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The only thing that stops the dust is the rain. It’s a sweet reprieve, but there is no middle ground. The land is either as dry as the Betty Ford clinic, or as wet as the ocean floor. Everything can be seen from the ridge overlooking Armadillo as John Marston gently bounces along atop...

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Endgame Review

Posted on Wednesday, September 25 @ 09:00:00 PST by Anthony_LaBella

I identify most MMORPGs as a three-act play: the early-hour grind that features tedious quests, the middle-hour grind that often does away with those tiresome quests, and the endgame that rewards players with tough challenges and badass weapons. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn follows that structure, which means the experience improves as it goes along. The late-game content doesn't necessarily do enough to change my overall opinion of the game, and the breadth of current content is a bit light, but what's there stands out as fun and rewarding.

One of the truly bright spots throughout FFXIV is its group-focused dungeons, and that continues to be reinforced as players slowly approach the level cap (50). Groups must coordinate even more since the challenge of each new undiscovered dungeon ramps up considerably. The bosses in particular grow even more devious as they mix up tactics in an effort to thwart each party's efforts. But those boss fights sure are a lot of fun, and the thrill of victory and the sense of camaraderie that comes from it remains one of FFXIV's strongest traits. I just wish there were even more of these moments near the end of the game.

As it stands, there are four dungeons for level 50 players, two of which require eight players. Perhaps it's unrealistic on my part, but I hoped to see more. In addition, there is just a single raid in the game: The Binding Coil of Bahamut. This treacherous, multi-part obstacle features a series of “turns,” each with its own boss. Think of it as a gauntlet of the most terrifying dungeons out there. Masochists will love the challenge, and simply unlocking the area also takes some effort because it involves beating three of the game's Primals on hard mode.

Another option for players upon reaching level 50 and satisfying certain prerequisites is the relic quest, a lengthy journey with an appropriately awesome reward. There will be a lot of running around and plenty of epic battles (that includes encounters with Primals), but players receive their job's ultimate weapon in the process. I've always been a sucker for cool weapons, especially in MMORPGs, so let's just say I'm a fan of the relic quest.

I didn't mention PvP at all because... well, there's no PvP right now. But the team behind Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is currently working on the 2.1 update, which features a ton of new content. That includes a 24-player raid dungeon call The Crystal Tower (Final Fantasy III fans will know it well), and a PvP area called The Wolves' Den. Oh, and we can't forget the addition of player housing—the Animal Crossing fan in me wants to jump for joy! Even though the current endgame content in FFXIV should satisfy fans in terms of pure enjoyment, it will be nice to see even more options for high-level players in the near future.
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