Final Fantasy XIV

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This article is about the original release. For the relaunch, see Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV box art.jpg
Developer(s) Square Enix
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Designer(s) Nobuaki Komoto
Artist(s) Akihiko Yoshida
Writer(s) Yaeko Sato
Series Final Fantasy
Engine Crystal Tools
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows[2]
Release date(s) September 30, 2010
Genre(s) MMORPG
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Final Fantasy XIV (ファイナルファンタジーXIV Fainaru Fantajī Fōtīn?), also known as Final Fantasy XIV Online, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for Microsoft Windows personal computer, developed and published by Square Enix. It is the fourteenth game in the main Final Fantasy series and the second MMORPG after Final Fantasy XI. The game takes place in the fictional land of Eorzea, amid rumors of a possible invasion by the Garlean Empire from the north. Players create and customize avatars who take on the role of adventurers in this troubled time. In addition to the threat of invasion, players investigate the truth behind a prophecy foretelling the fall of the lesser moon, Dalamud, and what role the empire might play in its descent. The nation states of Eorzea reestablish their Grand Companies and form an alliance to prepare for the coming war with the Empire.

Online service for Final Fantasy XIV was available from September 30, 2010 (September 30, 2010)[3] to November 11, 2012 (November 11, 2012) in four languages: Japanese, English, French, and German.[4][5] Amid heavy criticism of the game's quality, then-Square Enix President Yoichi Wada ousted producer Hiromichi Tanaka and suspended monthly subscription payments for all players. A new team led by Naoki Yoshida took over development of the title, generating and improving content for the original version as well as creating a brand new game which would address all of the original release's weaknesses.[1] In October 2011, Yoshida announced Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, featuring a new game engine, improved server structures, revamped gameplay and interface, and a new story. To help offset the costs of delivering a whole new game for free to current players, monthly subscription costs were reinstated starting January 2012 and players who accumulated at least three months of paid service would qualify for the Legacy Campaign and earned unique perks for A Realm Reborn. In the months leading up to the end of online service, new quests and storylines were added to depict the coming impact of the moon, culminating in an in-game live event which coincided with the shut down of the Final Fantasy XIV servers on November 11, 2012.


Final Fantasy XIV is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, or MMORPG. 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 choose 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, automatically increments the player's level. 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.[6] Compared to Final Fantasy XI, group play has been de-emphasised, and solo play can be equally rewarding.[6]


In Version 1 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 "torturous mechanisms" of navigation that were outdated in modern MMORPGs.[7]

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[edit]

Under the Armoury System, a character's equipped weapon determines the character class and players may change their class at will by changing weapons.[8] Classes are divided into four disciplines: Disciples of War, masters of physical combat; Disciples of Magic, practitioners of the magical arts; Disciples of the Hand, crafters and handymen who synthesize and repair items; and Disciples of the Land, gatherers who collect resources from the environment. Certain abilities learned under one class may be equipped and used by other classes. The Job System builds upon the Armoury System for Disciples of War and Magic. In exchange for restricting the range of equippable abilities from other classes, players gain access to powerful skills, magic, weapons, and armor exclusive to the Job corresponding to that class. These Jobs, based on classic Final Fantasy character jobs, are more suited to party-based combat.[9]



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 chocobos 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. Version 1 of Final Fantasy XIV took place during an Astral era, while the relaunch into A Realm Reborn took place in a new Umbral era, triggered by the fall of one of the world's moons, Dalamud.[10]

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. Each city-state bears its own Grand Company, which is an economic and military organisation tasked with defending the land. At the start of the game a player chooses one of these states as their home. As the player's achievements serve to progress the game's story, the player becomes eligible to join a Grand Company, which would substantially progress the story further.[11]

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 Eorzea. The Garleans seek to conquer the land and its Aether, which powers their Magitek machinery.


Final Fantasy XIV features five playable races to choose 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. While the Miqo'te, the Roegadyn and the Hyur Highlanders are genderlocked in the original game, A Realm Reborn includes male and female variations to select from.[12]

From top to bottom: Hyur, Elezen, Lalafell, Roegadyn, and Miqo'te.
Hyur (ヒューラン Hyūran?)
A stylistically Human race, the Hyur 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. Noted members of the race include Louisoix.
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. Noted members of the race include Merlwyb Bloefhiswyn.
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 more advanced civilization of the Garlean Empire invades the realm from the north. In retaliation, despite their differences and antagonisms, the city-states of Eorzea reinstate the Grand Companies—comprehensive centers of command which combine the cities' military and economic assets. The player joins one of these states to aid in the war effort. Though Garlean imperials like Gaius van Bealsar intend to conquer, the invasion force's commander, 8th Imperial Legion Legatus Nael van Darnus, has his own agenda. Insanely bent on purging all he sees as impurities, Nael orchestrated Project Meteor to summon the lesser moon Dalamud and wipe out all life. This forces the Grand Companies to 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 to defeat Nael after he absorbed Dalamud's power. However, despite the mad imperial's death, Dalamud continues its descent to Eorzea.

