Final Fantasy XI

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Final Fantasy XI is a 3D Fantasy MMORPG originally released back in 2003 by Square Enix. The game has an enormous amount of variety in terms of playable races, classes and areas to explore. Even though the game’s graphics are a bit dated, Final Fantasy XI is a classic that’s well worth playing.

Note: This is a buy-to-play retail game.

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Publisher: Square Enix
Playerbase: Medium
Graphics: Low Quality
Type: MMORPG
EXP Rate: Low
PvP: None
Filesize: 9,500 MB Installed

Pros: +Player housing. +Rich crafting options. +Many playable classes (20). +No trial restrictions. +Large game world. +Unique dual-class system.

Cons: -Dated graphics. -Very clumsy controls. -Zero PvP options. -No real story (Disappointing for a Final Fantasy game).

Free Trial Restrictions: 14 Days Free Trial. No access to expansion packs, but otherwise zero restrictions!

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Overview

Final Fantasy XI Overview

Final Fantasy XI, also known as FF11 or FFXI for short, is Square Enix’s first foray into the MMORPG market. The game launched in North America on October 28th 2003 in an attempt to grab a of piece of the lucrative MMORPG market that games like Ultima Online and EverQuest popularized. Even though the game bears the ‘Final Fantasy’ title, Final Fantasy XI has little in common with other games in the franchise. Most notably, unlike the other Final Fantasy titles for consoles, FF11 has little emphasis on story telling, which is a staple of the series. Final Fantasy XI is set in the fantasy world of Vana’Diel with five playable races – which are Elvaan, Hume, Galka, Mithra and Tarutaru. The game has six starting classes and 14 additional advanced job classes which can be played after level 30. The six starting classes are:

Warrior – Warriors, like in most other MMORPGs, are the most powerful melee classes with both powerful offensive and defensive capabilities. They make great tanks and have the a large pool of hitpoints.
Monk – Monks are powerful melee damage dealers, as they can deal plenty of damage in a short period of time. They actually have the most hitpoints out of all the classes.
White Mage – Those familiar to Final Fantasy games should quickly be able to figure what this class is. In MMORPG terms, White Mages are healers, which makes them incredibly valuable in groups, but weak by themselves.
Black Mage – Black Mages are powerful offensive spellcasters that can deal large amounts of damage extremely quickly. They have tremendous firepower, but have low hit points and defense.
Red Mage – Red Mages in Final Fantasy XI are the ‘jack of all trades’ class, as they have mediocre melee, magic and supportive skills. They are great at soloing enemies and are great for supporting in groups as well.
Thief – Thieves are proficient with daggers and swords. They have a wide variety of offensive skills and the ability to transfer their ‘aggro’ to the main tank. They are also useful for unlocking chests.

Final Fantasy XI Screenshots

Final Fantasy XI Featured Video

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Full Review

Final Fantasy XI Review

By, Michael Kupershteyn

Final Fantasy XI, or FF11 for short, is a fantasy MMORPG created by Square Enix. This is the same company that created the ever popular Final Fantasy game series. Originally created in 2002 for play in Japan, then brought over to North America the following year, this game sought to bring all the wonder of the Final Fantasy series over to the MMORPG world. The game has enjoyed four expansion packs (Rise of the Zilart, Chains of Promathia, Treasures of Art Urghan, and Wings of the Goddess) since its introduction due to its popularity; unfortunately though, these are inaccessible during the 14 day trial.

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Character Creation

The character creation in Final Fantasy XI left many things to be desired. There are five races to choose from, but they lack a lot of customizable attributes. Each race comes with 5-7 ‘faces’ to choose from, all coming with a designated hairstyle. Customizing the character proves to be difficult, as the character view does not allow you to pan the camera to see the changes made to your character. After selecting a race, you can choose from 6 ‘jobs’; monk, warrior, red mage, white mage, black mage, and thief, along with a second job advancement at level 30 with sub-jobs available at level 18. These sub-jobs add a good deal of variety to the game. Keep in mind though, these sub-jobs need to be leveled independently from yours main job, but changing jobs can be done easily in town. This dual-class system is actually remarkably similar to the dual-class system in Runes of Magic.

Land of Vana’Diel

Final Fantasy XI is set in the land of Vana’diel, unique to the game, and players have the choice of starting off in one of three areas, Windurst, San D’Oria, and Bastok. These areas are the main homes of Taru-Taru and Mithra, Elvaans, Humes and Galka, respectively. The graphics of the backgrounds are not exactly stellar, due to the fact that this game is well over seven years old. Water is indiscernible from land, and light looks static and stationary rather than reflecting and vibrant. The areas, however, are well-designed and do not require much effort to navigate through with the help of a map. Each area is home to guilds, shops, and residential areas. The residential areas contain mog houses, which serve a few important functions. Upon entering the house, players are healed to full HP and MP, and can store their valuables in the house as well as customizing it with furniture and gardening, while furnishing and extra storage can be bought from other players.

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Starting the Game

After creating a character, the fact that this game was also made for Playstation becomes painfully apparent. The controls are extremely clumsy, without an easy to use help-manual in game. In order to learn the controls, you must see the manual in the Play Online client which is used to launch the game. These are quickly forgotten once the game is launched and lead to a pain the neck learning experience for new players. Personally, it took me about an hour until I was comfortable with them. Players may prefer to play Final Fantasy XI on their PC with a game pad, as the controls feel much easier and more responsive with one. I recommend grabbing a PS2 controller and purchasing one of those PS2 to USB adapters to use on a PC, as the PS2 Dual shock 2 controllers are superior to most regular PC gamepads. To be fair though, after the first hour I became quite comfortable with the controls.

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Fighting

There are a few monsters in each starting area from worms to dingbats. Outside the newbie zones, there are many well-produced areas worth exploring which contain monsters to slay, such as dungeons, deserts and glaciers. Leveling up in Final Fantasy XI, like other MMORPGs, is a tiresome task, as it takes hours to even reach level 5. The battle interface is similar to the rest of the game’s interface, poorly planned and tedious. In order to attack the monster, the player must be perfectly facing it and within very close range. This proves to be cumbersome, as it requires constant repositioning, and is a testament to the game’s age. The actual fighting seems as though it takes years, as the time between attacks is at least 5-10 seconds. Mana is few and far between, so spells must be conserved. This creates a tricky scenario for new mages trying to level their character up. Unlike traditional MMORPGs where enemies are simply XP pinatas, Final Fantasy XI prides itself on being a bit more difficult. The game’s pace and combat makes players actually have to earn their experience. Once an enemy is killed, there is a chance it nay drop a chest. There are two types of chests, locked and unlocked. To open the locked chest, the player is given 5 chances to guess a random number between 10-99, which makes the loot in the locked chest more rewarding.

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Quests, Movement, and Conquest

Perhaps due to Final Fantasy XI’s roots in regular RPGs, Square Enix included a myriad of quests for players to undertake, making this one of the game’s best features. Early in the game, small tasks such as gathering items or fighting minor monsters aid new players in advancing through the game. One downside to the game’s quest system is that they do not serve to advance the storyline of Vana’diel, and therefore players may find them uninteresting. It was a bit disheartening to learn that this game lacked a serious plot, as Final Fantasy games are notorious for their impressive storytelling. I say ‘serious plot’ because the game does have a decent story, but it’s quite disappointing compared to epic console RPG series. While completing quests, it is necessary to move throughout the world, and there are two tools to facilitate faster movement. On top of regular quests, Final Fantasy XI has ‘missions’ which are basically quests that advance the game’s main storyline. These tend to be both more interesting and rewarding. Chocobos, the large yellow running birds familiar to previous Final Fantasy titles, can be used to quickly maneuver across the map, and airships allow quick travel between nations. Players can also capture more territory for their nation by by defeating killing enemy players. Capturing territory is important for get better deals with local merchants as well as easier access to the controlled areas.

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Capitalism, Crafting and Racing

Final Fantasy XI features a comprehensive and well-designed system for bartering items. Similarly to games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest, Final Fantasy XI has an auction house system meaning players can put their wares up for auction, making the system of commerce both simple and convenient. Crafting also plays a large part in the game, as it is used to obtain the more powerful items in Vana’diel. One of the flaws in this system, however, is that new players will find it difficult to advance their crafting skills due to the expensive prices of the materials required. Advancing a skill even one point can cost colossal amounts of money. One interesting feature added in 2007 was the advent of Chocobo racing and breeding. This hearkens back to the old days of Final Fantasy 7 and is a welcome addition to this game.

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Final Verdict – Fair

Final Fantasy XI, even though it has some innovative features, does not possess enough to compete with modern MMORPGs. The graphics simply do not measure up to recently created games. However, the trial does not possess any limitations other than restricting access to the expansion packs, so for the nostalgic player looking to reminisce on the past, this game is certainly playable.

Screenshots

Final Fantasy XI Screenshots

Videos

Final Fantasy XI Videos

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System Requirements

Final Fantasy XI System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:
OS: Windows 98 / 2000 / ME / XP / Vista
CPU: Pentium 3, 800 MHz or AMD Equivalent
RAM: 128 MB Free
HDD: 9.5 GB Free
Graphics Card: Any 32 MB Video Card

Recommended Specifications:
OS: Windows 98 / 2000 / ME / XP / Vista
CPU: Pentium 4 1.5 Ghz or AMD Equivalent
RAM: 512 MB or more
HDD: 9.5 GB Free
Graphics Card: Any 62 MB Video Card

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