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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  The Gaming Graveyard  |  MMOG Discussion  |  Topic: It pains me to say it, but FFXI has actually improved. 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: It pains me to say it, but FFXI has actually improved.  (Read 67559 times)
Kitsune
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Posts: 2406


on: September 23, 2007, 03:01:17 AM

It's been a solid four years since I last set foot in Final Fantasy 11, with my initial exposure lasting for all of about a week before the asian torture grind drove me off.  I was content to leave it that way too, until I saw a $4 one-month trial disk while bored in the wake of finishing BioShock.  I got it, installed it, and was surprised as hell to discover that they've actually lightened the grind to a more tolerable weight.  Grouping is still fairly mandatory upon hitting the teens from what I've seen, but a quest for characters in their 30s lets you summon an NPC henchman, and you can assign them a role (tank/healer/damage) to fill whatever you'd need for a duoing partner.  Additionally, rings are easily available that hold charges of an experience boosting enchantment, and that has given me a very swank boost in leveling speed that didn't exist back in the olden days.  The signet spell that the town guards can cast on you now gives an experience boost to partied people and a stat boost, both functions that didn't exist at launch.

That being said, FFXI is still one of the least user-friendly MMOGs ever devised.  The learning experience is akin to walking into an unlit, pitch-black room and yanking on unlabeled levers to see what happens, only to be told half an hour later that a naked pervert was standing in the room the whole time and you really should've been more careful about which levers you were grabbing.  Dying carries a price tag of 10% of a level, and the game isn't at all shy about de-leveling you.  Getting from point A to point B can involve a dizzying web of transportation involving chocobos, airships, ferries, and teleport magics from NPCs or PCs, and until you've completed the quests and have the money for those transport methods, you get to walk; no cheap griffon rides for you.  You do get a quest log, or at least a list of your active quests, but the NPCs are all playing coy about whether they're quest-givers; no floating exclamation points to be found.

The graphics engine is a weird chimaera; character graphics are excellent, but the environment looks like ass.  Muddy, low-res textures are used for terrain and objects, barely better than EverQuest's textures, while characters are running around looking crisp and detailed.  And despite the environment's low resolution and very short range for drawing PC and NPC models, it's not wholly smooth even on a 640MB Geforce 8800 GTS.  The engine is in dire need of a rewrite to improve its performance and replace the shitty textures with those of a decent resolution.  It looks better than EverQuest, but can't compare to any of the modern generation MMOGs.

The control scheme still sucks compared to a proper mouse-driven UI, but Xbox 360 controllers work very well with the game, better than constantly wrestling with its half-assed keyboard/mouse scheme.  Plugging in a console controller helps the handling considerably, but players would still be well-advised to create macros to automate commands that might take too long to enter through the menus.

All in all, I have to say that FFXI has gone from 'slamming your dick in a car door' to 'crotchety, unforgiving old MMOG that has potential for fun if you're willing to climb the steep learning curve'.  One back-handed benefit of that learning curve seems to be the discouragement of imbeciles; I haven't yet encountered anyone that I'd consider to be an utter moron in the game.  Presumably the morons never figure out that their characters aren't automatically equipped with their starter weapons, die in short order, become discouraged, and quit.  This is not to say that the population is immune to the presence of trolls, griefers, exploiters and other such rejects, but the utter lack of handrails on the game make it virtually impossible to use without a degree of care on the part of the player.
raydeen
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Reply #1 on: September 23, 2007, 03:38:14 AM

Can I choose which server I want to play on yet?
Does installing/patching require less than three hours?
Can I have more than one character per server without paying extra?

Actually, I could probably live with no to any or all of these questions, but I want to be able to travel easily between any of the starter cities. If I was to get back into the game again, it would definitely be as a Taru in Windurst. Bastock was complete and utter shit (can't speak for the other city) but I don't want to have to travel far and wide to party just because friends chose to be in another city. I had to basically delete my first character because they got stuck in the lands separating Windurst and Bastock and when I re-rolled in Bastock to play with friends I wanted to rip my eyes out. It was like playing in the Barrens but even drearier. And the Dunes. The Goddamned Dunes. Tell me they took out the fucking bats that patrolled both ends of that tunnel that connected the two parts.

Ugh. nvm.  I'd rather play in EQ's PoD with the USB cock-stabber attachment.

I was drinking when I wrote this, so sue me if it goes astray.
Azazel
Contributor
Posts: 7735


Reply #2 on: September 23, 2007, 04:29:27 AM

Just one question:

Have you seen EverQuest 1 lately?

