The best of all worlds
We've been spending a lot of time hanging out in Eorzea lately, checking out the sights, listening to the awesome tunes, slaying some cactuars, etc. And for the most part, as detailed in our Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn review-in-progress, we've been enjoying our grand adventures.
If you haven't had a chance to hop into ARR yet, you might not be aware that it's absolutely loaded with fan service. There are tons of nods to previous Final Fantasy games, and it borrows some mechanics and items wholesale from its predecessors--and we're totally okay with that. Here are a few of the references to specific Final Fantasy games we've managed to find so far.
Magitek Armor mounts (FFVI)
Yep, feast your eyes on the Magitek Armor mount--a faithful replication of the design drafted by Yoshitaka Amano for Final Fantasy VI. This mount is something every player will receive upon completing the main story arc in ARR. Considering we've only just hit the halfway mark to level cap, we're a ways off from getting one. But seeing a high-level player run through a low-level zone while piloting one of these things is a sight to behold.
Judge armor (FFXII)
In ARR, the Garlean Empire (perhaps named after Garland, the antagonist of the original Final Fantasy?) is a seemingly evil faction that has waged war on Eorzea in years past. You'll initially encounter Garlean agents via cutscenes--and once you do, it's impossible not to notice the armor some of them wear, which looks nigh identical to the armor worn by the Judges from Final Fantasy XII.
The Garlean leaders also wield some awfully familiar weapons: gunblades. Both Squall and his rival Seifer used gunblades in Final Fantasy VIII (weapons that made an appearance in XIII as well). Even if the notion of fusing a gun and a sword seems a bit ridiculous (if not impractical), the things still look pretty badass.
Warriors of Light (FFI)
Load up ARR and it won't be long until you hear mention of the Warriors of Light, a reference to the group of heroes in the original Final Fantasy. This name has shown up in multiple Final Fantasy games, often as a catch-all title applied to the specific game's party of protagonists. In ARR, Warriors of Light specifically refers to the those who purchased and played Final Fantasy XIV at launch, prior to the cataclysmic event that reformed the world (aka the in-game lore that justifies ARR's existence). Those characters are signified by the tattoo in the image above.
The Helm of Light (FFI)
Speaking of the Warriors of Light, the hero of the original Final Fantasy has a rather iconic helmet that's easily recognizable. And, if you purchase the collector's edition of ARR, you'll get that sweet piece of headgear--the Helm of Light--for yourself.
One of the ways in which MMOs allow players to customize or enhance their equipment is through an enchanting or gem system, which typically imbue items with additional stats. In ARR, you'll do so by using Materia. Unlike in FFVII, the Materia in ARR doesn't grant access to magical spells, instead boosting the attributes (strength, vitality, etc) granted by a piece of equipment. Still, Materia!
Limit Breaks (FFVII)
Yep, another FFVII reference. Limit Breaks are separated into three levels of power, with each subsequent level increasing the potency of the ability, as well as the restrictions for its use. For the most part, these are available only in instanced dungeons, and they're a communal resource that the whole party shares. As soon as one person in the group uses it, the meter resets. Most of the actual Limit Breaks are lifted from FFVII as well, and change depending on the class that activates it. As a melee DPS class, for example, you'll have access to Cloud's Braver (using a Buster Sword that materializes out of thin air, of course) or Tifa's Final Heaven, while healers can call upon Aerith's Healing Wind.
Biggs and Wedge (FFVI and on)
Ever since their initial appearance in FFVI, Biggs and Wedge have been recurring characters and somewhat of a running gag in the Final Fantasy series. (For those not in the know, their names are in reference to the Star Wars characters Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles.) In ARR, you'll encounter these two during one of the main story quests after they've crashed their airship. Oh, and guess what the name of their ship is?
The Tiny Bronco (FFVII)
Ah, yes, the Tiny Bronco. If you've played through FFVII, you no doubt have a nostalgic attachment to the airplane of the same name, crafted by one Cid Highwind. The Tiny Bronco looks a lot different in ARR, seeing as it's a full-blown airship--but the reference is still appreciated, and we couldn't help but smile when its name was uttered.