Why Final Fantasy XIV Is an Underrated Esports Game

by in General | May, 14th 2019

Final Fantasy XIV is one of my favorite video games of all time, and for good reason, I think. It takes all the best things about the beloved JRPG series and translates it into an extremely accessible and interesting World of Warcraft-inspired MMORPG.

This is something that a lot of people already know about FFXIV. But what you might not know is that there is a thriving Final Fantasy XIV esports scene that is in the game. I believe the competitive part of the game is totally underrated, and more people should check it out.

Here’s the most recent trailer for those unfamiliar with FFXIV.

At the same time, I get the problems with Final Fantasy XIV esports and why it doesn’t work at the same time. In this post, I am going to go over both the good reasons why you should definitely check out its competitive side while still letting you know the problems with it that should be improved.

Last but not least, in the end, I am going to let you know how you can get involved in the esports side of the MMO, too, if you’re interested in checking it out. Without further ado, I think it’s time to get started.

Why You Should Check Out Final Fantasy XIV Esports

There are a few different good reasons why you should check out the FFXIV esports side. These range from the unique type of gameplay that it offers to how it’s accessible to just about anyone who plays the game.

Here are several reasons why I enjoy its esports scene and why I think you might enjoy it, too. I’m going to begin with the unique style.

Gameplay Feel

You don’t often hear anyone at all talk about esports when it comes to MMOs, but I think that’s a darn shame. Each of the major ones has a PvP element of some kind, as is the case with FFXIV. Since it is a massively multiplayer role-playing game, it offers a completely different set of gameplay than your usual multiplayer games.

The biggest esports games around are MOBAs, shooters, and RTS games. It’s not often you hear anything about an MMO, even less so than a battle royale game. So, to start, one reason that Final Fantasy XIV esports is underrated and worth checking out is the feel of the game.

It has gameplay most similar to WoW, with the player freely able to move around the battlefield and cast various abilities on the hotbar, each with their own various cooldowns. The majority of the variation comes from the numerous melee and ranged job classes available.

While the build of two Red Mages will almost always be the same in PvP, it becomes really interesting when you have melee damage dealers, tanks, magic users, samurai, and so on. There is a lot of variation that goes on with more unique classes on the way as expansions release.

Overall, this type of gameplay creates a much different experience in both playing and watching compared to other esports. It’s not as fast-paced as a shooter, but at the same time, it’s easier to keep track of what’s going on than with a MOBA.

It’s also really fun to play, too, since there are several dedicated roles in the game to choose from. You have your tanks whose job is to take the bulk of the damage from the other team, the melee DPS who run in and deal damage, the ranged physical and magical users who attack from afar, and the healers.

Each of these roles has a different purpose on the battlefield, offering something for everyone. This gives it a more varied feel than most competitive shooters, but it never feels as complex or unapproachable as most competitive MOBAs. This leads nicely to my next point.

Immensely Accessible

There’s no doubt in my mind that Final Fantasy XIV esports is one of the most accessible competitive scenes out there. It doesn’t require twitchy reflexes or the ability to outwit your opponent nearly as much as other esports games.

Instead, all you really need to focus on is knowing your favorite class(es) and knowing them well. If you understand your role, be it damage, tanking, or healing, you will do just fine on the battlefield. Having a better understanding of your abilities is what you truly need to do just fine.

What’s better is that, unlike most other esports games, you have plenty of practice to get this done. FFXIV is primarily a PvE experience first and foremost. This means that it’s you (and possibly a squad) against the computer enemies.

You have hundreds of hours to get used to your favorite jobs in the game and know it inside and out. You have the ability to jump into PvP pretty early on, but you can always wait until you reach the max level for your class, too.

This is what I did when I first jumped into PvP, and it worked best this way, in my opinion. It’s certainly easier to grasp than doing a tutorial, maybe a bot match, and then being expected to hold your own online against real people.

This way, you mostly know what you’re doing before jumping into PvP and not having to figure out literally everything through trial and error. Not only is that a negative to your teammates, but it can quickly become annoying and cause some players to quit early on.

On the contrary, though, the barrier to entry is pretty low, too. If you don’t want to wait until you’re the max level to try out PvP, you don’t actually have to. You can start as early as level 30, which might sound high but isn’t really.