I haven't been on it for a solid year, when I last logged on to a friend's account to say hello, but a lot of the old zones have been revamped to a much more modern-looking MMOG quality (Freeport upgrade design aesthetics aside).


http://azazelx.wordpress.com/ - My Miniatures and Hobby Blog.
WindupAtheist
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Posts: 7028

Badicalthon


Reply #3 on: September 23, 2007, 05:54:08 AM

Does a guy who makes a level one newb in EQ1 these days even see any other players?  Or is the entire playerbase a bunch of level 9000 guys on the other side of the world?

"You're just a dick who quotes himself in his sig."  --  Schild
"Yeah, it's pretty awesome."  --  Me
Azazel
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Reply #4 on: September 23, 2007, 09:06:33 AM

Probably not, and probably yes. I think the level cap is 75 or 80 by now.

Such is the way of things, in an 8-year-old Diku.


http://azazelx.wordpress.com/ - My Miniatures and Hobby Blog.
Ixxit
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Reply #5 on: September 23, 2007, 09:26:45 AM

There is a newbie area now in Everquest called the Mines of Gloomingdeep where all 1st levels start out. This takes you to level 10 or so, and then it is off to the Plane of Knowledge to run the next set of quests.  Last time I checked in with EQ was with the release of the Serpent's Spine expansion (about a year ago)   which included a new starting city 'Crescent Reach', the new Drakkin race which  allowed you to level from 1 to 75 with the new quests/content.

Suprisingly, both Gloomindeep and Crescent Reach always have quite a few low level characters and there are  lots of people in the POK going to and fro, however the original starting cities are completely empty.  For yucks I once ported over to Freeport from the POK to bash some rats, and I don't think I  ever saw another character.  Overall the game does feel nicely poplulated even though some areas are compeletely underused.

Concerning FFXI  do you still need to re-buy the entire game if you haven't played for over three months? Last Christmas I picked up the 360 version for cheap and played for a couple of months, and would like to try it again some day, but I'm not going to buy another copy. This is the single-most retared customer-hating policy  that I have ever seen.

I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate.
Kitsune
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Reply #6 on: September 23, 2007, 11:24:32 AM

Can I choose which server I want to play on yet?
Yes, they dropped the stupid worldpass thing.  They do have a gold worldpass, which is like a referral bonus program where if someone signs up with a gold worldpass given by an existing player, the new and old players get bonus stuff, but it's not required to choose your own server.
Quote
Does installing/patching require less than three hours?
Yes, thanks to putting everything on one DVD.  Still takes about an hour and a half, though, big patches.
Quote
Can I have more than one character per server without paying extra?
Nope, they never did change that.
Quote
Actually, I could probably live with no to any or all of these questions, but I want to be able to travel easily between any of the starter cities.
Airships can take you between cities, but to get the ability to ride the airship you either have to reach rank 5 through missions, or pay 500,000 gil for a license.  So not a big help to a starting character unless they've gone to goldsellers.
Quote
Tell me they took out the fucking bats that patrolled both ends of that tunnel that connected the two parts.
I walked through that tunnel with no sign of bats, but it was daytime, so dunno for sure.
Concerning FFXI  do you still need to re-buy the entire game if you haven't played for over three months? Last Christmas I picked up the 360 version for cheap and played for a couple of months, and would like to try it again some day, but I'm not going to buy another copy. This is the single-most retared customer-hating policy  that I have ever seen.
I have no idea whether that insane re-buy the game thing is still in effect or not.  I do know that next week they're having one of their 'please come back, we miss your money' promotions where they'll restore your old characters even if they've been deleted, so I'm presuming that as part of that, they'll re-activate expired game accounts without trying to make someone buy the box.  However, unlike some other MMOGs that throw in a free month on their 'please come back' deals, FFXI is 'please resubscribe and pay for a month and come back', so we can see that Square is still not entirely conversant with the idea of good customer service.
bhodi
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No lie.


Reply #7 on: September 23, 2007, 11:31:59 AM

Well, since they apparently delete characters after 90 days, I have 0 interest in ever installing it again.
Kitsune
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Reply #8 on: September 23, 2007, 11:37:27 AM

That's the point of the 'please come back' thing, they'll un-delete the old characters.  If they had more sense about it, they'd do what Sony did and never delete any old accounts, but they apparently do have the ability to archive and restore old accounts when they want to.
Numtini
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Reply #9 on: September 23, 2007, 12:14:40 PM

FFXI was a great game completely ruined by Squeenix's arrogance and refusal to adapt to the western market. The problems were so simple to fix. So obvious. Don't delete characters, use an easier launcher, create a standard control set. Nevermind running NA servers with faster XP and looser grouping. Just those three things would probably have netted them tens of thousands of accounts over time.

