Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn features a new engine, improved server structures, revamped gameplay and interface, and a new story. read more
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn features a new engine, improved server structures, revamped gameplay and interface, and a new story.
The game released to largely positive reception; reviewers praised the game for its solid mechanics and progression, and commended Yoshida for turning the project around. The first major content patch, called "A Realm Awoken", was released on December 17, 2013, and introduced player housing, player versus player arena battles, new quests, and the first 24-man raid, Crystal Tower. Square Enix executives attributed the company's return to profitability in part to the MMORPG's strong sales and subscriber base in 2013. A Steam version of the client was released on February 14, 2014.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is an MMORPG and features many of the trappings of the genre. Players create and customize their characters for use in the game, including name, race, gender, facial features, and starting class. Unlike in the original release, players may only choose to be a Disciple of War or Magic as a starting class—Disciples of the Hand and Land are initially unavailable. Players must also select a game world for characters to exist on. While servers are not explicitly delineated by language, data centers have been placed in the supported regions (i.e., North America, Europe, Japan) to improve the communication latency between the server and the client computer and players are recommended to choose a server in their region. Regardless of server or language, the game features a large library of automatically translated game terms and general phrases which allow players who speak different languages to communicate.
A Realm Reborn's PC interface, navigated by a point-and-click widget system.
A Realm Reborn's PlayStation 3 interface, navigated by a cross-bar system.
The user interface and game controls are different between PC and PlayStation 3 versions. PC players have the option of using any combination of a keyboard, mouse, and controller to play, and the system is navigated via point and click widgets. PlayStation 3 players may use a controller by itself, or a controller and keyboard combination. Navigation on the PlayStation 3 version of Final Fantasy XIV is accomplished via an XrossMediaBar-like interface, called "Cross Hot Bar", due to PlayStation users' familiarity with the set-up. This bar is used to access all menus, maps, logs, and configuration options. The head-up display for both versions includes a message log, party status menu, mini-map, and action bar. The player may customize location of all of these elements.
The action bar and battle command input method differs slightly between the PC and PlayStation 3 version. The PC version supports both point and click and number pad selection of commands or macros from the action bar. Macro commands are customizable sequences of actions that allow players to execute complex maneuvers with precise timing. The Cross Hot Bar on the PlayStation 3 version instead maps the action bar and macros to shortcuts located in four horizontally arranged icon sets in the lower part of the screen. These are the grouped and accessed through a combination of the L2 and the R2 buttons and the directional pad or the face buttons. Using each shoulder button to cycle through the cross sets, players have quick access to commands. This interface is also available to PC gamers who play with gamepads.
Players are able to improve their characters by gaining experience points (EXP)—when a set number of experience points are accumulated, the player's character will "level up" and gain improved statistics which further enhance performance in battle. The four primary sources of experience points in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn are through completing quests, exploring instanced dungeons, participating in Full Active Time Events (FATE), and slaying monsters which exist in the game world. Quests, including the "main scenario" questline, are generally short, specific tasks given to the player by non-player characters which reward items and EXP. Completing main scenario quests progresses the overarching plot of the game. Guildleves are a type of repeatable quest which may be undertaken using leve allowances. These allowances are limited but regenerate over time. Instanced dungeons are confined locations with specific objectives that must be achieved within a time limit. These dungeons require multiple players to form a party before entry is granted. Some dungeons are for lower-leveled players to gain EXP quickly while others are for experienced players to collect rare items and equipment. FATE is a new gameplay mechanic where a large number of players may participate in the same event, regardless of party status. These location-specific events include battles with notorious monsters, defending a location from invading forces, culling hostile local wildlife, and assaulting enemy fortresses, among other types. Finally, slaying monsters for EXP is aided by the Hunting Log, which tasks players with defeating specific enemies in exchange for EXP bonuses.
In addition to these player versus environment (PvE) challenges, two forms of player versus player (PvP) combat exist in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The first type, the Wolves' Den, is an arena featuring structured four versus four battles; players may queue into a battle with up to four players in their party but only fully pre-made parties of four can be matched against each other for balance reasons. The second type, Frontlines, consists of designated areas in the world where PvP combat is allowed. These PvP features have not been revealed in full and will be implemented during a future patch. PvP content uses gear that includes the "Morale" stat which only affects players' damage against other players.
