- Final Fantasy 14 is a special game that is always easy to return to after a long break, thanks to clever updates that make it accessible to pick up again.
- The game’s director, Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi P), has always aimed to create a long-running MMO experience that respects players’ time, rather than demanding all of it.
- Updates to Final Fantasy 14, such as removing limitations on rewards and enhancing content accessibility, showcase the game’s commitment to providing a enduring and rewarding experience.
This year, Baldur’s Gate 3 became my all-consuming passion, filling a void in my gaming world. Unlike my typical RPG journey, which lasts a few weeks before moving on, I’ve been immersed in Faerun for months, exploring characters and narratives that have become unforgettable. While usually I cycle through games, the singular hold of Baldur’s Gate 3 has made it difficult to explore others, even as the latest patch of Final Fantasy 14, 6.5 Growing Light, beckons with its new adventures and stories.
But if there’s something I’ve learned about Final Fantasy 14 over my many years playing it (and loving it), it’s that it’s one of those special games that, thanks to clever updates that make it easier to pick up and play again, is always going to be easy to get back into after a long break.
In general, there’s this pressure to move on from one game to another, perhaps because consumerism demands this of us gamers – consume, consume, consume.
But then I thought about what Yoshi P did during a live letter earlier this year for Final Fantasy 14, and something eased inside of me.
During the FF 14 Live Letter 77, the livestream aimed at showcasing upcoming content in the game, the game’s director Naoki Yoshida, adoringly called Yoshi P by the community, detailed changes made to the then-recent 6.4 raid, Pandaemonium: Anabaseios.
Since I want everyone to tackle a lot of content [in FF14] and play other games too I just didn’t want this to feel like it will take forever and you’re bound to raiding in FF14… There are so many other games coming out in May and June.
— Naoki Yoshida (aka Yoshi-P)
From the start of A Realm Reborn in 2013, Yoshi P made his stance on video gaming clear: the goal with Final Fantasy 14 wasn’t to create a timesink that demanded all your time, but a long-running MMO experience that respected it.
Perhaps you were like me, where at the time of ARR’s release, you were in between career paths, and didn’t have the most time to play. I was working at a gym for the university I graduated from. I was full time and taking a couple of classes on the side, preparing to get into grad school where I would get my MFA in creative writing. My days started at 4:30 AM and ended at about 5:00 PM.
My progress in FF14 was slow. Most days I was way too tired to even play the game. But even if I’d manage to hop on for an hour or two, I felt like I’d make a satisfying amount of progress. I’d hear that little “ping” go off in my head as I saw the latest goal in my journey marked off as completed. The weather changes frequently in 14, as well as the night and day cycle, giving the illusion of time passing. This further immersed me in my limited time with the game.
The opposite happened when I was in grad school. I had extra time and was even able to raid. I got used to spending hours upon hours within the game. My time wasn’t always spent fighting either. Sometimes, in-game, I’d sit in a grassy field outside of a friend’s home, and just talk about life. The sun would dip, the rain would come, and a sense of peace would wash over me.
In both scenarios, the game served similar purposes. It supplied me with a tale of a hero on a never ending journey to make things right in whichever world they reside in.
The longest break I took from the game was during the pandemic, in which I was exploring different games such as Phantasy Star Online 2, which had just been released for the Xbox consoles. At one point, I thought that I might quite FF 14 altogether, especially since I was so far behind at that point. I didn’t jump back in until Endwalker was released, and after about an hour, I found myself lulled back into the magic of the game.
The game’s magic unfolds through Yoshi P’s updates. Take, for instance, the Crystal Tower, your first 24-man raid experience. Initially, running it each week earned you just one piece of armor, with a lock preventing further rewards until the following week. But as time passed and the content aged, Yoshi P’s team removed this limitation, enabling you to obtain multiple pieces within a single day or week, regardless of how many times you ran it. This change, reflective of updates since 2013, showcases the enhanced accessibility and freedom in content progression under Yoshi P’s direction.
With each patch update, the most current dungeons are designed to provide armor and weapons that can significantly boost your gear when you’re not at the recommended item level for the latest story and casual content. Alternatively, you can also opt to purchase gear from the Market Board or acquire crafted items to enhance your equipment.
With single-player games, progress is determined by me, but in games like Final Fantasy 14, I’m at the mercy of the developer. Luckily, jumping back into Eorzea after has been made an easier and easier task over the years; unlike many MMOs and service games, it doesn’t feel like FF 14 punishes you for your absence.
Just as my multiple playthroughs of Baldur’s Gate 3 were ramping up, and I was at pique immersion, the Patch 6.5 update for Final Fantasy 14 came out last month.
There was a big part of me that was feeling some FOMO. There’s an excitement in playing new video game content when it first comes out. You want to be part of that excitement, and other players are far more patient with you during that time, as everyone is new.
But just as the FOMO started to settle in, I remembered watching Yoshi P play Tears of the Kingdom on Final Fantasy 14’s livestream, and my senses calmed. It was then that I realized that, just as I have for the past 10 years, I’d be back playing Final Fantasy 14 again sooner or later, and I’d be welcomed back with open arms.
Final Fantasy 14
- Final Fantasy
- PC, PS3, PS4, PS5
- August 27, 2013
- Square Enix