Final Fantasy XIV is the Greatest MMO I've Ever Played
I feel as though I’m playing less MMOs these days than at any other point in the last decade. And that isn’t the direct result of a lack of titles to play, on the contrary, there were more releases in the last year than I’ve seen since starting this channel.
And, admittedly, I’ve found myself playing games like the new Life is Strange game, Tales of Arise, Sifu, Elden Ring, and my most anticipated games of 2022? Granblue Fantasy Relink, Sea of Stars, Star Ocean: The Divine Force, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3. I wish Eiyuden Chronicle was releasing this year but.. oh well.
In all of this.. Final Fantasy XIV seems to be the one, single constant that I find myself regularly coming back to.
I’ve tried playing other MMOs – WoW, Guild Wars 2, BDO, Swords of Legends, PSO2 New Genesis, Lost Ark. And although I’ve put hundreds of hours into most of them, I just feel as though Final Fantasy XIV provides me the most rewarding experience for my time investment.
I started playing XIV back when Heavensward launched. I played for several patches before moving back to WoW. Came back for 2 patches during Stormblood – and stayed with it until Shadowbringers launched.
That’s roughly when Mrs Stix, my wife, started playing it with me. Towards the end of Stormblood, not Shadowbringers. We logged in every day. We leveled all the way from level 1, doing the main scenario quests, unlocking every single optional dungeon, every Alliance Raid we could. Ultimate raids, Savage raids. Extreme trials.
And if I lost you with all of this.. weird terminology, then – in essence, they’re progressively more difficult types of endgame PvE content in each respective expansion.
I believe I stuck with Shadowbringers for 6-7 months straight, and that’s when I decided to take a break and move back to WoW as I was interested in finishing Battle for Azeroth.
Mrs Stix, ever since beginning Final Fantasy XIV, has stuck with it, logging in every single day, pushing every Savage tier, Ultimate fights. She started with a green parse, and now parses purple.
And while I find that infinitely impressive – and I’m beyond proud that she’s doing so well, and has seen such a drastic improvement in terms of skill.. I’m quite the opposite. I’m average. A complete, utter, casual. The kind of player that you’d probably want to avoid for the most competitive forms of content.
And that’s the best part. It doesn’t matter that I’m a casual player. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have the best gear in the game. It doesn’t matter that I continue to forget my abilities because I spend half a year away from the game.
This game doesn’t punish you for absence. I can immediately jump back in at any point, continue with the story, run the most recent dungeons, the most recent Trials, Extreme Trials, 24-player Alliance raids. I can do everything I want to.
Granted, I might fail. Multiple times. But I learn from my mistakes, which is more than I can say about the majority of people that continued to mess up the first boss fight in Orbonne Monastery because they’d stand around wondering where the boss went.
This has never been more evident to me than when Mrs Stix and I decided we were going to stream our experience in 6.1. I had been out of the game since 5.3 – I left after completing 5.3, and came back a week before Endwalker to get through all of the content before it launched.
And while we ran into exorbitantly high queue times during the launch – as we played on the Gigglemesh server, and there was no way we were transferring off – our experience was incredible. Players everywhere. Gorgeous environments. Hilarious narrative elements. We saw you-know-who again. It was a dream come true in terms of an expansion.
Something I never thought I’d ever get to experience after Wrath of the Lich King.
But after finishing, after running everything I could at the time, I decided to step away and focus on slowly playing other games – other MMOs. That way I could make my way through them, and eventually do more dedicated videos on them. So while Mrs Stix continued raiding every week, I didn’t.
Fast forward to 6.1 – only a couple months had gone by, but I decided I wanted to come back every patch and play through them with my wife. That way I wouldn’t be stuck playing catch-up at the last minute again.
And.. it was like I never left. I picked up the story from where 6.0 had finished, I started pushing through it, did the dungeon that accompanied it, did the 24-player raid. And after everything was said and done, left once more.
That Alliance Raid though.. my god. That was ridiculous. That was probably one of the most gorgeous, infuriating fights – or, series of fights I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing. It took us almost an hour and a half to complete it by the end.
We had entire teams repeatedly wiping. Everyone was running around having absolutely no idea what was going on. Players were struggling to learn mechanics, with no clue what did what or where we had to stand.
It was absolute, utter chaos. And by far the most fun I’ve had in the game since Orbonne Monastery. The NieR raids from Shadowbringers were fun in their own right, but this.. this was absolutely unbelievable.
And all I had to do to participate in it? Log back in and play the game. Gear you need to be competitive in end-game content you’ll be able to grind rapidly by doing the content available to you.
Having a game actually respect your time is something I’m not used to, and is definitely something that isn’t replicated very often in the genre.
Stating – claiming that Final Fantasy XIV is the best MMORPG is a contentious opinion that is going to be contested by fans of every other MMO. Guild Wars 2 fans, WoW fans, ESO fans.. everyone thinks their MMO is the best.
And at the end of the day, to each person, that very well might be the truth. We each have differences of opinions, and value varied aspects of our games.
But in my opinion, Final Fantasy XIV has been the best MMO for years now, and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future.
It’s a gorgeous game. Its combat is pretty slow and very limiting until much later in the game, but if you can manage to get over that hurdle, it’s significantly better than most of its competition.
It has an incredible narrative, spanning years worth of story. A stunning world to explore with dynamic events in the form of FATEs.
Very difficult PvE content in the form of Extreme Trials, Alliance Raids, Savage Raids, Ultimate Raids. And things that are there purely to drive you to the very limits of frustration like Eureka. Oh god, Eureka. I still have PTSD of the weeks, months spent in that place.
I love Final Fantasy XIV. It’s the one MMO I come back to every year without fail. And I hope one day there are other games in this genre that are capable of offering everything that this game does to make it such an incredible experience.