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Final Fantasy XI


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I just picked it up at lunchtime today. I installed the hardware, patched the software, and registered with Play Online. I just need to create a character and start adventuring tonight! Anyone else get it? It'd be cool if we could designate an official LCVG server. It might be a little difficult as I heard you can't choose what server you play on. According to the Gamespot review:

 

It's possible to keep re-creating a character until the game "rolls up" the server that you want; but what you're "supposed" to do is purchase an item in the game called a world pass, which allows a number of other players to create characters on (not transfer existing characters to) the purchaser's server.

 

I'll give a mini-review of the game later after I've got a chance to log a few hours.

 

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LCVGers on the Leviathan server

Username - Character Name (City), Level Job

================================

 

MastaRedSnappa - Lupyn (Bastok), 16 RDM/13 THF/11 WHM/11 BLM/8 WAR/7 MNK

 

Cofn - Pyanfar (San d'Oria), 30 MNK/13 WHM/13 WAR/10 RNG/7 NIN/7 PAL

 

FutureVoid - Vrale (?), ?

 

RuFfNeCk - RuFfNeCk (?). ?

 

CaptDS9E - Martok (Bastok) , 13 WAR

 

Scar - Alesae (Bastok), 17 WAR/12 MNK

 

Woo Jae Park - Wooman (Bastok), 9 WHM/9 RDM/9 BLM

 

Camon Oheni - Kiora (Bastok), ? WAR

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Ok, I have about 7 hours of gameplay under my belt. Here's a mini-review of the FFXI for the PS2 (as I have played EQOA: Frontiers for awhile, I will use that as a MMORPG PS2 benchmark)...

 

Installation:

The hardware installation was a snap, taking roughly 2 minutes. Even with FFXI already pre-installed on the HDD, the software installation/registration process was both long and convoluted, taking roughly an hour for updates (for reference, I have a broadband connection and there are quite a few updates that need to be downloaded before you can start playing) and entering all the required registration info. I can see quite a few gamers/parents being intimidated and giving up. This should have definitely been re-done prior to the North American PS2 launch. EQOA's installation isn't exactly plug and play either, but it's still better than FFXI's. Once all the software is installed, you have to load the Play Online software from which you launch FFXI. There really should have been a way to immediately launch FFXI from PS2 HDD browser.

 

Graphics:

The graphics are nice, if a bit grainy. It uses textures well (EQOA looks rather bland in comparison). The character designs definitely have the FF-look. The animations are generally quite good as well. Spell effects and weapon hits are nicely done (though nowhere near the ridiculous level in the other FF games where a spell animation is like a feature film!). There's alot of draw-in but because of the expansiveness of the world, it's pretty inevitable. It has a 16x9 mode for us widescreen users. Overall, I would say that the graphics/animation/models are a definite improvement over EQOA.

 

Sound/Music:

The music is classic FF. If you loved the music in previous FF games, then you'll feel right at home here. The sound effects are pretty much par for the course. It's a toss-up here depending on whether you like FF-style or EQ-style music.

 

User Interface:

It's hard to imagine that anyone play-tested this UI before it was released. It definitely feels like little thought was put into designing a PS2-specific control scheme. Wasn't the game first released as a Japanese PS2 game though? Perhaps, this is tuned for Japanese gamers. Some of the text and graphics are excrutiatingly small and hard to read/make out (such as the equipment text/icons, status icons, etc.). The amount of configuration they allow is nice. You can change things like whether to invert either the X or Y axis in either first or third person mode, the brightness, what text gets filtered from the chat window, etc. FFXI also has a built-in macro system (easily accessible via the L2 and R2 buttons) that can be used for common text entry and commands (like "Pulling!" or joining a group). Overall, FFXI's UI is a step behind EQOA's in terms of ease of use and intuitiveness but it does have more user-configurable options.

 

Gameplay:

I've only played solo so far so I can only comment on that aspect of FFXI's gameplay. Combat is pretty standard for MMORPGs-- just target a monster, start the auto-attack, and mix in any special attacks such as magic and abilties. I like how special weapon attacks (such as Wasp Sting for the dagger skill or Fast Blade for the sword skill) are tied into the weapon skill system. As you use your weapon more, you gain skill points/levels for that weapon. When a weapon skill level reaches a certain point, you gain access to new special weapon attacks. It seems kind of lame that items don't auto-stack as you pick them up (e.g. you have no inventory slots open and you pick up an insect wing after the battle, even if you already have one insect wing in your inventory, it will not make a stack out of them using the same inventory slot even though you can use a sort command later to stack them). Much like EQ on the PC, FFXI uses zones. Once you leave a zone, there is a thankfully short loading time for the next zone (roughly 10-20 seconds). EQOA streamed the next zone's data so there are no zone-loading waits (unless you tried to go to a non-adjacent zone such as when riding the coach between towns, teleporting/gating, or dying). The con/check system is functional but seems like a step backward from EQOA's system. In FFXI, to con a monster, you have to target it, then select the check command. A brief description of the monster will come up that will indicate how tough of a battle it will be. In EQOA, when you target a monster, the target reticle changes color (from green to cyan to blue to white to yellow to red) to give you a quick and easy visual indicator of a monster's toughness.

 

Overall:

At first, I didn't like the game at all. But after playing for a few hours, it has started to grow on me, warts and all. I will definitely play through the free 30 day trial and then evaluate whether it's worth the $12.95 per month to keep playing. I don't think it's for everyone-- it's definitely not a game for casual gamers (although, in its defense, almost all MMORPGs are not for casual gamers). I'm not sure if I would have bought the game if it didn't include/need the HDD. I'm hoping that all future games will support the HDD (for downloadable content, mods, game saves, etc.), much like the Xbox.

 

For those who care, I play on the Leviathan server. I'm a level 7 Hume Thief in Bastok named Lupyn. If anyone else is on the Leviathan server, let me know. I'll be glad to group with you or help you out of you need anything.

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Well, picked this up on Saturday, and spend late last night playing around when my wife went to be.

 

I have to agree, quite a lenghty install, and at times frustrating. I am a manual hater, so of course I tossed it aside and gave it a go. I am a firm beleiver that almost no game should need to have a manual if the user interface and prompts are well designed. Well that isn't the case here, got to a point and had to reference a few things. Once everthing is registered I spend close to an hour downloading the updates. (Didn't it just some out a few days ago?) All things consdered I spent a good 2 hours playing around with the registration, updates, and toying with PlayOnline.

 

Went throught charecter creation, but did not commit just yet, and have not started to actuall play the game, hopefully I will get a chance tonight. My wide would string me up if I started without her.

 

This is sorta my second MMORPG, the first was Ultima Online, back when it first came out, in all it's buggy glory. I wans't t impressed back then, but I am definately hoping FF XI will be decent especially at a startup cost of about $260 cdn (HDD/FFXI, Net Adapter and Logitech Keyboard) Hmmm, and to think, when I saw Steel Batallion and its $200 price tag, I remember saying I would never pay that much to play 1 game. Never say never I guess.

 

What seemed to sell me most on FF XI was the IGN review saying there was actually a plot. I was expecting just mindless monster killing, but that doesn't seem to be the case. From what I understand it can take a hell of a lot of time to actually progress the story, but there is one.

 

Here's to hoping this will be a good experience.

 

 

Hope to see some of you online, maybe we can get a party going.

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Some more brief thoughts after about 12 hours of play time...

 

- The more I play it, the more I like it. The first 2 hours are probably THE most painful 2 hours I've ever put into a game. After that, the game really grew on me quick! Maybe they intentionally made the initial hours so bad so that things can only go up. Or not.

 

- It takes about 2-3 minutes to actually enter the FFXI world from the time you power on the PS2, including at least 7 clicks of the controller buttons. It takes almost as long to log off properly (with an almost equal number of clicks as well). I could do my taxes with less time/work.

 

- Typing sucks, even with the Nyko iType2 keyboard/controller combo. I have been reduced to using no punctuation or capitalization. I may have to invest in the Logitech full-size keyboard/controller before I start typing like that at work. "boss raise plz"

 

- Running around is slow. I need a chocobo, dammit! I kept asking everyone, "sow plz" but only got blank stares. Heathens.

 

- I had my first, and only, group. I get a tell out of the blue asking to join a party to do a quest. I didn't want to seem rude so I join and make the marathon trek to join the group in the city of Bastok. Of course, once I'm there, the guy who invited me realizes that the quest is only for level 5's and under (he and I are both level 6) and promptly disbands the group without saying anything. Hey, this game has everything-- warriors, thieves, white/red/black mages, monks, and asshats. Any LCVGers on the Leviathan server? Bueller? Bueller?

 

- I saw a waterfall today in North Gustaberg. Color me impressed. It actually looked like real water. Of course, my son kept trying to insist that the water should be blue like in the ocean. He'll see the error of his ways once I take him to a So Cal beach and he can see that water is actually brownish-gray.

 

- The user interface still sucks. The game succeeds in spite of it, definitely not because of it.

 

- I haven't seen a manual that thick since I bought my last car. It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't reference other pages incorrectly half of the time. They must have gotten a two-for-one deal with the QA team that tested the user interface. At least the pages are in full-color.

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One tip for making alot of money early on: before you go fight, have the guard cast Signet on you. This spell makes some of the mobs drop crystals. I auctioned a stack of 12 crystals yesterday for about 1,900 gil. Unfortunately, I had been selling all my crystals before that back to the vendors for 14 gil each. :shock: With Signet cast on you, you also earn points for your city (the benefit of which I'm not sure of).

 

Now, whenever I find an item new (to me), I always check out what it last sold for at the auction house. If it's alot more than what I could get at the vendors (which is usually the case), then I just auction it. I think you can only have like 7 items auctioned at one time though.

 

Ruffneck, I look forward to seeing you online. Remember, I'm in the city of Bastok if you need anything. Let me know if you want me to get the world pass (instead of just trying to randomly roll a character on the Leviathan server).

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Master

 

Actually, I am so early in the game (less than an hourish) and haven't done anything of merit, I wouldn't mind jumping to Leviathan. Up to you if you want to spend the cash on the Pass, but it sure would be nice to play with someone I sorta know.

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Ruffneck,

 

2 weeks, ouch, that really hurts. But look at it on the bright side, you could have signed up for FF XI and then had the PS2 die and lose your 30 day trial.

 

 

Master,

 

If you want to hold off for a few more days to see if there is any support that would be cool as I likely will not have a chance to play before Monday night anyway.

 

Let me know.

 

I will come back here later tonight to check your plan.

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