These impressions are coming from a person completely new to the Final Fantasy Online world. Never played FF 11 or the FF 14 Beta. This game is not friendly to new people. The account creation is a Kafka like experience in things that don't make sense. For the game itself, the beginning tutorial is awful and does not really teach you the basics of combat. Here is a small breakdown of my opinions, with the good points first so that they don't get overshadowed by the negatives.
- Native controller support! You can map the most basic functions to your PC gamepad, and the game is designed with the controller in mind so it's easy to select targets or teammates. This is great for people like me who work with computers all day and would rather hold something else than a mouse and keyboard.
- Great graphics. The opening introduction area and real time cutscenes are beautiful on high settings. Click on the picture below for the full image. This is a real time image of one of my characters. The buildings and ground look ok in the game. The cloth and armor looks execptional and the animations for the characters are good.
- Ability to change professions on the fly. Want to switch to another profession? Just equip the weapon or tool of the profession you desire and you instantly change to that class. This is a great idea and gives your character lots of variety for when you're bored with a particular type of job.
- The mage conjurer can act as a damage dealer with spells or a healer with defensive spells. Depending on the situation or party, your conjurer is able to adapt to what the party needs.
- Creating an account to play the game is convoluted. There are so many options that need to be set that are not friendly to users:
- The payment options. You can either pay with some obscure third party company that SE has outsorced the job to (You'll have to create an account with them too) or you can choose to pay with imaginary money. That's right, you can buy SE Crystal points in 500 increments. That means that you will always over buy points in order to cover an amount that is never an even amount. So a third party vendor or buy points you'll never use, these are your only unfriendly choices.
- The stupidest part of the Account Management: The separation of the subscription and game characters. The game is really $9.99 a month for the service, but that's a lie. $9.99 buys you the subscription for the service every month, and you can log in to the servers, BUT IT GRANTS YOU ZERO CHARACTERS! That's right, you can't create a character to play with! How does this work really? Who buys a service to something they can't play? To create a character is $2.99 a month. So the true subscription is $12.99. Add $2.99 for any extra character you want to create, per month! This is the worst ripoff I've seen in any game. Most games that are MMOs give you lots of free slots to create as many characters in the game. This is the only game that I know of that punishes you so severly for wanting to play more or at all!
- To add a character slot in your game, you have to enable it on the website. You can't just create a new character. You need to log in to the SE website, go to the FF14 service, add a character slot, ok the extra fee, and then go back to the game and create the character.
- Documentation for the game. There is none, only fansites and wikis. The ingame tutorials are awful and don't teach you how to properly play the game. There is no strategy guide. This is utter fail.
- Character creation system is lacking. For each option like face or body, there are only around four choices. There are only around 10 haircuts or less for most characters. These lack of choices are awful. Vindictus and Aion have much better character customization and going back to this is so 2002.
- Writing. My character started in a coastal town. It's a fantasy game but the NPCs are talking like Pirate of the Carrabean rejects. Just because it's a sea town doesn't mean they have to talk like idiots, and it looks worse in writing:
That's it so far ^_^. The game itself I like, anything outside of it is a huge mess.