I warned you that I’d do it. I warned you I’d wind up writing more about Final Fantasy XIV because I’m just in love with the game and I am so excited for the Stormblood expansion (and maybe I’ve devoted too many hours of my life into trying to grind my main class’ best weapon, the Anima weapon.)
But it’s that same love of the game that I’m here to talk about: why do I love this game so much? What about this game keeps me logging in and playing it, despite a plethora of other games I could pick up and play at any point in time? It’s a worthwhile discussion to have, I feel, especially because the reality of online video games in particular is they’re always trying to keep us playing them. Looking at why a game does well or why a game fails at this task helps us assess why we even play the games at all and what we expect them to do to keep our interest.
Online video games have a very unique problem regardless of their genre, developer or funding. They suffer a crisis that single player games, quite literally, cannot struggle with. Online video games need to work out how to keep players… well, playing.
In the last post, we looked at a brief but telling example of a game’s direction changing, and in so doing alienating a portion of the playerbase to the point they claimed the game was going to die. And thus, we reached a conclusion: the most likely culprit to boldly state the believed fate of a game is in fact a veteran player.
But the question does remain, then, why do the veteran players so often make this call? Failing that, why do people who have never even played a game at all chime in with the same chorus of “game’s dead” when the first veteran makes the statement? Why do new players never seem to fall into this trap? And, of course…
Do games die as a result?
The short answer is:
I hate the term “game is dead.”
If you play any MMORPG or have ever played any MMORPG for any period of time, you are almost guaranteed to have heard the phrase at one point or another. I’ve heard it every single game I’ve ever played, apart from Final Fantasy XIV ironically (though I’m sure it’s still been said by some.) I hate the term, because games don’t fundamentally die without outright shutting down. In fact, even when games go really sour at the core, they often somehow seem to survive as long as the company sticks rigidly to whatever game plan it seems to have… sometimes seemingly for the worst.
Rotation, rotation, rotation.
Every class in FFXIV:ARR has something called a “rotation” – a series of skills in a specific order that optimise the output of damage or healing that it can do. Some rotations are more obvious than others and the game gives you a hand by highlighting the follow-up skills with a small yellow dotted border around the next skill in sequence. Others, however, require a small bit of study (or one good look at a guide!) to understand when they should be used, and what skills to use them in conjunction with.
The other important thing to remember about the skills in this game? The vast majority of them work on a “Global Cooldown” basis – which means when you use one skill, they all go onto a cooldown. A few select skills are “Off Global Cooldown” and can be used even when others cannot be, and they’re often equally important.
So then, shall we dive in?
I recently did a review on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which discussed in brief aspects of the game that I enjoyed, aspects that could be considered negative and spoke very loosely about the game overall. Because it’s a big game and to fit a fully in-depth review into one video would make a webpage much too long.
I glossed over combat in particular, because there’s a lot to combat in FFXIV that adds up to make a really fun experience overall. I’d like to do the game a little bit more justice – and perhaps humour any readers who wanted to know more – by going into a bit more depth about the combat that’s available in the game and why I enjoy it so much. Thus, this is part one in… two? Maybe three. You know what? I don’t have this all planned out yet, so it could be two or three parts. Regardless, this is part one, and we’ll be focusing in this post on the Holy Trinity of class types and how they play in Final Fantasy XIV.
Please also take this with a grain of salt and the knowledge that the up and coming Stormblood plans to bring small but important quality of life changes to all the classes.