FFXIV: A Visual Novel Rather Than an MMO

As I’m quite busy with WoW’s 9.1. activities, Final Fantasy is quite a residual game to me now. I log in to Eorzea world only and when the weekly deeds in WoW are done. Nevertheless, I feel like I really want to remain subbed and have an immediate opportunity to enjoy the game when I please.

Like I said before, FFXIV is a totally different experience from WoW in every possible aspect. On the surface, it’s almost the same UI, almost the same activities, and it has all the obligatory and essential MMO attributes. Once you play it, you can’t get farther from WoW.

We now omit talking about combat and class system (very different but hilarious in its own way), the visuals (still horrible in the environment, but amazing in character and suit department), the gear and items management (loses to WoW). What I want to talk about is a story and gameplay.

Currently I’m stuck at level 51, as intermission storylines artificially stall your leveling before the next expansion events, granting 4k exp per quest while you need 900k to reach 52. So I’m playing through the “aftermath” patch stories of A Realm Reborn (local Vanilla) on 51 before I can go to 2.0. content of the Heavensward expansion.

You’re not actually supposed to do anything else rather than move up the story before level cap, and that’s what I do. If you’re lucky, you may have an encounter or two, but fighting things is certainly not a focus. Yesterday I spent 1,5 hours questing, and I actually fought anything… 3 times. The encounters with quest mobs took me maybe 5 minutes in total. 5 minutes fighting out of 90 minutes of gameplay.

Travel now takes really no time – as I have unlocked all the “hearthstone” checkpoint crystals, and jump the world in a matter of seconds, also now I have a flying mount. Fighting, as we discovered, is not the game’s focus. So what do you do with the rest of your gameplay experience? You read.

Fair enough, you can Esc-skip the cutscenes and rapidly click through the dialogues which speeds up the whole thing by x100 times, but it’s not what we’re here for. The game’s just not meant for rushy players – pour a cup of tea, lean back and enjoy the turtle-pace, as NPCs are slowly unveiling the story and motives before you.

Frankly they could have made it faster. You have to fish out a pearl of sense from a bucket of word water, and it’s happening every time, all the time. If you could fit a major WoW scene or a quest text script on a paper sticker, you need 20 dialogue windows in FFXIV to achieve the same.

Yesterday’s example: the bandits are fiercely and unnaturally loyal to their mysterious woman leader Iceheart for reasons unknown, the whole deal is suspicious and we suspect a foul play. They needed 5 minutes of dialogue to deliver this small piece of information, and when you proceed to the next quest NPC, he requires 5 minutes more to tell you the very same thing!

Moreover, the language of the texts is soooo complex. I’m not a native speaker, and it’s especially hard for me to crawl through the thorns of the writing. I manage, I do, but it’s not easy, and it is slow. My level of English is very good, I never retreat to a dictionary from the game, as I actually know all the words, but why would you write it like that?

They would say “Is aught amiss?” instead of “Is something wrong?”, they would say “Pray hasten” instead of “Please hurry”, and stuff like that. And it’s not just choice of words, it’s also how they put them together, the complexity of sentences:

Seriously though. I understand the sentiment of conveying the style of archaic and epic fantasy language, but you should have at least some sense of measure :) And, granted that 90% of what they say could be omitted without any repercussions to your understanding of the events and motives, oh well.

As I said before, I just accepted this sort of thing as a given, in a manner that I accepted the slow paced combat which is unprecedented in MMOs and all other games I played before. In fact, it is exactly what I seek now in FFXIV – a chillax experience when I’m tired of mashing buttons of my WoW rotations.

Yes, with all the attributes of MMO, Final Fantasy’s MSQ is not really a game – it’s a visual novel, a book to read. Just lean back, and let them slowly tell you things. And well, the story is good and worth reading :)

4 thoughts on “FFXIV: A Visual Novel Rather Than an MMO

  1. I just hit 50, but still have a bit of the MSQ to finish off. I’m taking my time and enjoying it. My beverage of choice while enjoying the turtle race, green tea with a bit of whiskey in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I played FFXIV for the story and reached the end patch of Shadowbringers, then i could not keep playing, WoW for me feels like a world to live in, FFXIV didn’t give me this feeling, i liked the story but i have to wait for the next expansion for more.

    Have you tried crafting? curious to know what you think about it :-)


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