I tried FFXIV back in 2016 after Heavensward came out. For some reason I only played a few weeks then quit. I recently picked it back up. I know now I made a mistake.
For years I have argued that GW2 was the best MMO out there, with a caveat. I thought it’s social/quality-of-life systems were the standard by which all other MMOs should be judged. Ad-hoc groups, personal loot and resource nodes, account invites into guilds, excellent fast travel, a beautiful world, awesome armor/weapon skins, etc. The only caveat was the utter failure that the “no trinity” experiment was. Combat in GW2 is painfully binary. Either you face roll or you’re instantly downed, there’s no in between. I have longed for an MMO which had GW2’s non-combat systems but paired with old-school WoW combat. The only thing that really needed to be added was Wildstar style telegraphs.
ESO came close; just the combat was different. Great game, and one I should play more.
Then I popped back into FFXIV. It was mostly to see “Does this really work under Linux?” Answer, 2 small config file tweaks it sure does! Got reacquainted with my old toon and game systems. Single invite into guild, check? Personal loot and resource nodes? Check. Excellent fast travel? Check. Beautiful world/gears skins? Check and check. What’s this, Wildstar style telegraphs? NICE! Hell, even the weather system is top notch, second only to LOTRO. So I stuck it out. Clocking another 70-80 hours in the past 3 weeks, easily surpassing the ~30 I put in back in 2016.
Then I started really getting into the duty roulette. Early dungeons were OK, interesting mechanics here and there, but OK. Then there was the Titan fight. That was the first boss fight where I really had to pay attention. The group I got wiped twice, but succeeded on the third try. This was a true taste of what was to come. Later dungeons are starting to get some really interesting mechanics. The fights are varied, fun, and most importantly of all, fair . Unlike Guild Wars 2 when I die in a dungeon/boss fight I know that I, or my group, royally screwed up. It isn’t that I stepped in the wrong spot and was instantly downed (most of the time). It was a culmination of little mistakes, or misjudging the quite fair telegraphs.
FFXIV turned out to be the MMO I’ve been pining for these past few years. I just didn’t realize it as I quit too soon. The crazy part is that my highest toon is a 48 Dragoon. I haven’t even made it to the Heavensward content yet and all FAQs about the game I’ve read have said the Heavensward (and later) content is when SE really hit their stride and the game shines. IE, it gets better!?
I can’t wait.