#1 Posted by Funkadoodle (13 posts) -

Hey everybody, I was wondering which of the two I should start playing. I got ESO and Morrowind as a gift but havent really put much time into it. I am curious about FF14 as well, and was wondering what the gameplay differences are.

I could play FF14 on PC or PS4, whichever has the better community, but I have ESO already on PC.

I don't have any friends but I would join maybe a giantbomb one!

#2 Edited by Seikenfreak (1498 posts) -

First I'll note that FF14 is shared servers across PC and PS4. You can play and use your character/account on either.

From the bit I've played of ESO, the simplest way of putting it is that its kinda like.. well.. an online Elder Scrolls game lol From what I remember, the combat, the feel, the style etc is all like the Bethesda stuff. FF14 is kinda totally different style of gameplay and I've put hundreds or thousands of hours into it (but I have gradually fallen off it and stopped playing) Not that it's bad, it's amazing actually and I'd even argue the best MMO out now, but I've been playing it so long that I'm a bit tired of the content update formula and gear treadmill design.

This isn't exactly helpful information but I just thought I'd throw those in. I'm sure someone else on here can give you a more complete answer. And there is (or was) a GB FF14 group thead here but not sure how active they are anymore.

#3 Posted by Vortextk (932 posts) -

I can't speak for ESO, but FF14 plays like a "standard" mmo, meaning cooldowns, tab targeting, avoid ground marked aoes and doing raid mechanics like stacking up, spreading out, kiting and all the kind of stuff.

It's pretty, it has a great soundtrack(which is mostly boring early on because of the same area themes and boring dungeon music, eventually dungeons have unique music) and is fun to play. The crafting and gathering professions in the game are fairly deep; there are a ton of side things to do, unlock, earn, wear etc. The housing system is better as of this latest patch and a lot of quality of life issues have been addressed recently since stormblood. Houses can hold more items, more personal inventory, a "dresser transmog" system so you don't need to keep all your items on you that you like to wear for looks(glamour), things of that nature.

The biggest negative as someone who came back to the game last summer after having not played since the original rerelease of the game, is that the story is -long-. Like, really really long. Like, skipping cutscenes and going as fast as you can long. I didn't skip, but my friends that wanted to start the game were skipping everything like mad just to make it through the story which is -vital- because you CAN NOT get access to a lot of things in game until you get through parts of the story.

There is a skip potion you can buy for real money, I wouldn't suggest it though, but know that either enjoying the story or blowing through it you'll spend a long time. If you like that part of an mmo, great! The story picks up a lot of steam at certain points and once you get into the two expansions is pretty good with lots of voice acting compared to almost every other story in an mmo being shallow and straight up bad. If you don't care much, it's a long slog to open up content.

I completely recommend it but like anything, it has issues and quirks. Yeah money becomes pointless if you earn a decent amount end game besides cosmetics and yes the late pve content is just a gear treadmill that gets restarted every other patch, but that's an MMO and what it does offer I find to be very good.

#4 Edited by Zelyre (1898 posts) -

I bounced off really hard on FF14. I'm not sure if it was the UI, the fonts, the dialogue, or the starting city, but I wasn't getting into it. I believe it's free to play up to level 35ish, so the only thing that'll hurt by trying it is your bandwidth cap.

I'm actually currently pretty deep into the ESO well right now. I bounced off this game hard when it first came out.

Playing it now, it feels like a much different game. Progress is no longer gated by zone, so you could take your level 5 dude and ride around from one end of the world to the other. There are little dungeons and public dungeons that you can do with others without needing a party. Then your traditional dungeon stuff. Every single line of dialogue is voice acted, and done well. However, it's the Bethesda cast of voice actors - you'll run into a banker who's the same voice actor as the Minuteman guy from FO4. Once you hear it, you can't unhear it

I currently have a level 10 character that's just riding around an old level 35ish area where a vampire is supposed to show up, hoping I get bitten so I can turn into a vampire.

