Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – A Comprehensive Review of Pros and Cons

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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, often referred to as simply FFXIV, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Square Enix. Originally released in 2010 as Final Fantasy XIV, the game faced a disastrous launch due to numerous technical and gameplay issues. However, Square Enix took the bold step of completely overhauling and re-releasing the game as “Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn” in 2013. This relaunch marked a turning point for the game, transforming it from failure to one of the most popular MMORPGs in the world. In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and explore how to play the game, as well as offer five alternative games for those seeking similar experiences. 

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Pros of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

  • Engaging Storyline: FFXIV boasts an exceptionally well-crafted and immersive storyline that is on par with the single-player entries in the Final Fantasy series. The narrative evolves with each major update, offering compelling character development, emotional moments, and intriguing plot twists.
  • Beautiful and Diverse World: The game features a visually stunning world, with each region offering unique landscapes and architectural styles. From the bustling city of Limsa Lominsa to the ethereal forests of Gridania, players can explore a vast and meticulously detailed realm.
  • Flexible Class System: FFXIV employs a flexible class system that allows players to change their character’s class or job at any time by simply switching their equipped weapon. This system encourages experimentation and allows players to adapt to different roles as needed, making the game more accessible to a wider range of players.
  • Rich Endgame Content: The game offers a plethora of challenging endgame content, including high-level dungeons, trials, and raids. These activities cater to both casual and hardcore players, providing a satisfying experience for everyone.
  • Community and Social Interaction: FFXIV promotes a strong sense of community through the use of Free Companies (guilds) and Linkshells (chat groups). The player base is generally friendly and welcoming, and the Duty Finder system makes it easy to find groups for various activities.
  • Regular Content Updates: Square Enix is known for its commitment to providing regular content updates, including patches and expansions. These updates introduce new story arcs, dungeons, and gameplay features, keeping the game fresh and exciting.
  • Cross-Platform Play: FFXIV supports cross-platform play between PlayStation, PC, and Mac, allowing players to enjoy the game with friends regardless of their preferred platform.
  • Deep Crafting and Gathering Systems: For players interested in a more relaxed and non-combat-oriented experience, FFXIV offers an intricate crafting and gathering system. Crafting classes are just as detailed as combat classes, providing a fulfilling experience for those who enjoy the economic aspects of the game.
  • Stunning Soundtrack: Composed by Nobuo Uematsu, Masayoshi Soken, and other talented musicians, the game’s soundtrack is a masterpiece in itself. The music enhances the overall immersion and emotional impact of the game.
  • Housing and Personalization: FFXIV allows players to purchase and decorate their own houses, adding a personal touch to their in-game experiences. The housing system provides a creative outlet for players and a sense of ownership within the game world.

Cons of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

  • Subscription-Based Model: FFXIV requires a monthly subscription to access its content, which can be a significant ongoing cost for players. While there is a free trial with limitations, the full experience is behind a paywall.
  • High System Requirements: The game’s demanding system requirements may be a barrier for some players, especially those with older computers or lower-end gaming systems.
  • Main Storyline Can Be Paced Slowly: While the main storyline is praised for its quality, it can feel slow at times, especially in the early levels. Players may find themselves doing fetch quests and engaging in mundane tasks before the story picks up.
  • Inventory Management: Inventory space can be limited, and players often need to spend in-game currency to expand their inventory. Managing items and equipment can become cumbersome, especially for players who enjoy collecting various items.
  • Time Commitment: Like most MMORPGs, FFXIV can be time-consuming, especially when participating in endgame activities. It may not be suitable for players with limited gaming time.
  • Economic Inflation: The in-game economy can suffer from inflation issues due to the influx of currency from various sources. This can impact the value of items and the overall balance of the game’s economy.
  • Player Housing Limited Availability: Obtaining a housing plot can be extremely competitive, and it’s often challenging to secure one due to the limited number of available plots. This can be frustrating for players interested in owning their own piece of Eorzea.
  • Heavily Story-Driven: While the rich storyline is a pro for many players, it can be a con for those who prefer a more sandbox-style MMORPG experience. FFXIV leans heavily on its narrative, which might not appeal to everyone.
  • Learning Curve: FFXIV offers a wide range of activities and systems, which can be overwhelming for new players. The learning curve is steep, and understanding all the game’s mechanics and intricacies can take time.
  • Limited Player vs. Player (PvP) Content: While the game features some PvP modes and arenas, FFXIV is primarily focused on PvE content. Players seeking a robust PvP experience may find the options limited.

