Final Fantasy XIV
Hydaelyn – a vibrant planet blessed by the Light of the Crystal. Amid azure seas, encompassing the westernmost of the Three Great Continents, there lies a realm embraced by the gods and forged by heroes. Her name Eorzea. It is here that your tale unfolds. Beckoned by the Mothercrystal – the source of all life – you must embark upon a quest to deliver the land from an eternity of Darkness.
— A Realm Reborn, Official Website
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is the continuation of Final Fantasy XIV by Square Enix, having Naoki Yoshida as producer and director. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was released worldwide on August 27, 2013. It takes place in the fictional land of Eorzea, five years after the events of the original release. At the conclusion of Final Fantasy XIV, the primal dragon Bahamut escapes from its lunar prison to initiate the Seventh Umbral Calamity, an apocalyptic event which destroys much of Eorzea. Through the gods' blessing, the player character escapes the devastation by time traveling five years into the future. As Eorzea recovers and rebuilds, the player must deal with the impending threat of invasion by the Garlean Empire from the north.
FFXIV: A Realm Reborn development planning started from scratch in January, 2011 – almost two years before the original game was closed (November 11, 2012) due to "flawed release and poor reception" – and saw fruition with patch 1.18 in July 2011. Yoshida and his team made major changes to the battle system, implemented auto-attack and instanced dungeons, removed the controversial "fatigue" system, and introduced of the Grand Company storyline which would supersede the original main scenario questline.
On the anniversary of the game's release, Yoichi Wada claimed that the initial launch of Final Fantasy XIV had "greatly damaged" the Final Fantasy brand. Thus, Wada and Yoshida announced the brand new version of Final Fantasy XIV in October 2011, code-named "Version 2.0", which had been in development since January, along with a tentative roadmap for future progress for both PC and PlayStation 3. In July 2012, Square Enix revealed that Version 2.0's official title would be Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. This date served as the "grand finale" for the old game, culminating in a cinematic trailer for A Realm Reborn called "End of an Era".
Testing and release
Testing phases, announcements, and game releases followed a series of events, chronologically:
- The alpha test for A Realm Reborn began shortly after the original release's finale and ended in late December 2012. Yoshida published an updated roadmap for the beta test through launch, indicating four phases of beta beginning in mid-February 2013. He claimed that the team is "adamant the game not be released until it is ready" and that launching too early "would be like at the level of destroying the company".
- In May 2013, Square Enix announced the release date for the game, along with details about pre-order bonuses and the collector's edition.
- In June 2013, the company revealed a PlayStation 4 version was in development and due for release in 2014.
- Early access began on August 24, 2013, with players able to play continuously through to the August 27 launch. Players throughout this period noted continued server issues. Due to an "overwhelmingly positive response", the servers could not handle the number of concurrent players, prompting Square Enix to temporarily suspend digital sales of the game. In light of these issues, Yoshida issued an apology to fans for the game's "rocky" launch and reassured them that fixes were in progress and new servers would be created. A week after launch, the game received a ten-hour maintenance and fresh patches, and all players were compensated with a week of free play time.
- A Steam version of the client was released on February 14, 2014.
- A beta for the PlayStation 4 version of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn debuted on the same day as the Japanese release of the console, February 22, 2014. Owners of the PlayStation 3 client were able upgrade to the digital PlayStation 4 client for free.
- A two-week free trial version first became available for PC on July 31, 2014, with PlayStation 3 and 4 versions following in December.
- The macOS client debuted on June 23, 2015 to coincide with the release of the first expansion pack. The port was handled by TransGaming. Unlike console and Microsoft Windows PC versions of the expansion, the Mac release is only available in a two-in-one bundle containing the base game and the Heavensward expansion, titled Final Fantasy XIV Online.
- The two-week limitation was removed in March 2017; free trial players can access all content up to level 35 with no time restrictions.
- Beginning on August 5th 2020, the free trial was expanded to include all of A Realm Reborn and Heavensward, with the level restriction upped to 60. Social restrictions were put in place to address gil sellers and bots.
The game was released in other countries:
- The Chinese version, published and administrated by Shanda Games, premiered on August 29, 2014 featuring content through patch 2.16. It features separate servers from the other language versions of the game and a pay-per-hour micropayment billing system.
- The Korean version, distributed by Actoz Soft, launched in South Korea on August 14, 2015 with content from patch 2.2. This version carries a flexible subscription model with increments as low as 5 hours, similar to the Chinese release, up to 90 days, much like the traditional monthly payment plan.
