On May 16, 2002, Final Fantasy XI became the first game in the franchise to be persistently online. Players create their own character to battle against the forces of evil in the world of Vana'diel. Adventurers first choose one of three nations to start in: the Kingdom of San d'Oria, the Republic of Bastok or the Federation of Windurst. Once a nation is chosen, adventurers can begin questing, leveling up their jobs, partake in missions, begin crafting, or do whatever social things they want to. At times there have been well over 500,000 active subscribers around the world, with over 2,000,000 total player characters created. The game is also the first MMORPG to incorporate cross platform play: players on the Xbox 360, PC or the Playstation 2/3 can all adventure together on the same servers. Another first for the MMORPG genre is the ability for North American, Japanese, British, French, and German players to coexist on the same server, granting the use of an auto-translation feature which gives adventurers the ability to communicate phrases in Japanese, English, French and German.
Final Fantasy XI starts the player off with access to six core jobs: Warrior, Monk, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage and Thief. After achieving level 30 on any single job, the player is able to obtain quests to unlock advanced jobs including Paladin, Dark Knight, Beastmaster, Ranger, Bard, Summoner, Samurai, Ninja, Dragoon, Blue Mage, Corsair, Puppermaster, Dancer and Scholar. When an adventurer earns level 18 on any job they are able to take on a quest to earn a support job. A support job must be leveled independently of an adventurer's main job, but can be used in conjunction with a character's main job. The active support job will always be half the level of the active main job (for example: a warrior level 30, with a monk level 30 can set monk as their support job and become a Warrior30 / Monk15).
As of December 2011, Final Fantasy XI was patched to reach a maximum level cap of 99, a marked jump from the original cap of 75 which lasted for nearly six years, until mid-2010.
Upcoming End of Major Updates + End of Support on Consoles
On March 19th, 2015, in a press conference in Japan, Square Enix announced three new large scale content packs coming in May, August and November called "Rhapsodies of Vana'diel". These additions will serve to weave together all of the stories told through the 14+ years the world of Vana'diel has shared itself with players. The final release in November will also mark the end to all major updates to Final Fantasy XI, and any updates afterwards will be strictly for balancing, and bug fixes.
In addition, it was announced that around March of 2016, support for Final Fantasy XI on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 will end, but will continue operating for players on Windows. This will mark the end of support for the longest running MMORPG on a console ever, nearly 14 years (May 16, 2002 - March 2016).
Humes originated in the Bastok regions and they have grown to populate much of Vana’diel. Overall Humes have a good balance of every job and abilities. Having a virtually perfect balance of core statistics, they make the perfect race to play any job in the game, but likewise do not excel in any one class role. The Republic of Bastok gives its credits to the Humes for creating what it is today.
Hailing from the Kingdom of San d’Oria, the Elvaan are proud warriors, and are known for being very tall and slender along with having very pointy ears. Excellent swordsmen, the Elvaan have a clear advantage when it comes to strength and close-quarters combat; however, they also harbor a deeply pious nature, their roots with the established Church of Altana giving them an excellent Mind score to be great White Mages. They are a prideful race and nothing will break them of that. Most Elvaan stay within San d’Oria and keep away from the outside world.
The smallest of the races, the Tarutaru are the most skilled race when it comes to magic. They come from the Federation of Windurst, and train very hard to become masters of the magical arts with which their nation relies on. Studying around the world gives them a very high intelligence they are able to wield powerful magic. Tarutaru are a solid choice for any mage class due to their massive MP pool, but will find it more challenging in a melee role due to their low HP. After the destruction of Windurst during the Crystal War, they rebuilt Windurst with the helping hand of the Mithra in which they have gained a good relationship with and whom also call Windurst their home.
The Galka, a male-only race, are the one most powerful race. Their musculature gives them excellent Vitality and HP, as well as high Strength, making them amazing Monks and Warriors. Originally from Zepwell Island, a region to the southwest of the continent of Quon, their home was overrun by the Antica beastmen over six hundred years ago, causing them to flee to the regions now known as the Republic of Bastok. Now living side-by-side with the indigenous Humes, they have been proven excellent miners and have helped their new brethren in building up a great nation, though high tensions exist between the two races.
