Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Waxing Nostalgic for Final Fantasy XI

There's no MMO like your first MMO. Well, the first one that hooks you. I tried MMORPGs before they were called MMORPGs; I tried several MUDs in college and never got into them. Then I moved on to Meridian 59, one of the first graphical MMOs, and despised the gameplay. I kept dabbling with MMOs but none of them ever hooked me, until Final Fantasy XI.

And I'm not sure why that is, since the repetitive gameplay and hardcore grind that turned me off of MUDs and MMOs before is even WORSE in FFXI. Its one of the most hardcore games out there. This is a game where some of the boss battles literally take 18 hours to kill!

But they do so much that is right: even though the game is designed to run on lousy hardware like a PS2, the quality of the graphics, armor, monster design is top notch. The particle effects are brilliant. I loved way that combat was designed to be more active with the skillchain system and even involved an element of player skill (by having to time certain attacks; particularly the way in which players can REACT to events, such as using the Paladin's shield bash to make a Goblin sometimes drop a bomb at its feet blowing himself up instead of the party.)

So I enjoy these new Japanese commercials for the 14-day trial; they are cute little reminders of my former MMO home of Vana'diel...

But, alas, the major flaw in FFXI was that you could not do ANYTHING without a full party within a very tight level range. There could be 2500 people on the server, but often there would only be a few dozen within a level or two of you that needed a character of the particular job (class) you wanted to play. So, I gave up and moved on to my new home, Norrath. And from there, well, I've been stuck. I have tried every MMO on the market since EQ2 and nothing else is as compelling. But its still fun to wax nostalgic once in a while.

1 comment:

Greg said...

A friend of mine who plays FFXI was telling me about the mentoring system they have now where you can be scaled down to the group's level and still earn experience. Like you mentioned, FFXI's biggest flaw was needing to group to do most of the game making it inaccessible to casual players.