Review: Final Fantasy XIV Online (PC)

Final Fantasy XIV Online
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: 09/30/2010

Prior to this year, the last entry we got in the main Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy XII in 2006. It is now 2010 and we get not one, but two entries in the franchise this year. The first, Final Fantasy XIII was released in March of this year and was a single player adventure full of controversial design decisions. Now, we have Final Fantasy XIV Online, which is an MMORPG and models itself after the rather successful Final Fantasy XI. Does lightning strike twice for Square Enix in the realm of MMO’s, or will it crumble before the house that Blizzard built?

Let’s Review

As is tradition in Final Fantasy titles, FFXIV starts off very cutscene heavy as it introduces you to the world of Eorzea. Depending on what you selected as your starting nation, you will be treated to one of several story arcs using your created avatar as the central character. While I can’t comment on all of them, nor even say too much about the one I embarked on myself since it is spread out over your journey to level 50, I will say that what I saw of it thus far was very interesting. It’s not often that I play an MMO and actually care about the lore of the world that I’m in, and FFXIV did a great job in getting me involved in the world of Eorzea and the characters in it.

That said, since the narrative is sandwiched between huge chunks of grinding and leveling, it will likely be months before you ever uncover the whole story and whether the tale as a whole is even worth the journey or not. Though if the core experience was all about the story, this really wouldn’t be an MMO, so I’m impressed that they even incorporated this much.

Story/Modes Rating: Great

I know I say this every time I review a Square Enix game, but damn is this title beautiful. You’ll need a fairly good system to truly appreciate the visuals, given the high specifications required by the game. But if you just built a PC within the last year or so, you’ll be able to marvel at how good this game looks.

Various emotes provide a vast assortment of animations for the characters to perform and every minute detail seems to be accounted for. Heads turn to look at things. Facial expressions are formed. Eyes dart around. The whole world seems to come alive around you. I think I literally said “Wow!” out loud the first time I started playing this game. All the screenshots and gameplay videos in the world couldn’t do this game justice. It’s that good.

It’s not just the characters and monsters either. The world itself is absolutely gorgeous. Especially the water effects. The first time you run across a stream in the world, you just want to run back and forth and splash it around just to see how amazing it animates. You’ll even notice the grass kick up as you run across the fields as well.

Graphics Rating: Amazing

After being absent for a couple of titles, it’s nice to see Nobuo Uematsu return to the franchise. The soundtrack is probably one of the best I’ve ever heard in a Final Fantasy game. And the songs aren’t just good, there’s a vast variety of them, so you won’t find yourself growing tired of the same ones over again. When you trigger a battle with an enemy, it queues some battle music for you, but this music changes depending on what area you are fighting in. You are also treated to some intense music when you accept leves (another name for quests, more on those later). And let’s not forget about the return of the victory fanfare, something that even FFXIII didn’t have!

A number of cutscenes are also fully voice acted too, which is a fun addition to an MMO. The voice acting is pretty good too for the most part, with the exception of a few characters here and there that either have piercing voices, or are just overacted. You can choose a voice for your own character too at the beginning of the game, but don’t expect to hear yourself say much during the game.

By the way, this is the last time I’ll have anything nice to say about this game for the rest of the review, so if you’re a troll or just overly squeamish, I suggest you turn away now.

Still reading? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Sound Rating: Classic

Oh, where to begin. You see, the trouble starts the moment you are required to create your avatar (actually it starts as soon as you set up payment, but I’ll get to that later). You are asked to choose a great many things, but the game doesn’t explain what they mean and how they impact the experience to come. For example, you are asked to select one of twelve gods and a name day (which I assume represents your character’s birthday), but FFXIV doesn’t tell you how this affects your character if it even does at all. What happens on my name day? What do each of these gods do differently? These are things I would like to know and this title fails to explain them to me.

After the opening cutscene plays and control of your character finally rests to you, the player, you’ll notice another big issue: The UI. If you’ve played FFXI, you’ll have grown accustomed to the menus buried within menus. It was fine for its time. But it has been about seven years since that game’s release, so it would be nice to not have an interface that was so clunky. You can definitely tell the game was made for a console controller rather than a mouse and keyboard combo. This is great and all, but considering the PS3 version won’t be out until next spring at the earliest, gamers without a controller have to deal with their joke of an interface.

Let’s say I want to interact with an NPC or another player. There are some buttons that flash on the top of the screen that tell you that you can do something important with them. “Great!” you think. “I’ll just click that button and it will do what I need!” No, that would be too easy. All that button does is bring you to your menu that will then allow you to click on that button and do what you need. It would’ve been faster to hit the hotkey for your menu yourself and do it that way. “Well, that sounds like sloppy design.” you might be thinking. Yes, it does. And that’s only the beginning.

The combat itself isn’t too shabby. It’s pretty standard fare really, depending on what class you ultimately choose. There is no auto attack function, so when you encounter an enemy or monster on the field, you must click on them followed by whatever attacks you want to use on them manually. Almost every function behaves manually, such as the gladiator’s ability to block attacks. It’s a minor addition, but it’s pretty neat and ensures that you are constantly engaged in the battle.

