The Decision To Subscribe

It’s no secret that FINAL FANTASY XIV wasn’t in the shape an MMO should be in when it launched. There was lag with the game’s menus, there was very little content to speak of, and many other aspects that turned players away. The outcry from the community on the state of the game was so loud that Square Enix decided to postpone billing for the title for an additional 30 days. Twice. Afterwards, they stopped giving temporary extensions and said that the game would remain free to play until the game was in a better state.

Since then we’ve had a multitude of changes and additions which include numerous updates to the battle system, the addition of instanced raids, fights against Ifrit and the Moogle King, Airships, Chocobos, and several changes to the Market system. FINAL FANTASY XIV truly is a different game today than it was when it opened its doors.

But is it ready to start collecting funds from its players?

When they announced that billing would begin for FFXIV, a fence was laid out amongst the players. On one side we have those that have felt the game has been in an acceptable state for a few patches now, and they would be more than happy to start the billing cycle. On the other side, you have those that feel that the game, while much better than it was a year ago, still isn’t in a state where it should be charging players to play.

Personally, I find myself somewhat between these two sides. With each passing patch, the game has undoubtedly become better. Some changes, such as changing previous equipment into “dated gear” were annoying, but necessary with the numerous changes that have been made to the battle system and the way that stats affect players. In fact after each patch that has been released over the last year, I found myself thinking “Yes, I would pay for this game now.” However, I’m not the only person playing the game. There are many others out there that feel the game needs something… more. More quests, more storyline, more raids, the job system that we were promised. These  are the things that need to be implemented before starting to charge players for subscription fees! And this is where the other half of my mind currently lies.

Patch 1.20 added some nice things into the game. Everyone had to somewhat relearn their jobs with all of the class changes and Combos made the battle system feel a little more action based than before. Achievements were added that now give a rough guide for players to follow if they desire to venture out and do some content that they may not otherwise pursue, such as collecting all of the Aetherytes. Then there’s the battle against Good King Moogle Mog and his gang that sings what is quite possibly one of the funnest tracks of the entire Final Fantasy series. While all of these additions are great in their own way, part of me can’t help but think they somewhat fail in comparison to what I consider will be the best part of Patch 1.21. The Job System.

Throughout the year, one of the goals for Square Enix has been to make the game feel more like “Final Fantasy”. Chocobos and Airship travel was added, now we have more Moogles. What remains are classic jobs such as Dragoon, Monk, and White Mage. For myself, this is the update I have been the most excited about. Sure Lancer wields a polearm and could therefore be classified as a Dragoon, but having the role actually have the Dragoon name and look gives a different feeling to it all.

The Job System isn’t the only thing coming with Patch 1.21 either. We’ll be seeing new Hamlet content as well as the addition of two new instanced raids. To me it feels like there will be a lot more to do with this patch than there was with 1.20 and as a result I feel 1.21 is the patch that should accompany the beginning of subscriptions.

I’ve been playing MMOs from Square Enix for awhile now, and I have been nothing but impressed with the amount of effort the FINAL FANTASY XIV team is putting into this title and into the communication with its players. While I can’t yet jump on monsters in cool looking Dragoon armor, it’s the thought of that and the many changes coming with the Seventh Umbral Era storyline pre 2.0 that have made me decide to subscribe.

Of course I’m only one person. There are many more out there who are playing FFXIV and have their own opinions on what they feel the current state of the game is and whether or not it’s ready for their hard earned money. Let us know what your thoughts are about billing beginning for FINAL FANTASY XIV and vote in our new site poll to let us know if you’ll be one of the people that subscribes come the end of this week.

Additionally I’m sure there will be some discussion about all this on the next episode of Aetheryte Radio so feel free to send in your thoughts to the show ([email protected])