Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – Spreading My Wings At Last

By Thomas . September 21, 2013 . 9:31am

The last time I talked about Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, I discussed the mechanics of battle, and went over some plot points from my experience in the game’s Lancer Guild. The main focus over the past two weeks has been about getting through my introductory experience—the game’s story elements, and learning the way the game works.

 

Eventually, after I progressed through the Lancer Guild enough I was able to reach the point of joining other guilds as well, thus not forever being stuck as just a lancer. This point happens early enough in the game to keep the options open, and lets the player customize their character as they see fit, but also not too early on. Having to accomplish the basic missions for my initial choice, The Lancer, I was able to learn the basics, and given a taste for how the game works. In this sense the player is eased in, and not overloaded with options from the get-go.

 

In my starting village in Gridania there were plenty of other guilds to see. A quick tour of the layout of the land showed the Conjurer’s Guild, Archer’s Guild, Botanist Guild, and a Carpenter’s Guild, on top of my own Lancer Guild. Gridania is actually quite a beautiful forest. The environment and theme could be seen as a harmony with nature. The area is very rustic with greens and browns everywhere.  But even though my time in Gridania had been enjoyable I couldn’t stay there forever.

 

I soon found myself progressing through the game to get out of this starting village, and to branch out… and soon, exploring became a gift in itself.

 

Finding new areas was fun, and getting strong enough to get farther and farther away from my starting point were a challenge but a worthy one. You unlock Return, and having Teleport spells early on to help you in your exploration, and finally reaching other Aetheryte crystals (think of them as places that you can teleport to), felt like a big step in the right direction. It was in my exploration of the land outside that I came across my first story mission. This mission was not linked to my own guild, but in fact to something I mentioned in my first week of coverage.

 

Back when I created my character I was introduced to the world by a dream sequence where a Crystal was reaching out to me, telling me to think and to feel, although the Crystal itself was silenced and I soon awoken to my journey in Eorzea.

 

In my travels, I ran across a peculiar mission where I bumped into strange travelers, Yda and Papalymo. Perhaps my greatest shock at first was to hear that they had voice work. The voice acting so far in A Realm Reborn has been minimal with mostly just narration, this early story mission gave me a taste for the actual acting in the game, and not just some disembodied voice. Characters actually talking were something that I haven’t heard much of yet, I was starting to get used to just reading all the dialogue. The mission also helped me acquire a better grasp on the circumstances of that Crystal in my dream, and started to get the ball rolling on the grander schemes that awaited in Eorzea, with the promise of potential political intrigue, and the balance of the world being pulled out of whack.

 

Adventuring out had not only started to move the story along but also was what sparked my first real taste of friendship. Thinking back to my first party mate I made, I remember that it happened completely by accident. During a mission I was on, I made my way to a dungeon, something I was getting used to now, but crazily enough this dungeon was crowded. It turns out, a FATE started happening right in my dungeon. People from all over crowded the area as I was in, to fight all the hordes of monsters coming through, and here I was just trying to get my mission accomplished. Soon enough I found myself forced to fight in the FATE as well, it was the only way to get through, and hey, got me some easy experience. During that FATE I met another Lalafell and we fought together.

 

As the FATE finished up he soon started to follow me around the dungeon until I finished my mission. That’s when he offered me an invite, which I thought about at first since I was not familiar with this person. But being on a server away from my other buddies I originally planed to play with (good old fashion server problems) I needed to make new friends. I accepted the invite and we became a party. We traveled together, fought together, healed each other, it soon became the norm to have someone watch my back for me.

 

My first party experience in A Realm Reborn was on a small scale like this, just the two of us together. Soon, however, we began to make new acquaintances and grow our group. I got to know my group a bit through the game’s chat features, and we had some fun conversations. What started out as awkward musings became some funny jokes as we bemoaned how hard it was to type on the PS3 to each other (it looks like I wasn’t the only one who lacked a USB keyboard).

 

I found the community to be very similar to my experience with my first friend. They all seemed awkward at first, but nice enough. The chat showing up in public was full of some dumb jokes, people asking for directions, people trying to make a buck, and my favorite: our remarks about how lame the servers were being. I remember one public chat where some people chuckled about Square Enix holding off sales of the digital copy of A Realm Reborn. Thankfully, digital sales are now back up.

