The Final Fantasy XIV Chronicles: A Trip to Eorzea

Welcome to Eorzea – a home to a vast variety of places, people, species and spells. For the foreseeable future, I’ll be documenting my experiences as I climb the ranks of Final Fantasy XIV. Although the format is hardly set in stone, I’ll be writing in a ‘stream of consciousness’ style, talking about my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Of course, I’ll include descriptive and critical prose, too.

Please, feel free to critique, comment or question below.

A Fantasy Fraught with Frustration

Final Fantasy XIV feels like an antiquated mess. It ostensibly abandons design elements that lifted the genre from the depths of mouse-clicking obscurity to the realms of pop culture ridicule, leaving Square’s efforts to invite players to ask “why?” at almost every turn. It indulges in design choices that often seem arbitrary, counter-intuitive and, ultimately, detrimental.

Naturally, one might be inclined to assume that an unwieldy interface is simply the by-product of a deep, complex and rewarding system. Here, however, this simply isn’t the case – Final Fantasy XIV is perhaps so obsessed with distinguishing itself from its contemporaries that it forgets what makes them work in the first place. And here, it forgets accessibility and convenience.

There’s little doubt that the omission of spoon-fed, screen-spanning tutorials is a valiant attempt to retain the integrity of those “oh, wow!” moments – those moments of discovery: a new ability, a new region, or a new friend. But it often left me to wonder if I had a missed something; it seemingly assumed that I had an intimate knowledge of the games’ systems.

Even as somebody not unfamiliar to the genre – and a Final Fantasy XI Paladin of four years – Final Fantasy XIV could be an incredibly confusing and infuriating experience in its opening hours. Although “why?” was certainly at the forefront, XIV will prompt you to constantly question the game’s intentions.

Final Fantasy XIV is, at first glance, an antiquated mess. Its ability to evoke frustration is only matched by its ability to crush its promising ideas under the weight of its own incompetency. And in a genre that demands and rewards the world’s inhabitants with a level immersion matched virtually by no other, Enix’s flagship, just an hour or so in, is making it difficult to care.

Here’s a snippet of my adventures so far:

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