Final Fantasy XIV
|Final Fantasy XIV|
|Developer(s)||Square Enix Product Development Division 3|
(2005 - 2010)
(2010 - 2012)
(2005 - 2010)
(2010 - 2012)
(2008 - 2010)
(2010 - 2012)
(2010 - 2012)
(2010 - 2012)
(2010 - 2012)
|Release date(s)||September 22, 2010|
|Genre(s)||Massively multiplayer online role-playing game|
Final Fantasy XIV (ファイナルファンタジーXIV Fainaru Fantajī Fōtīn ) is the fourteenth game in the Final Fantasy series and the second after Final Fantasy XI to be a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. The game was developed and published by Square Enix, and is available in four languages; Japanese, English, French, and German.
The game was live from September 30, 2010, until November 11, 2012. It received widespread negative reception when it was first launched. In response to the heavy criticism of the game's quality, Square Enix reshuffled the development team and began completely overhauling the game. On October 14, 2011, Square Enix announced their intention to relaunch the game as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The relaunch will carry over the original game's setting, lore and intended story, but incorporate a new client, graphics engine, server and data structures, a revamped interface, redesigned maps, more gameplay variations and additional story content. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will simultaneously launch on Windows and PlayStation 3, and is currently slated for a mid-2013 release. Alpha testing began on October 29, 2012.
Final Fantasy XIV takes place in the fictional land of Eorzea, just before the Seventh Umbral Era, an apocalyptic event heralded by the descent and potential impact of the lesser moon Dalamud. Players create and customize avatars who participate in the affairs surrounding the impending invasion by the Garlean Empire and its relationship to Dalamud's descent. The various nation states of Eorzea reestablish their Grand Companies and form an alliance to prepare for the coming war with the Empire.
Final Fantasy XIV is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, and like many in the genre it requires a subscription to play the game, which is done via the Square Enix Account Management System. Players first create and customise a character, being able to select from various pre-selected options including race, gender, facial features, and job type. After selecting a character name and server to play on, they are placed into the game world, where they are free to partake in the game's story, explore the landscape, fight various monsters, complete quests and missions, and interact with other players. Unlike many Final Fantasy games, the player may chose to play in third- or first-person view.
Through defeating monsters, crafting items, and completing quests, players accumulate experience points (EXP) which, when a certain threshold is reached, allows the player to level up. The player's level affects attributes such as HP (health/hit points), MP (magic/mana points), and the amount of abilities available to them. By wielding different weapons and crafting tools, players are able to change their class, allowing them to switch roles in the field. Compared to Final Fantasy XI, group play has been de-emphasised, and solo play can be equally as rewarding.
In the original version of Final Fantasy XIV navigation through the interface was achieved via a system of menus, similar to that in previous console based Final Fantasy games. The interface was criticised for having a misguided direction with "tortuous mechanisms" of navigation that were outdated in modern MMORPG's.
The heads-up display in Final Fantasy XIV consists of a log window, menus, and several game information elements, all of which are movable. The log window displays system messages, battle messages, and text input by other players. It is the sole method of communication between players, as the game does not support voice chat. Players may choose to filter what appears in the log window.
Classes and Jobs
A player may assume different in game roles through use of the Armoury and Job system. The Armoury System allows players to instantly change their class by swapping their equipped weapon or tool. For example equipping a sword will instantly change a player's class to Gladiator, while equipping a staff will change their class to Conjurer. The Armoury System is divided into four categories; Disciples of War, who specialise in melee combat, Disciples of Magic, who specialise in offensive and defensive magic arts, Disciples of Hand, who focus on crafting, and finally Disciples of Land, who focus on gathering raw materials to be used in crafting. When using a class, the player may equip unlocked abilities from any other class they have levelled up, making classes highly versatile as they allow for the use of a broad range of skills and abilities.
The Job System builds on the Armoury System, allowing Disciples of War and Disciples of Magic to further specialise their roles by changing them into signature Final Fantasy jobs. After completing a prerequisite quest players are able to upgrade their class to a job by equipping a certain item, and may return to their class by un-equipping said item. Jobs unlock extra abilities that are suited for party play, however unlike classes which allow for equipping abilities from any other class, jobs only allow for the equipping of abilities from two other preselected classes.