 

Speaking of servers, I still get occasional errors every now and again, but nothing that has been as bad as the first week. The logging-in process has been better at my end. There have been noticeable improvements, and I feel Square Enix has done well to get the experience to be smoother, but it is still far from perfect.

 

There’s tons more content to touch on in A Realm Reborn, and I’ve really only gotten to scratch the surface of it all. I didn’t get to discuss crafting, or Limit Breaks, or even what it’s like to ride a Chocobo. But if I had to summarize my experience with this game, I would say it’s been surprisingly good thus far. The story-based content honestly impressed me, I found guild stories to be compelling and the main story to be interesting enough. The combat became addicting for me, and I enjoyed exploration a whole lot. This is a game you can really sink your teeth in, and just play it for whatever reasons you want. It offers up: story, exploration, combat, social aspects, mining and crafting, a complex market system, and much more.

 

A Realm Reborn is its own realm for you the player to make of it whatever you wish. I only shared with you the very basics of what this realm has to offer you. If you explore it on your own you will no doubt have your own experiences, and your own stories to tell.

 

Food for Thought:

 

1. The voice acting offers options to choose from, I played on my default setting of English, but you can adjust the game to a variety of choices such as Japanese, French, or Spanish

 

2. Finding a great spot to stand around in was actually something else I enjoyed about exploration. One of my favorite spots was a riverbed where the trees bent around and opened up at the horizon. I managed to get a snap shot of the scenery with the setting sun behind me and showed it off to all my friends

 

3. A lot of the user names I encountered were pretty tongue in cheek, among some of the funnier ones I can recall was Banana Obama. The game itself has a pretty self-aware sense of humor about this and made a couple jokes about your user name early on when you sign up for guilds


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  • Wait what

    This was a very enjoyable read and it sounds like you are having a good time with the game. I’d like to make a suggestion, though. While you are definitely free to enjoy the game however you want and at the pace you want, I’d recommend focusing on those main story missions early on. The story is designed to ease you into the game during your first 15 levels. As such, a lot of the content (party dungeons, the duty finder, airship travel to other nations, access to certain parts of the world) isn’t available until you reach a certain point in the story (a very early point, mind you, a specific level 15 quest). The story missions are the ones that have the flame marks around the quest icon.

    Again, everyone is free to go at their own pace (and I hate it when people try to tell others how they play is “wrong”), but now that you’ve gotten a feel for the game it’d definitely be a good idea to get further in the story to start opening up more of the content. Plus, story quests give a lot of exp, so it’s a better way to level up that first class than grinding or FATEs. Plus the story is definitely awesome, I finished it a few days ago, it feels like a classic Final Fantasy story. I could have easily believed this was the story of a SNES FF.

    • KuroNathan

      I went the silly route and decided to get all my crafting and gathering classes to 15 before I move on to the next area leaving my inventory full (no retainer yet) and no chocobo.

      also my entire ffxiv experience has been:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL7n5mEmXJo

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR7EAdPUqvQ

      • Wait what

        Hey, that’s totally valid. Most people don’t bother with crafting, so you see a lot of people at around Level 40-50 wishing they knew someone who could make them some cool items or put materia on their stuff. You could probably make a lot of money focusing on crafting, although you should still get at least one War or Magic class up to higher levels before you go all out on crafting so you can go to other places and whatnot.

        • KuroNathan

          I just finished the first dungeon and only because I don’t have a retainer and my inventory is literally full of crafts

  • Akuosa

    “but you can adjust the game to a variety of choices such as Japanese, French, or Spanish”
    Japanese, French or German, actually.

    • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

      Says “adjust to client”, probably does Spanish too among other languages not specifically stated.

      • Akuosa

        It adjust to the client if your operative system is in one of those four languages, that is, it chooses automatically japanese, english, french or german to match your pc. There are no other languages, and there is no spanish. Trust me, I’m spanish, the settings of my account say I live in Spain, my pc is set in spanish… and there is no way to put spanish in game, really, there is no “probably” about this.

        • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

          :(

  • Lemon

    I’m not trying to bash on the English voice acting just because, but personally it felt off to me. Besides, Sawashiro Miyuki voicing Minfilia is a bonus.

