Final Fantasy 14’s latest update, Growing Light, sees the conclusion not just to the epic Endwalker storyline, but also to one of the most ambitious projects the development team has undertaken in the past few years. Thanks to said project, players can now solo every mandatory dungeon along Final Fantasy 14’s main story.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite mean one can play through the entirety of the story without having to occasionally group up with other players.
What You Can (and Can’t) Solo in Final Fantasy 14
Ever since the start of the Shadowbringers expansion, there’s been an ongoing project to make it so that you can team up with a party of NPCs instead of players to beat every required dungeon in Final Fantasy 14‘s main storyline. As of Patch 6.5: Growing Light, this has been completed, with all 54 of the game’s mandatory 4-player dungeons now solo-able.
This is great news for those who love world-class RPGs but are less fond of multiplayer games. If, however, you’ve heard that you can now play through the entire story of Final Fantasy 14 solo, that’s not entirely true. There are still several 8-person trials throughout each of the game’s expansions, and they all require you to group with other players.
The game also has three mandatory 24-person raids to contend with, and it’s worth pointing out that the solo-friendly dungeons are only ones that are part of the main story. While that’s still a good 300+ hours of content, there are still loads of dungeons that are part of the game’s side quests — many of which are just as essential to FF14’s lore as the main story.
Should Players Be Able To Play Final Fantasy 14’s Entire Main Story Solo?
The main story of most MMOs can be played entirely solo these days, and given how Final Fantasy 14’s narrative has been so lauded over the past few years, it’s little wonder the team at Square Enix would eventually make their game less reliant on having to team up with others.
The genre-wide move to accommodate players who don’t want to partake in group-based content is a somewhat contentious one. Does it dilute the MMO experience? Eh, arguably. But Final Fantasy 14 has always been more of a themepark than a sandbox, so it’s a game that’s perfectly suited to solo-friendly systems.
There’s always going to be an appetite for fresh Final Fantasy stories, but that fandom might not necessarily feel comfortable with having to group up with other players. Getting chucked into a group with a bunch of randoms can be anxiety inducing, and joining a guild can come with its own set of pressures.
At worst, these players can now play through (most of) Final Fantasy 14’s main story in their own happy little corner of Eorzea, blissfully ignoring everyone else around them. They don’t need to worry about letting down their dungeon group if they mess up during a boss fight, and if their playtime is limited, they can jump in and out when they want and enjoy the story at their own pace.
At best, they might come to feel comfortable in the game after all and integrate themselves more openly into the community. Some might argue that keeping at least the main story’s 8-person trials as group-only content would help funnel them into this, but surely a player will ultimately choose themselves whether or not they’re going to go down that path. Would it not be more beneficial for Square Enix to be able to advertise Final Fantasy 14 as completely solo-able without any concessions?
Let the players come in their millions.
Why Final Fantasy 14’s Solo-Friendly Future Is Great for Everyone
Personally, I’m a big fan of the Duty Support system’s implementation in Final Fantasy 14.
It values my time, and the NPC AI is solid. My reaction times aren’t the best, so knowing that I can just stay on top of one of my NPC teammates to avoid attacks instead of having to keep track of everything else happening on the screen is a boon.
If nothing else, it’s a much better way of learning a dungeon’s mechanics than watching a YouTube guide or dying repeatedly in a group. Some evenings I just want to play the game on my own; listening to a podcast while I grind out the game’s all-important endgame currencies. Duty Support only adds to the game, taking nothing away in the process.
Plus, from a business perspective, it’s a move that makes sense. Opening the game up to a whole new audience ahead of the Xbox launch is a wise decision, and with the Dawntrail expansion set to kick off a whole new story arc for the first time in 10 years, why not make the game as enticing as possible to the widest pool of potential players?
Sure, those solo players might not be actively contributing to the in-game community. But if their subscription fee helps to keep the game alive and kicking for another decade, then that’s a plus for everyone.
Now that you can solo all the dungeons in the main story, it seems only natural that development will move on to making the game’s other mandatory group content solo-able next. It’s not been announced yet, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will begin in next year’s Dawntrail expansion. Until then, there’s never been a better time to jump into Final Fantasy 14.
Have solo dungeons convinced you to check out the game? Be sure to read our top 10 tips for beginners guide to get you off on the right foot. Don’t forget to also let us know how you feel about the game’s implementation of future solo content in the comments section down below.
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