The trouble with Final Fantasy 14 is where to begin. You could start with A Realm Reborn, the base game overhaul which launched over a decade ago, or by diving into the climactic Endwalker expansion which arrived just last month. So vast is Final Fantasy 14 that every area of the game – whether it be main storyline quests, dungeons, or even housing plots – feels ripe for dissection over thousands of words.
Perhaps it’s best to begin with the biggest problem facing Final Fantasy 14: actually starting the damn game. Square Enix’s MMO has been plagued with nigh-on endless queues for months now, well before Endwalker introduced a tidal wave of resurgent players in early December. Director Naoki Yoshida has apologized endlessly for the issues, and Square Enix literally removed Final Fantasy 14 from sale last month, the queues were so lengthy.
It’s fascinating that Final Fantasy 14’s player base has remained mostly positive in the face of all this. Look over at the Battlefield community to see a gaming subsection in utter meltdown, lashing out at developers and generally causing strife in Battlefield 2042 itself with suicidal plane crashes and more. That’s not to say there aren’t certain toxic subsections of Final Fantasy 14’s player base however (Yoshida basically told them to shut up in a recent radio show appearance), but on the whole, you stand a far greater chance of encountering positive, welcoming players in Final Fantasy 14 than the vocally toxic minority. With the server issues Square’s MMO is facing, it’s a minor miracle the entire fanbase hasn’t got the pitchforks out.
Millions of daily players around the world wouldn’t be flocking to a bad game. You might have to wait hours to start Final Fantasy 14 right now, but what awaits you if you can stick out the queue is an MMO that’s genuinely never been in better shape than it is now. The main scenario quests spanning hundreds of hours through A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, Stormblood, Shadowbringers, and now Endwalker are still there beckoning, with A Realm Reborn’s significant runtime now streamlined thanks to Square Enix cutting the fat with updates last year, primed to get newcomers through to the expansions quicker.
Overwhelming player numbers have had a positive effect on one thing, though: Dungeons. Final Fantasy 14 employs a matchmaking service to pair players taking on Dungeons and Raids together, but the waiting times for said pairing can vary drastically, depending on the popularity of the activity or Dungeon you are tackling. Thanks to the player surge over the past year though, wait times for some of the more popular activities, like Expert Dungeons, have plummeted, owing chiefly to the millions of worldwide players all grinding together for that sweet loot.
All this, and we haven’t even touched on Endwalker itself. As we wrote in our Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker review, the new expansion affirms Final Fantasy 14 as one of the best games in the historic series, and possibly the greatest MMO ever made. Endwalker has somehow taken 11 years of worldbuilding, storylines, and characters, and wrapped them up in one neat bow, rounding out Final Fantasy 14’s comeback from disaster launch over a decade ago to a mega-hit for Square Enix. If you’ve yet to delve into Endwalker’s offerings, there’s well over 50 hours of main plot to soak in, multiple new regions to explore with engaging side quests and characters, eight brand new Dungeons, three new Trials, the new Pandaemonium Raid, and more set to arrive in the coming months. There’s simply no shortage of activities to enjoy in Final Fantasy 14 right now.
Not taking into account Final Fantasy 14’s immediate future, even when looking at the current state of the game, would be a huge oversight. Bountiful as its offerings are, the MMO is continuing over the coming year with a brand new storyline, picking up after Endwalker’s climatic events. There’ll no doubt be new characters to befriend, new allies to save, new gear to earn, and so much more. It’s pretty hard to detach Final Fantasy 14’s current health with its immediate future, considering it’s on the cusp of embarking on a brand new journey.
Just over a month from Endwalker’s launch, Final Fantasy 14 has arguably never been in better shape than it has been right now. It might take you potentially hours to get into the MMORPG in the first place – hell, you can’t even get into the game at all right now if you’re a brand new prospective player – but what awaits you after is a vast and welcoming player base, Dungeons with hordes of players chomping at the bit to squad up, an enthralling new storyline and subsequent lands to explore, and so much more. Whether you’re a new player or returning to Eorzea after a little break, there really isn’t a better time to experience Final Fantasy 14 for yourself.
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