Perhaps you might find this title a bit bold – I admit that I wanted to post this last week but I felt that I needed another beta weekend to ensure that I was not merely having a rose tinted honey moon experience… well, I wasn’t. FFXIV is a resurrection of the MMO genre, an incredible fresh burst of renewed energy in a sector of gaming that was to become but a mire of clones and aesthetics.
I understand there are many opinions on this topic, so it would behoove me to explain my point of view, and allow the discussion and debate to generate from that.
Let me begin with the immersion effect. Immersion is defined as deep mental involvement. When it comes to deep mental involvement only one game has achieved this state, at least for me – FFXI. That game achieved an effect which was clear – when I logged on, I was in. I wasn’t doing something else like watching TV, playing different music or trying to have conversations with others, no — I was playing the game, immersed, with the atmosphere developed for me by Square and by the community of players that populated it. Immersion is the primary draw of MMOs, and it is the reason why these games have such an effect on us, as people. It is odd that a video game can inbed itself in our being, but there you have it, the fact resonating with in all of us. Games have left their mark on us, and unlike any other kind of game, MMOs entered our lives and possessed a special place.
So how does FFXIV return this immersion effect to us? It starts with the character creation screen. It must be noted: in FFXI and XIV, your characters are undeniably “real”. They look natural, they possess qualities which make it possible for us to relate and connect. In WoW? You are playing a cartoon. I never found myself connecting with a WoW dwarf or dranei. Certainly not a gnome. SWTOR and Tera it is the same as well – the cartoon merely dawns a new skin, but it lacks something human. A Taru/Lalafell may look like some humanoid squirrel from a distance, but when you get close, a connection can be made. There is something special in Square’s character design as players for generations have connected on many levels with their creations. in XI and XIV there is but a subtle and wonderful difference – we get to control that creation.
Music. Holy… You only have to play for a few hours to come to an understanding that there is an incredible score here that is orchestrated to such great effect that I feel as though I am on the dawn of some incredible adventure. The music melds and flows between zones with subtle transitions that tingle the spine, and the score for battles and cutscenes are reminiscent to any player of Final Fantasy games. Want to have a better understanding of how amazing this music score is? Play the game for 10 minutes without music. You won’t last 5! It is an integral part of the immersion experience. The first music you here in Uldah is so downright heroic and Final Fantasy that it literally makes me squirm in my seat. Think of your favorite movies, TV shows, whatever – now imagine them not without music, but with poor quality, half-rate music. It would lose so much of its effect, importance… it would lose you. Ever listen to the music in any home city in WoW? I’d go ill after but a single rotation. It lacks depth and thus you lose the person who is trying to make a connection. XIV has orchestrated something magical, and with that they are going to draw and define a new generation of MMO gamers.
I start the game with 90 HP, some clothes and a sword that has seen better days. I go out and attack a mob. I hit it for 3 damage. I am, put simply, a new adventurer and everything from my clothes to my quests to my HP to my damage emulates this fact. This is a subtle factor, but one which allows the player to understand his progression, to feel the growth in strength and knowledge. I actually feel weak and I love that feeling, for it means that one day I can feel powerful. At level 10 I look like a knight that got dressed after a drunken escapade, and I envy and desire to look like that higher level player I seen running around, who looks epic and powerful. But you have to earn it, you have to raise up to that pinnacle before you can look like that. And this is the amalgamation of all the previous things stated. You create the character that you connect with, you enter the world which you fall in love with. And then with that character? YOU want to be stronger, be something more, defeat the bosses and help the novices. When you log into the game, see your characters name, you smile. He looks real. You made him – the experiences he has gained are the result of the work you have put into him. You hit “Enter World”, and there you are. Its Eorzea. Earth can wait until you log out… or you have to pee.
I understand that I did not even touch the battle system, fates, dungeons, etc — the core aspects and lifeline of what makes an MMO churn. But this is the point – you could have the best battle system, the best dungeons and gear… but none of that matters, especially in an MMO, if you have players who don’t connect with their character and connect with the world. I played XI and WoW, and both of them for a long time. In XI I was immersed. I played it for a fantastically longer time with a much stronger commitment, but I would tell you WoW had the better battle system, the better dungeons. But WoW never grabbed me. It grabbed only my loot frenzy, never my heart.
