Epic MMO Battles of History: Azeroth vs. Final Fantasy XIV antagonists

There's always something to fight!

Not every single game is comparable to every other game. That’s just the reality of things. Comparing every Mega Man game to every Castlevania game doesn’t really work; comparing every Mega Man game to every Final Fantasy game super doesn’t work. They’re different sorts of things and not trying to be the same. Hence why sometimes it can be hard to make direct comparisons for us to revive our Epic MMO Battles of History, even though they’re fun and we like to do them.

But you know what we can do? Pit MMOs against out-of-context problems.

After nearly two decades with World of Warcraft alone, I feel pretty confident in saying that I know Azeroth. I have a sense of what the world is like, what abilities its people have, and perhaps most importantly, what sort of threats it can deal with very effectively. Kobolds, for example, are not a problem. But what about the antagonists of Final Fantasy XIV? If suddenly the inhabitants of Azeroth had to band together to take on the antagonists of the game’s major story beats, how would they manage against them? Let’s speculate on how that would go down, roughly in sequence with FFXIV’s expansions.

The climb.

The Garlean Empire

At first glance, Garlemald seems like a pretty big lift for anyone. They’re a massive and technologically superior force that managed to carve up large chunks of territory and covered all of Ilsabard and a good part of Aldenard and Othard. Intimidating! But some of that comes down to a problem that the Alliance and the Horde don’t have, starting with the fact that they’re the Alliance and the Horde.

Garlemald’s whole conquest relied in part on every single nation standing alone, and the Eorzean Alliance pretty efficiently stopped them and then turned the tide over time. In division there is opportunity, but in unity, there is strength. Even from the starting gun, the Alliance and Horde are groups of nations fighting together. And sure, at various times the writers have stupidly contrived to have the Alliance and the Horde fighting one another yet again, but they always team up to take down the big bad. Sorry, Garlemald.

Victor: Azeroth

We've done this before.


So Bahamut is a very, very large boy housed in a moon-sized egg, and he wrecked Etheirys quite effectively in the Calamity. He’s significantly larger than Deathwing. But at the end of the day, both of them are big scary dragons wrecking the planet, and Bahamut is coming from outside rather than inside. You might point out that Bahamut needed someone very specifically to make a sacrifice to stop him, but it’s not like Azeroth has any shortage of magically powered people looking for a chance to make the sacrifice play. Same crap, different day.

Victor: Azeroth


Nidhogg and his brood

These early ones are not proving difficult for Azeroth, are they? If Azeroth can successfully defeat one big dragon and all his minions – which has happened on multiple occasions – they can defeat another. Heck, they managed to deal with Onyxia, and she was putting her feet up in one of the capital cities for years while snacking on Cheetos and generally screwing over the long-term stability of Stormwind. Nidhogg lacks that kind of subtlety. Take the L, guy.

Victor: Azeroth

Again? Still?

Zenos yae Galvus and the XIIth Legion

The reality is that a lot of Stormblood came down to political issues, the will of the people to stand against oppression, and personal needs vs. the requirements of leading a nation. It was not really an expansion in which the question was whether or not you could beat up the Main Bad Guy, as evidenced by the overall structure of the story. Maybe that’s why a lot of people had problems reconciling the story as a whole, since it was kind of ambitious in that regard.

But if we’re going to use Zenos as our main villain here, and he kind of was, then yeah, he’s not going to die himself, but Zenos isn’t much of a commander and this is just the Empire again but in a smaller dose. Not much has changed.

Victor: Azeroth


The Flood of Light

You might argue that the Flood of Light is not really a direct antagonist because it doesn’t have a specific goal or cognition, and to that I say: my list, my rules. And this is where things get kind of complicated because it’s hard to know exactly how Azeroth would respond to a worldwide sudden hazard… but it honestly doesn’t look good for the planet as a whole.

For one thing, the closest analogy we have is Azerite and the general result after the planet was wounded, and Azeroth handled that so badly that we’re still kind of at a storytelling stage of “let’s just sort of ignore that plot and hope that it resolved all right after all.” Not a good sign. For another, the storytelling has consistently shown that the Horde and Alliance tend to choose really dumb times like this to fight with one another… which definitely does not hinder the Flood of Light in any fashion and is more likely to spawn more sin eaters.

Yeah, I don’t see this one turning out well for Azeroth.

Victor: Flood of Light

Oh, we're out of luck here.

Emet-Selch and the Ascians

If there’s one thing WoW writers love, it’s having someone else pulling the strings behind the scenes for a prolonged period of time. It’s a shame they’re so bad at writing that, though. Generally, Azeroth manages to handle these would-be manipulators because either the manipulators are mostly just powerful bastards who would be hard to fight and their plotting doesn’t really affect the fight at the end, or because the manipulators are kind of stupid and making really bad choices about what to do once they get into positions of power.

The Ascians, though, are led by someone who is actually smart and subtle and could make good use of exploiting divisions every step of the way. Look, if you ask me to pit Emet-Selch against the Jailer or Sargeras, I’m betting on Hades over there. It’s not exactly a big lift on their part.

Victor: Ascians

Not quite Bahamut Mark Two.

The Telophoroi

Again, the bad news for the Telophoroi is that we’re looking at another set of schemes and careful manipulations meant to bait people into bringing things just to the edge of disaster while trying to stop extant disasters. The good news is that there’s still a little time between those disasters, and frankly, that’s when the heroes of Azeroth do their best work! Also most of their work, to be fair. I see this one as very much a mixed victory, but I do see Azeroth ultimately being able to sort this thing out.

Victor: Azeroth

We have Thanos at home.

The Endsinger

Yeah, if there’s one thing the inhabitants of a world wracked by perpetual war, invasions, and cataclysms can do, it’s resist despair. And that’s not even counting the fact that fighting the Endsinger herself requires communal spirit, forgiveness, and camraderie… all things that Azeroth has in very short supply, to the point that Azeroth’s champions being able to reach her more easily would actually just mean they die sooner.

No big hero moment here, unfortunately.

Victor: Oblivion


Final verdict

The bright side here for Azeroth is that purely on the numbers, they reach 5 out of 8, which is pretty good as a whole! Unfortunately, the planet’s champions do much better against very concrete threats and much worse against larger problems that require different approaches. We know that Azeroth is capable of fielding lots of people to beat stuff up, but coming together and having the audacity to hope is another matter altogether.

“But what about the reverse?” you ask. And to that I say… stay tuned. It’s not like the ultimate takeaway is anything more than silly speculation, after all. Different narratives have different values, film at 11.

‘What’s the best MMO ever?’ is a ridiculous question; we’re not going to tell you that. Instead, we’re going to pit two MMOs against one another, point by point, line by line. Two games enter, and… well, they both leave, but one gets declared the victor. It’s Epic MMO Battles of History, and while it may not actually decide any long-term debates, it’s at least fun along the way, right?
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