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Rollo talks games. (And Pie)

Just another gamer pretending to know what he's talking about.

Author: Rollotamasi

FFXI, Almost everything I hate about MMO’s in one package.

Posted by Rollotamasi Tuesday June 10 2008 at 11:38AM
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If I were to try to make a list of things that I DON’T want in a MMO I could point at FFXI and say “Pretty much that”.  Totally group centric, harsh death penalty, travel is a absolute nightmare, game play was totally GRINDTASTIC.  The totally #&$$#@ up part is that it is by far, hands down, without a doubt my FAVORITE MMO I have ever played.   Kind of odd isn’t it?  There were so many things that I hated about FFXI  but it was the little things that made me not care. 

 

The music.  FFXI has the best music I have ever heard in a MMO.  I used to love arriving in Juno just to hear that music.  It is the only MMO music that I can still hear clearly in my head. I haven’t played FFXI in 4 years and I can still hum the toon and it still makes me tap my foot.  There is a reason the FF series is known for great music, FFXI is no exception.  In addition I can still hear the music from the Mithra zone.  The name escapes me at the moment.

 

Unique classes.  There are actually several things I loved about the classes in FFXI. One is that they were unique and the other is that they actually had clearly defined roles.  I’ll start with the latter.  I think this is something that is missing from today’s MMO’s.  Classes actually having a ROLE.  Seems like now days every class is a sword swinging, robe wearing, nuke casting, healing crack mage.  There was something oddly comforting about getting into a group in FFXI and KNOWING what I was supposed to do.  I played 2 classes.  Samurai and red mage.  When I played my red mage I knew my job was to keep refresh up on the casters,  help heal the tank if he got low and magic burst when I could.  While it seems simplistic there was something enjoyable about it.

 

Samurai, summoner, black mage.  While in retrospect this classes are really just run of the mill MMO classes they just FELT different in FFXI.  A black mage didn’t feel like just another wizard.  A samurai didn’t feel like just another damage dealer.  Because each class had a defined role they tended to feel unique.  Black mage was THE magic damage dealer.  Hands down, no questions asked.  It wasn’t like todays MMO’s where 8 classes fill the same role.

 

SLOW ass progression.  You might go 10 levels without getting a new ability.  But for some reason that made getting that new ability a lot more exciting.  I remember when I first got meditate on my samurai and refresh on my red mage.  It felt like I had actually accomplished something.  A feeling I have never gotten since (With exception of maybe eve when I got done training a long skill).  Now days it seems like you get a new ability or upgrade every level.  It just doesn’t have the same rewarding feeling.

 

Fishing.  Fishing in FFXI has to be the most repetitive mini game EVER created.  It basically boiled down to hitting a button and waiting.  Rinse, wash and repeat.  But for some reason I LOVED fishing.  I kept my account active for 4 months after I technically quit the game just to fish.  I used to love putting on my fishing gear and spending hours simply sitting on the Bastok bridge.   The only thing that could have made it better would have been if they put a cooler of miller high life in the game.  This is the type of side activity that today’s MMO’s really need to try to match.  Something else to do in game that is just plain “cool”.

 

If there is a gaming feeling that I have spent the last years trying to find again, It is FFXI.  It is the only game world that I can honestly describe as truly memorable.   From the races, to the zones, to the classes.  I loved this game.  I hope the next SE mmo doesn’t deviate to far from the formula.

EndDream writes:

"I kept my account active for 4 months after I technically quit the game just to fish. "

your a wierdo! =D

Tue Jun 10 2008 4:32PM Report
EndDream writes:

"I kept my account active for 4 months after I technically quit the game just to fish. "

your a wierdo! =D

Tue Jun 10 2008 4:32PM Report
JB47394 writes:

I really wish that what you're calling mini-games would stop being treated like second class citizens.  They represent additional roles that players can fill, except that game developers leave them as mindless mini-games instead of fleshing them out to make them entertaining.

EVE Online makes Miner a real role in a corporation, just as a fantasy game could make Fisherman a real role in a guild.  EVE Online has the role, but not a very entertaining system.  Fantasy MMOs usually implement fishing without the role and without it being particularly entertaining.

Mind you, I enjoy fishing in fantasy MMOs, but I'd enjoy it far more if there was something to it.  Something that remained consistent with the kick-back ethic of fishing.

Tue Jun 10 2008 7:06PM Report
rsreston writes:

I hated FFXI for all the reasons you cited - you must be a masochist. But I totally understand what you say: I like SWG very much and I see all its flaws but it's the small things that make me stick to it. Guess I'm a masochist too...

Tue Jun 10 2008 7:14PM Report
Jerid13 writes:

I totally agree with you 100%

I loved FFXI so very very much...

and I hate it for every reason you list...

its quite a mystery to me as well.

Tue Jun 10 2008 8:30PM Report
Tatum writes:

JB47394 - I couldn't agree more with you on that point.  In fact, I always want to do a blog or start a post on that subject, but I never get around to it.  Such an important aspect of MMOs and yet, so over looked in nearly every MMO...

OP - I've heard many interesting things about FFXI.  The whole level grinder thing always kept me away, but at least FFXI sounds MUCH less watered down than most of whats out there.

Tue Jun 10 2008 9:27PM Report
Tatum writes:

Sorry about the bold.  Stupid lack of an edit button...

Tue Jun 10 2008 9:27PM Report
shankin writes:

FFXI was the first MMO I ever put any serious time into.  I played for a year, and yes, I fished a lot.  I came back for a couple of months a year after I quit, but the place was much emptier, all my old friends were gone, and it was just much less fun.  It's still an extremely solo-unfriendly grindfest, and I won't be returning.  But I loved the settings, the look, the music - everything but, you know, actually playing the game.

I won't be back.

 

Wed Jun 11 2008 9:36AM Report
JB47394 writes:

Tatum, I did a series on crafting systems in general, trying to describe how they could be fleshed out more.  I didn't get around to fishing, but it's certainly in the spirit of the whole idea.

The series was very lightly read, probably because I spammed all of it at one time into my blog - an act that was not appreciated by the blogging audience here.  I invite you to give it a read.

Wed Jun 11 2008 1:58PM Report

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