Final Fantasy XI Online

Final Fantasy XI Online
Final Fantasy XI Online is finally out, and millions of Final Fantasy fans are enjoying the fun world of chocobos and airships in an online MMORPG.

The graphics and sounds are lush, and the cut scenes and quests make you really feel like this is an adventure game in addition to a MMORPG. There are all the familiar elements - from chocobos, airships, and familiar faces - plus enough new things to keep it interesting.

Like all other MMORPGs, this is about creating a character, developing him or her by gaining levels and experience, killing monsters, going on quests, and developing group friendships.

It has to be said that every MMORPG appeals to a different type of gamer. FFXI will appeal to gamers who are patient and who are in it for the long haul with their friends. Levelling up is slow. The learning curve is difficult, and it can take you a LONG time before you do things that are considered "fun" like riding chocobos or airships. You'll have to put in long hours before you can get your character a sub-job or an advanced class. And you'll need friends to help you achieve those goals.

Also on the annoying side, you can't choose what world you start on. Only after you put in time and effort can you "buy" the ability for a friend to start on the same world as you did. So while we bought 2 copies of the game at the same time so we could play together, the game prevented us from doing so.

So really the game is about one person going on first, and creating a character to get those "World Passes". Then he starts inviting on friends and slowly the entire group of friends can join a server. Then together they can start the long quest to develop their characters. This might be fine for people who don't work and have hours and hours to do nothing but sit in front of a computer screen, but for most of us, this is a detriment. If you have 2 hours to play in a given evening and want to go questing, that's fun. But if the quest involves finding an item and the game only has that item spawn once every 3 hours, now you've wasted 2 hours trekking around an empty desert and have achieved nothing. That is NOT fun.

Hopefully the FFXI designers will get a better balance of the game so that those with 8+ hours a day to blow on game-playing will enjoy the slow pace, but so that those who want something enjoyable to play that doesn't invade their entire life can have fun as well. A game doens't have to be easy to be enjoyable - it just has to give results when you put in the effort.

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