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Final Fantasy XI: MMORPG.com Review

DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

Every year, it is our goal to take a look at the major MMORPGs. Today, we take a peek at one that slipped through the cracks when it first launched. Final Fantasy XI is now available on the PS2, XBOX360 and PC. This review is for the PC version, although all three do exist in one world.




image One of the more interesting aspects of FFXI is that there is a dark, complex storyline supporting the mainframe of the game. The opening movie will show you the background concerning the war between the Beastmen and the Alliance of mankind. Before one can even begin to immerse oneself in the world of FFXI, players will pledge their Allegiance to one of three nations; Bastok, San'Doria, or Windurst. Each nation has its own separate storyline, yet all three will guide players to uncovering the secret evil that lies in the shadows in the world of Vana'Diel. Players advance through the storyline by completing missions issued by their home nation. By advancing their "Rank", players will be rewarded with more storyline details, access to new areas to explore, and even exclusive pieces of gear. There are other hidden privileges as well to gaining rank... such as the ability to travel between cities on the infamous airships!

On top of the original storyline, the numerous expansion packs have added in-depth sub-plots into the game. The "Rise of the Zilart", the "Chains of Promathia", and the "Treasures of Aht-Urghan" all present new challenges, storylines, and rewards to the players who dare to complete them. The storyline is one of the finest qualities about FFXI, as it provides even the highest level players with something to do after they've hit the level cap.

The full review is here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

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Comments

  • ShadrakShadrak Hometown, ALPosts: 375Member
    Great review! FFXI is not newbie friendly and the lower level trials can destroy a persons intrest in this game. I suggest BYOG(bring your own group) for this game otherwise expect to spend alot of time working your way from lvl 1-30 where the game really picks up.
  • ldyofthskullldyofthskull los angeles, CAPosts: 18Member
    We,ve and I do say that we (son and I) have been experiencing FFXI since July '06. I,being new to the FF series as well as rpg/mmorpg and my son, a pro. No online gaming experience is ever perfect but much of the problems that we have experienced have been minimal. We play using the 360 but I am considering using the pc and the graphics are a concern (I will miss the hd experience that the xbox allows) as I have encountered many players that have used their pc for years and complain that installing the expansion packs are a bit of a problem since they are playing with the original and second is the graphics since they are playing with this older version. Rescuing a dormant account is another gripe ,one player who capped at lvl 75 mage left for 6 months and now has to start all over again,he doesn't gripe so much as is a tad bit disgruntled. The players make the game. More team work and less in ls fighting would be appreciated and shame on the mercenary ls that dare to charge newbs  and advancing members for assisting in quests,pls and raises. All the flaws that you have correctly pointed out are a concern but they really don't truly detract from the beauty of the graphics, the entrancement of gameplay nor the team work involved and that is one that our particular linkshell prides ourselves on....I do have one sore spot here and that is the inability to conversate with other players using ps2 and pc this is a feature that 360 has and can only be used with others that have a 360; the translator feature for German and French as well as Japanese players is still a mystery for us 360 users. All over a great game but SE....as a player to you are you listening?
  • UnrealSWATUnrealSWAT HornchurchPosts: 186Member
    small error detected, you said PS3image

    I think that people are forgetting how to get the 2048x2048 textures, you just adjust the two registry keys under square enix and i think the two numbers are meant to be 800 and 800 then you have 2048x2048 textures. the game looks much nicher. also if you have a HD tv then you can plug your computer into your TV I have a HDMI enabled graphics card and can run it at 1080i and 1080p (almost 2000 pixels width!!! cant remember the height thoughimage)

    The sounds are gradually being fixed. In the review it mentions the graphics but to be honest that would take absolutly months!!! remodelling the characters for the smoother looking bodies so that the upgraded textures look right on it as well. then of course there is the incredibly massive world that would need retexturing! and finally think of the weapons and armour that would have to be rebuilt. This would be great but I would rather have more options for changing the characters looks (like face and torso)

    The communuity is great and I find that at level 20 I can solo just fine. It is good when you get into the game!

