Review by Nights85

Reviewed: 01/15/04

Fans Only

After reading many reviews on Final Fantasy XI, it becomes apparent that Final Fantasy XI is a love it or hate it game with few seeing it in-between. Gamers are praising either it far beyond what it is truly worth or tearing down merely because of their prejudice against its unorthodox game play. So if you will let me be the voice of reason: Final
Fantasy XI is neither the epitome of massive multi player online roleplaying games(MMORPG), nor the fall of online gaming society. There are just aspects of the game that many seem to have forgotten from the previous Final Fantasies.
Final Fantasy XI is NOT a one player game. Soloing should only go as far as the first ten levels. No Final Fantasy game ever revolved around a single hero saving the world from
unspeakable evil on his own. There are always at least three heroes or heroines, and there was usually balance in every party: a healer, physical damage dealer, magic damage dealer.
Quite often you had to sit down and build those character’s levels up for a boss or quest or something. You may not have liked it as much as others may have, but it had to be done. Final Fantasy XI follows the same suit. Leveling up is an important element in every Final Fantasy and RPG. This is where Final Fantasy XI’s true fun factor lay. Unlike in some other RPGs, soloing is hardly any amusement in Final Fantasy XI. Especially since taking on foolhardy challenges is strongly discouraged.
Unfortunately, dying causes one to lose experience and even level down. Of course no
one likes this. I wish it didn’t happen either. Again, this encourages grouping with other players. This is the only way taking on difficult enemies, quests and missions can be achieved.
Fighting any stronger monster than “Tough” while soloing is suicide. Although this is not recommended, it is “possible” to defeat a tough enemy if one goes all out, but even so the odds will be stacked against you. When soloing, one should not fight anything over a “Decent Challenge,” as “Even Matches” can even be dangerous.
Additionally, Gil is scarce and quests and missions can be unrewarding as well as repetitive. This is one area where Square strayed from the original Final Fantasy formula. Alas, the days of being awarded currency for slaying spiders are gone. Apparently, the only monsters in which money can be obtained through killing are those that have the human desire for material possession. Basically, monsters that walk on two legs and carry a weapon will drop Gil and a minimal amount at that. As for quests and missions, the governing bodies
and citizens of the various countries of Vana’Diel are very cheap. Tasks that will take a good party at high levels and a few days to complete with all the fetch quests you’ll be running from country to country trying to complete before you can even think about fighting the boss may only reward 3000 Gil. With the equipment and maps you probably bought to complete said mission that 3000 Gil is as good as spent. What’s the solution? Grouping? Close. The best way to make money is to sell equipment and items on auctions or to other players directly. Joining guilds and making those tools and items and then selling them to other players is also effective. Some players make five to ten thousand Gil a day doing just that.
Thus, the true essence of Final Fantasy XI lay in the gamers. The only problem: SquareEnix has hampered the success of this formula by limiting server hopping to buying world passes and inviting a friend from another world to create a new character in theirs. This could almost work, except that SquareEnix kicks themselves yet again for charging an additional dollar to the already ridiculous thirteen-dollar monthly charge. Maybe I’m just cheap, but I didn’t even register Tetra Master because I wanted that monthly payment to be as low as possible. What Final Fantasy fan wants to pay to play his or her favorite game?
For this reason, Final Fantasy XI is for fans only. The game has redeeming qualities if
one is willing to look for them. The game has something for almost everybody. One could devote themselves entirely to one of the professions Vana’Diel has to offer. Starting one’s own business is also an option. Of course, there’s always plenty of monsters to fight as well. There are tons of quests and advanced job missions to improve one’s character and reputation. However, there are better choices for the casual online gamer. No doubt, the game can be a blast if you look in the right places. If you love Final Fantasy and love interacting and teaming up with other players, Vana’Diel will be a world of fun taking down monsters and leveling up. Because after all, isn’t that what Final Fantasy has always been about? There is only one way to fully enjoy Final Fantasy XI: buy it on PS2 with all the necessary peripherals(unless you have Alienware), and interact with other players. So party up.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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