1 review liked by PrinceHeadache

The realm IS IN CHAOS. The Seven Scions? IN TATTERS. And the Warrior of Light? A FUGITIVE IN EXILE.

Time to CLEAN HOUSE and end an age old war between man and dragon in a nation state that is conveniently NOT associated with any of the main 3 featured in A Realm Reborn and A Realm Reawoken.

Heavensward answers the question, "what can the FF XIV development team do if they're not trying to stretch their talents across establishing an entirely new game world of sorts," and the answer is one that I enjoyed a heck of a lot more than anything I experienced in the game that preceded it.

The new environments, characters, and general pacing of the Heavensward main quest are much improved to the point of nearly transcending the nature of its mundane quest structure and routine dungeon design. Much of the game is still walking from one person to the next to read text boxes, and while the writing is more focused and interesting, it still makes for a dry experience.

Heavensward's greatest strength lies in the fact that they haven't fully sunk the game into single player territory; the more multiplayer duties I found myself queuing up for, the more I found myself actively excited to play the game. Running dungeons and boss instances with 4-8 players is a genuinely exhilarating experience; the camaraderie I felt towards my fellow players as we crawled through the many instances in Heavensward brought me much closer to what I feel is the true nature of the game: there is a multiplayer in that MMO acronym somewhere, right? Having to participate effectively in your respective role while playing the game with the stakes of real people also investing their time with you amplifies the magic of the experience; running A Realm Reborn in 2022 with mostly NPCs seemed like the most straightforward one to me, except that the game's loop isn't designed around solo player experiences; if you want that, perhaps ought to play one of several dozen other Final Fantasy single player experiences.

Queue up with randos. Play with your buds. Don't play dungeons and instances with NPCs as much as possible; that's where the fun is, and where I hope it keeps going. It just took me outpacing the developers' attempts to make the game more single player friendly to embrace that.

Thanks for teaching me that finally, Heavensward.