Like many of you, I can barely pull myself away from FINAL FANTASY XIV. Despite struggling through the early game, it’s quickly became one of my favorite MMOs of all time.
Now, I could spend ages talking about the combat, the story, and the lore, but today I want to focus on the little things you might not notice, the tiny features and frustrations that make this game what it is.
So, here are 3 little things we love about FINAL FANTASY XIV, and 3 little nitpicks we just can’t stand.
The Bad: So Many Loading Screens!
If you grew up playing games like WoW, where each continent is a seamless open world, FFXIV might take a bit of getting used to.
FINAL FANTASY XIV is chock-full of loading screens. Early zones are divided into several regions, each separated by a loading screen. Each capital city is divided into several parts, with a loading screen in between them. Want to dive underwater? Loading screen. Wanna swim to the surface? You guessed it: loading screen. Hell, even some of the dungeons feature loading screens.
It makes the environment feel disjointed, less like a cohesive world and more like a series of corridors. Granted, loading screens become less of a problem in the expansions. The zones feel gigantic and you can go a long time without seeing a single one.
Now, apparently the loading screens exist to make things easier on low-spec computers, but you’d think there’d be a better solution to this. Thankfully, the loading screens are mercifully short, at least on my computer.
At the end of the day, this is definitely a nitpick. Still, I’d love to see a truly open world Eorzea. Maybe someday.
The Good: Fashion Is Everything in FFXIV
Of course, it’s not a FINAL FANTASY game without crazy clothing, and 14 does not hold back.
Unlike a lot of MMOs, which force you to either grind for weeks or spend real money to look decent, FFXIV keeps you looking good from start to finish. The game is packed with awesome outfits, and the glamour system lets you alter your appearance without sacrificing stats.
The sheer volume of unique gear is staggering, and yet it all fits within the lore and tone of the game. Whether you want to look like a classic fantasy knight, a high fashion icon, or a cartoon cosplayer, this game has a look for everyone.
The Bad: The Spell Animations
FINAL FANTASY XIV is full of flashy animations, especially when it comes to the spells. Now, as pretty as they can be, they can also get pretty distracting. Sometimes, you can’t even see your enemy through the haze of spellfire. This gets especially absurd at higher levels, where you’re essentially blinded by energy blasts and gunfire.
Now to be fair, you can always adjust the intensity of the spell visuals. This is especially useful in large raids, where you probably couldn’t see the screen otherwise. Still, I always feel compelled to keep the visuals on max. Why? Well, that leads me to my next point.
The Good: The Spell Animations
As aggressive as the visuals can be, I can’t deny how much I love them.
Magic in FFXIV has this glossy, ethereal, almost sci-fi feel to it. Sure, it can get distracting, but when the battlefield is awash with energy beams, force-fields, and explosions, it just looks cool. It all ties into the unique atmosphere of Eorzea, and this sort of visual language gives the game its own identity.
The Bad: The Dodge Dilemma
Now, this is probably my biggest nitpick with the game. It has no effect on the actual gameplay, but it drives me completely insane. This is hard to explain through text, but follow me here:
In FINAL FANTASY XIV, enemies “charge up” their major attacks, giving you time to dodge. Generally, if the ground starts flashing red, that’s your cue to get out of the way. The problem is that there’s a slight delay between the end of a dodge window and the actual attack.
So, let’s say I don’t dodge in time. Instead of the enemy immediately executing their attack, I could be a yard away before I take any damage. This makes it look like I just took damage for no reason, even though I’m the one who screwed up. At first I thought this was lag, or a unique issue I was having on my PC. But it turns out plenty of new players complain about this, and merely adjust to it over time.
I want to make this clear: combat in FINAL FANTASY XIV is fun, engaging, and fair. But because of this delay, it often feels like I’m being cheated. Even though I know it’s not true, it’s still mildly infuriating to take damage from an attack I seemingly avoided.
This is probably the perfect example of a nitpick. From a mechanical perspective, it doesn’t actually matter at all, and yet it frustrates me to no end. What’s especially weird is that I’ve never played a game with this unique problem. In most MMOs, enemies attack the moment they’re done charging up. I don’t know why this problem exists.
If enemies just played their attack animation a bit sooner, and you took damage the moment you failed to dodge, this problem would immediately go away.
The Good: FFXIV Has Incredible Sound Design
Sure, everyone expects great music from a FINAL FANTASY game, but 14 takes it a step further. Put simply, this game has some of the best sound design I’ve ever heard in an MMO.
Every zone is a tapestry of high quality sound. In the wild, you’ll hear birds chirping, the crashing of a distant waterfall, and the eerie chimes of magical crystals.
Cities feel bustling and full of life. Whenever a large group of players gather in one place, you’ll begin to hear people talking, as though there are dozens of casual conversations going on around you. This can utterly transform the vibe of taverns and city streets, and it makes the realm of Eorzea feel alive.
This may not sound like a big deal, but so many MMOs neglect the sound design. I can’t tell you the amount of games that feel borderline silent the moment you turn off the music. Worse yet, many of them feature low quality, repetitive sound clips that just get boring after a while.
When it comes to immersion, what you hear can be just as important as what you see. Good sound is the sort of thing you don’t know you want until you have it, and once you have it, you simply can’t go back.
What Do You Think About FFXIV?
So what are your favorite little things about FINAL FANTASY XIV? Are you enjoying the game? What should we talk about next? Let us know in the comments!