After a 2010 launch experience plagued by slim content, low subscribers, and a horrendous UI, Square Enix took Final Fantasy XIV back to the drawing board with a new staff, better motives, and PlayStation 3 cross-platform gaming. Now, in 2013, Square hopes to convince gamers that, in a modern realm of free-to-play online games, the old subscription ways can still be as rewarding as they used to be. An order has never been taller, considering the market base is borderline reluctant to spend monthly cash on a game. What always kept me going, even after realizing that I was spending $180 dollars a year to play a game like World of Warcraft, was the fact I was entertained each month for only $15. Considering that a fast food meal costs about half that and it's gone in an instant, what's $15 across 30 days? I'm not here to argue food prices, though; the industry has constructed a wall between quality gaming and consumer cost, and Square Enix is pushing to regenerate the value of online gaming with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
The real miracle here is that a full-fledged MMO is playable on both PC and PS3. Then again, Final Fantasy XIV isn't the first, given DC Universe Online's cross-platform compatibility, but few would attempt to compare the superhero MMO to the likes of World of Warcraft, which has been the genre's global standard for nearly a decade. Even with Square's perpetual Final Fantasy XI still attracting a sizable fanbase, World of Warcraft struck gold with a universal formula that compelled millions of players with incredibly addictive properties, including robust worlds, almost countless instances, and an end-game that keeps on giving.
Based in the world of Hydaelyn, players navigate the realm of Eorzea five years after the fall of Hydaelyn's lesser moon, Dalamud. The fall of Dalamud was caused by the Garlean Empire, which is the main antagonist group, in order to wipe out Eorzea. However, unbeknownst to the inhabitants of Eorzea, Dalamud contained the dragon Bahamut, and the protagonist Grand Companies sought out scholar Archon Louisoix to attempt resealing Bahamut. He failed, so he instead extinguished his last remaining energy to send the survivors into the ether, where they then waited until the world was safe for inhabiting once again. In terms of plot, this is how Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 ended, and the events in A Realm Reborn come after the survivors leave the ether and return to the world. In fact, right after creating your character, you find yourself floating in nothingness and you are summoned to a higher cause, where you then fly into a giant Aethercrystal and enter Eorzea.