Final fantasy xi (FFXI) is as the name implies, the eleventh instalment in the great final fantasy series of role playing games. Made by the titans that is square-Enix formally known as square-soft and the first cross platform massively multi-player role-playing game MMORPG for square. FFXI is the first on-line role-player in the final fantasy series and was produced by Hiromichi tanaka for the Japanese audience in may 2002 for the ps2 and for PC users in November that same year. The north American release followed in October of 2003 as for the UK version, well much later (nothing new) i got the game a month after it's European release in September 2004 and haven't stopped playing it every since.
FFXI is centered around a world known as Vana'diel. A make believe world consisting of vast continents which spawned four main cities. Sandoria: home of the elves, Bastok: which houses humes and galkas, windhurst : here mithras and tarutaru co-en habit and jeuno: which to me seems to be some sort of headquarters or meeting grounds for all the races mentioned to congregate in times of trouble and or during political commitments. In 2006, the introduction of the expansion pack treasures of Aht Urghan expanded this great world via a new continent and city to go with it and in 2007 the wings of goddess expansion gave players the unique experience of being tele- ported to the past during the time of the crystal war, living and fighting with some of the myths and legends of old. But said expansions and all that came with it would be discussed in more detail below.
Even though these cities are vast and bordering on masterpieces, it is outside these walls that the world of Vana'diel come to life consisting of vast forests, grate lakes, rivers, dungeons and small towns all of whom hopefully gives you an idea of the shear scale of the FFXI world, i mean it is huge but don't worry as getting around is quite easy and gets even easier once you have bought maps or even visited certain locations at least once. As for primary modes of transportation, the best way to get around is walking as this is the easiest and cheapest way. other modes includes riding chocobos (bird-like beings used similar to the way we used horses), air ships and a few in game spells like teleport and warp but these modes do not come cheap as a lot of time, effort and even money would be required to obtain them.
As you begin your journey into the world of the game you are thrown in at a time of peace i.e 20 years after the war the so called crystal War which saw the people of Vana'diel defeat the shadow lord and his beast-men army. this is where the game starts and you as a new recruit will be plunged into the inevitable battle between good and evil. Starting of with creating and customised your player ( Avatar) will be the first step. From here on out i will write about my personal experiences playing this remarkable game and give my personal recommendations on plots spells jobs and other issues as clearly as i can
After entering the name of the Players' avatar, you are promoted to create and edit the look of said avatar. Race,height, weight hair colour,skin colour are but a few options in this category. Below is a break down of each race available for customization.
humes : these are basically similar to human beings and are the well balanced class in terms of attributes like strength, dexterity, agility, hit points, magic points, defence and dexterity as a result are well suited in any and every job the game has to offer. but be warned, you are a jack of all trades and master of none. so while you will be very skillful at any job you wont be the best say magician or ranger, you will just be excellent at it. but there are ways to enhance you abilities but this will only be achievable with experience. Male or Female options are available choices here.
elvaan : A race of elves as the name implies, high strength and very agile too but lack slightly in dark magic and dexterity.but again all of the flaws can be compensated with the right source and experience. male or female elves also available here.
mithra: these are feline looking creatures with good agility and great dexterity, basically an accurate description of these creatures would be thunder cats like kira from the legendary 80's cartoon series. the down side to these creature is that they lack strength and charisma but yet again can they can be enhanced with help. only the females are available for selection here.
galka: Klingon like masculine beings with superior strength and massive hit points but lacking in magic points. all male species. some say they reproduce asexually while others state its as a form or reincarnation the truth is still a mystery to me in any case.
Tarutaru: Last but not least these are very small creatures resembling dwarfs but human in nature. they are masters of magic but lack in strength. if you want to start off the game as a mage then this is the race for you.
Fancy's Top Tip on race: let me point out that you can have as many extra characters as you can buy. so please fell free to experiment until you get the right fit for you. i prefer the elvaan race as i love using elves as a red mage my all time favourite job class ^^.
After selecting race and editing you avatars' look, its now time for the good stuff i.e quests and missions which form the foundation of the game play. i will give you a run-through of my personal experience playing through the game. starting with a quick over view of the various jobs available for selection and what they entail. after which i will proceed in taking you through the different ways i leveled my character from level one to seventy five.