If I had to describe Final Fantasy XIV in one word, it would be “slow.” I’m not talking about just progress either. That’s to be expected, since this is an MMO. No, everything in this game behaves slowly, from the interface to the gameplay. If I want to attack an enemy and I hit a button for one of my attacks, I have to wait for my character to slowly unsheath his weapons, and then the damage is done before the animation even finishes. Actually, my second and third attacks almost register by the time the animation for the first will finish. This is not just my computer, I’ve noticed it on multiple systems on different internet connections. You might see how this could be a problem for classes that deal in tanking or healing duties.

Classes in this game are determined by the weapon that you currently wield at the time. So much like FFXI, this means that one character can master all classes if they want to. If you have a sword, you are a gladiator and if you have a spear, you are a lancer, that sort of thing. It’s the same with crafting and gathering skills as well. While each new class that you start off with will begin at rank 1, your character will have it’s own physical level that goes up separately. This means that if you decide to switch, you don’t necessarily begin back at square one. You’ll still have all of the stats you gained and allocated to your physical level.

The problem starts when you do finally decide to switch classes, the stats you allocated with your physical level don’t reset. You can choose to move them around, but you can only move so many before you have to wait for a cooldown period to expire. This means it could take days to completely transform your melee character into a magic user. I understand the need for such penalties, but this just seems ridiculous.

You can also solo your way to the current max level of 50 if you want to. And it some ways it may be more advantageous to you. Your job class gains ranks by performing actions against your enemy, so in theory, you could get more actions in over the course of the battle than if you have others sharing in your kill. This is especially true if you are the healer in your party, since you don’t gain any skill points by casting healing spells on your comrades. This seems like a sloppy system, since healers are rare enough in MMO’s. And now you want to alienate them by making them harder to rank up? Sure, they get attack spells, but how often are they going to get to use them?

Also, if you do want to form a party, you have to be right next to the person you want to invite in order to invite them. There’s nothing on any of your social lists that allows you to do this at a distance. So when you are going to type to your buddies to tell them to meet you somewhere to form a party, you will likely realize another major problem: the chat function sucks. You can barely type a whole sentence before the game cuts you off and you’ll have to split your thoughts into multiple lines. Of course, there’s so much spam that comes from battles and other people crafting their junk all around you that anything anybody says to you will likely get lost. And I couldn’t find a way to setup separate chat windows.

I feel there is way too big a focus on crafting in this game. Of all the things they could have done to separate themselves from other MMO’s, it had to be the process of crafting items. So when you sit down to craft something, you have to individually select what ingredients you want to mix together. No, there’s no recipe list. In fact, there’s nothing in the game that I could find that tells you what things you know how to make. You have to search the internet to find out what makes what. Fine, but don’t tout your game as the next revolution in casual MMO gaming if you can’t even put a simple recipe list in your game.

Back to crafting. So you select your ingredients and what hand you want to make them with, since your main hand and offhand items can produce different results. It will ask you what you want to make (which in most cases ends up only being one option). And then you start making it. You are given three different variations of synthesis that you can use, or you can choose to wait one round. Depending on whether the one you choose was correct or not, the quality of the item goes up or the durability goes down. It’s a neat mechanic the first few times you do it, and then it just quickly turns tedious. The sad part is you sometimes gain more experience from crafting than you do from fighting monsters, which sets a scary precedent for the rest of the game.

I have later been informed that the color of the item during the synthesis determines whether or not it will be successful or if you should wait one turn. Yet one more thing the game neglects to explain to me. Regardless, the whole thing still seems very random to me with zero fun factor. That’s fine if they want to have you lose all of your materials if you fail, but to have to suffer through the boring process of crafting and THEN failing feels like the game’s way of saying: “If you want this reward, you’ll have to let me kick you in the groin. But if you cry, I’m going to kick you in the groin again. And then laugh at you.”

If you want to obtain new gear in FFXIV, you need to rely on pretty much all of the crafting skills currently available in the game. Which is fine, if there was a solid process to obtaining these materials from other players if you don’t want to get them yourself. Unfortunately, this title does not include an auction house system, which means you have to rely on what are called retainers. Retainers are NPC’s created by other players which sell their items in the marketplace at whatever price they want to set. This is a terrible system on both ends. If you are the seller you have to give your items to the retainer one at a time, which when you consider how slow and sloppy this game’s menus are, you’ll realize just how painful that is. As the buyer, you have no way of knowing which retainer is carrying what items. So you have you click each one and check individually. This is a complete waste of the player’s time and a poor excuse for not having a better system in place. There is a patch supposedly incoming that will divide the market wards into sections that separate what the retainers are selling, but you still have no way of knowing who exactly has what or even a way to price compare.

Quests in this game are called Leves, and you can take on eight of them every 36 hours (I had to Google that one too). Since each area will only give you four at a time, after you finish them, you will have to go to the other areas to gather the other four. Except your anima, which you use to teleport from camp to camp, only recharges enough to give you about one teleport a day. You will eventually just give up trying to do this and go grind instead. Or craft. But considering what that entails, I would just rather suffer through trying to fight the same mobs as dozens of other players in the same boat as me. And even when I do take on leves, since they are randomized, I may end up with the same exact leve several times in a row, and I often do. You can exchange previously completed leves when you undertake new ones, but I have no idea how this influences the reward since FFXIV conveniently likes to leave out important information.

