I built my PC in 2007, so I’m only running a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo. Since then, I added a bit more RAM and replaced the video card in 2011. So I’m not running the greatest rig right now. When I was participating in the closed beta last month, I didn’t run into any problems running the client, but I was curious to see how my computer would handle FFXIV:ARR if I put all the settings at maximum. I don’t actually have any intention of playing with the settings that high, but I was pleased to discover that my machine scored around 4750 (Very High).
Once I finished messing around with that, I jumped right into the character creator. Character creation is a funny thing. Some people just pick defaults while others can spend HOURS on creating the perfect character. Admittedly, the amount of time that one can spend on a character creator is going to be directly related to how many aspects a person can customize and how much they can customize them. For example, when customizing a character’s eyes, do they give you a preset list of 6 shapes/sizes? Or are there sliders for slant, size, color, height, etc?
FFXIV:ARR’s Character Creator doesn’t have a lot of sliders. Personally, I prefer it that way because in my opinion, there’s a level of detail that once you pass it becomes ridiculous. I created two characters: a male Elezen and a female Roegadyn.
For the male character, I had slider options for height and the length of his ears.
For the female character, I had slider options for height, muscle tone, and breast size. (In case you’re wondering, her breasts are a 39 out of 100.)
All other options were either lists of presets or choosing colors for hair, highlights, eyes, face paint, and tattoos.
Just like in FFXI, a character in FFXIV:ARR can master all classes, jobs, and tradeskills if they so desire. It is a time-consuming process, but it effectively eliminates the need for alts. In other online games, I am definitely an alt-aholic because I want to experience all the different ways to play the game or be able to craft all my own gear. So now I’m trying to decide which of my two characters I should play when the game goes live later this month.
Male Elezen Pros: I prefer playing male characters. There are two reasons for this. First of all, if I’m going to be spending literally over a thousand hours looking at a character on the screen, I’d rather look at an attractive man than a sexy woman. I find Elves and their similar races sexy because they’re tall, have smooth feminine features, and have pointy ears. Think Legolas from The Lord of the Rings movies. Or Spock Prime (when he was young) from Star Trek. I could look at them ALL DAY. The second reason is that I don’t always want other players to know that I’m a woman. It’s true that female characters tend to get more free stuff and get forgiven for mistakes FAR MORE than their male counterparts, but a male friend of mine explained it perfectly. When he played FF XI, he played as a female character and he role-played as a female character. What he noticed was that while male characters always wanted him (her) around, they never really LISTENED to anything he(she) said. When he told me that, I gave him a sad, rather sardonic smile and said, “Welcome to what it’s like to be a woman.” But this isn’t supposed to be a post on sexism in video games…
Male Elezen Cons: OMG WTF IS UP WITH THE SIZE OF HIS HEAD?!? IT’S TINY!
Female Roegadyn Pros: My husband looked at this character and said that she matched my personality. (I don’t look at all like this in real life. I’m short and petite, not tall and muscular.) My “Main” in World of Warcraft is a level 90 female Undead Warlock. She has my middle name, so when I play her, I feel that she is an extension of me. I am connected with her. When I play female characters, I definitely relate to them far better than I do male ones. Therefore, playing a female character will, in theory, give me a deeper experience. Also, like I mentioned earlier, people will be nicer to me just because I’m female. If I screw up in a dungeon or something, they’ll just chalk it up to me being a “girl.”
Female Roegadyn Cons: As I just mentioned, there is a good chance that I’ll be treated as a less skilled player because I’m a female. Isn’t it interesting that this aspect of being female can be both a good thing AND a bad thing?
Thankfully, I have some time to think on this before making my decision. I COULD play both, but that would up my subscription fee from $12.99 a month to $14.99 a month and although that’s only a two dollar difference, that really seems foolish to me.