The nice thing about ESO is that there's no monthly fee. You lose out on the crafting bag, but if you're not crafting, or you're just not picking up everything you see, I think you'd do ok not subbing. You could buy the DLC packs as a non-sub and have permanent access to them. However, as long as you're an active subscriber you also have access to the DLC packs.

Combat is kinda actiony. It's not Skyrim, but it's not WoW. I'm no expert as my highest level is 25, but it seems like combat is more about resource management and your normal attacks are used as fillers to keep your magika and stamina up. Positioning matters and you can block/push attacks.

#5 Edited by fatalbanana (1106 posts) -

I obsessively played FF14 early last year and burned through the base game story and I really enjoyed it. For full context, I usually don't like MMO's. I bounced off WoW early, I played a decent amount of Star Wars The Old Republic but that didn't end up hooking me either, I got a good way into Guild Wars 2 and the same thing happened where I just burnt out on it. So I wouldn't consider myself an MMO guy even though I try a lot of them I have never got hooked on one until FF14.

Maybe it's the fan service or the really great community (in my experience) but FF14 just hit me in all the right places. I liked the story even though there is a lot of reading I think it's written really well and from what I've heard the DLC's are even better. I like the flow of the combat and the class system, I like the dungeons and the overall quests in the game are again well written and there was enough verity to keep me interested.

I found ESo to be offputting in just about every way. It's nice that everything in the game is voice acted but I found the writing to be pretty bad and the story to be just standard fantasy troupe stuff and just bland as all hell. The visual design is also just really bland and boring to me. Th combat felt floaty and imprecise in a way that just didn't feel good to me at all. If you like what you've seen of the game then give it a shot but it really isn't for me. By that same token if you're not into Final Fantasy then I don't know how much you'll get out of 14 because it goes pretty deep in the fan service and even though that was a hook for me I don't know if someone not versed in that stuff will get much out of it.

In any case, I think you can just download a play a free trial of FF14 so maybe give that a shot and see how you feel about it. It starts pretty slow but once you make it over the initial hump there's a lot to like about it.

#6 Posted by OurSin_360 (6119 posts) -

I only played the beta for both so take it with a grain of salt. Elder scrolls felt kinda like an elder scrolls lite, it had sort of the feel but the combat felt worse and it didn't seem to justify being an mmo instead of a regular elder scrolls game. That said i had some fun with it and still think about getting it on sale. I only played a small bit of final fantasy but it felt so much like an mmo ass mmo i bounced off real quick.

#7 Posted by Neurogia (145 posts) -

I haven't played FF14, but have lots of experience playing as a caster DPS in previous MMOs, so I naturally gravitated towards a sorcerer in ESO - Morrowind.

ESO sorcerer mechanics seemed fun at first until I had to learn about attack weaving, basically throwing in basic attacks between every spellcast inorder to cancel out the long recovery animations.

That whole mechanic, which is required to reach good endgame DPS levels, was a slog for me, so I eventually stopped playing.

#8 Posted by Belegorm (1848 posts) -

I haven't played ESO, but I do think that FFXIV is very fun in the way an MMO is supposed to be fun - group up with fellow adventurers and go on an adventure online.

#9 Edited by FrodoBaggins (1958 posts) -

Ff14 all day long. ESO wasn't AT ALL what I'm looking for from an MMO.

#10 Edited by jamjyo (103 posts) -

ESO is preeeety great IF you don't expect it to be coop Skyrim.

Combat might feel "meh" at first, but once you get into tons of skill combinations and animation canceling (not as hard as it sounds), it is surprisingly deep, satisfying, and has tons of build options.

Also, Cyrodil area's PVP experience is much better than anything WoW or GW2 have ever provided (FF14 might as well not have PVP).

Don't read release day reviews because a lot has changed since then.

On the other hand, FF14 for me was just an instanced WoW without the open world.... I'd recommend playing WoW over FF14 in that sense.

BUT!! Both have proper controller support, and that's automatically a huge + for me..

#11 Edited by gerrid (657 posts) -

To me it depends if you want an MMO as a way to play a social game for the long term, or you just want something deep to get into on your own. Honestly since you can basically play both for free, there's no reason not to try them both. My experience was that ESO makes a much better first impression but didn't sustain that level of engagement, whereas FFXIV is a very slow burn that ends up as a much richer and more deeply satisfying experience.