While it is possible to obtain new gear from leves, since your rewards are randomized, more often than not you’ll either have to craft them or buy them from NPC’s. But since these vendors like to charge an arm and a leg for these items, you’ll have to make money some other way. You can make a bunch from doing leves to be sure, but you make even more from crafting and selling the items. So again, since you now have to rely on a ludicrous crafting and retainer system to make money, you would almost rather just run around in your starting gear and hope that you get good stuff from leves. Or purchase them from retainers if you have the patience to sift through hundreds to find what you are looking for. Either way, unless you embrace the fact that you need to play their damn crafting minigame to progress, you are screwed.

Control/Gameplay Rating: Bad

Being an MMORPG and all, there’s no doubt that there is a lot to do in FFXIV. I mean, ranking up all the classes to 50 is an achievement upon itself, as well as trying to craft all the strongest gear. The problem is, is any of it going to be fun? Considering I hate crafting and I lack the ambition to get one class to 50, much less all of them, I’m going to say no. Perhaps this genre in general is just no longer for me, but I’m tired of each new title being derivative of the others. And if you’re going to be derivative, at least be good at it. I feel like everything I’ve experienced in this game or have yet to experience I can find in other games, and done better. I would much rather play FFXI than this.

Replayability Rating: Poor

I mentioned that grinding was a big part of this game, as it is with many other titles in the genre. Which is fine, except that there is no consistency in regards to mob placement. Even the easiest areas in FFXIV have one random enemy that is several levels higher than all the rest and will aggro you and kill you if you get too close. The penalties are fairly mild for death, with only a small durability loss and a debuff that reduces your stats. But there’s no way to tell as far as I know which enemies will aggro you, and there’s a bug that is still unresolved that can sometimes prevent you from fighting back. When you strike an enemy, sometimes you will get a message that tells you that the monster has already been claimed by another player even though it hasn’t. And as a result, you can’t hit it and are forced to let the creature pummel you until the game pulls its head out of its ass and starts working correctly. Sometimes that never happens.

Remember when I mentioned the leves a little earlier? The things you can do so many of every day and a half? They are also timed. Almost every single one gives you 30 minutes to kill whatever creatures it tells you to kill. This is probably the biggest sin you can commit in an online game like this. What sense does it make to urge you to kill the same creatures that likely everyone else on the server is killing within a short amount of time? Sometimes the game will randomly increase the number you must kill, as there’s a random chance you will be ambushed by about four of whatever you are killing.

Luckily, your friends can share their leves with you, even though your reward will be smaller. In fact, you can have, as far as I can tell, as many shared with you as you like and can adjust the difficulty of the leve based on the number of players. And once you complete the leve the game will even warp you back to the camp where you first accepted it, which is nice. However, if you fail the leve or even get disconnected while undertaking one, you will fail it for good and won’t be able to accept it or another one in its place for another 36 hours. I’m beginning to wonder what kind of ass backwards design philosophies they had in place when they created this game.

Balance Rating: Bad


Most new MMORPG’s are just carbon copies of one another, and FFXIV is no exception. Almost everything you see in this game has been done by another game before it, and is nothing more than a melting pot of various ideas and features. The problem is, this game does none of them well, and what you end up with feels like an unfinished game that could use at least one or two years of more development time before it even feels like a GOOD ripoff. I mean, I wasn’t expecting it to deviate that much from FFXI, but I at least expected an improvement.

Even the source material is ripped right out of FFXI. All of the races are basically the same, they just have different names. Same with the classes. If a character has a sword and a shield and is used for tanking, you can call it a gladiator or a damage soaking douche for all I care, but it’s still basically a warrior. All changing the names does is confuse players that have gotten used to the terminology over the years.

Originality Rating: Dreadful

This game was kinda fun the little bit I played the open beta. It was also entertaining starting my character for real and doing the first storyline chain quest. After that, the game leaves you hanging with no direction and no idea what to do. This would be tolerable if I could find fun things to do on my own, but I didn’t have much luck with that. As such, as was ready to cancel my account within days. I forced myself to play after that point, telling myself that there was no way that Square Enix would invest so much money into this game just to have it suck. Telling myself that has stopped working.

Addictiveness Rating: Bad

Appeal Factor
Anybody who enjoyed Final Fantasy XI will definitely express interest in this game. After all, many of the characters and features have made the transition, warts and all. Unfortunately, FFXI is still the better game and much of the magic that it had has been lost on its way to this title. Remember putting a six party group together and having your tank pull a mob to your group and try to keep him alive before he dropped during his run over? Or trying to achieve experience chains by trying to fight mobs back to back with each other? I’ve admitted in the past that I didn’t like FFXI that much, but never did I have any gripes with the gameplay. FFXIV on the other hand, is a mess. The soloable nature attempts to attract newcomers who, like myself, probably didn’t care for its predecessor all that much. But aside from the opening story quest, the game tells you absolutely nothing about what to do, how to do it, or where to do it. The manual is absolutely useless and while I don’t need my hand held in a game like this, I would like at least some direction. Even hardcore MMO players won’t find much to hold their attention until some major content updates start rolling out.

