World of Warcraft (WoW)

16 Year WoW Vet & 6 Year FFXIV Vet: The Comparisons I’ve Seen Are Very 1 Sided

Comparisons between these two games have been a hot topic lately, and honestly the discussions I've seen around it annoy me a bit. As a veteran of both the discussions are very clearly one sided and come from people who are not capped on FFXIV. I'd like to talk about some of the comments generally made about the two, fair warning this will be fairly long as a result. I have played WoW since Vanilla and have been capped every xpac since BC. I have played FFXIV since Heavensward and have spent the entirety of its current expansion capped.

Amount of Content

A common point of discussion among these two games is the amount of content. People point to falling sub numbers and claim there is "nothing to do" at cap. "All there is to do is M+, Raiding, and PvP" is the general complaint they make. Is that really all there is? This type of thinking generally ignores things such as farming old mounts, transmogs, gold making, and farming old reps for rewards. You could argue that those things may not interest you, which is totally fair, but to say there is nothing outside of the big 3 things is simply false from the get go.

So what about FFXIV? Well, you have raiding. If you're looking at end game content, that's pretty much it. There is no system like M+ in FFXIV. You can talk about how old it gets to run the same dungeons over an expansion or the issue with the affixes, which again are fair points for discussion, but it is something to do. The PvP in 14 is also hot garbage and the community readily attests to it. I've seen several people make the point that in 14 you have the Gold Saucer and Beast Tribes and old content to run, but I really don't see much difference between that and doing almost the exact same thing in WoW. You can go farm old reps. If you want to add that as a possibility in 14 you can't discount it in WoW. Maybe it's just me, but it just feels a little funny that people will complain that there is nothing to do in WoW, but then a few moments later complain that things are locked behind completing grinds. Just admit that you don't like doing that grind. If it's a grind you don't like though, 14 isn't going to offer much either because guess what. MMOs lock things to do behind grinds.

So what about collecting? It's thrown around as a joke in 14 that the real end game is the glamour system (their word for transmog). WoW blows 14 out of the water in this regard, especially if you're considering it an actual piece of endgame content. The glamour system in 14 has an extremely painful issue. It shares the fact that entire premade sets are only doable at certain places, namely the large cities. You can do individual pieces out anywhere in the world using a consumable, but WoW also has systems like that in place and honestly has it better in some ways since there are things like the yak that allow for complete access to outfits as long as you can mount.

So far they're pretty comparable. However in 14 the main source of your transmog is tied to your "glamour dresser" which is only accessible in certain areas as well. And it has limited space. That's right, you can only store so many appearances before you have to start getting rid of things. WoW's collection approach is VASTLY better for people who want to make new outfits. This issue is compounded by one of the things often touted as a benefit in 14, being able to have all classes on a single character. Good luck finding room to save several outfits for more than two classes when you only have 400 spots available. That thing fills up real fast, ask anyone. Now in all fairness the devs at 14 have acknowledged this issue and have said there will be improvements made, but that was quite a while ago and no news about it has since come out.

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Pets & mounts use pretty much the same system, you collect them and pull up a menu to use whatever you want, can set favorites, etc. so both are pretty much equal there. Due to WoW's age it does have more to collect though.

So what about old content? Timewalking is a bit of a pain point in WoW because we all had hoped for a bit better of a system than we got. Then in 14 people will constantly talk about how it actually scales well when you go run old raids for stuff. Woohoo! What they don't mention is that all those abilities you gained in future expansions since whatever content you're running are gone, so your gameplay is quite different and in almost all cases that is purely a negative. But you can get rewards for doing old content in 14! Sure, and just like how timewalking content in WoW is not comparable to current content the gear you get from doing old raids in 14 is, you guessed it, old gear. The only thing it's really good for is glamour and yeah. See the paragraph above to where that issue starts to build up. So while it can be fun to experience old raids at the difficulty they were, that experience is all you really get from it. Though WoW doesn't offer something like that since scaling is often broken in timewalking so it could certainly be viewed as a positive in the favor of 14.

But 14 has palace of the dead and heaven on high and Bozja and Eureka! Sure, it does. But if you want to complain that WoW gets old because of doing repeatable content you have absolutely no room to stand in regards to these. Palace and HoH get old REAL fast. Bozja is the supposed improvement on Eureka, a system from a previous expansion, and the best description I've found comes straight from the 14 community itself. “We’re all waiting to have fun, but aren’t having fun while we’re waiting.” Given the issues I and others have with Bozja I don't really view it is a positive source of content. I've not wanted to touch Eureka since it's an older system so I can't accurately talk about that. But if the improvement has the reputation it does I wouldn't hold your expectations very high.

Quality of Devs

Now in this area, 14 does win out very handily. It's no secret that the WoW community feels stinted by Blizzard devs. That it feels like things are falling on deaf ears and community-dev interaction is lacking. I do agree with that. I also agree that the devs for 14 do seem to care about their game. In my opinion this is the strongest point for 14. While watching the devs work on WoW can be a bit stress inducing knowing that player feedback won't be heard or implemented, it's nice to know that devs in 14 do listen to their players and care about them. Issues such as the glamour dresser are generally not given much credence due to this fact. The fact that the bunny and big cat races are getting male and female options added are solely because the devs took time off the clock to add them to the game. That says something. However things like the glamour dresser and current bunnies and big cats not having helmets is still a question players are wondering about, so there is still a bit of room for questioning. All in all though, I have much more faith in the 14 devs going forward than I do the WoW devs.

