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I have played many popular MMORPGs, as well as participated in betas for the most obscure of games. I like to think I know a thing or two about the industry, and so I write about it.

Author: NotArkard

Contributor: NotBrandon

Final Fantasy XI - What happened to Vana'diel?

Posted by NotBrandon Saturday December 27 2008 at 11:30AM
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I consider myself a somewhat hardcore MMO gamer. I've played them all. WoW, EQ2, LotRo, AoC, WAR, etc. Basically if it was an MMO, I've played it. I was first introduced to MMOs back in 2003 with the launch of FFXI. Since then games have come and gone, mainly as of late with the a few large titles missing their mark by a considerable amount. The only game other than FFXI that I've played religiously was of course WoW. But enough of that, let's get on to the real point... what happened to my beloved FFXI?!


Likely if you've played FFXI before, you know it's a very unique game. Despite it being a complete mob grind to capped level, it's all group based. Sure, you can occasionally solo here and there for a few XP, but the bulk of your leveling is going to be done in full groups, camping mobs for 2-4 hours each XP session. But you know, it's damn fun to me for some odd reason. Or.. at least it used to be. Back during the first 2 years of gameplay for myself I pretty much ate, slept, and drank the game. Back then skillchains and magic bursts were king. Where having a BLM in your party meant XP chains and large burst damage. Back then people had to work HARD for their AF, limit breaks, WSNM fights, Sky access.


Now after a few years and a 2 expansion packs, I find myself coming back to the game, and finding that the subscription base has held steady at 500,000 subs or so. But I also found alot of things have taken what was once FFXI, and turned it more casual. When I played years ago, I had a 75 Monk, and a 75 Ranger. Rangers used to be KINGS of DPS. We used to stack our Sky groups with Rangers. Now.. RNGs need to work very hard for their damage, which is subpar compared to some classes. But that's not really what gets my goat. I joined a group a few days ago on my Scholar (which is now 47 or so). We had a PLD, BRD, SCH, SAM, SAM, and a BLM. I came back to the game with 2 other people, one playing the Bard, and one playing the Paladin. We had suggested that 2 SAMs set up some skillchains for the BLM to burst. All we got was laughter! "ppl dont sc anymore lol". I was in shock! It was one of the greatest things about the game, where groups had to work together to pull together this great XP. A SAM and a THF throwing together a huge distortion SC with a big old burst on it.. nothing was as badass as that.


From what I can tell now, it's all about melee and "TP burn" parties in the newer areas for merits. I guess what works best is what people are going to do, right? I guess I'm living too much in the past when it comes to FFXI. I miss the days of the SCs, bursts, and painfully numb XP loss on death. Where you'd be camping against 8 other people to claim the Valkurm Emperor, and when you claim it, you get this rush throughout your body even if it doesn't drop. Forming groups for Sky access, and going through the amazing storylines with 10+ other people.


Those days are gone. But with the addition of the Maze Mongers, Level Sync, and a continued effort to add storylines.. it's still the best damn MMO on the market, and I wouldn't give that up for anything.

zanfire writes:

i feel exactly the same, but i was here through all of it, well i took a couple months off here and there but i was basicly here for the changes.

the game has defnitly changed since ToAU's PT camps, for the better or worse is hard to say. personaly for my DRG, its been nice to actually get a PT for once, and actually be favored at times, but still i do remeber getting up my first 75 (RDM) by killing giant geraphs and burtsing with my weak T3 nukes, just to watch the bastards heal back up....yeesh.

the game is one of a kind for sure and i think it shows from the subs, it doesnt cater to all but to the more hardcore, and i love it for that. At time i wish there was somthing new to play but when you get down to it nothing plays like it does, nor do any of the new games have that more "hardcore" group style play, so i just end up keep comming back to it.

all thats left to do for me is to wait for SE's next MMO, hoping it will be like this one (wich its supposed to be annouced in June 09's E3)

ahhh memeorys...but we cant go back to how it was.....just gotta keep truckin

Sat Dec 27 2008 11:56AM Report
mxmissile writes:

"camping against 8 other people"


good riddence to any game that makes you do that... thanks for the heads up, i will never try this game

Sat Dec 27 2008 12:25PM Report
Wizardry writes:

You noticed the one big thing that also bothers me.This new style of killing is really started by newcomers to the game,who either could not co ordinate team work or just wanted the SIMPLE approach,get 100 tp and use it.