Another thing that will bar many players from trying out this game will be the insane system requirements that are needed to run the game decently. If your computer isn’t built specifically for gaming, like I mentioned above, within the last year or so, the performance is going to choke. Even higher end laptops have to turn the settings way down before they can even get the game to run. And they won’t even run that well. Granted, they are ensuring that the game will look good for years to come, but they are also barring a huge potential audience from ever playing the game for a long time. Although, given the quality of the game, perhaps that’s a good thing.

Appeal Rating: Bad

After installing the game, but before playing it, you’ll have to setup your account. This process practically needs a tutorial in of itself since the process is needlessly convoluted. You can pay using Crysta, which is Square Enix’s own little currency similar to Microsoft Points. There’s also another payment method that involves using another site that SE has outsourced for payment purposes, and while I never tried that option myself, I’ve been told that there’s a charge just to set up an account with them. The base price of the game is $9.99 per month, with an additional $2.99 per character. You can also purchase additional retainers for $1 a month each. Again, why not just offer a simple flat rate for the account per month?

Once you get your account set up and are about to log in, then you have to go through the lovely process of downloading updates. Except the update process is excruciatingly slow, and sometimes doesn’t even work. For the first few patches, I had to get them from another website since the downloader refused to work correctly and would just get hung up on 0%. I continued to do this for each subsequent update since it’s much, much quicker than what the downloader can ever do. SE has been pulling these patches down, insisting that consumers use their awful downloader to update instead. I’m appalled about how they could do this without first addressing the problems with their own software. What an embarrassment.

If I were to give Square Enix props for one thing, it would be the server stability for FFXIV‘s launch. Very rarely did servers ever go down, and even when they did, they usually announced on their site that they were going to do it. I think releasing two different versions of the game at two different times helped a lot with this, though I think that decision was as equally about money as it was keeping their game stable.

Miscellaneous Rating: Dreadful

The Scores
Story/Modes: Great
Graphics: Amazing
Sounds: Classic
Controls/Gameplay: Bad
Replayability: Poor
Balance: Bad
Originality: Dreadful
Addictiveness: Bad
Appeal Factor: Bad
Miscellaneous: Dreadful

Final Score: Below Average Game!

Short Attention Span Summary
As both a fan of Final Fantasy and a veteran of MMORPG’s, this is one of the biggest disappointments I’ve ever experienced in gaming. I’m been anticipating this title since its announcement at E3, as I’m sure many other gamers had as well. I even bought the Collector’s Edition so I could play eight days early. Looking back, I don’t feel like I got early access and an assortment of collectibles. No, what I actually received that day was the middle finger and realization that I just did exactly what millions of other gamers had done: purchased a subpar product on name alone. Everything about this game feels like a rush job, and the experience I had could be equated to having played a paid beta. That’s what this game is right now: a paid beta. It has the potential to be so much more, but it could take months or even years of quality content updates to make this into a mediocre game, much less a great one. If you are on the fence at all about this game, I suggest you hold off for now. MMORPG’s are constantly changing, and Final Fantasy XIV is no different. So someday I may look back on this review in shock and disbelief at how I could write so many nasty things about a game I now like. Until then, either skip this one altogether and keep playing whatever online game you are already playing, or wait until customer reviews start to improve. Grab a chair though, it might be awhile.



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40 responses to “Review: Final Fantasy XIV Online (PC)”

  1. […] Review: Final Fantasy XIV Online (PC) – diehard gamefan […]

  2. […] Review: Final Fantasy XIV Online (PC) – diehard gamefan […]

  3. Anthony Avatar

    Man the game does have some probloms, but it like just came out. All mmo’s(with very few exceptions) have many probloms. I say give it 6-8 months for updates and patches then go pick up a copy. Saure enix listens to their fans and its an mmo so i’m sure they will listen as they dont want to lose money after investing so much. I bet 12 months from now this game will be way better. They will improve gameplay, interface,fix bugs, improve lag problems ect over the next 12 months. Thats what the 1st year and a half of an mmo’s life span is is working out the problems. then 2 years in is about time for an expansion.

  4. Chef Nate Avatar
    Chef Nate

    Sounds like this guy works for Blizzard. Final Fantasy has always been about sticking to traditions and great storytelling. Dumbing everything down for the button mashers and pvpers would be a waste of time and talent that spans two decades. This guy is a flaming retard. Go back to WoW.

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      Nate – you do realize Squaresoft is the same company that has had to apologize for terrible storytelling in Final Fantasy games before, right? Remember the FFXII debacle where the team admitted they threw shit at the wall for a plot and that the main character was little more than an afterthought?

  5. Sean Madson Avatar
    Sean Madson

    Anthony, you are absolutely right that all MMO’s have problems when they first come out, and as such, require months of updates before they can even come close to reaching their full potential.

