Final Fantasy XI was the first of the Final Fantasy series to move into the realm of online gaming. Not only was this Square Enix’s first attempt at a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), it was also the first MMORPG, as well as the first Final Fantasy that was simultaneously cross-platform, spanning across the PlayStation 2, PC, and eventually the Xbox360. In hopes of creating a truly global community, Final Fantasy XI also featured an auto-translate function that would allow for certain phrase to be entered and then displayed in the player’s local language.
Final Fantasy XI first went live in Japan in 2002 on the PlayStation2 and American gamers got their first taste of the game in 2003, but it was released first for the PC (PS2 release came in 2004). European gamers were then later able to join this online adventure in 2004. Finally, in 2006, the game was released world-wide on the Xbox360. Despite the announcement of Square Enix’s next MMORPG, Final Fantasy IV (which is set for release near the end of this year), the game is still up and running and still maintains a rather respectable sized player base–not too shabby for an eight year old game.
Set in the world of Vana’diel, players are able to create their own character from one of five races and pledge allegiance to one of the game’s three nations (of which I will go into detail later). From there, players must select from one of six basic jobs as the Job System from Final Fantasy III returns in a modified form (again more on this later!). After that, the players are quite literally dropped into the big online world and are on their own to make friends, level up, do quests and missions, as well as possibly taking up a craft or two.
Now since Final Fantasy XI is structured quite a bit differently, this post will cover details in a different manner. I will run down some major parts of the story that surrounds the game, but since there is so much detail, it will be a general overview and brief. Instead of a discussion of heroes villains, as there are far too many to write about, I will instead discuss character creation, including a look at the game’s races and major nations. Discussion of the game mechanics will remain the same as I will explain in detail the workings of the Job System. I will also add in some sections that are not normally in my other posts as they are a large part of the game, yet do not appear in other titles. Such topics will include a look at the game’s economy, which will include a look at the crafting system. I will also take a look at the many events available for a player to take part in during their adventures. Finally, as with all my posts, I will close with a discussion on why this game landed here.
Ranking this game was quite difficult, as I had to decide just how much to include in my judgments. In the end, I decided that since this is very much a living game, I would consider all of the expansions and updates added to the game (in the end, I’m not sure this hurt or helped the game at all). While I have not even come close to completing or participating all of the content in this game, I definitely believe that the six years or so that I have been playing this game will give me quite an accurate picture of this game.
Yes, that isn’t a typo. I started playing in the spring of 2004 and still play occasionally to this day, although my playing time has plummeted significantly since my college years.
Anyways, enough rambling, time to get through this very lengthy post!
Next Page: The World of Vana’diel