    UnrealSWAT



  • VallenarVallenar Madison, WIPosts: 124Member

    Square Enix should stick with RPG's on the next-gen consoles.

     

  • DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

    Originally posted by UnrealSWAT
    small error detected, you said PS3image

    UnrealSWAT

    Good eye, fixed.


    Dana Massey
    Formerly of MMORPG.com
    Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  • RattrapRattrap ZagrebPosts: 1,599Member
    The game sounds like lot of horse crap , thanks for good rewiev! image


    "Before this battle is over all the world will know that few...stood against many." - King Leonidas

  • GajariGajari Halifax, NSPosts: 984Member

    The game was definitely memorable, but too much of a timesink. Everything in the game was tedious, and not really fun, but the atmosphere and everything was awesome. I want to go back to it every now and then, but I just can't do it, especially since all my characters have been deleted now and I don't wanna start over.

    The thing that really screwed the game up for me -- and it relates to customer service -- was that on two different occasions, they charged me twice for one account. My cousin and I both played, and we had an account for each of us (we live in the same house, and are charged on the same credit card), and for some reason, my account was charged twice and his once, two different times. Called customer service and asked them what to do, and they said to fax it over to them and they should fix it. Long story short: they never fixed the problem, I quit, and I will never trust another asian company, and thus, refuse to pay monthly for any of their MMO's from that point on.

  • CymdaiCymdai Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,083Member
    I'm glad to be seeing some positive feedback =]



    Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

  • JerchJerch Ames, IAPosts: 1Member
    I played the game from 2003-2006. I made some amazing friends that even a year after I quit this past january, I still talk to them. The game itself survives off of the friendships made in-game until after the 4th or 5th job to 75 you're paying for a very ornate and beautiful chat room. It is not a game for end-gamers. It is a game for adventurers.


  • WSIMikeWSIMike Catskill, NYPosts: 5,564Member

    I very much agree with the review and, sadly, feel the mediocre rating is deserved and earned.

    I played FFXI from its NA launch on PC and I have seen the game go from one that I once considered the greatest game ever to one that I've finally decided to walk away from for good, overwhelmingly in disappointment of what it's become.

    I *especially* agree with the part about the community. The community in FFXI used to be one of its strongest qualities, in my opinion. However, over time the game has been reduced to a literal grind-fest as everyone follows the same step-by-scripted-step treadmill to the "end-game" to farm Sky/Sea or Dynamis/Limbus, etc. etc. Experimentation and exploration are not embraced as you are expected to stick to a very limited handful of leveling spots at any given level-range; suggestions to try other spots are met with incredulity and scorn - how dare you suggest going off the beaten path! Need proof? Ask most players what they think of Valkurm Dunes, or Garlaige Citadel... then watch their faces distort into all manner of disgust. Then, offer an alternative spot to try out instead... and watch their faces distort into expressions of disbelief and disapproval at the very suggestion, as they rattle off the mantra "no.. you're supposed to level there at levels x-y!". Players have reduced progress in FFXI down to near cook-book rigidity. So, very very much of the expansive world created by SE goes unused.. a mere place to get through on the way to somewhere else.

    The heavily party-centric gameplay would be wonderful - were the mentality of most players compatible with it. The gameplay/quests/missions in FFXI are built around people maintaining a degree of selflessness and embracing the sense of "team" and helping each other achieve common goals. Sounds wonderful, don't it? However, the ugly truth is that the mentality of too many players is oil to SE's water...

    You can almost make a theme song of the self-centered, opportunistic attitude that pervades a large portion of FFXI's player-base...

    Sing along, the words are easy...
    "Me me me... mine mine mine.. me me me. No time for you.. It's all about me me me".

    To a very large degree, people are only interested in their own progress with little time for, nor interest in helping anyone else. The back-stabbing and deceit the reviewer mentions starts well before the end-game. I, personally, have been stabbed in the back by my own linkshell mates. I've got a novel's worth of stories about such behavior in that game.