    That said, as a reviewer, I have to judge a game based on the state it is in when I play it. And the version of it I talk about in the review is going to be the same that many others are going to be paying $50 to $75 to experience for the coming months. Is it possible that the game will improve exponentially in the next year or two? I have no doubt that it will. Until that happens though, gamers will have to be forced to endure a half finished game to get to that point, and that’s what I want to get the word out about. If Square Enix wants consumer dollars for their product, they have to earn it. And so far, this latest effort has done nothing to merit even a cent of what people are paying right now.

    I promise you this: I will come back to the game in the future, and if things have improved, and that’s a big if, I would be more than happy to write a followup to inform people of the game’s improvements. In the meantime, I will be canceling my account with FFXIV.

  6. […] Review: Final Fantasy XIV Online (PC) – diehard gamefan […]

  7. Saryk Avatar

    I am in the same boat as the author and I have to agree. I feel that I got bent over without a kiss or reach around. And the bad part about it is that it is very hard to recoup the funds or get a refund from a bad MMO product.

  8. CS Avatar

    lol@ “Dumbing everything down for the button mashers” when the combat in FFXIV is boring and shallow button mashing.

  9. bob bouche Avatar
    bob bouche

    terrible game, i just intalled it and deleted it an hour later. couldnt figure out how to talk to anyone. couldnt figure out the controls and it seems like an internet browser game…
    even when you get a quest and figure out how to open the map, it doesnt show you where you are or where to go.
    also i couldnt get out of wondowed mode.. very annoying.

  10. Alexei Avatar

    Pretty much agree with every sentence in this review. We bought two copies of this game yesterday and it has been the most horrible experience for us EVER.

    Since the beggining with the account set-up and payment registration to the terrible, terrible in-game experience. We tried, really tried to play this p.o.s. but it’s just impossible. 100 € to the garbage. And for those saying that the game will be so much better in 1 year or 2. Come on guys, don’t you know there are so many future titles like TERA next year.

    Go to hell Square, the only good game you ever made was FFVII.

    PS: Do you know how I found thiw review? Googling: “final fantasy xiv unfinished game”. Just to confirm I am not the only one…

  11. Abriael Avatar

    just another rushed review written way too early to know anything solid about the game.

    “Almost everything you see in this game has been done by another game before it”

    Oh really? Like the Armory system? the ability to change class on the fly and to actually mix and match between their abilities? In what MMORPG has that been used before pray tell?

    Not that from your review it seems like you actually even noticed it, since you don’t mention that at all. Interesting, considered that it’s the main advertised selling point of the game. One would expect someone that fancies himself a reviewer to have at least tried it.

    Bottomline, Age of Conan should have thaught wannabe reviewers a good lesson: You don’t review a MMORPG one or two weeks after launch. One because the game isn’t even past the inevitable launch idiosincrasies, two because in that little time you simply do NOT get enough knowledge and experience on the game in order to fairly review it.

    Not that it looks that you actually played the game much, if at all. If you did, you would have used your own pictures, and not random ones grabbed from the internet.

  12. Hiko Seijuro Avatar
    Hiko Seijuro

    I’m loving the game so far (especially the music, which I still haven’t gotten over how good it is), but there are some really dumb things which need sorting. My biggest gripes are the lack of auction house, lack of hotkeys and lack of transportation (a la Chocobos, Airships). However, it seems to me that all of those could be sorted out fairly easily with a few patches (I believe that Square have already promised an AH patch), sure, the combat is a bit slow but that’s how I enjoy it anyway, and the crafting doesn’t seem worse than a lot of MMOs, like Aion. Then FFXIV can go from problematic to incredible.

  13. Sean Madson Avatar
    Sean Madson

    Abriael, you want me to name another game that uses the class system you are referring to? Here’s one: Final Fantasy XI. Sure, it’s not done the EXACT same way. But the basic premise is still there. Use skills from one class while using another. And if a feature that was already recycled from a previous game is your selling point, then in my opinion, your game is in a lot of trouble.

    That said, I tried to talk about as many features as possible in my review, but an MMO is a lot of ground to cover and that feature in particular got lost in the shuffle. Not that it would have made much of a difference, the broken combat overshadows any effect that a job system like that would have.

    So while yes, it has only been two weeks, but if a game becomes no longer fun for an individual to play, isn’t that enough? How many times do you have to chew glass before you know the next bite will be painful? Even if I hit the max level of 50 I doubt you would be satisfied with my opinions of this title. Just accept that I didn’t like that game, like many other players, and just move on. I played Age of Conan months after it came out, and I didn’t like it either. I like playing MMO’s that are fun to play and have me excited to log into. We seem to have different tastes.

  14. Christopher Bowen Avatar

    I can’t be the only person that thinks it’s really dumb to say “wait a few months, it might be better”. What if it isn’t? How much time have you invested by then? And what if if IS better by then? Will it even matter? Because the side of the road is littered with the corpses of MMOs that started off as poorly as this one has.

