Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Column: Moving Forward and Looking Back

I feel that I have more reason to take umbrage with Final Fantasy XIV than most, as I have discussed. This was an MMORPG that I decreed as so desirable that I would purchase a new PC, opted for the more expensive, special edition, and settle in for extended revelry on my 20th birthday.

Now without sounding like a petulant child, the fact that I was indeed celebrating the date of my second decade of life was important to me. I had found that preceding birthdays were mostly met with relentless optimism and joy – and this all changed as I struck the fateful “2” and “0”.

Because, for all of my new PC gadgetry, Raptor mouse capabilities, and Razer keyboard tomfoolery, none of the collective shiny objects could make Square Enix’s MMO sequel any good. It was almost as if the developers had shipped only a graphical concept by mistake, leaving a piece of software bereft of entertainment as a result.

Eventually I would write a small impression piece about the game, to which on that special, special day, I received a personal MMORPG.com message “Complaining about grinding makes me think your some WoW (redacted) who wants his max level handed to him on a (redacted) silver platter. If your such a pansy (redacted) lazy (redacted) -tard then go back to playing WoW or whatever (redacted) kiddy games you’re used to. Next time you write a (redacted) article you better be a bit more objective you stupid (redacted).”

Imagine if you will, a demented clown smashing up your birthday cake whilst trying desperately to tongue kiss your mother as a blimp slowly floats by bearing the moniker “welcome to maturity”. This was how I felt on my very special day.

So it was with a certain amount of trepidation and caution that I have approached Final Fantasy XIV in the ensuing years. It wasn’t just how bad the MMO was, but the unrelenting attitude of a certain amount of players. The type of people with such unyielding enthusiasm and loyalty that you would imagine  they spent their offline hours exploring wardrobes convinced that the portal to Narnia was “just in the next one”.

The sheer bloody-mindedness of fans continued and to some extent has damaged Final Fantasy XIV’s reputation. Periodically I would return to the game to test new patches and updates, praying for an iota of worthwhile gameplay, but would always come up short. Writing duties would be met, and always, always comments would await me like a punch in the gut: how dare I call the obviously rubbish game, that the developers themselves have declared as rubbish, rubbish?

So with Realm Reborn in the pipeline and off in the distant future, I felt a certain degree of fatigue with the fourteenth instalment of the game. Beaten down by expectation and the fact that I had the dubious pleasure of pointing out exactly how things were going for the MMO patch by patch. When the beta invite came I was almost ready to throw down my gunblade and retire to Midgar but I decided to fight one last battle.

And I’m so glad that I did. While Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn isn’t perfect, Square Enix have managed to take the bare ingredients of the initial game, and reform them into something pleasant, enjoyable, and dare I say exciting.

While my experiences of Final Fantasy XI are limited, this latest MMO seems to straddle the line between reverence to the source and accessibility. No longer are there mechanics and nuisances somewhere lost in translation, instead Realm Reborn seems plainly obvious whilst managing the same kind of swagger as World of Warcraft.

Which isn’t to say that it copies Blizzard. On the contrary, while many might feel that Square Enix have tried to jam the Final Fantasy peg into the Azeroth mold, I think that the developers have gone deeper, somewhere further back. When I wander through Ul’Dah I invoke EverQuest, Anarchy Online, and Dark Age of Camelot.

If possible, Final Fantasy XIV seems more nostalgic and not your average cut-and-paste clone in that it, seemingly, gives players the element of choice. Multiple classes, multiple races, multiple starting cities, multiple zone exits and entrances, and so on. Each environment seems to be fuelled with a level of nostalgia and built with a sense of “this is here, because it just is”. Square Enix have managed to instil a sense of texture into their MMO which is rarer and rarer – buildings, scenery, design flourishes are placed there because they further the sense that this is a place: and this place exists.

