FFXIV Beta Thoughts

I was finally able to snag a beta code and have a go at a game i’ve been waiting 4 years for. I’ll start off by saying that i realize this is the beta version and things may change before release, but unfortunately it’s not bugged mechanics or lag that has me concerned. Sure that plays a part but it’s something i can get over. What i cannot get over is the core the game itself was built on.

Firstly, the game world itself and the art style are absolutely beautiful. I expected no less from SE and i see they went all out in making a gorgeous environment for us to get lost in.

Ok, so here come the bad parts, or i should say what i consider bad. Some of these have been mentioned to death in various threads all over the place but what ever, i’ll repeat them because i can. A few of these i was so used to in XI that i didn’t notice how bad they were until i expanded outside of that closed world.

  • XIV is built around the same clunky movements as XI. I should say lack or freedom of movement really because that’s what it really comes down to. This time around there’s also stop and start animations which look fantastic but make you feel that you have no control over your character for those split seconds. The absence of a jump or swim option, though not game breaking, also make you feel that you’re on rails the entire time. Chasing mobs around while unable to navigate tiny ledges or rocks is completely unacceptable to me.

  • The combat itself was the most disappointing aspect for me. Once again we’re locked into place by animations and unable to move should we need to avoid spells or skills from mobs. Forget about moving while casting or performing any abilities. Oh and that lovely active and passive mode when engaging mobs also locks you in place for a second. While that may not seem like much, it really adds up after a few hours. There’s nothing fluid in anything you do and really makes for an experience i would call anything but fun.

  • The combat speed itself seemed fine to me so no complaints there. I do wonder how multiple mobs will be handled as tabbing between mobs is almost impossible. The hate system while in a party seems to be completely wonky also but i’m sure that’s something that will easily be fixed in the next month.

  • The UI, oh the lovely UI. Get ready to navigate through 10 different menus if you want to do anything. Are you sure you want to do that? Please confirm! Yes the on screen portions of the UI can be moved anywhere, which is a given now a days, but there’s no option to quickly access anything such as character sheets, inventory, or quest books. I think i spent half of my time searching through menu after menu, which by the way is server side so there was a 2 second lag for everything. There’s also no drag and drop option so even loading skills onto my action bar is a tedious mess. Too many clicks to get anything done is not efficient and god forbid i’m in a situation where i have to do something in a hurry. At this time there’s no option to resize anything or a way to keep your action bars on screen full time.

  • The controls were a nightmare. I made it about 5 minutes into the game before i had to stop using my mouse and keyboard and switch to a controller. There’s no hardware mouse option and SE decided to go with a software one instead. What that means is the cursor lags like hell all across your screen and is really not accurate. Trying to click NPC’s or mobs was virtually impossible for me which made doing anything a drag. No pun intended. There was also no option to move with the mouse and rotate camera while holding both buttons down, which is what i like to do. I will say that the controller worked perfectly and it took me under 5 min to remember my settings for XI.

All in all i would say this game is being rushed out the door at least 6 months too early. There doesn’t seem to be any content other than a few Leve’s and basically leveling. No info on whether we’ll have some low and mid level instances or even level 50 ones at this time. This was the first beta where i just wanted to log off after a few hours of play. Once the initial fun of exploration ended, there just wasn’t anything that made me want to continue playing. This is where i feel the lack of any PVP also hurts as we could keep ourselves busy. Almost everyone i played the beta with feels the same way and as of right now i don’t think i’ll be playing at launch, or possibly ever. Well see Tuesday for open beta in hopes that some of the glaring issues are solved, but then again, the main issues i have are the core of the game itself.

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