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Here's Why Final Fantasy 14 Is Still Worth Playing In 2021

In a combination that sounds as perfect as peanut butter and chocolate, "Final Fantasy" and "MMO" is a combo that just makes sense. While "Final Fantasy XIV" did not stick the landing right out the gate, years of updates and reworks have made it into one of the most beloved MMO's on the market. The game received a massive overhaul to recreate the base game in a more enjoyable way after critics and fans alike were unhappy with the original launch (via metacritic). "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn" sits at an 86 on metacritic, more than 30 points higher than the original version.

"FFXIV" is available on PS4, PS5, and PC, with PS5 enhancements coming down the road. In the game you become the Warrior of Light and help deliver the realm from darkness, a plot not too unfamiliar for fans of the series. Like other online games, it can feel like the right time to play has passed, but "FFXIV" is absolutely worth jumping into in 2021.

'FFXIV' has an awesome free trial

One of the biggest barriers to entry with MMOs or other ongoing games can be buying into them, especially if you are trying to find out if it's even a game you want to keep playing. Typically, you would need to purchase the base game, any necessary DLC, and a monthly subscription, which is a ton to purchase when you aren't sure about a game. Luckily, "FFXIV" has a free trial and a massive one at that.

The free trial for "FFXIV" lets players play until they hit level 60, which includes the base game and the first expansion "Heavensward." According to HowLongToBeat, that's over 100 hours of playtime between the game and the expansion. After that you will have to pay a monthly fee and buy other expansions, but at that point you will likely know if this game is for you, or not. "FFXIV" has two additional expansions ("Stormblood" and "Shadowbringers") with another, "Endwalker," releasing later this year (via IGN).

The option to swap jobs / classes

Another feature of "FFXIV" that makes it a great game to play is the job/class system. In the game, once a player hits level 10 they unlock the ability to talk to trainers in the game, which gives them the option to switch jobs whenever they want, as long as they have a gear set to go with it. In other MMOs like "World of Warcraft" classes are locked to a character once they are rolled, so playing a different class requires making an entirely new character. In "FFXIV" players don't have to grind out a new character or replay content if they want to switch jobs.

As GameSpot notes, there are a total of 17 classes/jobs, with a handful of them locked behind some of the later expansions. Some classes/jobs are available to pick from at the very start of the game, while others will have one or two unlock quests that need to be completed first, but any player can unlock and level every single class/job on a single character.

Fans and critics praise the story line

Whenever the topic of "FFXIV" comes up, people who have played it are always incredibly quick to praise the story of the game and its expansions. PCGamer wrote, "Final Fantasy 14's story remains the best reason to play. Much as in a good single-player RPG, much of the narrative unfolds in cinematic cutscenes, and its mature themes touch on everything from loss to redemption." These praises are typically thrown at the later expansions and not so much the early stuff, but the base game lays the foundation for the rest of the story. Fans seem to agree with critics that the story is top-notch.

Over on Reddit, u/TheWarden9252 wrote "Heavensward and Shadowbringers IMO are up there with some of the best jrpg storytelling of all time," which considering some of the competition, is very high praise. u/nalthien wrote "As someone who has played almost all of the main series Final Fantasy games, I personally feel that the story of Shadowbringers is the best Final Fantasy story out of the whole series," so any fans of either JRPGs or "Final Fantasy" should really give "FFXIV" a chance.

'FFXIV' is newcomer friendly

Another barrier to entry when it comes to online multiplayer games, is trying to learn the game while playing with people who might know more than you. While plenty of quests in "FFXIV" can be run solo, some like dungeons and raids need to be done with other players. Luckily the community has some systems in place to make sure you get paired up with people who are understanding of your skill level.

On reddit u/Thimlei wrote "On the leading edge content the community has converged into 3 phases which they will state in the description for their partyfinder posting: learn, clear, farm," in response to another user asking what to expect if they get into the game. The learn description is for players who need to learn the mechanics of the quest without an expectation that the boss will be killed. In the same thread u/ZeroAvix wrote "The community is very friendly to newcomers from my experience. You will get the occasional jerk in groups, but that is few and far between."