Enix, the new Heavensward story is roughly 50 hours, and based on my pace so far in at 10, that's fairly accurate. It's about the same length as the original game, which is quite a feat, and about the sweet spot for a campaign in my mind. There's so much other stuff to do to keep you busy at this point. The flow of the process is to get from levels 50 to 60 with mostly story quests, which has worked out for the most part with my first character -- so far, I'm level 53 and counting. I decided to take on the leveling process with my trusty Paladin, who would be able to jump into queues at a moment's notice. Most classes have a handful of new abilities, and in the Paladin's case, there are five in total. I've acquired one so far -- the power to use a pinch block ability to give him some extra durability. There are a few new combo abilities that mix up your rotation quite a bit, as well as a few tweaks (like an accuracy buff to Shield Oath). It's just enough to keep you on your toes and get you interested in leveling without making things too tricky. Ishgard is the new capital city and the expansion hosts nine new locations, all of which are much larger than the original zones in A Realm Reborn. This is mostly because they now support flying mounts, a brand new mechanic in Heavensward. You can't just fly right off the bat, though -- you'll have to attune to each zone through a combination of locating aether and completing key quests. The idea is that you'll have fully explored the area by the time you're done, opening up a more vertical approach later on. [embed]294029:59024:0[/embed] It sounds like it could be annoying, but you'll get a compass item that will help you find said aether currents with instructions that aren't too vague and aren't on-the-nose either. It's a fun mechanic that reminds me a lot of the same design philosophies found in Guild Wars 2. Some of the currents are even built around jumping puzzles. Flying isn't as glorious as in, say, Aion, but it's very fun to soar about when tracking down hunt targets. I can see Square Enix doing a lot of cool things with future updates like hidden areas and quests; there's some of that already now. Speaking of flying, your personal Chocobo will allow you to do just that at a certain point in the story, so everyone can easily get on track and enjoy the ride. Having said that, the PlayStation 4 version is starting to show its age already. Although this is launch so there's lots more people concentrated in specific areas, the frame rate crawls a bit more than it used to in vanilla Realm Reborn, especially since most of these zones are so much bigger. It's not game-breaking, but it is odd. The PS4 was previously a powerhouse and nearly on par with the PC. I haven't tested it for that long, but the newly minted DirectX 11 engine on PC (that also released today) is drastically better than ever before, alleviating nearly all of my concerns. I'll provide more information on this in the future. The quality of the story is improved overall, drawing from what the development team learned from all of the superior updates. It deals with a thousand-year conflict between Ishgard and Dravania. I'm interested in seeing where this goes, and I'll provide a spoiler-free update when I complete it. The actual quests haven't been any better or worse than A Realm Reborn, and so far, the theme of the expansion seems to be "more of a good thing, without re-inventing the wheel." There are two starting zones to alleviate the congestion, which have worked, on top of the fact that roughly half of the post-level-50 community is going back to the old content with the new jobs anyway. As for other content, there are a handful of new dungeons, one of which I've tried out already called Dusk Vigil. It's about on par with the recent additions in the newer updates. That is to say they're very flashy, filled with their own lore bits, and while they cut down on exploration quite a bit, they're all designed to be completed casually with the occasional peppering of a challenge. The pacing is spot on, and they don't drag like a few of the vanilla dungeons. The same goes for the first hard mode trial (read: group instanced boss) I've encountered, which features a really badass bug that I don't want to spoil here. Suffice to say, it's a little more interesting than the initial Primals you meet in A Realm Reborn. Several other classes have gotten a few major shakeups, like the Bard, who now has a DPS-based Limit Break, and the Black Mage, which must stay within Ley Lines, a magical circle, to gain extra damage by way of haste. Every class now has a unique level-three Limit Break animation, which is great. All of these changes help make your job feel more unique and make Final Fantasy XIV a more well-rounded MMO as a whole. Switching to my other jobs for a few moments felt different, especially the Bard. You can really notice even just a few extra skills in dungeon runs. As for the three new jobs, I had a chance to try out Dark Knight, but there's also the Astrologian and Machinist. Unlocking them is as easy as reaching Ishgard and talking to a specific quest starter in town, then doing a 10-minute quest for each -- that's it! They all start at level 30, and come equipped with a few pieces of gear and roughly 10 skills each at first. It's perfect, as there's just enough there to give you plenty to do right away, but not so much that you're overwhelmed. While I need more time to test them, I think they all bring something unique to the table, and I love the Dark Knight's risk-reward mechanic. It's the freshest take on tanking yet. Other extras that I still need to dig into include the all new Au Ra race, the DirectX11 visual upgrade on PC, new hunt targets, a more comprehensive loot system for raids, the power to queue for dungeons with less than five players, Free Company (guild) upgrades like Workshops and Airships, crafting upgrades, Bismarck and Ravana as new Primals, more Triple Triad cards, a future new Frontlines PVP map, an all-new Relic questline set to debut in 3.1, and a new Alexander raid, which will unlock at a later date. Stay tuned as I continue to play through Heavensward, work my way up to level 60, and try out the new classes. Only then will I provide my full review for the expansion.+ [This review is based on a retail build provided by the publisher.]
Final Fantasy XIV review photo
Par for the heavens
The story of how Square Enix turned Final Fantasy XIV around is still incredible to me. I always tell people about playing it at E3 in 2010 for the very first time, pre-Realm Reborn, and how it was one of the least fun MMOs I...

