I haven’t been idle over the winter break, no sir, no ma’am. As I promised, I’ve spent the last two weeks uninstalling titles on my computer and painfully narrowing down the candidates to become Syp’s “home” MMO for 2016.
As I said before, I wanted to settle into an MMO that had a healthy population, was a traditional (non-action combat) title, and had enough options and goals to keep me occupied. The five candidates that I had identified were RIFT, SWTOR, Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warcraft, and LOTRO. I loaded up all of them and spent time in each, giving them a fair shake to refresh my knowledge of those titles and look at them from the perspective of “will I play this for months to come?”
At first, it wasn’t too difficult to eject a few of the prospects. I’m still very burned out on LOTRO, as Gondor wasn’t thrilling me that much. So LOTRO was out. Interestingly enough, the next to go was SWTOR — the expansion was fun, but I am bored with the combat and character options, and I don’t feel engrossed in it as a world as I used to. RIFT was a strong candidate, as it really does have all of the features that I desired, a chunk of the world I hadn’t seen yet, and plenty of options to refresh my builds when I got bored of a character. If I forced myself, maybe I would be just fine in it. But my gut wasn’t excited about it, and so I had to trust that.
That left me with two: FFXIV and WoW. This is where it got both weird and difficult. WoW seemed like a very obvious choice — I was enjoying my return, had a brand-new character to level, and was looking forward to plenty of new content that had been added to the game since I left back in 2008. But I wanted to consider all of the options and FFXIV had a four free days promotion going on, so I loaded that back up and hooked up with my old free company. Then I got torn because I started to recall everything I had liked about the game from my month stint back in July and saw some potential in the ability to switch classes and use cross-class skills (both of which I hadn’t done the previous time around).
The question became: which title would offer me more in the long run? Which one had the staying power? Because both offer a very similar feature list and a wide field of play options.
It was a really tough decision to make because I was straining to see the future, to ask myself if I’d be happier playing one over the other in, say, four months. If I wanted to progress through the storylines and see the higher-end content of either one. I asked a LOT of questions of FFXIV players and watched several informative videos while doing some other scouting of WoW. And while, sure, I could sub up to both, I don’t want to be doing that right now. I want to commit. I want to simplify my gaming a little and invest in a single home.
So which one would it be? Eastern vs. western. Stylized verses beautiful. Newer vs. older. WoW has an expansion coming out in 2016, while FFXIV is a lot more regular with its updates.
After plenty of deliberation, I found myself subscribing to Final Fantasy XIV and uninstalling World of Warcraft. I don’t think I saw that coming, but the more I played and thought about it, the more I felt comfortable with the decision. Sure, there are elements of FFXIV that are going to chafe and I’m never going to think are cool, but I want to see the story, I want to explore the classes, and the fact that this title — out of the five potentials — is the least explored by me felt like both a gamble and an asset.
I won’t say that I’m in love with FFXIV the way that some seem to be (must be the moogle koolaid?), but I’m developing a growing appreciation of what appeals to me and what potential is in here. I played the archer to 15 and switched over to the lancer for what I consider a much more fun experience. I’m doing FATEs, filling out hunting logs, and screenshotting the heck out of everything.
I’m moving in. It’s a huge unknown for me but I’m going to step out on informed faith that it will work. 2016’s going to be an interesting year, for sure. Next week I’ll share what I’ve actually been doing in FFXIV so far — it’s been both trippy and illuminating!
To recap my MMO plans for this year:
- Main home MMO: Final Fantasy XIV
- Side MMOs: WildStar and The Secret World
- Action RPG MMO: Diablo III for Season 5
- Potentials: Tree of Savior, Shroud of the Avatar, Project Gorgon