I had my character restored at one point, but I was still stuck at the kazam airship block and a week later I was still sitting in the exact place I had been a year earlier shouting for the same group that wasn't going to be there. Just not enough players.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 12:17:43 PM by Numtini »

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
Kitsune
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Reply #10 on: September 23, 2007, 12:18:12 PM

I found this on the ffxionline forum site.  For the tl;dr people, the upshot is that Square seems to have finally abandoned the whole 'go buy a new box of the game' thing.

[Edit: Spoke too soon, after that post were other posts reporting that they were unable to get back on with their original copies of the game.]
« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 12:26:35 PM by Kitsune »
Numtini
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Reply #11 on: September 23, 2007, 12:36:07 PM

I'm tryng to remember, were there two or three different sets of usernames/passwords none of which could be the same?

The whole thing is like The Vision applied to customer service.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
Reg
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Reply #12 on: September 23, 2007, 02:28:59 PM

Yeah the "buy a new game" after you cancel thing only happens if you actually delete your old Playonline ID. Since it's free there's no need to do that. All you do to cancel is stop the subscriptions for each of your individual characters.

Still, with squenixes convoluted and stupid signon system I can see how it would be a normal thing for someone to do when they try to unsubscribe.
Kitsune
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Reply #13 on: September 23, 2007, 03:37:50 PM

I'm tryng to remember, were there two or three different sets of usernames/passwords none of which could be the same?

The whole thing is like The Vision applied to customer service.

Yep, it's... unique.  There's an ID for logging in to the PlayOnline service, and completely separate IDs for the game itself.  NCSoft has a similar asinine setup where you have to first make an account on NCSoft, then make separate accounts for their games.
Margalis
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Reply #14 on: September 23, 2007, 04:31:31 PM

You've never had to buy a new game and old characters can be revived.

Quote
It was like playing in the Barrens but even drearier. And the Dunes. The Goddamned Dunes. Tell me they took out the fucking bats that patrolled both ends of that tunnel that connected the two parts.

Bats are still there, but you can just ask a high level player to kill them for you.

Travel between the cities is not bad with outpost warping, teleport spells. chocobo whistles, airships, special teleport necklaces, etc. But it does take some time and effort to gain those things.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
BigBlack
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Reply #15 on: September 23, 2007, 05:10:05 PM

For the uninitiated -

What does FFXI offer, at present, that other games don't?  Preferably things that I'd be able to experience within 20 hours of casual, relatively non goal-oriented playtime.
sam, an eggplant
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Reply #16 on: September 23, 2007, 05:43:33 PM

FFXI's biggest draw is its storyline. As you grind your way through the game, you complete missions and get real final fantasy style cutscenes. It's pretty cool.

Downside is it's a grindfest of the worst kind, totally infested with RMT, they delete characters after 3 months and force you to re-buy the game to resubscribe, players of different levels can't play together because they advance nonoptimally, and americans are second class citizens. If you really liked sitting at the Guk zoneline trying for a frenzy group in EQ1 way back when, you're a total fruitcake, but FFXI is EQ1's logical successor. It's a hard core grindy frustrating masochistic MMO.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 05:45:16 PM by sam, an eggplant »
Margalis
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Reply #17 on: September 23, 2007, 06:04:19 PM

Downside is it's a grindfest of the worst kind, totally infested with RMT, they delete characters after 3 months and force you to re-buy the game to resubscribe, players of different levels can't play together because they advance nonoptimally, and americans are second class citizens. If you really liked sitting at the Guk zoneline trying for a frenzy group in EQ1 way back when, you're a total fruitcake, but FFXI is EQ1's logical successor. It's a hard core grindy frustrating masochistic MMO.

A lot of that simply is not true. You do not have to rebuy the game. Characters are not deleted after 3 months. (Although after some period of time re-activating them is a pain) The game is not infested with RMT and different levels grouping is really no different than most other games that don't have some sort of sidekick system.

As far as the original question, what are you comparing to? Compared to something like WOW it has a much more world-y feel, and is much more "hardcore" in a variety of ways both good and bad. In the end it's more a question of taste than anything though. It's hard for me to reccomend any MMORPG other than to say "you might like it depending on tastes."