    Not to make this all negative, the game *does* have beautiful environments and an amazing sense of atmosphere. The earlier ones are, perhaps, the most "mundane" - well, except for the Ronfaure region.. they've captured the feel of a "misty morning forest" better than any other game I've ever played. And as you get farther into the game, the areas become more interesting, more beautiful and, in some cases, alot wierder. The artists and world designers on the FFXI team are *extremely* talented and I give them all kudos for that. In the music department, I agree with the review as well. Some of the tunes in that game are very addictive and often beautiful. Sanctuary of Zi'tah has an amazing theme.

    I have many, many fond memories of FFXI from "back in the day". And those are the ones I'll keep going forward. The game has gone very much down-hill in many ways.

    Perhaps SE's next MMO will bring a breath of fresh air - for a while.




    "If you just step away for a sec you will clearly see all the pot holes in the road,
    and the cash shop selling asphalt..."
    - Mimzel on F2P/Cash Shops

    image

  • GorukhaGorukha WarsawPosts: 1,441Member
     Great Review, for once.


    It's better be hated for who you are, than loved for who you aren't.
    image

  • CymdaiCymdai Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,083Member
    By the way...for the final edits on my article, on the Graphics section it says ''MMP'' instead of ''MMO'', and in the community section, towards the very bottom, it says ''game make'' instead of ''game makes''

    Sorry...I'm a raging grammar nazi =]



    Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

  • SogoroSogoro Everett, WAPosts: 1Member
    I would suggest having someone who has played since 03 do the rating for this game. And also; the rating categories are a joke.



  • UnrealSWATUnrealSWAT HornchurchPosts: 186Member

    Originally posted by Lepidus
    Originally posted by UnrealSWAT
    small error detected, you said PS3image

    UnrealSWAT
    Good eye, fixed.


    Thanks image

    but anyway I heartly recommend this game to anyone that enjoys a good mmorpg. I started in March 2006 and the game was good but bored me, so I quit in the may, I restarted in august and the ammount of updates and new things was AWESOME. I am on FFXI quite a bit now if anyone on the fenrir server wants to party.

    UnrealSWAT


  • bountydogbountydog mississauga, ONPosts: 27Member
    word of warning to any body that wants to try this game. its a good year and a half to 2 years of grinding to lvl up your first 2 jobs. also make sure to look up the excepted job combos our you will never get a group. people are very very picky in this game and most of them would rather sit around and wait then go out with a job combo they think sucks.


  • ZyrsZyrs Seattle, WAPosts: 1Member

    My girlfriend and I have been playing this game since the NA PS2 release.  We enjoy it greatly and look forward to logging in.  She plays on the PC, I play on the PS2. 

    Some things I should point out:

    1.  Your account is not deleted after 3 months.  Your character data is saved for a year and can be reactivated for the entire year.  This was changed during the "Return to VanaDiel" campaign.

    2.  There are no player guilds in the game.  Linkshells take their place.

    3.  There are usually 4 or 5 role-playing linkshells per server.  If you enjoy role-playing, you can find like-minded individuals fairly easily.  There are linkshell listings on the Playonline Linkshell Community for every server

    4.  Chocobo raising and breeding has been in place for about 50 or so days now.

    I recommend this game to everyone.  SE did a great job of creating a world to explore.  The NPC's have personalities that set them apart from the usual "hail fellow well met!  Bring me 12 octopus tentacles and a clove of garlic." questing that I have seen in other games.  The world is beautiful, most of the people you meet are helpful and nice, the ones that aren't you can blacklist and never see or hear a thing they do ever again.  You can change your job at any time with no penalty.  Be a thief one day and a white mage the next.  Spend your day fishing, riding the ferry or the manaclipper, clamming, harvesting, excavating, logging, xping, whatever you decide.