Of course, as pointed out by our fine writer, Robert Lashley, there are issues alongside the positives, and it doesn’t completely reinvent the wheel, but Final Fantasy XIV does manage to conjure a better sense of occasion and adventure. Over numerous hours I have already poured into the game, I feel like I have progressed, and in ways unlike my fellows players: we don’t have the same quest reward swords, or the same tunics, and while I know these skills, they know others.

I must say that I am impressed with Square and their latest MMO, which is  a confusing feeling to harbour after so many years of disappointment. I find myself itching to play more and more, crying off other commitments to uncover the next vista or simply complete my hunting log.

Whether or not the end game, PvP, or attached baubles are worthwhile seems elementary at this point. I know that I have found something enchanting within the adventure, and my mind hasn’t simply turned to the checklist of activities. I believe in the world, and I am having fun. For however long it lasts, I know that Square Enix have at least salvaged their reputation: even in beta Final Fantasy XIV is truly reborn.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn children statues and floating crystals

Square Enix have sent along a new batch of screenshots of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn in preparation for the next round of closed beta testing next month. The images show off some of the sights of Eorzea.

Particular highlights are the large floating crystals which act as teleportation hubs between locations in the game and what looks like large statues of pointing children. Don’t be deceived, those children are actually Lalafells, the dwarven race that populates Final Fantasy XIV.

 

I’ve trimmed down the following screenshots from the 18 Square Enix sent over to us because, frankly, who wants to see images like this?

Here are the good’uns:

Final Fantasy HD release coming to PC

Square Enix announced yesterday that they’re working on an HD release of Final Fantasy 8 for the PC. While a release date and the addition of any fancy extras have yet to be announced, the HD spruce up is itself enough of a tempter to have me picking up a copy.

 

The Final Fantasy series has long been firmly in the domain of console-dom, only playable on the PC through ROMs and emulators (an arcane art itself), or sub-par ports. Yet in the past year Square Enix have shown a much friendlier turn towards the PC. First they announced that Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn would be a cross-platform release on the Playstation and PC, then they went and released Final Fantasy VII on our fair machine – adding fancy extras like Steam achievements and cloud saves.

An HD release of Final Fantasy VIII marks a much more determined effort for porting the Final Fantasy back catalogue. This isn’t a simple port but a team going back and reworking all of the original art in the game, bringing the power of the modern computer to bear on its aged engine. It would make sense, too, that Square Enix would add achievements and cloud saves during the process.

When we learn about the game’s release date we’ll let you know.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII poster blows whistle on PC release

Final Fantasy series lineage can be a complicated business, so pay attention: Lighting Returns isn’t a remake of Final Fantasy XIII, as its title might mislead you into concluding; nor is it even a direct sequel to that game. It’s actually the sequel to Final Fantasy XIII-2, and sees the end of the Fabula Nova Crystallis story arc first begun in FFXIII. This strikes me as precisely the sort of confusion destined for a series that began with a proclamation of finality.

Anyway. It’s due out on Xbox 360 and PS3 later this year, as well as – remarkably enough – the PC.

UPDATE: Square Enix senior PR manager David Yang told DualShockers: “Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be available for the PS3 and Xbox 360 platforms only. The poster ad in question erroneously indicated PC as a platform.”

Booo. Original story follows.

 

That latter point has been revealed exclusively to ambulators on the streets of LA, where a poster is currently advertising the game ahead of what must surely be a planned E3 appearance.

Squint hard enough and you can make out the thoroughly unsexy PC logo that tends to sit alongside its Xbox and PS3 equivalents in multiplatform game adverts.

Square Enix are hosting a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday June 11, where they’re promising to show the “future of Final Fantasy”. Highly irregular though it may be, it seems that future might make room for our fair platform.

We have reborn MMO Final Fantasy XIV, of course, but the series proper has almost always steered away from the PC. How would you feel about a change to all that?