  15. Sean McGinnis Avatar
    Sean McGinnis

    I played Open Beta with a friend and liked the game at first and enjoy the challenge of trying to figure things out, but I think it is a bit overboard in this game.
    Early levels of me playing a healer and friend playing a tank were rewarding and fun but around 12-16 class level range when my heals now heal for 217 instead of the 200 it starts out as I have to contiuely just spam the heal to try to keep up as mobs hit the tank (which has poor mitigation) for more than twice the amount as I heal which means disaster. Being a healer in this game is just pointless and should only use the heals for top off before the next battle. If you can’t kill something with your starting HP pool you’re screwed and stick to soloing group play is horrid fighting mobs you can solo.
    We leveled several professions to level 20 and shared abilities which really get weak if not on main class and all fun factor to the game is lost.
    I could go on about everythign else I dislike, but really don’t even want to waste time talking about the game as I did playing the game in beta. Only screw up I had is forgot to cancel my collector’s edition pre-order and so wasted 75+ on a box that now sits on a shelf as I have no intention on playing.

  16. […] franchise. It’s kind of like our own Sean Madson and his sad horrible experiences with Final Fantasy XIV. So was it addicting? Partially, but only because of my love for the series and my sheer spite for […]

  17. Aeyth Avatar

    The only thing that was dreadful was reading this moronic review. Almost everything in this game in unique and has never been done before, like market wards, split class/physical levels shall i go on? It seems like you played the game for 15 minutes and your hand wasn’t being held, and their wasn’t huge yellow exclamation points telling you where to go. Who would have that you’d actually have to think a litle!? Another WoW player can’t make the cut. Precisely what makes the FF community so great. Thanks for uninstalling ^^

    1. Alex Lucard Avatar

      Aeyth – you do realize NO ONE has given this game a positive review, right?

  18. Mark B. Avatar
    Mark B.

    Aeyth – Speaking as someone who spent the better part of two years playing FFXI, I’ve seen nothing in FFXIV that wasn’t more or less refined from FFXI, which in and of itself is based VERY heavily on Everquest, so I’m going to have to question your assessment that the game is “unique”. Further, after numerous instances of being killed by a “train to zone”, numerous instances of being screwed by other players, and at least two instances of friends I play online with being sexually harassed, I’m going to have to take exception to the argument that the FF community is “so great”, unless you speak some language where “great” means the opposite of what it does in English.

  19. Aeyth Avatar

    Mark – There will always SOME childish players in any game. That being said in my experience playing 5 years of FFXI and 3 years of WoW, the average age of the FF community is around 20-21. As for WoW the average age is 12. I have never logged into any FF title and been disgusted by childish shouting in a channel. Cross-region servers mean a majority of the players are European/Japanese. Have you ever met a rude Japanese player? That is mostly what i base my belief that the community is great. As for it being unique you probably havn’t played enough of XIV to have a stance on the issue. Of course every MMO takes some aspects from previous titles, there is not a single game that hasn’t, but to list a few things:

    Retainers (XI had to create multiple mules)
    Market Wards (No other game has done this)
    Multi-Layered Leveling system (No other game has done this)
    Armory System (Change class by switching weapon, no game has done this as well, and XI you had to go to mog house to switch. Hardly refined from XI)
    Shields (No auto block, actually having to block manually. No game has ever had this)
    Armor (When you armor durability degrades, you can notice it physically getting dirty. Again, no game has done this)

    Have i listed enough? The list goes on. The reason you know none of this is because you, and many others, reviewer included have not played the game enough to write such critical reviews. Why? because the game hasn’t been out for even a month. You have probably experienced 10% of the actual game. Hell morons were even writing reviews in beta and criticizing.

  20. Sean Madson Avatar
    Sean Madson

    Aeyth – As I don’t feel like scouring the web trying to find obscure examples of games to disprove your point (though off the top of my head, I know Ultima Online had a retainer system very similar to what FFXIV has and that game came out in 1997), let’s entertain the idea that all of those things that you listed have never been done by another game before. What are they bringing to the table?

    As I mentioned above, I feel the retainer/market ward system is probably the worst ever conceived in the history of MMO’s. Spending two hours clicking on other players’ NPC’s to find one thing is not my idea of entertainment, and if you think that this is a progressive feature for MMO’s, well… that’s kind of sad.

    Armor degradation is cool and all, but it is nothing more than a graphical effect. But as I mentioned above, the graphics are very good. In fact, great graphics and music are the only real advancements that I could find in this game. The leveling/armory system, while cool, is still just a refined version of what was in FFXI. Except without good gameplay to back it, this becomes kind of a moot point. You say that two weeks isn’t enough to form a critical review, but not one person has been able to disprove any of the criticisms I have of the game, and those very same criticisms are what prevent me and, as I understand it, many others from enjoying the game. “But… but… just go play WoW.” is not a quality argument in defending a video game that you claim I have wronged by writing this review. And so far, that’s the only defense people have been able to bring to the table. If a game feels like a waste of time while I play it, it’s going to continue to feel that way for the next month, six months, or two years. And considering the only patches that have come from Square Enix since the title’s release have been fixing emotes and other random garbage, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  21. Aeyth Avatar

