I have gotten the chance to finally play Final Fantasy XIV for a while. After having played the initial first version. I hadnt even though about it much, when I saw the second version, I liked the improvements but also was disappointed, seeing that its alot like WoW now so I havent bothered since ARR's release. Just a month ago I've managed to actually play it.
And I am impressed, it plays flawless with a controller. No mmo I've played, plays as good as FFXIV does on a controller. It feels ideal as odd as it sounds. And after playing for a while, I find my disappointment was justified.
I'll begin with the things I liked, and not just a direct comparison to the older version but its overall appeal on its own merits. I liked how more colorful and wide open the world is. The ability to quickly move around from place to play early on through places you've already been in more ways than one is welcomed too. Even renting a mount early on to go where you please in saftey for a short time is nice as well.
I like the fidelity of the characters and the different styles of armors that are shown early on as you level.
I like the variety of monsters and even hunting logs that rewards for completing them and the various Fates (which is basically like Rifts or the events from GW2 but are still welcomed additions.)
I like the cities have different things all over and I like how the music is very familiar to the Final Fantasy feel.
I like all the emote options.
I like how the black magic spells work for Thaumaturge , not like just regular magic damaging spells but work off of an enchancing system where casting fire more makes it stronger but cost more, and casting blizzard makes your mana regen faster but makes the casting longer.
The ease of changing gearsets(and by extension classes/jobs)
Now the things I dont like that makes me dissappointed.
I'll start with that some of the quests and story telling is very bland and interesting to me.
I like that the overworld battle music is different for different regions of the world you in, but what I dont like is that the difference is soo subtle. You cant really tell its different unless you listen to them all side by side. The variations arent different enough.
What I really dont like is the linearity of the combat. Even more than WoW's. Let me explain. Classes have a set rotation of attacks that the game pretty much tells you you have to use (some classes cant even have the option of messing it up, as some attacks arent even available until you use the attack before it like the pugliest). And its with this rotation of attacks you will hardly ever, ever deviate from through the whole time playing. Every battle is A +B+C attack rotation. Maybe the optional weaker, less fuctional attack in between, though it makes not much difference. Just better off using A +B+C and can get through pretty much the entire game like that, even for group play (unless you're a Conjurer/white mage) And this is for all the classes pretty much.
Its at that point, where I dont even see the point of having such skills as seperate skills. And just have that sort of thing as ONE skill, that changes to the next, and then the next one. And fill out spaces for actual different skills that could be added to make fighting a bit more dynamic and skillful.
Another thing I dont like thats in connection with the previous, is that your chosen class/job will essentially be the same as every other person of the same job. Yes you can distribute those few attribute points you get differently than someone else, but its hardly noticable in the end. The narrow mechanics of the game cant really be used to instill skillful play. Its very simple, yet its this simplicity that takes away individuality from how you play your class/job.
Another thing Im greatly dissappointed in, is the restrictive nature of using other class/jobs abilities. If I want to be say a monk who can also cast a simple fire spell when not able to get in range. Nope. Most spells (black magic related at least) can only be used by other magic classes/jobs. But strangely, everyone can learn Cure and Raise if you've trained in Conjurer/white mage. There are some abilities that can carry over from other jobs, but they are so few. Its like 4 abilities per class job that can potentially carry over if you want if you trained them high enough. the first 15 to 20 levels, you can barely use 1 ability from that job if you switch to another. I dont see a reason for this, kind of makes the the whole idea redundant. If I train how to be a lancer, no matter what class I am, what weapon. I am trained to use various thrusting techniques. If trained heavily as a lancer, and switch to a Conjurer, I should at least be able to Heavy Thrust with a staff. May not be ideal, but at least be able to do it. What else is that TP is going to be used for really?
The next thing is lack of any sort of resource managment and abilities to use them. There was no point EVER in all my playing where I had to worry about TP. Even after sprinting around and shortly getting into a battle. (sprinting uses all TP, which is used for most physical attacks). Just a few seconds and just with a small handful of TP I was able to fight like normal with no problem. The set rotation use left no real room for consuming much TP. However using a magic class like Thaumaturge, MP can get ate up easily, but you also had ways of regenerating that. (and even through I praised thaumaturge earlier for having a different mechanic in attacking than what was expected. It still relied on a relatively set rotation between fire and Ice but at least that can be mixed a little) So either class you have, one has a resource that mostly goes unused and you cant even fill in a space to utilize it even if you wanted. (yeah you can get cure with any melee class. But thats hardly something to utilize it with. If you arent taking much damage, you wont need to cast cure, and you regain everything shortly after battle anyway)
The linear leveling system. This is somewhat helped by the Fates and Guildleves you can do once you reach a certain level. But will be a point you'll just be grinding those. the areas you quest in, the quest lines are already a bit uninteresting, but the areas you decide to quest puts you at a flow thats kind of like a one way track through the zone (like alot of other mmos). I feel what would help is if the areas were more Dynamic. Things in the world actually change visibily and drastically through days and times. (they have a weather forecast npc that can basically tell you whats going on in a particular area so it would be plausible.) the one thing I liked was how the world changed when the meteor was falling in the first version of FFXIV. Literally had random small meteors impacting the grounds around and if I recall the monsters gotten stronger. More options in leveling and adventuring would help to me.
Another thing i dislike is the neglibility of elemental resistance and elemental weaknesses. Theres no real way to significantly raise any of your elemental resistance stats other than the basically meaningless diety choices when making your character. And monsters do not seem to have any sort of significicant elemental resistance or weakness like how its always been for Final Fantasy creatures. (Casting a fire spell on a Bomb should either do nothing or heal it. but a Blizzard spell would do significant damage). Its another layer of combat thats just been removed for simplicity, and would further add use to cross class skills if they would be more lenient with its ability restrictions.
Overall I enjoyed the game. Just that I noticed these things early on could tell how it ws going to be, but I pushed through to have it further confirmed as I went. And though I enjoyed it for a short time. I just found me enjoying it less as I went on, cause I didnt really feel like I was having control of how I fought, because the mechnics pretty much dictated that. It felt like I could just program my character to fight for me if I wanted and not have much worry.
Anyone else that played or experience, what are your thoughts about it. I dont see too many people talk about FFXIV much.