I’m back in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. MMO’s are like a relationship, they take a lot of work. Sometimes you love them, sometimes they make you angry. You might not understand everything going on. And they cost about $15.00 a month. After a bit of soul searching and online research, I decided that Final Fantasy XIV is the MMO for me, for right now.
The decision came down to Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls Online, or Final Fantasy XIV. I really wanted a game that felt like a community. I searched for an active chat, good group content, and fun gameplay.
In Star Wars: The Old Republic, combat was the major deal breaker for me. It is a World of Warcraft clone with light sabers and blaster rifles. However, after playing World of Warcraft: Legion, the abilities just felt bloated. Too many buttons that did basically the same thing. Ultimately I was only using one or two main damage dealing spells anyway. I love Star Wars and I especially love Knights of the Old Republic, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is not my game.
The Elder Scrolls Online appeals to me because it is on the console. It might even be the game that Chase, Ian, and Brian are most likely to play with me. But it suffers from some of the same problems that Star Wars: The Old Republic does. They both struggle with class abilities, play like a single player game, and have intrusive loot boxes. Believe it or not, they both use the same engine.
Where SW: TOR has too much ability bloat, The Elder Scrolls Online has a severe lack of abilities. It is an action role playing game, so I can understand the combat needs to be trimmed, but I never felt much class identity. I can pick Nightblade, Dragon Knight, Templar, Sorcerer, or the new Warden class, but if I choose to be a bow wielding vampire, I might not use any class specific skills. It feels weird asking for more skills, but I think I really just wanted more class identity. For most fights I just spammed the right trigger (light and heavy attacks) which were both boring, and started to give me Forza finger.
Both The Elder Scrolls and Star Wars have great stories and fantastic lore. But playing them felt like a single player game. On Xbox One no one is communicating with other players in ESO. Players may as well be controlled by the computer, albeit a computer with random movements. SWTOR had slightly more community interaction, but I found that most people in the group finder might as well have been using their feet to play the game.
Both The Elder Scrolls Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic became free to play games shortly after launch. This paved the way for loot crates. ESO contains mostly cosmetic items within the loot crates, most of which can be purchased a la carte. However, their does seem to be quite a bit of consumable content hidden within the lock boxes, such as experience potions and major health potions that seem required for a lot of the endgame content. Star Wars promotes a similar system with mostly cosmetic costumes. But also locks a majority of convenience items behind the in-game cash shop. Fast travel cool down reduction, access to the auction house, character races, player inventory expansion, and even credit caps are restricted behind micro transactions.
I would say that The Elder Scrolls Online is the less intrusive of the two. If Brian, Ian, and Chase want to hop into the world of Tamriel, I may join them. But it is hard to see myself relaxing in a hub world or high end raiding. I also wish the combat would be expanded for greater class variety.
Throughout this article, I placed screenshots of my character enjoying the sunrise in Final Fantasy XIV. I will have more to write on Final Fantasy XIV in the future and the reasons why I chose it over the other two. But honestly my primary reason was the Samurai class. The Samurai are just so cool! Currently I am a Dragoon, but as soon as I hit level 50 I will be switching over. But for now I am in no rush, I just want to enjoy the sunrise in Limsa Lominsa…
until it rains.