Didn't see a thread about this, so...
I just got into this beta two weeks ago. The story behind this game is that FF XIV released two-ish years ago and was a huge failure. People hated the graphics, they hated the engine, they hated the models, the gameplay. Basically everything.
Most companies would have let the game go gently into the night and milk it for all it was worth until then. But not Square Enix.
They took the game offline about a year and a half to two years ago and proceeded to completely gut it. New engine. New artwork. New models. New storyline. They incorporated the previous storyline into the new version, billing A Realm Reborn as a continuation of the previous game rather than an expansion or completely new game.
I'm extremely excited about this game. I'm surprised, honestly, how good it is. You have to let go of WoW perceptions, but...
It's really, really good.
This is the cinematic chronicling the end of the original (1.0) and the intro into A Realm Reaborn:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h542YbZuwkQ
It is absolutely a Final Fantasy game. The emphasis is completely on the story. On your
story, from the beginning.
You start out as one of several classes. DPS Melee (Lancer, Pugalist), Physical Ranged (Archer), Caster DPS (Thaumaturge), Healer (Conjurer), and tank (Maurader is 1-handed tank, Gladiator is sword and board). Each class ultimately has a Job that they can level into. For Conjurer, the job is White Mage. For Thaumaturge, Black Mage. Gladiators become Paladins. Etc. There is also another class, Arcanist, that is not in the beta yet and will be released when the game goes live in August. It levels into - yes, can't have a Final Fantasy without one, imo - Summoner.
Crafting is treated like another class to level, and you do crafting jobs to level up. It seems odd at first, but I really enjoyed it once I got into it.
But it's the little things that really make me happy. You can dye most of the clothing. You can make most of the gear and weapons, too, except for dungeon drops and special gear. You will get a Chocobo mount, and when you do, he'll have barding for whichever Grand Company you choose to join (think of them as neutral factions). You will also be able to summon him outside of cities as a combat pet who will DPS or heal for you.
When you equip rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, they show! You can wear hats without losing your hair!
The emotes are very in-depth. I wish I could post them here, but the NDA still covers posting music, sound, and video from the Beta, so I'll have to wait.
I have pictures from the latest Beta, tho!
Me, in my Culinarian gear (that's cooking!) in Limsa Lominsa (the City of Pirates):
This is me in my Conjurer gear at level 19. I went into the dungeon I'd just completed looking like a nun, and came out looking sort of like Sailor Moon:
This is a small Aetheryte Camp in Gridania, which is the forest-based starting area. I believe this was in the Northern Shroud (The Black Shroud is the huge forest that covers the land there):
The last night, things got a bit frisky in the Adventurer's Guild in New Gridania:
As the servers went down, we retreated to Costa del Sol in La Noscea to say goodbye to Beta 3!
The game is $29.95 if you didn't play the 1.0 version. There is a subscription of $12.99 a month for 1 character slot per server, 8 characters max, or $14.99 a month for 8 characters per server, 40 max.