    The quests range from very easy to very hard.  The missions are graded in difficulty by rank and they do get harder as you increase your rank but all them them are doable before you reach level 69, much less the level cap of 75.  Although most of the missions are team-based, there are a few that you can get through solo with sneak and invisible.

    Sure, you can decide that you want to get to 'endgame' really fast and do nothing but level if that is how you want to play the game.  I know a few people who did that in a couple of months.  It's all up to you!

    edit: too early in the am, I can't spell.


  • WSIMikeWSIMike Catskill, NYPosts: 5,564Member

    Originally posted by bountydog
    word of warning to any body that wants to try this game. its a good year and a half to 2 years of grinding to lvl up your first 2 jobs. also make sure to look up the excepted job combos our you will never get a group. people are very very picky in this game and most of them would rather sit around and wait then go out with a job combo they think sucks.
    Amen to that. I was gonna touch on that in my response (above), but figured it was negative enough :-).

    Part of the rigidity and "script-like" treadmill the players have introduced is exactly what bountydog says. There are a total of 300 or so possible job combinations in FFXI. Only a relative handful are "accepted".. or, rather, "demanded".

    In the same vein as trying different places to hunt and gain xp, don't dare try any job combination not on that "approved" list, you know.. to experiment, or perhaps get something more out of the game than what everyone else does and expects you to do. You will be called  "noob", you will be berated and lectured and shunned from parties and told you don't know how to play. It happens all the tme.

    You might notice that 90% of my disappointment with FFXI is related to the player-base, not the game itself. With a different, less egocentric player mentality pervading it, FFXI would be a drastically different experience, and likely still the most amazing MMO I'd ever played.




    "If you just step away for a sec you will clearly see all the pot holes in the road,
    and the cash shop selling asphalt..."
    - Mimzel on F2P/Cash Shops

    image

  • ObsuroObsuro HARKER HEIGHTS, TXPosts: 1Member
    this game is awsome, even though im not a level seventy five this game is alot of fun...... also wat is great about this game is that the community is generaly nice and helpful. i tried to play maple story and ppl rip u off try to cheat u and wont help, and ussaly discourage u, but in ffxi that seldom happens.  Characters are ussally helpful and can help u do stuff. I hav a high level linkshell and thier really kind and will help me on tedious missoins.  If u ask politly almost all the time a person will help u or do it for u o think this game is greatimage


    i got shot ten times in the head

  • CymdaiCymdai Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,083Member

    Sogoro, I've played since release. Thank you for your consideration though =]

    Zyrs, when this was originally written, the balance patch and chocobo breeding had not yet been implemented. So it's slightly dated now...but not by too much. Another person also wrote me in about the character deletion thing, my mistake there.

    WSIMike, I'm generally in agreement with you on many aspects regarding FFXI. I honestly enjoyed the game a great degree, it's the people who detracted from the overall experience. HNM linkshells, NM botters, gilsellers, bossy elitists, greedy players, and dramaqueens definitely deteriorate from the Community as a whole. Honestly, had I written this game in the first few months of playing, maybe up to even the first year of player, my review would be rather different, and likely much more positive overall. However, I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly over the years....and I think it's important to make potential players aware of what they'll be getting themselves into with FFXI.

    To all those who read the review, I hope you're not getting overly discouraged from even giving it a try, but please consider that FFXI really is a committment. If you're not willing to dedicate a good month of solid playtime to it...FFXI isn't for you. I know of very few people who logged on for 1 day for 1 hour and decided to play the game for years. Generally, it's the person who logs on for a couple times for a couple hours, despite initial frustrations, and sticks with it. Those are the people you'll see at the end-game.


    Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

  • UnrealSWATUnrealSWAT HornchurchPosts: 186Member
    Can we get a recount on the customer service, a 3 is appaling, I get my questions sorted out (the 2 i have had) within 2-3 mintues, rather then WoWs support line image

    I was wondering, did you alter the registry keys or anything when you played the game, what Antialiasing was this reviewed on, I recommend playing the game on the best possible hardware for the kick@$$ experience

    UnrealSWAT



  • CymdaiCymdai Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,083Member
    Originally, I ran the game with a PC133 motherboard, with 2 gigs of RAM, and a Geforce MX420 graphics card. It ran, but it wasn't pretty. Weather effects have to be turned off for example, and graphical lag was noticable. [For example, the green mist in the crawler's nest would rape my computer]

    Then I upgraded to an ATI 9800 Pro 256mb, and ran the game at much higher resolutions, I think the highest I ran it at was still 1280 x 1024, with 2x Ani-aliasing. The game ran significantly better, weather effects didn't affect performance.

    I did not alter registry keys...sorry. I don't know how to do that, unfortunately.

    The Customer Support was not based solely on phone service however. I based it off of GM-call response time [Nothing like waiting 9 hours for an in-game problem to be addressed...only to be told they can't help you], billing issues [I STILL have one that hasn't been corrected...5 months later], phone support [the most prompt way to achieve service], email support [ see; useless], and live chat functions [rarely provided anything other than ''I'm sorry, but if you can go to THIS department...maybe they can help you...].

    It may seem a bit harsh, but I don't think moderate phone support justifies inferior support from all other aspects. That's why I gave it a 3.



    Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

  • JelloB2000JelloB2000 NAPosts: 1,848Member


    Originally posted by UnrealSWAT
    Can we get a recount on the customer service, a 3 is appaling, I get my questions sorted out (the 2 i have had) within 2-3 mintues, rather then WoWs support line imageI was wondering, did you alter the registry keys or anything when you played the game, what Antialiasing was this reviewed on, I recommend playing the game on the best possible hardware for the kick@$$ experience
    UnrealSWAT

    Well what was the issue that you nedeed a GM?
    Also I cant help to think of when someone tried to report a gil-seller but ended up being asked by the GM to ban himself (that is, ban the one reporting the gil-seller).

    Messing about in registry for a game is ALWAYS a no, one misstake & you need to use registry backup or re-install windows.
    The game had average textures & models already when it was released in the west (havent played the expansion areas though) & compared to newer games it doesnt hold up.

  • CymdaiCymdai Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,083Member

    Well, numerous issues for the GM involved repeat botters [Everyone has at least a few on their server, and everyone knows who they are] and I can not think of a single instance where one of them was ''handled'' appropriately.

    More importantly came AH issues. There were 2 seperate occasions where I purchased something off the AH, but the item did not appear in my inventory, or when an item was sent and it wouldn't appear in my deilvery box.. When I asked for my gil to be restored, or my item presented, I was greeted with a ''Sorry...we can't do that, and we're not refunding your money either''.

    The billing issue which still has yet to be resolved involved being triple billed one month.

    A final GM issue can be noted with harassment. A linkshell had been harassing my exp party, and we blacklisted them, and they proceeded to have their LS mates harass us further. When we asked the GM to take some action, all we got was a ''We'll look into it''. Sure enough...nothing happened. Sorry, buy telling me you'll ''look into it'' isn't enough when I can show you my chat logs right then and there. Action, not promises, are what I look for in terms of customer service.


    Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

  • bhagamubhagamu Albertson, NYPosts: 425Member
    Is it not inherently flawed to review an MMO 4 years after its launch? The industry has evolved a lot in 4 years, and it seems disingenuous to give a rating on this MMORPG with 2006 standards.

    www.draftgore.com
    Gore '08

  • CymdaiCymdai Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,083Member
    That may be true...but in my opinion, things should be reviewed by the way they are currently, and not neccesarily by when they were created. For example, you couldn't rate UO's graphics in comparison to EQ2's graphics.

    However, you wouldn't rate a sports team now by the way they played back in 2002 now, would you¿

    I tried to keep in mind it's release date when I wrote it, while not disregarding the fact that there are standards for today as well.



    Waiting for something fresh to arrive on the MMO scene...

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