Final Fantasy XIV was the second MMORPG in the Final Fantasy series after Final Fantasy XI in 2002. It was first released in 2010 for the PC but that version was such a disaster that they released it again in 2013 with a new development team under the subtitle A Realm Reborn. It was also ported to PS3 (2013), PS4 (2014) and Mac (2015).
The game takes place on the planet Hydaelyn on the continent of Eorzea, which is divided into major city-states. The three main ones being Gridania the forest nation…
…Ul’dah the desert sultanate…
…and Limsa Lominsa the island thalassocracy.
Years earlier, the technologically advanced empire of the north known as the Garlean Empire invaded the land of Ala Migho but the ancient dragon Midgardsomr stopped the war and stopped the chaos.
Following this threat from the empire, the three nations of Eorzea reformed their military forces and economic development into a combined system of command centers called the Grand Companies, which attracted adventurers from around the world.
Your customizable avatar could be one of five races.
The human-like Hyur.
The elf-like Elezen.
The powerful and muscular Roegadyn.
The small and agile Lalafell.
The feline-like Miqo’te.
Returning from Final Fantasy XI are the Beastmen, who seek to hoard crystals in an attempt to summon the ancient gods they worship known as Primals. Their presence is a general nuisance to Eorzea’s way of life.
As you uncover a plan by a Garlean Legatus named Nael Van Darnus to purge the planet of the Beastmen (who the Garleans hate) by summoning forth the planet’s second moon Dalamud to crash into Hydaelyn, you must aid the Garlean Empire in a national alliance and stop the mad man Nael from destroying the world.
Final Fantasy XIV was originally directed by Nobuaki Komoto and released in its beta test period in 2010 to largely negative reviews, due to over-emphasis on the graphical might of the Crystal Tools engine and not enough emphasis on engrossing gameplay, not to mention the bugs in the game and a general lack of MMORPG expertise from the development team.
The world of Hydaelyn was not the only thing in danger of being purged. The game was so bad, Final Fantasy’s reputation was literally at risk, and this prompted the president of Square Enix himself to issue a statement declaring an overhaul of the development team, including replacing the director.
Naoki Yoshida, chief planner of the Japanese MMORPG Dragon Quest X was brought in to supervise a new version of the game, which in 2012 was revealed under the name Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Later patches and expansion packs would drop the subtitle “A Realm Reborn” to emphasize that the new version of the game was the true version.
These expansions continued the main scenario and added new dungeons, raids, trials, zones, classes, races and other side content:
A Realm Reborn (2013) aka Version 2.0 was the first expansion pack and it featured several downloadable updates that provided new content over the course of two years: A Realm Awoken (2013), Through the Maelstrom (2014), Defenders of Eorzea (2014), Dreams of Ice (2014) and the two-part Before the Fall (2015).
The second expansion pack was Heavensward released in 2015 which introduced a new playable race, the demonic Au ra.
The third expansion Stormblood came in 2017 and a fourth expansion is set to be released in 2019 that will introduce two other new playable races: the slender rabbit-like recluses known as the Viera, and the bestial lion-like Hrothgar.
The reviews for the game after its dramatic overhaul were much warmer and praised the fun gameplay and battle system and excellent writing. While some noted that it did not offer much that was new to the MMORPG genre, the game was so well-executed that the lack of originality didn’t bother very many people.
The game was written by Kazutoyo Maohiro with art direction from Akihiko Yoshida and Tsubasa Masao and designs by the game’s director Naoki Yoshida and Nobuaki Komoto.