Final Fantasy XIV (2010)
Final Fantasy XIV, also known as Final Fantasy XIV Online, was a massively multiplayer online role-playing game released in 2010 for Microsoft Windows, developed and published by Square Enix. It is the fourteenth entry in the main Final Fantasy series and the second MMORPG in the series after Final Fantasy XI. The PlayStation 3 version was in development but it was never released.
Due to poor reception, the game's servers were shut down on November 11, 2012, and on August 27, 2013, it was completely replaced with the much more successful Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Why It Sucked
NOTE: Some of these issues were lessened or fixed by the time the servers were shut down.
- Features that were commonplace in other MMOs were missing. These included:
- Mounts. This included Chocobos, a franchise staple.
- A proper player market.
- Gear drops from enemies. Gear could only be obtained via crafting.
- Side quests.
- The game went through a rushed development cycle, therefore it was left practically unfinished with major design flaws.
- Lots of game glitches and bugs.
- Despite the interesting lore and world building, the main storyline was rather dull.
- Story quests had large level gaps between them, forcing players to grind in order to progress.
- Horrible interface.
- The Inventory was a list that placed items in the order they were obtained. There were no sorting options available.
- Nearly every interaction was tied to the game's main menu. There were no hotkeys to instantly bring up things like Inventory, Gear, or Settings.
- Gear had durability, but there was nothing that indicated the condition of items, so gear could break with no prior warning.
- The map could only be viewed in full-screen, and used awkard keyboard controls to zoom in and move around. Adding to this, the map had no quest markers or icons of any kind (excluding teleport points).
- Regarding the previously mentioned player market, as opposed to a simple menu system where players could buy and sell things to each other, XIV used a convoluted mess. Players had to first select a specific Market Ward that sold the item they wanted (for example, a player who wanted a sword would pick Battlecraft Row). The player was then loaded into a room that had various "retainers", which sold items from other players. There was no search function of any kind, so players had to manually check each retainer to see if any had the item that they wanted.
- Very high system requirements, especially for an MMO game, due to the graphics being designed for high detail objects instead of large amounts of objects and entities which an MMO is likely to have. Most infamously, a flower pot had as many polygons and lines of shader code as a player character.
- Adding to this, the game was built on the Crystal Tools engine (the same engine used for Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels), which was clearly not intended to be used for an MMO.
- Awful combat system. Besides the lack of auto-attacks, there was a stamina system that greatly slowed down the pace of combat.
- The game had a fatigue system that reduced how much experience was gained if a player played for long periods of time.
- Heavy amount of lag.
- Leves were the original standout feature of the game and they were essentialy a series of repeatable quests. However, leves were the primary source of experience, and there was a limit; players could only do a maximum of 8 leves every 36 hours. Combined with the Fatigue system, this created many instances of dead time in the game.
- The crafting system was horrendous. First of all, the game had no item recipes, so players had to experiment or know beforehand what materials they needed to craft a specific item. Some recipes also called for a ridiculous number of items. Then, crafting itself was rather slow, made worse by the heavy lag, slow animations, and a timer.
- Gathering was entirely reliant on random luck.
- The fast travel system used its own self-generating currency called Anima. While not a bad idea in paper, Anima regenerated at an agonizingly slow pace; it took 16 hours to obtain enough Anima for one teleport within the player's current region.
- Very long loading times.
- Many interactions, even something as simple as opening a menu, were done server-side as opposed to client-side. Due to the frequent lag, it could take a while for menus to pop up.
- Unfinished, poorly designed environments. There were numerous places where the terrain was basically copied and pasted, and The Black Shroud (the game's Forest area) had an obnoxious maze-like layout.
- The game's areas, while large, were rather barren.
- The game had no official forums at launch. This is strange, given that official forums were available during the game's Alpha and Beta testing periods.
- Idiotic enemy and NPC AI.
- At launch, there was no endgame content of any kind. Only four dungeons were added before the servers were shut down. Amusingly enough, these dungeons are considered among the worst in A Realm Reborn.
- Excellent soundtrack (first game to be scored mostly by series veteran Nobuo Uematsu since Final Fantasy X).
- High-quality graphics.
- However, this was a big contributing factor to the previously mentioned high system requirements.
- Cutscenes were rather well made and entertaining to watch.
- Its poor quality led to the creation of A Realm Reborn, a far superior reboot that currently ranks as one of the most popular MMOs worldwide.
The game received generally negative reviews at release, garnering scores of 50% and 49/100 by aggregate sites GameRankings and Metacritic respectively.
Computer and Video Games said, "Eorzea is a beautiful world with huge potential for vast adventures, but it's just a shame that this first voyage into it is such a misstep".
1UP.com said that "playing [Final Fantasy XIV] is like playing with a toy stuck in a plastic bag: it can be fun for a while and you can get a general idea, but you can't appreciate the full experience", stating that future updates would likely rectify this issue.
The game was so bad that the then-Square Enix President Yoichi Wada issued an apology for the poor quality of everything, and that the initial launch had "greatly damaged" the Final Fantasy brand.