Why This Game Ended Up Here
Ok, now that I’ve written a near novel on this game, it’s time to discuss why this game ranks so low. Simply put: the offline adventures remaining are far more entertaining than this online venture.
While I have easily played this game more than any other, there are simply far too many short comings that I have been exposed to that simply glare out at me. Square Enix did a lot of things right for their first MMORPG, but also a lot of things very, very wrong. While a strong emphasis was placed on story in the game (and that was the main thing that kept me hooked for so long), there wasn’t enough emphasis on soloable content and events that were quick.
Damn near everything in Final Fantasy XI becomes a production of ridiculous proportions at times. Even worse, once you hit the “endgame” content, you end up doing these same things over and over again for two reasons: 1) drop rates are awful, 2) the other people you did said event with want the same thing you do. While such content is definitely the point of a MMORPG (goal is to keep you playing), the problem comes when said events take far too long to be able to pick up quickly if you have a short amount of time to play.
Events like dynamis can take nearly four hours to complete and you just can’t simply hop in and out of the event as you please. However, there are some events like Einherjar (which I didn’t discuss) that is very much similar to assault in that it has a 30 minute time limit. Even with the friendly time limit though, you still need to organize quite a large group of people, make sure you have the correct jobs and you are easily looking at a least an hour of your time gone.
Square Enix did seem to learn, and seems to continue to learn how to make the MMORPG experience better. When Final Fantasy XIV was first announced, they announced that they believed the “ultimate” Final Fantasy game would be one that is online. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy XI seemed to be too much of a beta test in far too many areas. Despite, Square Enix’s efforts in improving the game, some of the content has remained completely unchanged despite some of the imbalance such content causes.
Overall, its a solid effort and I have very much enjoyed playing this game as long as I have. Even the recent announcements of future updates still excites me for what the game can have in store. However, as far as ranking goes, as an overall game there are far too many other games that I can place above it.