Final Fantasy XIV – Open Beta Phase 4 Screenshots

I’m not going to go into a big article dissecting the game yet, but I will say Final Fantasy XIV is a beautiful MMO and it runs flawlessly on my system.  Nice work, SquareEnix.

Final Fantasy XIV – A Realm Reborn

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Final Fantasy XIV – now here’s a game that I haven’t played since the original beta, which was so bad it completely put me off of buying the game.  I didn’t miss much.  For those who didn’t follow the original launch of Final Fantasy XIV way back in 2010 it was probably the most badly botched launch of any ‘AAA’ MMO ever created.  There was virtually no end-game content, no story content, the game’s menu system was borderline unplayable, and it had very high system requirements on PC at the time.  It was so bad that SquareEnix immediately (or almost immediately) extended the 30-day free game time that came with the game.  SquareEnix did not start billing people to play the game until 2012, over a  year after the initial release of the game and had already announced intentions to re-launch the game as Final Fantasy XIV – A Realm Reborn.  During this time the original producer,  Hiromichi Tanaka, wrote numerous letters to the community rambling about the state of the game as well as his dedication to fixing FFXIV and his shame at the apparent faults of the game until he was finally replaced in 2010 by Naoki Yoshida.  So for those of us who didn’t buy into the original release it was a fun train wreck to follow.

In fact the game was so bad that Naoki Yoshida could only think of one way to fix it – he literally blew up the game world.

Seriously.

Bahamut summons a meteor and destroys the world.

So what changes take place as we rise from the ashes?  The major ones (stolen from wikipedia) are:

  • The implementation of a completely new server system.
  • A new graphics engine.
  • A redesigning of all field maps into 40 zones (compared to the original version’s 8 zones).
  • Fully renewed user interface.
  • Female Hyur Highlanders, female Roegadyn, and male Miqo’te will be playable.
  • A worldless content finder.
  • Reworking current jobs and adding new ones (Arcanist and Summoner)
  • 1v1 and large scale player versus player content.
  • Introduction of the FATE (Full Active Time Event) system. FATE will allow for spontaneous field events such as hamlet defense.

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After playing for a bit in Phase 3 of the more recent beta for A Realm Reborn (of which I unfortunately took almost no screenshots), this MMO doesn’t feel bad anymore – it’s actually a lot of fun.  The game runs smooth and looks great with great modeling and animation, the interface for keyboard/mouse is intuitive with the genre-standard hotkey setup and a fully customizable UI, the map, journal, and quest objectives are clearly visible and understandable, and the combat system is in-line with what you’d expect from a modern MMO in the vein of World of Warcraft or Rift.   The FATE system makes leveling in lower-level zones feel a lot more exciting.  They’re basically just Rift events, but there’s nothing wrong with that as those were my favorite part of Rift as well.  I also really enjoyed the music in the Phase 3 beta – I was very happy to be listening to works by Nobuo Uematsu again.

Phase 4 of the beta is going to start sometime after August 8, probably a week to 10 days prior to the August 27 launch.  Character progression from the Phase 4 beta will carry over to the final game.  Those who have pre-purchased will also get an early access code that will probably go out 3-4 days before launch.  Until then, you can run the  character creation benchmark if you’d like to see what a great looking game it is and get your character ready for launch.

I’m not sure if this is a game that is worth a subscription yet, but I think it’s worth a look just to work my way up to level 50.

Oh, and catgirls… err… Miqo’te.

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