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Video Game Tuesday: WoW vs. FFXIV

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.
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For this week’s Video Game Tuesday I’m going to be talking about the differences between WoW vs. FFXIV.

Art: Let’s get the obvious one out of the way, the art styles are completely different in each game, but FFXIV has the advantage of being newer and it blows WoW out of the water in terms of Art. There are some impacts however to having such great looking art assests however. Winner: FFXIV

Open Connected World: WoW has the advantage here with most of their content out in the world having no loading screens, FFXIV has great looking areas, but they are behind loading screens. This wasn’t originally the case, but with A Realm Reborn they broke up the 6 main zones into smaller pieces to reduce server strain.  Winner: WoW

Customization: WoW added the Transmogrification system in patch 4.3, and it helped add a bit of customization to their game. But it didn’t add much, you still never see your characters body under all that armor unless you run around naked, and the body itself isn’t customizable all that much. In contrast FFXIV allows for vast amounts of customization from character height to hair color highlights. In addition their version of the Transmog system, the Glamour system allows for all sorts of customization of the character and they even added fun items that you can glamour onto your battle gear like a Santa outfit, or even no clothes out all (well except for the standard undergarments each race wears). Not only that, but where as WoW recently introduced the Garrison System, their take on Player Housing, FFXIV has truly customizable Player Housing in their game, for both their guild system (called Free Companies or FCs) and private player owned housing. Winner: FFXIV

Combat Gameplay: The combat gameplay is pretty similar between both of the games, the only difference really is the fact that you can play FFXIV on the PlayStation systems. This does have some impact on things which I’ll cover later. Winner: Neither.

Crafting Systems: The crafting sytem in WoW is really basic, and while it is easier to level up it’s not that fulfilling compared to FFXIV’s crafting system. It’s certainly much more complicated, but once you get into it it’s quite fun. Winner: FFXIV

Gathering Systems: WoW has the better gathering systems, where FFXIV had such a great crafting system they tried to do the same thing for gathering and it just doesn’t work as well. You can still fail at gathering something even with a very high percentage of success, like 97%, and it will occur often. This means leveling up the gathering profession is not only frustrating, but very difficult to do. Winner: WoW

Storyline: FFXIV has the better story hands down by far with their plot making you feel like an epic hero by the end of Act 1 of a Realm Reborn and even though you still get some menial tasks, it’s joked about quite a bit by NPCs, it’s not nearly as bad as the ones that WoW seems to have endlessly.

Questing: FFXIV has the better quests, with some of them having voiced cutscenes and others being just awesome. You’d never get a questline like the Hildibrand quest line in World of Warcraft. Hildibrand’s questline was the most I’ve ever laughed in an MMORPG due to the game and not something a player did. Winner: FFXIV easily

Modding: WoW has allowed mods to be made for their game allowing players to make things like Deadly Boss Mods, or Auctioneer which help out greatly in the game. FFXIV has none of these things, but makes up for it with having most of the functions of mods being in built into the game. You can’t customize the look of your action bars like in WoW, but you don’t need to. Things like Auctioneer or DBM or DPS meters however aren’t in the game and while some people complain about it, and PC users use third party programs to do it anyway for some things, it’s a bannable offense to do so. Winner: Neither, WoW requires certain mods to be played with anything other than perfection, FFXIV doesn’t require it of you, but you won’t progress far in endgame content with subpar skills like you could do in WoW with DBM.

Raids: WoW has the more clever and interesting mechanics for raids, but because they are done assuming 99% of the player base is using boss mods to help with them they can do so. FFXIV on the other hand has less interesting raid mechanics, but has more fulfillment because you have to rely purely on your teams skill to complete. Winner: FFXIV, because it’s much more skill based than WoW.

Class System: FFXIV allows you to be everything with one character, which is quite fun. However doing so means you need to grind out the additional classes to level them up, which isn’t that fun. WoW on the other hand only allows one character to be one class.  Regarding class feel the advantage goes to FFXIV because each class is quite different visually and mechanically. Winner: FFXIV

Overall: I enjoyed WoW quite a bit, but the story of the RTS games never really got into the MMO. FFXIV has a great storyline and is a fun MMO at the same time, which for me makes it the winner. Others will disagree, or point out that I’m not touching on Mythic raids in WoW. You are right, I’m not covering those things because those things require a time and skill investment of hundreds upon hundreds of hours to participate in. Mythic level raids are great, but to be honest you’d never complete those things without something like DBM, FFXIV doesn’t give you that choice and requires pure skill for their most difficult content. Winner: FFXIV

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