FFXIV: Playing different roles on one character is brilliant

Quick note to start with: Playing the relaunch of The Elder Scrolls Online just reinforced how much better FFXIV is at being a thempark MMO. I might still try to get back into ESO at some point, but after spending 15 minutes with it, I’m more than fine waiting a bit longer.

Anyway, FFXIV. Having finally hit level 30, I’ve dug more seriously into leveling other roles using other (non-questing) systems, and man oh man is it fun. As I keep saying about FFXIV, what makes the game great isn’t the addition of some new magical feature, but rather taking the existing themepark formula and significantly refining it towards perfection. Rift certainly wasn’t themepark 3.0 (thanks Trion!), but FFXIV is. The order of significant themepark evolution now goes EQ1->WoW->FFXIV.

When I play MMOs I want to play my avatar, which is why I’ve always hated alts. I don’t want to be a bunch of characters in a game; I want to be ONE character in a world experiencing things. I don’t have multiple people playing my account, so I shouldn’t need multiple characters to play the game.

FFXIV nails this by letting you switch from role to role, and also by making the gathering and crafting roles a real thing rather than just a single skill bar to max out. Finally I can ‘play an alt’ in an MMO while still being my one character. That sounds so simple, but at least for me goes such a long way.

But that feature alone wouldn’t be nearly as great if FFXIV did what most other themeparks do and force you into the normal questing grind until you can do other stuff. FFXIV has that option mind you, there are three separate leveling chains from 1-cap (I believe), but that is but one choice among many (how sandboxy huh?), and you can mix and match all of the options as you go, which is also brilliant. Whether you decide to chase Fates, run dungeons, do guildhests, or just farm mobs for xp and crafting resources, how often and in what order you do all of this is up to you.

What turns a lot of MMO players off from a sandbox is the lack of direction, while what annoys others in a themepark is the on-rails experience. FFXIV has plenty of guided content (and also plenty of not-so-guided content), but at almost any point you can stop the ride and do something else, potentially never returning to that ride again (the main quest chain aside). I love that, because I can play an MMO ‘my way’, but it’s not as investment-heavy as a sandbox often requires.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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22 Responses to FFXIV: Playing different roles on one character is brilliant

  1. pkudude99 says:

    ESO changed its combat and resources more than I expected. Some of my old builds aren’t terribly effective anymore. And yeah… I can wait to go back. Having too much of a blast in FFXIV right now myself.

    • Kamuka says:

      How shitty on a scale of Warhammer: Online to Age of Conan is it now?

    • Mobs says:

      ESO is so good. They have really stuck to being humble and just making the game so good. Haven’t stopped playing since beta. Just hit v10, the game is so tight and refined. Update 6 was great. Love seeing people in town runnin around stealing and killing.

      • SynCaine says:

        Biggest drawback for me was still the camera and the somewhat disconnected feel of combat. Was hoping at least the combat felt more solid. Though again that was from 15min of playing, so not exactly a huge sample.

        • Lani says:

          The combat issue might be due to a bit of 2nd launch effect.
          I returned to the game a month or so back and am enjoying the Veteran level solo questing. At that the game is really good actually. I like the slow pace of Veteran levels btw, more old skool.
          But with the B2P launch there’s definitely some combat lag back in business especially in the starting zones..

          For reference I’m someone who likes having to keep an eye on the visuals for my combat feedback rather than piercing my enemy and watching gaseous numbers float up while he slowly deflates. When one embraces using the view pane as an interface rather than something that’s happening in the back while you watch the counters on your HUD, it becomes much more engaging, at least for me. By contrast I hate the overabundance of numerical feedback FFXIV foists on you.
          And Zenimax did add a sleuth of camera personalisation options recently as well. Check those out if/when you return.

          What they didn’t change is the disconnect between good solo play (I kinda think TESO is one of the best single player RPG’s that came out in 2014) and actual Multiplayer stuff and I doubt they’ll ever truly bridge that gap to make ovelrand questing doable/fun with a non-static group.

        • SynCaine says:

          On the camera, can you set it to work like other MMOs, where it is directly behind you? I used the scroll wheel to zoom out from behind first person, but the result of that was still that slightly to the side camera.

  2. MaximGtB says:

    This is indeed one of the strong points of FFXIV. Too bad they are pulling away a bit from this paradigm in the next expansion with crafting classes. Apparently you will have to specialize in a single craft, because being an “omni-crafter” was too hardcore.

    That aside, there are not 3 quest lines to level cap. Starting city quests are good for only a few levels. Probably won’t even get you to 15. After that, there are very few quests outside the Main Quest. So, for your second class, I doubt you can get even half of you XP from quests. From the third one on, you are on your own.