The thing that makes me laugh,is these players really are clue less.Most if not EVERY fight,yo uare only going to get 1 WS off anyhow,in case of sams they are a totally different breed,because they can duo WS.Thing is this,there is no difference to using a WS at 100 or 180 ok,a mistake by Square,should have addressed that but,there is also no advantage to using it,then hitting normal attacks.

Where TP burn comes into effect is on the following fight,you have have worked up close to 100 to START the next fight,problem is "DO you want to use it"and steal hate?off the tank?and it may only add up to the same damage you could have attained using a MB.Enffebling a mob to your elemental MB can also help,ninjas have the wheel to do this.My parties from way back used to have some massive magic bursts using ancient magic,that would literally kill a mob only half dead.They made changes to help the 2HD as the ydar well should,but then everyone scoffed the sammys were doign too much damage,even though it was only marginal,so they reversed it back now 1hd axe has the same margin over a 2hd lmao lame.

The other thing about rangers is because square obviously made changes to favor their inside friends and guild members,simply they were jealous because they were not playing ranger.They gave ONE HANDED axe weilders more damage on WS's than two handed WS's LMAO that alone is WRONG.Heck my buddy the WHM could outdamage my sammy with his kraken and WS,really really sad.I also believe they scoffed RANGERS because of that PVP thing they got going[forget the name of it],that nobody plays anyhow,this is a PVE game.

It is simple math,you get one WS an lose MB damage,then next fight you get 2 ws and again miss MB dmg,so now yes you got an extra WS but you lost 2xMB so you have gained NOTHING.The elitist wil lsay,look at my DMG logger it shows i did more damage going TP burn so it has to be better lmao,ya but as a TEAM they did less or at worse case the same.Also there is a VERY good chance you may have a BLM and a RDM as my static did witch was 2 very good MB.

You remove the best elements, the FUN and SKILL of the combat system,i attest this to the WOW gamers that infested the game and wanted everything simple and easy.The original players knew how to play fun and skillful.Oh now you also get more l33tist talk,they got MANA burn parties too,everyone wants some gay term subscribed to what they do to make them feel important.

I think there is even a 3rd burn phrase used..totally kid stuff to me.

Sat Dec 27 2008 1:17PM Report
downtoearth writes:


it sthe solo gme play thats makes an mmo not a fucking mmo

Sat Dec 27 2008 1:17PM Report
toddze writes:

mxmissile all I have to say is LoL. FFXI is not for the weak gamer who thinks just because you sub up you have every right to get what you want without effort. There is no easy button in ffxi. So good riddence to you and everyone else who wants an easy button. 

I am hoping that SE's new MMO is not some cookie cutter cake walk. If its anywhere close to FFXI then it will be a success just like FFXI. Actually it will probably be more of a success since the MMO market right now is in the crapper due to people like mxmissile who like the easy button mmo's. I have faith in SE, as it really is my last hope for a great hardcore MMO.

Sat Dec 27 2008 3:16PM Report
WRyan writes:

I've always appreciated FFXI for the quality of game it was.  It's always been good quality gameplay.  And, you're right... there just wasn't anything else like it.. and still isn't.

My only problem was how XP was gained, and I ALWAYS had trouble finding groups.  I just couldn't put aside the time to stick with a game like that.  So I guess it just wasn't for me.

I hated it too... because I wanted so bad to play it.  But... I think in the end, it may have been a little TOO hardcore for it's own good.  If only it had a little bit better way to grind mobs, or at least made it so that you didn't need a full group to do stuff... I think I would have enjoyed it much better.  I mean, I know I would have enjoyed the game a lot more if it were so grind heavy, and I could have accomplished something with just myself and maybe a couple of others - nevermind the class.

I hope their next MMO is just as good, but I also hope it is a bit more friendly to the mass market.  I don't want it to be "easy"... I just want it to be more "less hardcore" - if that means anything to you.  And I hope no one takes that the wrong way.  I just want to be able to enjoy the game as well as you do/did... I just couldn't keep up with the Jonses.

Sat Dec 27 2008 7:30PM Report
DemonTaoist writes:



I came back to ffxi after several years just 3 weeks ago. I've been away since a little while after CoP came out, with a brief stint a while after TOAU came out when I just leveled bst on my taru. I pretty much stuck to myself and the few friends that were still playing.

