For gamers like myself, we don't have very many fond memories of Final Fantasy XIV when it was released back in 2010. It was fairly bad and a huge disappointment to Final Fantasy XI fans. The game, if you didn't have an absolutely top of the line PC, was extremely laggy. Though to be fair, some of that was from the server-side as well. Players were turned off not just by the lagging of the game, but the boring combat and story as well. So why go back after that huge nightmare? Well, obviously because they listened and learned over there at Square Enix. Now if only they would listen that Final Fantasy XIII was a terrible game as well.
So why go back when it is released on August 27th, 2013?
A New Graphics Engine
While the original game was, if anything, beautiful. It was super laggy and only worked on the best of computers, but it sure was pretty. The original release used the Crystal Tools engine, which is what they used for Final Fantasy XIII. It was great and all, but it had some issues transferring to the online open world setting. However, now with their bright and shiny new Luminous engine, A Realm Reborn looks amazing and plays amazing.
The New Server System
A Realm Reborn learned from past mistakes. This time they are going to reduce the embarrassing amount of latency of their original release by having specialized regional servers per country. This means no more awkward few second response times between clicking a move and your character actually doing it.
Customizable Graphics Settings
Above I said the new graphics engine makes things look a whole lot better. Usually this means for gamers with lower-end PCs that they cannot play it. However, thankfully, they have heard the cries of "your game was beautiful but maybe TOO beautiful." You can now lower the graphic settings to where even substandard PCs and play. I've seen it on lower graphics settings, it still looks pretty amazing. The new graphics engine must really be something.
Fully Redone UI and Custom HUD
Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn has redone their UI and HUD so that it is much more eye pleasing, a little less confusing, and fully customizable to preference. PC users are able to customize the UI to their mouse and keyboard preference or gamepad preference. PS3 users are not afforded similar flexibility, however. Though the PS3 system does use cross hotbars so that you can use every skill (and boy is there a lot of them) instead of just whatever one's fit on your hotbar.
The Class and Job System
This is really the biggest selling point. Whereas other MMOs will only let you be one class, making you create other characters to try other classes, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn lets you do all the things! Essentially making it so you only need to have one character to do everything. It is really a must buy for people that hate leveling alts.
Even though the re-release is primarily because bigger changes were needed to make XIV a decent game, it doesn't mean they can just release the same game. We as gamers expect new crap! So thus, they give us two new classes. Well, technically one new class and a new job. The Arcanist wields the power of carbuncles to do their magic casting and fighting for them where as the Summoner bends the powers of the Primals to their will. Arcanist will be available at launch, but Summoner requires other class leveling to unlock.
Honestly, I played the original XIV for about a day, so I am unsure if it actually had PVP in it. However, A Realm Reborn comes with it! There will be specialized arenas in which players can fight one versus one or team versus team. There are also some specialized zones where PVP is allowed. If PVP isn't your thing, it is entirely optional, even in the zones.
Full Active Time Event System ( FATE)
It seems like Square Enix has looked on at ArenaNet's success with Guild Wars 2 and stole their most popular aspect. The FATE system is large scale events that players in the area can participate in regardless of if they are partying together. I did quite a few of these in the Beta and they can get a bit repetitive, but that happens in any game. What keeps them interesting like in Guild Wars 2 is the fat loot.
Played the Original, Keep You Junk.
If you played the original version of the game, Square Enix is letting you carry your stuff over to the re-release. So it is good incentive for players who struggled through the original to return. I have heard, but not yet confirmed, that you levels will carry over as well. So ideally, you could be max level the first day. Some of the items that carry over will never be available to players of the re-release. So go lord your swag over those peons!
Finally, something useful to do with chocobos other than ride them. In this re-release you will be able to train your chocobos and fight them to the death. To heck with animal cruelty laws! Pit your golden feathered death machine against your friends' death machines! I can only assume there will be items as incentive to do this. If not, it is still a fun way to pass the time.
Finally, an MMO that understands just how deeply people like to immerse themselves. Also possibly how much people like myself like to grind for pointless items like housing. If I recall, XI did have housing, but in A Realm Reborn, housing will be more customizable. Whether or not you can build additional rooms and things is yet to be seen. However, you can make furniture.
It Feels Like a Final Fantasy Game
The game looks and feels like an actual Final Fantasy game. The original felt a little wrong, but this one feels like playing a game in the series. Granted between the combat and the general layout of the setting it feels like you are playing Final Fantasy XII.