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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is the successor to the original release of Final Fantasy XIV, and was a complete from-the-ground rewrite of the original game, after it was universally panned by both critics and players upon release. You start the game as an adventurer in the land of Eorzea, and your chosen starting job determines which of the three initial city-states you start your adventure in. The game makes references to the previous release, including many recurring characters. In keeping with recent Final Fantasy series releases, the game uses Gil as its primary currency.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is set five in-game years after the events of Final Fantasy XIV, where a calamity befell the land. The Garlean Empire sought to bring about Eorzea's destruction through an impact with the planet's lesser moon, Dalamud. Instead, the moon itself was revealed to be a prison for an elder primal, Bahamut, an entity that laid waste to the land, and ushered in a new age of darkness. The actions of adventurers (who were not native to Eorzea) prevented total destruction by sacrificing themselves. Due to a curse or other such magical event, the inhabitants of Eorzea can recall neither the names nor the faces of these adventurers; to honour their sacrifice, they are remembered throughout the land as the "Warriors of Light", which itself is a reference to the earliest game in the series, Final Fantasy.
The game borrows aspects from its spiritual predecessor, Final Fantasy XI, and introduces aspects both unique and seen in other MMOs. The game has a class system, however, the game allows a player to train in as many, or as few, as one desires. The game separates these classes into four schools, or types; Disciples of Magic, Disciples of War, Disciples of the Hand and Disciples of the Land. Classes are able to use specific abilities from other classes; one additional slot is granted per five levels up to Level 30. There is also an Achievement system, with players who invested 3 month's worth of play time during the original game's launch being credited with a special achievement.
The game operates a questing system not unlike most MMOs, and has both daily and non-repeatable quests on offer, the latter mostly tied to the story of the game. However, the game does visually distinct the storyline-specific quests from regular quests with the use of differing icons over the relevant NPCs. Daily quests also exist, most notably for seasonal events in-game. The game also has special repeatable quests called Levequests; the player gains an allowance of levequests they are allowed to complete per week, and must wait until the week rolls around again for that number to be reset. This is designed to prevent players from levelling up classes too quickly. Levequests are available for all classes, but specific NPCs must be called upon if specific levels or classes are required to be catered for.
Each class has it's own quest line to follow, a quest opening up every five levels. These quests grant equipment, and sometimes, new abilities.
The game has a number of Logs, designed for a player to complete with bonuses and rewards available for players that do so. The Hunting Log is tickbox bestiary, with every class assigned a number of monsters of particular types that the player must kill using that class, with some objectives requiring two or even three monster types required for the objective to be completed. Completed objectives grant bonus experience, and every completed Tier (each Tier covers ten levels) grants the player bonus experience and an achievement.
The Sightseeing Log is a log of where players, based on descriptions in the empty log entries, must re-enact the scene. The Crafting Log is the gateway to crafting materials for Disciples of the Hand, while the Gathering Log is the ultimate primer for locating what items to farm for Disciples of the Land. The Fishing Log is a record of fishing regions in the game; the log will display when areas have undiscovered fishing spots, and where an spot has been discovered, will list the fish that can be caught there if the player has successfully fished up that fish. The Fish Guide is a more basic overview of fish and sea life, detailing approximate locations where they may be caught, and giving some lore and background to the cetacean life found within. It also has access to the total number of fish caught, as well as listing your biggest catches by region.
The Challenge Log is a list of challenges that reset weekly. Completion of challenge objectives grants bonus experience and Gil.
Disciples of Magic are the magic users of the game, and both damage-dealers and healers hail from this school of classes. This school is home to the Thaumaturge, Conjurer and Arcanist classes. Thaumaturges are powerful damage dealers, while Arcanists employ the ability to summon a pet (termed a Carbuncle) to aid in combat, but are able to heal as well. Conjurers specialise in support, and are primarily deployed as healers; though they are able to deal damage, this is not their forté.
Disciples of War by far the more numerous, and represent the classes that deal damage with non-magical means; both damage dealers and tanks hail from this school. This school is home to the Gladiator, Pugalist, Marauder, Lancer and Archer classes. Rogue was added in Patch 2.4.
Disciples of the Hand are equivalent to crafting professions found in other MMOs. These are treated as classes, and the ability to level up affords the opportunity to wear gear powerful enough to craft ever-more powerful items as the game progresses. The classes represented here are Carpenter, Blacksmith, Armorer, Goldsmith, Leatherworker, Weaver, Alchemist and Culinarian.
Disciples of the Land are equivalent to gathering professions found in other MMOs, and are needed to supply the materials needed by Disciples of the Hand. The Miner, Botanist and Fisher are represented by this school.
The game launched with every class listed apart from Rogue, which was added in Patch 2.4.
Each class that is a Disciple of War or Magic can utilize a more powerful form, called a job. In this form, the player can access more powerful abilities at the expense of fewer slots available for other class abilities. This transformation is available to unlock at Level 30, and each job requires a specific secondary class to be raised to Level 15. Each job synchronises its level with its base class, and vice versa is also true. The available jobs are Bard, Black Mage, Dragoon, Monk, Ninja, Paladin, Scholar, Summoner, Warrior, White Mage.
As mentioned earlier, each Job has a base class. Bard requires Archer, Black Mage requires Thaumaturge, Dragoon requires Lancer, Monk requires Pugilist, Ninja requires Rogue, Paladin requires Gladiator, Warrior requires Marauder, White Mage requires Conjurer, and both Scholar and Summoner require Arcanist. Both Summoner and Scholar are trainable simultaneously on a single character.
Each class, as it progresses in levels, can use certain abilities from other classes, and can assign one additional ability per five levels. Jobs halve this number to one ability every ten levels, and in return, the player is able to call upon more powerful abilities not available to the base class. For a player to switch to a job instead of a class, the correct Soul Crystal for that job must be equipped.
The game launched with every job listed apart from Ninja, which was added in Patch 2.4.
The player is able to equip gear to fourteen different slots; Head, Body, Hands, Waist, Legs Feet, Neck, Ears, Wrists, Left Ring, Right Ring, Main Hand, Off Hand, and Soul Crystal.
Equipment can be sourced from a number of locations. It can be crafted, obtained from dungeons, or taken as payment from quests. Equipment comes in one of five rarities, determined by its colour and associated stats; Basic, Aetherial, Plundered, Legendary and Relic.
As with many other MMOs, the game has a looking-for-group system. Called Duty Finder, this unlocks for players once they attain Level 15 in any one class. The duty finder is used for group content, both in the context of advancing the storyline and through dungeoning for loot and glory. PvP is also available from Level 30 onwards.
The game also has a guild system, and guilds are called Free Companies. Free Companies can level in progress, grant buffs to member players, and can grant access to the Company Chest, the in-game equivalent of a guild bank.