Title: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Rating: T, rating changes in game
Graphics: 7/10 - I'm just gonna repeat what I said under beta impressions: Probably the most beautiful game I've ever played. There's really nothing else to say about this, because it's the god to honest truth. It's also a number on graphic cards, because it basically means you need a high end graphic card to play this game.
Also, I discovered, this game doesn't have very good optionization. Meaning when you turn down something, you experience no increase or decrease in FPS and you barely notice the difference in game on top of it. This basically forces you to have a high end computer.
Plot: 7/10 - This gets a little bit of a lower score because while it does feel like Final Fantasy, it's really predictable. And granted, while the other jobs have their own little subplot, the two I did were.... okay. I wasn't really 'wowed' at the end of the story, because it basically continues into your relic weapon quest, and at that point I stopped. Why? Because the part I stopped at, to me, was where the credits rolled and that's it for me.
Music/sound: 9/10 - Again, just gonna repat what I said before: Familiar themes and new themes. I liked the original soundtrack to the game, and I like the newer music, especially the battle theme. And of course, epic fucking Chocobo music when you ride one. You're just riding a chocobo, but they manage to make it sound epic. :D
The one flaw is that the music sometimes doesn't play in certain zones, but I'm guessing that's a bug.
Gameplay: This is divided into 6 sub-categories since MMOs are different.
Combat 5/10 - The combat is slow, period. When you play a game with mechanics that require you to get out of crap fast, the last thing you want is slow combat. It doesn't help the global cooldown is 2.5 seconds. Also, instant spells/skills aren't exactly instant. Basically, you'll be mashing buttons, praying that your skill fires off.
There is some lag between special attacks firing off and movement too. I'm gonna leave this here, because this thread demostrates the problem far better than I can.
Dungeons start out easy and then start to get harder. On top of the combat and it's problems, it really makes the game stressful on tanks and healers. Which is a big no-no. Mechanics are basic if you raided in WoW, but due to the slow combat and the problems highlighted in the thread, it makes the game a lot more difficult than it should be.
Crafting 6/10 - Crafting is beyond boring and tedious, it feels like a class all on it's own, but not very fun, time consuming, and not very rewarding in the end. Granted, I did only get 28 of alchemy up, but it felt like a chore and it didn't help I was always having to stop and go gathering. Not to mention, a lot of mats you need are cross class. For example, you'll be leveling weaving and opps, you now need leather for something. So it's either level up leatherworking or go buy stuff.
Did I mention money is a problem in the game? Yes, money is easy to come by while leveling, but when you have a 50 and those repair bills and teleport bills start to pile up, you'll find your money going down the drain.
PvE (Questing, exploring) 5/10 - Again, your options for leveling are as follows:
1. Killing monsters. Tedious, I don't advice doing it unless you're farming for something.
2. Killing monsters via your class 'hunt' quest. You get bonus exp for killing a certain amount and the game will put something over a monster's head if you need to kill it if you're the right class.
3. Story quest. You need to progress through the 'main' story regardless, so always keep up to date on this. It unlocks different things in the game as well, so you have to do it.
4. Class Quests. EVERY class has class quests, which all have their own story. While they can be tedious at times, the story makes up for it.
5. Regular Quests. There's NPCs all over the place that offer quests. You can also skip them and come back to them with another class later, which I think is good.
6. Leves. This was the main method of leveling in 1.0, but now, it's basically optional. I only really did them when I felt myself getting behind. A good method of catch up if you run out of regular quests!
7. Fate. This is like Guild Wars 2 random events. Basically, random events happen around the world and the objective is different for every one, like collect items and give to a NPC, kill a boss mob, kill an army of invading mobs, etc etc. Nice way to pick up some quick exp while going to different places.
8. Duty Finder/Dungeon Finder. I have to say I'm not impressed with this so far, but it makes for really easy and quick exp. They don't even have to be dungeons, it could be a quick monster survival type of deal or just killing. Hoping the later Dungeons get harder or a 'heroic' mode for those of us who like challenges.
9. Exploration. Like WoW and most games, you find a new area, you get some exp. It's minor, but it does encourage to look and explore the entire map.
So why did I lower this? Because after you hit 50 on your main and want to level another class, your choices suddenly become very limited. Heck, you'll start to see that in your 40's, when your story requires you to be a certain level and you suddenly are out of quests and leve allowances. Your only options are doing dungeons, Fates, or grinding on mobs. And lemme say, the dungeons in this game are very unforgiving. Unforgiving dungeons + PuGs = terrible combination
The game has a duty finder, or basically a system that will auto sort you into a group automatically. The main dungeons consist of 4 people. Later, you'll see 8 man groups too. The queue times for dps are awful, ranging from 30 minutes to well over a hour. And later on down the line, especially the level 50 dungeons, Square decided to make limits on how many instanced dungeons can be open. So that means you can have a group of 4 actual people queueing up, but waiting over a hour because there's too many people queueing for this place. Did I also mention this is the best dungeon to farm end game tomes?
The bosses in this game are very unforgiving, and like I said with the combat system, you really don't want to mix unforgiving mechanics with pick-up groups. Story dungeons should be easier and there needs to be less trash in them, especially since you're on a time limit. Yep, dungeons in this game have a time limit, and while I've never failed to meet a time limit (I did come close in Cutter's, had a minute left), it's beyond stupid to have one. Raids even have one, which blows my mind!
PvP NA - No pvp yet, but if the combat doesn't improve, I don't see pvp happening in this game.
End game (50 only content) N/A - I'm not going to score end game because I didn't try hardmodes or the raids, but I will say farming tomes is not what I want to do. I did enough of that crap in wow, I really don't want to do it again on top of people being nasty in the duty finder, which I'll get to below.
Misc (Latency. bugs, configuration, community) 2/10 - Let me say this game had one of the worst launches I've ever seen. This includes vanilla WoW. The servers were so boggled down, that it fucked with the duty finder the first few days, mostly because everyone was trying to do the story quest and it required you to use the duty finder (Which is a VERY BIG NO NO! Lesson: Don't do a single player story mode alongside something like a Looking for Dungeon type feature). Then we had limited log ins and the dreaded 1017 issues. Basically, for a time, Square limited how many people could get onto a server. The only problem is there was no active working queue finder (Some people say the queue could only support 250 people at a time, who knows). So the only way to get into the game was spamming the 0 key on your number pad. What freaking game does NOT have a queue system in place!?
Now this was cleared up after 2-3 weeks, but it's still unacceptable. Not to mention Fates like Odin and Behemut would crash servers because everyone and their mom would go to them.
The community in this game is probably the worst I've ever seen it, coming close to how people are in LFR in WoW. From people yelling and screaming at each other and calling people newbs (Don't people realize that most people playing this freaking game are new at it!?) from racist and disgusting remarks in shout chat to people screaming and yelling at people to skip the cutscenes in a story dungeon... Not to mention gold spammers on top of it. And if you say one negative thing about the game, people will call for your head to be chopped off on top of it...
This does not bode well for this game.
Final Score 4.5/10 - Not off to a very smooth start at all.
Overall: 6.8/10 - An average MMO that's in a very rocky place and greatly hindered by it's slow combat and bad community. If you like pretty MMOs and your machine can handle it, try it out. Though imo, there's better options out there that won't cost you 15 bucks a month.