There is a lot to do in Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix’s critically acclaimed MMORPG. Sure the latest expansion, Dawntrail, just added a ton of new locations and quests to explore in its continuation of the game’s sprawling main story, but wait until you hear about all the other things you can get up to! There are optional raids, alternate jobs to level, the mini-game-filled Golden Saucer, taking up cooking or botany, fishing, and don’t even get me started on the true FF14 end-game that is fashion. In the midst of all this, one activity that often goes ignored is the humble Sightseeing Log. But with the recent graphical update prettying up old and new regions alike, now is the perfect time to dust off the log, revisit old haunts, and remember why you fell in love with Eorzea in the first place.

The Sightseeing Log is exactly what it sounds like—a list of locations across the map for players to visit in order to see some sights. It guides you to scenic vistas and rewards you with nothing but a nice view. As of Dawntrail, the Sightseeing log consists of over 300 vistas in the game. With so many more engaging and rewarding activities to get up to, I’ve found that many friends have, understandably, not completed it.

Rain falls on a pink and orange field of flowers

Image: Square Enix / Kotaku

In the past month, however, I’ve been on a race through the MMO to catch up to Dawntrail. I started in the midst of Endwalker and am now within sight of the new expansion, but I’ve recently slowed my progress. This is in part to keep from burning out, the very thing that stopped me from completing Endwalker when it released in 2021. And in shifting gears to focus on enjoying aspects of the game outside of the Main Scenario Quests (MSQ), I’ve grown quite fond of the Sightseeing Log.. In fact, I’d say there’s an understated brilliance in the way it encourages you to just stop and enjoy the beauty of the world from time to time.

It helps that with Dawntrail, Final Fantasy 14 also received a long-awaited graphical update. While the new areas have benefited the most from the visual touch-up, the rest of the game looks noticeably better, too. Which raises the question, when was the last time you visited your favorite place in the game? Because every player has one. Personally, I’m partial to the Empty in Norvrandt. But so often we forget the locations of the past and move on to what’s new. The graphical update gives you a chance to literally see things in a new light. If you’ve never done the Sightseeing Log before, you’re in luck because the game’s most beautiful locations look better than they ever have and they are waiting for you. It also serves as a great break from the MSQ grind of a new expansion.

With so much to do in Final Fantasy 14, everyone around you is always plugging away at this or that with an end goal or reward in mind. Maybe it’s a cool mount or piece of gear, but it probably requires completing one of the game’s most challenging tasks. Consider, for instance, all the effort it takes to beat the Baldesion Arsenal that many players go through to earn the Demi-Ozma mount. In contrast to that, the Sightseeing Log is low-effort and lacks any tangible reward. But that’s not to say that doing it is pointless. The reward of doing the Sightseeing Log is connecting with the beautiful, handcrafted landscapes we so often ignore in the daily routine of playing Final Fantasy 14.

A vista of a green plain with rocky outcroppings, including a city on a big rock structure

Image: Square Enix / Kotaku

Final Fantasy 14 is a gorgeous, expansive game with varied environments. However, the MSQ isn’t always great about showing off the complexities of its regions. Yes, it makes you trek back and forth across maps countless times, but it’s usually along the same paths, and rarely encourages you to explore further. Side quests and other activities can nudge you off the most well-traveled paths from time to time, but everything is so tied to combat that you often have little opportunity to focus on the world around you. Even Aether Currents, locations speckled across the maps that unlock flying in each region, often have questionable placements that miss the opportunity to show off the world at its best and most beautiful. The Sightseeing Log succeeds in this regard, offering dazzling views of the game that I didn’t know were possible, all while being a quiet and contemplative reprieve.

I think a lot about the digital worlds we inhabit as players. Too often I find them designed to be passed over and run through without much thought. Even gorgeous vistas are often quick showcases of graphical power that rarely convince you that this digital world is in fact a world in its own right. To me, the Sightseeing Log presents Eorzea as a world of its own rather than an amusement park because of how it reframes your relationship with that world. So often as Warriors of Light, we push through regions with little friction. It’s on to the next quest, the next raid, the next reward. The Sightseeing Log asks us to simply take in the environment around us for no other reason than to see it. Engaging with this has only deepened my appreciation for Final Fantasy 14 as a whole. It’s about stopping and smelling the roses, or perhaps more aptly, the Elpis flowers.


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