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Mini-Review Final Fantasy XI

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by Sinzer, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    I have played this game a little over the past few days so I thought I would offer my first impressions.

    This is a MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game.... what a mouthful, don't ask me how to pronounce the acronym!). Essentially if you have played EQ, Dark Age of Camelot, Asherons Call, Anarchy Online, EVE Online etc etc you will know what I am talking about.

    I must say that I am mightily impressed by this game, I have played most of the major MMORPGs that have come out over the last few years and I did burn myself out on EQ.

    Where FFXI really stands out is the presentation, this is a Final Fantasy game, the initial intro is nothing short of amazing. Exactly what you would expect from S-E (Square-Enix) massive battle scenes with gorgeously rendered models and a very bitter-sweet ending (made me choke a little hehe).

    Next the character creation is fairly straightforward, the game offers a few choices, but to be honest there is not a pleathora of options. However, do not worry about chars all looking the same, once you get in game the armour is significantly different that people don't look like cookie cutters.

    Once you have got in game as is usual with these games you will be lost and alone, there is a small kind of intro explaining your country choice and you get a small quest to go find an NPC (marked on a map! what a godsend you have maps in this game!) and off you go.

    The Game Mechanics for combat are fairly standard, it is good though that you get job abilities that are passive (ie Gilfinder on a Thief increases the money NPCs drop), job abilities that are active (Steal can be used every 5mins) and weapon skills that are active (this is a good part of the game, when you train in a certain weapon you will get a skill, for instance Hand to Hand level 10 gives you the skill Combo). Weapon skills rely on a TP meter that you charge up when you strike an enemy or you get hit. Watch out though the enemy NPCs also have these and some can be pretty devestating. Later on you have to learn how to combine these with other players to create group combos.

    Again the presentation stands out, the games NPCs make you feel you are in a Final Fantasy world. They have their little quirks and there is always a feeling of amusement. Most of these type of games use NPCs as vendors or quest starters. FFXI uses NPCs for these and also for the storylines that are there, this is the closest online game to a single player RPG I have found. I have spent hours just wandering around chatting to people and laughing at their comments.

    Things to do are kept reasonably fun, there are quests of the usual kind, there are also missions, which raise your rank with your home country and also carry on the storyline. Crafting (I have not really looked at this) is not too laborious and does actually offer real reward.

    The economy is excellent, most items dropped from NPCs are usuable in some kind of craft and this helps you sell the items you have farmed as a newbie to those higher levels who cannot be bothered to collect them themselves. Selling is easy through Auction Houses, where you set a price and then leave them there for someone to bid on. Buying is great as you can get real bargains.

    Overall my initial impressions are very good, I have only played through the first few levels as a warrior and a thief and I look forward to progressing to a decent level. Already there is too much to talk about and I believe anyone who enjoys these types of game will love it!
     
  2. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    For the benefit of gthom3 :p

    To add to this I now have a level 30 Thief, I have unlocked a couple of advanced jobs and have various jobs like Bard, White Mage, Red Mage, Monk in the high teens - mid twenties.

    This game still holds my attention it never fails to surprise with the excellent storylines and quests. This really is the first MMORPG to have lots of things to do apart from level. I am currently doing my clothcraft and have a lot of fun levelling it and making profit from it.

    To answer the specific things you mentioned gthom3 :-

    Characters

    Yes in lower levels characters can look similar, however, there are differences, no one will have the same entire combinations, the differences are in the detail. Whereas other MMORPGs just have lots of different colours, FF is based around minute detail. I still see amazing peices of armour every day and they add new bits all the time.

    Levelling

    There is levelling or the grind, this is fairly standard, however it does make or break the game. Many people leave because this game really does require a good group, and if you cannot find one you will have problems. I love grouping to soloing and I guess it really is the pride you take in your character. There are so many combos of jobs and items and food, that you need to think quite a bit what you want to offer the group.

    The group dynamics are a lot different to EQ and DAOC as far I can tell, you cannot just throw together any old group, you need specific jobs and these complement each other better than others. For instance a Paladin/Warrior tank is awesome as a standard tank, a Ninja/Warrior will be absolutely amazing if combined with a Thief to help keep hate on him.