In a final bid to save Eorzea, the Grand Companies turn to the Archon Louisoix, an enigmatic scholar hailing from the forgotten city-state of Sharlayan. Louisoix devises a plan to summon the power of the Twelve, Eorzea's pantheon of guardian deities, 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: A vast swathe of barren lowlands in central Eorzea known as the Carteneau Flats. But the soldiers of the 8th Imperial Legion, now under Gaius's service, have also begun gathering in central Eorzea and the Battle of Carteneau soon unfolds. But the battle ceases when Dalamud enters the atmosphere while revealed to be a prison created to contain the elder primal, Bahamut. Freed after aeons of imprisonment, Bahamut jump starts the Seventh Umbral Era while unleashing his wrath upon the realm. Quickly conjuring a barrier to protect what remains of the Eorzean Alliance, Louisoix attempts the ritual to once more seal Bahamut in vain. Seeing his death certain in the Primal unleashing his ultimate attack, Louisoix summons the last of his strength to call upon the Twelves' power to 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 for them to emerge and rebuild their ruined land.[13]


Original release[edit]

Screenshot from a concept video of the game, as shown at E3 2005

Final Fantasy XIV, previously codenamed Rapture (ラプチャー Rapuchā?),[14] 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.[15] 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.[6][16]

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,[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20][21]

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.[6][16] 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.[22] 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 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.[23] Open Beta commenced on September 1, 2010, lasting until September 19.[24][25][26] 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.[6] 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.[27] The game launched on September 30, 2010.

Initial changes[edit]

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.[1] 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.[1] 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.[28] Billing did not start until January 6, 2012, more than a year after the game's launch.[29]

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.[30] 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 fewer and fewer skill and experience points, eventually reaching a point where neither could be obtained.[31] 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.[31]

Relaunch into A Realm Reborn[edit]

The difference in battle interfaces between the alpha release of the original game (top) versus A Realm Reborn (bottom).

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.[32] The servers for the original game were shut down on November 11, 2012, with the alpha test of A Realm Reborn starting shortly after.[33] The finished relaunch was released on August 27, 2013.[34] Many changes were included at and shortly after the relaunch, including the following:

  • The implementation of a completely new server system.
  • A new graphics engine.
  • A redesigning of all field maps into 40 zones (compared to Version 1's 8 zones).
  • Fully renewed user interface.
  • Female Hyur Highlanders, female Roegadyn, and male Miqo'te are now playable.
  • A worldless content finder.
  • Reworking current jobs and adding new ones (Arcanist, Scholar and Summoner)[35]
  • 1v1 and large scale player versus player content.
  • Introduction of the FATE (Full Active Time Event) system. FATE allows for spontaneous field events such as hamlet defense.[36]

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 are explained by the impact of Dalamud, a massive meteor summoned to crash into the planet. Extra quests, equipment, activities and achievements were also added that are no longer accessible or obtainable since A Realm Reborn was launched. The long-delayed PlayStation 3 version of the game was finally released at the same time as the PC launch of A Realm Reborn on August 27, 2013.[37]


Before Meteor: Final Fantasy XIV (Original Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Nobuo Uematsu, Masayoshi Soken, Naoshi Mizuta, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Ryo Yamazaki, & Ai Yamashita
Released August 14, 2013
Recorded 2008 - 2012
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 6:05:51 (Single Blu-ray disc)

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.[38] 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; and 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, a digital release which, though still not a complete soundtrack, contained a larger selection of music, including many songs from the previous two volumes and major ones added since release. In addition to the main release, Square Enix also released four smaller Frontiers albums, each one corresponding to a region in the game with songs pertaining to that region. The songs in the Frontiers releases are extended versions of songs that appear in the full soundtrack.

The full official soundtrack with all 104 tracks from the original version of Final Fantasy XIV was released on August 14, 2013 in a single Blu-ray disc compilation.[39] Titled Before Meteor: Final Fantasy XIV (Original Soundtrack), the disc contains all of the music composed by Nobuo Uematsu for the initial release, as well as music added on subsequent patches by Uematsu, Mizuta, Yamazaki, Sekito and Soken. A remastered version of the "A New Beginning" trailer and download codes for a Daulmund Minion were included as bonuses.[40]


Original release[edit]

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 50.27%[41]
Metacritic 49/100[42]
Review scores
Publication Score D+[43]
Game Revolution D[44]
GameSpot 4.0/10[7]
GameSpy 2/5 stars[45]
GameTrailers 4.2/10[46]
IGN 5.5/10[47]
PC Gamer (US) 30%[48]

The initial PC release of Final Fantasy XIV received mixed to negative reviews, up to the point where it was considered one of the worst video games of all time, until the reboot removed it from the list. Complaints ranged from its essentially broken structure to its numerous bugs and glitches, leading to a consensus that the game was unfinished, if not essentially unplayable from a practical standpoint. It held a score of 49.33% on GameRankings[41] and 49/100 on Metacritic,[42] 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.[7] IGN gave a 5.5/10 (mediocre).[47] gave the game a D+,[43] 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".[46] In December 2010, the website labeled it "The Most Disappointing Game of the Year" in their "Game of the Year Awards"[49] and also included the game in a "Top Ten Worst Sequels" feature.[50]

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."[42] This sentence was later removed from the review.[51]

Version 1 of Final Fantasy XIV shipped 190,000 copies in Japan, 210,000 copies in North America and 230,000 copies in Europe as of November 4, 2010.[52] It is unknown how many of these resulted in sell-throughs.

Official response[edit]

Square Enix issued 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.[53][54][55] The development team changes eventually led to the genesis of the Realm Reborn version of the game.

Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada admitted in a September 2011 press conference that "the Final Fantasy brand [had been] greatly damaged" as a result of the game's shortcomings.[56][57]


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