Final Fantasy XIV Beta Impressions

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

For the last couple of weekends, the writers here at ZAM have been taking a look at Square Enix’s remake of their second MMO, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. After our first weekend with the game, Corey gave his general impressions of the game while I posted a mountain of text about crafting and gathering. Now that I’ve had time to see a bit more of the game (that and I’ve managed to make myself do something other than mining and goldsmithing), I’m ready to give my early impressions.

Character Creation

When I sat down to create my character, I was given a choice between five different races. Hyur and Elezen are pretty much your Human and Elf choices that most fantasy MMO players expect these days, just with different labels. The remaining three should look somewhat familiar to Final Fantasy XIv players, but with some design changes to go with the new names: the small statured Lalafell (basically Tarutaru with faces that look closer to humans), the cat-like Miqo’te (Mithra with some of the feline facial features tuned down), and the hulking Roegadyn (pretty much the Galka in a prettier graphics engine). For anyone who played both FFXI and FFXIV v1.0, the Mithra/Miqo’te and Galka/Roegadyn were limited races in that you only had one gender option: female for Miqo’te and male for Roegadyn. As part of the remake for ARR, these restrictions have been lifted and you can now make a female Roegadyn or a male Miqo’te. I think these models could use a little tweaking though; they didn’t seem as polished as the others and something about the character design felt off. It is art design though so it may simply be a matter of subjective taste. I opted to go for a male Hyur (really creative I know) and got to work playing with all of the options.

The character customization options, while not quite as vast as some other games, felt varied and in-depth enough that I was able to make the character I wanted to play. While a few extra options would have been nice, particularly some cosmetic items like the pipes from TERA or City of Steam, I felt like there was a good balance between “enough to make my character distinct” while avoiding the “it’s been 45 minutes and I still haven’t made my character!” problem brought about by walls of sliders and costume items. You even get to choose a voice for your character, though it’s mostly just picking the pitch for your battle grunts, laughs, etc. There are a few spots where improvements could be made: I couldn’t find an option for my Hyur that didn’t look like my eyebrows had been waxed off and he seemed to have a permanent case of frowny-face. Those issues aside, it was time to pick a starting class and get this show on the road.

As I mentioned in the crafting and gathering post last week, part of ARR’s changes include removing the ability to choose a class from the Disciples of the Hand (crafters) or the Disciples of the Land (gatherers) at the beginning of the game. With those options locked until I finished my level 10 class quest and the higher-tier jobs locked until I met their requirements, that left me with nine choices split between the Disciples of War (physical damage and tanks) and the Disciples of Magic (casters), each with their own weapons and combat styles. Tanks looking into DoW could choose between Gladiator (sword and board) and Marauder (two-handed axe – more DPS at lower levels). Those looking to DPS could choose Marauder or they could look at Pugilist (hand-to-hand), Lancer (spears), or Archer (bows). If you opted to go the caster route instead, the Disciples of Magic offered choices like Conjurer (healer with wands/canes), Thaumaturge (DPS with staves), or Arcanists (summoners with grimoires). Since I’m a tank at heart, I decided to go down the path of the Gladiator. With that selected, the rest of the RP details entered and a name given, I was ready to enter the world of Eorzea.