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The Biggest MMORPG of the Decade is Finally on Xbox Game Pass

An epic like no other.

Final Fantasy XIV
Square Enix
Final Fantasy

Multiplayer online role-playing games (or MMORPGs, for short) fulfill a specific kind of fantasy, giving you boundless worlds to explore alongside friends. But while plenty of MMOs offer fascinating opportunities for adventure, storytelling was often a problem in a world where over a million people can play out those adventures all at once. That is, until Final Fantasy XIV.

After a disastrous initial launch in 2010, Square Enix redefined massively multiplayer games with 2013’s relaunch, A Realm Reborn, which fused the charming storytelling of Final Fantasy with the trappings of MMOs. Ten years later, it's still one of the best online experiences you can find, and with Final Fantasy XIV finally coming to Xbox Games Pass, that world is about to get bigger than ever. If you’re jumping in on Xbox, you can even get the full base game and the first two expansions, Heavensware and Stormblood, for free with Game Pass.

Here’s why it’s worth checking out, and what you should know before you do.

Final Fantasy XIV’s world is rich with lore and personality, packed full of countless little stories and characters.

Square Enix

Like most Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy IV doesn’t require any prior knowledge of the series whatsoever. In traditional MMO fashion, you’ll create your character, choose a class, and explore a world with more quests than you thought humanly possible.

At its core FFXIV has rock-solid MMO design, with imaginative dungeons, dynamic jobs and roles that feel integrally different, deep crafting options, a bustling community, and more. At the same time, the development team is consistently transparent with the community and genuinely cares about listening to and addressing feedback. While grinding is always a part of MMOs, FFXIV values players time by providing robust options for increasing your level, making sure there’s always something interesting, or narratively important, to engage with. In short, FFXIV has everything you could want from an MMO, but what sets the game apart is its commitment to storytelling, particularly in how it integrates the player.

Each expansion brings new elements to the game while tackling some fascinating, often philosophical, narrative themes.

Square Enix

The base game, A Realm Reborn, takes extensive steps to set up FFXIV’s world and lore, introducing the various political powers in the conflict between the Garlean Empire and the free country of Eorzea. You play as an adventurer who comes to be known as the “Warrior of Light,” playing a key role in fending off the Empire’s invasion. To this end, you join a group called The Scions who effectively function as party members across the game and its four expansions.

FFXIV effortlessly manages to layer a single-player-styled story on top of its MMO structure. This isn’t just a world that you’re part of, but one that grows and changes because of your involvement. You start as a paltry adventurer but grow into an iconic hero who rubs elbows with literal gods.

FFXIV sets a new standard for MMO storytelling, and can legitimately stand with the best stories Final Fantasy has ever told.

Square Enix

Final Fantasy has always been about a strong cast of core characters, and FFXIV has that in spades. Each member of the Scions feels like a dear friend, and every expansion embellishes those relationships with new details and wrinkles. These are some of the most well-written characters in the entire Final Fantasy series, from the wise but cryptic magic master Urianger to the devilishly charming rogue Thancred.

As an experience, FFXIV is all about seeing that story play out, while bundles of side content makes Eorzea and the surrounding countries feel like rich, realistic places. Every single thing you do in FFXIV is designed to further your understanding of the game’s world and inhabitants. This helps create an extremely satisfying gameplay loop, as you aren’t just engaging with FFXIV’s raids or trials for tangible rewards like experience and equipment, but also for vital narrative context — like unlocking more backstory on your favorite character.

Each expansion brings new elements to the game while tackling some fascinating, often philosophical, narrative themes: Heavensward is about loss and revenge, Stormblood tackles redemption and escaping subjugation, Shadowbringers handles grappling with despair, and Endwalker even takes a hard look at the nature of mortality. It may seem strange to say that an MMO has one of the defining stories of the last decade of video games, but it’s true.

FFXIV has a diverse selection of jobs to choose from, both for combat and crafting.

Square Enix

FFXIV is one of those games that’s immensely easy to recommend for any number of reasons, whether you enjoy massively multiplayer games in general or just good fantasy stories. It’s also one of the easiest MMOs to pick up and play, with liberal tutorials and guidance along with a mostly welcoming community happy to help out newcomers.

Final Fantasy XIV is a massive hundreds of hours of commitment, but it’s one of the few moments you’ll find that time sink actually feels like it was worth it.

Final Fantasy XIV is now available for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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