Rise Against references aside, the term “WOW Refugee” gets thrown around a lot these days. It’s not a term I really like to use, but it does seem fitting considering just how many players are making the jump from World of Warcraft to Final Fantasy XIV. As someone who has been playing Square Enix’s brilliant MMORPG since its 2.0 launch back in 2013 (2.0 ended up being a sort of “relaunch” after the game’s dicey 1.0 launch), it’s nice to see so many people coming over to FFXIV. If you’re new and you’re reading this, I welcome you with open arms. Just the other day I was talking to new members in the FC I’m in (Pirates of Eorzea on Malboro, my IGN is Spud Murphy, JOIN US), and we got talking about WOW Classic and just WOW shenanigans in general. They mentioned that they were really enjoying their time with FFXIV and certain aspects like tough story content (Shinryu Trial) really stood out to them. I ended up tanking a dungeon for them, Ghimlyt Dark, so they could progress towards the end of the main scenario in Stormblood. My wife used to make fun of me for playing (she’s a WOW player at heart, always will be) but now she’s playing FFXIV instead of WOW for the time being. This is the world we live in right now folks. WOW will always hold a special place in my heart as well, but when it comes to my favourite MMO, FF is the clear winner.
So, if anyone hasn’t already said it, I will.
Welcome to the cool team, we have cookies.
The hype is so real right now that Square Enix just dropped a Shadowbringers trailer yesterday with Tom Holland and Hannibal Buress in it. You remember those WOW trailers with Mr. T? Well shit, us FF players have one of those now too.
As someone who considers themselves a loyal FF fan, it’s nice to see the franchise finally take the spotlight. I know the series has always been popular, but FFXIV is starting to really hit early WOW day levels of popularity I feel. My first FF game was III/VI on the SNES, and I’ve played each new one with their release. I’ve even gone back to revisit the oldies as well. FFXIV has always had to live in the shadow of WOW ever since it came out. While they both share similarities, FFXIV has really become its own beast, and I feel that people are starting to prefer it more.
I myself was drawn into FFXIV not just because I love the franchise, but because of the story that presents itself to the player. Unlike WOW, FFXIV takes the time to tell a proper story through tons of in-game cut-scenes and dialogue. It feels like you’re playing a single player FF game and it’s actually mandatory to finish the story in order to continue on into the next expansion, unless you pay real money to skip it. My wife being a WOW player at heart, paid money to skip A Realm Reborn & Heavensward to get to Stormblood (WOW players skip cut-scenes, it’s just fact). I wanted to divorce her but ultimately reconsidered since she is my go to healer now and she did skip the story to play with me, so… I guess I gotta love her.
The community is another reason I love the game so much. Sure, you’re going to get your share of assholes, but they’re pretty few and far between here. FFXIV encourages players to get along. There is no DPS meter in the game. If you do decide to use one, you can on PC (it’s a pain in the ass to set up), but if you call out players on their low dps, you could potentially be banned. Player commendations can be given out to one individual of your choice at the end of dungeons, trials & raids to say “Hey you! Yeah you, you’re fucking awesome.” These commendations build up over time and can be used to earn rewards, so PLAY. NICE.
I think the strangest adjustment for me in regards to FFXIV’s recent rising popularity is seeing the new influx of players and how they react to the game. Youtubers like Scottzone talking passionately about a game that I’ve been subscribed to for years is strange and exciting. This excitement and curiosity encourages me as a player to try and make these incoming players experience as enjoyable as possible. My first instinct was to be like “Man, I knew this shit was cool years ago, get with it.” but we’re not going to be that person now are we?
We’ll just say it under our breath okay? Okay.
In regards to Final Fantasy XIV’s next expansion Shadowbringers, it launches just over a week from now, on June 28th. With its release comes two new jobs (Gunbreaker & Dancer), a new level cap of 80, new main scenario quests, new trials, all of the classes have been revamped. It feels like the meatiest expansion yet. I’m a Red Mage/Warrior main, but I was convinced after watching the Job Action trailer that Machinist (a gun slinging badass) was going to be my new main. After watching an informative video from Very Merri, and considering FFVIII is my favourite FF of all time (I’m listening to the FFVIII soundtrack on Spotify while I type this), I’m thinking Gunbreaker (a gun slinging TANK badass) is the best choice for me now. You can check out Merri’s video below and after watching it you’ll probably want to main the new job as well… but don’t, because it’s mine.
Final Fantasy XIV is a sort of miracle child for Square Enix. What initially launched to vast criticism, has become a beloved MMO for many. What game director Naoki Yoshida has done is nothing short of spectacular in regards to bringing FFXIV back from the depths of despair. Hopefully the team can continue to ride this hype train because I have the feeling it’s going to become the biggest MMO on the market, if it hasn’t already. I’m going to do a write-up for my Top 10 Moments from Stormblood next week, but for now, why not check out my Top 10 Moments from Final Fantasy XIV/Heavensward to tide you over.
Let me know in the comments what brings you back to Final Fantasy XIV again and again. If you’re new to the game, tell me what you love most!
Not long till Shadowbringers now folks! – NVJ