FFXIV photo
FFXIV

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward's launch is bumpy, but it works


Server issues, but not nearly as bad
Jun 19
// Chris Carter
Well, this is a lot smoother than Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn's initial launch, which left some people unable to log in for weeks. The Heavensward expansion debuted today for early access subscribers (read: pre-ord...
Heavensward photo
Pretty standard stuff
The Heavensward expansion launches for Final Fantasy XIV in a few hours, and Square Enix has sent over a copy of the Collector's Edition. For $130, it includes the expansion, a special box, a dragon mount figure, an...

FFXIV photo
FFXIV

Here are the preliminary patch notes for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward


Tons of info to sift through
Jun 17
// Chris Carter
Square Enix has posted the 3.0 update patch notes for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, which is due for launch on Friday for early access pre-orders. It details the new locations, jobs, abilities, items, and everything else yo...
The Old Republic photo
The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic's next expansion is story-driven and free


'This is the expansion for our players'
Jun 15
// Brett Makedonski
BioWare has been at the helm of Star Wars: The Old Republic for a fairly long time now. Come December, the game will have been around for four years. All the while, BioWare's been tweaking, expanding, and enhancing the p...
ION photo
ION

DayZ creator's ION is an MMO set in space


Colonize the universe
Jun 15
// Jordan Devore
During Microsoft's E3 2015 press conference, DayZ creator Dean Hall revealed his next game, ION, a simulation MMO exclusively for PC and Xbox One. Gameplay wasn't shown, but here's how that will go down: "players will b...
Toontown Rewritten photo
Toontown Rewritten

Toontown Rewritten brings back my first MMO


Somehow Disney lawyers haven't noticed
Jun 15
// Joe Parlock
Toontown Online was my very first MMO, back when I was a wee child. It was pretty rad at the time: teaming up with people all over the world was a novel idea at the time, and even though I never subscribed, I can still vivid...
Neverwinter: Strongholds photo
Neverwinter: Strongholds

Neverwinter: Strongholds is whipping guilds into shape


With just a hint of Draenor
Jun 12
// Joe Parlock
Dang, Cryptic and Perfect World sure are pumping out the expansions for Their pretty awesome MMO Neverwinter pretty fast. Hot on the heels of Elemental Evil and the Xbox One release of the game, Cryptic has announced their s...
The Elder Scrolls Online photo
The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online suffers totally unexpected launch issues


Baffling scientists and all religions
Jun 10
// Joe Parlock
A well-known MMO suffers major launch-day issues that prevent people from being able to play. Shocker. In a turn of events surprising nobody, players of The Elder Scrolls Online on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are rep...
Ark Live Stream photo
Ark Live Stream