Final Fantasy XIV editions
There are 5 editions of the game available, each can be purchased for the chosen OS:
- Final Fantasy XIV Online Starter Edition (equivalent to the content of the Free Trial)
- Final Fantasy XIV Online Complete Edition
- Final Fantasy XIV Online Complete Edition Collector's Edition
- Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
- Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Digital Collector's Edition
Important note: Notice that you can't use purchased game keys interchangeably between OS or retailer, i.e. if you purchase through Steam you can only upgrade it with keys sold by Steam, the same is true for operating systems: if you purchased game keys for PS4 you can only upgrade it with PS4-specific keys, not PC/MacOS ones.
|Items||Starter Edition||Complete Edition||Complete Edition CE||Endwalker *||Endwalker Digital CE *|
|Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn||1||1||1||0||0|
|Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward||1||1||1||0||0|
|Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood||0||1||1||1||1|
|Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers||0||1||1||1||1|
|Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker||0||1||1||1||1|
Helm of Light
* Endwalker and Endwalker Collector's editions require at least the Starter Edition (base game) to be played.
Historical pre-order bonuses
Some items were only available as pre-order bonus items and can no longer be obtained.
|A Realm Reborn||• Cait Sith Doll|
• Moogle Cap
|Heavensward||• Chocobo Chick Courier|
• Baron Circlet and Baron Earrings
|Stormblood||• Wind-up Red Mage|
• Ala Mhigan Earrings
|Shadowbringers||• Baby Gremlin|
• Aetheryte Earring
|Endwalker||• Wind-up Palom|
• Menphina's Earring
- See also: Character
Selecting one of the available races determines the appearance of the character, and the starting attributes, which gives a minuscule bit of advantage to that particular character early on. Other than that, races will not impact any other aspect, such as combat or story, the latter is mostly linear.
Each character may choose a starting class. Classes are divided into combat roles, such as conjurer and marauder, and crafting/gathering roles, such as carpenter, alchemist, and miner. During character creation, you can only choose a combat class. In Final Fantasy XIV players are able to level all classes available in the game with a single character, this makes it easy to have many options to play with. Unlike crafting/gathering classes, the combat classes evolve into jobs, which gives a bigger arsenal of actions (skills) to use and greatly expand the gameplay experience.
Players can choose to play either PvE, or PvP, and both modes offer several solo and group play opportunities. The game is built to please both crowds: casual and hardcore. Additionally, within PvE it's possible to take part in mini-games such as the Gold Saucer, and Seasonal Events which cycle yearly.
Final Fantasy XIV's combat is built upon the most common MMORPG structure: damage, tank, and healer. Damage is simply decreasing the enemy's health in a plethora of ways, tank is preventing the enemy from causing damage to allies, and healer's task is to keep other characters HP up, as well as removing debuffs. Each class/job has a predefined role, but some of them offer varying options to provide the party with additional utility.
Combat is designed to be tactical; while most skills share a global cooldown, there are many skills which bear their own cooldown and make a substantial difference in a fight outcome. Tailored through actions – FFXIV term for skills – and passive traits, players are free build their skillbar as they wish to try different rotations. However, at the highest levels of play, there is only one or two variations on a "correct" rotation, and anything else is a DPS loss. There is no customization to jobs or skills. No points to allocate, and you cannot "build" your character in any particular way.
The consequence of this design philosophy is jobs that are all very well balanced, with the difference between "best" and "worst" jobs being at most a few percentage points. It also means there is effectively no "meta" and that all party compositions and jobs are capable of clearing all content. As long as a player is in adequate gear, they have everything they need to clear even the hardest content with enough practice.
Player versus Environment
- Main article: Player versus Environment
Player versus Player
- Main article: PvP
As of Patch 5.3, the Final Fantasy XIV Free Trial now includes all content up to the end of Heavensward and level 60. The 14-day restriction on playtime was removed even before that, on March 28th, 2017.
However, in order to combat spam and real-money-trading bots, the Free Trial includes a number of Social Restrictions. Among these are the inability to use the /shout chat channel, the inability to start parties (but can still be invited to them), the inability to join Free Companies, a 300,000 gil cap, can't use the Market Board or hire Retainers. Those last three are very limiting on quality of life and inventory space. Lack of market board access puts players at the mercy of RNG drops for anything that doesn't have a guaranteed source such as a quest.
Purchase of the Starter Edition includes all the same content as the Free Trial but removes the restrictions. Players will need to begin paying monthly subscription fees at that time. Note that conversion from Free Trial to Standard will not allow players to switch OS on PC. Steam free trials need to upgrade to steam, and Square Enix store trials to Square Enix store.