|Disciples of War|
|Archer||Bard||Bow and arrow||Bows allow Archer's attack from afar, while Bard adds the use songs to boost their party's fighting capabilities and break the will of their enemies.|
|Lancer||Dragoon||Lances and Spears||Long weapons help Lances to deal damage from a distance, Dragoon add a specialization in jumping abilities.|
|Pugilist||Monk||Metal claws and knuckles||With their bodies that double as deadly weapons, Monks pound their enemies into submission with their fists and fanciful footwork.|
|Gladiator||Paladin||Swords||Gladiators engage in close-range combat, while Paladins also specialize in shields and defence, making them the premier "tank" (damage absorbing) job.|
|Marauder||Warrior||Two-handed axes||Specializing in the arts of battle, Warriors and Marauders are masters of all aspects of melee combat and are able to divert an enemy's attention away from weaker party members.|
|Disciples of Magic|
|Thaumaturge||Black Mage||Staves||Thaumaturge allows use of dark magic spells, while Black Mage adds tremendous elemental magical firepower to the battlefield.|
|Arcanist1||Summoner1||Books||Arcanists are aided by their pet Carbuncle, while Summoners are able to summon forth the essence of Eorzea's mighty Primals, and binding them to their own will.|
|Conjurer||White Mage||Wands||Conjurers excel at all kinds of magic, while White Mages wield the most efficient recovery and protection spells to ensure a party's survival.|
|Disciples of Hand|
|Alchemist||Alemvics||Alchemists can create potions and curative ales from a range of ingredients.|
|Armorer||Raising Hammers||Armorers treat and work the malleable metals into all forms of armour.|
|Blacksmith||Cross-pein Hammers||Blacksmiths can craft and create mighty weapons.|
|Carpenter||Handsaws||The foremost workers of wood, Carpenters craft numerous wooden items including utensils and furniture.|
|Culinarian||Skillets||Culinarians are able to cook up means that can boost performance of players.|
|Goldsmith||Chaser Hammers||Goldsmithing is the practice of working precious metals and stones into a multitude of accessories.|
|Leatherworker||Headknives||Leatherworker's skills encompass those of an armorer and clothier. Creating colourful garments of quality.|
|Weaver||Needles||From fiber to thread, thread to cloth, cloth to dress, a Weaver tailors from basic beginnings to extravagant ends.|
|Disciples of Land|
|Botanist||Hatchets||The botanist's profession encompasses the procurement of resources from all forms of plant life, including grains, vegetables, and lumber.|
|Fisher||Fishing Rods||Fishers are the harvesters of the realm's marine and freshwater animal resources. Lucky fishers may also acquire precious pearls.|
|Miner||Pickaxes||Miners' excavate Eorzea's mineral wealth, be it ores, fossils, precious stones, or otherwise.|
1: These Classes and Jobs will be released with A Realm Reborn.
Final Fantasy XIV makes use of the standard RPG exploration mechanics, consisting of several regions with unique geography, ranging from snowy mountains to lush forests. Regions are further divided into zones for the player to explore. Zones consist of cities, safe havens where monsters do not roam, over-world areas and dungeons, where monsters are abundant to be fought, and instanced areas, where players form small groups to defeat specific monsters and achieve objectives. While most zones and regions are traversed by walking, various modes of transportation exist that facilitate movement across the game world, ranging from classic Final Fantasy Chocobo's and airships, to teleportation via Aetheryte Crystal nodes.
The game is set in the world of Hydaelyn, which cycles through prosperous Astral eras and disastrous Umbral eras. The original version of Final Fantasy XIV took place during an Astral era, while the A Realm Reborn relaunch will take place in a new Umbral era, triggered by the fall of one of the world's moons, Dalamud.
Players are able to explore a region of Hydaelyn named Eorzea. The Eorzean realm is uniquely rich in Aether, a magical substance that flows through the planet and everything living on it. Aether can be used in a number of ways, including fuelling magic, powering Machina, aiding in crafting, and allowing instantaneous teleportation through Aetheryte Crystals. This valuable substance plays a key part in the game's lore, story, and events as different organisations and races compete for control over the substance.
Three major city states exist within Eorzea; the bustling commercial hub of Ul'dah, the forest nation of Gridania, and the marine city-state of Limsa Lominsa. At the start of the game a player chooses one of these states as their home, and to progress through the story joins one of their Grand Companies - economic and military organisations which are tasked with defending the land.
The game's main antagonists consist of the Beastmen races and the Garlean Empire. Beastmen are a group of intelligent but monstrous clans, whose ideals and objectives clash with the humanoid races. The Garlean Empire is a technologically advanced nation of Hyurs, hailing from outside of Erozea. The Garleans seek to conquer the land and its Aether, which powers their Magitek machinery.
Final Fantasy XIV features five playable races to chose from, each with two distinct variations. The races resemble the five playable races in Final Fantasy XI, which according to Square Enix was in order to create an atmosphere of aesthetic familiarity to FFXI players. Currently the Miqo'te, Roegadyn and Hyur Highlanders are genderlocked, however for the A Realm Reborn relaunch all races will include male and female to select from.
