One thing about Square Enix's Final Fantasy 11 that stood out was the central narrative. At the time, an MMO with a robust, evolving narrative was unheard of. It essentially created a Japanese RPG that kept getting longer and longer and added filler content like grinding and notorious monsters to help players deal with the gap between content. Since then, almost every game has tried to replicate that narrative feeling but it has somehow only managed to be something like WoW's narrative. Here, an ever increasing threat with ever increasing numbers threatens a bigger and bigger object. With Final Fantasy 14, the narrative ends up being a story that seems to be about the spirit of the world and what it will become - a very common theme in Final Fantasy games.
From my own limited engagement, the player learns that it has been 20 years since Bahamut decimated the world. While the legacy heroes haven't appeared, it seems as though the new players in the game are somehow connected to the previous events. It all (as with all Final Fantasy games, started with a crystal. There are two sides here, those trying to save the crystal, the warriors of light, and a person trying their best to shatter it. This individual, seen more plainly in the latest trailer of ARR, seeks to destroy the crystal, the thing that holds all of reality together.
With that in mind, a player's entry into the city mentions the old heroes who managed to save everyone on Eozera. The residents of this world know that there were a group of heroes that saved them but they are unable to recall their faces or even remember what life was like before it happened. It seems that the narrative of the game will involve investigating the events of a few key characters and what they were doing before Bahamut attacked. It remains to be seen what happens as I only reached level 16, but I am definitely looking forward to playing more of this game soon!
Tomorrow, we'll get into the meat of this game. Power structures, skill trees, job unlocks and class information. We'll dig into the controller styles for Mouse and Keyboard and head in to quest hub distribution and bonus xp balance. Finally, we'll start in on multiplayer content with Guildhests and Battleleves.
Phase 3 of the Beta Test will continue until August with legacy character data possibly being added to the game as early as the end of this week. Stay tuned to Warcry for more details!
After the image gallery, check out the 30 minute movie of other screenshots from the beta!