How Final Fantasy XI Is Still Alive 18 Years Later
Final Fantasy XI, somehow, has an active user base eighteen years after its launch. Here's how Square Enix has kept the MMO alive all these years.
Final Fantasy XIV may the MMO on everyone's mind these days, especially considering its incredible redemption story. However, before there was Final Fantasy XIV, or even World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy took its first steps into the MMO world with Final Fantasy XI.
Perhaps even more amazing is that Final Fantasy XI continues to have an active player base in 2020, as well as a paid subscription service. Through thick and thin the game has managed to survive and thrive for eighteen years.
Related: Final Fantasy XI: 15 Things You Never Knew About Vana’diel
Few MMOs have managed to see such longevity and success, and a big part of that is how Square Enix crafted and supported Final Fantasy XI.
Final Fantasy XI Doubled-Down on Player Freedom
Freedom is at the heart of the MMO experience, and the best of the genre gives players an endless amount of options. A big part of this for Final Fantasy XI came with the series' iconic job system. Players could choose from a variety of different jobs in Final Fantasy XI, but unlike most MMOs, you didn't have to change characters to change "class." Players could collect gear from all across the world, then use it in tandem with jobs to experiment with entirely new playstyles. The game also added sub-jobs on top of the system, expanding on each role with even more unique ideas and playstyles.
What resulted was an experience that felt unique to each player, and experimentation was necessary. Outside of traditional MMO ideas, jobs even applied to the wider game and not just combat, like how thieves can pick locks. Final Fantasy XI took the ideas of the series and applied them to the MMO formula in interesting ways. Yes, the game had its rough patches, but over the years through changes and additions, the core systems became even more engaging. As MMOs became more guided experiences that held player's hands, Final Fantasy XI still demanded that players figure out its systems for themselves, and experiment.
Further developing on player freedom is the Trust system introduced in 2013, that let players summon NPC characters to fight alongside them. This meant that players no longer had to form parties to take on the game's tougher challenges, encouraging solo play and guaranteeing options even if player numbers fell. Many of Final Fantasy XI's systems might seem archaic by today's standards, but features like its job system were revolutionary at the time.
Related: Final Fantasy XIV Surpasses 16 Million Players Ahead of Shadowbringers Expansion
Final Fantasy XI Bred a Welcoming Community
An MMO simply can't succeed without a passionate community, and Final Fantasy XI deliberately tried to foster one since its creation. Final Fantasy XI is a punishing game, especially in its early days, and the complexities of the game can make it tough to jump into. Because of this, it was essential for players to band together, as it presented a better chance of success and survival before there was any kind of Trust system. It was an MMO that really fostered cooperation, and it showed.
Apart from that, Final Fantasy XI stuck true to the series' roots and doubled down on story and lore. It tried to make players feel like a part of a breathing world and succeeded in that for the most part. Final Fantasy XI still had all those iconic elements of Final Fantasy; Chocobos, Moogles, Black Mages, and a phenomenal soundtrack crafted by longtime composer Nobuo Uematsu. With these two main points, Final Fantasy XI fostered a tightknit community. The game has thousands of players still subscribe, nearly 40,000 a month according to the site MMO Population. If you head to the Final Fantasy XI subreddit there's still several posts every day, even if things have slowed down. It's a testament to how many players were invested in the game over the years.
Square Enix Continued to Update Final Fantasy XI
Strong design and a dedicated community can keep a game afloat for a while, but true longevity only comes when a developer continues to iterate upon what they created. Amazingly the game has received a new patch nearly every two months since its launch, with the latest version update hitting on March 10, 2020. Square Enix has been incredibly diligent about fixing problems, and providing incremental updates, even while it tried to launch another MMO, Final Fantasy XIV. On top of that, Final Fantasy XI received an expansion or major update every year or two years after its launch, until Rhapsodies of Vana'diel in 2015.
Each of these expansions added on a variety of content like new races, new jobs, new areas, and extra story content. This kept a constant stream of new content for fans to dive into, ensuring that the community had something to talk about and some new challenge or boss to beat. Final Fantasy XI had a strong enough user base that it stayed a consistent moneymaker for Square Enix, and in turn, they continued to update the game and bring new content. It'd led to an MMO that has continued to exist, even while Final Fantasy XIV became wildly successful. No doubt, there will continue to be a community until the game's last days.
Next: Final Fantasy XIV Will Be Available On PS5
Batwoman Star Camrus Johnson Responds To Ruby Rose’s AllegationsAbout The Author
Hayes is a Staff Writer for Screen Rant. He’s been writing and podcasting about games for over a decade, and he’s a graduate of the Metropolitan State University of Denver in the Journalism program. He’s been diving into RPGs ever since discovering the Final Fantasy series at a young age. You can find him on Twitter @Solfleet.
