A Look Back: Final Fantasy XIV (Original Release)
I’m going to really shake things up with something straight out of left field. As you might have surmised, I tend to review games in order because I enjoy watching franchises mature, etc. This time, due to an interesting set of circumstances, I’m going to break form and discuss the latest entry in the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy XIV.
Now this is not a review, but more like a discussion. I’m doing this for two reasons. First, FFXIV is an online title. Thus, it is a never-ending game. If I waited until the game was “finished”, under normal circumstances, I’d be waiting forever. However, in this case, the game did end (at least temporarily). Second, since the game has ended, this allows the perfect opportunity to look back on it.
If you’ve been following this blog a while, you’ll know that I’m a HUGE fan of both the Final Fantasy series as a whole, but especially the online games. In fact, the first real MMO that I put any time into was Final Fantasy XI. I spent several years playing that game and I had many wonderful experiences with it. Needless to say, when Final Fantasy XIV was announced, I was more than excited.
XIV holds an interesting place in the world of online games. It was one of the biggest failures in MMO history. The game was released way before it was ready and its reputation suffered greatly as a result. The game was plagued by everything from lack of content, to a laggy and unresponsive user interface. In fact, the game was so poorly received, that Square Enix suspended the monthly billing for the game for close to a year.
During that time, most of the original development team was fired and a new producer took over the helm. Upon completing his assessment, he deemed that in order to make the game successful, it would need to be completely re-designed from the ground up. At which time, SE began the unheard of task of both fixing and supporting the current game, while rewriting a entirely new version.
I’m happy to say that over time, the game did improve. Vastly so. In fact, I found it to be quite enjoyable for the last year or so. To keep players hooked and to help preserve the storyline, SE announced an special in-game event for this transition period. A live story that would carry players over from version 1 to version 2.
Everything finally came to a dramatic conclusion on 11/11 with a giant meteor descending from heaven and a great cataclysm. As I write this, FFXIV is currently offline and testing for the alpha version of 2.0 is underway. Expected to be released sometime next year, loyal followers such as myself eagerly await to see what is in store for us…
As I mentioned on this site before, I have kept an in-character blog of my time in FFXIV. For those reader interested in what they may have missed during the original release, I urge to check it out: