My love for the Final Fantasy series is roughly 20 years old now. It began with my discovery of Final Fantasy VII and has endured to this day.
But one game – in my humble opinion – stands head and shoulders above the rest of the series.
Final Fantasy XIV.
This ever-continuing game is now five years old and the developers are celebrating the 5th anniversary with a series of in-game events and new content to enjoy. It’s the perfect time to finally share why I love it so much, as well as to share my own personal collection of merchandise.
FFXIV has everything I care about in JRPGs… The story is complex and interesting. The dialogue is smart and nuanced. It has characters that grow over time and with whom you grow to care about.
The narrative manages to straddle high fantasy and grounded politics at the same time. The world is atmospheric and immersive.
The visuals are beautiful and they’re married perfectly with evocative music to give locations a sense of character and identity. Some of the sweeping vistas are breath-taking to look at and I have spent countless hours listening to the soundtracks that accompany them.
On top of that, it’s an MMO so there aren’t just NPCs living in the world around me… there are also real people. That’s just amazing to me. Even though online multiplayer is nothing new, I never take for granted how freaking cool it is to share a Final Fantasy world with millions of other players.
It’s no minor statement for me to say that Final Fantasy XIV is my favourite game of all time, de-throning Final Fantasy VII (which was my favourite game for almost two decades).
Over time, I’ve purchased merchandise related to the game and I’m utterly thrilled with all of it! While a lot of game merchandise can be cash-grabby cheap plastic tat, the items I’ve bought from Square Enix have proven to be of excellent quality.
These are made of a sturdy metal with a smooth polished finish on the front. The symbols are based on the different classes you can play in the game. The green one is White Mage and the red one is Samurai.
A Moogle Plushy
Kuplipo is one of many creatures in the game called moogles. He delivers letters between players in the game. His red mail bag you can see above even opens up like a real bag. I’ve occasionally left a little chocolate treat in there for my wife, then texted her from work to say “The moogle has a special delivery for you.” 😁
(By the way, if you’re wondering why the plushy is next to a cocktail you can find the answer here).
The Stormblood Original Soundtrack
This. Is. Stunning!
This Blu-Ray disc contains a colossal 105 tracks, almost of all of which are superb and wonderful pieces of music.
Although the Stormblood expansion was released globally in June 2017, the soundtrack only just came out a few weeks ago.
The songs are accompanied by screenshots of the game and a few music videos too. The MP3 files can either be ripped to your PC from the disc or easily downloaded straight to a PC/smartphone (which is great because I don’t own a PC with a Blu-Ray drive).
This soundtrack contains every track from the Stormblood expansion and all of the following story updates. That’s a lot of music!
Trust me when I tell you the music of Stormblood is award worthy. And almost all of it was composed by the game’s composer and sound director, Masayoshi Soken.
This man is a musical genius. He is able to convey moods and atmosphere incredibly effectively. He has become my favourite composer of all time, matched only by the famous Nobuo Uematsu.
The Primals Album
This is a metal band formed by Masayoshi Soken. That’s right, he’s in a band too!
Some of the game’s battles abandon a sweeping orchestral score for more contemporary music, including rock, dance, techno and metal. As a fun side project, Soken and his friends performed one of the songs live at a FFXIV fan gathering.
It was a huge hit, so they recorded a couple of more songs and released them digitally. They sold well enough to trigger another live performance.
The fans loved them so much that Soken decided to make the band official. And thus, The Primals were born (named after the fierce creatures you battle in the game).
I have so much respect and admiration for this man that I really hope to see him perform live one day. He’s such a fun and friendly guy during interviews and livestreams.
This is not actually available to buy, so I had to specially order it online using my own screenshot from the game. This mug features an image of the Kugane Dori Market, which is one of my favourite locations in the game.
Similarly, travel mugs with a cute chocobo design don’t exist so I had to order this one specially too. I use it for the office as it’s a tiny dose of kawaii in a sterile building full of stoic professionalism.
Thus is an official mug available to buy. I recently received it from my colleagues as a birthday present. My jaw dropped when I opened it up. I couldn’t believe someone had been thoughtful enough about my hobbies to get me FFXIV merchandise!
Whoops! I almost forgot about the games themselves. They fully install to the Playstation 4 (or PC) so you don’t actually need to keep the discs, but I like keeping them as part of my collection.
As you can see, the game has been around for so long now that it crossed the boundary from PS3 to PS4 and is currently the size of three whole JRPGs.
Western Memories: Art of the Revolution
This hefty art book boasts a huge amount of artwork from the game, primarily focusing on the Stormblood expansion.
It includes pretty much everything from landscapes and maps to characters and weapon designs.
The sheer amount of concept art only makes me appreciate even further how much work and love go into this game. There is some cool insight into the design process from the team.
I have saved the best for last. This encyclopaedia is phenomenal!
It contains all the lore and background information about the world, including locations, organisations, characters and history.
It’s pages are jam packed with detailed information that reveals incredibly well realised lore and history. It’s a testament to the writers that they had so much information decided from day one, as a lot of the game world’s history in this encyclopaedia is actually very relevant to the game’s storylines… even brand new plot threads that are emerging five years after the game’s release.
On top of that, there is a recount of what you have done in the story so far. Due to the ever-continuing nature of an MMO’s narrative, the events stop towards the end of the Heavensward story line. Though perhaps there will be an updated version in the future.
There is also some beautiful artwork including a world map that I really wish was removable so I could place it on the wall. Ahhhhh Hydaelyn… my digital home ❤
So that’s my FFXIV collection! I’m utterly delighted with all of the items and I’m still enjoying playing the game after all these years 🙂
Thanks for reading, folks. And may you walk in the light of the crystal.