The Life of an Adventurer: Game Mechanics, UI & Quests
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is much like its predecessor in basic mechanics, keeping the familiar signature hotbar wherein users assign basic abilities and skills for battle.
Additionally the control scheme is quite basic, making use of your everyday WASD movement configuration and essential keyboard shortcuts. One of the more interesting elements of the game’s UI is the option to switch between Controller mode on the fly, allowing gamers to make use of a traditional console controller rather than the keyboard/mouse configuration.
While it can take a bit tweaking here and there to customize your setup, the transition is quite easy, however it can be somewhat dizzying to find certain parameters and change them as there isn’t an explicit guide–this is remedied by a quick public message to other players who are willing to help with the basics.
Overall the mechanics are very fluid and while the reflect basic MMORPG elements, they also are quite dynamic in their own way.
The UI consists of a Mini-Map in the upper right–which is extremely useful and amazingly well-defined, making navigation from area-to-area and quest-to-quest quite a breeze; a Quest Log in the mid-right that shows off the current objectives; a quick-click setup bar that displays all of the in-game parameters from Options to your Armoury Chest, Inventory, Social Options–everything you need is ordered efficiently via the on-screen bubble list; the middle of the screen showcases the Hotbar with the TP, MP and HP meters below it and the EXP progression bar further below; and on the far left we have our message window that displays what gamers are saying, from whispers to shouts and party messages.
The UI is efficiently maintained and everything is where it should be; however it’s a bit frustrating trying to navigate the quick-list with a controller, despite the fact that there are various shortcuts. The bast way to move about through the various menus and such is via keyboard and mouse, yet the game is fully customizable with macros and quick-buttons to afford shortcuts for controller-users.
One of the most useful elements of the UI is the mini-map, which is amazingly detailed and is an invaluable tool for both navigation and orientation in your travels.
The map itself can be zoomed in and out, showing refined local areas as well as state-wide locations and even the massive continent of Eorzea, complete with fully-rendered areas. The map itself chronicles the entirety of Eorzea, and truly invokes that distinct feel of magic as players are introduced to a brand new world full of vibrant creatures and growing civilizations. We will likely see access to more landmasses and continents of Hydaelyn in upcoming patches for the game.
Questing is the core for general character and story progression, and serves as the bulk of linear gameplay. While gamers can spend hours upon hours hacking trees via the Botanist occupation, or sawing said collected branches to fashion a variety of items, the only real way to move forward is via quests.
There are a variety of quests to take part in–main quests, side quests, job quests, profession quests and Guildleves–each of which have their own rewards. Main quests offer rewards that prepare gamers for general progression, with helpful choices like upgraded items, gear, and incremental EXP/Gil rewards.
The quests themselves are offered by NPC’s and players can stack a hefty amount of tasks at the same time. The quests are pinpointed via the in-game mini-map, offering a supremely helpful mechanism for tracking and taking the cryptic elements out of questing–one of the more user-friendly UI elements.
The main quests are offered by the Adventurer’s Guild, which is the general guild for all players and sets in motion the main storyline. The class-specific quests are unlocked via various guilds that pertain to your associated class; for example, Lancers seek out the Lancer’s Guild for class-specific tasks, whereas Archers would seek out the Archer’s Guild, etc.
Once players hit level 10 and complete various required quests, they get access to various perks including Guildleve quests, optional occupations (Carpentry, Botany, etc.) and they will also start to earn 3 stat points per level up. Levequests are optional tasks wherein players can net bonus EXP and items via rewards for completing a variety of mission types, including Battlecraft and Tradecraft leves.