So I had the pleasure of playing Final Fantasy XIV Phase 3 beta these past two weekends. Though it may have gorgeous graphics and dialogue rich in style and eloquence, there were still parts of it that felt… dated.
Character Creation Process
We’re mainly going to focus on two races, the Hyur (the run of the mill humans in the world of Eorzea) and the Roegadyn (a hulking beast; the Galka’s spiritual successor.)
After choosing a race and gender you must decide between two clans, each with distinct features. For Roegadyns, the Sea Wolves clan have green/blue tinged bodies, while the Hellguards have shades of brown and red.
Hyurs on the other hand have dramatic differences in face and body structure. Midlanders are thinner, with boyish features; Highlanders are older, with bushy mustaches and beards.
Highlander Hairstyle Options
Each race has a wide assortment of hairstyles to choose from; some modern, some unique, with the usual over emphasized anime hair.
Facial customization options includes scars, beards, mustaches, bandages, and beauty marks. Unfortunately, some features are only available to a specific face type.
Once your character is finalized, you have to choose a class which also determines the starting city. This means you’ll have to coordinate both the server and class to join up with your friends. That’s not to say you can’t visit them in other cities, just that you’ll have to be strong enough to survive the perilous trek of high level areas.
Quests and Battle System
There’s no doubt about it, Square-Enix once again hits the nail in the graphics department! Each area feels unique, bursting with high amounts of detail. However, the lack of skin texture is unsettling, especially at night.
But alas the combat system, the weakest area of the game. You are basically locked onto one enemy who can still hit you even outside of its attack range. This combat style—which was all the rage in the last two decades—seems a bit dated now. Most of the action is performed through “weaponskills” you can chain to unleash devastating combos. For instance, certain weaponskills in the Puglist class are only available during a specific stance, (the game refers to stances as “forms.”) Transitioning through each form allows the player the option to activate the next skill in the chain. Most of the time you’ll be performing the same three chain combos over and over until you level high enough to unlock a new skill.
There’s hardly a reason to move during combat, you can essential stay in position and mash the same skillset combos all day. Thankfully, at higher levels, enemies will perform AOE skills, making the battle system more challenging.
AOE enemy skills are a nice change of pace!
You only have a few seconds to move outside of the ring before all hell breaks loose and a status effect added for good measure. Unfortunately my time in the beta was short and I was unable to experience other unique forms of enemy skills.
Fetch quests, fetch quests everywhere! Your life in Eorzea is that of a servant who must gather and deliver items to NPCs in the most obscure locations. Even then, once you’re out on the field, you still must travel for miles and miles to a new NPC who’ll happily point you in another direction.
FATES are another type of quest that players can join instantly by traveling to certain locations on the map. A FATE, or Full Active Time Event, lets players collectively fight against a common enemy but only for a limited time. While these may be the most entertaining, their random appearances across the map makes it sometimes difficult to join.
Instanced quests are the most rewarding among all. The Duty Finder sets you up with three other randomly selected players to battle monsters in an enclosed field. Though most of the quests are straightforward, there was one particular case where you had to lure a giant turtle to sleep by burning some herbs. This is probably the best way to gain exorbitant amounts of money and EXP in a short amount of time.
Crafting and Clothing
I dabbled a bit in the crafting system to see what all the fuss was about. My party took a detour to Gildania to join the Leatherworker’s Guild. Leatherworkers, like other crafting specialties, are a class in of themselves. When joining the guild, you’ll receive an item that when equipped will reset your character back to level 1. Don’t worry, since weapons are tied to the class level, you can switch back to where you left off.
In the leatherworker class, you can tailor an article of clothing using store bought materials. Unfortunately, the monotonous crafting system makes it more of a chore more than anything. At higher levels, you get additional skills that can improve the quality and durability of said item. But then it will still take quite a bit of time before you reach a level high enough to craft products suitable for the main class.
As for the outfits themselves, there’s a few clothing options I recommend for the more fanservicey characters. I highly suggest getting the Hard Leather Subligar, which is equippable at level 12. You can find them in the shops or as a quest reward.
During my party’s travels, we met a peculiar fellow who you’ll meet a bit in the next post. He showed us that by dyeing the Hempen Undershirt and Hempen Underpants, we could unintentionally create some BDSM gear.
But as with most of the quests in this game, learning how to dye was a bit of a pain. You have to be level 15, purchase some orange juice from Katherine in Ul’dah, then go all the way to Western Thanalan to complete a quest. The fact that this is the only place in the entire game to initiate said quest seems quite odd to me personally.
Well aside from its flaws, FFXIV was still engaging. I don’t believe its worth the monthly subscription at this point, but at least it has plenty of content to keep players busy for months to come. In the next post we’ll explore the steamier side of FFXIV, until next time…
[Some Photos Courtesy of Kenneth]