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
sam, an eggplant
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Reply #18 on: September 23, 2007, 06:17:49 PM

They may have fixed some of that stuff, it's been a long time since I looked at FFXI. I find it hard to believe that they fixed the RMT since it was so incredibly pervasive. If they did, do you know how?
Azazel
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Reply #19 on: September 23, 2007, 07:48:14 PM

If you really liked sitting at the Guk zoneline trying for a frenzy group in EQ1 way back when, you're a total fruitcake, but FFXI is EQ1's logical successor. It's a hard core grindy frustrating masochistic MMO.

You say that like EQ1 had no redeeming features, when in fact it became quite a good game over time, especially once Brad's Vision was cleaned off of it. Aside from wiping half the playerbase in one fell sweep, the release of WoW was the best thing to ever happen to EQ1's gameplay because it forced change for the better, hard.



http://azazelx.wordpress.com/ - My Miniatures and Hobby Blog.
Numtini
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Reply #20 on: September 23, 2007, 08:06:45 PM

Quote
A lot of that simply is not true.

No, I played the game and I really loved it in a lot of ways. But those things are mostly true.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
Margalis
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Reply #21 on: September 23, 2007, 08:17:37 PM

This is a simple factual question. The things that I called out are simply not true. You do not have to buy the game again to re-install - that is a simple fact. (I've done it myself)

FFXI still has its fair share of RMT but not nearly to the degree it once did, for a variety of reasons:

Automated fishing bots are harder to run.
Many notorious monsters and Rare/EX drops have been adjusted in how you spawn them, get them, etc.
Many formerly tradeable items are now Rare/EX. (Not tradeable AKA "soulbound")
S-E has been more aggressive about removing RMT money and players from the game.

Basically it has gotten to be progressively more of a pain in the ass to do RMT in FFXI so some of the people have moved on to other games. It still exists but it not nearly as bad as it was a few years ago when it was basically unchecked. The main problem now is that certain spawns are still camped by RMT but again a lot of spawns have been changed to avoid that. (Spawn them with an item and then they become your claim or something similar)

As far as the overall game it is pretty similar to EQ1 I suppose in overall feel. It's "harder" than WOW and grouping is the norm. Compared to when it first came out it is a lot less punishing but still punishing.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
sam, an eggplant
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Reply #22 on: September 23, 2007, 08:43:07 PM

EQ1 may have become a better game over the years but that specifically was not what I was talking about. Unless you're still camping frenzy in 2007... in which case OH MY GOD GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!

Good to hear that they addressed the RMT campers. I expect you're right in that the main reason why they're gone is because they're grinding gold in WoW instead.
Trippy
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Reply #23 on: September 23, 2007, 10:02:59 PM

Downside is it's a grindfest of the worst kind, totally infested with RMT, they delete characters after 3 months and force you to re-buy the game to resubscribe, players of different levels can't play together because they advance nonoptimally, and americans are second class citizens. If you really liked sitting at the Guk zoneline trying for a frenzy group in EQ1 way back when, you're a total fruitcake, but FFXI is EQ1's logical successor. It's a hard core grindy frustrating masochistic MMO.
A lot of that simply is not true. You do not have to rebuy the game. Characters are not deleted after 3 months. (Although after some period of time re-activating them is a pain) The game is not infested with RMT and different levels grouping is really no different than most other games that don't have some sort of sidekick system.
That's not what the site says:

Quote
Q: Can I become a PlayOnline member again after cancelling the PlayOnline service?

A: You can become a member again after unsubscribing from PlayOnline. If you return to PlayOnline within three months of unsubscribing, you can restart the same service without having to complete the regular registration process. In this case, use the "For PlayOnline Members Only" when launching PlayOnline after a reinstall to log back in using your existing PlayOnline ID and PlayOnline Password. If you return to PlayOnline three months after unsubscribing, you must register a new PlayOnline account. This means you must purchase a new copy of the software to obtain a new set of registration codes.
Margalis
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Reply #24 on: September 23, 2007, 10:19:37 PM

There is a distinction between unsubbing from PlayOnline and unsubbing from FFXI. PlayOnline costs nothing and there is no reason to unsub from it.

Trust me I've done it, you don't have to buy a new box. I uninstalled both FFXI and PlayOnline for over a year and reinstalled without problem.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
BigBlack
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Reply #25 on: September 24, 2007, 12:46:03 AM

What is there to do that's not advancement related?  I'd be interested in futzing around assuming I don't have to worry about leveling up much.  Are there other things to do?  I saw a mention of fishing and monster breeding (?) in this thread... are those fleshed out well?
Kitsune
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Reply #26 on: September 24, 2007, 02:12:30 AM

It's a very Japanese game, shameless with its grind and very dedicated to the achievers.  The thing that makes those qualities charming in a masochistic way is that, while the player is presented with dozens of different things to achieve, the game gives you NONE of them without the player having thoroughly earned them first.  You wanna ride a chocobo?  Gotta be earned.  Ride the airship?  Earned.  Dual class, get an advanced class, get a pet?  Earned, earned, earned.  The only handout anyone gets from FFXI is fifty gil, and even that requires that you track down an NPC in town to hand in a ticket.

