The economy in Final Fantasy XI is completely player driven. While money can be obtained in small amounts by killing Beastmen and certain NMs, money is most often made from other players selling their treasures or crafted items.
The Auction House (AH) is the main hub for all of this activity. While a slight misnomer, auctions do not actually occur at the AH. Instead, players list their wares at a certain price for sale and other players will place “bids” for said items. A player “wins” an item by offering a “bid” that either matches or exceeds the listed price. The item sold is the item that was listed at the lowest price.
Like I said, it isn’t much of an “auction” per say, but a central hub for shopping.
Alternatively, players can set up their own shops via the Bazaar option. This allows players to list items for sale that are currently in their inventory. Other players walking by can check these bazaars and buy wares directly from the player, cutting the auction house completely out of the equation. This is often done for very high priced items or for items that cannot be placed on the AH, yet can be sold.
Many of the drops from the monsters in the games are actually just junk on their own. However, a player skilled in crafting can turn these materials into powerful weapons, strong armor, or even delicious food that can temporarily increase stats.
Crafting has a leveling system all its own. By continuously crafting items via a process called synthesis, a player’s skill increases in whatever craft their particular synthesis is in. Crafts can level all the way to 100, but only one of the games crafts may be at that level, with the rest being at a maximum of level 60. The best way to explain this is that all crafts can be leveled to 60 and 40 “mastery points” are available to be spread throughout the other crafts.
The only craft that doesn’t follow this system is fishing. Fishing is a whole other ballgame and can be leveled to 100 regardless if you have a level 100 craft or not. Instead of needing to synthesize items, players leveling fishing by simply fishing (over and over and over and over…).
While often needing a rather large investment to properly skill a craft, the rewards for taking the time and effort can be huge as only some of the game’s best equipment can be obtained via crafting (and then later sold for a nice profit!).
Next Page: Why This Game Ended Up Here