Yes, I did play for a bit after the server maintenance was over. FFXIV has changed a lot. It’s actually fun.
Character creation was a bit longer than expected. There were several details and different selections you can make to adjust your eyes, eyebrows, tattoos, hair, height, etc. It’s not quite my interest, but it makes you feel that you are creating a unique creature.
The opening movies are still pretty nice to look at. There seems to be a lot more voice acting than I remember and now I know how to pronounce Eorzea and Gridania. It feels like Square took a bit of time to develop a good story. Even the standard quests of kill X number of things had a bit of text to read.
I gained two levels by completing quests around the city. It took me a while to find the mailbox. I eventually figured out that I had to look for a envelope icon on my map to find the Delivery Moogle.
SquareEnix made many improvements to the game. They have placed many Aetherytes around the city and the world to make traveling easier. Now I can teleport to different areas within a city for free, return to my bound Aetheryte every 15 minutes, and when you discover other large Aetherytes, can pay a small fee to teleport from one to the other.
Fighting is a lot faster now. MP regenerates while you are fighting. When you learn a new spell, it automatically adds the spell to your hotbar. Using an Xbox 360 controller is nicer too. You can quickly access a spell by pressing down one of the triggers and pressing the appropriate button. Text appears that correlates to the name of the spell or action on your hotbar to make it easier to select something. It’s better than FFXI where you had to scroll through a macro to select what you wanted to cast/use. There are also FATE battles in a region. Essentially, there is a small zone with quest objectives to complete that anyone can join in and fight. You earn a reward proportional to how much you contributed.
At level 10, you can start using Chocobos. You can pay for one to take you from one Chocobo stable to another or rent one to roam freely for a while. It will display the cost and the amount of time you have to travel.
Monster difficulty is easier to see. To the left hand side of a monster you can see a red triangle or a blue square (actually it’s a pretty icon that resembles a red triangle or blue square) to denote aggressive or easy mobs. There is also a swirly icon to the right to denote that the monster can be killed for your Hunting Log credit. Every level you can kill three of a mob to complete that entry and earn XP.
Inventory is much improved. Now for every armor/weapon slot, you can store up to 20 or 25 items. It’s separate from your main inventory which can store up to 100 items. Also key items for quests are stored separately as well. Now I don’t have to go back to a house moogle to switch equipment around. Overall the game seems pretty fun right now. I have died once so far during a FATE battle. I was attacked by multiple mobs and I was not watching my HP. 😦