BlogI haven't had as much time as I would have liked so far to play around with Final Fantasy XIV but I can share some impressions.
For a start, the account system is clearly better than PlayOnline used in Final Fantasy XI. In FFXI you had to logon to PlayOnline, and navigate through a few screens before you could even open the actual game. FFXIV, or at least the open beta makes this extremely simple. You need to register a Square Enix account and then register the game via the key. Then it's a simple matter of opening the game up, logging on and pushing 'play'. This is a huge improvement and I doubt many if any people will complain about losing PlayOnline.
One thing becomes clear once you start playing, the game looks loads better than FFXI, and therefore hogs a lot more of your PC. My specs are as follows:
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3GHz RAM: 4GB of DD2 GFX: Nvidia GTS 250 (1GB RAM) OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
So I have over the minimum, but my PC fails to meet recommended specs. This is noticable even after turning down numerous settings the game still lags a bit and ideally I'd need a better PC to play it without it looking totally horrible.
I created a female Lalafell from the Dunesfolk clan, made her overly short and picked a conjurer. The options for character creation are a vast improvement from FFXI; those that want to have a more individial character can do so here. It's not the most diverse system ever in a game but there are far more options.
I started out in Gridania, a forest area and had my first battle in a tutorial style situation. Having not bothered to learn the controls I was interested to see how easy they would be to pick up against FFXI's system. The system here is better, but still a bit strange. It was nice to see I had 3 abilities/spells to use right from the start, sure better to have a bit of variety in combat.
I encountered two strangers (NPCs) that I believe fell out of an airship in the woods and we were promptly chased out by a large tree monster. The game presented much of this in cut-scenes rendered real-time, complete with voice acting. A moogle was involved and I was happy to see they didn't bother voicing him (only subtitles with the standard sounds) as I think I would have snapped my keyboard hearing 'kupo' on the end of every sentence.
I haven't gotten far past this at this stage, I just know I have to be "cleansed" or else I'll be in trouble with the forest/spirits/elements or some such. I will post a few screenshots for those interested.
Overall given I don't really have the specs required to run the game smoothly at this stage I'm unsure if I'll but the game on release, time will tell.