Welcome to FFXIV: Don’t rush the MSQ

It’s official: everyone I know is trying out FFXIV right now, stubborn WoW evangelists included. And i’m not surprised, FFXIV deserves all the credit it’s gotten since Shadowbringers and it doesn’t look great over at Blizzard Activision right now. Many bloggers have commented on the current shit storm so I’m not going to say too much about it. Other than maybe this: while I’ve held both Blizzard and their upper management in low regard for years now, I never suspected just how foul the corporate C-level of Activision is. As if the contents of the lawsuit weren’t harrowing enough, all the other info pouring out on this has left me somewhat speechless. If it’s one thing I do not need in my life it’s my MMO gaming being directly or indirectly connected to some of the worst US government types. What the hell has happened to this industry if it hires such people? I am still processing.

With that out of my system, let’s get back to why you don’t want to rush your FFXIV beginner experience.

The journey is the reward

Coming from WoW which is different to FFXIV in how it runs its themepark content, I’ve had many friends reach out to me these past weeks asking how long exactly it would take them to catch up to current content. While I don’t like the reasoning behind the question in this particular case, I totally get it. My answer is therefore always the same:

I’ve been playing FFXIV regularly for 7 years now and I still don’t know half of the content going on in that game. Some stuff I’ve heard about and some I am still literally discovering myself. This is partly due to how the game has been developed with many of its core features added incrementally over time (and not always advertised in the best way either). It’s also due to the fact that, as also mentioned in my last post, FFXIV is just incredibly broad with lots of different activities to sink your teeth into, catering to a wide range of players.

What ties all these different activities together is the main story line in FFXIV, aka the MSQ. While WoW was originally designed with endgame in mind and lore fluff was added later, all aspects in FFXIV revolve around or get enhanced by its central narrative. The MSQ is a large part of why some people play and it serves as a fine guide through the leveling process as well. The primary NPCs have been the same since ARR and by now, they mean a lot to the developers as well as the community.

FFXIV united

That is not to say that there is not a max level with classic PVE endgame content waiting for FFXIV players. But that’s just it – it is happily ‘waiting’ for them. The MSQ is a central part of the game, so it’s really not something you want to rush through or skip if you’re trying to establish a long term connection with this MMO world. It is also just very fine content and storytelling that gets better and better after ARR (yes it really does and it’s worth hanging in there!). As for endgame and things like dungeons, trials and raids, they are literally not going anywhere. There will be time aplenty to do them with either your friends or in pugs and they won’t be decaying for years to come. I’ve explained how some of this works here but one probably just has to experience FFXIV to understand how smoothly it all works out.

Enjoy the world of Eorzea

As someone who is in FFXIV for its wider allures and relaxed atmosphere, I’ve personally come to love the MSQ. Between following the story as well as enjoying dungeons and raids, exploration, housing and glamour endgame (the real endgame *cough*), I feel the game achieves a great balance between different activities. I think some WoW players are worried that this means the game lacks cooperative content or difficult encounters, but once you tread into savage territory and above none of that applies. These features just don’t get advertised or emphasized nearly as much by the FFXIV community because they’re just that, features among many others (if you think FFXIV has no complex raids, I suggest checking out this channel and watch some savage guides). Eorzea is not a vessel for endgame raid content.

For further analysis and in case you’re currently still on the fence, I recommend this great rundown by Jesse Cox on Youtube. It’s one of the best, most detailed and fairest comparisons of WoW to FFXIV I’ve encountered. See you on the other side – we have Moogle hats!

(P.S. I am on Cerberus EU – feel free to say hi to Sylvara Fallstar any time! The server is currently quite busy but new characters can still be made if you try early mornings or after server maintenance (Tues 4am EST).


  1. Okay, here’s a question: does FFXIV operate like GW2, where you’re locked into the server you select at the beginning, like WoW, where EU and Asia servers are off limits, or SWTOR, where you can roll on any server at all?

      1. Darn.

        My son has already informed me that he wants to group with me when/if I get to FF XIV, but there’s also the allure of hanging with Syl!

      2. Awww, as fun as that would be, I have tried cross-timezone playing FFXIV before and we would end up never seeing each other. 🙁 Also, the ping is sllightly different now that the servers are also physically someplace else.

        Don’t think I would want to part your son from playing with his dad, how cool is that! 🙂 But you could always make another lowbie char on my realm and still say hi sometime if we coordinate, I’d love that!

    1. Just to correct Redbeard, you aren’t locked into a server in GW2. That hasn’t been the case for most of the life of the game. ANet went to a multiserver setup many years ago. The game produces as many instances of a given map as population requires and sorts people onto it by a number of factors including, but not limited to, Guild membership, friends list and who was there first. Servers for PvE haven’t existed for many years. There’s just one megaserver.

      You do still have to choose a server for World vs World, which is also split into two regions, EU and NA. Those regions aren’t locked, though. I play on NA from the UK. Even those divisions are about to go away, though. The first beta for the Alliance system for WvW is due in a couple of weeks. Once that gets done (probably around the release of EoD I’d guess) the last vestiges of “servers” in GW2 will vanish.

      For a pure PvE player, which is the huge majority of GW2’s playerbase, there are no servers. Most people probably have no idea what server they are on. It’s just a box you click at character creation that never has any further application.

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