At the beginning of the game, it would take weeks, if not months, to get to that level, but that isn’t so now. You can easily boot up the game for the first time and get to 30 before the end of your first day, but that isn’t super realistic.

However, you can most definitely reach level 30 before the end of your first week just playing a couple of hours a day. And in that time, you will still learn enough basics about your class and role to know what you’re supposed to be doing against real opponents.

The Problems With Final Fantasy XIV Esports

At the same time, though, there are some issues with this MMO’s esports that are worth addressing and improving. These are fundamental problems that are keeping the competitive scene underrated and unappreciated.

There are a couple of different reasons why I wouldn’t expect you to like its esports such as the lack of visibility, true rewards, and more. For this next part, I’m going to take a look at the other side and let you know what can be improved about the Final Fantasy XIV esports.

Lack of Visibility

I wouldn’t be surprised if you played through the entirety of the game and didn’t know that there were Final Fantasy XIV esports. It’s because Square Enix does a terrible job of really promoting it. Sure, if you follow them on social media, you’ll see stuff about it sometimes, but you wouldn’t know seeing it.

Square Enix will refer to it by its in-game mode name (The Feast) so someone who doesn’t know what that is will continue to not know what that is. There isn’t a lot of promoting within the game itself, either. You could even unlock PvP and quickly forget about it.

This is due to a lack of visibility for the competitive scene. It’s going to take a real effort on Square Enix’s part to make the esports side more known to players and those who aren’t players. This means sponsorships, making more serious moves in the real world with tournaments and events, and dedicating resources to it.

It may not be very popular, but the FFXIV esports scene is alive and well!

This is something that I really believe is worth doing and should be done. In fact, there are competitive gamers out there who might not care about the game on its own but would be interested if there were more information and publicity out there about the competitive side.

This isn’t an isolated problem, as it’s an issue with just about every MMO out there. In fact, I’d say Square Enix is the best about supporting the esports side, but it still has work to do. Another thing that it needs to fix is the incentives.

Shallow Incentives

Final Fantasy XIV esports has a major problem of shallow incentives. Sure, it’s great that Square Enix has the Feast, which is an official in-game league, but the rewards aren’t really there. Having its own league is better than some multiplayer games already, but you need a reason to participate.

The best that you can get from the Feast are some cosmetic items, mounts, and your name on the global leaderboard for everyone to see. This is cool and all, but it’s really not enough. Fortnite and other games have proven that players will participate if you give them a reason to.

Square Enix needs to host official tournaments of PvP and maybe even PvE, too. It would be super awesome to see competitions where players not just compete against each other but the clock, too, to see who can defeat an endgame raid the fastest.

Most importantly, though, these competitions need to have real-world value to them. I’m talking prize pools and everything else that you would want from esports. This also needs to be available in the Feast in-game as well.

Not everyone can quit their day job and dedicate their life to a single video game. But there are players who make time each week and day to do fairly well on the leaderboards. Cosmetic items are really cool and a great way to show off in the game, but money and other incentives would be great, too.

Final Fantasy XIV is a subscription-based game where players have to pay to be able to play. It’s all the more important because of this that players should be rewarded for doing so. Winning money for doing well in the Feast for a season will incentivize that player to keep subscribing for another chance.

As of right now, though, there aren’t many incentives to do so. Having monetary and other great rewards will encourage players like myself to take the time to do more PvP and train for it. This will, in turn, benefit Square Enix as the Final Fantasy XIV esports will be even more alive than ever before.

How to Get Into Final Fantasy XIV Esports

To finish things off, I still think that Final Fantasy XIV esports is underrated, and you should check it out. There are some great things offered here that you can’t find anywhere else. But it would be cruel of me to not leave you with how to do so.

As I mentioned before, the barrier to entry isn’t that bad. To start, you only need to be level 30 in order to start PvP. Once you have a war or magic class that is at least this level, you will want to head to the home of your Grand Company.

If you don’t have a Grand Company just yet, you will need to join one, so continue the main story until you do. Then head to its home base and complete the quests there to unlock each specific PvP mode.

This will also allow you to join the Feast, the ranked mode available to all players level 30 or higher. However, for this in particular, I do recommend that you first try out the other modes before doing this ranked league.

Once you feel comfortable with your class and role, then you should try out the Feast. This will be your first step into the game’s esports scene.


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