The Liberated State of the Final Fantasy XIV Economy
Final Fantasy XIV is my first real MMORPG experience. When I was growing up I watched my brother descend into an EverQuest addiction that left me treating the very concept of online adventuring with the same trepidation that the DARE program taught me to avoid drugs. What can I say, fear works on me. I'm a scaredy cat.
That said, I did get a review copy, and I had a friend who assured me that she would be my Navi, albeit less annoying, in teaching me the ropes of MMORPG gaming. She's real private about her identity online, so we'll call her Lufia Mooglekicker.
Lufia has been doing this sort of thing for more than 20 years, and was a hardcore player of the last FF MMORPG to boot. So she had more than enough clout to teach my noob ass. Plus, she actually got on beta before I got my review copy, so in reality she's probably better qualified to do a review than I. I owe at least half of this piece to her insights.
Overall, I think the game lacks something on console systems. The interface was clearly designed for upclose PC play, and even on the big screen HD TV I have in-game instructions and actions are more or less too small to read on the PS3 version. That said, I've been doing regular RPGs long enough to get the hang of it. Still, anything but the most basic play would probably be better on a laptop, with console play being better for basic gathering and farming.
It is fun though.
See also: 4 Best Mistranslations in Final Fantasy
The thing that most surprised me was that I wasn't immediately set upon by other players in order for them to hoard precious resources. You have to remember that pretty much my entire vision of MMORPG play is based off memes and Cracked.com articles. In short, I expect the online world to be full of rampaging insane people willing to knife you in the back if it would net them a slightly better piece of gear.
For instance, one of the very first little quests that happened to me in the game was a woman who dropped her money on the ground and I was supposed to pick it up. Simple, a monkey could do it. However, when I got to the last pile of coins I saw another player standing in front of it.
I stayed back hesitantly. If I picked it up would he, like, kill me? Am I breaking some basic law of etiquette that will result in the death of my character? Nope, he just strolled off and the money was still there.
That's the beauty of Final Fantasy XIV for people like me. It's not based on scarcity. Every person is in his own little quest line and what someone else does with the local mushrooms or whatever has nothing to do with how you interact with them.
Piece continues on next page.