How to Play Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a straightforward process, and it involves several key steps:

  • Purchase and Install the Game: First, you need to purchase the game and any expansions or content packs you wish to access. The game is available for Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. Install the game client on your preferred platform.
  • Create a Square Enix Account: If you don’t already have one, you need to create a Square Enix account. This account will be used to manage your FFXIV subscription and access the game.
  • Select a Data Center and World: When you first start the game, you’ll be prompted to select a data center and a world (server) to play on. Your choice of data center affects who you can play with, so make sure to choose one that aligns with your preferences.
  • Create a Character: Customize your character’s appearance, race, gender, and class. You can choose from multiple classes, and as you progress through the game, you’ll have the option to change classes freely.
  • Complete the Main Scenario: The main scenario quests (MSQ) serve as the primary storyline of FFXIV. These quests are marked by a unique icon, and you should follow them to progress through the game’s narrative.
  • Explore and Participate in Activities: FFXIV offers a wide range of activities, including dungeons, trials, raids, crafting, gathering, and more. Participate in these activities to earn experience points, gear, and in-game currency.
  • Join a Free Company and Form Parties: To enhance your social experience, consider joining a Free Company (guild) or forming parties with other players. Many in-game activities are easier and more enjoyable when completed as part of a group.
  • Stay Updated: FFXIV regularly receives updates and patches, which may introduce new content, balance changes, and bug fixes. Staying informed about these updates can enhance your gaming experience.
  • Consider the Expansion Packs: FFXIV has several expansion packs, each of which adds new content, classes, and storylines. Purchasing and playing these expansions can significantly enrich your experience in the game.
  • Enjoy the Journey: Whether you’re interested in story-driven gameplay, crafting, or high-end raids, take your time to savor the journey in FFXIV. The game offers a wealth of content and experiences, so explore at your own pace.

Top 5 Alternatives to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

If you’re looking for alternative MMORPGs to play, here are five games that offer unique experiences:

  • World of Warcraft: As one of the most iconic MMORPGs, World of Warcraft (WoW) offers a vast and immersive fantasy world with a rich lore. It features a wide range of activities, from PvE dungeons and raids to competitive PvP battlegrounds. WoW has a massive player base and numerous expansions to explore.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Set in the Elder Scrolls universe, this MMORPG allows players to explore the continent of Tamriel. It offers a solo-friendly experience, with an emphasis on exploration, storytelling, and character customization. Players can engage in both PvE and PvP activities.
  • Guild Wars 2: Guild Wars 2 is known for its dynamic events, open world exploration, and unique combat system. It offers a visually stunning world and a buy-to-play model with no subscription fees. The game’s Living World updates introduce regular content additions and changes to the game world.
  • Black Desert Online: Black Desert Online is renowned for its breathtaking graphics and action-oriented combat system. It features a sandbox world with extensive life skills, trading, and a player-driven economy. The game encourages player freedom and creativity.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online: Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, this MMORPG allows players to journey through iconic locations from the books and movies. It emphasizes storytelling, role-playing, and immersive quests. The game has a dedicated community and offers both PvE and PvP content. 

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In conclusion, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has come a long way since its troubled launch and is now considered one of the premier MMORPGs on the market. With its engaging storyline, beautiful world, and flexible class system, it offers an enjoyable gaming experience for both newcomers and MMO veterans. However, the subscription model, demanding system requirements, and slow-paced early game progression can be potential drawbacks for some players. If FFXIV doesn’t quite align with your preferences, the alternatives mentioned above provide diverse MMORPG experiences that cater to various playstyles and interests.


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