Review by Tirrock

"Don’t forget about work or school!"

I’ll get my “credentials” out of the way first. I played US PC beta and bought retail first day it came out in my location, the 29th.

The bad:
I’ll get the bad things out of the way first. These are a collection of pet peeves I have with the game, and other general annoyances.

First, price. I am well aware that they are a company, and they need to make money. Also, servers (29 while I write this) cost money to run, and they have game masters on staff. Keep in mind that this is not like Diablo II and their servers. FFXI servers do more work. Besides, name a free MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game) on this scale.

It costs $12.95 US a month. If you want more than one character, you have to pay an extra $1.00 US a month for each character past the first. You can even throw Tetramaster into the mix for an extra $1.00 US a month. This is kind of steep, considering you have to pay to get the game too.

Second, world passes. This is probably one of the most annoying things on the game. For a game that advertises grouping, they really screwed up here. If you want to play with your friends, you either have to exploit a bug (which they may fix pretty soon) or you have to have one friend buy a world pass for the other friends, up to five for one world pass.

Doesn’t sound that bad right? Well, it only gets worse. World passes cost a lot of money. Around 1000 gil average per server, that takes a bit of work for a low level player. They only add salt to the wound when they make it so when you do manage to scrape that much up and you learn that your friends have to make a new character to get on the same server as you. That’s right, new.

Third, general in-game complaints. Where to start? I’ll borrow my roommate’s saying. “They take the highest level monsters in each area, and make them aggressive to players.” You have to constantly watch out for beastmen because usually they can hurt you pretty bad and they attack you first.

While running from the random beastman that spawned right by you while you were resting, you may notice that the monsters can hit you from a pretty good distance away. If you manage to make it to a zone change, you’re still not safe. They get a free hit while you zone change. If you’re lucky, another player will save you. If they’re Japanese, you may have some troubles thanking them.

North American and Japanese players play on the same servers. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem, but the auto-translator needs a lot of work. It doesn’t exactly “auto-translate”. You have to make it translate it, and they words you can translate are very limited. At this point, they have no translation for “Thank you” or “You’re welcome”. If they’re missing those basic comments, imagine what else they could be missing.

Auto-translate is very promising though. If they were to make it more automatic and broaden the keywords, it would be a good thing to have and it would be quite helpful.

Remember that beastman that spawned on you and you were fleeing for your life from it? Let’s say that you weren’t saved by another player. Sometimes you’ll encounter players that will just watch you die so they can kill the weakened monster. This is rare, but there are mean people in the game, as well as not so bright people. If you’re in a group, you’ll do horribly if the people do stupid things. More often than not, people have a basic idea of how their job works though.

The good:

Now that I have that out of the way, time to talk about what is good about the game.

Graphics. I start the good point bandwagon with this for a good reason. This game is eye candy. If you have seen screenshots of the game, you know what I’m talking about. If you have a pretty good graphics card, you can get it to play on high graphics, which looks incredible. On the market right now, there is no other MMORPG that can compare to this in graphics. I have actually sat down and watched the sunset on the beach on this game. It was well worth it too.

Sound. The sounds on this game are nice too. I find the sound of the waves relaxing, the sound of the wind calming. It’s really nice. The music is pretty good, while I could name games with better music, it’s not too easy.

PlayOnline. This is a nice program that comes with the game (required to play it too). If you are familiar with the .Hack// games, think of POL as the operating system they use. It has an e-mail address, a messenger system that can be used to talk to people in the game while you’re not or even to people on other servers, information about the game, music, POL wallpapers, a FFXI newspaper, and a few other things. They did a good job on this.

General things in the game. If you find a good group, you will level pretty quick, and time will fly quite fast too. A lot of people, including myself, did not like the game too much until their first group. The game itself is very addicting, especially when you find a job that you like. It has it’s own economy, players often making most of the equipment on the game and selling it themselves. The world is HUGE. I explored quite a bit and I still have many areas to go.

I am aware that my bad section is larger than my good area, but a lot of this game is difficult to describe well in words. “Final Fantasy XI is the type of game that you could spend hours trying to explain to somebody else saying why it’s great and they would just look at you funny. You have to actually go out and play it to understand what they’re talking about.” (Quote from my roommate.)

Overall, I have to give this game 8 out of 10. I am a fan of the community that is on the game, as well as how the game is played out. Plus the game just looks wonderful.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/07/03

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