XIV has rediscovered what made XI so special to so many human beings. It wasn’t 21-24 pop HNMs, it wasn’t ridiculous leveling rates or tuning processes… it was the immersion, the love of the player for his character and his world.
This game is going to inspire a new generation, dear players, and I am so very pleased to be a part of it.
The official Isle of Janthir forums have been kind of dead for awhile. Fortunately, the server now has a new website and forums, and things seem to be picking up as a result. Go there, register, and see what’s going on in-server outside our little guild-bubble.
So, by most accounts, Guild Wars 2 sPvP is at a turning point. In the next few months, it’s either going to establish itself as a significant e-sport, or die. I’d prefer to see the former, since the competitive aspect of it is really fun to play and watch. In that spirit, I’m reminding everyone of the Invitational on August 31 at PAX. This will be the first major international tournament hosted by ANet, and potential sponsors/advertisers will be watching the viewer numbers closely to see if there’s interest. So, I’m inviting everyone to check out this video of the Grand Finals of the EU qualifiers. If you can, watch the first five or ten minutes and see if it appeals to you. If it does, then the stream is happening on Aug. 31, and you should tune in (depending upon what AUS time the games actually get underway). Either way, if you know anyone who’s into E-sports and you think they might be interested, let them know about it if you can. Thanks a lot, and enjoy!
P.S. If not enough people tune in to the Invitational, all the Quaggans will cry and next month’s Living Story will focus entirely on a team-up between Trahearne and Logan.
Courtesy of WoodenPotatoes. If you just started playing recently, came back from a hiatus, or just need a refresher, this is really useful. Part 2 should be coming soon.
WoodenPotatoes actually has some really interesting lore recaps/theories on his channel. Since I didn’t play GW1, he’s shown me some interesting stuff that would have gone completely over my head otherwise.
I found this post on the FFXIVrealm forums and found it very interesting. I for one agree with what the poster has had to say about the FFXIV reboot, what are your thoughts? Post can be found here - http://ffxivrealm.com/threads/immersed-ffxiv-reignites-the-heart-of-the-mmo-genre.2040/
For those that don’t know or who have otherwise been hiding in or under something for the past few months/years, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is coming to our shores on August 27th 2013. From the less than impressive FFXIV released in 2010, the completely ground up remake, A Realm Reborn is nearly here, and as a massive Final Fantasy fan boy I for one am looking forward to this newly Reborn MMO (see what I did there).
First up is the new Crystal’s Call trailer from E3 of which you can view in this post. Made up purely from game-play footage; this trailer to me does not fail to impress and makes the wait for the release that little bit harder. Final Fantasy fan or not I think any avid MMO’er will enjoy this. It showcases some great abilities, fights and near the end from what I can tell some possible ‘Ultimate’ moves that I can not wait to try out.
Next up is……. More BETA! June 14th is the beginning of the Beta phase 3 which will allow all character customization’s and classes (as far as I know). Also, for those who did play 1.0 you will be able to import your old characters into ARR, I will however be creating a brand spanking new character for a new game. So keep an eye out on the forums for the server we will all be congregating on for the new phase- looking forward to playing with everybody in game.
Hello fellow members,
As you may have noticed there is a massive hole in our ever so trusty website. The reason for this is that Enjin was showing it’s limits in regards to the customization abilities that I required to take the website further and unfortunately while I was creating this new site on another domain Enjin had a bit of a spaz which did not allow me to further use it while implementing this one.
SO as we speak I am working to implement and
This may take some time as I dust off my php and css skills however I will work tirelessly to bring everything up to speed!. code this new site to a level that is usable and pretty for everyone so please bare with me while I do this. You may ask “why change a site that was working fine in the first place” Well! while the site itself did work quite well I did not believe that there was enough Interactivity going on in regards to people viewing the site and posting in the forums, so my aim here is to build a site where I can provide constant blog and video updates, more widgets/modules and just and all round interactive experience that encourages members to visit and post time and time again.