And tanking feels fantastic in FFXIV. The balance of skills, consistent variety in boss fights, and clarity about what’s happening on-screen all work in harmony. When tanking is at its best, I feel like a maestro, coordinating everyone to the right place at the right time, ensuring that they’re safe and controlling the ebb and flow of the battle.
It’s the kind of feeling that’s just not possible in a single-player combat—or in an MMORPG that’s trying emulate single-player combat. The amazing feeling of successfully guiding a party through a situation that’s just on the border of being out of control is one that only an MMORPG can provide, thanks to its rigid class structures and combat style. FFXIV Power leveling This is the great strength of the genre, and when games attempt to deprioritize group play by setting dungeons to the side and making them optional or by blurring the lines between class roles, they become weaker games. They fail because this kind of combat is built for that jigsaw-puzzle feeling, and it doesn’t stand on its own.
All that makes me far more willing to forgive FFXIV’s relatively few sins. The crafting and gathering systems are incredibly boring, for instance, but they’re well-integrated into the rest of the game, and it’s possible to work around them by making connections and money. I simultaneously disliked crafting and respected the system for fulfilling the rigid constraints and work/reward loop demanded by the genre.
I don’t want to give the impression that FFXIV is deliberately inaccessible. It doesn’t reach the level of impenetrability of, say, Eve Online. The presentation, especially the music, is charming, which provides a huge motivator to keep going. The game’s pop-up tutorials tend to actually be helpful and come up at the right times. Perhaps most impressive is the way the game’s early quests start simple and escalate in complexity to avoid being overwhelming while also training you for later parts of the game.