Final Fantasy XIV, Four Months In

Actually, this is closer to four and a half months, but whatever, with the most recent patch, it's time to take another look at Final Fantasy XIV and decide whether or not the changes made have really helped the game.

The short answer is yes, the game has improved, but no, it's not really fun yet. So far, the changes have mostly been to fix things that were horribly broken. For example, ranking up combat classes no longer is a hopeless slog that slowly steals away your will to live until you realize that you don't have to continue playing.

But that still leaves quite a few flaws:

  • The game world is a copy-paste mess of identical terrain. It sounds like a small thing, but when you get down to it, it just makes the world seem lifeless and makes things harder to navigate than they need to be. And it may be called "Gridannia" but that doesn't mean the forests around it should literally be a grid.
  • Crafting uses the most unwieldy interface ever. I'm probably going to post a video demonstrating why I say this, but seriously, it takes way too many clicks to start a craft.
  • Even if the UI were streamlined, crafting is the most mindnumbingly boring thing in the world. Unfortunately, it requires just enough interactivity that you can't just watch TV or troll Twitter while doing it. Not to mention that, since it's a time-based minigame, lag can cause you to fail a craft and lose the materials through no fault of your own.
  • Gathering isn't much better than crafting when it comes to mindnumbing boredom. The minigame is slightly less annoying, in that what you do has real effects on the outcome, but it's still fairly annoying and pointless.
  • Gear damage. Honestly, I'm not sure where they were going with gear damage. I can only assume they saw that World of Warcraft did gear damage and decided to copy it without figuring out what the point of the mechanic was. In my opinion, gear damages too easily and is too hard to repair to really work.

And, once we get past all that, we're left with the elephant in the room: there's not enough content. This complaint really feels like that old joke: The food is terrible and the portions are too small!

But it's true: if you're willing to put aside its faults and work through them, you're left with nothing to do.