- Hyur (ヒューラン Hyūran )
- A stylistically Human race, the Hhyur are divided into Midlanders and Highlanders. Midlanders place a heavy emphasis on education, and are considered to be the most cultured people of the world. Highlanders are physically larger and bulkier than their Midlander cousins, and after their home city of Ala Mhigo was razed by the Garlean Empire, they now eke out an existence as mercenaries.
- Elezen (エレゼン Erezen )
- An elf-like race said to be the original inhabitants of Eorzea. They are divided into Wildwood and Duskwight clans, and dislike each other intensely. Wildwood Elezen live in the forests and possess a keen sense of sight – a contributing factor in their unparalleled expertise as archers. Duskwight Elezen are a reclusive clan who dwell in caves and caverns, giving them a heightened sense of hearing.
- Lalafell (ララフェル Raraferu )
- Lalafell are physically diminutive humanoids with high agility and intelligence from the southern regions. They are divided into the Plainsfolk and the Dunesfolk. Plainsfolk are an earthy clan who thrive on the prairies. Dunesfolk live on the backs of enormous beasts of burden and are known for wearing gemstones in their foreheads that signify their zodiacal signs.
- Roegadyn (ルガディン Rugadin )
- A physically large and muscular race who hail from the northern regions. Roegadyn are divided into the Sea Wolves and the Hellsguard. The Sea Wolves were once a band of fearsome pirates, but have since largely abandoned that lifestyle; presently they are normally employed as sailors or naval mercenaries. Hellsguard Roegadyn dwell in a volcanic region and are said to be masters of the magical arts, guarding the gateway to Hell itself.
- Miqo'te (ミコッテ Mikotte )
- Cat-like humanoids who are divided into two religious sects: the Seekers of the Sun, who are dedicated to the sun goddess Azeyma the Warden, and the nocturnal Keepers of the Moon, who are dedicated to the moon goddess Menphina the Lover.
Seeking control over the peaceful realm of Eorzea and its abundant crystal resources, the Garlean Empire (a scientifically advanced nation hailing from the north) begins gathering an army. To ready themselves for the coming conflict, the city-states of Eorzea reinstate the Grand Companies - comprehensive centers of command which combine the cities military and economic assets, but still divided by their own differences and antagonisms. The player joins one of these states to aid in the war effort.
The commander of the invading forces, 8th Imperial Legion Legatus Nael van Darnus (a.k.a. “White Raven”), has plans of his own, separate from the Garlean Empire. Driven by insanity, he plots to unleash a powerful destructive magic: Meteor. The Meteor magic is a complex scheme employing ancient mystic arts and lost technology to summon the planet's lesser moon, Dalamud (in reality a colossal machine launched thousands of years ago into the planet’s orbit by an ancient lost civilization), down onto Eorzea. Realizing the futility of standing alone against such a threat, the Grand Companies put aside deep-rooted differences and consolidate their forces under the banner of the Eorzean Alliance.
At the behest of this new confederation, adventurers from across the realm take up arms and march to the floating islands of Rivenroad. Here, the player confronts and kills White Raven, but his scheme is too far advanced as Dalamud has begun its descent already. In a final bid to save the planet, the Grand Companies turn to Louisoix, an enigmatic scholar hailing from the forgotten city-state of Sharlayan. The 'Archon', as he is called, devises a plan to summon the power of the Twelve, Eorzea's pantheon of guardian deities, and use that power to banish Dalamud back to the heavens. But for this to succeed, the rite needs to be performed directly beneath the point of Dalamud’s impact. Eventually, that point is determined to be a vast swathe of barren lowlands in central Eorzea known as the Carteneau Flats. With this information in hand, the Grand Companies order the immediate mobilization of their forces. Unbeknownst to the Alliance, the soldiers of the 8th Imperial Legion, oblivious to their leader's scheme intentions, have also begun gathering in central Eorzea. Ordered to defend the area with their lives, they prepare for a fight, unaware that victory will bring about their own demise. With two great hosts amassed, the Battle of Carteneau begins.
As the battle rages, the moon enters the atmosphere and disintegrates, showing its true purpose: all this time Dalamud was a prison for the elder primal, Bahamut. Now free, and enraged after aeons of imprisonment, Bahamut unleashes his wrath upon the realm, spewing forth endless fire and destruction. Louisoix quickly conjures a barrier to protect what remains of the Eorzean Alliance, and then begins the arcane rite that will channel the power of the Twelve and focus it into rebinding Bahamut. The sheer force of the primal, however, is too strong and the effort fails. Realizing the end is nigh, Louisoix summons the last of his strength to call upon the Twelves' power and send the survivors (including the player) into an ethereal rift, where they will be untouched by the passage of time, until it is once again safe to emerge and continue their struggle to forge Eorzea’s future, in A Realm Reborn.
