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I'm a FFXI vet; started playing at launch and played on and off (mostly on) for over 7 years before they started making changes I didn't agree with and slowed down my playing. Abyssea, and the way it totally changed the way people play the game (hence, making it harder for me to enjoy it as I had been and wished to continue), turned me off completely to it.
I tried going back a couple times, avoiding Abyssea in the process (which it seems is necessary for the gear.. unless there's equivalent gear you can obtain outside of it), but found it to be a lonely endeavor. Community is important to me in a MMO, and my love of FFXI was very much due to the high amount of interaction I had with other players. So, now that everyone's moved way on ahead and I'm stuck way behind, I'm not sure there's much of that interaction to be had for someone who isn't at cap.
One thing I noticed my last time back, is that the general attitude of many (most?) players hasn't changed in XI - one of the ugly parts of the game as I remember...
Unless there's something in it for them, most people are completely unwilling to help others out - even those who'd helped them in the past (that happened to me plenty). It used to be that they'd simply make excuses to avoid it. Now, though, it seems to be that, when asked to help with different content, people are just told "hit 99 and then solo it". Thing is, I don't want to race to 99 (you can see my view on leveling in my sig). I don't want to *solo* the content when it's become so easy that it can be. I'd like to experience the content at the level it was intended, as the challenge it was intended to be. Unless there are people out there who enjoy going back to do that earlier level content at the intended job level(s), then it looks like I'm SOL on that.
The dominant opinion I'm seeing about XI now is that the Adoulin expansion didn't really do much to improve the game, and seems to have introduced new things that have players even more aggravated. The biggest complaint I've seen is how SE is implementing new gear that utterly blows away gear that players had just spent a lot of time grinding out to get. The "outsider's impression" that I'm getting is that SE has been trying to shoe-horn a more "casual, modern, mainstream, themepark" playstyle into XI - a game that spent most of its life being decidedly *un-mainstream* and *un-casual*, and aren't quite sure how to do it. So what they're ending up with is a very oil and water like mixture of the two. Again, that's my "outsider's impression", based on the arguments and counter-arguments I've seen.
So, I guess at this point what I'm wondering is - for someone who played the game almost religiously for over 7 years and continue to consider it the single best MMO they've personally ever played (when it was at its best, IMO), but felt that SE had begun to lose the plot sometime after WoTG, and then lost it completely with Abyssea - is there anything that SE has done since that might enable me to at least experience some of the awesome stuff I'd done back then? Now that the "rush to 99" thing is (presumably) not front and center in people's attention, are people a bit more willing to go back and do older content at its intended challenge level, just for the fun of it - or to help someone out?
Or is it time I put a bullet in the head of this ailing old dog and just move on completely?
This is an honest post and I'm asking a sincere question. No attempt to bash or troll the game at all. I'd love to come back to XI and "live" in Vana'diel again.. I just want to know how much of it is left for me to come back to.
Edit: I really need to let the coffee kick in before typing up a post lol.