Saturday, 15 June 2013

With One Bound He Was Free: FFXIV

I was running around Ul`Dah this evening, just trying to find the Thaumaturge Guild, when something in chat made me have a moment. "Full NDA on this beta, I take it?" I asked.

"Nope. Just video and audio" someone replied. A short discussion ensued. I went and checked the Forums. It's true. FFXIV A Realm Reborn Beta Phase 3 permits open discussion and use of screenshots on blogs. So I'm discussing it. Openly. With illustrations.

I spent an hour in Character Creation. I was in a hurry.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say, even now, that I was in Beta Phase 2. I was though. I am definitely not allowed to show any of the screenshots I took then, which is a shame because they were gorgeous. Square take these things very seriously though so I am keeping them to myself. Sorry.

Don't be a worrywart! It'll go right over me!

Even SE wouldn't complain if I told you that I was so impressed with Beta Phase 2 that I decided there and then that I'd be getting the game when it released. I tested the original FFXIV two years ago and the current version is very definitely the MMO it should have been from the start.

I so can jump!

Not going to say much about it now. It's one of those Weekend betas, this is the first weekend, I missed a day and it ends tomorrow and all I've done so far is make two characters and get to Level 3. In one class. Leveling is weird in Final Fantasy MMOs. I got as far as Level 15 Archer in the last beta though. And loved every minute of it.

Just tell me how high!

Call this a placeholder post. Marking out the territory. Miqo'te do that. Probably. Lalafell not so much. More to follow. Now I'm going back to level up while the servers are still running.

See ya!

The bit I have to put in so I don't get in trouble

Copyright (C) 2010 - 2013 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved. (US Version - I'm on a US server)

FINAL FANTASY XIV (C) 2010 - 2013 Square Enix Co., Ltd. FINAL FANTASY is a registered trademark of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. All material used under license. (EU version - that's where I live).

8 comments:

  1. That's the way I read it, you can talk about the beta and do reviews and screenshots, but no audio or video.

    I absolutely agree with you. It's a gorgeous game, vastly improved UI over version 1, plus a much more fluid game / quest flow. Throw in some nice new features like the hunting log and you are set.

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    1. For some reason I find the movement particularly fluid. Just running around town is a joy in itself. Everything about it feels exuberant and exhilarating.

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  2. I think I've given up bothering with my alpha/beta reviews; still not sure if I can talk about them or not which is symptomatic for the abysmal communication (and login process for the whole thing omg) on their side.

    My impressions were diametrically opposed to yours, heh - at least someone's enjoying it then. :)
    it does screenshot well, I give it that.

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    1. I'm as certain as I can be given Square's delight in elliptical phrasing that it's OK to blog about the current beta. I can't really say much yet because most of my experience comes from the last phase about which we are not permitted to speak, EVER! That said, I did manage to get a few hours in after the above post and I had a really good time. Saving any more in-depth comments for during/after the next beta weekend, which I imagine will be next week.

      I think if we have different impressions so far it may be because FFXIV is shaping up to be a very mainstream, old-fashioned, EQ/WoW style Western MMO and I am very, very much ready for one of those, not least because this may well be the last one we ever see. Whether there's still a market for that kind of thing I guess we will still never know because the FF franchise has such a huge fanbase it won't fail no matter what.

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  3. "FFXIV is shaping up to be a very mainstream, old-fashioned, EQ/WoW style Western MMO"

    And that is exactly what I loved about it. Having played FFXI until all my friends quit playing, I had written FFXIV off after playing v1 for about two weeks. An unexpected beta invite and some free time over the weekend and I was hooked.

    It has a different pace than other MMOs, a bit slower and more methodical than something like GW2, and it seems like there's a big world outside the forests of Gridania, which is about as far as I got this weekend. I'm looking forward to the next beta weekend and will definitely be buying it.

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    1. Also a very beautiful and well-written traditional MMO. It has a lot of strengths. I suspect it will take some criticism for not being on message with the current vogue for fast-paced, action-oriented gameplay. On the other hand it's very possible that there's a whole demographic out there that doesn't like the way things are going. They might be very happy to see something closer to their taste.

      Looking forward to seeing how the dungeons play. That could be the clincher.

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  4. I've been reading your blog (and blogging myself) for a year or two now, and I agree with you about undiscovered demographics. When I write about a game, I often find my readers pick out an angle I wouldn't think there was an audience for, or come from a background I wouldn't expect (e.g. music). It makes me very curious, so it does, about what demographics are still untapped. No idea how to find out more though.

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    1. Hi! Just added Avatars of Steel to the Blogroll. Almost since I started playing MMOs it's been apparent to me that a lot of people I meet in-game are nothing like the the people I read talking about MMOs on forums, blogs and soon. In most guilds I've been in over the last decade-plus there have been very few players who even visited the game's own forums, far less read MMO blogs or watched YouTube gaming videos. Many of them never even read the Patch Notes.

      The great mass of MMO players are invisible and mysterious even to the game-makers, I think. That's why they place so much reliance on metrics - watching what people actually do in-game. Problem with that is, is doesn't tell them *why* they do what they do.

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