Being male only, Galka reproduce through a form of reincarnation. Upon death, it is said that a Galka sets out on a journey to climb a tall mountain to await his last moments. Then, after being guided by a wondrous light, a Galka gains a new body and climbs down the mountain. It's possible this is merely folklore as Galka only see their brethren depart on a journey, and less than a year later a Galka child arrives back.
Said originally to come from the Western Lands, nearly all Mithra known to the players live alongside the Tarutaru in the Federation of Windurst, or in the southeastern Elshimo Islands. Primarily a matriarchal race, players are only allowed to choose to play as female Mithra - males do exist, but are extremely rare. Mithra have a very high hearing ability and have long tails which give them a good sense of balance resulting in high Dexterity and Agility - an excellent race to play as if you favor the Thief or Ranger jobs. Very energetic, with their high curiosity and occasionally mischievous nature, the Mithra share a strong attitude of peace and prosperity which they display with the nation of Windurst.
The Warrior is a strong DPS job in Final Fantasy XI and a great low-level tank. They specialize in axe-type weapons, but are able to proficiently wield nearly every type of weapon available to players, making their melee versatility unmatched. The Great Axe is the Warrior's strongest weapon for any situation, however, capable of dealing high damage or debuffing the enemy with its line of "Break" weaponskills.
The Monk job is a strong DPS class. They are one of the two fully hand-to-hand combat jobs and have the highest natural HP of any job, making them excellent tanks with the correct gearing. Much of their endgame equipment is geared towards boosting their Attack and Strength while maximizing Haste, allowing them to strike quickly and with incredible power.
The White Mage is the one of the main support jobs in Final Fantasy XI. They are great for removing status effects and curing back HP with their line of cure spells like Cure, Curaga, and Regen. Raising the dead is also a highly sought after trait for the White Mage - with their Raise III spell, they can resurrect any player that has fallen on the battlefield and almost entirely reduce any experience loss that was placed on the player for dying. In addition, they alone possess the ability to teleport themselves and others to the mysterious telepoint crystals dotted across Vana'diel, whisking adventurers halfway across the planet in mere seconds.
The Black Mage is the primary damage-dealing mage job. Using dark and elemental magic the Black Mage is all about using high magic skills to do huge amount of damage to mobs. Black Mages are also highly useful for their debuff spells such as Sleepga II and DoT spells such as Bio.
Red Mages are a "jack-of-all mages" as they are able to nuke, cure, buff, and debuff enemies effectively. Red Mage has many spells that make it unique not only for support, but also for soloing tough enemies; spells like Phalanx and Stoneskin reduce damage taken considerably, while their mostly-unique "Enspell" line allows them to endow their physical attacks with six of the game's eight elements, boosting their lacking melee damage considerably. Red Mages are also renowned for their exclusive spells Refresh and Refresh II, which regenerate MP, an essential tool for any magic-using job. Finally, Red Mages have the highest skill in Enfeebling magic, allowing them to weaken enemies considerably.
The Thief job is another melee DPS job with an emphasis on managing the flow of battle. Thieves have many tools at their disposal to manage a mob's aggression and transfer enmity gained through attacks throughout the party. The Thief's most useful ability, however, is the Treasure Hunter job trait, which increases the chance of items dropping after felling an enemy, making them highly sought after when aiming for rare and powerful items.
The following jobs are available to players after completing their specific quests at level 30 or beyond.
The original premiere tank job of Vana'diel, Paladins are blessed with naturally high Shield skill, making their ability to take damage much more immediately viable than that of other front line jobs like Warrior or Monk. Paladins also have a selection of white magic at their disposal, allowing themselves to cast Cure spells to keep themselves alive, as well as retain hate on the monster, ensuring its attention stays on the Paladin and not with more fragile party members.
