Commentary – Final Fantasy XI, 8 Years Later & Still Going Strong!

This week, Final Fantasy XI celebrates it’s 8th anniversary. Despite it’s old age, and having been up against the unstoppable juggernaut that is World of Warcraft, FFXI is a game that has grown wiser & better with age. Some may call it a poor excuse for an MMORPG, others consider it the black sheep of the Final Fantasy franchise. Call it what you will, but for those of us that have endured with the game, it’s a part of our very lives that will live on with us long after the game has moved on.

I still remember when I first became part of the FFXI community. I had just moved into the central Ohio area and learned about from some friends over on animetoshokan.com. So after getting a new computer and all, I picked the game up and gave it a try. For the first couple months I experimented with different characters (suprisingly enough, I started my XI career with a Galka Monk named Stormcleaver). After messing around with a couple different characters, I finally settled with a cute little Tarutaru Black Mage named Kimiko (named after Nanasawa Kimiko of Megatokyo fame). From there, I began to find my niche in the game, working my way through the ranks. Back then nothing came easy in terms of progression within FFXI, you had to work for everything. It certainly wasn’t easy, but after several months, I ended up catching up with the column “My Life in Vana’diel” written by Milkman (aka: James Mielkie, former editor-in-chief at 1up.com, now working with Q Entertainment). It was through Milkman & his famous linkshell, the Roundabouts where I truly began to enjoy the game to it’s fullest.

After finally getting my first level 75 job, I had a brief foray into endgame. Basically at the time that meant events like Sky & camping hyper notorious monsters (or kings as we knew them). Around then, Final Fantasy XI’s first expansion, Chains of Promathia was just being released. Back then it was known for it’s extremely brutal difficulty level (the expansion missions have long since been tamed through various updates), and even clearing these missions was prestige enough amongst the community. With the folks in The Mystical Order, we became some of the pioneers in the North American endgame community. For all their power though, eventually that power started to fester within the ranks. Egos swelled, and eventually it became an environment that I could no longer tolerate. With that, I left my first HNM linkshell and returned to the comfortable confines of the Roundabouts.

Chains of Promathia was just the beginning though, eventually the game saw it’s second major expansion, “Treasures of Aht Urhgan” which opened up the political intrigue and wonders of the far east. While it ushered in a new age for the game, it meant the downfall of many tried and true professions. Jobs that once could easily find experience parties (such as Black Mage) were quickly cast aside for fast paced burn-style parties. It wasn’t an easy time, but we quickly adapted. By then I had already completed both Red Mage & Bard, and was then working toward finishing Thief. ToAU meanwhile opened up endgame level events to the masses. With events such as assault, besieged, salvage, and more, it became easier than ever to get into endgame without having to commit to a massive HNM shell.

Times change, and soon the second generation of the Roundabouts was founded in the form of Cloak & Dagger. With the founding of the new shell, I became more active in a leadership role within the shell, as we within the shell started hitting more of the endgame level events available. For over a year and a half, we lead one of the most successful Limbus groups on the server, racking up a impressive record (and plenty of loot to go with it). However, nothing was truly meant to last forever, and eventually interest in Limbus waned. We had a damn fine run though, and frankly I was damn proud to call the shell my own. However, hiding in the shadows of Aht Urhgan was soon to be one of the darkest days in FFXI history…

The imfamous Salvage duping exploit. Don’t get me wrong, FFXI wasn’t by far a perfect game, gil selling at the time was a huge issue, and at one point they had inflated the in-game economy to such a degree that high end items were selling for untold millions of gil. The Salvage exploit though would eclipse that to a unfathomable level. Basically the exploit allowed the duplication of drops within Salvage, which at the time were extremely rare. SE eventually discovered the issue and patched it, however after an investigation that took several months. On January 22nd, 2009, SE dropped the biggest bombshell of all and announced the banning of nearly 1,000 players from the game. There was outrage on nearly every front, from those hit by the bans who were never involved in the events, to even various media outlets. A lot of good players were lost that day, and surprisingly enough this would not be the last time the media would have a field day with FFXI.

The next major “incident” came at the hands of the ZNM mega boss, Pandemonium Warden. One of the top linkshells across all servers, Beyond the Limitation fought through PW’s numerous forms for over 24 hours and were unable to defeat him. This again caused a huge stir in the community & once more caught even national media attention in various publications. Thankfully, SE was quick to remedy the issue and greatly reduced the difficulty of Pandemonium Warden and established a 2-hour time limit on the fight. However, even to this day, their other monstrosity, Absolute Virtue has yet to be defeated by conventional means. In the few attempts that have succeeded, the method of it’s defeat has been systematically patched or removed.

Thankfully, SE finally managed to right the boat in time for it’s most recent expansion, Wings of the Goddess. A journey across time to when the Crystal War still raged. While players may have initially complained about it’s reuse of previously used assets (past versions of current day areas and so forth), Wings of the Goddess followed in the tradition of the previous expansions with an amazing storyline, and some of the best character development of the entire series. As for us, well, times change for everyone. Eventually folks drifted away from C&D for other groups & other servers. Myself, I ended up joining with some old friends over in HappyEnding. Also had a brief stint once more with an HNMLS with Inferus, but it was short lived due to real-life commitments.

Today, FFXI currently sits within what I consider it’s golden age. With 4 full expansions & 3 mini-scenarios to it’s resume, it has nurtured an extremely loyal fan-base & one of the best online communities around. Within the next few months, FFXI will receive it’s first major overhaul in years with a level cap increase and the release of the Abyssea mini-expansions. Despite many challenges, Final Fantasy XI is still going strong after 8 long years. Will FFXI have what it takes to continue to compete with both World of Warcraft & it’s next generation sibling in Final Fantasy XIV? Who knows, but one things for certain, this fantasy is far from final!


2 Responses to “Commentary – Final Fantasy XI, 8 Years Later & Still Going Strong!”

  1. May 9, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Game of Thrones, in its yet-to-be aired episode 4 would showcase Ned
    trying to figure out the reason behind Arryn. It has aired a total amount of 3 seasons
    including 23 episodes as of this writing. Players can easily pass their free time
    while playing the online games.

  2. 2 Swazitaru
    April 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Hey Kimiko! Its Swazi-Taru. I enjoyed your blog, was great playing with you back in the day! 75 Rdm/Whm The Mystical Order.

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