The Difference Between A Dragoon And A Monk In Final Fantasy XIV

In a new live Letter from the Producer video Q&A, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn producer Naoki Yoshida touches upon the differences between the Dragoon and Monk jobs in the game. Says Yoshida:

Dragoon is your standard damage dealer. However, by attacking from behind or from the side of your enemy you will get bonuses and buffs. These bonuses can stack and enhance your damage. Also, when you talk about dragoon, of course you can’t forget their jumps, and in ARR we will have a variety of different types of jumps. You can use jump to get close, leg sweep to stun, and then run behind them and attack with a multitude of abilities.

In regards to monk, which is a close range damage dealer like dragoon, using your first ability or weapon skill will determine a “form” which will then determine the next weapon skill you can use. Additionally, you will want to use the featherfoot/haymaker actions while continuing to link the forms together. You will also have to worry about your positioning, so all in all, it’s a very busy role!

Depending on the form you can receive a haste effect which will reduce your global cooldown, so by linking a bunch of forms it will really open up possibilities. On the other hand, if you miss-link a form, you will have to start all over from scratch. It’s a class/job that takes a lot of skills to master!

You can watch the full Q&A video in which Yoshida fields a number of questions above, or read an English transcript of it here.

FFXIV Will Have Things To Do Even After You Hit The Level Cap

Titan thumb Final Fantasy XIV Will Have Things To Do Even After You Hit The Level Cap

Completing the main story of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will get you to level 50, but things won’t end there, says the game’s producer, Naoki Yoshida. Since Final Fantasy XIV is an MMO, naturally, Square Enix have future updates planned. That said, even without the updates, there will still be things to do once you hit the level cap.

 

Yoshida provides an example in a new Letter from the Producer column:

  •  Completing the main scenario will get players to level 50, but the adventure doesn’t end there. Being an online game, there’ll be regular updates to continue the story. So even if you reach the level cap shortly after release, there’s no reason to think you’ve hit the top. Considering all the plans we have for the game, you may want to get comfortable and prepare for a long stay in Eorzea.
  •  Let me use the phase 3 Ifrit battle as an example. Although this battle is a level 20 encounter in the main story, after reaching level 50 you can take on a harder version. Anyone looking to earn weapons from the primals will have to overcome these higher level fights.

Another example is the Titan, who is pictured above. When you first encounter him in the game’s story, it’ll take four players to bring him down. In a harder version of the battle, however, you’ll need eight players to accomplish the same feat.

Square Enix are preparing to launch the fourth and final phase of the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn beta. Following that, the full game will be released in August.

Final Fantasy XIV Summoner Can Summon Ifrit, Titan And Garuda Pets

summoner thumb Final Fantasy XIV’s Summoner Can Summon Ifrit, Titan And Garuda Pets

One of the jobs in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is Summoner. Summoners have the ability to ability to summon primals such as Ifrit, Garuda and Titan in “Egi” form. Take a look at the three pet egi below, courtesy of the game’s official blog:

Ifrit-Egi:

ifrit egi thumb Final Fantasy XIV’s Summoner Can Summon Ifrit, Titan And Garuda Pets

Titan-Egi:

titan egi thumb Final Fantasy XIV’s Summoner Can Summon Ifrit, Titan And Garuda Pets

Garuda-Egi:

garuda egi thumb Final Fantasy XIV’s Summoner Can Summon Ifrit, Titan And Garuda Pets

And here’s a shot of a bunch of Summoners wearing artifact armour:

summoner artifact thumb Final Fantasy XIV’s Summoner Can Summon Ifrit, Titan And Garuda Pets

FFXIV Pre-Order 20% Off Back Again

ff14 realm reborn preorder Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Pre Order 20% Off Back Again

If you hated the first installment of Final Fantasy XIV, you’re probably aware that the reworked version Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is being released later this month on August 27. (Or you’ve heard about the character creation benchmark yesterday and you’re now stoked to try the game out).

If you’ve already owned an original copy of the game on the PC, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be getting the game for free (woot). For the rest of us interested in trying the game out, pre-order deals of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is now 20% off again at everyone’s favorite digital retailer GMG. (The deal went away for a while due to GMG’s reward week.)