Virtually the opposite of Paladins, Dark Knights are very strong damage dealers, who are most proficient with the Scythe and Great Sword. Dark Knights also have a variety of Black Magic which also contribute to their damage output, able to augment their own statistics with exclusive "Absorb" type magic, which allow Dark Knights to drain out certain attributes or even buffs from their foes and wield them as their own.
The main solo class of Final Fantasy XI, Beastmasters have the ability to charm monsters and use them to fight alongside them against others. They also have exclusive use over "pet jugs," items which summon powerful monsters who follow only the Beastmaster's commands and have no risk of turning on the player.
Originally one of the most desired endgame jobs in Final Fantasy XI, Bards have the ability to perform musical 'spells' to provide support to party members and detriment to enemies. They are most well-known for their "March" songs, which greatly increase the attack speed of party members, allowing them to fell foes in record time.
The ranged attack masters of Vana'diel, Rangers are proficient with the arts of Marksmanship and Archery, using bows, crossbows and even guns to assault the enemy from afar with powerful weaponskills and a variety of surprising job abilities.
*Other job classes are available (such as Ninja, Summoner, etc.) but require expansion pack data to be installed:
While walking and running is sure one of them, there are four main types of easy and fast transportation in the world of Vana'diel:
Chocobos are the equivalent to mounts in popular MMORPGs. Unable to fly, they instead transport players at high speeds across the countryside with their powerful legs. While most adventurer-use chocobo transportation is done through rentals, players are given the option to raise and breed their own steeds for personal use, without the associated rental costs. Elvaans in particular were some of the first to tame and use as a form of transportation.
Used as huge cargo ships to transport goods across the seas of Vana'diel, adventures can ride on these ferries if they plan on visiting another continent. Ferries are powered by combustion engines that were made in Bastok. Adventures are also attracted to these ferries because of the good fishing a person can do while riding them - however, sometimes players can catch rare monsters that can attack them or the other players aboard the ship.
These giant airships are powered by crystals and were built by Cid, one of the most genius engineers to date. Airships have their main hub in the Duchy of Jeuno, routinely making transport circuits to the capital cities of the Middle Lands, as well as Kazham in the Elshimo Islands. Nation-capital airship passes are for sale in Port Jeuno for a mere 500,000 gil, or they may acquire one through assisting the Archduke in times of crisis; passage to Kazham is done through a much less strenuous quest.
Teleportation is the fastest way to travel, however they require the use of a White Mage - be it yourself or a party member - to cast the required spell. Moreover, Teleport spells can only be used to access certain areas of Vana'diel marked by a telepoint, and require that the player has the gate crystal of that telepoint in their possession. Many NPCs also offer teleportation services to other locales, for the right price.
There are several tradeskills that one could partake in the world of Vana'diel. These skills require much paitence and a fair bit of luck, but one could amass a healthy flow of gil in game when reaching the higher levels of these skills.
The tradeskils are:
- Smithing: The creation of weapons and armor through the use of smelted metals, most often through mined ore. A large share of "heavy DD" equipment is acquired through smithing, but the cost of ores and other production materials can make this a very expensive craft.
- Clothcraft: The weaving of robes and the lightest armor in the game, made from various fibers harvested throughout Vana'diel.
- Alchemy: One of the most expansive crafts, Alchemy involves creating helpful medicines and augmenting weapons through raw reagents found from a variety of sources.
- Woodworking: Building various wooden appliances and weapons, ranging from furniture to arrows and crossbow bolts to even the signature elemental staves favored by Black Mages the world over.
- Goldsmithing: The working of precious metals into intricate jewelry. By far one of the most expensive crafts in the game to get to a high level, and considered not worth doing so by many players, Goldsmithing nonetheless produces some of the most expensive and sought-after items available in the Auction House.
- Leathercraft: Using the hides of beasts slain throughout the world, Leathercrafting works closely with Bonecraft and Woodworking to produce medium-weight armors.
- Bonecraft: Through wrenching parts off foes and excavating bone yards, Bonecrafters can create delicate jewelry and versatile armor for a variety of levels.
- Cooking: One of the most popular crafts, Cooking is simply that: fixing up a good, hearty meal for yourself or others, with the produced items acting as some of the hottest commodities in the game.
