Final Fantasy XIV: An interactive Guide
Getting into a new game can be a daunting experience, especially with a community-based MMORPG. These games, however, can be some of the most rewarding experiences you can have. They connect players and help create strong friendships just like our site connecting pen pals. Final Fantasy XIV is a great MMO to start with due to the cross platforming between PS3, PS4, and PC. This guided interview with two community players will answer some of the most interesting and important parts to entering the world of XIV.
Q: Thank you guys on behalf of the site for agreeing to help us! I have a few simple questions in each section for you to answer no pressure. First off, let’s talk about the gameplay. What are some things that may catch new players off guard compared to other MMO’s?
A: In my opinion, the greatest strength of this MMO is the sheer diversity of job and player type. Having had very little MMO experience, this game was a very fun way to enter into the landscape of MMOs. – Mendazi(Black Mage – Lv55)
I’d have to agree with Mendazi here, Final Fantasy XIV really lives in its namesake’s tradition. Taking the best from the job classes established early on in the franchise brings a great sense of structure and readability to an MMO format. It captures a similar feeling while having its own air from its predecessor, Final Fantasy XI, is something XIV has done extremely well. With the extension of the free trial period, it’s a great time to join the fray. – Aiolos(Dark Knight – Lv60)
Q: Would you say there are any classes or play styles to avoid for newcomers or maybe even a class that is great to start with?
A: I’ll take this one, if you don’t mind. I’ve been playing XIV for quite awhile and I really can’t argue against any job class for beginners. Though I’m biased towards Tanking classes like Paladin(Gladiator) and Warrior(Marauder), I’ve played them all and each class has something to offer to each newcomer’s play style and personal tastes. Like to hang back and do some damage? Try Bard(Ranger) or Black Mage(Thaumaturge). Want to get in close and tick off your enemies? Go Tank, or close-quarters DPS like a Dragoon(Lancer) or Monk(Pugilist). If none of that suits your fancy then try out a Healer class like White Mage(Conjurer), which are much more versatile than Healers from other series.– Aiolos(Dark Knight – Lv60)
Q: Great! I agree from what little time I’ve spent playing so far. Next, how long can you do an average sitting for and are there any parts that may get tedious or parts you prefer to do when taking a break from quests?
A: Generally it just depends on my energy levels after work or classes. I can play for several hours if I’m running Main Scenario quests or dungeon crawling with friends. As far as tediousness goes early on for new gamers? Probably just the crawl from 10-25 where you have only a few decent Fates to run and your Hunting Log to fill out. Late game, it opens up quite a bit. – Aiolos(Dark Knight – Lv60)
I find myself losing hours at a time to this game. The depth is real when it come to the story and the extras you look for in a game. Obviously with all great games comes a sense of wanting more and XIV provides that with Fates, Hunting Logs, dungeons and the like. Whenever I am tired of one thing, there is always something else to turn to. – Mendazi(Black Mage – Lv55)
Q: Next, let’s discuss the backbone of MMOs, the community, as I’m sure you guys have found communities can go either way online. What was your initial impression of the XIV community starting out?
A: This should be an interesting set of answers since I started in A Realm Reborn’s Alpha. In the early days, XIV people had a kind of play-as-it-goes and wonderstruck mentality. Once it got going and people started to figure jobs out and decided on “the right way to play”, the dungeon community was rather nasty for a Tank at least as people expected you to know it all and be Johnny-on-the-spot at every turn. But that was quite some time ago and given the huge amount of updates Square Enix has done and the glass ceiling really being raised, the community has really mellowed out. You still get your A-holes from time to time but it’s quite a welcoming community compared to what it was. I’ve also found with the advent of the Mentor System, where players take on a leadership role in guiding newcomers and the Duty Roulette, a system designed to help newer players with story related dungeon quests and boss fights that reward higher players for participating, people are much more wanting to help and be friendly. Also, take into account the addition of larger Free Companies(Player Groups) and their customizable company houses, everyone just gets along now. It’s a great community to get into these days and I take every possible chance I can to recruit friends to the game and help teach newer players the ins and outs of Eorzea given how I had to learn it has been really fun to show people the brighter side of the game. – Aiolos (Dark Knight – Lv60)
Starting in the middle of Heavensward, my perspective is slightly different from that of Aiolos. I have always had players that were much higher than me and much more prepared for dungeons. Even with that being said, those players were extremely helpful in walking me through the difficult parts of the game. XIV has a very active and fun fan base; rarely have I ever encountered gamers who love the community so much they were willing to help each other out the way XIV does.– Mendazi (Black Mage – Lv55)
Q: So, the community is pretty tame and respectful from what I’ve seen. Next, how would you go about making friends play?
