The Current Issue With FFXIV Online

After its rebirth with A Realm Reborn, FFXIV Online has cemented itself as both an extremely popular MMORPG and a staple of the Final Fantasy series. But like any game, it has its fair share of issues. Which are quite adamant on making themselves known.

The Current Issue With FFXIV Online

Standing as one of the most prominent pillars in the world of MMORPGs, Final Fantasy 14 Online has a firm grip on the genre. Despite the game’s early issues, many players (including myself) can attest to the state of FFXIV’s narrative, gameplay and community. 

This game has risen from the ashes and cemented itself as a cult classic among the fans of MMOs and the Final Fantasy franchise alike. But no game is perfect and FFXIV Online has its fair share of issues, especially with the release of the current expansion: Endwalker.  

Despite the title of this article, there are several issues within FFXIV. And as someone who’s seen it all in this game, I feel like I am more than qualified to show you . 

Gameplay (PVE)

I’ll spare you the theatrics and get straight to the point.

FFXIV’s gameplay loop is extremely repetitive and unengaging after experiencing it for the first time. 

To begin with, any gameplay that involves PVE feels extremely scripted; despite it being the primary way to experience the game. From raid mechanics to Job rotations, everything is far too predictable. It’s so similar that going through a level 60 dungeon and then a level 90 one feels more or less the same.

Dungeons resemble glorified corridors with packs of faceless, reused trash mobs and bosses that utilise a singular mechanic. 8-man and 24-man content is nothing more than a mass of players on a floating platform or in an arena. It’s slightly more interesting but only before the bosses start cycling through the same-old mechanics. Every other PVE-based content is either non-existent, like Guildhests, or lacks engagement or skill, like Treasure Hunting. 

Whilst it can be fun occasionally, FFXIV's PVE gameplay is rather linear and stale, overall.

Whilst it can be fun occasionally, FFXIV’s PVE gameplay is rather linear and stale, overall.

Lack Of Innovation

Basic battle mechanics are also surprisingly rigid. Job rotations allow no room for customisation, meaning that every Job follows a precise combo that punishes deviation or creativity. The boss mechanics are resolved by either stacking together, spreading apart or standing in a specific spot. Even dodging AoEs, doesn’t feel rewarding or satisfying; it’s much more comparative to just casually stepping out of a big orange puddle on the ground than avoiding a lethal attack. Other facets of battle, like Materia melding or Item Level, are mainly met with unconcern outside of savage/ultimate content.

On top of this, Job roles are stricter than they’ve ever been. Each Job now only has one role to fulfil in PVE content and simply nothing else. Gone are the days when players had to manage and mitigate aggro and choose when and where to spend their TP points in battle. Now each role is homogenized, erasing Job identity and simultaneously raising the question: What’s the point of trying to play a different Job if they all essentially play the same? 

By forgoing the same, safe design ideas; FFXIV would easily be able to propel itself to new heights.

By forgoing the same, safe design ideas; FFXIV would easily be able to propel itself to new heights.

Content Droughts

FFXIV’s infamous content droughts issues are practically a staple of the game. Long periods where very little happens in the way of content. Now naturally, the game cannot produce content constantly. But with the lack of any long-lasting impactful gameplay options, content droughts turn the world of Eorzea into nothing more than an AFK waiting room for the next update. 

During this period of boredom, players mainly do one of three things:

  • Start doing more side-content, like Island Sanctuary, Role-Playing or Gold Saucer minigames. 
  • Purchase optional items from the online store to breathe some new life into their gameplay experience. 
  • Leave the game out of boredom. Depending on the player, they may return or not. 

Overall, FFXIV Online needs more engaging content that takes more than a few days to compete. The Bozjan Southern Front is a good example of this. It, to this day, challenges and engages the community, whilst simultaneously changing PVE encounter design by allowing players to take part in various types of content, like Duels, Critical Engagements and Skirmishes.

Bozja has tons of replayability and is extremely entertaining. It can also keep the community occupied for months and even years after its initial release. 

Yup, that's one hell of a drought...

Yup, that’s one hell of a drought…

The Cult-like ‘Community’ 

Ah yes, the backbone of FFXIV. This MMO’s community is infamous for a few reasons and most of them aren’t exactly the most positive. Luckily, these reasons don’t apply to every player in FFXIV, just a loud minority. 

Simply put, I believe that players are free to play FFXIV Online the way they want; it only makes sense since they actively pay SquareEnix to do so. I can tolerate the roleplay in public chat and the unnatural ‘friendliness’ the community exudes. But there is one thing that I refuse to accept: the coddling of the community.

Unlike many other MMOs, FFXIV prides itself on being a safe space, free of judgement and aggressiveness. Ironically, the game suffers from being so ‘positive’ that any indication of differing opinions or views on the game is seen as toxic or problematic. Even just pointing out that your party member is doing their rotation incorrectly can potentially warrant unnecessary conflict or ban. 

Especially within an MMO, players should be allowed to openly communicate and help each other. Preferably without the fear of being penalised. I also believe that putting such an emphasis on how open and welcoming the FFXIV community is, ironically makes it more off-putting once you realise how it is. 

Talking about FFXIV's community is never easy...

Talking about FFXIV’s community is never easy…

Hopes For The Future

Moving forward, I hope to see FFXIV Online fix some of its issues and continue to develop as a game. I’d also love to see it add in more innovative gameplay options, more complex Job mechanics and a more engaging and cohesive narrative; similar to that of Shadowbringers.  

To be frank, FFXIV Online is in dire need of another upgrade. Both in terms of gameplay and graphically. Whilst eagerly awaiting patch 7.0, I hope the MMO manages to regain some of its lost lustre and greatness. 

(Credit goes to Cole Evyx for the video)

HUGE Problem in FFXIV - Dead Content and Reward Structure

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