Square recently relaunched Final Fantasy XIV, the franchise's second MMO, under the new subtitle A Realm Reborn. They've added several features to help expand the world of Eorzea, giving it the life and depth that such a massive game needs. One of the game's new features is its Full Active Time Events, or FATEs for short. These timed events are just another way that Final Fantasy XIV aims to bring players together, regardless of level and experience.
First of all, FATEs are special real-time events. A lot of early game FATEs involve players joining together to defeat hordes of enemies or special bosses. These bosses may include stronger versions of regular enemies or famous creatures from previous entries in the franchise. These are indicated on the player's map and can be joined either by going into the affected area, or by speaking to a particular NPC. Players will be automatically notified if an event is happening in a nearby area. Later game events may include special missions that can be chained into other events depending on the outcome. Every single area houses a FATE, with approximately 300 events being featured at launch.
The FATE system is one that allows both high and low level players to participate. If a player is underleveled, they will be advised against joining in, but will not be forced to step aside. Unfortunately, this means that their contribution will not be weighed as heavily as other players. If a player is over the recommended level, they will have to “level sync” in order to participate. Their character will be brought down to the required level, preventing them from using some of their more advanced abilities. This keeps these events balanced and stops more experienced players from killing special enemies too quickly, taking opportunities away from other players.
While players are more than capable of trying these events on their own, many of the more difficult FATEs may require them to team up. It wasn't uncommon to see players of a lower level standing back to heal those who were in the middle of battle. Many players took to their keyboards and formed temporary parties to tackle the events. While many of these groups disbanded once the event was over, some seemed to continue on as free companies.
Even though the events themselves add quite a bit of depth and variety to the experience, it was the social aspect that will make replaying them interesting. Each encounter with a FATE was different due to the various people, the groups they formed and the strategies they used. This helps break some of the monotony that could usually put a damper on timed encounters. Players shouldn't worry about running out of things to do, as the sheer number of these events will keep the average player in the action for quite some time.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was released on August 27th, and is available for the PC and PlayStation 3.