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Is it fair to say that FFXIV has the best story in the series?

NecrosaroIII

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I started FFXIV about a month or so ago. I finally got to the beginning of Heavensward today and already would rank this as one of my favorite games in the series. The main story is one of the strongest in the franchise already, and I love the characters. The people who go around saying this game is one of the best in the series definitely are on to something. The grandiosity of the setting, overall plot and characters (already some of them like Y'shtola, Hildibrand, Raubaum, are amazing characters). I haven't been engrossed in a game's story like this in 15-20 years.

For those that haven't played, this is probably the most linear MMO ever made. It's very much structured like an offline game. The bulk of the game's features and world are gated behind the main story, unlocking as you go along. To me, that's fine since I basically want to play this game as one big single-player RPG. It's definitely atypical for the genre. This means that in order to play the upcoming Endwalker expansion, you'll have to play through essentially 4 games worth of content in order really get to the meat and potatoes.

Again, I don't mind this. However, structurally this means that FFXIV feels more like it's own series rather than one game. Based on how ARR played it feels like ARR is FFXIV-1, and Heavensward is FFXIV-2. By the time the narrative ends in Endwalker (allegedly), there will be essentially five games in the series in order to build the world and tell the struggles of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. Of course, it's going to have one of the best stories since it has time to breath and build on itself.

FFXV, on the other hand, only gets one game to establish its setting and characters. In 50 hours or so, you get the full story of that game's world. Meanwhile in FFXIV, I have already spent about 120 hours and by my estimates, I've only experienced about 25% of the story. There is still so much world building and character development to come.

So I guess what I'm saying is that FFXIV is like a TV series, not a movie. It gets the benefits of constant development and room to grow, so comparing it to other FFs isn't "fair".
 

Kagey K

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They get the benefit of years of adding to, and furthering the story.

If it was based on FFXIV vanilla, most people would say no. They have since expanded greatly upon where they started, and as you said it’s not really fair to compare a MMO to a standalone single player game.
 

YukiOnna

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I certainly think it's up there. One of the strongest parts about it is that, while yes it's a continuing story, each 40-50 hour storyline (ARR, HW, SB, ShB, etc.) is a full fledged FF with its own complete tale, which feels missing from recent offline FF's. There's a lot of care put into making sure we have a beginning and end to the character arcs and we see the changes in the next story they put out.

Your TV Series comment is actually what Yoshi-P calls FFXIV's structure himself btw.
 
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Perfo

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It's not even up to debate, it's miles better than any other entry in the series or even any other jrpg at this point. The writing is really on another level and it's the first time, bar few exceptions, where there's a strong effort in taking the genre outside the shounen boundaries where it has been stuck for decades.
My wish is that this gargantuan work doesn't die here with this entry but will be at the core of all the next main entries in the franchise.
 
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RCU005

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I haven't played FF XIV but I would love to play it just for the story. It does seem to be so good.

This also gets me excited for FF XVI! I wish they do as good job!
 

Fluo

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Before Shadowbringers, you could argue that it's not the best in the series. But ShB just ties it all together so neatly that it definitely becomes the best.
 

Akuji

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How big the Story is does not represent the quality of the Story. Came here to read others opinion on it Since i never Played 14. Got the idea you enjoy having tons of content and a big list of characters. Which is fine but not needed for a Story to be great. 6/7/10 had awesome stories which are presented really nice. My favorite is 7. 15 Story is not a good comparison since many dislike the Story and how its presented.
 
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GymWolf

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Didn't played it, but i have hard times believing that a mmorpg has a better plot than a more focused classic jrpg.

But everything is possible.
 
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Fuz

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Nah.

Didn't played it, but i have hard times believing that a mmorpg has a better plot than a more focused classic jrpg.
It's not. It just has a better story than mmorpgs.

I liked it, there are some very high points, but there's lots of stupid bullshit too.
 
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Sander Cohen

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So we’re comparing MMORPGs with regular titles now? OK, let’s say it has best story but it also has by far worst graphics at the time of the release (and even worse now with graphical progress in the industry). Very low-polly effort. “Oh but it’s a MMO” excuses don’t work with me.
 