A: Oh, that’s actually a tricky question. For newer characters, it’s probably a much slower friend gauge I guess. Duty Finder missions, which use the bulk server to find players for a common dungeon, trial, or heist is split over all of XIV’s servers. So that’s about 40 worlds, so once you meet a player there, you probably will never see them again. Once you hit level 20 or so and get more access to the game at large, you can join those player run Free Companies and really meet people. That’s how I’ve made most of my friends, granted my Company has been around for ages on our server. Recently, however, the design team has added the Novice Chat log, which is a server wide chat room in-game for New and Mentor players that you can talk to on a regular basis for tips and instructions or just to chat. I haven’t used that log much myself but I feel that it’d be a great resource to make friends in the current game structure.
That said, if you just really like to play solo, the game is very much built for that as well. The Duty Finder is very forgiving to people who just want to lone wolf it. I did it for quite awhile in the very beginning, just know your job inside a party as well and you’ll do fine, haha! – Aiolos (Dark Knight – Lv60)
As I referenced earlier, I have a different view of the community than that of Aiolos as I was once a new player in a developed community. I have made many friends in XIV in many different countries. The games forces you to play with others in Fates and dungeons, so naturally you will build camaraderie with others as the game goes along. One of my favorite features of the game is called Free Companies and that is where I met most of my friends that I have now. – Mendazi (Black Mage – Lv55)
Q: Let’s talk about your in-game thoughts. One of my favorite parts of a game is art design and music. How does this fair against more artsy driven MMOs like Maplestory?
A: I could spend all day on that question. XIV may get a bit tedious for some people, but its design team is really tops and keep things looking so nice. From costumes to environments, Square Enix is really great at putting out add-ons and updates to the game and its evolving story. Art wise, whenever you log into the game, you get a great environmental painting of wherever you are so that’s really just a bit of fantastic designing if you ask me. Mendazi is the one to get the full music anecdotes from but all I’m gonna say is that he Primal’s theme songs are just stellar. Check out Ramuh’s or Leviathan’s themes on Youtube if you really need a taste. – Aiolos (Dark Knight – Lv60)
This game does a great job setting itself apart from other MMOs with its art design and music. XIV is literally (once Stormblood releases) three games in one. I was simply blown away at how diverse the artwork in XIV is among the different areas, jobs, and characters. Also, as someone who has spent most of their life in music, I can honestly say XIV has some of the best music of the genre. I can be very hard on games that don’t have the music to back up what the story is telling because, in my opinion, music helps drive the story and narrative. Music is as important to the game as dialogue is. XIV hits all of the right notes in all of the right places. – Mendazi (Black Mage – Lv55)
Q: Armor wise, what are your thoughts on a majority of the sets, also favorite and least favorite sets or designs if you don’t mind?
A: Absolutely, XIV has so many but as far as early game goes I’m a HUGE fan of the Acolytes and Foestriker’s gear sets from the first few dungeons, Satasha, Tam-Tara Deepcroft, and Copperbell Mine that are geared for Lv 15 players and have a wide range of perks for their class types and will easily last you 5-10 levels.
