Tell me about FFXI

I‘ve been playing FFXI through the 2 week free trail past few days. I’ve been meaning to get around to it for years, and I‘m enjoying it so far. Also doing research on the history of the game. I was inspired to just go ahead and dive into it by Dia Lacina’s ongoing let's play of it:

After playing one character up to 55 and another to 40 in Classic WoW on it's launch I've solidified for myself that I really love the slow burn of grinding through MMO zones, I enjoy marinating in the music and the environment and the architecture, and I especially enjoy getting the opportunity to help (or in some cases hurt; i really love killing and eating male human paladins) others, and to be help and hurt in turn. Contemporary MMOs don't really give you this and end up being more similar to something like Destiny, co op with people you already know doing instanced content, or a endless solo grind for fashion. I'm pretty done with that. FFXI made some changes over the years to become more solo friendly, to the point that it seems standard to grind to cap by yourself. I am enjoying myself (levelled a Red Mage to 13 and Warrior to 16 both starting in Windurst, ran around the other cities and opening zones, not a huge investment so far,) but for these reasons I'm going to start playing on one of the 75 cap private servers. I enjoy being forced to get together with other players to push slowly through the world, the denser areas with elite enemies in classic were my favorite parts. I'm looking at tanking though Red Mage and White Mage both appeal to me a lot as well.

I've also just been thinking more broadly about what I get out of that kind of experience and why it's hard to find it elsewhere. For one thing a lot of games which might offer that particular mix of heavy footfalls, wonder, comradery, bitterness, loss, exhalation, and occasional loneliness like Valheim are principally built as co-op experiences. You can interact with strangers on strangers servers, but that's not the base assumption of the game. I play fighting games with my friends or do things other than play videogames with them, and I'm just not very interested in that, it can be fun but its a different set of feelings. Minecraft might offer some of this but it's kind of siloed as well, and there's a very different feeling to moving through a procgen world (it has it's own kind of wonders to be sure,) than say, coming upon that bizzare white structure in the desert (MM0s of the early 2000s love structures and framing and sight lines,) as the wind is howling and one half of it is baked by the sun. I'm also ofc thinking about current and old internet culture in the midst of this, watching ancient youtube videos and reading ancient forum posts. I don't have any conclusion here but I wanted to put those thoughts out there.

Anyhow, in the spirit of this, I'd like you to tell me about FFXI. Whether you played or not, the good and the bad, I just kinda wanna hear about people's relationship to this game (and maybe other games of the era, or the internet at the time.)

Ooh this is a great thread idea. Please tell me too


I actually started writing this in reply to Nritter2's thread but realized the scope was a bit beyond it.

Video called to mind one of my old favorites for WoW (minus the racism):

While researching FFXI PVP I came across these videos, which are reuploads of videos from 06:

And yeah I'd def be down to play together. I'm looking at Nasomi; it's the next biggest after Eden without gameplay changes, and Eden no longer has a way to register without getting a code from somebody who's played 150 hours, i.e. by going to their Discord and verifying your identity via your phone number, which I have no interest in doing.

I recommend the History of FFXI linked by Syzygy for anybody interested, it's very well put together. Read it a few days ago, wish other games had a resource like it.


Oh yeah I know the context, kind of a shitty situation overall. I've also heard on some servers either JP or NA side would go out of their way to kill Notorious Monsters at a time such that one side or the other would not even get a chance at them during peak hours. I've also heard nice stuff tho like how sometimes JP players would use the communication tool things to combine two phrases into "con" and "grats" when NA players levelled up. Good and bad of the internet. And yeah that GM was very chill.

When I was in middle school I was super into the idea of MMOs for some reason and I picked two to try: FFXI and Shadowbane.

FFXI ended up not lasting very long because I wasn't super aware of the pay-to-play model when I got it and only ended up having it for the month of free time that came with buying the game. The memory at the front of my mind is sitting and looking at the PlayOnline client very slowly update the game on our modem connection.

Shadowbane was a free-to-play MMO so it stuck around for a little longer but I quit it too eventually because the other players constantly harassed me and everyone else and I was a sensitive young soul who just wanted to play the game without being told to suck strangers' dicks online. Strangely a company [seems to have brought the game back last year]( which seems like a weird move!

Way back when I was in college, I was a fan of RPGs but had never played a Final Fantasy, so I set out to play all the numbered games that existed at that point (up through XII). By the time I got around to FF XI, I was able to get the Ultimate Seekers of Adoulin edition for Xbox 360.

The game really didn't click with me because I'm an outsider to online games and don't want to interact with other people. Unfortunately FF XI isn't really designed to be soloed; there was some way to get NPCs to join your party, but I never really bothered with it (a mistake in hindsight because that's apparently the only way for low-level people to advance through the game). Combat was a boring slog and progress happened so slowly that I felt like I was riding the razor edge between fun/satisfying and boring/miserable.
I ended up completing the original storyline before any expansions came out (thanks to an experienced player who offered to help me); by this point I had already sunk in what seemed to me a large number of hours over a few months and I called it quits. They were also doing some Dragon Quest X crossover events that just reminded me that I'd be having a lot more fun playing DQ than FF XI.

I'd be open to going back to the game if I had IRL friends who wanted to play and were willing to teach me how to properly engage with that game (an unlikely scenario), but I feel like MMOs in general are not for me. I'd like to play DQ X, but aside from that one, I don't see myself ever revisiting that genre.


This reminded me of the time I really wanted to play City of Heroes. I was over at my cousin's house and he had it on his computer (in his room! his family had more money than mine, he seemed to have every game,) and let me create a character. I asked for it for my birthday, got it, and then sat there as it struggled to install itself on our computer for about 6 hours, freezing at the 98% mark. I tried again, same thing. At the time I had no conception of different computers having different specifications and thus ability to play games.

