I won't attempt to recount all of the jobs added, quests
developed, stories told with the many updates and expansions released
for FFXI, but if you are interested two other media tours ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/29227">links
didn't happen) address the more recent upgrades to the game.
The latest changes are all about making the game more accessible to new
players. Say you're one of those people who overcame the tribulations
of the American launch of FFXI and are now a seasoned vet, your friend
never took the plunge. After spending years trying to lure your friend
to share your passion for FFXI, you finally have a chance because the href="http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-root-canals"
target="_blank">root canal brutality of the
beginning of the game has been replaced with the standard tutorial
found in other MMOGs.
Antlion wanted to eat Ralsu.
Once your friend has agreed to get the Final Fantasy XI 14-day
Trial (available for free target="_blank">here), you'd normally be faced
to buy another character slot for $1/month to level up a character with
him. The new Level Sync system removes that issue; you can now set the
level of every member of your group to the same level of your newbie
Level Sync is the same mentoring system that all new games
have. It certainly took Square Enix a while to implement it, but it's
clear the design team put a lot of thought into how it works. Once
players reach level 10, they can participate in the Level Sync system.
The group leader selects the level to sync to based on the levels of
the group members. Everyone who was above the chosen level syncs down
to the new number. Anyone lower does not sync up to a higher level. All
XP gained is appropriate for the level, and epic gear scales down to
the average gear of the level chosen. High level players can once again
enter areas with level restrictions. The party leader and the target
whose level is chosen must be in the same area for the Level Sync to
work. Ending the Level Sync starts a 30-second timer before
the bond is broken. The need for the leader and target to be in the
same area and the cooldown timer prevent exploitation of the system and
The Tour Itself
My tour started with me playing Alaune, a level 1 Warrior. My tutorial
quests taught me about consumable items that could give temporary
buffs, how to go check the difficulty of a monster, and ways to level
up weapon skills. This section of the tour ended when I got a Conquest
Voucher that let me trade for an item that boosts XP gain. All of this
is somewhat common fare in MMOGs now, but it's what's new about FFXI.
Previously, players had to learn these things through frustrating
experimentation. The new tutorial greatly changes the FFXI experience,
moving it away from the root canal I mentioned earlier to href="http://www.waterpik.com/oral-health-products/"
target="_blank">a nice gum massage with a WaterPik.
The new tutorial is a welcomed addition to a game that has
very distinct terminology for its world and can be daunting to the
uninitiated. For the first time in my three tours, I found myself
thinking I might enjoy playing the newbie experience of FFXI.
with Diablos was the grand finale of the tour.
We next did some adventuring using the Level Sync system.
I got a level buff and fought a creature solo to see how long
it would take to kill. Then I grouped with some level capped folks, and
we used Level Sync to my level. The next battle with that mob was much
shorter but not the instant kill these capped characters were capable
of before the Level Sync. From there, we went on to a higher level area
and faced a Tracker Antlion. The action was as intense as the battle
for the href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9H_iXLF-tQ">last slice
of pizza at a frat party, especially
when we picked up an add and had to scramble a little.
The conclusion of the tour was a trip to face
a boss in a level restricted area. Restricting access to the area
prevented capped players from farming the boss and keeping out the
players who needed to advance their quests, but it also kept newer
players and alts from being able to get help with the quest. The Level
Sync system allowed me to activate the quest and bring my companions
with me, where we enjoyed a vicious battle that claimed the life of our
Taru White Mage. I might have heard someone mention href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zll_jAKvarw"
target="_blank">Leroy Jenkins during that fight,
but I'd defend our healer's honor.
I could easily say that the changes for style="font-style: italic;">Final Fantasy XI
are too late, but that would be irresponsible of me. The
game has a massive player base, and Square Enix is still
devoted to the game's growth. In fact, when I impetuously asked about
the next Square Enix massively multipayer online game, I could have
sworn the silence that followed was a period of indignity during which
my gracious hosts were doing their best to collect their thoughts
before answering what must have seemed an incredibly stupid question.
The answer that came was clear: "Final Fantasy XI is still doing very
well, and we are very committed to it."
target="_blank">free 14-day trial, gamers don't
have much to
lose in this experience. I'd encourage almost anyone to download the
game and try out the new tutorial. Now is as good a time as any.
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are those of the author
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of
the Ten Ton Hammer network or staff.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Final Fantasy XI Game Page.