Final Fantasy XIV Review
My experience with MMOs goes back a full month. Yeah, I'm not really an expert when it comes to MMOs with the only two games I've played have both happening within the last month. The first was, I hope you're sitting down for this, Hello Kitty Online. That one had some issues to be sure but while it was very cute and colorful it wasn't that interesting of a game or at least not to an older dude like myself. So I figured that Final Fantasy XIV might fare better since it was, you know, not about kittens...well at least not all about kittens.
I started to get a little nervous that the game might be troublesome when the very process of signing up to play the game was strange and convoluted. It seems to me that process should be as straightforward as possible, especially when you want to attract new players. Well it was a very bizarre process and even after I created a account I still wasn't actually able to play because I hadn't created a character slot. Fine, whatever. I bailed on the game once the 30 day free trail ended, but what I though was silly was you would have to pay a $10 account fee but that doesn't mean you can play as you still need to cough up another $3 (for a monthly minimum fee of $13). So I must ask why not just go ahead and charge $13 so you can get going? It just seems too complicated for its own good.
OK, fine, you finally figured out the registration system and created a character slot. Now you get to create your character and get gaming. Being a newbie to the action I was well prepared for a lot of help and tutorials bu, alas, that was not to be. FF XIV leaves a beginner out in the cold with little guidance and I would suspect that even experienced MMOers would still wonder exactly what they were expected to be doing. One thing it certainly has is a beautiful opening video that teases at great adventures ahead and a wonderful inventive experience. That does not turn out to be exactly what happens though. I started off in a city right and proceeded to get very lost and not able to figure out why every time I went into several entrances I would just pop right back at the beginning. Turns out I needed to go somewhere else first but how was I supposed to know that? Anyway a monster gets loose, you battle it with a few NPCs, and then you meet a small slightly perverted elf that gives you some confusing instructions about what to do next. I finally made it out of the city and started my first real quest but was totally unable to complete it. I talked to a few other players and they were equally confused. Finally someone said I should go seek advice from the great Google and it would help me. How lame is that? In order to figure out how to even start the game I needed to go online and search for what I was supposed to be doing. Turns out a ton of people where doing the same thing which made me feel better about myself but not so much about FF XIV.
The game seem not ready for prime time. There are very irritating issues with something as basic and fundamental as the menus. Just to change to a different weapon involves several button clicks and looking at your inventory is even a chore. The mapping system doesn't provide the type of detail and information that you need. Getting from place to place is either very time consuming or ridiculously expensive. It takes a very powerful machine to run, I needed to scale back a bunch of options and even after that it was still laggy. I did run it at full blast for a short period just to see what it looked like and I have to admit it is a pretty game. There are those crazy looking chicken things that are famous in the FF world, Chocobos, but you can only look at them, I was fully expecting to either ride one or at least get to pet the thing.