Phil and I basically spent the entire weekend playing the newly rebooted FFXIV. Very, very impressive.
As someone said in chat, you have to give Squenix credit for taking it on the chin with the first version and going back to the drawing board to completely rework the entire game, and much applause to them for doing so. How good was it? After having played the first horrible, virtually unplayable version I downloaded the open beta client just for giggles, because I was bored. I didn’t expect a company who could have launched that first hot mess to actually get their shit in order and come up with something good…but I was wrong, and by Saturday afternoon I’d preordered the game.
I am very much looking forward to launch, and levelling my conjuror/white mage in training past 20. I love the class, although the archer was a second choice. I actually healed in pug groups. If you know me, you know that that is really saying something. I hate grouping with strangers, partially as I have the very WORST luck in pickup groups – if you’re an immature idiot, or an elitist jerk, or the GOGOGOGO guy, I’ll land in your group. I certainly would not want to heal a pug. However, we sailed through all the ones that we did, even one with a DPS (whichever the melee class is with the great axe) who queued as tank. He had no taunts and all the health of a sickly butterfly, but we made it through (the only death during that run was mine, having made a bad choice between healing him and getting out of the bad).
I had so much fun that I didn’t even take screenshots, which is a shame as the game is gorgeous. The three starting areas and capital cities are all very different, and the quests actually make you want to read. Unfortunately the PC version was missing most of the voice acting (although it was evidently in place for the PS3 version), but it didn’t detract too much from the experience. Combat is a bit limited and dull at low levels, possibly to cater to console players, but it is still not terrible. Crafting seems a bit tedious to me right now, but perhaps that gets better.
We chose the EU server Moogle, which the various English-language community sites had chosen as the unofficial RP server and also the unofficial English language server. Unfortunately the French players don’t read those sites and had chosen Moogle as the unofficial French server, so there was a certain amount of bad feeling over chat being flooded with people who only wanted to speak French and group with other French people.
All in all, a huge amount of fun. Will I play forever? Probably not. But for now, or at least until WildStar comes out, it’s a fun, immersive and very playable game.
Some of the screenies from the weekend: