So I've been playing a good deal of Final Fantasy XIV Online, since the collectors edition got a head start last week, and once i got past the quite steep learning curve, i've been having a good time. The game is beyond beautiful, graphics and animations, but i'd expect nothing less from Square to be honest. The controls are very similar to the single player Final Fantasy games, and once i plugged in an Xbox 360 controller, it played way better in my opinion, although it seem most Japanese players play with only a keyboard (yikes!). I'm curious how the Playstation 3 version will be next year when it gets released, more options are always good. Along those lines, man does this game polarize people, either people love it or hate it, so reviews are pretty much useless, especially ones that don't spend enough time to get the flow of it. It's a slower, more deliberate game than others, button mashing is pointless and actually not a good practice as you can queue up actions. That is where some people are complaining of lag, it's not, they just already selected an attack and are waiting for it to shoot off.
Shot of my character at the loading screen wearing a grey hempen cowl:
Classes are something else people are seeming to be confused by, you can be any one you like, just equip the weapon, and you can level up those skills and pretty much use any skill with any class. Very nice, want to fight with swords and cast spells? Go right ahead. You can also wear whatever gear you want, although some isn't "best" for what main class you want to be. You can also equip any level of item, but won't get the best stats until you are the 'optimal' rank it says. Worth noting is that you have a separate "physical rank" that levels no mater what class you are using, disciples of war, magic, hand or land, you get ranks. Chopping trees, get xp to increase your botanist rank and physical. Weaving things, get weaver ranks and physical ranks. etc, etc. I tend to do lots of different things, so my physical rank is around 22 right now, but my highest job rank is like 14, weaver and botanist.
Which leads me to my few complaints. The story line quests are triggered by what rank you are in a job, not physical. Get one at creation, then 10, then 15, 20, etc (so i've read). These are fun and interesting, with interesting story and such. The rest of time it's levequests, eight of regional, eight of local, every 36 hours or so, reset at a set time server side, not when you do them. I do realize that most quests in most games are just kill X rats, prettied up, but it's nice to have that motivation, i'm not much of a grinder really. So i'm hoping they add something to either cut that time, or add more quests. Seeing as there is a tab for "quests 0/16" in the journal, but no one seems to have found who gives them out, if anyone yet. Also worth noting is that there are no "!" above people who give quests. You kind of have to pay attention, read, and explore, which i kind of like.
My awesome hair style:
Crafting and gathering are actually fun and interesting mini-games, not just click and go make a sandwich. Pay attention, get stuff, it works. Although couple complaints here too, no in game guide on what recipes need, although you don't need to get them like other games, you are told them in game and either write them down or look them up online (second one, really). You can try to make anything you have the mats for, but will most likely fail if they are too hard. Mats are the other problem i'm having right now, as most recipes need varied items from all different crafts (although more realistic when something with leather and metal needs both) but the market wards is borked right now and no way to search it sucks. Also it sucks that most people are selling useless things, not what others really need, so you have to wade through people trying to find what you want, and failing. They have said they will make it searchable, or add an AH later, but for now it sucks. Best off crafting what you can with what you can make yourself.
A shot of me in Ul'dah, just hanging out:
There is a neat official site with info, recipes and more called The Loadstone, with blogs attached to your character. I'm not exactly sure if this will work for others, and haven't written anything in the blog yet, i think this is my site there. It's sort of like the WoW armory, but with a more social bent, and less a "get better gear n00b".
Neat little sig generator for forums and such at this site, which has several styles and looks like this:
So yeah, people probably don't care about this, or don't play, but i'm having a blast.