FREE-to-play MMOs are like highschool.
You’re often surrounded by people who could care less about you or the community, and only a select few people who do care.
One of the biggest reasons I play any subscription based MMO is for the community.
SUBSCRIPTION based MMOs are like university. You’re at a hub where like-minded people gather, who have paid for their entrance, and in doing so will most likely try their best to thrive; the only way to do so is to become apart of the community.
My first day on the server I was invited to a free company (a lesser form of a guild), and I was chatting up my FC mates like no tomorrow. We shared stories, got to know each other a little bit, and some of the max level players came out to help me quest for fun (they even gave me a free pet). We also went to the FC house and chilled in a hot tub, at which point we began to /dance naked without equipment. Needless to say, I felt like the community was incredible.
Granted, everyone will have a different experience and some might not be as lucky as I was (although I still vouch for the community since my brother and friend were in thriving FC’s as well).
From the lore to the cameo’s, and all the familiarity that is FINAL FANTASY, I LOVED this game. But I’ll try and be objective. IMO, this game isn’t afraid to be cute and light, and neither is it afraid to be dark. This is reflective of the writing and plot, to the characters you meet and enemies you fight. Unlike most single player RPGs that become far too cute, or completely dark with no hope for salvation, or “try to hard comedic” with jokes that bash you’re head in, this game is a combination of every world, and in nice moderation. I felt after my time spent in the game, I got to see its dark aspects, but never forgot how cute it was. Especially with the immense varying between areas. I adored how one city made me feel fresh and relaxed, while others made me feel rigid and attentive. The same goes for the characters you meet along the way. Even the monsters have great diversity. In fact, I actually prefer FFXIV’s approach to the job system where all you need is 1 character to enjoy all the classes (this also removes the bs of having to start another alt if you messed up a skill tree or something). What I felt was this game was very REACTIVE as opposed to PROACTIVE. I was constantly waiting to react during fights, either waiting for my cast bar to finish and react with another skill, or reacting to a boss attack field by moving out of the way. Many MMOs have you proactively moving to avoid damage rather than reacting to a boss attack field. And those same MMOs don’t have a cast time for every single skill, thus creating a rhythmic flow to attack skill rotation (PROACTIVE) rather than waiting on dreary cast bars (REACTIVE). In general this made my gameplay feel lackluster at times. But this never detracted from overall gameplay. Mind you, mastering cast bar skill rotation (and skill rotation in general) is an art form all its own.