Final Fantasy XIV Beta Impressions

After two weekends with A Realm Reborn, Ragar gives his thoughts on the remade MMO

Combos and Cooldowns

Combat as a Gladiator in the early days starts off fairly simple. You begin the game with a single attack (Fast Blade). Once you hit level 2, you gain a new ability; Rampart, a Shield Wall-style survival cooldown. By the time I hit level 19, I only saw a couple of new attack powers (Savage Blade / Riot Blade / Shield Bash / Shield Lob), an AoE Taunt (Flash), and two more cooldowns (Fight or Flight / Convalescence), in addition to a variety of passive bonuses from Traits. Looking at a skill list, there are a few more attacks further down the road but quite a few more cooldowns. This seems strange for a hotkey MMO to be mostly cooldowns, but there is reason to the design.

The first reason being the slower pace of the combat: my GCD as a Gladiator was 2.5 seconds and I believe it was the same thing when I switched to Marauder later in the weekend. Since all of my attacks shared that same GCD, that left me with plenty of time during combat to fit in those various cooldowns. The second reason is for the physical classes only, it seems: the combo system. Most of your attacks as a DoW class can be chained in specific orders for bonus damage. You can use the attacks by themselves if you want, but you’re encouraged to use these combos and that’s another reason for the slower combat. As a Gladiator, once I’ve used Fast Blade, I have to choose to go Savage Blade next for the bonus enmity/threat or Riot Blade for the MP regen. If I went the Savage Blade route, I could follow that up with a Rage of Halone for a debuff on my target. While these seem like simple decisions early on (i.e. what gives me the most damage Potency for the least amount of TP usage), it gets more complicated once you start leveling other classes/jobs and mix in abilities from those. Sticking with the Gladiator example, that MP regen combo might not seem useful for a TP class, but unlocking the Paladin job would give me a selection of abilities that meshed well with a Gladiator’s techniques but used MP. Endgame jobs aren’t the only way these situations might show up – it could behoove any class to get a few levels in Conjurer and pick up Cure, but then you have to fit that in between your other attacks as well as budgeting your TP and MP.

That brings me to the third reason: limited resources. The game itself is built around players being a bit more deliberate with their attacks and abilities and the resource system lines up with that. Sure you could dump all of your TP into your max Potency combos, but that pool only refills so fast. What if you need some MP regen for a heal later? What if there’s an aggro drop or your Archer decides to unload all of his cooldowns and steal enmity from you while tanking? This isn’t the first time a game’s encouraged players to pay attention to their resources, but it feels like it works fairly well with the slower pace of the combat.

With all of that being said, the combat system isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for more action-based combat a la TERA, Neverwinter, or WildStar, then ARR probably isn’t for you. While there is movement during combat as well as positional attacks you can avoid, this is a lot closer to a WoW or a Rift than it is an action MMO. Personally I enjoy the combat, though I would like to see a few additional attack options for base classes in addition to the cooldowns and combo choices.


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ugh auto-attack
# Jul 29 2013 at 1:00 PM Rating: Decent
4,511 posts
I'd be happy if there was an option to get the old manual attacking back, instead of the horribly irritatingly slow (and weak) auto-attacks they switched to...
[XI] Surivere of Valefor
[XIV] Sir Surian Bedivere of Behemoth
# Jul 01 2013 at 10:12 AM Rating: Good
773 posts
One thing I am very happy about is new game engine and other technical improvements. The big surprise is that now that I don't have to use a game-pad, they have actually made it in some ways better than keyboard. OH BOY. No need for windower or that clunky outboard config app.

"We apologize for the inconvenience"
- SE Cruciatus Curse

# Jun 27 2013 at 9:26 AM Rating: Excellent
773 posts
For the first time I think FFXIV has a chance of pulling pulling players away from 11
"We apologize for the inconvenience"
- SE Cruciatus Curse

# Jun 27 2013 at 8:04 AM Rating: Default
Out of all you have said, GCD kills the game for me.

I couldn't stand it in WOW, and i won't be able to stand it here. I played MANY other games like PW, aion, TERA, etc. and ALL of them did good without a global cd. I don't see the need of making the game unnnecesarily slow putting the GCD into it
What a great game.
# Jun 26 2013 at 1:32 PM Rating: Excellent
I am soooooo happy about the remake. It is going to be a great game. Have a few wow friends interested and looking to come over. It has the beauty and story of a FF game with the interface of wow. Kind of a questing system like wow. I have yet to test out the dungeons, I ran out of time int he beta and that will have to be next beta test but I am looking forward to it. It seemed for those dungeons they are level capped so if you have a high level friend they can join you but their level with be synced so you can still party with your friends if you wanted to and make it challenging. I was excited for grand theft auto to come up on sep 17th, but I think I will have no interest because I will be playing this. I played 1.0 from the start pretty much from the start and the game is a lot lot better now.
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