    • Shady Shariest

      Does the quality go down over time later in the game? I didn’t notice more than mouth-synch being off in the beta… (As in they put the best parts at the start :3)

      • Ferrick

        some parts have dubbing and some doesn’t, but the quality of the dubs is still quite good, especially the masked man’s (Well he’s voiced by Char Aznable >D )

        • Shady Shariest

          It is! I remember in the…Was it third beta phase we got an actual intro and the traveler that was with us was voiced… Instant he started talking i was impressed… Best voice acting in an mmo i have seen since WoW and DCUO!

      • Bunzi

        Normally I dislike the original Japanese track in most Japanese things, but I just watched several cutscenes in all four languages, and I have no complaints for any. Even the Japanese track is very serious and listenable for me – non of that coquettish squealing and silliness you find in several anime.

        • Shady Shariest

          Square seems to have woken up the nearly Stagnating FF-series :3

    • Brion Valkerion

      Pretty funny that after the game launched there was talk on the JP boards about how they hate their voice acting and switched to english. Cant please anyone sometimes !

  • Longsun_Zhao

    Funniest names I’ve seen:

    Segata Sanshiro (points if you recognize this one)

    Bicurious Fox (saw him in beta, I dunno if he survived long)

    Futanari Rastafari

    • AndyLC

      I hope Segata was a Monk

      • Longsun_Zhao

        He was level 50 everything actually.

    • http://s1.zetaboards.com/Espada_of_Alexandria/index/ konpon568

      Futanari Rastafari? Obviously a Female Lalafell Lancer.

  • Draparde

    My only wish is that they’d voice some of the Class/Job cutscenes. some of them are pretty awesome.

    I also love exploring areas, i’m a tad sad i’ve nearly ran out XD. (for now anyway~)

  • EtherealEarth

    Speaking of party experience, I have had the one of which the party fell apart. There were Scholar, Paladin, Dragoon, and Summoner (me).

    During the first boss fight, we weren’t able to kill the boss despite many tries, and the Dragoon was blaming how Scholar and Paladin didn’t do their job very well. The Scholar got ticked off, so he didn’t heal Paladin, and the Paladin died as the rest followed suit. Thus, the party dissolved. :/

    That was my first time experiencing a fallout actually. The rest of my partying was very nice though. They were cooled-temper lots, even though sometimes we weren’t able to finish a dungeon.

  • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

    I enjoy relaxing on my Ahriman in cascadier while waiting for duty. Love this game, what server are you on, maybe we can party or I can help you? Lv.44 SCH/SMN, 31 BLM, 20 CNJ.

    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=180454331

  • Lucky Dan

    I just feel that this game could of been bigger if they released a free demo….

    With people leaving World of Warcraft and waiting for other MMORPGs if FFXIV had advertisements saying “Sick of World of Warcraft come and try a free trial for 10 levels for Final Fantasy XIV ARR today”

    They would of probably doubled the population of the realm by now but alas being greedy and keeping the game enclosed to people who have just played the previous iteration + making people buy the game before they try tend to make me think that they not as confident with their product as they should be.

    Oh well Square-Enix’s loss they let these people leaving world of warcraft run away 12 million to 7.7 million subscribers and declining. That’s a potential 5 million customers they could cater to.

    • terranoie

      I’m not sure if you heard but the launch didn’t go as smooth as they planned. Their server capacity didn’t quite make it due to overload of players who bought the game. There was a 500 player que for logging in (if you’re lucky) or 90% of the time they’d just kick you out before even actually logging in to the game. Fun right?

      Right now I believe they’re catering to the people who’ve actually bought the game to make everything run smooth for them. They’re still recovering from the server hiccups during launch and the best way to do that is to make the current users happy. As a player during server congestion, I would hate it if someone who’s playing free for 10 levels got into the server first before someone who actually payed for the game. That’s just not fair. And you’re right, they weren’t confident that the game would do well in the west. That’s why the servers were so full.

      This is an MMO so things are going to be changed and things are going to be added. It’s still too early to say that they’re currently losing money to those who want to play the game for free for 10 levels. It’s a very young game so give it some time and they’ll come up with a free trial of some sort.

  • Guest

    Interesting read…

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