I had my invite to the beta in the week and our upgraded Internet arrived just in time so I could download the monster beta client in under an hour. However given my need to do some study this Saturday, and my desire to play some GW2 and some SWTOR, I only crammed in two very short sessions each of about an hour this beta. I cannot understand why they would stop a weekend beta test on a Sunday morning (9am GMT or 2am PST).
After registering my beta code on my old login I was delighted to be playing my old character again. The wording of the sign-in process made me think it was a level 1 version of him for some reason (stuff about choosing a discipline etc). Also I was shunted to Gridania without any choice of starter city. A shame as I only played in Limsa Lominsa and its immediate surroundings in 1.0 so it felt like I was starting a totally new game.
I did join in on a FATE event while trying to do my first “kill ten mushrooms” quest, it seems like a good system. Anything that gets random players cooperating out in the field is a good thing in my book! I was also glad to note, like in GW2, that quest objective items (things you pickup or click on) seem to be individual to players. I was tasked to pickup some vegetables in an early quest and I was thankful not to be competing with the other players around me when gathering them.
Beyond that I did a few fetch quests, explored the markets and bought some item upgrades. As Bhagpuss posts the quality of the dialogue in both quests and cutscenes is pretty top-notch. I found the lack of voice-over disturbing at first as I’m so used to it in SWTOR now, but after a while I got used to this different approach. The reactions of my character and others to the dialogue is particular nice – the use of emotes and subtle gestures in particular.
I look forward to a better look in the next beta, I need to get more of a hang of combat and to get outside the city and see more of the world!
 I’ve come back to add two things to this post. Firstly the link to the Massively article I’ve just read, it’s a balanced piece on the state of the beta at present.
I also have been thinking about whether I can realistically fit any time for FFXIV into my gaming week. I’m not sure that I have a ‘gap’ for the game, and does it really offer anything over Everquest 2 for instance (which has good crafting and housing already)?
I think I originally bought FFXIV because I fancied trying a more Asian take on Fantasy, something outside of the Tolkien-derived norm. I’ve since tried Aion and Tera but I gave up on both games because of system/content reasons (too much of a focus on PVP and very formulaic/repetitive content respectively).
I will take some time for the next beta just to get more of a feel for the game but unlike the author of the Massively article I think offering a ‘content buffet’ may not be enough to make me want to swap away from games in which I’m already more established and invested.