Come hunt some dinosaur strange with me in ARK: Survival Evolved


LIVE on the Internet
Jun 08
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: You missed the stream! Turns out ARK is really just about taking poops in other people's huts.] You know me, Dr. Dinosexual, I love a hot prehistoric lizard from time to time, and this is one of those times. Com...
Wander is broken photo
Wander is broken

Wander on PS4 and PC is horribly broken


How did this get through certification?
Jun 05
// Jed Whitaker
It gives me no joy to report that one of my favorite games of PAX East 2015, Wander, has been released in a broken state. Players are reporting all kinds of issues with it on the PS4 subreddit, including crashing, broken or ...
Star Trek Online photo
Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online starts summer event, answers important question


Oh, and a new ship or something
Jun 05
// Josh Tolentino
Indeed, Star Trek fans, the answer that's eluded us is finally here: Andorian chest hair is as white as fresh snowfall.   Now, you could go back to your business, or you could stick around Star Trek Online between t...

Triad Wars just made me want to play Sleeping Dogs

Jun 03 // Brett Makedonski
For those who don't know, Triad Wars is a PC-only MMO set in the Sleeping Dogs world. It's about rising through the ranks of the underworld, and eventually being the kingpin. This is done by attacking other players' turf and defending yours. However, the multiplayer is asynchronous in that you don't have to be online in the event of an invasion. You set up lines of defense to fight for you in your absence. As Jordan and I divvied up Pre-E3 assignments at Square Enix's showcase, I knew I wanted Triad Wars. That desire was predicated entirely on this trailer; I wanted a developer to show me exactly how many ridiculous, over-the-top kills he could perform. Skewer someone on a pile of marlin heads so I can laugh about how dumb that is. Instead I was sat down and given instructions. The combat description (which came first) began with "So, have you played Sleeping Dogs?" and was asked with such an inflection as to proceed quickly when I answered in the affirmative. "Nope," I replied. That killed the mood right fast. From there, I was sort of left to fiddle with the controls to figure out how to fight on my own. Luckily, henchmen were lined up plot by plot to fall to my lightning-fast fists. I wrangled them mostly with no trouble, figuring out the two or three different combos that seemed to always do the trick. In reality, that might've been less on me, and more due to the fact that the developer approximated that the account I was playing on was 50 or so hours in. "Okay then," I responded, unsure of how this play experience could be transformed into any sort of coherent preview. I mean, I completely blew past any sense of progression that would act as a good indicator as to how the MMO components were. You know, the addictive quality that keeps players coming back to the same game time and time again. "Take me to do something," I half-demanded in a friendly tone. I was sure this was just a waste of time at this point. So, I hopped in a sporty car and drove off to attack another base. I worked my way through the exteriors of the compound, relying on careful headshots while strafing and my hastily-learned combat moves. Eventually, I karate-kicked the boss to submission. It was all pretty easy -- again, probably more a result of that 50+ hour account than my competency. And, that was the end of it. My takeaway from the whole thing was that Triad Wars seemed rather vanilla, but I'm not completely comfortable with that assessment. After all, I didn't play it the way it's supposed to be played. When I picked it up, it seemed like I was already on top, rather than climbing the ranks to dominate Hong Kong's seedy underbelly. I also simply didn't have adequate time to learn its systems, such as the intricate in-game economy it supposedly features. Really, none of it was presented in a way that MMOs need to be. That's unfortunate, but it's less a knock against this demo, and more a quality of all MMOs in preview situations. But, on a personal note, it made Sleeping Dogs seem like it's probably a pretty killer game. There's an environment that's definitely worth exploring more. I don't know if an MMO is how I want to see it, though. However, those who have been through Sleeping Dogs might find this the perfect opportunity to get back to that world. Any excuse to shove some poor bastard's head through a circular saw, really.
Triad Wars preview photo
More of a compliment than it sounds
Here's another one of those "Confession: I have a shame pile of unplayed games" statements: I never got around to playing Sleeping Dogs. Yeah, I heard it was surprisingly good, but something about it never piqued my interest....

