What Is FFXIV’s Player Count And What Makes the Game So Great

by in General | Jul, 15th 2021

FFXIV’s Player Count is so high that people can’t even buy the digital version of the game right now. Instead, they get put on a list to acquire the game, and that is absolutely wild to hear. It doesn’t even sound possible, but here we are. FFXIV went from one of the worst MMOs in history to a beautiful game that I play nearly every single day. I have played since the 1.0 days when the game was borderline unplayable, and to see it go to a point where there are 22 million accounts? It’s a wonderful thing to see. I wrote about MMOs for about seven years, covering WoW, FFXIV, FFXI, and many of the F2P MMO offerings.

There was a point in time where I would say, “Never launch a game/update when WoW is launching something. Your game will be crushed, and will likely fail.” Once upon a time, it was the biggest, baddest, most untouchable game in MMO history. As time has gone on, WoW has made unpopular decision after unpopular decision, refusing to listen to its playerbase. Expansions where flying was tied into doing dailies, making them all but required if you want progression. It was even worse when you also had to max out Reputation grinds in order to fly. FFXIV on the other hand has a huge player count because it listens to the audience. They continue to innovate and improve, without trying to be a “WoW Killer”. Instead, Yoshi-P makes the best game humanly possible.

The stories innovate, the visuals are breathtaking, and each expansion feels more epic than the one before it. While FFXIV is far from a perfect game, it’s definitely doing some things right. It’s showing us that you don’t have to walk the same path as WoW to be a success. Instead, you can chase your own vision, and be true to your fans.

What IS The Player Count, Anyway in FFXIV and Why?

As of right now, FFXIV’s player count is 2,637,486 active players. That is a huge number. WoW barely tops it at 3,304,841 active players. But the “Total Players” for FFXIV is 24,184,277.  FFXIV has seen a serious uptick in players for a variety of reasons. Endwalker’s reveal during FFXIV Fan Fest certainly helped, revealing the Reaper/Sage classes. Then there is the fact that we’re going to the Moon as a new area and all the many updates that are coming in the expansion. It really excited lapsed fans, and brought hype to a whole new audience.

Then you have huge streamers like Asmongold who finally caved, and tried FFXIV. Turns out, he really enjoyed the game, despite still standing by WoW. There’s nothing wrong with that either. You can play more than one MMO if you want! I played WoW actively from Vanilla until somewhere around Mists of Pandaria. I’d buy the next expansions, play them for about a month, and then quit again. Occasionally, one of my friends would lure me back to play for a month, only to quit again. Why? Because it felt like a job, a chore. It wasn’t something that kept me excited to play. There are huge gaps where no new content comes out. All you can do is do dailies, and grind gear, Reputation, figure out what obnoxious new system the game has, and what you have to do to fly (it is almost always awful).

Shadowlands - Home
The recent Shadowlands expansion has not been the success Blizzard had hoped it’d be for WoW

It’s a shame, too. When I play FFXIV, I can just log on, do a few things, because I want to do them. FFXIV has dailies too, you know. Each Beast Tribe has a set of dailies you can do. What’s the difference though? Why did those wind up being something I occasionally login and do? The exp is good, for the current expansion ones, and they are not tied to progression at all. You get crafting materials, a mount, and a minion typically, with the currency.

Both MMOs feature this system, but they are markedly different. You must do them if you want to be relevant in WoW, it always feels like. When all there is to do in an MMO is log in, do Dailies, do World Quests, and grind raids, it loses some of the magic. FFXIV in turn offers something else. Regular content drops, a rich, well-told story, and plenty of classes/jobs to play on just one character is just a drop in the bucket.

Don’t take this the wrong way though. This isn’t a “WoW is Bad” hit piece. I played WoW for years, and I miss enjoying it. Npmlol recently talked about the things he doesn’t like in WoW. Turns out, it’s nearly everything. Aside from dealing with racist players, he points out that the devs do a “terrible job” in listening to feedback. When FFXIV was bad, they didn’t just push ahead with bad decision-making. Instead, Yoshi-P set out, planned FFXIV: A Realm Reborn, and fixed the game. They made it free-to-play while the fixes were being worked on, and guess what? The game went from Zero to Hero. Just like that!

