This is an edited version of a post I wrote for my blog shortly after Final Fantasy XIV was announced:
What would you do if you knew your world was coming to an end in one year, only to be replaced by a bigger, better world? This is a question that is on the minds of thousands of Final Fantasy XI players today. Our precious Vana’diel will soon be overshadowed by a new world, Eorzea. It has many of us asking, “What’s the point?”
The commitment to the Final Fantasy XI is still there in many players, but in some, the drive to progress has been reduced. This is especially hard on new or low level players who still have so much to experience in the world of Vana’diel. It’s always hard to see an entire virtual world slow down or die, and has been happening a lot more lately. Tabula Rasa and Matrix Online are two of the most recent casualties.
It really makes you think, was it all worth it? All the hours spent in the game will be rendered pointless after Final Fantasy XIV launches. At least, that’s what I thought at first. I was hanging on to hope that maybe we would be able to transfer our characters from Final Fantasy XI over to the new game. There are definite similarities between the races in Vana’diel and Eorzea. A character transfer service would give me more incentive to keep playing FFXI. However, it’s already been confirmed that character transfer will not be a feature of Final Fantasy XIV.
The more I thought about it, the more I came to grips with it all. Even without a new game to replace FFXI, what do our hours in game mean? Aren’t they sort of pointless, even without a new game on its way? I have sunk 15+ days into the world of Vana’diel, which isn’t that much, considering I’ve talked to people with 100-200+ days. That’s days, people. Not hours. Sure, this is MMO standard, and there are most likely people with more playtime than that. I started to realize that the time spent in game isn’t nearly as important as the experiences I’ve had. Some of them have been bad, most of them have been good. The memories I have of this game will stay with me forever. Whether it’s the epic clearing of a Moblin Maze Monger’s dungeon or a night with two deaths and a de-level, everything is a part of who I am as a gamer.
I started playing FFXI again after graduating Full Sail. When I started, I played with my cousin a lot. He introduced a couple of his friends, so we had a nice static party of 4. For a period of about a two months, we were on every night. We leveled from the beginning together. Got our subjobs together. Went through the first couple ranks of missions together. Unfortunately, some of us stopped getting on as consistently as others. This led to a couple of us to get ahead in levels. At this time, Level Sync hadn’t been released, and the level gap was devastating to our static. We all sort of drifted our different directions, away from Final Fantasy XI. I went on to other things, catching up on my massive back catalog of unbeaten games.
But the siren’s call of Vana’diel was too much to resist. I stumbled on a Final Fantasy XI podcast, Pet Food Alpha, which reignited my passion for the game. Some of the stuff they were talking about were major advances for the game as a whole. Now with Level Sync, the gap between two different characters didn’t matter as much. Everyone got experience as if they were the target level. After hearing this, I came back to the game full force. Luckily, Kreitz was still very active in game, and we duo’d it up.
Since then, Kreitz and I have been playing alone. Mainly leveling and tackling a few easy quests. Along the way, we’re trying out Aht Urhgan missions, and some Chains of Promathia. There’s so much to do in a game like Final Fantasy XI, and every night is a new experience. But once Final Fantasy XIV was announced, there was a noticeable slow down in our game time. We came to the conclusion that we had to set a very defined set of goals that we wanted to accomplish before the launch of Final Fantasy XIV. They are:
1. We want to level at least 1 job to 75
2. We want to defeat the Shadow Lord on the Rank 5-2 mission
3. We want to unlock all of the EX jobs
Even if I move to a new game, I will never forget the adventures I’ve had in Vana’diel. When I realized this, I became more excited about the prospect of starting a new Final Fantasy MMO. Especially since I have at least one person I can count on to be there to experience it with.
So, my message to all the FFXI players out there: Stay strong! This game has always been about community, and I still believe that we have the greatest community of any MMO. Period. The friendships and rivalry’s created on a server extend far beyond the confines of a digital world. As long as we can keep our friends lists and character names, that’s all the character transfer we need. Adventure like there’s no tomorrow, citizens of Vana’diel! And if you’re not a current FFXI player, don’t look at the impending release of FFXIV detract you from starting up with FFXI. There is still plenty of fun to be had in the world of Vana’diel, and you will always be able to find helpful people who will guide you through the necessities.
Even in these tumoltuos times, it’s still a great time to start a character! Kreitz and I are on Lakshmi, and are always looking for people to add to our static! /tell Togi or Kreitz if you’re ever around!