On Getting Into Final Fantasy XIV

Have you heard the good word about Final Fantasy XIV? It’s a game with an incredible story, and not just the one you get whilst playing. After its disastrous release in 2010, the game saw a massive undertaking by Square-Enix to reboot the game, and managed to successfully do so. After a series of expansions, the most recent of which is currently regarded as one of the best games of 2019, Final Fantasy XIV is a game I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone not just looking for a great MMO, but also a genuinely great Final Fantasy game.

It just takes a while to get there.

While I’ve been dabbling in FFXIV since the release of the Heavensward expansion, it hasn’t been until earlier this year where I’ve taken the game somewhat seriously. You can thank the announcement of Nier-related content, penned by Yoko Taro, for kickstarting my drive to get back into the game. Yet getting to that point means you’ve got to get through a lot of content, and starting off the game nowadays is a daunting experience.

A Realm Reborn, the base Final Fantasy XIV, is a slog. A lot of the game is setting up the story and the world, which while it’s fascinating enough, takes a long time to get going. The story at this point isn’t particularly fascinating, and neither are many of the quests. Once you’ve gotten through that, there’s another 100 story quests before you touch the Heavensward content, a series of quests that are particularly loathed by the community.

This is my rabbit girl samurai. My toolbars are just fine.

It’s a problem that is so pervasive when talking about the game, the current sentiment is that the game is awful until its expansions, which can take upwards of 50-100 hours to reach. Square-Enix themselves are currently aware of this issue, to the point where the development team is working on adjusting the story of A Realm Reborn to be more “compact”, something that’ll be coming in a future update.

Right now, Square-Enix offers a story skip feature for those short on time and high on funds. While it’s by far the easiest and most convenient way to get to the expansion content, it won’t get you to the level limit required to start the expansion content. From there, you can either play the game as per normal and level appropriately, or you can purchase a level boost item relevant to the job you wish to play.

While I can definitely understand wanting to skip all that content, especially as someone who did all those quests legitimately, it’s not something I’d fully recommend. You gain a better understanding of the base of FFXIV’s mechanics by spending the time learning the game and your class, plus you’ll gain a better appreciation as to the improvements the expansions bring. Though I’d definitely wouldn’t think worse of those buying the skips given the time investment required to gain the aforementioned appreciation.

I’m still nowhere near where I need to be to play the Nier content when it drops sometime this year, but going through FFXIV has been a delight, and a good use of an abundant use of free time that’s been foisted upon me.

When he’s not telling people his toolbars are fine , Jamie can be reached at @jamiemgalea on Twitter and most other social platforms.