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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn  




My experience with Final Fantasy XIV: ARR so far photo
My experience with Final Fantasy XIV: ARR so far

10:00 AM on 08.30.2013

A beautiful, but typical, MMO


Final Fantasy XIV has had quite the tumultuous history over the years. Back in 2010 I had the chance to play the beta at E3, and almost immediately, I had a pretty terrible time. It was dated mechanically, not all that exciting, and didn't really do anything to push the genre forward.

Now in 2013, Square Enix is getting a second chance with the complete rework titled Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Right now I'm working on a Lancer on Adamantoise, toiling away in the beautiful town of Gridania. That is, when I can connect to Square Enix's servers.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS3 [tested], PC [tested])
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: August 27, 2013
MSRP: $29.99 (PC), $39.99 (PS3)

So what's improved in A Realm Reborn? Well, quests are a little more interesting, the general flow of the game is improved, the graphical engine is much better off (it not only works better with low-end machines, but it looks better on higher-end ones), and the UI and controller support is superb.

Quests are still your typical MMO fare, but the world and the class system are so interesting that you'll have fun doing them. A Realm Reborn feels like the natural progression of the series after Final Fantasy XII, and quite frankly, it feels like a true numbered Final Fantasy game in terms of the top notch overall narrative, played out through select "story" quests. Leveling isn't nearly as much of a time sink as it was in Final Fantasy XI (anyone remember The Dunes? I probably spent real life weeks in them), and you can progress through pretty much all early content by soloing -- which is a huge plus for me.

While other MMOs have dabbled in controller use before (TERA Online actually worked quite well with one), Final Fantasy XIV: ARR seems to have mastered the art. I've played all the way up to level 15 with a controller in hand (a 360 controller specifically, which is plug and play), and haven't had very many issues at all -- especially if I can occasionally just use the mouse to switch around my skills and inventory.

Pretty much everything can be handled with a controller, including target selection (which uses a rather smart homing system to highlight important points of interest) and all of your skills through the use of the triggers and a combination of face buttons and the d-pad. As an added bonus, it also ensures that the PS3 version works perfectly with the Dual Shock. It's called the "Crossbar" system, and I'm addicted to it.

If you take a look at the big picture though in terms of transcending the genre like Guild Wars 2 mostly accomplished, and Everquest Next is aiming to do, A Realm Reborn won't really win the hearts of those who loathe MMOs. At the end of the day you're still going around and doing fetch quests, kill quests, instances, and crafting, even if said activities are actually really good within the confines of the genre.

But despite the fact that I'm enjoying the game, not everything is going smoothly on launch week, as a number of US and EU realms are having major connection issues -- for example, I spent around two hours trying to log in to no avail. What Square needs to do to alleviate this issue immediately is hotfix in an AFK booting system. Right now, players en masse are logging in before work, leaving their characters on all day, and coming back home to play just to have a spot.

Most MMOs force players to auto-log out after an hour or so, so that players who want to game now can actually get in. Having a game be so successful that it can't meet player demand isn't wholly a bad thing for Square Enix, but it's bad for consumers, who bought a game they can't play. I hope that they aren't short-sighted and assume increasing server volume is the sole solution, as they need to give a multifaceted response to help out their early customer-base sooner than later.

So that's my early look at Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn based on a few low level characters I've created. If you're looking for the bigger picture, Patrick will have a comprehensive write-up on the game as soon as he's tackled some of the higher level content! Expect lots of future coverage as well, leading into the PS4 release in 2014 and beyond.





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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn's free weekend delayed until next week photo


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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Updates, Screenshots, & Videos







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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn



4:00 PM on 07.18.2014
Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3)

The last time we left off in our assessment of Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.3, I had experienced most of the tertiary level content, ready to face off against the big boss Ramuh himself in his true form, alongside of playing m...more



12:00 PM on 07.16.2014
Final Fantasy XIV's free weekend rescheduled for July 18th through the 21st

Square Enix has shifted the free weekend for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn around a bit. Instead of taking place last week right after patch 2.3, the free period is going to start on July 18th, and run through July 2...more



9:30 PM on 07.11.2014
A grand social experiment: Final Fantasy XIV's monster hunts

For those of you who haven't played Final Fantasy XIV, a new patch just arrived that implemented a major mechanic into the game -- worldwide monster hunting. The concept is simple enough. Across the world in each zone, variou...more



6:00 PM on 07.11.2014
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn's free weekend delayed until next week

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn just dropped its Ramuh-heavy 2.3 patch, and alongside of it, Square Enix was going to run a promotion that let people into the game for free this week. But after a few post-patch fixes, ...more



4:00 PM on 07.11.2014
Review in Progress: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3)

MMOs are constantly evolving beasts. Particularly in the subscription realm, developers are always searching for ways to keep players hooked, usually in the form of major updates -- big content patches that help ease the wait...more



10:45 AM on 07.07.2014
The Hunt feature in Final Fantasy XIV's 2.3 patch is basically Monster Hunter

One of the biggest additions to the upcoming patch 2.3 for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn are the Hunts. While we didn't really know much about them before, a new producer stream has shed some light on a few details, ...more



8:00 PM on 07.04.2014
Final Fantasy XIV 2.3 preliminary patch notes have been posted

Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.3 is set to drop next week, and with it, comes lots of changes as well as three new dungeons, a Ramuh hard and extreme boss fight, Chocobo raising, a Parley mini-game, tons of extra sidequests...more



1:00 PM on 06.25.2014
Final Fantasy XIV will be free from July 11th through the 14th

MMO subscribers often come and go, no matter how much they love the game. Whether it's real life responsibilities or a momentary retirement until new content comes out, there's a lot of reasons people may unsubscribe. With Fi...more



8:30 AM on 06.25.2014
Square Enix details info for Final Fantasy XIV 2014 Fan Fest

Square Enix is holding a special fan festival this year for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn subscribers called The Final Fantasy Festival. This year the event is being held in the US in Vegas on October 17th through th...more



7:30 AM on 06.24.2014
Watch Ramuh wreck shop in this Final Fantasy XIV story trailer

MMO patches can often be bigger than full retail games. One of the reasons a subscription based game charges a fee is to pay for the maintenance -- the other is to pay for all the research and development that goes into new ...more





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4:00 PM on 07.18.2014
Review: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Patch 2.3)

The last time we left off in our assessment of Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.3, I had experienced most of the tertiary level content, ready to face off against the big boss Ramuh himself in his true form, alongside of playing m...more



12:00 PM on 07.16.2014
Final Fantasy XIV's free weekend rescheduled for July 18th through the 21st

Square Enix has shifted the free weekend for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn around a bit. Instead of taking place last week right after patch 2.3, the free period is going to start on July 18th, and run through July 2...more



7:00 AM on 07.15.2014
Square Enix teases Final Fantasy Record Keeper site

Square Enix (and mobile developer DeNA) has opened up yet another teaser countdown page, which at the time of this writing, is teasing a project called Final Fantasy Record Keeper, that will be revealed in roughly two days. i...more



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