How Final Fantasy XIV Helped me Kick my World of Warcraft Addiction
I love World of Warcraft. This game has provided me one of the most unique experiences of my life – one I fear I’ll never have ever again. It presented me with a world to live in – an escape from the reality that we call real life.
I am legitimately sad to see the state that World of Warcraft has descended into. I have had an active subscription to this game since 2008 when I first stepped foot in Azeroth. This was back when Wrath of the Lich King had just launched if I recall.
I remember logging in for the very first time and seeing Sindragosa fly into frame. That was one of the coolest things I’d seen in an MMO in my years within the genre, and pretty much set the tone for not only the expansion, but my entire first year within the game. “It. Was. Epic.”
Now, there comes a time in every person’s life where you’ve just.. had enough. Of a video game. Of a TV series. Even of a person. And that can be for a variety of different reasons. At least pertaining to a video game..
Maybe it is unrecognizable in its current form. The developers have changed, the game has changed, and the charm the game once had is no longer there.
Maybe you’ve outgrown it. Aspects that you originally fell in love with just don’t appeal to you anymore.
Maybe something better came out. Something that captivated you in a way nothing ever had since.
I feel like for me, it’s pretty much all of the above, and then some.
I’m a long-time MMO player. I started with MMOs back in the mid-2000s with Tales of Pirates and Perfect World – but I’d first set foot in the massively multiplayer subgenre with Gaia Online. Yeah, I’m really that old.
I moved around from game to game, playing for days, weeks, maybe months at a time before growing bored with each new title. Ragnarok, FlyFF, RF, Fiesta, Silkroad.
But WoW just had something special about it. Something I know a lot of you can agree with. And that is that it was developed with care. Vision. It had substance. Sure, it took a lot of ideas that had already been done in the past, but this was a polished MMO. Something we weren’t really too familiar with. Or at least something I wasn’t.
Over the course of Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, Legion, and Battle for Azeroth, I’d continue to keep my subscription active. I would typically return to the game every major patch to participate in all of the new content that would come with it.
Even if they gutted my main – the Arms Warrior – repeatedly. I know Bladestorm and Bloodbath were an OP combo, but c’mon, doing open-world PvP and Battlegrounds after popping the two abilities was one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.
I found that with every expansion, the game continued to get progressively more beautiful.
Pandaria was absolutely gorgeous. And while Northrend had some stunning areas as well, I mean Howling Fjord and the Grizzly Hills were 2 of the most beautiful zones I’d ever seen in an MMO at the time, and watching Bambi’s mother get taken down by a hunter was probably one of the funniest–I mean horrifying moments in my entire time playing.
Seeing the dense Jade Forest or the incredible mountainous Kun-Lai Summit were just.. breathtaking. I mean say what you want about how bad Warlords of Draenor was, Nagrand, Talador and Shadowmoon Valley were gorgeous areas. Suffice it to say, the art team absolutely slay it every expansion.
And this was even more evident in the – is there a stronger more descriptive word than stunning? Brilliant? Sensational? Spectacular? Maybe.. Beauteous? zones introduced in both Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands.
This world was just so.. full. Of NPCs. Of life. You’d find little notes hidden out in the middle of nowhere that would start quest-chains. NPCs that would say some of the most outlandish things. And for a game like WoW.. that’s saying something.
But for as beautiful as the 2 most recent expansions were, I found myself… actually only playing during the launch, and pre-patch of each of the respective expansions. I haven’t touched Shadowlands since it launched, and have absolutely no motivation to return to the game right now.
Nothing about it seems remotely appealing to me. Not the story unfolding. Not the characters I grew to love. Not the world that was once so perfectly crafted.
I feel as though the game lost part of its soul – part of what made it such an amazing game. Which leads me to the first point listed at the beginning of this – “the game is unrecognizable in its current form. The developers have changed, the game has changed, and the charm the game once had is no longer there.”
So many developers that made WoW the absolute behemoth that it once was are no longer there. The passion is gone. The game is so far detached from what it once was – so watered down that returning to it no longer fills me with joy. Rather despair that such an incredible part of my life will never be the same.
I’ve had an active subscription to Final Fantasy XIV since 2014. Maybe 2015. And started really actively playing it during Heavensward.
I know, I know. “But Final Fantasy XIV is so boring and difficult to get into.” If you’re one of those guys, I get it. The game isn’t for everyone, no problem. But to me? While Final Fantasy XIV didn’t reignite that feeling I got from WoW, it led me to another revelation: A game didn’t need to be better than WoW.