- Fishing: Not really a craft so much as it is a hobby, Fishing nonetheless has its own guild and associated craft skill level. Able to be picked up by anyone and everyone, Fishing most complements Alchemy and Cooking for their use of ingredients obtained through here.
- Synergy: A recent innovation, Synergy is an expanded crafting art capable of creating a wild variety of items, equipment and furniture, which multiple adventurers can join in to enhance the crafts themselves.
Rise of the Zilart
The first expansion of Final Fantasy XI, originally released in Japan on April 17, 2003. This expansion was packaged together with the original game in the US launch.
Highlights of the expansion
- Adds the advanced job classes Samurai, Dragoon, Summoner, and Ninja.
- 40 New areas added.
- Gives you access to 18 Rise of Zilart Missions.
Chains of Promathia
The second expansion in the series was released on Sept. 21, 2004.
Highlights of the expansion
- Adds five new Regions.
- Adds a new storyline titled Chains of Promathia Missions.
Treasures of Aht Urhgan
The third expansion in the series was released on April 18, 2006.
Highlights of the expansion
- Adds three new jobs Blue Mage, Corsair and Puppetmaster.
- Adds Chocobo Raising, Chocobo Racing, Chocobo Circuit.
- Adds new battle field called Pankration.
- Adds Assault, Besieged, Salvage and Einherjar battlefields.
- New mission story line.
- Tons of new quests and equipment.
Wings of the Goddess
The fourth expansion in the series that was released on November 20, 2007.
Highlights of the expansion
- Lets you travel back in time to the Crystal War era, one of Vana'diel's historical turning points.
- Campaign Battle, a massive 'army-versus-army' battle event.
- New storylines based on the three nations in the past during the Crystal War.
- Adds the new job classes Dancer and Scholar.
Seekers of Adoulin
The fifth and final full expansion which was released March 26, 2013.
Highlights of the expansion
- Travel to the western continent of Ulbuka and it's capital city, Adoulin.
- Two new jobs: Geomancer and Rune Fencer
- A new system where you "reclaim the land".
Add On Content
Square Enix has released three additional storyline scenarios for FINAL FANTASY XI, which are available for purchase through the PlayOnline service on all supported platforms. At the completion of each scenario, the player may choose a piece of gear and augment two different stats onto it. All of the add-on scenarios require the installation and activation of the Rise of the Zilart expansion pack. These add-on scenarios are:
- A Crystalline Prophecy – Ode of Life Bestowing (Available since April 9, 2009)
- A Moogle Kupo d'Etat - Evil In Small Doses (Available since July 20, 2009)
- A Shantotto Ascension - A Legend Torn, An Empire Born (Available since November 10, 2009)
Square Enix has also announced three upcoming new "high level battlefield" add-ons to FINAL FANTASY XI, to help introduce new high level content for the announced raising of the level cap to 99. These scenarios require the installation and activation of both the Rise of the Zilart and Wings of the Goddess expansion packs.
These add-ons are:
- Vision of Abyssea (Available since June 22, 2010)
- Scars of Abyssea (Available since September 9, 2010)
- Heroes of Abyssea (Available since December 7th, 2010)
All add-on content costs US$9.99 individually, or the initial three add-ons can be obtained by purchasing the FINAL FANTASY XI: Ultimate Collection compilation disc, which is available on Xbox360, and for PC either by DVD-ROM install, or through Steam.
As of May 16, 2011, FINAL FANTASY XI: Ultimate Collection - Abyssea Edition was released for PC download and Steam only. This package includes all of content from the Ultimate Collection, as well as all Abyssea content. Purchase of this also includes a code to redeem an item known as a Destrier Beret, which bestows heightened abilities to new players such as enhanced movement speed and skill gain, giving them an edge during the early game.
Currently there are 16 Worlds (servers) that average about 2-3000 players on at any given time. At daily peak times, during weekends, and holidays, servers can have as many as 4-5000 people on at any given time. Each official server is named after a summoned monster that had appeared throughout the Final Fantasy franchise, though original beta servers were originally named after villains from previous games (Chaos, Zande, Golbez and Exdeath).
