Final Fantasy XIV's Coolest Feature Fits In Your Hands

Final Fantasy XIV's Coolest Feature Fits In Your Hands

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a lovely game, but few would call it "innovative".

I've been playing the game on both PS4 and PC for the past several weeks and have been having a blast. But even a relative MMO lightweight like me can tell that the game isn't breaking much new ground. The gameplay feels more or less like other MMOs I've played and the visuals, while lovely, still have the too-clean look of a mid-2000s PC RPG.

But FFXIV does offer one feature that I love:

Final Fantasy XIV's Coolest Feature Fits In Your Hands

It lets me play with a controller.

When I first fired up FFXIV on the PS4, I had my doubts about how it would all work. Could an MMO, with all its various menus, combat styles, dialogue boxes, chat windows, hotbars, and other MMO accouterments, really work on a controller? And for the first hour or so, I'd have answered that with a firm "no".

I stuck with it, though, and within another hour of so found myself getting used to the various button prompts and commands, customising my on-screen UI and text-sizes to be easily viewable from my couch, and generally getting my head around how the game works. I switched to the PC version and found that it worked even better — with my wireless keyboard on the couch next to me, I could easily type chat messages while still using a controller to play. (PS4 players can do this too, provided they plug a USB keyboard into their console. You can also play the PS4 version with a full mouse and keyboard — other than a less snappy frame rate, the PS4 version of FFXIV is basically indistinguishable from the PC version.)

I understand that the controller approach won't be for everyone. I'm a pretty casual MMO player and I don't do high-level raids or PvP stuff; I wouldn't want my character's controller-induced clumsiness to hurt the progress of a team of players. And I realise that it isn't the first MMO to support controllers, and that it is technically possible to play other MMOs with a controller by using X-padder to map controls to a gamepad manually. But most games don't feel as consciously designed for a controller as FFXIV is, and while there are plenty of controller-related things FFXIV could make work more smoothly, hopefully it's only a matter of time before another MMO-type game takes their groundwork and improves on it.

The upshot, for now, is that I'm generally a lot more likely to play FFXIV than I would have been had it been only playable on my desktop PC. I sit on the couch and play an MMO with a controller. And it is wonderful.

I'm curious about how many of you play the PC version of the game with a controller, and how many with a mouse and keyboard. I'm guessing it's far more the latter than the former, but let's find out how it breaks down. Poll time:


    I play on PS4 with a controller and keyboard combo. the only think I cant get used to is the targetting system while using a controller. Too often does my targetting button lock onto an npc or party member (even with filters on) and i gotta cycle to the enemy or wat not. I mean, I'm used to it now and am prepared for it, but I think i need to figure it out a bit better.

    Great MMO tho, was pleasantly surprised when trying out the beta...Anyone on Zodiark?

      What's it like on PS4 now? I tried out the PS4 version during the open beta but all the UI windows were so small and I couldn't resize them.

        Oh serious? Well i played the beta weekend that was beginning of the month, and all the windows were (and still are) pretty big and no problem to read. You can resize things with a few button presses, and Ive pretty much experienced no lags or dropouts during my playtime so far (think ive been playing regularly for the last 3 weeks or so now?). So I *think* its probably alot better now since you played, but yes, just to sum up: the windows and UI are pretty clear and big and can be resized, and I'm playing on a Euro server right now (but there are alot of aussies and kiwis on there) with pretty much no lag. :)

          Hmmm maybe I should think about renewing my subscription and transferring over to the PS4 version then. I found I never had lag most of the time either it wasnt until some of the big fights where I would notice there was a delay in what happens on my screen and what happens on the server ie dodging ifrit's attacks on my screen by miles and still being blown off.

      Hold down (or if you have it as Mixed, press) any of the trigger keys that 'highlight' either the R or L hotbar and then press either R1 or L1. Should always be able to target a mob.

      Alternatively, hold down L1 and then scroll up or down on the enemy list. Always helps when I was trying to retarget Garuda after dealing with a certain plume.

    I honestly stopped playing due to there being no aussie servers. It wouldn't have been such a problem if it werent for the fact that to advance through the story at all you have to do dungeons, raids etc and Ifrit with latency problems was a nightmare there was no way I was doing the boss after him (can't remember the name).

      This is what ended up killing the game for me as well. Started hitting dungeons and stuff where you had a very short window to move out of the way of a big attack and when playing with a half-second or so of lag plus the fact that its positioning seems a bit flaky, you had the terrible experience of being instantly killed by something that, as far as your view was concerned, you'd actually avoided. And then abused by your group for being a failure of a player.

