I've always had a troubled relationship with MMO-RPGs. Mainly because I have a hard time "learning" and accepting the genre. These games are mainly for the computer console, but lately a few have popped up on the next generation consoles such as "DC Universe Online" and now, in beta form, "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn".
I have played a few free-to-play MMORPGs on the pc, but never quite fallen in love with them. I remember solely getting some games due to the awesome character creation-system; "APB" and "EVE: Online", but my computer couldn't really handle those games. The real uncomfortable bit lies within the rpg-gameplay, I think. Games like WOW, Star Wars: Online, and most other typical MMORPG scare me with their micro management (hotbars, set lists, real-time combat and queing up actions). I downloaded this beta, just for the hell of it ; I thought to myself, I need a new "big" game to focus on...why not try this [Final Fantasy XIV: ARR] game?.
I can't say that I've always been a "fan" of the FF-series, but I will say this; I have played the earliest iterations and truly loved 'em. Most of the time the combat remains uncomplicated and yet still with a sense of urgency. The last game I played was FF7 on a crappy pc without a 3D-card (as we called it "back in the days"). This meant the game barely worked and a lot of the screen was mainly black. I still played the demo over and over and over again. Following the later iterations of the series the worlds and lore have always impressed me (watching reviews, playthroughs and previews) - they seem so rich! Square Enix's games have also most of the time had an impressive production value with great graphics, lovely soundtracks, and a rich lore. This is why I figured, hey, let's give it a try!
I had some trouble getting the beta started, but eventually found out that the beta was available Friday to Monday. On Friday, I got up early and started the game. I always spend a lot of time with the character customization. This because I feel it is important to be "unique" in these games. Besides, it is pretty fun to play with the different character archtypes. It's a good character creation, but not the best. Though there were different hairstyles and "face" types, there could easily have been more options. After spending a lot of time creating a fun character, I started the game. The game IS very lore rich, and I, being very interested in lore and backstory, got a bit confused at some points. Don't get me wrong - it was a "good" kind of confused. I have to say that because of the time limit of the beta, I couldn't absorb every bit of detail that was given to me by the incredible cast of NPC's. The game offers many classes and I was amazed by the share oppertunities - you can be a miner, fisher and leatherworker (all while saving the world). I even found it cool that you could dye your armor and clothes - this works great if you are like me and pay very much attention to how your character looks. I'll admit that I didn't get to dye my armor as I never got that far in the game (level 15 Main Quest).
I could spend more "pages" writing about my experience, but I feel I have to conclude with this message:
I tried this game without an intention of buying it, but today, when I woke up and tried to start the game, I was honestly sad that the beta was over. This prompted me to actually buy the game when it arrives on 15. of April. The game, as far as I followed, has plenty of lore and a rich world, no stunning next gen. graphics (it looks decent- monsters and character faces look great), a great soundtrack, a great amount of eager players ("the Octant was constantly riddled with people mending armor, creating weapons, making food, casting spells etc.), and, what I felt as a great way of implementing the DualShock 4s touch-pad by making it work like a pc-mouse. Maybe I'll comment more in the future, but as for now I am truely sad the beta period is over.