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style="font-style: italic;">Final Fantasy XIV
is arguably the biggest question mark of this fall's MMORPG release
lineup.Bringing both great graphics, the promise of true cross-platform
communities, and the series-trademark depth of story, style="font-style: italic;">FFXIV
is definitely the spiritual and graphical successor to style="font-style: italic;">Final Fantasy XI: Online.
But is this game anything more than a love letter to style="font-style: italic;">Final Fantasy
fans not fully disenchanted by style="font-style: italic;">XIII?
advance the state of the industry at all, and what does the game offer
mainstream MMO gamers? Our early thoughts in today's href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/loading/2010/sep/13">Loading...
Forgettable Fantasy?

cellspacing="0" width="100%">


You vote with what you
view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the
is the Ten Ton Pulse ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/thepulse/">What
is The Pulse?).

top 5 Pulse results:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow">World
    of Warcraft
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2">Guild Wars 2 
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2">Everquest
    2 (UP 1)
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/">EVE Online
    (UP 1)
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/lotro">Lord of the
    Rings Online (UP 3)

movers today

  1. style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2035">Rift:
    Planes of Telera

    - down 4
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/38">Everquest

    - UP 2 to
    style="text-decoration: underline;">
  3. style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/88">Warhammer
    Online: Age of Reckoning

    1 to #8
size="-1">Recent Releases
  • size="-1">7/27
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2461"
    for Speed World
  • size="-1">7/27
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/starcraft2" target="_blank">StarCraft
    II: Wings of Liberty
  • size="-1">8/17
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/140">City
    of Heroes: Going Rogue (release)
  • size="-1">8/18
    - href="http://everquest2.com/free_to_play">EverQuest
    II Extended (release)
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">9/7
    - size="-1"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aion">Aion:
    Assault on Balaurea (free

  • size="-1">September
    30, 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ffxiv" target="_blank">Final
    Fantasy XIV size="-1">
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">October
    26, 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/170">LEGO
    Universe (release)

  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">November
    2, 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1407">DC
    Universe Online (release)


  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">10/5 -
    10/8 - href="http://www.gdconline.com/">GDC
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">10/8 -
    10/10 - href="http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/">New
    York Comic Con
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
    10/23 - href="http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcon/?rhtml=y" target="_blank">BlizzCon
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;"> 3/24
    3/26 (2011) - href="http://fanfest.eveonline.com/" target="_blank">CCP

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/playerscore/scoreboards"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 525px; height: 220px;"
alt="World of Warcraft PlayerScore"

your PlayerScore?
World of
Warcraft players, find out at href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/playerscore">playerscore.com.

Loading... arguably more fun
than jello pants (and less melty).

Fantasy XIV
is one of this
year's more interesting MMORPGs to follow. Gamers without a handle on
the Final Fantasy series might well wonder how to relate to style="font-style: italic;">FFXIV,
since SquareEnix has switched marketing tactics from differentiation
("we don't want to make a copy of style="font-style: italic;">WoW,
we want to be unique - href="http://www.final-fantasy-14.org/ff14-content/interviews/e3-2009-press-conference-qa/">E3
2009), to defiance ("...a
serious rival to style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft's
throne? Yes." - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/78409">December
2009), to detente ("We're not
trying to copy style="font-style: italic;">WoW...
never had any style="font-style: italic;">World
of Warcraft
influence" - href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/ffxiv-online-beta-starting-soon">E3
2010), and finally back to
differentiation ("Our main target is style="font-style: italic;">Final
fans" - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/89274">PAX 2010).

Having played the game at PAX, "differentiation" was the correct answer
to this multiple choice question. I didn't have a chance to download
the open beta before hopping on a plane to Seattle, so PAX was my first
time playing since E3 2010. I'm not going to touch on gameplay and
interface - something that Ralsu went over at length in his August
preview of the game. Instead, I want to talk about style="font-style: italic;">FFXIV
on SquareEnix's own terms: graphics and story.

There's no denying that style="font-style: italic;">XIV
looks and sounds great - this game has extremely high production
values. Maybe too high. The game has a skyward minspec (especially for
those transitioning from style="font-style: italic;">XI)
and delivers story primarily through cutscenes chock full of single use
animations and voiced-over cinematic goodness.  But oh, the
length and frequency of the cutscenes - the kill three enemies then
watch a few minutes of non-interactive storytelling cutscenes... the
take a nap while your groupmate wants to watch the instance cutscene
for the fourth time cutscenes. Given style="font-style: italic;">FFXIV's
increased focus on clicky combat and soloing, the slow-downs between
action sequences are all the more jarring.

stock-in-trade is
great depth of story, and for all my hating, the opening cutscenes are
very well crafted. The problem is this: not only do I question how much
control over how the story plays out (hopefully more as the game
progresses), but from the start the game literally forces you to
experience the story. I don't mean force as in clever zone design and
jedi mind tricks to funnel players toward important questgivers or
zones. I mean force as in, "Whoops, you're trying to leave of this area
but you haven't gotten this important quest. We're going to drop you
right in the middle of the zone you're trying to leave and give you no
clue why your free will license has been temporarily suspended." By the
second time it happened in the hands-on demo, I was irrate - that's
just poor, lazy, stupid game design that has no place in an RPG
produced in 2010.