Here's an example: teleport spells.  White mages can teleport folks, but the person being teleported has to have gone to the teleporter spot and retrieved a crystal from it before they can be teleported there.  You can be teleported to outposts of your nation by an NPC in town, but first you have to take a quest to deliver supplies to an outpost before you can use it as a teleport destination.  Anyone wanting to be able to have the convenience of teleporting around has to first build their own transportation network, no being able to pick up flight points whenever you wander into a new town.  It's up to the individual to decide whether that leads to the satisfaction of accomplishment or the fury of a game going out of its way to be a jerk.
Selby
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Reply #27 on: September 24, 2007, 07:50:45 AM

It's up to the individual to decide whether that leads to the satisfaction of accomplishment or the fury of a game going out of its way to be a jerk.
My mind has been leaning to the "jerk" part.  I play my games to enjoy time away from the world, not to be frustrated and grind it out.  This game doesn't sound like a productive use of my time.
Margalis
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Reply #28 on: September 24, 2007, 09:11:52 AM

What is there to do that's not advancement related?  I'd be interested in futzing around assuming I don't have to worry about leveling up much.  Are there other things to do?  I saw a mention of fishing and monster breeding (?) in this thread... are those fleshed out well?

Honestly the vast majority of the game is advancement related. If you aren't interested in that then it probably isn't worth your time.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
AcidCat
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Reply #29 on: September 24, 2007, 10:39:44 AM

Yep, they call their classes jobs for a reason.
SnakeCharmer
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Reply #30 on: September 24, 2007, 11:41:40 AM

Where's Grunk?
LK
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Reply #31 on: September 24, 2007, 11:44:24 AM

Where's Grunk?

Probably OD'd.  On Drugs or FFXI, I'm not really sure.

"Then there's the double-barreled shotgun from Doom 2 - no-one within your entire household could be of any doubt that it's been fired because it sounds like God slamming a door on his fingers." - Yahtzee Croshaw
raydeen
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Reply #32 on: September 24, 2007, 05:12:48 PM

I think what turned me off was the inability to solo past 14 or so. I'd sit in the Dunes and ask for groups and would waste hours not being able to do anything because I'd get my cute lil' kitty ass handed to me if I went off on my own. And the mob AI would do weird things. I remember hunting in a swamp area near Bastok and was sitting resting and watching some guy battle a goblin at least a half a football field away. I mean, the goblin was way out there. Then for no apparent reason, the gob turns in my general direction and with no provocation bee-lines it for my sitting spot and kills me. Two hits. The guy originally fighting it was running behind it whacking away, but no, Mister Goblin had other things on his mind that day and I guess wanted a fresh Mithra pelt for his collection.

And then there was this Renki shit. I'm sorry. I don't want to play a game with a combat system so involved and convoluted that I have to memorize attach moves in a certain order and ccordinate with the other members of the party just to pull off some uber move. Some might like it but not my taste. I just want to whack the foozle.

If the game was $4.99 (or free) I might consider it again. I'll still go back to my EQ if I need to remember what pain was.

I was drinking when I wrote this, so sue me if it goes astray.
Hoax
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l33t kiddie


Reply #33 on: September 25, 2007, 09:44:42 AM

And then there was this Renki shit. I'm sorry. I don't want to play a game with a combat system so involved and convoluted that I have to memorize attach moves in a certain order and ccordinate with the other members of the party just to pull off some uber move. Some might like it but not my taste. I just want to whack the foozle.


*golf clap*    rolleyes

You suck balls.

A nation consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time. If an individual's morals are situational, then that individual is without morals. If a nation's laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn't a nation.
-William Gibson
Kitsune
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Reply #34 on: September 25, 2007, 11:31:05 AM

Where's Grunk?

Probably OD'd.  On Drugs or FFXI, I'm not really sure.

They just banned some 9,000 accounts today for exploits and gold-selling, better hope he was on the up-and-up or they might find him swinging from his sheets in rehab tonight.  You have to respect a company that manages to be ruthless in bannings despite not having a large subscriber base.
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