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It's been nearly four months (moreso when you factor in Open Beta) since players first logged into Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. In that time dungeons have been cleared, primals slain and the schemes of the Garleans thwarted. Quite a few of you out there have even delved into the Binding Coil of Bahamut, FFXIV's only current end-game raid dungeon. Others like myself have mined/fished/logged the riches Eorzea has to offer and/or crafted our way to fortune and glory. After all those months though, you do start to get into a routine and look for something new to try. Next week should hopefully bring that change as FFXIV's first major update, Patch 2.1 A Realm Awoken, is scheduled for release on Tuesday December 17th.
Hello and welcome to the third edition of the Eorzea Examiner, our new column about Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Last month we talked about FFXIV's interpretation of gathering classes and discussed ways to improve upon the design for Disciples of the Land. Logically the next step here would be to follow the materials from gatherer to crafter and discuss Disciples of the Hand next. Unfortunately, fellow crafters, that column will have to wait a few weeks as we have something a bit more timely to discuss.
Early Monday morning we saw the end of Eorzea's most recent world event, Lightning Strikes, starring the heroine of SE's Final Fantasy XIII and the upcoming title, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. It's been over three weeks since players first encountered the pink-haired adventurer roaming Eorzea. We've fought at her side and received our rewards, but now she's left our land for further adventurers (or till the North American release of her game in February). Looking back on the event as a whole, how did it stack up to the other FFXIV world events or to those in other MMOs?
Hello and welcome to the second edition of the Eorzea Examiner, our new column about Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. In the inaugural episode of my column, I mostly focused on bringing everyone up to speed with what's happened since I wrote my review, with a few teasers for future column topics. Now that everyone's got an idea about where I'm coming from and what experience I have with FFXIV's different system, it's time to pick some topics and start digging in. Anyone who read last week's column is probably groaning a bit at that terrible Miner pun, but I feel no regret.
Terrible jokes aside, that does bring us to this week's topic: gathering. Gathering jobs are far from new to MMOs, but FFXIV takes the uncommon route of taking these non-combat professions and turning them into full-fledged classes with character progression, abilities, quests and equipment. We talked about this in one of my previews during the beta, but that was just scratching the surface of what's available to Disciples of the Land (DoL). Now that I've raised a gathering class to the level cap, how is it holding up?
If you've played Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and you grew up with the console games, you've probably noticed a fair number of callbacks and hints of nostalgia mixed in here and there. Popular character names reused, familiar monsters to fight and some tidbits of lore drawn from other games. In general though, that's as far as it goes - "inspired by" but rarely "taken from". The new world event starting today is an exception to that rule. In "Lightning Strikes in Eorzea", worlds collide of FFXIV:ARR as Lightning, the main character of Final Fantasy XIII and the upcoming game Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, appears in the land of Eorzea.
It's been over three months since Square Enix officially launched Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. In that time players have combed the countryside in search of FATEs to grind, dungeons and raids to clear and classes and jobs to level to 50. Even after finishing my review for the game back in September, I've found myself spending much of my spare time in Eorzea. Normally with other MMOs and that kind of time, I'd be at level cap with some sort of tank class, looking at endgame dungeons, discussing boss mechanics and possibly raiding. My FFXIV character? Well, he is at level cap with two different classes... just not with any that can kill things.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has some unique attributes compared to other well-known, recently launched MMORPGs. Namely, the game refreshingly offers a multi-platform experience: Playstation® 3 players are able to play, mingle and interact with PC players in the same servers, and Playstation® 4 compatibility expected to come in Q1 2014.
Generally speaking, Square Enix is considered to have "got just right" the controls and user experience of a console version. Combat, the cornerstone of any role-playing game offering advancement, skills, traits and levels to its players, has been adapted around this platform diversity.
Let's discuss combat, its features, feeling and fluidity, and attempt to answer the question:
How is combat balance affected by the developers' design decisions?