I got the game when it came out as a christmas present, without even knowing that it was an online game, that it required a monthly subscription or that it was in English. Being 11 and speaking Spanish meant not really knowing what to do, nor being able to play for more than the first 30 free days (which were less because of how ridiculously long it took to install the original CD version of the game), with my parents, understandably, refusing to pay for a subscription.
Of it I remember mostly walking around one of the main towns, Bastok , getting obliterated all the time (and missing levels, getting KOed could imply levelling down) and trying to communicate. I don’t remember the name but I remember befriending a Greek teenager with whom I partied for the mines for a couple days. I pretended that I was 13 years old, I guess that sounded mature enough to be taken serious by other players, haha.
This proved somehow defining and every once in a while I get the temptation to try it again. I did it at the beginning of Covid and I think I enjoyed it, with caveats.
The world is great. It’s realistic in its size and composition. Each area takes quite long to traverse, and it takes a few of the areas to create a biome. There isn’t a “Desert area” but rather a few intertwined and big desert areas with small, subtle differences in landscape and climate, maybe turning into a bit greener areas, then transitioning to other like pastures, etc. At the same time these areas are realistic.They don’t have many characteristic monuments. They might feel a bit empty, but they contribute to its realism and the sense of exploration.
Continents are connected by sea, requiring travel by boat. Which literally take around 15 mins of real time, all while you see the landscape changing, the sactually travelling. Good for worldbuilding, not that much for the player’s time. Thankfully now there’re teleportation points in all cities/most dungeons and field areas, but at the same time it makes it all feel a bit disconnected.
It is also original. Nice cities with their own idiosincracies and their own plots. (The Bastok one is really interesting in the way it deals with an oppressive community with very particular religious beliefs). Old ruins that resemble more old alien skeletal remains than buildings. A very original lore. The playable races are recognisable while also original (one of them, the Galka, is particularly good, a very interesting culture based around a sexless reproductive system around reincarnation).
The music is great. Very similar in style to the classic PS1 final fantasy games, in my opinion.
The problem I have it on the plot(s) and gameplay.
The plot is divided on expansions, factions (city states), mini expansions... each of them are independent, mostly you can do them in any order, which makes it quite chaotic compared to FFXIV. And it is where you can mostly see it’s age. I’ve finished the Bastok missions (until rank 10, actually really interesting by the end) and Rise of the Zilart (the first expansion). I’m now halfway through Chains of Promathia (second expansion). And while interesting, it has nothing to do against other final fantasy games. I feel the world is great, the lore is great, but that storytelling wasn’t a priority or wasn’t really thought of back them. It might improve, but I don’t know yet, and I don’t even know if I will, because....
Well, the game is kind of boring.
It is definitely not friendly to new players. Those guides linked on previous messages are essential for new players nowadays. And it can get really, extremely repetitive. Levelling up requires fighting monsters over and over (with trusts, ai companions, and some exp enhancing objects you might obtain easily, is not that hard). And, after level 50, requires unlocking by new quests every 5 levels until level 99. They require items, mostly randomly dropped by enemies. I’ve been fighting the same enemies for hours sometimes waiting for a single item. The same happened with normal plot advancing quests. Also, after certain moments you gain new Job and level enhancing abilities. Merit points and Job/Capacity points. So, more grinding on top to add to the levelling.
Sometimes I feel like it. Exploring, slowly uncovering some bits of plot, getting into a “mood” , making the game really enjoyable. Other times, I just can’t anymore and end up questioning why I’m even on it. It happened to me last week in the middle of an expansion mission, on a dungeon. I just couldn’t anymore. Unsubscribed and went back to XIV. At the same time I know I’ll be thinking about that world in a while and I’ll probably try it back again in a few months, probably enjoy it for a while, then loathe it for some more.
Primed for Adventure – The October Episode: Now Available in the Archive!The latest episode of the North American Community team's Primed for Adventure live stream series has been archived and is ready for your viewing pleasure! If you were unable to join the team during the live broadcast, feel free to check out the official FINAL FANTASY XI Twitch channel's archives at your leisure.
In this episode, the Community team leveled up some more to take on more missions from the nation of Windurst!
View the archived video on the official Twitch channel.
NewsOctober, 18 2021
The Harvest Festival Is Nigh!The Harvest Festival is just around the corner, and all adventurers in Vana'diel know what means— 'tis the season for tricks, treats, and all manner of delightful frights!
Event Period: Monday, October 25, 2021, at 1:00 a.m. (PDT) to Monday, November 8, 2021, at 6:59 a.m. (PST)
Read onfor details.
NewsOctober, 18 2021
Announcing the Midsummer's Nomad Mog Bonanza Winning Number!The moogles have worked hard to bring you the Midsummer's Nomad Mog Bonanza, and we're pleased to announce the results!
Check the winning number by viewing the message that displays upon login or speaking with a bonanza moogle.
If you are one of the lucky winners, trade a winning bonanza pearl to the said bonanza moogle.