They recently turned those designs into new obtainable sets through “The Hall of the Novice” that new players can do to help learn their jobs and level a bit, so basically you get these great sets without the old grind that I had to go through. As far as designs I’m not a fan of, nothing will ever beat the Trash Can armor that used to plague the Tank classes back when I started, haha. It was essentially full body armor that covered your head, torso, and shoulders in a rigid, unmovable, carapace of metal. Whoever designed that, I can’t even say…. haha. – Aiolos (Dark Knight – Lv60)
In the initial beginnings of the game, the armor and sets available can be a bit on the depressing side. Seeing everyone who is high level in their awesome outfits can be a little intimidating. With that being said, once you are past the initial opening and really get into the game, you will find all kinds of outfits, armors, and sets to own. I love being able to style and dress my character depending on what I am doing or how I feel. Being able to express yourself is what you want in a game and XIV accomplishes that with the armor sets and clothing choices.– Mendazi (Black Mage – Lv 55)
Q: This question will be slightly more personal. I hope you guys don’t mind, but let’s talk finances. I understand this game does have a subscription fee after a certain point and a cash shop. For younger people and even some older, it’s a little hard deciding to spend money on a game like this. How do you feel about it? Why should I look forward to paying the fee? Also, how do you feel towards the cash shop with a game that already has a subscription fee and how are the prices, are there any game boosters that wealthier players can buy to get ahead?
A: First and foremost, the cash shop is only for aesthetic items, nothing you can get there will “get you ahead” of anyone else. Well, maybe in the style department haha but even those I wouldn’t put money down for.
When it comes to the monthly sub, that’s what usually makes or breaks MMOs for most people but you know it’s always been “you get what you pay for” for me. XIV is far from the type of game that “steals” your money. Firstly, they update the game constantly, their serves are well kept and despite monthly maintenance, they’re never down. Every few months they do add-on content as well, which is free, it expands the story, adds missions, gear, trials, dungeons, and countless improvements and again that’s free! Square Enix also manages its MMOs through the MogStation, which handles all your transactions. It’s very secure, they learned a lot of lessons with FFXI and it lets you manage every aspect of your account from silly clothes to digital upgrades. It’s also where you manage sub fees, you can play for a month and leave if you want, resub later, or pick it up for three months at a time like I do. Great system if you ask me. Also, they reward you for your subs with clothes, gear, mounts, and cool stuff that I enjoy and it doesn’t have to be consecutive either which is very very nice. Lastly, your first month once you get the game proper is free! – Aiolos (Dark Knight – Lv60)
I will start off by saying this, I have played XIV on and off for almost three years now. I have not been a fan of “pay to play” as there were times I could not afford the subscription fee or felt as though I would not have the time to play and would not justify the spending. With that being said, I have always come back to XIV because of how great the game is. There are different subscriptions you can pick from and also different packages you can choose. I do pick the most basic package that is month-to-month because the time may come again that I am not able to renew for the next month. As far as the cash shop is concerned, Aiolos is correct, it is purely for aesthetic purposes of the game. I have never purchased anything from the cash shop as I have not found anything I really want from it or thought the price was too high. Buying clothes for my character that I probably won’t wear because I will stick to my armor isn’t for me. – Mendazi (Black Mage – Lv55)
Q: Let’s get in a fun question before our final category if you guys don’t mind. How do you feel about in-game interactions, are you the type of people who can really connect by pretending you’re in the game and if so, does XIV really bring out great in-game role-playing aspects?
A: There are some servers that do cater to role playing, though I’m not sure how to go about that, I’ve never really been about that. I do play Aiolos to a certain ’story’ if you will, My main job changed from Paladin to Dark Knight, both Tanks, after some serious main story events that affect the main player negatively.
Other than that and jokingly shipping him with Y’shtola, I don’t do anything besides the norm haha. I also always have my swimming trunks in my Armory for when I end up at a beach, haha.
I did see about this really awesome Free Company on the Hyperion server, I think, not long ago that got together and put on entire plays all by themselves using player-made dialogue entered into the chat window and emotes along with a custom-made stage. It was really awesome, and I wish I could have witnessed it ‘in person’. – Aiolos (Dark Knight – Lv60)
XIV has many different ways to express yourself through interactions. There is an entire emote section you can either just do at random or to others. It gets quite fun when others join with you. It’s almost like an entire conversation just with emotes! As far as my character goes, I would say that with Mendazi I do get to be someone I am not on a day-to-day basis and portray a specific persona I do not have in real life. XIV has a way of bringing out different aspects of your character as you go along and try different jobs and in it you find different parts of yourself. – Mendazi (Black Mage – Lv55)
Favorite Parts (No Spoilers)
Q: You guys have done a great job at explaining the game for newcomers. Now, how about some tips and tricks to getting started? I would say one of mine would be to take all the quests in a surrounding main story level to help level quicker. Also, tell us some of your favorite areas and dungeons as well.