Please note that before starting anything in the game, it is a must that a job is choosen for the players' avatar. below is a breakdown of the various job classes available from the start.
jobs and their types
FFXI is mainly based on a job system where by your created avatar is transformed into any of the 20 jobs available.These can then be used to earn experience points via defeating enemies, leveled up after certain points have been achieved. During which various skills, abilities, technique's and spells would also be acquired along the way.
Spliting the job category further into two sub-classes, standard jobs and advanced jobs are the options here. standard jobs can be choosen from the start while the advanced jobs can oly be un locked after reaching level 30 in anyone of the choosen standard ones jobs.some advanced jobs also require you to complete certain quests while others involves extras such as having one of the various expansion packs. below is a list of jobs and how to unlock each of them in game.
Standard jobs available to all starting players
advanced jobs A:
Acquired by reaching level 30 with any standard job and completing the quest that is required to unlock it. meaning you will not be eligible to flag the quest until you have reached lvl 30 with a standard job.
paladin quests A Squire's test must be completed.
ranger The Fanged One is required to unlock this job
beast master quests Save My Son and Path of the Beast master are needed
bard Path of the Bard required. and finally blade of darkness is a quest for getting the dark knight job.
Advanced jobs B
over the coming years four expansion packs and three down loadable add- ons where introduced to the world of Vana'diel they include
raise of zilart 2003, chain of Promathia 2004,Treasures of Aht Urhgan 2006 and Wings of the Goddess 2007.
These jobs are only attainable with the purchase and installation of 3 of the 4 major expansion packs. Rise of the Zilart unlocks the use of Samurai, ninja and dragoon all of which require their own separate quests afterwards and summoner which was implemented during the release of the rise of zilart expansion but the pack does not have to be installed to use this job.
Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion pack came with bluemage, corsair and puppet master
wings of goddest most resent expansion included dancer and scholar jobs.
Choosing your desired job is only the beginning. At various intervals during the game play, you will have opportunities to enhance and compliment these jobs. the major over-hall comes at levels 18 and 30 respectively. at level 18, players are given the opportunity to unlock the use of a support job. These are basically secondary jobs used to compliment your main/primary jobs and merged with the main job to create a sort of hybrid. while you will be able to use some abilities the support has to offer, it would be limited to half of you main and the experience points gaing from anything done would only be achieved by the main job.
for example, my thief and ninja jobs are at maximum level which is 96. if i was to accompany my team mates in missions today, i normally use ninja as my support for my thief. so in this case my ninja job would temporarily be converted to half that of my thief and would be indicated as thf96/nin48 where for the duration of the time i stay as thf/nin i would have access to all my skills as a 96 thf but only have access to the skills a level48 ninja has to offer. but in contrast, if i wanted to be a ninja tank and use my thief as support, then the roles would be reversed i.e nin96/thf48 and so on. these combinations can be impliment with any unlocked jobs and the best combinations are usually up to the gamer so trial and error is advised.
fancy's top tip for selecting initial job: as an initial job you the player have to decide what role you want to start off with. for melee, i would encourage warrior for a startin job.as its the most diverse. if you wanted to play the magician role, start off with blackmage because its the one job that can do a lot of damage from the start.
Now that the decision has been made for job selection, you are placed in a your so called house situated in one of the there main cities of vana'dial. the choice of city is entirely up to you and does not affect the way the game is played. however, if you choose a city of your ancestral home for example elves choosing to start off in sandoria, then you would receive an addition piece of equipment. bare in mind that these are not that hard to come across in future game play so do not worry too much about missing out if you choose to play in a different city it really does not matter much.
Time to level up the avatar. FFXI is an RPG based on completing missions for your chosen nation and also doing quest for various non playable characters found in and around all the cities and local towns around. theses activities range in terms of difficulty and some can only be attempted by only the most experienced and battled hardened adventurers so therefore, leveling up is a must before or even during undertaking these activities.
Before i even started any of the vast numbers of missions available, i made sure to level up my avatars' first job to 10 and the i started pursuing other activities.