    Once you factor in weaponskills you really have to concentrate on your game, for instance a Thief has a huge amount to do in a fighting situtation, with timing sneak attacks and then doing sneak + trick + weaponskill combos after a chain of weaponskills from other jobs.

    Many people cannot handle this complexity and therefore give up saying the game is the same as EQ and DAOC etc. They end up taking twice - threetimes as long to level. It really does make that much difference.

    Language Barrier

    As a Euro we border both US and JP. I have grouped often with JP players, I keep a romanji list of phrases next to my PC and use the auto translator. The language barrier is not that bad, sometimes I get a little confused what is going on (that happens in EN groups too!). A bad group is a bad group regardless of language. You can function well enough to know what to do like where you are going, what your function in party it, what weaponskill you are using.

    Most complaints I have seen are from Americans who do not want to show a little effort and learn some basic JP. I think Euro players get on better as we are used to seeing French, German, Spanish on our games.

    Overall

    It simply is too much to write about this game. Does it offer anything different from EQ and DAOC, I would say not a huge amount. What it does offer is an extremely polished game with an amazing storyline (first for MMORPG), interesting and rewarding side quests and plenty of things to do.

    If you love Final Fantasy and you enjoy MMORPGs you have to play this game. I don't see anything in the future that is going to offer anything different, EQ2 looks like EQ with better graphics, WoW looks more solo orientated, however there is no innovation there. From what I have seen on the quest side, there is not much there to compete with FFXI and certainly doesn't look to have the sheer presentation you expect from S-E.

    I look forward to see how they get on, Lineage 2 I have seen quite a bit of bad press on from disgruntled beta testers, but it certainly looks nice.
     
  3. CAS FAN

    CAS FAN
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    Thanks very much for than Sinzer... It does look a nice polished and acomplished MMORPG. I understand your points about grouping and to ge honest, why would someone play a game like this if they just wanted to solo. Grouping is very important and really getting into good groups makes most MMORPG's.

    Your comments do back up a lot of what I have read about the game and if i'm honest i'm sat on the fence somewhat with this one. On one had I do want a decent MMORPG to play now but there seems nothing that different in this one to ignite my interest that much.

    Have you read up about Dark and Light Sinzer? That is looking superb and is getting great comments from Beta testers. I think that could really be the next big step in these sort of games. The main difference is the fact that you can gain levels through politics and social skills as well as fighting. You can actually become a lord with a great deal of political power. On top of this the graphics are fantastic with a superb weather system (snow that builds up in layers etc) and a huge playing area of 40,000 km2! My brief write up here doesn't really do the game justice so check out http://www.darkandlight.com/index.php for more info. The movies and screenshots on the site are rather impressive to say the least!
     
  4. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    Yeah I have had a quick look, I am not sure how their system will work.....

    I am not a great believer in a political structure like they propose, the problem is that levelling up to become more powerful socially will again just require time. They say it is through crafting and the other example is killing creatures attacking a lower level villlage.

    The problem in this case is that you still end up with those who have the time to spend being those in control, not those who are best suited to the position.

    SWG has some non fighting classes and these are stupidly gimped and are not really any fun to play at least according to my friends I know who have played it.

    FFXI offers a rank system which is independant of level, this is similar to the nobility described in darkandlight. It does encourage character development rather than pure levelling and does have a reasonable affect on the game. If your region is last in conquest you cannot buy certain items or spend your conquest points on other items.

    Higher rank players have access to more of the game like Airships or better items, but they don't have any detrimental affect to the other players. It is not really an important part of the game to begin with, but later on, people generally judge how good you are on your rank not your level.

    It would be interesting to how it will work.

    If you want to see a true political system in a MMORPG check out EVE:Online this has a serious economic and political system in place. When I played this the strongest corporation was actually a bunch of real life business people, you didn't have to play day in day out as "levelling" is done with real time upgrades that countdown whether you are logged in or not. I think there is a lot more to do in the game now, but it certainly kept me interested for a couple of months.
     

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