"What is going to Happen to Final Fantasy XI?"
With the announcement of Final Fantasy XIV out in the open many Final Fantasy XI veterans are asking themselves this very question.
Unfortunately, it's not a question that can be totally answered yet. We don't really have enough information from Square Enix regarding FFXIV to be able to tell exactly what kind of game its going to be. A lot of FFXI old timers are hoping that the game will hold true to its FFXI roots, while others are hoping that the new Square Enix game is a completely different beast. Still others hope it might be a mixture of the old and the new.
What does this mean for FFXI, a game with a long and lasting player base that's survived the Blizzard Juggernaut and lived to talk about it? What does FFXI have going for it to keep it from sinking like a rock when FFXIV releases? Well, let's look at what FFXI has going for it first, shall we?
- Cross Platform spanning PC, PS2, XBOX 360 and I believe it's possible to play it on the PS3.
- Enriching Storyline that spans several expansion packs.
- Slower paced atmosphere with a focus on the "journey" vs. what you do when you get to the end.
- Playable via controller or keyboard.
- US and Japanese player base with assistance from the in-game translation tool.
- Strong emphasis on grouping and social interaction that is lacking from a lot of other current generation MMORPGs.
- Graphics that have held the test of time and are still quite beautiful considering their age.
These are just some of the things that FFXI has going for it, and really it's just scratching the surface. You could literally add hundreds more items to that list. FFXI is an extremely vast and expansive game and one loved by many gamers who still yearn for that "old school" style of play. It's one of, it not the only MMORPG left that has this style of play and that is one of the biggest reasons why I believe that FFXI will still be around for quite some time after FFXIV has hit the shelves. The same reason EQ is still going fairly strong even in the fact of EverQuest II. The developers have spent a lot of time in recent months to lessen some of the harshness that the game once held. They've created solo content for those who wish to play that way, and they continue to add new content in the form of mini expansions. I see no reason why Square Enix would cut ties with something that's as popular and profitable as FFXI. I believe the release of FFXIV will only strengthen FFXI in giving veterans something new to see and do, while giving players new to the world of FINAL FANTASY online a less grueling way to get into the game. This could lead to players wanting to play FFXI who never had previously.
I personally don't believe current players of FFXI have anything to worry about. The developers have stated several times that they would continue to support the game as long as there was a player base to support. I don't see the current player base going anywhere anytime soon. Even with the inception of FFXIV looming over us, I do not believe it will kill the entire population of FFXI. If anything I feel that most veterans of FFXI will try FFXIV while still keeping their FFXI accounts active. I believe most will wind up with subscriptions for both, especially if Square Enix decides to implement some sort of package deal. I could also see Square Enix adding some sort of incentive to play both games. This could, however, just be wishful thinking on my part.
Personally, I'm still one of those gamers out there who enjoys gathering together six complete strangers and traversing over harsh and dangerous lands in order to battle fierce fiends and monsters. I am glad that Square Enix finally threw the players a bone with Level Sync and Fields of Valor, allowing them to solo when groups are not available. I am also glad that Square Enix has had the gall to stick with this type of play even when everyone else is doing it that "other" way. I'm aware that with FFXIV they are trying to give both groups what they want, and I hope they succeed in doing that. I do hope that they continue to support and provide updates for FFXI as it is still a loved and respected game to many players who just don't want to play a game in the vein of the current MMO offerings. Who can blame them? Just browsing the forums here alone speaks volumes in how there is still a group of players who want something more challenging and more in depth. Those people have played everything else on the market and don't know what else to do.