      EDIT: This was quite a while ago, within the first month or so of release, so it's entirely possible the situation's improved now?

      Having to pay in Euros because someone at Squenix failed geography is kind of frustrating as well, since the EU price is significantly higher than the US price.

      Last edited 30/04/14 4:46 pm

        If you were playing on the PS3, then the lag was entirely that systems fault. When I went from PS3 to PS4, I was shocked at how easy it was to dodge AoE's. While there is still a little lag, it's not to the point where you have to pre-dodge by 2 seconds (oh yeah, you'll need to teach yourself to not do that during Titan EX, unless you want to misplace an AoE).

        Another example is Piercing Laser from ADS. On PS3, that attack was impossible to dodge when it appeared. On PS4, I laugh at it.

        Kotaku, I am not posting too quickly, plz stp

          Nope, PC. I know they did some stuff to address it a bit, but at launch they only polled for character position every few seconds and so you could have moved right out of a mob's AoE and still have the server see your position as inside it. I played a Monk so moving around a lot meant often losing all the buffs you needed to actually be doing any damage as well. Thoroughly frustrating. Nothing like doing the encounter correctly and being abused because you die anyway because the game doesn't work right.

          I also had huge issues getting past Garuda as well, not because of lag but because I could never manage to find a group that knew how to beat it and/or would actually listen to explanations on how to beat it. Story progress got stymied as a result and that was the other nail in the coffin.

          Actually still have a subscription active (keep forgetting to cancel then they charge for 3 months and I'm like "I guess I should give it another go then" and then 3 months later, same thing) so really should hop in again and see if it's improved.

            May as well. I know they buffed MNK quite a bit in the 2.1 patch and with the introduction of the Duty Roulette, you have a chance of getting level (synced) 50 players who know what they're doing in your party. You'll also find a few nifty things in your Moogle Mail, especially if you bought the Collectors Edition.

            Castrum Meridianum and Praetorium might make you hate the community a bit, though (people expect speed runs. Chances are you'll be left behind if you choose to watch cutscenes. If they kick you, then report them and SE will suspend/ban those who voted yes).

            Kotaku, I am not posting too quickly >:I

        Been playing a lot again recently. Lag isn't "too" bad though some fights and cast times etc are still quite unforgiving. If you are familiar with the fights though, you should be fine as you know that you are supposed to react to something, you are simply waiting for it to happen. I am playing on a Japanese data center though (Tonberry server), kind of an unofficial AUS server by the feel of it with a lot of english speaking activity during our prime time, you also have the added bonus of getting carried by asians if you tick the J in the language for your dungeon queues.

      The latency issue is said to be vastly improved since the 2.0 patch (or a little after, I stopped playing in late November when there was only the Coil raid to do after HM Primals) but I remember the fight you're talking about. It took a few runs to get used to the fight mechanics with the primals, but once you figured out the patterns it was easy, HM Titan was such a pain to get new Company members through!

    Playing FF14 with a gamepad feels surprisingly natural. Not only does your character movement look more natural but you can cast spells much faster too.

    I quite liked the pad lay out for FFXIV when I tried it out! The only other MMO I can think of that feels just as natural is PSO2.

    That being said it still has one tiny draw back or two... the auto targeting (even w/ the filters) can still be annoyingly clunky and will sometimes select an NPC or party member when you just want to target a mob... and sometimes in reverse when you want to heal someone.

    This isn't so bad unless you're a Sage. Being unable to actually *edit* your pet's hotkeys on top of having to juggle pet commands and your own skills is painfully clunky on a pad. I tend to just let my pet do auto attack or target someone from a distance before engaging as there is no way to effectively juggle those hotkeys effeciently =(

      To make targetting mobs easier, hold down R2 or L2 and then press L1 or R1. This will ONLY target mobs. Alternatively, if you have hate on mobs, you can hold down L1 and use up or down on the control pad to choose which mob you want to target. Same way for healing, but minus the L1.

      Making macros allows you to control your pet easier, though honestly, for ACN/SMN, the only time you really need to control your pet is to stop Ifrit from stunning mobs or Garuda/Emerald Carbuncle from using Contagion too early or using that annoying push back attack.

      Example of SCH macros
      /micon "Ruin"
      /ac "Ruin"
      /pac "Embrace"

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