This is quickly turning into an age-old question, as a big MMORPG fan myself I’ve always loved wow, even now… but we’ll talk about current wow a bit later… in fact the two games have had near polar opposite trajectories through the gaming space. Wow started as a complete trend setter, everyone who played anything else at the time, including myself moved to wow during it’s first expansion. Wow was the big new thing, the new adventure and it was incredible for its time. Over time however, ever since its third expansion it’s been slowly declining in its player base. There could be any amount of reasons for this from the general move in the gaming industry to the battle royals, the dislike of a subscription system or perhaps the game is just not what it once was…?
FFXIV however had a slightly shakier start… in fact it even somewhat died very shortly after its release. The game literally came out, did appallingly badly and then the developers just remade it… so FFXIV is starting from the bottom, and it was not only competing with wow but at the time every other studio was trying to produce the “wow killer.” However, FFXIV relaunched, still not amazing, but better, a real change for the good. The game was almost entirely remade and was a huge success comparatively. In fact, FFXIV has gone from strength to strength, sub numbers go up, content quality goes up, it’s all looking good for FFXIV.
Well, this brings us to the most recent years, wow, the veteran of the industry with a declining player base vs FFXIV the rising star. So, which do we choose?
World of warcraft vs Final Fantasy 14, which is better?
Here we are the question we all want answered, and the answer I hear you ask? Both… Neither… Wow… But then FFXIV… What about wow classic…? Never mind we’re not talking about classic, that’s a whole other tangent that we don’t have time for…
The answer truly is up to you, the games are incredibly different, if you had the time to invest you could honestly find a lot of enjoyment from both.
What we’re going to do here is go through the standard MMORPG pieces of content and compare the two, then you as the reader can choose. Maybe you don’t like the sound of either or maybe you’ll like the sound of both. Let’s have a look…
The story is really the place to start with MMO’s we’ll cover PVP and PVE after this but the first core system you really interact with is the story.
“I’m in this world, no where do I go? What do I do?”
Well, wow is very much a jumble in its current state when you first log in. Not in a bad way you just have a lot of options to choose from. From the very starting screen you have a choice of where to start, the racial starting area or an area specifically for new players called Exile’s Reach. However, once you’ve worked through these areas, you’ve done your levelling through the previous expansions you’re left in the most recent expansion, 10 levels until max and you’re in the up to date lore of the game.
This is where wow falls short I’m afraid, it’s not necessarily bad but it’s more of an afterthought. The general concept seems to be made, then the gameplay designed then the story sort of made to fit. It rarely feels like story is driving the game forward and more feels like a suggestion, the player really pushes the content, if you want to go else where you just leave and quest or kill mobs elsewhere…
Now let’s take a look at FFXIV, well, it’s not unsurprising for anyone that’s played the game that the story is the driving factor behind near everything in the game… Sadly I’m still working my way through the FFXIV content so I couldn’t justify it overall, but I actually care about the story here, I watch the cut scenes, I read the quest text (for the most part…) But what has really surprised me is that I actually care, the characters I interact with I care about how their story turns out.
It’s hard to really compare the two without ruining story moments that new players might not want spoiling but suffice to say. In wows story I’m eye rolling and yawning… With FFXIV I’m excited and intrigued.
FFXIV is a clear winner for me here.
Right, the big one, the main audience driver and this is going to be the biggest contesting point when it comes to the games because it’s the main selling point of both.
Let’s start with wow. PVE wise you have raids and dungeons. There is a decent level of depth to both however raids have 4 difficulties from the laughably easy, I’m talking, show up and have a mouse. All the way to the 1% of the player base might every see because even getting to the last boss is considered way too much for most, if you like a challenge, the raiding in wow has one for every player.