This is a quick ( believe me) run through of my journey from level 1 thief to level 30. This is the route i took and mine alone as i am what they call old school, nowadays there are far easier ways of getting to level 30 but the principles stay the same so here goes.
level 1-10 (west ronfare)
Starting at level one, the best place to gain experience points is just outside the main gates of your chosen nation. i was from sandoria so i fought rabbits around the grass lands surrounding my nation these includeslocations East and West Ronfare respectively till i reached level 5. then i moved to fighting beetles, sheep's, crabs and orcs as those rabbits started yielding less experience points because they became easier as i leveled, acquired new skills and got physically stronger this trend continues through out the game. leveled up get stroger, move to more challenging foes. stay in and around the woodlands surrounding your nation and try not to stray too far till level 10 is achieved as the further you travel, the harder the enemies become be carefull.
level 10-20 (valkurm dunes)
right up until two years ago 2009, this was the place to be and no one left this zone till at least 18. no matter what background, race, city they all came here to level the reason being because of the party system.
the game relies heavily on the party system and is almost unrealistic to level up or take on lucrative missions/quests with rich spoils solo. don't get me wrong some of the tougher missions are solo able but believe me only either the super rich ( can afford the best armor, weapons and consumable which all cost a fortune in FFXI money called Gill), or the incredibly skillful can even attempt this.i never fell into any of these categories. most of us mere mortals just form parties.
A balanced party is needed to achieve any and every mission,quest and experience points party. this consist of a basic party (made up of six members of varying jobs that compliment each other) and advanced parties which consists of three basic parties merged together and these are regularly used for missions and other adventures of the highest difficulty. detailed explanation of basic party build below a standard party would consist of a maximum of six jobs and would require:
A damage dealer could be either melee jobs like warrior, monk and so on
A healer white mage are the best suited job for this.
A tank ninja paladin basically a shield that absorbs most if not all the enemy's attack
back up healer blackmage red mage
The other two slots could consist of any other job depending on the type of monster your fighting. in my time we fought crabs at this level and my thief job did not fall into any of the above categories. so i was what we called a back up tank just in case something went wrong with the main tank i would take over till he recovered.
This carried on till i reached level 18, then i was told to unlock my support job ability. level 18 is when you would be eligible to open the quest need for it. the task given was simple and after unlocking the bility to use a support job, the game got even more interesting .Now my log window indicated i was thf18/warrior1. remember i stated above that your support could be less than or equal to half of you main job? knowing this i decided to put leveling thief (my main job at the time) on hold and proceed to get my warrior to at least level 9. hence repeating the stages of leveling from 1 till 18 with warrior i took warrior to level 18 because i found it easier to fight with a thief supporting my warrior job as it was already leveled. this ensured that it was always half my warriors' level until warrior reached level 18. Below is a tipical example of what my logs window looked like.
level 1: warrior1/thief1
level 10: warrior10/thief5
level 18: warrior 18/thief9
level 18-25 Quifim island
parting at these level was a challenge no matter the job because of the fact the as we leveled up, we get stronger and acquire more skills, locations for fighting monsters had to change and we had to search for even stronger ones . As a result of these facts, a lot of hours were spent on mission's and quests specifically designed to unlock access to new areas, modes of transportation such as chocobo riding, airship access, abilities and warp spells before leveling up could continue.
level up from 18-22 by fighting worms in qufim and pugs till 25 after Kazham via airship was the next destination
Fancys' top tip: make sure after reaching 18 to stop leveling and acquire a few maps of as many areas as you can afford, Finish off the chocobo quest and unlock access to the city of jenoun as these are crucial and cannot be avoided.
level 25-30 Yuhtunga Jungle
situated just outside the city of kazham i fought mangoras till i reached level 30 as thief, then changed to warrior and completed the same process till that was 30 too. After reaching level 30 i was now eligable to flag and unlock my first advanced job ninja after which i followed the same levelling up patteren as above till that was 30 too.
now imagine how long it took to level all 20 jobs to level 99 and you will only scratch the surface of how big this game really is. i have played FFXI for over 8 years and haven't even hit 20% of whats available. even when you reach level 99 for one job which in today's terms could take 3months, you still have over five hundred missions and thousands of quests to complete with each job also having it own story and personal mission's also to think about. but i wouldn't trade any of this for the world its the best MMORPG as far as I'm concerned and i will continue to enjoy playing it as long as its on and encourge others to buy it now and enjoy vanadiel as much as i have, and if you see fancyone running around please do not hesitate to ask any lingering question you might have or just say hi thank you.
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