Final Fantasy XIV, previously codenamed Rapture (ラプチャー Rapuchā ), was first mentioned in August 2005, when Square Enix announced they had begun working on a new MMORPG, but neither confirmed nor denied that it was a sequel to Final Fantasy XI, or that it was Final Fantasy related. On June 2, 2009, at the Sony E3 Conference Final Fantasy XIV was officially announced through a trailer mixing pre-rendered CGI and actual in-game sequences running from the Crystal Tools engine.
Between 2006 and 2008, Square Enix made several contradicting statements about what platforms the game was in development for. In April 2006 Hiromichi Tanaka, producer of the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI, stated that developers were working to make Rapture a worldwide release for the PlayStation 3 and Windows system, before later announcing in February 2007 that the game was being developed for Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows, and that it could be brought to the PlayStation 3 at some later stage. In 2008 Square Enix then announced that the game was being targeted at all aforementioned systems and hinted that Mac and Linux clients would not be out of the question. However, in June, 2009, alongside the official announcement of Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix stated that the game was in development for only the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows systems. The Xbox 360 version was announced to be cancelled, after Tanaka revealed the Xbox Live system and Microsoft's "different point of view" proved to be incompatible with his and Square Enix's own, hinting that Microsoft required a version with separate servers from the eventual PlayStation 3 release.
The game was to be directed by Nobuaki Komoto, produced by Hiromichi Tanaka, and developed by the team at Square Enix that had previously created Final Fantasy XI. Akihiko Yoshida was announced as art director, and Nobuo Uematsu as the music composer, marking his return to the game series since he departed Square Enix after Final Fantasy X. The PlayOnline system was not used for the game, instead players were linked to a Square Enix account. FFXI also partly transitioned to this service, allowing accounts for both games to be managed from one place.
Final Fantasy XIV entered into its alpha testing stage in April, 2010, with testing concluding 11 weeks later on June 19. Square Enix said that about 10% of the game was playable during the alpha and beta phases. The closed beta testing was conducted in several phases, beginning on July 10, 2010, and ending on on August 25. Invites were distributed to applicants, and the PlayStation 3 release of Final Fantasy XIII contained a key for a chance to access a beta. Open Beta commenced on September 1, 2010, lasting until September 19. The PlayStation 3 beta test never materialised. In all, the time spent in Beta was 3 months (with 65 active days), less than the 4 months previously announced as the minimum testing period. News sources expressed concern that the game was not in a condition ready to be launched, with "critical bugs" so close to the release date. The game launched on September 22, 2010.
Due to the game's predominantly negative reception, the president of Square Enix, Yoichi Wada, announced a major shift in the development team in December 2010, with Tanaka announcing his resignation as producer and leaving the company. Naoki Yoshida became both director and producer, with most other positions also changing. The PlayStation 3 version, originally due for release in March 2011, was delayed in order to accommodate the coming changes, with Yoshida stating he only wished to provide a PlayStation 3 version when the game was fixed. The initial 30-day free trial was extended, first for two months and later indefinitely, in order to allow players to experience the new development team's updates before committing to the game. Billing did not start until January 6, 2012, more than a year after the game's launch.
Yoshida introduced the official Final Fantasy XIV forums in order to obtain player feedback and suggestions, and stated that interacting with and growing closer to the community would be a high priority, a change welcomed by the playerbase. Starting with patch 1.18, improvements were made to the graphics, battling, synthesis, and experience reward systems. A major alteration was the removal of the "Fatigue System", a controversial mechanic since the game's Beta, in which players who played for prolonged periods of time in one go progressively received less and less skill and experience points, eventually reaching a point where neither could be obtained. In later patches significant new content was added, including the materia system, airships, beast tribe settlements, Chocobo mounts and Primal Battles. Revisions were also made to monster difficulty, magic casting, the influence of character statistics, and auto-attack was added.
Relaunch to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
On October 14, 2011, Square Enix announced its intention to relaunch the game as Final Fantasy XIV 2.0, which was later renamed Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The original game version ended on November 11, 2012, with the Alpha of A Realm Reborn starting shortly after. The finished relaunch is due for release in mid-2013. Many changes are to be included at and shortly after the reboot's launch, including:
- The implementation of a completely new server system.