    Sean – Firstly, the patches that SE released have been to fix mostly bugs (Mostly all that you mentioned have already been addressed. ie. Claim bug, SP bug etc.) They have also been very observant of player complaints and reacting accordingly. Secondly, upon actually reading your review in full, you have proven my point. You state “What sense does it make to urge you to kill the same creatures that likely everyone else on the server is killing within a short amount of time?” referencing leve quests. You honestly must have only played for literally 10 minutes, or you would know that when doing a leve quest you get your own set of monsters specific to that quest. Which means no one can attack yours and vice versa. So if you havn’t done a single leve how can you criticize the leve system? Your writing style does tell me you’re the type of person who does not research much. If you would have done a bit of reading you would know Market Wards are getting fixed within a week, they are implementing retrying leves should you get disconnected and the list goes on. There is also no charge for setting up your account. They decided to use a Japanese company to process payments, same company that has been doing XI for the past few years. My point is this review is biased and opinionated, its far from honest, and as far as i can tell written without any experience/knowledge of the actual game.

  22. Sean Madson Avatar
    Sean Madson

    Aeyth, the notes for the last two patches can be found at and Tell me where it says their most crippling bug (the claiming one) has been fixed? I think you are the one who has not done their research. I already know the market wards are getting “fixed”, I mentioned it in my review. Their proposed changes do little to mitigate what a ridiculous system they have in place in regards to trading with other players. Also, I’ve done levequests every day for the last two weeks, as well as in beta. So your assessment of my inexperience is incorrect. I also fail to understand how my opinion could be biased. I mentioned that I love Final Fantasy games and have been looking forward to this game since its announcement. It would be biased if I gave it a good score based on that. Not the opposite. I gave it a poor score because it’s a half finished, broken game, completely devoid of any form of innovation that could move the genre forward. If anything, this title has set the series and genre backwards. But since you’re so well versed in this game, perhaps you’ll be able to tell me the release date for the patch that’s supposed to make this game fun?

  23. Insatiable Avatar

    Great review..thank you for pointing out all the pro’s and con in detail. Seriously this is the worst MMORPG game in its release I have played in years. This includes all the free MMORPG games out there. And to have something so bad out of a company with years and years of experience behind them! its shear disgusting and downright contemptible. Its like you said.. your not paying subscription for a full released game your paying for beta. Because this game will definetly need months if not years of improvement before this game is given any crudential. I myself have the collectors edition of the game and I feel cheated upon my money. I am sure the game developers are fully aware the state of the game as they haven’t even release the “Official FFXIV guide” which is usually released the sametime as when the game is officially relased. To think they did not even have to develope this game from scratch, when they had FFXI as template to go with. The old game is far better and superior to this new release. Please dont waste your time and effort on such rubbish.

  24. Julie Avatar

    Calling someone a Blizzard Fanboy / Employee based on their dislike for this game is a naive comment. With that kind of generalization, one could say that anyone who defends this game in that matter could be thought to be a Squeenix Fanboy. I’m sure these are the same Fanboys that when people didn’t like Final Fantasy XIII said “You need to play the game for 30 hours in order to have a valid opinion about the game”. I’m sorry, why does anyone need to play a game for 20 hours before it “Gets good”. (Side note : I did like XIII, but only because the battle system was really fun)

    But calling people Fanboys on either side of the fence really isn’t helping the discussion. Only proving a point that nothing “good” can be said about “said game” one is defending.

    Just because someone as a bad opinion of a game, after playing it for 3 weeks doesn’t make them less qualified to have an opinion. Who’s to say the person who has a “Good opinion” of this game is more qualified. On what grounds? Perhaps the same person IN LOVE with this game today, will realize that without transportation, game bug fixes, UI lagginess, and a loss for any in-game community, that in the end the game will lose its charm for such people, and in the end, find it boring.

    An MMORPG will not survive without its community. And after seeing a plethora of angry reviews, not by WoW players, but by hardcore Final Fantasy XI fans, it doesn’t matter how good the game is to the few. The game has to stay afloat somehow. And without a solid community, the game is gone.

    I find it funny how this game has been advertised to fit different types of play styles whether you are hardcore or casual. This game is hardly set up for a “casual gamer’s” PC in any way. It is definitely set up to fit for the PS3, which again…then isn’t geared for just the everyday, casual gamer.

    I know the Market Ward is going to be fixed, but how? So they’re going to organize the layers and layers of retainers? Great. So where does my retainer fit in then since I always sell a mixture of items in my bazaar. Still doesn’t fix me having to “Entrust” my items to my retainer ONE AT A TIME slowly.

    Click on Moko Grass. New Screen Pops up. Click on Entrust. Rinse and Repeat for EVERY item. It’s a complete joke and a waste of my time.

    I love games that are slow moving where I can enjoy the scenery and yes, slow grinding. But why the SLOW UI and menu upon menu. What this game needs is a facelift. The same way Windows Vista needed a facelift with Windows 7 when that atrocity came out.

    Square-Enix wanted to set up the game to keep the gold farmers away. An MMO starts to die when people have the ability to buy gold and items online and have an advantage over other players who aren’t forking over “real money” to advance. I find this with retainers. I feel the person who buys multiple retainers for an extra $1 a piece will have an advantage over the person who sticks to their given one.