Pearl Trading Period
Thursday, October 14, 2021, at 1:00 a.m. (PDT) to Sunday, October 31, at 7:59 a.m.
Bonanza moogles may be found in the following locations.
Port San d'Oria (I-9) / Port Bastok (L-8) / Port Windurst (F-6) / Chocobo Circuit (H-8)
Read onfor a summary and list of prizes.
* Mog bonanza prizes are items and in-game currency that have no value outside of FINAL FANTASY XI.
NewsOctober, 14 2021
The October 2021 Login Campaign is now underway.The October 2021 Login Campaign is now underway.
Monday, October 11, at 8:00 a.m. (PDT) to Tuesday, November 2, at 7:00 a.m.
Monday, October 11, at 8:00 a.m. (PDT) to Tuesday, November 9, at 6:00 a.m. (PST)
Read onfor details.
NewsOctober, 12 2021
Primed for Adventure Live Stream – Episode 9!Have you ever wanted to experience the world of Vana'diel but didn't know where to start? Feeling that desire for adventure in Vana'diel once more but unsure how things must be? Be sure to mark your calendar and tune in for the next episode of the Primed for Adventure!
Sicycre and Okieeomi from the North American Community team are excited to continue their journey in Vana'diel with you. There are more levels to be gained and missions in Windurst to be done once again!
Date & Time:
Friday, October 15, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. (PDT)
Where to watch:
The official FINAL FANTASY XI Twitch Channel
NewsOctober, 12 2021
The October Version Update Has Landed!Enjoy the monthly updates to Ambuscade.
Read onfor details.
DevelopmentOctober, 11 2021
Announcing the October 2021 FINAL FANTASY XI DigestFor this month's FINAL FANTASY XI Digest, we present to you a message from Producer Matsui.
Proceed to the forums.
NewsOctober, 11 2021
WE ARE VANA'DIEL Website Updated!The WE ARE VANA'DIEL website has been updated.
Read onfor details.
NewsOctober, 6 2021
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I'd never go to retail again, I just don't get the feelz from it like I used to. As far as a legacy server goes, only if I could transfer my nasomi save (yea right) and only if it was free (big yea right) as subscription models went away for a reason and $120 a year for a game from 2002 that could run on my electric toothbrush is too much.
Maybe I'm weird, but I'm totally fine with a subscription fee for an MMO, no matter what age it is.
The way I see it, I pay £9.99 or whatever a month for it. If I didn't pay that £9.99, I'd spend that £9.99 on something else.
For around the same price (Barring travel fees, which makes it almost £17 for me.. Lol) I can buy a movie ticket.
That one movie ticket lets me see one movie, on average.. About 1.5hrs of enjoyment.
£9.99 into sub mmo of my choice gives me as much play time as I see fit to dedicate to the MMO during that month, which in my view - if I play atleast 5 hours a week, is worth my money.
I used to see it as a sub = I need to dedicate to that game to get my money's worth, but putting it into perspective of what that £9.99 COULD have done for me... Eh? :p
Subscription models are still there, and doing well. FFXIV and WoW are both sub based, as well as FFXI and EQ still. I think FFXIV and WoW are the best way to do it, a sub fee with a cash shop that is just purely cosmetic stuff like mounts, emotes, and equipment graphics. I think this is one of the mistakes that was made with FFXI. They could have made a lot more money by selling stuff like that. Even though I'd prefer everything to be obtainable in-game, I understand the reality of requiring profits to maintain and sustain.
I can't stand the Sub+Cash shop model. Especially in FFXIV's case. It has such a robust crafting system, as well as a fair amount of almost rewardless content. Most of that cash shop bollocks could have been added as in game rewards.. You know, as an incentive for me to actually play the game. A lot of people defend the cash shop sub mentality with "It's just cosmetics", but earning cosmetics through in game actions is great. And when they're rapid firing outfits and mounts on the cash shop like Squeenix had been recently it rubs me the wrong way.
Now don't get me wrong, the best cash shop is a cosmetic cash shop, but a cosmetic cash shop that's as expensive as WoW/FFXIV's, with a sub? Erk. :p And don't even get me STARTED on that bullshit story skip potion.
Yes, and me too - a member treacherously stood up, pulling his pants. The next day I decided to approach Tanya for a break. Despite what I saw yesterday, I was still shy. But I decided to immediately take the bull by the horns: Tanya, I like you, - I said bluntly.
- Polished rocks
- Poe necromancer
- Jimin gif
- 300cc kawasaki
- Cow chop
- Elf clipart
- Boderlands 3
- Nyu average mcat
- Hp tablets
- Sunrise mountain painting
Then I finally looked at these young beauties. Good. Short shorts reveal their slender long legs right up to the hip joints - this is the fashion now. Nice legs. And their T-shirts are so tight around their beautiful balls of clearly elastic chest.