Why World of Warcraft Fans Should Give Final Fantasy XIV a Shot

Final Fantasy 14 recently became the most actively played MMO in the world thanks to its expanded free trial that now includes both A Realm Reborn and Heavensward. More players are trying Final Fantasy 14 than ever before, and even the biggest content creators for World of Warcraft have begun giving the game a try. Though there are a number of similarities between Final Fantasy 14 and World of Warcraft, they have fundamentally different approaches to the MMO genre.

Nonetheless, World of Warcraft fans should look to try Final Fantasy 14 if they are burnt out by the progression or are looking for a different type of experience. While Final Fantasy 14 is undoubtedly an MMO game, it’s a JRPG at its core and emphasizes its main storyline much more than World of Warcraft. Although it might not appeal to every kind of player, Final Fantasy 14 offers a unique experience that no other MMO is able to replicate.

Final Fantasy 14’s Different Approach to the MMO Genre

Fundamentally, Final Fantasy 14 is quite different from World of Warcraft in its approach to the MMO genre. While World of Warcraft is centred around endgame content, Final Fantasy 14 is far more reliant on its main story quests. Despite being an MMO, Final Fantasy 14 is still a JRPG at its core, much like the other games in the franchise. The content in Final Fantasy 14 is unlocked through completing the main story quests, and the dungeons or raids are all intertwined with lore and worldbuilding. Furthermore, Final Fantasy 14 places players in an active role within the story as the Warrior of Light, and the narrative is more personal as a result.

Another interesting difference between Final Fantasy 14 and World of Warcraft is their design philosophies. Although Final Fantasy 14’s director Yoshi-P has taken a lot of influence from World of Warcraft, he also aims to create a different kind of experience. World of Warcraft has been fundamentally designed to keep players logging in constantly and continually playing. On the other hand, Final Fantasy 14 is designed to encourage players to take breaks once they’ve experienced all the content they want in a patch. Although there are consistent updates and content added to the game, Final Fantasy 14 is a more casual approach to the genre.

What Final Fantasy 14 Does Better Than World of Warcraft

As Final Fantasy 14 focuses on a different approach to the genre than World of Warcraft, there are naturally things that each game excels at and other things they fall short in. It all depends on what a player is looking for in a MMO but Final Fantasy 14’s development philosophy means that it excels in certain areas compared to World of Warcraft. One of the biggest advantages of Final Fantasy 14 is that a single character can learn all the classes and swap between them on command. In fact, alts almost seem to be actively discouraged by how much of a pain it is to level them.

Alongside the flexibility of the classes, Final Fantasy 14 offers a robust crafting system with numerous different crafting and gathering jobs. These are unique from the traditional combat classes and come with their own unique skills and gear. The crafting system is much more in-depth than World of Warcraft, and crafted items are always usable and relevant throughout the updates. Final Fantasy 14 also includes a solid housing system, and while the demand for housing is extremely high, players can easily get an apartment at the very least.

Where Final Fantasy 14 Falls Short

Of course, with Final Fantasy 14’s different development philosophy and its emphasis on a narrative-driven experience, it’s also bound to fall short in certain areas compared to World of Warcraft. Final Fantasy 14 places a low priority on PVP, as its much less emphasized than World of Warcraft. Final Fantasy 14’s PVP features a different hotbar, and even the skills do different things than in PVE. Another drawback to Final Fantasy 14 is its glamour system, which is limited by certain classes and weapons unlike World of Warcraft’s transmog system.

As Final Fantasy 14’s development philosophy centers around natural breaks during patches, the endgame is also not as in-depth as World of Warcraft. Once players reach the endgame in Final Fantasy 14, there usually isn’t enough content to stretch through the months before a new patch or expansion. That said, Savage Raids and Ultimate Raids in Final Fantasy 14 are still incredibly challenging, but for dedicated raiders, there is usually only enough content to last a month or two. The content roadmap is also more consistent in Final Fantasy 14, which means players can expect a certain pattern of new raids or trials compared to World of Warcraft’s complete overhauling of systems like with Cataclysm and Legion. 

Final Fantasy 14’s Combat Pace

Another interesting difference with Final Fantasy 14 is that it takes on a completely different pace and style of gameplay than World of Warcraft. The combat systems in the two games aren’t better or worse than the other, but it comes down heavily to player preference. In Final Fantasy 14, the pace of combat is a little slower because the global cooldown of spells is longer than in World of Warcraft. However, once players have levelled up in Final Fantasy 14, they’ll also notice that they have a lot of off global cooldown spells that they need to weave into their rotation. The pace picks up as players level their classes, and the combat smoothens out over time.

The pace of combat is also different in Final Fantasy 14 and World of Warcraft due to the traditional fight mechanics of each game. For example, Final Fantasy healers will be expected to deal damage more frequently than their World of Warcraft counterparts. As healing is more about expecting big damage phases in Final Fantasy 14, it’s common to see healers rotate in damage during the downtimes. On the other hand, World of Warcraft usually has consistent raid-wide damage patterns that healers have to stay ahead of. These seemingly minor gameplay differences separate the pace of combat in the games, and player preference will play a large role in the style they enjoy more.

At the end of the day, Final Fantasy 14 is a great game for World of Warcraft fans that are looking for a different experience than what they are currently used to. The narrative-driven experience and development philosophy behind Final Fantasy 14 gives it a more traditional RPG experience than any other MMO out there. For World of Warcraft players who are burnt out by the progression or unsatisfied with the updates in the game, there has never been a better time to try out Final Fantasy 14 with its newly expanded free trial and upcoming Endwalker expansion.

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I turned my incoherent ramblings on music, anime, and video games into an entire blog.

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