- A new graphics engine.
- A redesigning of all field maps into 40 zones (compared to the original version's 8 zones).
- Fully renewed user interface.
- Female Hyur Highlanders, female Roegadyn, and male Miqo'te will be playable.
- A worldless content finder.
- Reworking current jobs and adding new ones (Arcanist and Summoner)
- 1v1 and large scale player versus player content.
- Introduction of the FATE (Full Active Time Event) system. FATE will allow for spontaneous field events such as hamlet defense.
In the months leading up to A Realm Reborn, a storyline known as the Seventh Umbral Era was periodically added to provide an in-lore explanation of the coming changes. The radical alterations of in game areas will be explained by the impact of Dalamud, a massive meteor being summoned to crash into the planet. Extra quests, equipment, activities and achievements were also added that will not be accessible or obtainable again once A Realm Reborn is launched.
The long-delayed PlayStation 3 version of the game will finally be released at the same time as the PC launch of A Realm Reborn.
The soundtrack for the Final Fantasy XIV launch version was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, and is the first Final Fantasy since Final Fantasy IX to have a score completely composed by Nobuo Uematsu at launch. Since original launch, and for the A Realm Reborn relaunch, additional in-game music has been composed by Naoshi Mizuta, Ryo Yamazaki, Tsuyoshi Sekito, and Masayoshi Soken.
The Final Fantasy XIV theme song Answers is sung by Susan Calloway.
Two soundtrack volumes were released at launch, containing only a small portion of the game's original music (eight and nine tracks respectively):
- Final Fantasy XIV/Field Tracks, which consists of the field and background themes, as well as the Prelude.
- Final Fantasy XIV/Battle Tracks, which consists of the battle and combat themes, along with the Final Fantasy Theme Song (also known as "Prologue").
On September 1, 2012, Square-Enix released FINAL FANTASY XIV - Eorzean Frontiers, which, though still not a complete OST release, contained a larger selection of tracks, including many from the previous two volumes and major ones added since release (38 tracks, 194 minutes).
|PC Gamer (US)||30%|
The initial PC release of Final Fantasy XIV received negative reviews. Complaints ranged from its essentially broken structure to its numerous bugs and glitches, leading to a consensus that the game was unfinished, if not totally unplayable. It holds a score of 49.33% on GameRankings and 49/100 on Metacritic, making it the lowest-scoring game of the series. Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot gave the game a 4.0/10. He called the game a "step backward for the genre", citing a bad interface, quest restrictions, awful player and NPC economy, and numerous other problems upon release. IGN gave a 5.5/10 (mediocre). 1UP.com gave the game a D+, saying that inside Final Fantasy XIV "there is a game with considerable depth and potential here, but it needs another six to nine months before it's ready for primetime," further stating that "it's impossible to recommend to anyone in its current state". PC Gamer gave it a 30% rating, reviewer Tom Senior writing that "the kindest thing that can be said about the Final Fantasy MMO is that it has a good intro movie". GameTrailers gave it 4.2/10, saying it "falls flat at every turn" and "isn't worth the hassle", and explaining that the launch for it was unacceptable because it was a "broken incomplete mess". In December 2010, the website labeled it "The Most Disappointing Game of the Year" in their "Game of the Year Awards" and also included the game in a "Top Ten Worst Sequels" feature.
Cheat Code Central was more favorable, giving the game a positive 4.2/5 rating, but also initially noting they "can't recommend that you spend $50, and then $12.99 a month after the first 30 days, on a title that has as many flaws as FFXIV does." This sentence was later removed from the review.
The original version of Final Fantasy XIV has shipped 190,000 copies in Japan, 210,000 copies in North America and 230,000 copies in Europe as of November 4, 2010.
Square Enix has sent at least two apologies to its customers, recognizing the poor quality of the game, asking for patience, and announcing free trial extensions and reshuffles in the development team.
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- As of November/December of 2011, Square Enix has restructured the game's staff and development team, and has begun the transition of the software toward a new, much broader and more positively accepted version, XIV-2, which seems so far, though it is only in its 1.22 phase, to have addressed a great many of the issues that were so unpopular. It has also taken much of the negative feedback from the previous Final Fantasy MMORPG, Final Fantasy XI, and addressed some of these issues as well. http://andriasang.com/comyby/. Missing or empty
- "「ファイナルファンタジー１４」ゲーム内容を大幅修正". Sponichi Annex.
- Official website
- Official information site (The Lodestone)
- Official forums (English, French, German, Japanese)
- FINAL FANTASY XIV
- Final Fantasy XIV on Twitter
- Official YouTube Channel