Ever since I was a tiny child, MMO’s have been been the backbone of my gaming habits. With huge open worlds, populated with thousands of players, each day would be laced with adventure. Some were short-lived affairs, while others earned months if not years of my attention. From Runescape, through to World of Warcraft, to more complicated fare like Eve Online - MMOs remain my preferred way to play.
And I think that if you choose the right game, they could be yours, too. Here’s my list of the 10 best MMOs on the market. They’re in no particular order, but whichever place you choose to explore, will be stay with you. Here’s to growing old in strange new worlds.
I say decided, because Square Enix have only announced the number of registrations to date for their revamped, redeemed MMO across the PC and PS3. All of those players might have moved on after 30 days and nights of free trial, like uncommitted Jesus Christs. Or drifted off to sleep lullabasking in the game’s gorgeous main theme, trapped in a sonic net of synthesised narcolepsy.
Nonetheless, the fact remains: 1.5 million people had every intention of playing Final Fantasy XIV, and Square Enix are dead pleased about it.
The PC has a bit of an off/on relationship with the Final Fantasy series. You may fondly remember playing the PC versions of Final Fantasy VII and VIII, but after those releases we were forced to wait for MMO Final Fantasy XI, and then a few years more for Final Fantasy XIV. Consoles, on the other hand, have seen Final Fantasy entries IX, X, X-2, XII, XII, XII-2, and the upcoming XII-3. Some of them are incredible. Some of them.. well they’re pretty damn awful.
To prevent another terrible Final Fantasy game, Square Enix have assembled a team that will work together to ensure the quality of future Final Fantasy games is kept high.
It takes a lot to admit that you made a mistake. Something Square Enix know all too well following the original release of Final Fantasy XIV. It wasn’t very good — so bad, in fact, that Square Enix formed a new team with the sole objective of redoing the entire game from scratch. The result is Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
I’ve played it all the way from level one to end-game. And I can say that A Realm Reborn is not just a remake: it’s a redemption.
It’s not attempting to revolutionise the MMO genre, but it refines a decade old. There’s nothing wrong with that: this is the most polished MMO I have ever played.
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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has had it’s first major patch to address various concerns among the community. Chief among these was the high price associated with repairing your gear. Towards the end-game, repair costs were leaving players financially crippled. This led to players “speed running" various dungeons and avoiding everything but the bosses to keep repairs to a minimum. Because players were completing these dungeons at such a rapid pace, this also had some detrimental effects on the servers.
Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida was so profoundly apologetic in his statement on the MMO’s launch issues this weekend that onlookers found their hands outstretched in front of their keyboards, ready to catch him should he attempt to fall on his sword.
Actions speak louder than chocobo tears, however. To that end, Squeenix have armed themselves with new servers (which in my head look like old-fashioned Marshall amps), elongated free introductory periods for players still unable to login, and prepped for an emergency repair job this evening.
Since relaunching last week players have been struggling to login to Final Fantasy XIV’s servers. The reason for the lack of server space is that the game’s producer and director, Naoki Yoshida, expected far fewer players. He cites the failure of the game’s first launch as reasoning for this.
Severe server restrictions were implemented to deal with the capacity problems. “The fact that we had to implement these restrictions," writes Yoshida, “is a direct result of my inaccurate sales and login estimates, and as producer, I must accept complete responsibility for this misstep."
Square Enix have just reversed a strict policy, previously ruling that players can not monetize video content from their recently released MMO: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The new policy now allows players to monetize video content, as long as it’s through official partners such as YouTube and Twitch. This change should allow people who rely solely on revenue from their video content to play, create videos and stream the new MMO without taking a hit to their income.
Final Fantasy XIV’s servers are full, thank you very much. They would not like another serving of the players even now hammering away at their log-in pages - they simply won’t fit. Consequently, Square Enix have halted sales of the redeveloped MMO until the game can put its shirt on without all the buttons comically pinging off.
Final Fantasy XIV, the game clearly gunning for the most joyously rainbow-filled game of all time, is now live in Europe for all fans of outrageous hair, over-sized swords, and crazy monsters. To mark the occasion, developer Square Enix has posted a launch trailer.
The early access headstart to Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV reboot starts in less than an hour, and I’m going to be playing it for review. MMOs are a different beast compared to your average joe review: they require a great deal more time to fully explore every nook and cranny. Most importantly though is that they require friends to experience all the content they have to offer e.g. dungeons, raids, events. So if you’re playing this weekend, lets hangout and travel the world of Eorzea together.
Welcome to my Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn impressions blog. The early access has just started and I’ll be playing for the majority of the weekend, and beyond. I’ll be writing down my initial impressions, adventures and other happenings as I go, so be sure to check back regularly for my latest posts. After I’ve reached the level cap and experienced a plethora of end game content, I’ll dedicate another post to my final verdict.
If you’re playing as well, check here on information on how to play with me and other readers. We’re on the (EU) Phoenix server.
If Final Fantasy XIV’s final beta phase could be considered a ‘stress test’, then it woke up on Saturday to discover it was late for its A-Levels with no coins for the bus. 150,000 players descended on Eorzea this weekend - the realm what’s being reborn - and necessitated the switching on of two extra servers in Japan.
When Ubisoft Montpellier unveiled the clever-clever UbiArt Framework that allowed them to piece together and animate Rayman Origins’ astonishing 2D moving parts in record time, it was clear it would be used for great things. Child of Light is that great thing: a side-scrolling “fairytale game" built by Montpellier's flagship sister studio in Montreal, designed to captured the “Squaresoft spirit" of the earliest PlayStation JRPGs.
Squeenix’s salvaged Final Fantasy MMO lives for the weekend. Sorry, is live for the weekend. Crucial difference. Old hands who participated in phase three in June and can probably ride a Chocobo with no hands already have instant access; the rest of us can hop over to join them from 2am PDT / 6pm BST tomorrow.
Now we’re in open beta, progress will carry over to release servers - making this the perfect time to get grinding.
Square Enix have run more closed beta events for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn than you have hot baths. Or if you’ve run more than half a dozen baths, marathons. Those of us on the outside, however, have been privy to very little of its revamped fantasy landscape - but after today, you can say you’ve been witness to its gleaming temples, boats with bay windows, charging Chocobos, plentiful emotes, sweeping helicopter shots, and apparent space travel.
Square Enix have today revealed the dates for the final beta phase, as well as the start of the early access for people who preordered Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The phase 4 of the beta will be unique: as long as there is no integrity breaking bugs, your character data and progress will carry over to early access and even release. Phase 4 begins next weekend on the 17th of August, through to the 19th. Early access begins on the 24th of August, where there will be no downtime between it and launch.
Final Fantasy XIV may still only be in beta but that’s not stopping Square Enix from filling out the game’s site with details of the villains and beasts you’ll be battling. A packed bestiary's been added to the site, telling the backstory and abilities of the beings which threaten Eorzea.
They’ve also dropped descriptions of Ishgard and Ala Mhigo, two of the realms you’ll be exploring.
Every time I see a trailer for an RPG I can’t help but narrow my eyes and grumble that whoever it is on screen doing all that awesome stuff it isn’t me, just some generic ‘hero’ who doesn’t have the head I’m going to be staring at the back of for a few hundred hours. Evidently, a character creation option is the bane of marketing executives everywhere. But it would seem Square Enix have figured out how to kill three birds with one downloadable file.