    Finally, regarding levelling alternatives… I don’t see how FFXIV is different from say… WoW. Last time I checked, in WoW you could choose quests, dungeons, PvP*, or grinding mobs if you wanted. In FFXIV, you have FATEs, dungeons, guildleves (boring repeatable “quests”), or grinding mobs. As I said above, quests are not even an option for alts.

    * FFXIV also has PvP from level 30 and up, but the queues are so ridiculously long that it is not a viable levelling option.

    • SynCaine says:

      Every zone so far has had quests, up to lvl 30, and there are multiple zones you can go to even at 30. Maybe that’s when they stop, but up to this point there has been more questing than needed for one role.

      As for options, as the post said its more about how FFXIV does it than some magical new options/systems. You can’t be one character in WoW, and you don’t go back to older zones to either sync down for stuff, or because there is mid/upper level content among the lower level stuff. Plus when I do a lvl 10 Fate on an ‘alt’ role, I still earn the same currency my ‘main’ would earn, so it doesn’t feel disconnected. That plus smaller stuff like achievements and ultimately, FFXIV just does it better/smoother. Sure if you zoom out far enough and just make a bullet list of stuff, maybe they look similar, but zoomed in they really aren’t.

      • j3w3l says:

        you also have the stuff like levequests that offer a quest alternative for all classes. Hunting logs that give great experience. Fates, as you said are decent as well and then there are a few other ways as well.
        It is nice just having these options.

  3. DeepSleeper says:

    So “Themepark 3.0”, the post-WoW next generation evolution of themeparkiness, is … the system Final Fantasy XI used in 2002.

    • SynCaine says:

      I don’t believe FFXI had all of the systems that FFXIV has, nor was it as freeform. FFXI was basically forced-grouping after a few levels, to name one major difference.

      • DeepSleeper says:

        So’s FFXIV, in a lot of ways. To unlock new content, even appealing solo content, you need to do dungeons. To do dungeons, you’re forced to group.

        • SynCaine says:

          Sure, for a 30min casual dungeon run that you get auto-placed in almost instantly. Bit of a difference from finding a near-level functioning group in FFXI at all times.

  4. Anonymous says:

    FWIW, when i played FFXIV last year, I kinda ran out of quests to do half way through my 2nd class. I had to rely on a lot of Fates to level, and they DO get repetitive after a while, especially the low-level Fates

    Didn’t even manage to finish up my 3rd class. :(

    Still, the multi-class in one character is a nice feature, just wished they had more ways to level than run the same stuff over and over.

    • pkudude99 says:

      I leveled Black Mage to 50 doing the story and every side quest I could find.

      I leveled Summoner to 50 doing FATE and leve quests with the tank pet, with occasional dungeon runs as Scholar instead, since as a healer it got the fast queue.

      I leveled White Mage pretty much solely in dungeons. At level 45 I got into a Dzemael Darkhold “1st room” group with another WHM and between the 2 of us we could do a run every 150 seconds for 55K xp each run, so we made it from 45 to 50 in about an hour. That was something….

      Currently I’m running the 2 tank jobs simultaneously — level 34 PLD and level 33 WAR as of now. Again … dungeons!

      I have a Bard at 34 (quelling strikes for the BLM, don’t you know?) and did it largely through leves and FATE. Will probaby continue with that sooner or later.

      I don’t know that I’ll ever do melee dps. They’ve really never been a favorite of mine. I like to tank, heal, or range. But should I do so… yeah, I’ll grind out FATE and leve quests. They really don’t take very long, so while it’s a grind it doesn’t seem too bad.

  5. This made me fantasize about a Dark Sun game where we can roam Athas. Still my favorite setting.

  6. malahide says:


    ESO is Skyrim so you know – use fps view and all those annoying camera angles go away
    the gfx is easily good enough to play it that way and the immersion is way deeper
    I know it’s not intuitive for an mmo, this is the only one I play in first person view
    I just returned and having a ball currently right now, they did fix a lot of issues in the year I did not play
    and then there are those they did not fix :D

  7. Pingback: [FFXIV] [ESO] More Tanking, and Briefly Back in ESO | Nomadic Gamers

  8. Rohirrim says:

    Still level 30? Stop slacking!! BTW, there will be an expansion in 3 months in FFXIV and things are slowed down for now…many people from my guild got a break of FFXIV and now is a good period to see ESO.

    I still log in FFXIV to do some crafting to make gil :) Now get your ash to 50 and start working on your relic weapon..Is not sure atm if the relic will continue to grow in ilvl in expansion.

    Also check this and unlock any new feature that along the way you are leveling: http://ffxiv.gamerescape.com/wiki/Guide:Progression_and_Level_Locked_Content

    many things added over the last patches.

    • SynCaine says:

      Yea since that role is played as a duo with my wife, things progress a bit slowly, but we will hit 50 (or 60 I guess) eventually. I do really like the main quest line so I want to see that to completion.

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