Battles and party system
Players fight enemies using a combination of physical attacks, weapon skills, and magical attacks. To initiate combat, players must first "claim" the enemy by using an offensive action on it, though some monsters are aggressive and will attack any players that it detects. An enemy that is claimed by a player or party will bestow EXP and items to those players when defeated. However, unlike in the original release, EXP will also go to other players who contribute significantly to the monster's defeat. Party play revolves around the concept of "enmity", which is an indication of how hostile an enemy is toward a particular player. Enmity is generated by performing offensive actions and lost using certain abilities. Each enemy will focus its attacks toward the player with the most enmity and management of enmity is important for successfully completing tougher encounters.
Parties in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn can support up to eight players. Certain content in the game requires parties of a specific size, including instanced dungeons and boss battles. The "Duty Finder" is an automated matching feature that sorts players into parties for selected instanced content across different servers. The "Party Finder" is a server-specific bulletin board where players may recruit other players for any kind of content including dungeons, raid battles, FATE parties, and more. Members of a party usually fall into classic MMORPG roles like tank, healer, support, and damage dealer. The tank must draw the enemy's attention away from other party members who generally have weaker defense by generating large amounts of enmity. Teamwork and strategy are required to defeat the strongest enemies. "Limit Breaks" are special abilities that can only be performed if members of the party excel at their roles. The Crystal Tower, introduced in the "A Realm Awoken" patch, is the first content in the game which requires a 24-player alliance, consisting of three full parties of eight players.
Player-run guilds come in the form of Free Companies, organized bands of adventurers under the auspices of one of the three Grand Companies of Eorzea. Free Company members may gain access to a shared company chest, a private chat channel, and Company Actions which are 24 hour buffs to certain aspects of gameplay, such as increased EXP or reduced travel costs. Free Company members may also pool their resources to purchase a house in one of the three main cities' residential districts. Houses may be decorated with furniture synthesized by crafters and future updates promise expanded features such as airship-building inside Free Company houses. Linkshells are another form of in-game networking; whereas players may only participate in one Free Company, they may join up to eight linkshells which also act as private chat channels for interested sub-groups.
Armoury and job system
Under the Armoury System, a character's equipped weapon determines the character class and players may change their class at will by changing weapons. Classes are divided into four disciplines: Disciples of War, masters of physical combat; Disciples of Magic, practitioners of the magical arts; Disciples of the Hand, crafters and handymen who synthesize and repair items; and Disciples of the Land, gatherers who collect resources from the environment. Certain abilities learned under one class may be equipped and used by other classes. The Job System builds upon the Armoury System for Disciples of War and Magic. In exchange for restricting the range of equippable abilities from other classes, players gain access to powerful skills, magic, weapons, and armor exclusive to the Job corresponding to that class. These Jobs, based on classic Final Fantasy character jobs, are more suited to party-based combat.
The virtual economy of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is mostly player-driven. The exchange of items is facilitated by a system of Market Wards where players may set up a storefront. Players may purchase the items other players have put up for sale through their retainers, stationed in the wards. A small transaction fee for all sales serves as a gold sink to regulate the inflation of prices in the economy. Players in any class may contribute to the supply of the economy: Disciples of the Land acquire raw materials from gathering points throughout the game world; Disciples of the Hand craft the materials into useful items and equipment; and Disciples of War and Magic slay monsters for rare materials not available to Disciples of the Land. Players are also able to contribute by creating materia from well-used equipment. Players may sacrifice equipment that has gained enough "Spiritbond" to generate a piece of materia, which can then be used to improve the statistics of other equipment.
The mechanics of crafting and gathering have changed between the original release and A Realm Reborn. Most of these changes are geared toward reducing the randomness and guesswork involved in these processes. For Disciples of the Hand, all recipes of the appropriate level are unlocked by default in the Crafting Log. Crafting abilities have been rebalanced to allow successful high-quality synthesis without requiring multiple mastered Disciplines of the Hand. For Disciples of the Land, players are allowed to select which item they would like to attempt to collect at a gathering point, whereas before, the results of gathering attempts were randomized. The Gathering Log also displays the names and locations of items that can be gathered in the world.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.