ESO is very much like a much bigger Skyrim. You can get a lot out of it alone, it has tonnes of quests and writing and emergent moments in the world, plus lots of variety in terms of weapons and builds and armour. There is just so much world to explore, so many quests and NPCs and locations. It's great for just wandering through and with the One Tamriel update they fully flattened the XP and combat in such a smart way so you can go anywhere with no barriers. You're never gated by level and the enemies all scale, meaning you never have to worry about being in the wrong place or not being able to take a quest. The stories are classic Elder Scrolls stuff. Nothing I found really captivated me but it was all enjoyable and well crafted, and of course 90% of the characters are incredibly bland. You end up doing some fun stuff but obviously a lot of the interaction is just talking to people.

I found the combat pretty mindless, you don't have that many skills on your bar, and you have to hammer basic attack in between to cancel animations, which means you do a lot of APM but they're not necessarily that interesting. I didn't get much in the way of satisfaction or strategy out of it, but I know some people do. If I am going for action combat I prefer something like BDO. It reminded me a lot of Diablo 3, honestly. I really liked how you could sub in skills and weapon sets on the fly but once you start optimising, things tended to converge a bit more so there isn't as much variety as there seems at first. In that classic TES way, it's also a bit janky in terms of animation and targeting, but the AOE abilities are really satisfying. If you ever liked any of the TES combat in the other games then it'll be fine. But I just don't find it interesting enough to keep me hooked for hundreds of hours.

The biggest downside is the social aspect. The grouping content just isn't compelling at all for me. The scaling means you can jump in and do whatever you want with friends, but so much of the content outside of PvP is tuned to be beatable alone, there isn't much point. So even if you do make friends in the game I never really found anything interesting to do with them. The PvP is pretty interesting but seems to suffer from imbalance which can totally kill it for long periods of time. Also outside of combat instances, I don't know what the hell else you would do with your friends. It's not even really that fun to just hang out with them because something about the player interactions and environments is awkward. There are guilds in the games but a lot of them are just tuned around trading and gear, rather than actually doing anything together.


FFXIV has a much more compelling story, exceptionally well crafted dramatic moments and memorable characters. It's funny and charming and heartwarming and sad. It's crafted to be enjoyed linearly rather than as a pick-and-choose fashion, but that means pretty much everyone you meet is on the same path as you so you have things in common. Of course being an MMO there's lots of filler, back and forth and stalling too. A lot of running back and forth between people. It's particularly difficult when you are playing through the story content patches that were released in chunks 3 months apart. Playing them all in a row as a backlog can be tiring, whereas when you play them as they are released they are perfect bite-sized vignettes. But I think the writing is good and has character and charm, something which lacked in ESO. A lot of people understandably skip through the dialogue meaning all they do is run back and forth between people, which of course isn't much fun. But if you take your time there is a rich depth to the world.

The combat appeals to me much more. There's a level of mechanical skill and complexity required for some roles, while others value adaptability and thinking on your feet. Many of them have a satisfying lead-in where you are setting up combos for large damage spikes, which you have to time with the heavily mechanically scripted fights in order to be successful. It's a balance that really rewards learning, timing and capability. I really enjoy the standard mechanics of fights, but telegraphed and scripted arenas are not for everyone. If you prefer things to be more dynamic and unpredictable, the sort of combat dance that FFXIV is designed around will probably seem boring, and anyway you will never get to the mechanically interesting or challenging fights. And of course the ramp is very very gentle, so you don't have many skills for a long time and that certainly turns a lot of people off. You spend most of the first dozens of hours with only a few skills and the only real mechanic is to avoid the AOE on the ground. It's not a great start, especially if you are ignoring the world exploration and characters and story.

But of course there is huge variety since it's a theme-park style MMO. You can switch between all the classes, switch to crafting, switch to gathering or racing or playing Triple Triad or the stupid minion RTS or the weird MOBA-esque PvP even. At this point there is a huge backlog of finely tuned instances with incredible music and visuals, which are still mechanically challenging and satisfying and surprising, which are easy to do together.

