Getting up to speed on Final Fantasy XIV as it is

If you’re just joining us after a rousing session of Final Fantasy XIV, this column may not exactly be for you because this week isn’t about speculation; it’s about discussing the many things that people don’t like about Final Fantasy XIV which either no longer exist or are known to be removed in version 2.0.

This might seem like it’s kind of silly, but honestly, I think there’s a lot of stuff that people not actively following FFXIV don’t know about. The game’s biggest burst of visibility happened when it launched, just like every other game in the history of anything ever. While the game isn’t for everyone now any more than it was a year ago, the development staff has taken pains to address gaps in the structure and improve the play experience for everyone.

So here’s an article about just that. And while you might already know the content of the article, the next time you know someone worried about something in the game that’s long since been excised, you can point him back here.

Coeurl status: In the game since forever.  Still painful to fight.“The fatigue system is horrible!”

Yes, it was. It was almost impossible to hit the fatigue threshold, but it sure did no favors for players when you did hit it. It was definitely one of the worst features of the game, and its removal was marked by a collective sigh of relief from players.

But it was removed. And we’re not talking a patch from last week or something; the system went the way of all flesh back in July of last year. It’s long since been excised, and I can’t even say that I ever managed to hit the penalty in the first place. Don’t be afraid of it; it doesn’t exist.

“UI load times are absurd and the UI is awful!”

When FFXIV first launched, all UI modifications were handled server-side, most notably action bars. The net result was that trying to perform any useful functions took roughly a month, necessitating several lines of macros to properly equip your actions after any class change, which also took a great deal of time… you get the idea. The UI also suffered from no hardware mouse options, no ability to rebind keys or bind new functions, and so forth.

All of that has since been addressed. UI loads are entirely normal, hardware mouse is enabled, keybindings are open to all. The controls are still a bit odd, and the UI still isn’t as graceful as it could be, but the latter is being changed with version 2.0, and the former may very well see noteworthy upgrades as well.

“You have to play the game with a controller!”

See above. Controller support is still there, but rebinding keys is pretty much painless now.

“The whole levequest reset nonsense is unacceptable!”

A year ago, the game rolled out a major change to the way leves worked. The current system awards you with four leve allowances every 12 hours, with allowances stacking up to a maximum of 99. While it’s still possible to run out, it’s much more difficult.

Furthermore, version 2.0 is moving leves out of their current “main content” spot and moving quests into the forefront, which will mean that leve allowances will matter even less — if they even still exist. (We haven’t heard much about leves in the new Eorzea yet; we just know they’re not as all-important.)

“Combat is slow and clunky!”

Everyone has different preferences for combat, but there have been a number of changes to the combat system from its original incarnation. The stamina system has been removed entirely, and players have access to single-person combos between sequential attacks. While you still don’t wind up with the ability-spam of a game like World of Warcraft, it’s a far cry from what it used to be. Version 2.0 looks to speed things up a bit further as well.

If you're hoping for an ssurance that the game will be fun and you're not on the road to nowhere, well, we're all hoping for that.  For every game.  Ever.“The graphics are so poorly optimized!”

This is as true about the game today as it was two years ago, something I found out to my chagrin when I tried maxing the settings on my new computer. However, 2.0 will be using a new graphics engine that’s meant to run better on a wider variety of machines. There’s no way of knowing how successful it will be in that goal, but it’s certainly being addressed.

“I just want a darn auction house.”

Good news! The market wards have a search function and a purchase function that basically mirrors the functionality of the Final Fantasy XI auction house. Not perfectly so, since you still have to leave retainers somewhere, but it’s close to the correct functionality.

In 2.0, odds are good that we’ll have that proper auction house at long last. Repurposing the market wards to serve some of that function would be a fine idea, since the wards aren’t a terrible idea, they’re just not functionally structured or remotely easy to use.

“Where are the chocobos?”

There are chocobos! There have been chocobos around for a while now. You can buy one as a permanent mount, you can rent one, and in 2.0, you’ll be able to raise your own specialized bird. There are chocobos. Don’t fear the lack of yellow horsebirds because they are in existence!

“I bought the game, I was disappointed, and I don’t want to subscribe again for more disappointment.”

Everyone who purchased the game gets another free month once 2.0 goes live. You also get your characters transferred over, so you can start from where you left off or start over from scratch. You don’t have to fret over losing progress or items; everything will still be there if you want to give it another shot.