The bottom line is that style="font-style: italic;">Final
Fantasy XIV
appears to be a love letter to style="font-style: italic;">Final
fans and not much more. And not even all style="font-style: italic;">Final Fantasy
fans; I played the heck out of the 3, 5, and (to me) the magnum opus,
7,  and I'm still wondering where the series went (that's
another Loading...). Beyond the promise of a truly cross-platform
MMORPG on a next gen console (a promise that won't be delivered upon
until next spring at the earliest) I'm actively questioning whether style="font-style: italic;">FFXIV
advances the state of the industry at alll. That, to me, is what truly
separates top-tier MMORPGs from clones. So style="font-style: italic;">Final Fantasy XIV
fans and those that enjoyed themselves in the open beta, I want you to
set me straight in the Loading... forums:  why should someone
whose primary game is style="font-style: italic;">WoW,
etc. should check out style="font-style: italic;">Final Fantasy

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the

From our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=642">Final
Fantasy XIV General Discussion Forum

I'm in the beta and clueless...

friend Chilidawg made it into the Final Fantasy XIV beta only to find
himself hopelessly lost and confused. He has questions, many questions.
Perhaps you have answers. Or perhaps you have questions of
own that some of our resident beta players can help answer. href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=53443">Hit
this thread!


Quotes from the Epic Thread

respect that [Square Enix was] brave enough to use a non-WoW
system, and while I don't believe it is superior to what I'm accustomed
to I do believe I can eventually accept it and enjoy the game. I just
need someone that's willing to force me out of the fetal position I'm
in now and hold my hand for the first few hours until I can adapt and

- href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showpost.php?p=441417&postcount=4">Chilidawg


and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

5 new Ten Ton Hammer
features today! 38 Ten Ton
Hammer features in September! 993 in 2010!

style="font-weight: bold;">

The Heart of Tyria - An Exclusive Interview on Personal Story and
Progression in Guild Wars 2


Last week Ten Ton Hammer brought you an href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2/features/interviews/pax-combat">exclusive
interview on some of the more
combat-focused aspects of href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2">Guild
Wars 2,
such as weapon sets, skills and the traits system. And while saying
that we’re impressed with what we’ve seen of combat
so far in the game
demo would be a gross understatement, that’s only one aspect
of the
much larger gameplay package that Guild Wars 2 has to offer. The story
of Tyria and of your character’s place in the world are of
importance, so we set out to discover all we could about personal story
and progression in the game as well.

Just how deeply does the
personal story rabbit hole go in Guild Wars 2? How will the Hall of
Monuments bridge between the two games, and how soon can we expect to
learn the details on the specific rewards Guild Wars players can unlock
for their characters in Guild Wars 2? All this and much more awaits in
the second installment of Ten Ton Hammer’s exclusive
interview with
Game Designer Izzy Cartwright.


LotRO Screenshots Showcase Free-to-Play Content



not everyday that a major MMORPG like The Lord of the Rings Online goes
free-to-play and allows players to enjoy a lot of what the game has to
offer without having to pay. But the free-to-play gaming market is a
bit richer today with LotRO added to the list and Turbine has released
a new batch of screenshots that shows off some of the now free-to-play
content from around Middle-earth.


of Aion - Back in Atreia Again!


Nearly a year has passed since Aion floated onto the North American
scene and during that year the game has experienced plenty of highs and
lows and its own fair share of launch troubles. NCsoft has been hard at
work trying to meet the needs of their playerbase. Have the
changes over the past year made the free expansion, Assault on
Balaurea, more appealing? Savanja has been in game checking things out
and has put together her own State of Aion to share which problems have
been fixed and which still linger.

Online -  Five Tips For Staying Safe In High-Sec


security space is where players can't fight or hurt each other unless
there is a war, right? Wrong. Space Junkie has some pointers in this
guide for how to stop certain unfortunate events from occurring to you
in high-sec, especially if you're a newer player

- Reclaiming Echo
Isles - Zalazane's Fall Walkthrough


The Darkspear trolls are on the warpath and nothing will stop them from
reclaiming what is rightfully theirs! Driven from their home on the
Echo Isles not so long ago by the evil witch doctor Zalazane the
Darkspear trolls are ready for revenge. Join them in their epic battle
and aid the Troll cause by completing the new and exciting quest chain
ending with Zalazane's Fall.

Top 10

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2/features/interviews/story-and-progression">The
    Heart of Tyria - An Exclusive Interview on Personal Story and
    Progression in style="font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 2
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/rift/videos/pax10">Rift:
    Planes of Telara Class & Invasions Video Feature with
    Russ Brown
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2/features/interviews/pax-combat">Skills,
    Traits and Builds - An Exclusive Guild
    Wars 2
    Combat Interview
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/rift/videos/pax10">Rift:
    Planes of Telara
    Class & Invasions Video Feature with Russ Brown
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2/previews/pax2010/hands-on-part-two"> style="font-weight: bold;">Guild
    Wars 2 - Hands-On at PAX
    Part 2
  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2/previews/pax2010/hands-on-part-one"> style="font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 2
    Hands-On at PAX Prime Part 1
  7. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/tera/previews/pax-hands-on">A
    Tale of Two TERAs
    A Hands-On Look at style="font-weight: bold;">TERA's
    Group Play
  8. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/torchlight2/previews/pax2010">PAX
    2010 Hands-On Preview of style="font-weight: bold;">Torchlight
  9. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/firefall/previews/pax2010">A
    First Look at Red 5's Firefall
    at PAX 2010
  10. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo/videos/update7-preview">Half
    Elves, Time Travel, and a Demonic Vultron? A PAX 2010 Video Preview
    of DDO Update 7

for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
and the Ten Ton Hammer team

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.