Final Fantasy is never really final, which explains why I’m writing about the 14th numbered incarnation of the game. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (FFXIV) is a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, like the 11th version. To judge by the E3 demo, there will be plenty of whimsy like XI, but overall this is a fairly dark game, taking after the non-MMO Final Fantasy games.
The game is already well refined, and promises all the things that made XI so addictive for me (I sure hope the fishing is a bit more forgiving, I gave up on the main quest with over 4,000 carp yet to catch…). In addition, there are some interesting new options for play. Changing classes, a bit inconvenient before, is now much easier, as class is determined by the weapon in your hand…change weapon, and you change class. That sure beats running back to town, I must admit.
A “level sync” option makes it easier to pull friends into the game; even if you have dozens of levels on them, the game will reduce your level so that you’re all on the same playing field in a party…I’m not sure how popular this will be, as I suspect the highest character level will be lowered, rather than everyone raised up to the highest level–but wouldn’t the latter way be cool?
If, like me, you find the worst part about online games to be the other people, FFXIV allows you to pick chocobo-companions. These guys can have all the abilities of players, more or less, so you can have chocobo tanks, chocobo healers, and so on, allowing for a good bit of solo play.
Past the game seems to offer the same goodness as before, with limit break abilities, weird combos off other players’ moves, and a helpful moodle to teach you what you need to know. I don’t know if I’m ready to sacrifice my life to an MMO, but when this comes out in August, I’ll at least think about it.