Home » Final Fantasy 14 has its hooks in me, and I hate MMORPGs

Final Fantasy 14 has its hooks in me, and I hate MMORPGs

I am Fling Blingus, and Fling Blingus is me. This is the name of my Eorzean Miqo’te cat boy and Final Fantasy 14 character. And while I may have named and created his appearance on a whim, my time in FF14 has changed how I look at him, myself, and the genre of MMORPGs forever. In short: Oh no, I’m obsessed. Someone help.

I’m not an MMORPG guy. Even after beating the main FF14 A Realm Reborn story and spending over 100 hours within the land of Eorzea, I still don’t understand how to play most of it. The mechanics are overbearing, you’re not clearly told how most of the game actually works, and figuring out what to do outside of the main scenario quest is an incredibly daunting task.

So why on earth am I obsessed with a blue-haired cat boy called Fling Blingus, and why can’t I stop playing Final Fantasy 14?

It started with the FF14 London Fanfest. While covering the new Viper job and watching the Naoki Yoshida-helmed keynote from home, I was thrust into a world I knew little about but found effortlessly alluring. I don’t even like fantasy games that much (I’m more into sci-fi), but all this talk of upcoming content, crossovers with Clive and Torgal from Final Fantasy 16, new ways to play, and a tropical holiday expansion in Dawntrail had me curious. Then I saw this trailer.

Something had its hooks in me and I had to try the MMO before the FF14 Dawntrail release date next summer. This fascination alone isn’t what kept me going for 100 hours though, or the fact that the free trial means I haven’t spent a single penny on the game yet; it’s FF14’s willingness to champion the RPG in MMORPG, and how much I’ve been allowed to experience before having to worry about any monthly costs.

FF14 is also more of an RPGMMO than an MMORPG, and while so much of what Square Enix does with the game is overwhelming for new players like me, the focus on easing you into the combat and letting the story, world, and characters draw you in first is what makes it all work.

It’s still overwhelming, so having either a friend or a flurry of YouTube videos guide you through makes it all much easier. But everything from dungeons, PvP, the Golden Saucer, housing, and raids is secondary to the story for new players anyway. I’ve been able to pick and choose what I want from the game without feeling like I’m missing out on anything, which has always been my main fear with MMOs.

Final Fantasy 14 I hate MMORPGs: a blue-haired cat boy in a bright rainbow room, wearing an eye patch and looking pensive

I’ve been playing the FF14 Fall Guys event, doing the occasional dungeon, exploring the side activities at my own leisure, gambling in the Golden Saucer, and comfortably switching between all of the different in-game classes too. Everything else plays second fiddle to the story – until you finish it and get to the endgame – which helps FF14 feel more purposeful than I ever thought it would have before playing.

Speaking of FF14 classes, while I found the archaic split between jobs and classes needlessly confusing, the actual implementation of the combat choices is superb. After figuring out that jobs and classes are basically the same thing, and realizing that each has its own level and you can swap between them by simply changing your weapon, the creative experimentation in FF14 takes center stage. While you do have roles, which only really come into play in dungeons with other group content, you can easily have multiple completely different playstyles on the go, and use your favorites whenever you please.

Not being locked into a specific class and easily being able to pick up new ones is honestly what’s made FF14 so appealing. Not only do tank, DPS, and healer (the three roles each job fits in to) all have varied ways to play to keep things fresh, but it also allowed me to easily find a style that works for me and stick to it, building out the class and seeing it progress more as I play.

Final Fantasy 14 I hate MMORPGs: two characters in armor stood next to one another

Being able to flit between classes marries exceptionally well with the way that Square Enix actively encourages new players with an overabundance of XP. I’ve been given a ring that increases XP gains for all classes up to level 30, I can use foods for small bonuses, I’m in a preferred world server that awards double XP up to level 80 (for a time), and every player even gets XP rewards for not playing the game and coming back to it.

Square Enix wants you to level fast in FF14, and there are myriad ways for new players to capitalize on this. Some of the most impactful methods are much less beneficial to long-time players on busy servers, but by that point, you won’t need all the extra XP, so it works out really well.

The fact that FF14 gives you more XP rewards for not playing is probably my favorite thing about the game, too. Being rewarded for taking a break, as I am while I slowly get through the A Realm Reborn post-game ahead of the first expansion, takes so much pressure off, which I always felt would weigh me down in other MMOs. You can still do daily tasks for rewards, but having these in conjunction with an AFK reward compensates for both types of players, making FF14 incredibly approachable.

All of this is helped by how delightful the FF14 community is. Of course, there are cheaters and other bad apples, but I’ve already had so many small moments with passing players and been helpfully guided through dungeons and how to use my skills. Everyone has been so welcoming, and while the prospect of a 24-person raid currently fills me with existential dread, I can rest easy knowing that veteran players will gladly lend me a helping hand.

Two of us from PCGamesN even waited in Ul’dah – one of FF14’s starting cities – for another writer here to finish the tutorial after we convinced them to play, and when we all came together it was the most wholesome videogame experience I’ve ever had. We were all doing in-game emotes, jumping around, and eventually gathered a small crowd after we decided to sit in a circle. These are the types of interactions Final Fantasy 14 thrives on, and I’m sure there are going to be many more to come.

FF14 has its hooks in me because it refuses to play by any preconceived notions I had about MMOs. It is undoubtedly still an MMO, that’s for sure, but the focus on story, class freedom, rewarding new players, and not attempting to dominate my life has made every session more enjoyable than the last.

So if you see a cat boy named Fling Blingus cutting about Eorzea be sure to say hello; he’s more than happy to stop for a minute to chat.

Author: admin

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