With the introduction out of the way, this time we’ll take a look at the battle system in the beta of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. We will also explore other elements such as changing classes and have a more in-depth look at the Archer and Thaumaturge classes.
Battles are your standard fare with a focus on skills. Most enemies quite resistant to your regular attack, so you will be using your skills over 90% of the time. Another reason why you will be exclusively using your skills is because it’s very difficult to deplete your MP or TP bar by casting a spell.
Your character has a HP, MP and TP bar. Weather your character uses MP or TP depends on the class of your character and skill you use. Archer’s skills include poisonous shots, shots that increase you critical hit percent and shots that dish out more damage if fired consecutively. All these use up your TP bar, but considering the amount of TP and the sheer speed at which it fills there is almost no way for you to deplete it. Unlike in the previous installment this time around the archer class doesn’t require arrows in order to shoot enemies.
Unlike the archer, whose skills consume TP, the Thaumaturge’s spells use MP. This means TP can be kept for skills such dashing in case you need to get away from an enemy quickly. Blizzard and Fire are the bread and butter of the Thaumaturge’s skill set. You start off with Blizzard and get Fire already once you hit level 2. These two skills have a quite interesting catch to them, casting the same spell consecutively in a short time frame increases the MP cost as well as the damage output. This means if you cast Fire 5 times in a row you will consume a lot more MP but will deal a ton more damage. If you cast Blizzard the cost of casting Fire will reduce, so there is quite a bit of depth when to use which spell. While the casting duration is quite long the damage output more than makes up for this, allowing for grinding on enemies a couple of levels stronger than your character. I had a lot more fun with the Thaumaturge when compared to the Archer. The Fire and Blizzard spells and the constant calculation of whether or not I will have enough MP to cast them multiple times was thrilling.
Getting killed isn’t too hard. Using skills is a must, since they drastically increase your damage and your MP and TP regenerate very quickly. I was slain by a water sprite with a lower level than me just because I let my character auto attack. Once your character gets knocked out you can either be healed by a nearby ally or respawn in the city. Getting knocked out drops the durability of all your equipment, you will in turn need to pay a repair fee in order to max out your durability again.
If you get bored of your class you can always choose to pick a new one, but there are a few requirements. First you must complete the level 10 quest at your current guild. Once that is done you should travel to the city where the guild of your choice is located. Here you must talk to the guild master and accept the quest in order to become that class.
Once you start off with another class you can easily change between the classes you already mastered. This is done by simply swapping you current weapon with the weapon of another class, just note this cannot be done in the middle of combat. Each class will have to be leveled up independently. This means all those fancy weapons and armor you have are going to wind up in your inventory while you dash around town in your undies, because you are not a high enough level to equip them.
When you complete a quest you usually get to pick the item you want as your reward. These tend to be multiple items of a single type, for example multiple boots with one that focuses on defense the other on magic defense. On the other hand if you already have the equipment you want you can always pick to get your reward in gold.
After you complete enough quests you will unlock new options in the guild one of them being your private room. Here you can store items or just idle around. The longer you stay in your room the more bonus experience you will receive along your regular experience, stacking up to a total of 50%. Its recommended to log off once you are in your room because this bonus increases even while you are offline.
For transportation you can use Chocobo porters. You select a location and pay Gil depending on how long you ride them. Alternatively you can use an airship to travel, but unlike the original you will need a pass before they will let you aboard.
This time I played on the PC and the difference in graphics is quite noticeable. The frame rate issues I had with the PS3 version were also nowhere to be seen. Aside from these things the game is identical for both platforms. This is because the game also supports cross-platform play, so any character you make on the PS3 version will transfer to the PC version, and vice versa.
For those excited to dive in, the next phase of the beta Phase 4 which will be open to everyone should be just around the corner. The game is scheduled to launch on the 27th of August for the PlayStation 3 and Windows while the PS4 version is scheduled to release in 2014.