I decided to download and run the Heavensward benchmark (EU/NA download) to see just how badly my aging gaming laptop (a 2011 vintage Alienware M14x) would do. Before running the new I remembered I still had the old original v1.0 FFXIV benchmark lying around and ran that first just for the fun of it.
According to old forums that’s not good although I didn’t find an official ‘scale’ or rating. Of course the first time I ran it performance was terrible – a score of ~640. Very choppy and lots of lost frames. Then I remembered I have to force unknown software to use the 3D graphics card using the nVidia control panel despite having the 3D card set as default in the same place (worst software design ever!). The score of 2162 was with perfectly smooth video at least to my eye. Of course the original v1.0 trailer is probably badly optimised so that score isn’t so very relevant today. I don’t have the A Realm Reborn v2.0 benchmark downloaded so didn’t run that for a more accurate comparison.
So with that slightly worrying prelude I moved on to the actual Heavensward benchmark. This makes use of the current games same graphics options and settings – it auto recognised that my machine fits the High (Laptop) profile.
Running the benchmark shows you the same promotional trailer that’s on websites and Youtube for the expansion.
This time the benchmark ended to NPCs from the video applauding my system politely – a very nice touch! I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised that my aging rig can run it so well. Clearly this benchmark is better optimised (it even uses DirectX 11). I have no idea how good that score is but the video was smooth as silk running throughout, even the more spell effect intensive boss fights, so I’m hopeful I’ll be able to run the expansion without needing to upgrade.
MMORPGs are ever evolving and growing, but so are their system requirements. It’s an inevitable part of PC gaming that you have to upgrade or replace your computer every so often. I’m very happy with the longevity of this gaming laptop, it’s never had stellar performance (talking frames per second) but it does medium performance very, very solidly regardless of what you throw at it. I remember the painful early days of playing Cataclysm era World of Warcraft on an old Apple laptop – Cataclysm upgraded WoW’s minimum system requirements by quite a lot and suddenly the game was unplayable.
Bring on the expansion, my computer is ready!