When Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launched last year, it was promised that the game would enjoy significant new content updates every three months — and it’s a promise that Naoki Yoshida and his team has kept.
Not only that, but between the three-monthly big patches — which tend to advance the game’s main story, introduce new dungeons and endgame encounters as well as numerous other bells and whistles — the FFXIV team has been generous in providing players with a bunch of smaller updates in between times, helping keep the game fresh and interesting as well as improving the general quality of life for everyone playing.
The last of these smaller patches to hit the game introduced a few little tweaks to gameplay as well as the enjoyable but infuriating collectathon that is the Sightseeing Log — a system that finally makes the weather in the game relevant, but which in the process will cause you to curse it on a regular basis — but now, as we approach July, we’re looking forward to the next major content update: patch 2.3, known as Defenders of Eorzea.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: Defenders and Ninjas
With the Western release of Vita title Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection, a character-centric idol management game-cum-dating sim-cum-visual novel based on Compile Heart’s popular RPG series, I thought it high time we took a closer look at the game’s cast.
And, since Noire — also known as Black Heart — is indisputably my favorite member of the cast, I figured there was no better place to start. I’m not the only one who favours Noire, mind; such was her popularity in Japan that she recently got her own game: a Vita-based, Sting-co-developed strategy RPG spinoff of the Neptunia series that looks like being a lot of fun. There’s no news of a Western release of that game as yet, but in the meantime, we can enjoy hanging out with Noire (and her friends, I guess) in Producing Perfection.
But who, really, is Noire? Well, let’s ponder that.
Continue reading Goddesses of Gamindustri: Noire
I’ve tried to get my “real life” friends into MMOs in the past. Lord knows, I’ve tried.
And, for a brief, blissful period in World of Warcraft’s early heyday, it was successful. We were all playing together, enjoying ourselves and having a blast. Then the inevitable happened: one of us started playing more than the others, and started steaming ahead. Then another person did the same. Eventually, we were left with something of a split group, unable to practically and productively play together because of our level disparity.
This is a common problem that has plagued MMOs since their inception, and different games have tackled it in different ways. (Some games haven’t tackled it at all, for that matter.) Final Fantasy XIV, for my money, handles it in a fairly elegant manner that helps ensure that all the content in the game remains relevant, regardless of whether you’ve just levelled up enough to try it for the first time, or you’re a level 50, item level 97 veteran who has run it hundreds of times to date.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: Those Who Play Together…
We see a lot of comedy in games these days — it’s something which a number of creators in particular have proven themselves to be particularly good at — but not much in the way of tragedy.
Oh, sure, we have sad scenes that are designed to milk a few tears from those with less-than-stellar emotional constitutions (like me) but very few games that truly explore tragedy in the Shakespearean — or more accurately Aristotlean — sense. That is to say, very few games that have the balls to present a main character that is tragically flawed, makes mistakes and undergoes a significant reversal of fortune — either from good to bad, or bad to good.
The last place I expected to find an example of tragedy like this was in a game from Nippon Ichi Software, a company best-known for somewhat more light-hearted titles, but here we have The Witch and the Hundred Knight, a game that is a significant departure for the Disgaea developers in more ways than one.
Continue reading An Unavoidable Tragedy
One of the things that can make or break a massively multiplayer game like Final Fantasy XIV is the community.
You can have all the great content and regular updates in the world, but if your community is largely made up of obnoxious morons, you’ll end up driving away the passionate but thinner-skinned players, leaving behind only the aforementioned obnoxious morons. And thus the problem continues to compound itself.
For the most part, in my experience, anyway, the community of Final Fantasy XIV has been a mostly very helpful and supportive place. And I think it’s important to keep it that way.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: Do Unto Others…
The thing with multiplayer online games is that sooner or later you have to deal with other people. In a game as inherently social and cooperative as an MMORPG, it tends to be on the “sooner” end of the spectrum.
To its credit, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn caters to lots of different play styles, though if you do intend on playing through the complete, authentically Final Fantasy storyline you’ll need to get comfortable with at least the 4-player dungeons as you progress through the game.
When I started playing Final Fantasy XIV, I chose the Thaumaturge class, which later becomes Black Mage — a “DPS” class, or damage-dealer. The job of a DPS character is simple and twofold: deal damage, try not to get hit. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s completely responsibility-free, but it’s definitely the best choice for those who perhaps aren’t comfortable with leading a party of adventurers.
People like me.
Continue reading Eorzea Diaries: Confessions of a Terrified Tank
The time I finished Compile Heart’s moe PlayStation 3 RPG Hyperdimension Neptunia was the time I proved beyond a doubt that review scores were completely and utterly useless to me.
I kind of suspected this already, but the fact that I devoured and loved a game that Eurogamer gave a 2/10 spoke volumes about how far my tastes had drifted from the mainstream at that point.
With that in mind, here are some facts about it that may help you reach a decision as to whether or not you would find it an enjoyable experience. Not everyone will like it, and that’s fine — I really enjoyed it, but I recognise its flaws.
So here we go then.
Continue reading Goddesses of Gaming