If a Standard Edition isn’t good enough for you, there’s also a Digital Deluxe edition which will get you additional in-game goodies such as the Helm of Light, Baby Behemoth Minion, the Coeurl Mount, and the Behemoth Barding for your Chocobo (mmm… horse armor-ish). Full details here.

Pre-order for the Standard and Digital Deluxe Edition will both receive additional pre-order incentives like early access, the Mog cap item, and a Cait Sith doll minion.

The 20% coupon GMG20-4B9NY-L4FEN will work for all region, reducing the price from $29.99, £19.99, and 24.99 € for the Standard Edition. For the Digital Deluxe Edition, it’ll be taking 20% off $49.99,  £34.99, and 39.99 €.

Pre-Order deals

We found some more decent pre-order deals for the week below. Use coupon GMG20-4B9NY-L4FEN for all titles at GMG below. Coupon expires August 9th, 11AM Eastern time. All the titles below are Steam activated except of course for FF14.

 

Start End Game Title MSRP % Off Sale Price
Aug 2 Aug 9 Total War: Rome II + Greek States DLC $59.95 20% $47.96
Aug 2 Aug 9 FF XIV: A Realm Reborn $29.99 20% $24
Aug 2 Aug 9 FF XIV: A Realm Reborn Collector’s Edition $49.99 20% $40
Aug 2 Aug 9 Lost Planet 3 $49.99 20% $40
Jul 25 Aug 20 The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
$49.99 10% $44.99
Aug 1 Aug 20 Europa Universalis 4
$39.99 20% $31.99
Aug 1 Aug 20 Payday 2 $29.99 20% $23.99
Aug 1 Aug 20 Skullgirls $14.99 20% $11.99

 

More Digital Deals

 

A couple more solid titles and bundles that stack with the 20% off GMG20-4B9NY-L4FEN coupon are below. All Steam-activated unless otherwise noted.

 

Start End Game Title MSRP % Off Sale Price
Aug 2 Aug 9 Rise of the Triad $14.99 20% $12
Aug 2 Aug 9 Legends of Aethereus (Not Steam) $29.99 20% $24
Aug 2 Aug 9 Citadels $39.99 20% $32
Aug 2 Aug 4 Aliens: Colonial Marines + Season Pass $49.98 84% $8
Aug 2 Aug 5 The Walking Dead + 400 Days DLC $29.98 60% $12
Aug 2 Aug 5 Darksiders II + Season Pass $69.98 80% $14
Aug 2 Aug 5 Max Payne Complete (1-3 + Rockstar Pass) $89.96 84% $14.39

 

This post is brought to you by the crew at Dealzon. We’re here to help Siliconera readers find the best gaming deals online, whether for the PC or console. To be clear, Siliconera will sometimes make money if you buy a game. Feedback? Let us know in the comments.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn to hit closed beta very hard with oversized swords on Monday

Squeenix’s second ever stab at an in-house MMO stumbled embarrassingly out of their front door two years ago wearing its pants on its head, looking and smelling like an unmitigated disaster. But given everything we know about Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, there’s plenty to be optimistic about – between a new client, graphics engine, server and data structures, newly redesigned maps and a reassembled interface, this is an entirely new game, built by an almost entirely new team who know the genre, warts and all.

 

Closed beta testers will next week be exposed to Full Active Time Events (FATE), new random events which will dynamically draw in players within their radius a la Guild Wars 2.

They’ll also get to play with a brand new gamepad UI, if they’re so inclined, revealed at length here by producer, director and Guild Wars player Naoki Yoshida.

There’s another new trailer below, though it’s less revealing. It spends about a minute looking indistinguishable from a Western MMO, bar the odd silly hat here and an occasional anime-sharp sword trail there, before throwing off its coat and running about with its chocobos and upside-down windmill castles on show.