Final Fantasy XIVFinal Fantasy XIV is the fourteenth game in the Final Fantasy series and the second after Final Fantasy XI to be a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. The game was developed and published by Square Enix, and is available in four languages; Japanese, English, French, and German.
Final Fantasy XIV takes place in the fictional land of Eorzea, just before the Seventh Umbral Era, an apocalyptic event heralded by the descent and potential impact of the lesser moon Dalamud. Players create and customize avatars who participate in the affairs surrounding the impending invasion by the Garlean Empire and its relationship to Dalamud's descent. The various nation states of Eorzea reestablish their Grand Companies and form an alliance to prepare for the coming war with the Empire.
The game's first release was online from September 30, 2010 to November 11, 2012. It received widespread negative reception when it was first launched. In response to the heavy criticism of the game's quality, Square Enix redesigned both the development team and the game. On October 14, 2011, Square Enix announced their intention to publicly refer to the then-current game as Version 1, and to relaunch the game as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, also known as Version 2.0. The original version of the game was ceremoniously concluded with a virtual extinction event, which is now known in A Realm Reborn's storyline as the Calamity, and which ultimately disabled all player services.
A Realm Reborn's alpha testing cycle began on October 29, 2012. The beta testing cycle involved four main phases, the third of which included PlayStation 3 support, and the fourth of which was also open to the entire public. After a promotionally priced two-day "Early Access" period, the game went live via all normal retail channels. The relaunch has carried over the original game's setting, lore and intended story, but incorporate a new client, graphics engine, server and data structures, a revamped interface, redesigned maps, more gameplay variations and additional story content. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was released simultaneously on Windows and PlayStation 3 on August 27, 2013.
Final Fantasy XIV PlotSeeking control over the peaceful realm of Eorzea and its abundant crystal resources, the more advanced civilization of the Garlean Empire invades the realm from the north. In retaliation, despite their differences and anatgonisms, the city-states of Eorzea reinstate the Grand Companies—comprehensive centers of command which combine the cities' military and economic assets. The player joins one of these states to aid in the war effort. Though Garlean imperials like Gaius van Bealsar intend to conquer, the invasion force's commander, 8th Imperial Legion Legatus Nael van Darnus, has his own agenda. Insanely bent on purging all he sees as impurities, Nael orchestrated Project Meteor to summon the lesser moon Dalamud and wipe out all life. This forces the Grand Companies to put aside deep-rooted differences and consolidate their forces under the banner of the Eorzean Alliance. At the behest of this new confederation, adventurers from across the realm take up arms and march to the floating islands of Rivenroad to defeat Nael after he absorbed Dalamud's power. However, despite the mad imperial's death, Dalamud continues its descent to Eorzea.
In a final bid to save Eorzea, the Grand Companies turn to the Archon Louisoix, an enigmatic scholar hailing from the forgotten city-state of Sharlayan. Louisoix devises a plan to summon the power of the Twelve, Eorzea's pantheon of guardian deities, to banish Dalamud back to the heavens. But for this to succeed, the rite needs to be performed directly beneath the point of Dalamud’s impact: A vast swathe of barren lowlands in central Eorzea known as the Carteneau Flats. But the soldiers of the 8th Imperial Legion, now under Gaius's service, have also begun gathering in central Eorzea and the Battle of Carteneau soon unfolds. But the battle ceases when Dalamud enters the atmosphere while revealed to be a prison created to contain the elder primal, Bahamut. Freed after aeons of imprisonment, Bahamut jump starts the Seventh Umbral Era while unleashing his wrath upon the realm. Quickly conjuring a barrier to protect what remains of the Eorzean Alliance, Louisoix attempts the ritual to once more seal Bahamut in vain. Seeing his death certain in the Primal unleashing his ultimate attack, Louisoix summons the last of his strength to call upon the Twelves' power to send the survivors (including the player) into an ethereal rift, where they will be untouched by the passage of time, until it is once again safe for them to emerge and rebuild their ruined land.
Final Fantasy XIV GameplayFinal Fantasy XIV is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, or MMORPG. Like many in the genre, it requires a subscription to play the game, which is done via the Square Enix Account Management System. Players first create and customise a character, being able to select from various pre-selected options including race, gender, facial features, and job type. After selecting a character name and server to play on, they are placed into the game world, where they are free to partake in the game's story, explore the landscape, fight various monsters, complete quests and missions, and interact with other players. Unlike many Final Fantasy games, the player may choose to play in third- or first-person view.
Through defeating monsters, crafting items, and completing quests, players accumulate experience points (EXP) which, when a certain threshold is reached, automatically increments the player's level. The player's level affects attributes such as HP (health/hit points), MP (magic/mana points), and the amount of abilities available to them. By wielding different weapons and crafting tools, players are able to change their class, allowing them to switch roles in the field. Compared to Final Fantasy XI, group play has been de-emphasised, and solo play can be equally rewarding.
SettingFinal Fantasy XIV makes use of the standard RPG exploration mechanics, consisting of several regions with unique geography, ranging from snowy mountains to lush forests. Regions are further divided into zones for the player to explore. Zones consist of cities, safe havens where monsters do not roam, over-world areas and dungeons, where monsters are abundant to be fought, and instanced areas, where players form small groups to defeat specific monsters and achieve objectives. While most zones and regions are traversed by walking, various modes of transportation exist that facilitate movement across the game world, ranging from classic Final Fantasy chocobos and airships, to teleportation via Aetheryte Crystal nodes.
The game is set in the world of Hydaelyn, which cycles through prosperous Astral eras and disastrous Umbral eras. Version 1 of Final Fantasy XIV took place during an Astral era, while the relaunch into A Realm Reborn took place in a new Umbral era, triggered by the fall of one of the world's moons, Dalamud.
Players are able to explore a region of Hydaelyn named Eorzea. The Eorzean realm is uniquely rich in Aether, a magical substance that flows through the planet and everything living on it. Aether can be used in a number of ways, including fuelling magic, powering Machina, aiding in crafting, and allowing instantaneous teleportation through Aetheryte Crystals. This valuable substance plays a key part in the game's lore, story, and events as different organisations and races compete for control over the substance.
Three major city states exist within Eorzea: the bustling commercial hub of Ul'dah, the forest nation of Gridania, and the marine city-state of Limsa Lominsa. Each city-state bears its own Grand Company, which is an economic and military organisation tasked with defending the land. At the start of the game a player chooses one of these states as their home. As the player's achievements serve to progress the game's story, the player becomes eligible to join a Grand Company, which would substantially progress the story further.
The game's main antagonists consist of the Beastmen races and the Garlean Empire. Beastmen are a group of intelligent but monstrous clans, whose ideals and objectives clash with the humanoid races. The Garlean Empire is a technologically advanced nation of Hyurs, hailing from outside of Eorzea. The Garleans seek to conquer the land and its Aether, which powers their Magitek machinery.
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