I don’t need a replacement. I want something that will allow for me to create entirely new experiences. The fact that Final Fantasy XIV shares some similarities to WoW is just a coincidence.
I was a hardcore PvPer. I made it to.. and I know this isn’t necessarily going to sound all that impressive to some of you, but.. around 2700 in 2s years ago. Not in the top percentage of players, sure, but enough where I could say I was a pretty solid Arms Warrior.
I mean my Disc Priest also hard carried me but I like to believe I contributed a lot to our victories and achievements.
I participated in extensive amounts of open-world PvP, back when there were PvP servers. And equally as much after the introduction of War Mode.
I did Normal, Heroic and Mythic raiding. I did Mythic+ Dungeons. Although by that point, I wasn’t nearly as good, nor remotely as dedicated – I think the furthest I made it in Battle for Azeroth was Mythic+10?
Nevertheless, I was a highly dedicated, incredibly competitive player that spent a lot of my life pushing myself to be the best I could possibly be. And it amounted to…. absolutely nothing. Nobody from my home world even recalls who I am.
I think, after finally coming to the realization that I wasn’t going to go back to WoW, I was left.. a little depressed.
I’d played through Heavensward. I’d enjoyed my time in it, definitely. Then I proceeded to play through Stormblood, which was a noticeable dip in quality for me. Then I reached Shadowbringers. Mrs Stix and I played through Shadowbringers sitting side by side. We did every bit of content together.
Sat through all the cutscenes together. Watched the story unfold. Ran the dungeons. Did the Extreme Trials. The 24-player raids. Admittedly we both attempted the PvP and it was a huge letdown having come from WoW.
But every facet of Shadowbringers captivated us both. We were completely enthralled with the game at that point, and I realized I hadn’t actually thought about WoW in weeks. Weeks turned into months. And here I am. I played briefly during the middle of Battle for Azeroth, briefly at the beginning of Shadowlands, and that was it.
I’ve since come to the conclusion that while World of Warcraft was the first high quality MMORPG I’d ever played, while this game was my introduction to a world this full, this complete. To a cast of characters I cared about. To a selection of features I couldn’t do without.. I didn’t need it anymore.
Which leads me to my second point noted at the beginning of all of this: I’ve simply outgrown the game. Aspects that I originally fell in love with just aren’t appealing to me anymore.
The world feels much more barren and disconnected from anything before it. The characters are hollow shells of who they once were. I feel as though someone hired the writers from a CW show to write everything up post-Legion.
And finally, this ultimately led me to my final point: Something better came out. Something that captivated me in a way nothing ever had since.
Final Fantasy XIV isn’t for everyone. I completely understand that. Yet it is the only game in a period ranging from 2008 until the end of 2021 that has given me any sense of purpose.
I genuinely feel as though this game warrants time and dedication. Effort. Even coverage on this channel, which I do multiple times per year. As this has become one of my favorite MMORPGs of all time.
I don’t think there will ever be an MMO out there that gives me the same feeling that WoW did. It’s just not possible. Your first MMO is like your first relationship – it’s far from perfect. It’s sloppy. Messy. But you continue to think about it from time to time. It’s an ever-present memory and you’ll always find yourself comparing other MMOs to it.
WoW provided me so many incredible memories, and experiences. Fighting the Lich King. Learning Illidan’s history. And.. all of the cool things that happened before Battle for Azeroth, essentially. Except for that wait between expansions at the end of Mists of Pandaria. That was painful.
This isn’t burnout. I’m not burned out with WoW. I love WoW. Or, I love what WoW used to be. That is no longer the case.
It took a long time to find something that I can play long-term. It took a long time to come to terms with the fact that WoW is a completely different game now.
No amount of nostalgia will convince me that this incarnation of World of Warcraft is worth dedicating my time, let alone my subscription to. Sure, I’ll buy the next expansion, and clear the content in the first week or two just to see how it holds up.
But I don’t think I’ll ever dedicate any longer than that because it just isn’t worth it.
I know this opinion will upset a lot of current World of Warcraft players, I do. And to me? The most fun I’ve ever had in an MMO was in WoW from 2008 through 2020.
But it needs to be said. World of Warcraft is no longer the best MMORPG. It hasn’t been for a while now. And while Final Fantasy XIV might not be the best to some people.. there are other, better games out there now.