A: Patience and practice. In the early game, you will feel the story being really slow or your job being a little boring, trust me, it gets better. You are not stuck in the job or class you started with. The beauty of XIV is that you can change as much or as little as you wish. The game picks up the pace and you will be going everywhere before you know it. The very first dungeon you are introduced to is called “Satasha”. This dungeon is my favorite because you start to get a feel of how XIV can be in party mode. I have run this dungeon hundreds of times for practice and experience. The best tips I could give is to not spend your gil (in-game currency) on anything unless you absolutely need it. Unless you are just spending it, you should never run out of gil in this game. The game provides everything you need along the way or you can go make it yourself. I have learned this lesson the hard way multiple times. Make sure you enjoy the role you are in. Don’t spend time on something you don’t want. Becoming a Black Mage was one of the most satisfying things I have done in this game because of the complexity of the role. XIV is all about the journey, so make it fun and make it your own. – Mendazi (Black Mage – Lv55)
Favorite areas? Costa de Sol, I said I keep my swim trunks on Aiolos because I love this beach zone! Dungeon wise, Brayflox Longstop (Lv 32) which is located in Costa de Sol is my absolute favorite dungeon so far. It’s the first real test for most players, the dungeons monsters are strong and they come in droves and its final boss is a serious test for Tanks and Healers as well as really testing new player’s party abilities. Also, Ul’Dah is best city! (General Rah’bahn for the win.)
When it comes to getting started, I could write an entire paper on this subject. I’ve helped a lot of people get up and running in XIV, Mendazi included, and I’ve seen about every method to getting started, but I’ll keep it to a few simple points.
- Firstly, you’re going to be traveling a lot and XIV is a big world so make sure you ‘Attune” to every Aetheryte and Aether Shard you find in the game. These serve as both home points, waymarkers, and most importantly as teleportation nodes. Save your feet, Teleport (Gil provided)
- Secondly, save your Gil! Gil is the monetary system in XIV and early on it’ll be tempting to just buy new clothes and weapons but don’t, most of your gear you’ll get from the wide range of quests you’ll be doing constantly, so don’t blow your Gil on items you’ll probably be getting soon anyway early in the game. That said, money doesn’t own this game like it does in other MMOs, I’m in mid-end game and I spend all my Gil on a room that my player owns. It comes back around but save as much as you can in early game.
- The third point is a bit of a two parter. Early on you’ll want to level because that’s how you get cool stuff, right? You’ll get a lot of levels just doing the Main Scenarios but if you need a few levels for a fight you’re struggling with or just want that new sword, work on your Hunting Log, which is a list of monsters to defeat that are specific to your Job Class. It’s a good way to get some practice, explore, and get some
goodexperience. With the log in mind, never forget about your Class and Job Quests. These will unlock every five levels and will net you new perks and new abilities, each one you complete will grant you a useful piece of gear for your early job and really test your understanding of its fundamentals. Plus, you need them to progress so don’t forget.
- A great new resource that I mentioned earlier is the “Hall of the Novice”, which is for new players and was added about a year ago. It’ll teach you more about your class and net you some great rewards. I highly recommend checking it out.
- Lastly, have fun and remember that nothing is permanent. If you start off and you despise the job you’re on, no worries, at Lv 15 you can change to any other class you want, all you have to do is find its guild and your back in the races. So have fun, experiment, explore, and just have a good time.
– Aiolos (Dark Knight – Lv60)
The Stormblood expansion launched the 20th of this month for PC and PS4 and a complete edition of the game can be bought from your local game store for $59.99 USD. If you just want the base game for now, it runs around $20 USD on all digital platforms and will come with a free month after you’ve reached level 35 on the free trial.
*This game can be downloaded and played on all above platforms for free to level 35. PS Plus is not a requirement, purchase of the game and additional monthly fee’s will apply afterward if you continue playing.