    They also advertised this great new system where you switch jobs just by swapping you’re weapon. What they didn’t add to mention was you need to Reassign all your attributes (stats), but you can’t do it all at once. Only a little at a time. And reassigning all your skill each time is a menu. You have to “Unequip” One by One by a menu, and then reassign to your main weapon one by one. No nice drag and drop or ability to save your skill list based on rank assignment.

    What Square needs to do is let us know what changes are to be made in the next month, to get us to resubscribe after the initial free month. Otherwise, I smell another Tabula Rasa. (and hey, that game was very creative and pretty ^_^)

  25. Andy Avatar

    A very accurate review of how the game currently stands after launch. As others have noted the game is pretty much unchanged since the open beta. For some reason or another the suits at Square didn’t bother to look at the problems the last few years of MMO releases have had and instead released an unfinished and unpolished game.

    “But wait!” you say, “No MMO comes into its own until months after its release date!” This statement is true, but only to a point. Reviews are for people wondering if they should buy the game *now*, not six months in the future. Any MMO that is released in a store that you have to pay real money for needs to be fun, engrossing, and enjoyable from the moment you start the game.

    There is no way I could suggest a friend of mine play this game right now, and neither should any reviews on the internet either. Looking around at other reviews it appears the feeling is mutual.

  26. […] franchise. It’s kind of like our own Sean Madson and his sad horrible experiences with Final Fantasy XIV. So was it addicting? Partially, but only because of my love for the series and my sheer spite for […]

  27. kevensctt Avatar

    im taking this game in my backyard and burning it!!

  28. Copious Avatar

    The fanboys giving the reviewer a hard time are doing everyone a disservice, and we’ve all seen this before. People swore up and down that Darkfall, Mortal Online, WAR, etc. weren’t as bad as the reviewers said. That they would patch out all the terrible parts of the game in a few months and everything would be great. You know what? If a MMO isn’t at least good to start with, it’s not gonna get magically better because you want it to. Games that are released in this state show you that the developers don’t care enough to give you a finished product. What makes you think they are gonna care enough to finish it later?

  29. Copious Avatar

    Also, I thought I’d reply to one of the fanboys lists for fun.

    Retainers (Ultima Online, Maple Story)
    Market Wards (Maple Story)
    Multi-Layered Leveling system (Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Darkfall, Mortal Online)
    Armory System (The one semi-unique thing about the game, but don’t forget legacy weapons from WoW or all the games based on skills rather than classes. Some free MMO’s have been experimenting with this idea as well)
    Shields (Darkfall, Conan if I’m not mistaken)
    Armor (Is armor getting dirty really a feature to hang your hat on?)

  30. Tom Avatar

    I want to thank you Sean for the best review I’ve found after hours of looking around for something I could actually believe in respects to what the game really was. Though the last 10 reviews I’ve read said pretty much the same thing, and the flame wars that ensued on their comment lists remained the same I held up hope that the review here at would change my mind and get me to buy the game.

    Thank you for doing quite the opposite and helping me decide to hold off and wait patiently for Cataclysm. Your review was well written, concise, organized and let me actually sympathize with all the players worldwide who purchased the CE.

    Once again, thanks DHGF and thank you Sean.

  31. Sean Madson Avatar
    Sean Madson

    Tom – Thank you for the kind words. Contrary to popular belief, I am not on a smear campaign nor am I being paid off by Blizzard. I do this as a hobby, and I was legitimately excited for, and ultimately disappointed by this game. I’m glad sharing my experience had an influence in your buying decisions as that is all a writer can ask for from a piece that they wrote.

    I think that at the core, there’s a lot of potential here that can shape this title into the success that FFXI was. However, now is certainly not that time and I would hate for fellow gamers to feel as cheated as I did when paying full price for this title. Square Enix rushed this game to retail and it shows. If you are still interested in trying it though, I’d give it lots of time or wait until the price drops. And again, thank you for your feedback!

  32. […] less than stellar reviews from the gaming press, Square Enix has been relentlessly trying to maintain Final Fantasy […]

  33. […] the dismal reception of Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix has suffered its own critical hit as its revenue forecast for the current fiscal year […]

  34. -Disappointed Avatar

    A group of us were about to purchase this game a few hours ago. While on yahoo some were searching the best prices and a few of us decided to review the game. This review is was written factual and provides the ending result of most reviews that we found so far. In the end we will not purchase this game. I guess were stuck playing Finally Fantasy XI.
    Thanks for the honest review.
    Very Disappointed!

  35. Sean Madson Avatar
    Sean Madson

    Believe me when I say that I was quite disappointed too. Thank you for the feedback!

  36. […] of being a major disappointment. Heck, it was around this time last year when I played and reviewed Final Fantasy XIV and was so disappointed with it I was practically offended. How does Skyward Sword do when looked […]

  37. […] won’t mince words, I was not a big fan of Final Fantasy XIV‘s initial release. Setting up subscriptions was a pain, there was a needless reliance on […]

  38. […] last time I did one of these was for the original release of Final Fantasy XIV, and while they did eventually fix that game, the quality of the title at the time was incredibly […]

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