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I always see people say this and it makes me feel bad that I played it for I think over 300 hours and skipped almost every cutscene and bit of dialogue after the first couple. I probably missed out on something good cause I wasn't in the mood for story when I first played it.
 

Furball

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I always see people say this and it makes me feel bad that I played it for I think over 300 hours and skipped almost every cutscene and bit of dialogue after the first couple. I probably missed out on something good cause I wasn't in the mood for story when I first played it.

most of cutscene are pointless chat that add nothing to the story , usually to pad out the length . As someone that play this game for 8 years , there are like 30 % of cutscene that actually worth reading , the rest are filter . While some of story good , the pacing are always terrible .

ARR story = bad
Heavenward = good
Stormblood = mediroce
Shadowbringer = good but kinda feel like fitler story
 
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YukiOnna

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I always see people say this and it makes me feel bad that I played it for I think over 300 hours and skipped almost every cutscene and bit of dialogue after the first couple. I probably missed out on something good cause I wasn't in the mood for story when I first played it.
There's NG+ so you can revisit it or just take some time to go through the cutscene replay. It's definitely worth it.
 

The_Mike

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The most complaints I see about the game is that the story is garbage.

If this story in FFXIV has the greatest story in this franchise, then I'd never touch any final fantasy game, cus it is truly boring and doesn't belong in a mmorpg.
 
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Rykan

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No it isn't. It doesn't have the best story in the franchise and it certainly isn't one of the best in the RPG genre. I've played this game for a very long time and I can certainly appreciate the positivity of the community: It's nice to have a community that actually enjoys the game they're playing and is genuinely positive and excited about it. But there is no denying that certain aspects of this game, in particular its story, are exceptionally overrated.

Final Fantasy XIV's MSQ is a poorly paced mess that is filled with anime tropes with no well defined main character. It is a mandatory singleplayer campaign shoved into a multiplayer game that actively discourages interaction with other players. The MSQ is filled with filler content that you HAVE to complete in order to progress to the next expansion. It continues to be a huge problem moving forward as it keeps increasing the amount of time a player has to invest before they reach endgame.

Let me try to elaborate on some of these points.

- The main character sucks. FFXIV uses the silent protaganist trope. The thing with this trope is that it is actually extremely difficult to pull it off successfully. Most games fail at it and FFXIV is no different. Your character expresses no motivation to do anything other than doing it because he or she is told to. In the vast majority of cutscenes, your character will basically just stand there and contribute nothing to the conversation. Your character doesn't go through any character growth, is never really confronted with moral dilemas and doesn't show any signs of relationship development with the other characters.

Your character is typically refered to as the "Warrior of Light" and its hard to overstate how incredibly cringe this title is. The only reason this title exists is because you name your own character. Even FFX handled this better.

- The worst pacing out of any RPG. FFXIV has the worst pacing out of any RPG i've ever played. The fucking enormous amount of cutscenes and dialogue this game dumps on you is utterly ridiculous. It is actually completely normal in this game to spend entire playsessions of 2 - 3 hours doing absolutely nothing else than just walk to NPCs and trigger cutscenes and dialogue with little to no combat in between. The game absolutely loves to make you talk to an NPC, make you go to a specific location to meet with that same NPC and then makes you go right back to where you started. Over and over again

- The storytelling methods are terrible. FFXIV's storytelling can best be described as quantity over quality. Most of the cutscenes are of low quality in which characters spam MMORPG emotes at each other because they couldn't be bothered to animate them properly. Every "main party" character is basically an MMORPG npc and they're made with the same tools as player characters are.

This means that the animations are the same for all of them. They all walk at the same pace, with the exact same walking animations as every other character of their respective race. They spam the exact same emotes to
indicate they are "Talking" or "Thinking". It destroys any sense of individuality. Even Final Fantasy 7, with its blocky characters, did individual character expression much better than this. The answer here is no secret: Final Fantasy XIV originally had motion captured animations for it cutscenes. Because the game had to be completely remade for ARR and the game was rather rushed, all of these animations were tossed out of the windows and we're left with this.