The social aspect too, is a lot stronger. There is a much wider variety of things to do with friends, but more than that, the game is designed around set group play. It's heavily role based and co-ordination between the group is key. So I find that incredibly satisfying. Unlike more action-based MMOs where your own personal DPS is the only thing that matters, there's an inter-reliance between the team that helps build relationships and provides a great sense of progress. Even when you just get matched randomly because you play alone, there is still great satisfaction in clearing things together and it is a way to build friendships and make connections through shared experiences. In that way it carries on the traditions of WoW but I think the smaller groups and more rigid encounter design really hammers home the co-operation. You can join a guild and work together to buy a house and decorate and get glamour gear and clear through old end game fights or start end game progression, or just hang about in the social housing districts or do the stupid jumping puzzles or mess around in the combat arenas or PvP or doing open world instances or hunting notorious monsters or gathering music or minions.

I love the aesthetics and the design of the whole world, the use of colour and the character in the animations. There's no build variety or sense of making the character -play- how you want, which I know some people can't stand. But honestly it's a plus for me in an MMO, because I hate the idea that you built "wrong" or are not optimised or have missed something and so are excluded. You can look how you want and I feel it has a much cleaner and fresher look than other MMOs, so I'm happy to spend a long time in the world.


One other thing for me is that FFXIV is all self contained. It doesn't allow add-ons in the TOS, so you just play and everyone is playing the same game, PC and PS4 and mac. Outside of people who do measure DPS occasionally, the game is tuned for everyone to have that vanilla experience. ESO is like WoW, and basically requires add-ons to function. The map, the quests, the targeting, the skills, the inventory, the alerts, the marketboard, the timers, the buffs - all stuff that requires you to install external add-ons and keep them up to date just to stay on a level playing field or make the game's UI look half way decent or readable. It's honestly a huge pain in the arse to me.

#12 Edited by Seikenfreak (1498 posts) -

Great responses.

I didn't say much about ESO but reading this stuff refreshed my memory a bit. I did play ESO for a week or so with a friend from FF14. We kinda got tired of FF14 and wanted try something else for a bit. The parts that I liked about ESO were what reminded me a bit of the pre-WoW era. Dungeons (or caves or whatever they were, maybe they weren't technically dungeons in the game), like any ES or Fallout game, were open and explorable (this is apparently not a word?) Where as the dungeons in FF14 and other modern MMOs are these sort of linear amusement park rides. The "Theme Park MMO" is a very apt description. So ESO just gave me a better sense of scale, world, and rewarding exploration because of it. That could've been because I had only played a small amount of time and once you see the whole game/world, it'll seem much smaller and less interesting. Having voice over for everything was cool but again, it has the same issues the single-player games have.

FF14 is designed in a way that you're supposed to just come and go from the game as you please. I believe the producer, Yoshida, has said this himself on multiple occasions. Content patches come in regular 3 month intervals, and typically fall into two different content segments. So if you're only interested in the latest super end-game raid thing, you'll be waiting roughly 6 months between updates. All that being said, pretty much everything gets nerfed or made easier to attain over time so that people who fall behind can catch up. If you're a person like me who thrives on setting personal goals i.e. completing certain tasks and getting specific gear, to be motivated and continue playing the game, then you eventually realize none of it matters, it'll all be obsolete and useless in 6 months. Gear glamour is the only true end-game here, which I really do like but isn't enough to keep me going. Once you catch up on all the story content, it doesn't hurt much to take a break from the game. Other modern online games like Destiny work on the same or similar design structure. If you've heard Jeff complain on the Bombcast about the Light system and how everything feels pointless in Destiny 2, then you'll understand what the end-game of FF14 is like. I really miss FF11 for all these reasons.

BUT, the progression structure is pretty much the one major issue I have with FF14. Everything else about the game is fantastic and worth playing.

Again, I only played a little of ESO so I have no idea how the progression system works or feels in that one.