Final Fantasy XIV caught me right at the tail end of my MMO junkie phase. I'd put a fairly significant amount of time into Final Fantasy XI before it, so I figured why not? And honestly, I have to give Final Fantasy XIV some credit: it replied to that question very, very quickly. It was as though Square had developed the thing inside a bubble. Reinforced by steel plate. On the surface of the moon. The number of incredibly bizarre, even-more-incredibly unintuitive design decisions was absolutely baffling. A brilliantly flexible class system gelled up its giant anime hair, picked up a slightly smaller blade, and attempted to save the day, but its quest was disastrously unsuccessful. Fortunately, Square decided to scrap the whole thing and start over from scratch. But what'll the realm look like once it's finally been reborn? Well, pretty familiar, if a new trailer's anything to go on. But maybe not for the reason you think.
Well looky thar, it's one of them newfangled MMO vidya games. It's got the killening and the collectering and the tiny squares that make all the booms.
It looks like An MMO, is what I'm saying. Admittedly, that's still a big step up from vanilla FFXIV's unabashedly grindy "levequests," but even, say, Tera's go-here, do-this grocery lists were more robust. Granted, I'm sure story quests will fare better, but this isn't exactly a strong appetizer for the main course. I mean, I'd like to think we're finally past the Age of the Level Treadmill. Or, if not, we've at least figured out how to do a damn good job of covering it up.
Those spell effects sure do look pretty, though. We might even have an early frontrunner for best gaming sparkles of 2013 on our hands. But beyond that, I can't say I'm feeling particularly encouraged by what I see. Fingers crossed that the systems surrounding the fairly standard-looking quests and combat make up for them, but - given how recent MMOs like Tera and The Secret World fared on that front - the odds aren't exactly in FFXIV's favor.