Next is dungeons, yet again wow has four difficulties for its dungeons in this section however the first 3 are near laughably easy and the real content starts when you hit the highest difficulty which is mythic +. Mythic + is a unique system in which players are given keystones that start at level 2, the dungeons themselves then have a time trial type format with some extra challenge to be thrown your way depending on the level you are doing. In this system if you beat the time then the keystone is levelled up, the health and damage of the enemies is scaled up the higher the key level and scales infinitely, the dungeon will literally get to a point where it is considered impossible and that is what the best players in the world try to push higher and higher.
Next let’s talk about the PVE content in FFXIV, there are dungeons and raids just like in wow, but they have a different approach, the dungeons do not have such an infinite concept that wow does, but they are good, I cannot take that away from them. They even have a really nice concept which allows players to go back to do old dungeons which you have over levelled in that you can scale your character down so that the dungeon is still somewhat of a challenge.
The raids in FFXIV are where the game really shines. A quick not here is the music, it’s incredible, even if you’re getting destroyed by a boss it’s hard to even be mad and the spectacle with the background music being so epic. Think boss music from your favourite TV show, it just gives this feeling of an epic encounter, and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it. That’s the thing, with wow I couldn’t even tell you what the music was, it’s not memorable or particularly impactful it’s just sort of there…
The raids themselves have multiple difficulties and range from a more entry level to an incredibly intense level only the best of the best can take on.
I would have to say though the real driving factor for me to do the FFXIV raids has to be the pure spectacle, the boss areas are incredible although maybe a little similar in shape. The bosses themselves are just the same, spectacular, with huge spell effects going off and intense strategies involved I can’t say that the raiding is lacking in FFXIV at all.
It really is hard to draw a winner here, the content is slightly more varied at high end in wow with the dungeons have the mythic + mode but then in FFXIV you can go back and do old raids with their challenge intact which just isn’t a thing in wow. The bosses in FFXIV are much more of a spectacle with bright lights and huge effects flying all over the place but then some of the wow bosses are incredibly well designed and some of the most fun I’ve had in gaming. This is really going to be a personal preference for all players, and I can’t choose between them myself, maybe leaning slightly towards FFXIV as I do prefer raiding over dungeon content and there is simply more of it to be done in FFXIV.
Overall, it’s a tie with a slight nudge towards FFXIV.
This one is going to be a bit of a landslide…
Where PVP does exist in both games it’s almost an afterthought in FFXIV, there are some that do enjoy the PVP in FFXIV but it’s a minority of the player base and there’s not a huge amount to sink your teeth into on that front.
Wow however has a very deep PVP system, there’s battlegrounds, arenas, and world pvp being the primary ones, there are these things called brawls but they’re more fun modes that come around once every so often. World PVP is less of a thing in these more modern times of wow but the games do have a war mode feature which essentially just makes it so you can fight the other faction in the open world and there are those who do enjoy this. The arenas and battlegrounds are the main features here though, with unrated and rated systems attached to both you can choose to be either more casual or try to push ranks. It is worth noting here though that you will need to form a group to do the rated content so bring a few friends if you’re interested.
PVP is a hard one to really give an overall unbiased opinion on as some will hate it some will love it. Some may say the current balance makes them dislike it or love it just the same but with wow having a much more invested community and content really flushed out around it I would have to give it to wow for this one.
In the PVP wow is a clear winner.
In conclusion, it’s really, really, really, hard comparing MMORPG’s… there’s so much content that I’d never be able to cover it all here and this is just an overarching look at the core concepts, we still have crafting, levelling, RP, collecting and much more that make up and MMORPG.
If I was to give advice to a new player choosing between the two, I would have to say FFXIV if I’m honest, I love wow but it’s so hard to get into for new players as so much of the design of the game now is based around the veterans where as FFXIV is still growing and as such is providing more content for those new players coming in.
In the end there is a lot of personal preference so I would recommend trying both and seeing which you like more, with completely different art style, play styles and overall design it’s impossible to tell you definitively which is better. It’s up to you.
We hope this article was helpful and you enjoy your MMO’s as much as me. Who knows maybe there’ll be a new contender in a year or two… I’m looking at you, Ashes of Creation…