Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will finally release on August 27th for PC and PS3 and attempt to right its initial missteps.
When the game initially released on September 30th, 2010 for the PC, it was met with widespread criticism. Unfortunately, this was not only well-founded but also led to the postponement of the PlayStation 3 Release. Despite its negative reception and the announcement that came in October of 2011 that the game would be completely overhauled, the original version of FFXIV stayed live until November 11th, 2012.
The good news behind all of this is that Square Enix seems to have recognized the shortcomings of FFXIV 1.0, and set out to right its wrongs. You can read all about that (as well as the game’s character customization) in our first FFXIV: A Real Reborm Preview.
The other good news? FFXIV has finally made it to the PS3!
Now that FFXIV: ARR is nearing its arrival, the beta version is in full swing for both PC and PS3 players. So, without further adieu, it is my great pleasure to continue the weekly breakdown of the most important aspects in this new incarnation of FFXIV.
[ FATE Battles ]
What exactly are FATE battles? Well, if you break it down they are essentially instanced battles with a Final Fantasy twist. Full Active Time Events (or FATEs) are random events that occur throughout the world in designated locations. Once initiated, these battles may be joined by anyone willing to run head first into the fight. Of course, once the FATE is completed you will be rewarded according to your participation. While the same FATE battles will pop up within set areas over time, it is still nice to be able to fight alongside other players. This is a great option for those who haven’t linked up with a party yet and delivers a great sense of teamwork.
These FATE battles also have an important part in the main quest line, and as you begin to level things begin to get a little notorious. Yes, that’s right, notorious monsters and primals will make appearances on the battlefields of FFXIV. Luckily these creatures will are restricted to these instanced battles and therefore ensure they aren’t throwaway moments. I can say from experience that during the main quest line, Ifrit makes an appearance in one such fight and is an important part of the main story line.
All of that is fine and well, but how does the system actually feel? Does it work? After hours of these FATE battles I can stand as a testament to the fact that they actually do what they set out to do. These instances do a wonderful job of creating a sense of teamwork, and when big battles (like Ifrit) do arise they feel refreshing and fun. While it may not be a game-changer or a even a new idea within the MMO world, these FATEs have enough Final Fantasy in them to make them feel distinct.
[ Level Sync ]
FATE battles also feature the Level Sync system, which allows everyone to evenly participate, even in lower level fights. Sounds great, but what exactly is Level Sync? Great question, I’m glad you asked.
The Level Sync system operating with the world of Ezorea allows all party members to be set at a designated level for a set period of time. This system may be used with your own personal party or in conjunction with FATE battles. Essentially, it scales down everyone to an assigned level so that the playing field is even and everything is dealt with in a fair fashion.
Watching this system in action and actually playing through it allows you to understand how this can only help FFXIV ensure there is always something to do. Not that you should ever feel like there’s nothing to do, it is an MMO after all, but when encountering low-level instanced battles this allows you to participate fairly. When entering into these fights you will be allowed to sync, which then lets you join the fight and reap the rewards.
[ Hot Keys – PS3 ]
Okay, so now something special for all the console players out there that will be getting into the realm of Ezorea for the first time. Let’s face it, the User Interface is a big problem in most console based MMOs; the transition from a keyboard to a controller makes this extremely frustrating. FFXIV looks to correct this problem by mapping a set of eight commands to each back trigger, L2 & R2 respectively, and a combination of either the D-pad or the face buttons. Using R1 before hand will allow you to switch between different sets of command layouts, which opens the gates for a massive amount of these combinations.
Console players staring at this UI for the first time may begin to feel a bit overwhelmed. It seems like a lot, but once you get rolling you’d be surprised. As you begin to gain abilities through leveling, you will see these slots filled up. The next thing you know, you’re swapping between potions and abilities like it’s second nature. While gameplay still seems to feel more natural on the PC, it’s clear how much work Square Enix put in to the console version of this title and the user interface is just one great example of this.
[ Wrap Up ]
Now that we have had a little time to go through some important issues within the combat realms of FFXIV and one specifically for the console players, it’s clear that this is shaping up to be a valiant effort by Square Enix. Don’t worry, we’ll be back with another preview of FFXIV: A Realm Reborn soon. Remember to keep checking back here at Exilic for the latest on FFXIV and all your MMO news, reviews and previews. Make sure to let us know your favorite primal or NM and how these battle systems sound to you in the comments below.