- The music sucks. FFXIV has one of the best soundtracks in the genre and the franchise. It's spectacular stuff. Sadly, FFXIV's development team has a seperate folder for "Main Story Quest cutscene music" with like 5 songs it and it continues to reuse them over. and over. and over. and over. and over again. You will hear the same few songs for the exact same situations again and again. This makes cutscenes, which already feel incredibly repetitive as like 90% of them are just NPCs and the MC spamming MMORPG emotes at each other, even more so. It's baffling.

- Leaning on tropes and crutches to carry the story forward. Okay, you're not going to believe this: But did you know that Empire = Bad? And guess what: Heavensward introduces a church but aha! Did you know that its actually pretty shady and evil? I know, right! Who would have thought! Okay I'm oversimplifying it a little a bit, the game usually gives some vague explenation why X entity or organization had a troubled past and thats why they became "Evil" But there is just very little that hasn't been done before. The game also relies on several crutches to keep the story going. The most ridiculous one is "Aether", What is Aether exactly? Well the game never really explains exactly what it is and what its limitations are, because it continues to use it as a crutch.

Oh we need to go to a location by airship but it has a force field? Well we can somehow do something with Aether so we can penetrate it. We need to trap something? Well just use Aether somehow. Teleportation? Aether. We need to fly? Well take a guess.

I'm coming off as overly negative on the title. I think it does have some of the best storytelling in the MMORPG genre, but there is no way it can compare to the best singleplayer RPGs in terms of storytelling.
 
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brian0057

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When the bar is set that low, anything with marginally competent writing will look like Dostoyevsky by comparison.
But no.
 

Revolutionary

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Absolutely not. Don't get me wrong, they are excellent stories for an MMO, but they suffer greatly from being tied to the MMO formula. As a result, your character is a silent observer for 95% of cutscenes (that is not an exaggeration), only nodding when spoken to or choosing from two or three dialogue options that have no actual effect on anything.

Edit: I'd also like to add that the "continuing story" aspect isn't always a good thing, because there have been several story threads that lead absolutely nowhere due to various behind-the-scenes reasons. Just last expansion we got a time travel tease at the end of the Alliance Raid series (Tartarus, for those who don't remember) that ultimately went nowhere because they decided to change that specific story between expansions.
 
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Captain Toad

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No. It's good, but I also have a very difficult time with the premise.

"The world is ending, we need you to save it beyond all odds.
Good job, you did it.
A brand new threat came, we need you to save the world again.
Thanks, again.
Hmm. Something new now, can you save the planet again?
Whew. Close one.
Here we go again...
Etc, etc, etc"

Still, FFXIV does as good as can be expected while sticking to the JRPG trope that the entire world needs to be saved by a band of a few and then restarting that each expansion with the same characters.
 
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decisions

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I tried to play FFXIV for a few months but the end of ARR just killed me. The game was fun at times but…After the credits you get like 15 hours of filler content and even trying to skip all cutscenes it just felt so long and tedious - why waste my life playing that when I can play other games that are actually fun and respect my time way more?
 

Beelzebubs

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I tried to play FFXIV for a few months but the end of ARR just killed me. The game was fun at times but…After the credits you get like 15 hours of filler content and even trying to skip all cutscenes it just felt so long and tedious - why waste my life playing that when I can play other games that are actually fun and respect my time way more?
They've streamlined of all that in a patch about 6 months ago so it's nowhere near as time consuming as it was.
 

Rickyiez

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Not to say the story isn't great but very hard to be attached to animal and chibi characters.

FF8 and FFX story are still way better. To each of their own
 

Celcius

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It’s close but I don’t think anything will ever top FF7 for me (it was my first exposure to the series).
 

Neilg

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They've streamlined of all that in a patch about 6 months ago so it's nowhere near as time consuming as it was.

I started after that patch and the whole path storyline was tedium from top to bottom. I stopped playing it about 60h in, still apparently miles away from hitting the first expansion in the free trial.
I have never been more upset to find out that a character wasn't actually dead as when the woman in charge of that gang of fucking idiots showed back up.

I do plan to go back to it because I've heard the story gets good not too far after where I stopped, but no game with 40 hours of awful story in the opening can be said to have the best story, no matter how much better it gets.
 