On August 29, 2011, a player test server, named Undine, was introduced. This server is active for players to test and preview upcoming content, such as job abilities, spells, battle content, and more.
The Final Fantasy XI development team takes an active stance towards punishing and banning people who violate the game's terms of service (TOS). This includes usage of tools that allow enhanced character movement, usage of tools that circumvent game mechanics with respect to the timing of ability, tools to automatically repeat a particular action, and gil and item exchange for real world money (known as RMT - real money trade).
Special Task Force
Since the formation what Square Enix calls the "Special Task Force", they have been banning on average 10,000 accounts per month. They have removed hundreds of billions of farmed gil, which has made the economy much more stable, and within the control of regular players. Recent actions against violators of the terms of service have included:
- Level restrictions on certain quests and missions to prevent new characters from amassing large quantities of gil quickly upon completion, deleting the character, creating a new character, and repeating the quest.
- Adjustments to the fishing system, where all new characters under 14 days old and/or under level 20 amass fatigue at a much quicker rate when fishing, therefore lowering their effectiveness. This was an RMT countermeasure against 'gilfarmers' who would create many accounts using the (since abolished) 14-day free trial service, and essentially fishbot en masse to make money.
- The introduction of an "Auto Jailer" feature, where the server regularly monitors player data throughout the server, and whenever it detects an action the is abnormal to regular game activity (speedhacking, warping to different positions on the map using third party tools, etc.) it automatically sends the offending player to Mordion Gaol (GM jail), and the account is suspended/banned for the offense at the Special Task Force's discretion.
When the countermeasures above were put into effect, the overall market for RMT went down. In response to this, account theft amongst players became a very large problem. RMT groups began stealing accounts in large numbers, trading all the sellable items to a "bank" character to put up for sale, dropping all the non-sellable items, and then leaving the character high and dry, with no recourse available to get the items returned.
After much time, Square Enix introduced a character rollback program, in which players could contact them as soon as an account was compromised, and have the account locked out to prevent further damage. Then a character rollback can be performed, where all the data can be restored to as it was prior to the account being stolen.
In addition to this, Square Enix introduced the "Square Enix Account" system, where FINAL FANTASY XI players could sign up and receive a Security Token, which makes their accounts nearly 100% secure from unauthorized access.
As a result of these countermeasures, RMT on Final Fantasy XI been nearly eliminated entirely. Still, some smaller RMT groups still try to continue on, so the battle against them appears as though it will be an endless struggle, but Square Enix has shown a nearly unparalleled commitment to rid the game world of the problem.
|Disc 1||Disc 2|
1. FFXI Opening Theme
2. Vana'diel March
|3. The Kingdom of San d'Oria||3. Hume Male|
|4. Ronfaure||4. Hume Female|
|5. Battle Theme||5. Elvaan Male|
|6. Chateau d'Oraguille||6. Elvaan Female|
|7. Batallia Downs||7. Tarutaru Male|
|8. The Republic of Bastok||8. Tarutaru Female|
|9. Gustaberg||9. Mithra|
|10. Metalworks||10. Galka|
|11. Rolanberry Fields||11. Airship|
|12. The Federation of Windurst||12. The Grand Duchy of Jeuno|
|13. Heavens Tower||13. Ru'Lude Gardens|
|14. Sarutabaruta||14. Recollection|
|15. Battle in the Dungeon||15. Anxiety|
|16. Sauromugue Champaign||16. Battle in the Dungeon #2|
|17. Mhaura||17. Blackout|
|18. Buccaneers||18. Mog House|
|19. Battle Theme #2||19. Hopelessness|
|20. Voyager||20. Fury|
|21. Selbina||21. Tough Battle|
|23. Sometime, Somewhere|
|25. Despair (Memoro de la S^tono)|
|26. Castle Zvahl|
|27. Shadow Lord|
|29. Repression (Memoro de la S^tono)|
|30. Vana'diel March #2|
Official Game Website
http://www.playonline.com/ff11us/index.shtml (North America)