Greed Monger photo
Greed Monger

Developers offer their games to Greed Monger backers


Greed Monger ran off pre-made platform
Jun 01
// Joe Parlock
Last week on Destructoid we reported on the colossal failure that was Greed Monger. Cancelled after three years of development and $100,000 raised via crowdfunding, those who pledged to the game would no longer be receiving t...
Greed Monger photo
Greed Monger

Greed Monger cancelled after raising $100k


Another in a long line of KS failures
May 29
// Joe Parlock
Here’s a fun game dev fact for you: making an MMO is a long, hard, and expensive task that will generally end in failure and misery for everyone involved. If huge companies like BioWare can screw it up, it’s proba...
WildStar F2P photo
Here's all the details
For years, WildStar was touted as the next great subscription-based MMO. It was unveiled all the way back in 2011at Gamescom, and the hype kind of built from there. I had a chance to play multiple builds, and I liked wha...

The Elder Scrolls Online photo
The Elder Scrolls Online

'Fraudulent' Elder Scrolls Online Steam keys revoked


Pay up another $50 for the game or else
May 27
// Joe Parlock
Bethesda and ZeniMax Online have announced in a forum post that they are beginning to close Elder Scrolls Online accounts bought through unapproved Steam key resellers. Starting yesterday, May 26, accounts with codes bought f...
FFXIV photo
FFXIV

Nobuo Uematsu unveils his beautiful new Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward theme


Also, have some expansion footage
May 22
// Chris Carter
One of the best parts of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is the music. Most people don't consider it a "real" Final Fantasy because of the MMO tag, but let me tell you -- it's probably my favorite main entry sinc...
TERA photo
TERA

TERA is now the most-played MMO on Steam apparently


With Neverwinter behind it
May 21
// Chris Carter
TERA Online has been doing very well since it debuted on Steam this month, because according to the publisher, it's now the most played MMO on the platform. It's leading the race of "all-time peak concurrency on Steam," ...
Capcom photo
Capcom

Capcom seemingly doesn't understand memes


This isn't how things go viral
May 21
// Laura Kate Dale
Back in October last year people on the Internet started taking the cast of Final Fantasy XV, all sat in a car together, and photoshopping them into funny locations. Square Enix saw what the Internet had organically done and ...
Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Chocobos are using Twitter to race in Final Fantasy XIV


It's funny because birds tweet
May 21
// Joe Parlock
Final Fantasy XIV confused the shit out of me. I played it for about a month, and I’ll probably go back to it, but god damn I had no idea what I was doing. But now there is an anchor in that game, something I know and ...
Everquest photo
Everquest

EverQuest's RageFire will be going back to 1999 when it works


It's 1999, but also confusingly not 1999
May 21
// Joe Parlock
I guess the gang over at Everquest really liked the look of Runescape’s 2007-styled server, because they've just launched their own similar server called RageFire. Kind of. And it’s bringing back 1999-styled ...
Wildstar photo
Wildstar

Wildstar might be going free to play in August


Just as predicted
May 14
// Joe Parlock
Look, I’m going to try and not be smug about this… but I was right. A few weeks ago, Wildstar was pulled from the shelves in Australia, leading to speculation it might be going free to play or Guild Wars­-st...
Leeroy Jenkins photo
Leeroy Jenkins

10 years ago today, the Leeroy Jenkins meme was born


Ah, vanilla WoW
May 11
// Chris Carter
10 years ago on May 11, 2005, the "Leeroy Jenkins" video was uploaded to Warcraft Movies, a fansite for World of Warcraft. It started catching on like wildfire though various WoW communities, and eventually, became a househo...
Dragonhunter GW2 photo
Dragonhunter GW2

ArenaNet reveals 'Dragonhunter' specialization for Guild Wars 2


For the Guardian class
May 07
// Chris Carter
ArenaNet is still working tirelessly on the Heart of Thorns expansion for Guild Wars 2, and it's ready to reveal another upcoming specialization (one of nine) -- the Dragonhunter. It's a ranged combat specialist that al...
TERA photo
TERA