My old main was also 75 mnk and 69 rng (stopped leveling it when they nerfed it :x) :O

Some of the new changes are nice. There's a LOT (lot lot) more to do, which is great! Melee DDs are all powerful now, so you don't NEED a RNG and BLM in your pt to get fast exp. Level sync parties are... so super great, thank god for them!

But, like you, I"ve been VERY disappointed as some of the new play conventions. No SCs, no BRAINS. Sams have replaced rngs as over-played fotm class, and may be even more overpowered than rngs ever were. TOAU mobs are stupidly squishy, and colibri in particular have their "BLM {I'm not up for it} move. It's pretty amazing to me that SE would do that to casters with TAU. 

Like you, though, I've tried pretty much every other MMO out there at this point. Like you, FFXI was my first, and I guess I'll always have a very special place in my heart for it.

Sat Dec 27 2008 10:20PM Report
cukimunga writes:

Yes I recently went back to FFXI (it also was my first back in '03) not to long ago and I too was disappointed that nobody does SC and MB anymore. That was one of the many things that made the game so different and the combat system so much better than any other game.

I don't know if people just got lazy or what.  if the right skillchains and Magic Bursts are done, you an kill things quick and that means more EXP so who knows why nobody does them anymore. 

Sat Dec 27 2008 11:53PM Report
Eridanix writes:

Is there PvP? I look a good game to play with good PvP and  rich storyline features. I look FFXI at the shelves every time i go to the supermarket but i'm still not convinced.

Besides my question, I hope you get new expansions that will ballance everything to its original grouping all-classes needed to get XP which i think is one of the best features a game can hold.


Sun Dec 28 2008 4:34AM Report
zanfire writes:

no this game is not very big on PVP, its one of the weaker features, this games purely built on hardcore (and well done) PVE elements.

what really happened was ToAU, those new ares lead to camps that kinda went against SCing and MBing. people quickly found out how much easyer it was to have melee TP burn down birds and such, not to mention the fact that the higher lvl birds reflect magic, wich in turn killed the point of MBing in general. like most games that involve group grind, everyone wants whats more efficent to get exp, and that easly killed birds and the fact you get an EXP boost when you have your sigil on in those areas made it overly ideal.

Sun Dec 28 2008 1:36PM Report
reetin writes:

 I completely agree with you on the skillchain thing, they make awesome damage and should be in the game more, but since people are stupid and lazy they just try to hit the things harder or whatnot without actually trying to play the game the correct way. On a seriuos note, people (read: me) still do skillchains and magic bursts whenever possible you just have to find some of the old school players, or players that were mentored by the old players.

Mon Dec 29 2008 3:32AM Report
mageproto writes:

On Skillchains and burns


Skill chains are not infact dead in FFXI the many people who belive that have yet to be in a good endgame shella nd participate in the fun of sea/sky/dynamis done right, though nyzul is a perfect example of where SC+MB can be done right


while the 3 burns RNG/TP/MANA are increasing popular (rng not so much of course) they are used as an easy way to get merits to "finish" a job.  while those people that are freshly introduced to this style are ussally draged in, the mobs that ToAU brings in for endgame grind are very speciallized breeds you can not for instance expect to take a BLM to a Greater colibri party and MB as that bird will recast the spell and kill (or hurt badly) who ever is holding hate so there MB where phased out so why hold on to TP if its unneeded?


on the same token if you where to try to melee puddings you whould need a healer and that whould only slow down the process of gaining exp.


as a blm 75 rdm 75 cor 75 rng 75 sam 75 drg 75 smn 75 i have experianced a lot of the differant "roles" and i can honestly say that SC'ing is not dead. while it is rarer a good DD or a mage will often work out to use tp at the right time and MB when possable but if its unwise to reserve tp it is ok to use it.


in short FFXI is about team work if your team (party) doesnt work well together try talking to them a little bit. if some elitest punk refuses to even try to think is a group manner, avoid them :)


-Rafiki, ex-FFXI player of fairy-

Fri Mar 06 2009 2:32AM Report
Xello writes:

 Come on fairy server!

I agree the game has changed to much for me to possibly get back in to, i did make a video of my time in the game though during 06/07 (pre-WOTG) check it out:

Sat Aug 08 2009 1:55PM Report writes:
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