First off, an update on my activities. My main character, Mister Fahey, achieved his goal of becoming a Dragoon in spectacular fashion. Folks warned me that it wouldn't be a spectacular transition — the Dragoon gets a new skill (Jump) and the goes about his business, but drama is in the eye of the beholder, and it was a pretty great moment for me.
Goal achieved, I focused on gathering up some of the other classes in the game. I picked up Conjurer so I'd have access to Protect, an essential soloing spell. I grabbed a little Thaumaturge, because I wanted to blow things up. I leveled my cooking up to 12, because I wanted a constant supply of stat-enhancing food on hand.
Last week folks were wondering why I created a separate character to act as a caster, instead of just acquiring the class through Mister Fahey. The answer was I wanted to experience all the quests, but they had a good point — as long as I can enjoy class quests, there's no reason for me to stray. Mister will eventually have all of the classes. I plan on playing a good long time.
So, for the PlayStation 3 version of the game, I created a whole new character. I am a bit of an alt-aholic, but the real reason was I wanted to ease myself into gamepad controls. Abruptly jumping from bars to buttons was a bit confusing, and starting fresh helped the learning process.
I've been hesitant to play on the PlayStation 3, because what I saw of the console version in beta was pretty ugly. It's pretty jarring to go from a Nvidia GTX Titan running at 1080p to a PS3 running at 720p on low settings.
Here's my test character, Xheh Kaatapoh (Coeurl server, if you must know) on PC:
And here she is on PlayStation 3:
There's a huge drop in sharpness, enemies and other players tend to pop in pretty close, rather than being seen by a distance. Character and creature animations become stuttered in large groups to conserve resources. These are the allowances made to bring a gorgeous PC MMO to an underpowered console.
Still, after a day of playing on the PlayStation 3 I only really notice I am playing on a console when it comes time to chat with people or go into the menus, which are intuitive for a gamepad user but take a bit getting used to for the mouse and keyboard crowd.
For die-hard PlayStation fans, these issues are only temporary. The PlayStation 4 is coming, and owners of the PS3 version of the game get to upgrade for free and a spot in the beta test, launching in February of 2014.
The gist is this: I'm having a great time with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, no matter which platform I play it on. I'm more involved in this game than I have been in any other MMO for ages, which is a good thing. Also a horrible thing. All depends on how you look at it.
When next we meet, it will be on the review battlefield. Wear something pretty.