TERA has finally come to Steam


Only took it three years
May 07
// Joe Parlock
Aaah Tera. The little free-to-play MMO that featured action-based combat and some really rad non-human playable races (and some pathetic pieces of nipple-covering string for women’s armour). It’s been sat on Steam...
Star Wars photo
Star Wars

BioWare writer would 'love' to work on another Star Wars RPG


May the 4th was with him
May 05
// Vikki Blake
BioWare writer David Gaider has hinted that he'd "love" to work on another Star Wars RPG. Though BioWare developed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, there are no Star Wars games ...
Guild Wars 2 photo
Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 is literally dropping its expansion beta on you


I just wanted an excuse to show off my hot Norn guy
Apr 29
// Joe Parlock
Want in on the beta for the Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns? Well now you can go and try to farm your way in (this is an MMO after all, gotta have that farming), as access to the next PvE closed event will be giv...

TERA Online's new Gunner is the most action-oriented MMO class I've played

Apr 28 // Chris Carter
To get a full rundown of the new class, I had a chance to play a short session with Patrick "TreeShark" Sun, a producer for the game at US publisher En Masse Entertainment. To kick things off I noted my extended absence from the game, and asked what improvements have been made that could possibly snare returning players. Unsurprisingly he noted that the Gunner was a perfect excuse to come back, stating that it was "much more fluid and devastating than any other class." He went on to say that "there's so much more to do at this point now that we're in the Fate of Arun update. There's flying guild halls that are part of the live environment and not instanced, many more dungeons to play." I asked about the player count, and Sun was able to confirm that they're currently at four million registered users -- no word on how many converted into paying customers. In terms of the Gunner itself (which can only be played by a female character), it sounds like PR speak, but it really was a more fluid class -- perhaps one of the most fluid I've ever played in an MMO. Combined with the already active battle system that highlights plug and play controller usage, the class has a ton of tools at its disposal without feeling overpowered. Gunners aren't your typical ranged role, as they'll employ heavy armor, sharing a loot table with Berserkers. They're not as fast as some speed-based classes, but they excel at using combo-based abilities and other active talents. Take the rocket jump, which is not only a really cool dodge that flings you in the direction of your last movement input, but an attack as well. Sun said that the team "really wanted to put something in there as an homage to Quake and Unreal, thus the rocket jump was born." [embed]290912:58337:0[/embed] Standard-attacks are basic bullet shots, but the other skills include a pulse blast with the option to detonate (just like the pulse rifle in Unreal), a minion that can either heal you or be used as an instant tether jump point, the ability to deploy a turret, and of course, rain of fire area-of-effect (AOE) techniques. Dodging around felt more active as a Gunner, and it really feels like Bluehole Studio has mastered the engine at this point. My favorite mechanic however is Willpower, a stat that raises as you actively engage enemies in rapid succession. Sun described it as a "limit break," where you can unleash a powered-up ability like an orbital strike, gatling gun, or a gigantic fire-based AOE. The mechanic is pretty stylish, as you'll immediately be able to notice it by way of your glowing blue gun. Beyond the functionality, the Gunner itself is a pretty cool looking class, and the weaponry itself is easily the best part -- over-the-top, and wonderful. It will be available on May 5, which is not-so-coincidentally the same day that TERA hits Steam, and the celebration of its three-year anniversary.
TERA Online Gunner photo
Hands-on before the May 5 launch
I was really into TERA Online when it first came out. I couldn't stop playing for days on end, and even after I cut back, I was still running dungeons for months. But when it time to create another character, I quit beca...

Final Fantasy XIV photo
Final Fantasy XIV

Check out the new Final Fantasy XIV Direct X 11 benchmark here


Some in-game footage and Au Ra character creation
Apr 27
// Chris Carter
Today is the day -- Final Fantasy XIV gets its new benchmark program to show off some Direct X11 footage. This new tool, a small demo of sorts, lets you check out how the new Heavensward expansion will look on your...

  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -