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Dec 15, 2007

Review - Part 1: Final Fantasy XI Online: Vana'Diel Collection 08

This is kind of an ongoing review because this game is so huge that it will take time for me to fully explore the game.

I've never played an MMO before. Never. No WoW, no Guild Wars ... nothing. So jumping into Final Fantasy XI Online was a huge step for me and well, let's just say I was not prepared. This game is massive and very complex. For a newb like me, its overwhelming and very scary to try and play.

I get this game and the first thing I do is read the instruction manual which is something I never do unless I get stuck on a game, so you know right off the bat I'm lost when it comes to online gaming worlds. The instructions seem pretty straight forward on how to install the game, so I first make some room on my 20 GB hard drive cause this game take like 8 or 9 GB to install.

Yes, you will need to install this game on your Xbox 360 hard drive, so get rid of all those dumb, little trial games or upgrade your Xbox 360 to an Elite. Also make sure you have an entire day to install this game because you will need a few or 8 hours to install it, register it, watch the opening cinematic, install the patch, register again and then create a character.

It took me 2 hours to install the game, another hour to register because I didn't know that the game had glitch where you couldn't type in the registration code for the free trial month with lower case letters like the instruction manual tells you to. Apparently I discovered after reading a few forums that you can type the code in Upper case letters and it will work. That took me half an hour to figure out.

Then my credit card wouldn't work, so I had to try my boyfriend's and finally I got the game registered. I then stopped the game, because by this time it was 2:00am and I needed sleep. The next day I started the game and watched a really cool cinematic that just rips at your heart strings. You can watch it on the video below.

After the video, you get to install the patch which takes another 3 hours. Again I turned the system off for a while and restarted it to register the game. See first you register on the Play Online network and then you register for FFXI. Fun, huh? Its better without the use of a keyboard. Finally I created a Black Mage Cat Person with red hair and a real need to roll around a lot.

This is where the game gets complicated ... There is no tutorial and the game manual tells you nothing about how to get rolling in the game. You learn how to move, fight and such, but the menus are so complex and the game doesn't tell you where to go to start leveling up. There are so many NPCs to talk to, so many players running around who don't want to talk and I was totally lost.

I ran around, talk to guards named after playing cards, got 50 gil from a robot guide, bought grass for clothing, killed a little monster and then died in another monster fight. Worst of all, typing is so annoying without a USB keyboard or the typing board for the controller.

I plan to sit back down and try this game again, but honestly I'm lost. This game is complex and I'm such a newb when it comes to MMOs that this is more like work than fun for me. I hate to say it but I think I actually don't like a Final Fantasy game for once. I never thought it would happen. I mean I liked Final Fantasy X-2 and hardly anyone liked that Charlie's Angels wannabe.

I'm not giving up yet, so stay tuned for a part two to this review. I would suggest this as a buy for expert MMO players though. This isn't a game for beginners.

1 comment:

Matthew Gallant said...

I started playing FFXI three years ago around the time that the game was released, and quit the game ~8 months ago. It was my first MMORPG too, and, while I was overwhelmed, I had the benefit of being as overwhelmed as everyone else was!

You picked BLM as your starting job, just as I did when I started. That's a great choice, Black Mages are a popular party addition (especially at higher levels.) However, soloing levels 1-10 as a mage job is actually quite tricky. While other jobs can tackle enemies that /check as "Tough" and "Even Match" without too much difficulty, as a BLM you'll have to get those first ten levels fighting "Easy Prey" and "Decent Challenge" enemies.

Here are a few random beginner tips that might help you out:

-When heading out of the city, talk to the gate guards on the way to get the "Signet" status. Signet makes enemies drop crystals, which are a nice source of income for beginners.

-For low level equipment, the Auction House will always have much lower prices than NPC vendors

-Use the "check" command on every enemy (or "mob" in MMORPG slang) before fighting it. Two enemies can have the same name and appearance but be different levels.

-People tend to solo up to level ~12, then make parties of six in Valkurm Dunes. A well balanced party has a tank (or two), a healer (or two) and a few damage dealers:
*Tank: someone with heavy armour who can take damage well, but more importantly has the Warrior's "Provoke" job ability to be able to hold the attention of the monster on him/herself. Typical tanks include Warrior, Ninja and Paladin, but any non-mage job can tank at low levels as long as they can Provoke.
*Healer: typically White Mages or Red Mages. These jobs that are usually in very high demand for party building.
*Damage Dealers: the guys that actually kill the enemy, includes Black Mage

-Subjobs are unlocked by a quest available at level 18. A subjob can be up to half of your main job's level, but you need to actually have that job leveled up to gain the benefits. For instance, if you are a level 20 MNK and level 5 WAR, then you will be a 20MNK/5WAR when you use it as a subjob and would have access to all the abilities of a level 5 Warrior. However, if you were a level 20 MNK and level 20 WAR, then you would be a 20MNK/10WAR since your subjob would cap at half of your main job level. Changing jobs to level up up your subjob is important! Black mages tend to sub White Mage.

While I hope my disjointed suggestions might provide some clarity, here are a few websites packed with great information about items, enemies, maps, etc.

Best of luck! FFXI is tricky to get into at first, but is great fun once you get into it.