The FFXIV development team frequently put out videos talking about community feedback, what’s coming, in the form of “Letter From the Producer Live”. Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P) does these every few months, and talks about changes that are coming, new features, and talks about user feedback. If there are problems implementing fixes, he’s often open about it. We’ve had over 50 of these so far, and they’re always worth a watch. The development team of FFXIV is always listening and considering community feedback. Other MMOs could certainly take a hint here.

Sure, It Has A Subscription. It Also Has The BEST Trial/Fans

One of the hardest hurdles for me to get over with other potential players is “Yes, FFXIV has a subscription fee.” In a world where F2P dominates the landscape, yes, FFXIV still has a sub-monetization system. Not everyone’s willing to buy expansions, a base game, and then pay a subscription. Many of us have been burned before by bad games, or games that die as soon as we try them. I’ve got a nice long list of these in my years as a games journalist. The FFXIV Free Trial is so good, it’s become a meme. You’ve no doubt seen it on Twitter if you’ve met even one active FFXIV player. It goes a little something like this:

“Did you know that the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV has a free trial, and includes the entirety of A Realm Reborn AND the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 with no restrictions on playtime? Sign up, and enjoy Eorzea today!”

That’s right, you have that much freedom in the FFXIV Free Trial. It has restrictions, sure, but not in terms of gameplay. You can play the entire first game (FFXIV: A Realm Reborn), and the entirety of the first expansion, Heavensward. You can unlock any of the jobs in these content drops, with zero restriction. You have no time limit, either. The original cap was 35, but there’s just so much to the game that it was not enough. Now, there are some minor restrictions though when you’re playing for free. Some of this is to try and halt gold bots, likely.

If you have friends who play FFXIV, you’ve probably seen a rendition of this statement by them.

You have a Gil Cap (300,000), cannot use Microtransactions, no /shout, /yell, or /tell either. No trading, Moogle Delivery Service, no using the Market Board, Linkshells, Retainers, nor can you join/create a Free Company (Guild). You can join parties, but can’t create them. So there are restrictions, but you can still enjoy the game in a big way. Then, when you begin to subscribe and purchase content, you keep all of your progress.

It’s perhaps the easiest MMO to get into, in terms of how much time you get to try it out with no financial obligation. Plus it also has one of the most helpful communities in any MMO I’ve ever played. Just ask on Twitter, and there are people who will gladly help you if they possibly can. Since you can play with people across your Data Center (group of servers), it’s very easy to find help in-game. You can also reach out to me on Twitter if you want to get into the game and have questions. It’s easy to play on a console or on a PC and has a welcoming community. It’s not going to scream at you to “git gud” for being new. There are bad apples in it, like any online community, but I’ve had way better luck with considerate, helpful players.

In Conclusion

Why does FFXIV have such a huge player count right now? Because it’s an MMO that doesn’t rest on its own laurels. It constantly grows, changes, and offers new, interesting things for its fans to play. There is so much to the game outside of the main story. PVP, Card Games, Dailies, Crafting, lots of jobs to try and play, exploration, raids, all manner of challenges. It’s not trying to defeat WoW, only to be the best Final Fantasy MMO it can possibly be. There are 20+ million players registered to Final Fantasy XIV, and it’s not too hard to see why.

It’s an intensely story-driven MMO and is great at immersing you in this gorgeous world. You can do it all on one character, or you can make alts and play elsewhere. It’s also not a p2w game. You can purchase boosts to level faster, sure, or, if you have an alt, you can purchase something to skip ahead in the MSQ (Main Story Quest). Everything else in the market is cosmetic, or ways to level your Retainer faster. It’s a brilliant game, and though the Hydaelyn story is concluding in Endwalker, that’s just the beginning. There’s so much more to experience. The FFXIV player count is huge and is still growing. If you’re even remotely curious, you owe it to yourself to experience the free trial and give it a swing. If you’re playing an MMO that isn’t fun, and just serves to frustrate you, why not try something else? There’s no sense in sticking around if you aren’t happy.


Leave a Reply