I wanted to share something I found while poking around on the (very good) FFXI wiki. An unfinished guide for White Mage, which has a history of the class throughout Final Fantasy and a portrait of the author. Contains the line "As for being a lady White Mage, it came with the territory. " and the sign off:

"- Valkerie
White Mage
Child of Altana
Ambasador to Windurst
"Forever More" "


@“Syzygy”#p25258 mostly these charm me for an era when GMs could be conversational and not just robotically copy-paste form text.

I've had a few a least sorta real conversations with GMs in FFXIV! I remember being congenial with a GM after I had reported someone for using a gross emote on everyone passing by near a main quest objective that went something like "[Pig Fucker] slaps [Me] on the ass!" But I might have a bit of a talent or at least an inclination to try and be disarming towards people sitting at a keyboard having brief text conversations to total strangers. I like to take it upon myself to get people in customer service chats to feel a little like they've briefly had a real human interaction without wasting too much of their time.

Also one time my friend get thrown into the infamous GM Gaol, on account of their name being "Cloaca Master." Let me tell you, they clearly had no form responses for explaining to my friend, who also played dumb too of course, why their name needed to be changed, despite not _really_ breaking any of the rules, and clearly getting allowed through the profanity filter. I won't defend their actions but I will admit I found it hilarious

whenever I try to play FFXIV I start to think I should play XI

I do wish FFXI had a FFXIV-like “Have the base game for free” trial system, I think that would do wonders for the game.

@“Syzygy”#p68080 Yes I‘m aware of the Return to Vana’Diel periods (and have enjoyed using them myself!), I was thinking more along the lines of “You can log in whenever but you can't exceed level XX or do anything beyond Rise of the Zilart”.

Oh, I didn't imagine there would be a FFXI thread here….

This game has probably sapped way too much time from my life. I started playing it In October 2005 and didn't start taking sabbaticals until 2009 or so. I've played pretty much all of the major content as it came out, been in and lead endgame linkshells. Been casual and cutting edge... oh boy.

Sometime around 2016 or so, I started dipping into the private server community as a player here and there. In 2019, I started helping fix random things on a specific private server. In 2020, I started making PRs to the [upstream server emulator]( and have been involved in that community to this day. I was always interested in how the game worked and that's lead to picking up some C++ and Lua skills, as well as forensic accounting and the like to deal with players. I am no longer affiliated with any server, but I ran "Era" for about 2 years and was part of the "Wings" launch team for 2-3 months before bailing pretty hard due to 95% of the players being toxic shitheads

I've been involved in the fan community and wikis a good bit as well. The current English player community is pretty terrible and full of people who can't play a menu-driven MMO to save their life, even with all of the gil that they buy to purchase everything possible (content clears, Auction House items, etc.). The Japanese players are generally more positive and execute much better overall.

Sometimes I truly wish I never encountered this game and spent so much time with it.

May 8th, there's going to be a [5 hour stream]( to commemorate the 20th anniversary and probably announce exact details of what they plan to release this year.

The 5 hour combination nostalgia and new information stream starts in about 20 minutes. Naturally, it will all be in Japanese and they'll make a summary post of new information for the English audience after some days.

My bet? They waste a lot of time talking about the Granblue Fantasy crossover event.

I don't know if there will be surprise guests or anything of true substance discussed.

Well, that was an event. They confirmed new battle content is scheduled to arrive in July currently. A bunch of other things that are less important. I thought Yoji Fujito was going to tear up. He's spent the majority of his adult life working on this game and pretty much this game alone (AFAIK). Hiromichi Tanaka did shed some tears, but Japanese posters claim they were fake.

They released a really good [census / survey]( It goes over so much about the historical performance of the game and even analyzes how it's performed financially. Pretty good read for anyone interested and machine translates well.

FFXI fans or people fascinated about development teams working under bizarre/restrained conditions should read the first (and maybe even the second) part of a 4Gamer interview with Fujito and Matsui. Unwashed masses like me fret not, they Google Translate very well.

They describe the remaining PS2 limitations they are working under and why they are still to this day "forced" to use PS2 dev kits to produce some new content. Obviously, money and manpower could make this go away but SE isn't willing to just "blow" such things on something that "only" makes 30-40% profit in its 20th year of life...

If you were at all worried that Square Enix had improved the PlayOnline account service since this game came out please rest assured, they have not.

Sincerely, Me, on hour two of trying to get PlayOnline working

@“Syzygy”#p72124 Yeah I had figured out the steps of putting in the POID you get when you register the XI code but it just wouldn’t accept my password. Around the 9th time I changed my PO password it decided to work so I’m entirely unsure what the problem was but I’m in there now.

I’m not sure what I necessarily want to get out of this game! I started playing XIV for the story and I know XI has an MSQ as well but I guess I don’t have much of an idea how big or worthwhile it is. I’ve read grouping up is extremely important so I’m gonna try to be social and just see where that takes me! Going to be on Bahamut I think if anyone else has active characters.

@“Syzygy”#p72143 Yeah I had read that Asura is the highest pop but that bots make it pretty miserable with constant spam and that the auction economy is wack. Bahamut seemed to be recommended as a quieter but still decently populated server.

Don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up but potentially relevant to this thread that the unusual commercial proposition Dragon Quest X Offline is a bona fide success, at least at launch. All physical versions were sold out in for first weekend in Japan.

I am too busy finishing the seemingly neverending Xenoblade 3 to start my own play-through but my friends who started the game are not very enthusiastic about this Offline version so far, and the early Amazon reviews also aren’t very hot, but it does not seem the issues come from the Online roots / heritage of the game and rather come from technical and UI shortcomings.