Ease of Entry

One thing that holds a lot of people back, that I've spoken to, from joining an MMO is the fact that they're so big. Both MMOs have been out for quite a while now and so they're both fairly daunting to enter. Chromie time in WoW was a great thing they added IMO, especially when it comes to new players trying to get into the game. A common praise 14 gets is the large amount of content new players are faced with when starting the game, but again if someone is completely new to WoW, they have plenty of content to choose from too so it seems a fairly moot point that is only really used to try and give more weight to 14.

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So what about the actually getting into the games if it's openly admitted that there is a lot of content to play through to get to endgame? Well, in my opinion WoW is more friendly to start and more fun to play for the first while. People in the 14 community will openly admit that the starting story is pretty bad and so you really need to get to level 50 and finish the main story and get started on the second expansion before things really start to get anywhere. Maybe I'm crazy, but that is a huge red flag for me. If a game requires 20+ hours of my time before it STARTS to get good that is not a friendly starting experience.

What about the gameplay itself? Again WoW has done a much better job of pacing their classes so you have good feeling abilities fairly early and know how your class will function. In 14 classes don't really feel fleshed out very well until later in the game. I would argue that for most classes that I've played that holds true until you reach level 70, so essentially three expansions. So you've got slow and not very interesting class gameplay for quite a while, and a story that is not great and moves at a snails pace for 50 levels minimum. Again, not a great new player experience. You could also discuss the pacing of things like the slower GCD and class design but that would be a whole different issue and is something much more rooted in experience. The slower GCD won't feel too odd to casters, but to go from playing melee in wow to a melee in 14 where you get one button every 2.5 seconds, and generally only a one-two punch for depth of combat for quite a few hours really kills things.

Alts also fair better in WoW in my opinion. Yes you can have every class on a single character but to do so means that leveling those alt classes becomes a painful experience. In WoW if you want to start an alt you can go hard and cap pretty fast and have varied content to do along the way. In 14 if you want to start leveling that alt class and want to get it to cap very fast you have A LOT of running the same content for hours upon hours. (Palace of the Dead and Heaven on High.) Even then getting it to cap is a much slower experience than it is in WoW, though for some that may be a positive thing so it is largely personal preference. If you want a new class at cap, WoW is better at letting you get there, but you do have to make a new toon and redo certain things in order to have things unlocked on that toon.

So Which is Better?

It seems that most of the videos and discussions I've seen online heavily gravitate towards 14. Having played both a good amount, including the endgame at both, the answer is not so simple. I don't really think that there is a clear winner unless you're only looking at one specific area of either game. If you're only comparing stories between the two, 14 wins hands down. If you're looking at collecting, WoW wins hands down. If you're looking at devs, again 14 wins pretty handily. If you're looking at the amount of content honestly I have to say WoW wins. There's just more variety available. Not every avenue will appeal to people but the option for variety is at least there.

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Simply put, they're both good games. They will appeal to different people and that's ok. People who don't want to sit and watch 30+ hours of cutscenes won't enjoy 14. People who do want story to be the main thing in their MMO will prefer 14. I think 14 is getting a lot of praise from some in the WoW community for a few reasons.

1) The story. Simply put, 14 has had their story planned for years and so they're just telling a better story. People who want a good story will (after slogging through 52ish levels of content) find that good story.

2) Novelty. I think this is a pretty big driving force. People who have been playing WoW for 10+ years often have done a lot of the content available because they enjoy the game. Starting a new MMO gives them lots to do again. I think if they had been playing 14 consistently since launch many of those claiming 14 has so much do to would be praising WoW for having so much to do.

3) Streaming. This topic is getting views right now. The two communities are interacting and it's good for channels. I think this also mixes with the point above. Someone who has been streaming WoW for years, playing for hours and hours a day will naturally run out of things to do in any game. 14 gives them a nice change of pace and a lot of stuff to burn through for a while. It's a safe thing for them to try out while retaining a large portion of their normal audience. I'm not a streamer myself but I would imagine playing the same game for hours and hours a day, week in and week out would start to get a little stale. 14 is a breath of fresh air for them, and like I said just a second ago is a much safer thing for them to try and not lose audience than if they were to try something completely different like CoD for example.

tl;dr

Both games have positives and negatives. I think it's simply untrue to say that 14 is a vastly better game than WoW. In some ways, sure, but in other ways it really isn't. These games will appeal to different people and that's ok. Part of the craze is 14 gives people who have played WoW for years upon years fresh MMO content. If 14 had come out first I think it's quite possible 14 players would be jumping to WoW for a similar reason. I think we need to remember that for most people, the MMO they play is not their job, it's something they do for fun. And people are allowed to have fun playing the game they enjoy. There's no need to pointlessly divide fans of either series against the other in some idea that they are the superior gamers for playing the "better" game.

I would gladly make a video discussing these same things and maybe a couple more, but as I have no channel or audience I figured this would be a better place. If you would be interested in a video format of this let me know and I'll make one 🙂

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