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No way. Sure it isn't bad or anything, but there are so many issues with the MMORPG structure and how it would accommodate a traditional story that I'm not sure it could ever happen. Pacing alone would make things impossible, let alone the gameplay elements such as always needing to be able to teleport anywhere in the world. You could never have a story keep you isolated anywhere because if an MMORPG prevented you from going to a town for longer than one or two missions the player would quit because that's not the point of an MMO. Hell, even having story tied to raids is at odds with the MMO formula because the point is to grind them repeatedly, so having some 10 minute scene beforehand kills it. The design literally encourages you to skip any story. Even as a new player doing it for the first time you feel obligated to skip the story because there could be 7 other people sitting there waiting for you to watch the cinematic because this is the 150th time the ran the dungeon.

Honestly, they need to take the approach of From and have the story be told through world building elements, and less through traditional storytelling.
 

Kev Kev

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not really because a "regular" FF has to tell one self contained story within its main campaign, without DLC or added content. a story that gets to evolve and add more parts over years of time is in a whole other league. devs can choose to take feedback from the core fan base and change the story or alter the way they originally intended to to things
 

NecrosaroIII

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So we’re comparing MMORPGs with regular titles now? OK, let’s say it has best story but it also has by far worst graphics at the time of the release (and even worse now with graphical progress in the industry). Very low-polly effort. “Oh but it’s a MMO” excuses don’t work with me.
The art direction makes up for the graphics. Ishgard is stunning
 

Sub_Level

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The idea that its not fair due to its length is silly. Having hundreds of hours to tell a story can just as easily damage your story as it can help it, which is evident in Stormblood's pacing issues. FFVI's story would not automatically be better if they let you spend another 100 hours in the World of Ruin. It'd probably be worse. World building is just one aspect of a story, and if you asked people why they liked Heavensward or Shadowbringers its not because of the hundreds of hours of lore but because of the characters & twists.
 

Jeeves

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To address the topic directly, I think it's fair compare any individual expansion from FFXIV to any other game in the series. As you said, the expansions are full-length games unto themselves. So I think there's nothing wrong with it if someone wanted to say, for instance that FFXIV Shadowbringers is the best story in Final Fantasy.

Note that this is an example and I'm not necessarily saying that is the case, because I haven't played any Final Fantasy outside of XIV. I'm just saying it's fair game to treat expansions as individual games as part of a sub-series.

To put it another way, it's not really reasonable to compare Metroid Prime Trilogy to Super Metroid, but you could compare Metroid Prime 2 to Super Metroid. I think that's the appropriate way to look at FFXIV's expansions.
 

Aenima

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No. The base game story is forgetable. The game itself only starts being really good after you enter the expansions zones. There are quests with very good stories, but you need to invest a good amount of hours untill u reach them.

Is a very good mmorpg and a very good Final Fantasy. But if a story dont hook me up from start to finish, then is not that good to me. FF7 was the game that has a story that hooked me from start to finish, and so to me is the FF with the best story.
 

Raven117

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Heavensward onward? It is absolutely up there.

I do think they have missed on some character development of some of the main cast that is not named Alphanaud, but maybe that will change in Endwalker.
 
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MagiusNecros

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XIV probably does. I mean. One of the best villains they ever created. And Hildibrand does have the FF5 charm. Oh and GILGAMESH. XIV does a whole lot right in the story department.

 
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*Nightwing

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Nope
Personally liked XI story much more.

The most immersive plot point in XIV was how the relaunch from 1.0 to 2.0 a realm reborn was integrated into the plot and my favorite part of the plot. XIV is a well made story, but really shines in its presentation in a very cinematically polished well made way. Loved stormblood, but neither storyline in XIV compares to wings of the goddess in XI to me
 

NecrosaroIII

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Didn't played it, but i have hard times believing that a mmorpg has a better plot than a more focused classic jrpg.

But everything is possible.
It's not really like most MMORPGs. The story is always front and center in this. There is only one central storyline and pretty much no player choice. I'd hesitate to call the game open world as well since basically other than the starting area, the games central plot dictates where you go to.
 
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