Saturday, December 11, 2010

Final Fantasy XI Retirement (October 2003-December 2010)

After 782 days, 3 hours and 58 minutes of my character's existence (total play time), I'm retiring from Vana'diel!

There are lots of contributing factors to my leave, but the ones that stand out the most are the lack of story content to complete, and the new direction the game is going.

Not that Final Fantasy XI has a lack of storyline mind you, but in the last seven years I've completed everything that I could storyline wise.

-Led a successful social linkshell with 125+ people for four years.

-Led an independent Einherjar linkshell that almost got to Odin primarily of pickup people. One of the pioneer open linkshells to do Einherjar on Titan server and do the wings successfully.

-Being one of the first people to see Al'Taieu when it was released in 2005.

-Rank 10 Windurst
-Rank 10 San d'Oria
-Rank 10 Bastok
-Rise of the Zilart Beaten
-Chains of Promathia Beaten
-Treasures of Aht Urhgan Beaten
-Wings of the Goddess Beaten
-A Crystalline Prophecy Beaten
-A Moogle Kupo d'Etat Beaten
-A Shantotto Ascension Beaten
-Serpent General Quests beaten
-Was max Campaign rank for a time.
-Captain Wildcat Badge
-All Avatars beaten
-Level 82 Paladin and Level 75 Blue Mage.

I've done all of that in the course of the last seven years!

Character History:

-Started on Garuda Server (a fairly new server at the time)

-Picked Warrior as a starting job. (Gave me an Onion Sword, so I used a Sword instead of an Axe.)

-I was level 13 for two months because I spent so much time exploring. I had never seen a world in Final Fantasy that was so large.

-Around this time, I kept dying, which made me think that I needed Cure to do anything. So I told myself I would become a Warrior / Red Mage. (I kid you not.)

-At level 21 (that's right, 21) I got my support job and became a Warrior 21/Red Mage 10. Around this time, I think I started to get a bad reputation on the Garuda Server.

-When I was level 33, Chains of Promathia came out, I still felt like a newb, so I don't think I would ever get Promyvions done. I was still a WAR/RDM, but I was high enough to unlock Paladin. But I didn't feel like "starting" over, so I still levelled WAR/RDM. Around this time, my linkshell merged with another to form "RebelsOfPromathia".

-At level 46 WAR/23 RDM, a person I was partying with (albeit an asshole) had a good point. I needed to change my subjob, by this point, I wasn't really contributing much to parties. People considered me to be a joke within the server and I wasn't really taken seriously. So I levelled Paladin to 23 and became a Warrior/Paladin. I knew that in time, I was going to eventually be a Paladin main, but I wanted Warrior to Level 50 so I could do the first limit break quest.

-I got Warrior to 51 and Paladin to 25 around New Years of 2005. I finished Limit Break quest and retired Warrior after that. I started levelling Paladin (which was VERY easy because of the gimped way I levelled Warrior, all my skills (including sword and shield were capped)). I got Paladin to 51 within three weeks after taking two years to get Warrior to 51 with a gimped subjob. I really never played Warrior again after that, I kinda just let people forget I even had it past 37. In time people forgot about me and my WAR/RDM reputation. The server had someone famous come later called Anna who was a WHM/THF, that really stole the show. Even though I had a bad combination of jobs, I was still a good tank and a good person. Anna was rude, had a bad combination of jobs, and was a sucky healer, so I kind of faded into obscurity.

-Anyway, now that I had Paladin to level 50, I thought it was a good time to start beating Promyvions and catching up on CoP. It took about two weeks of dedication of getting a group together, but we did it. I got past the Promys, and it took another 6 months ish to get past Phomiuna Aqueducts and Riverne-Site A01. Around this time (I want to say June 2005), I met the people in my first static: Fox and Noelle. We staticed past A01 and up until Diabolos. I then beat Ouryu with a group that took about five hours to form (hardly anyone was up at CoP at this point). After that, I saw Fox/Noelle sneaking past the next mission with a new static, so I talked to the leader and got into that static. We used this static to eventually get to the end of CoP in November of 2005. By this time, because of my dedication to the static, my real life was really starting to suffer at this point. (See: Snippet at the bottom) Side note: The static was comprised of people in StealthVertigo which was the HNMLS that eventually became SapereAude, in which a lot of its members got banned for cheating about 4-5 years later.

-In November 2005, I completed CoP with the static and chose a Sattva Ring. For the longest period, people would check me and ask me where I got it. Some people who remembered me being a WAR/RDM thought I cheated/leeched to get past CoP based off my poor job choices a year before. Anyway, I think that static saved my reputation, because completing CoP so early helped me become a better player.

In any case, I started to join Limbus at the time (being one of the first, again, to do so) and I got a Gallant Body+1. (I should have chosen the feet, but I didn't know any better). The body was badass for what it was, and I wore that pretty much until the level cap increase of 2010.

-When I was on mission CoP 8-3, I was introduced to what would be my longtime adventuring partner for three years: Sorasha. We would static together for almost all of Treasures of Aht Urhgan and half of Wings of the Goddess where personal reasons caused her to switch servers. I helped her level Black Mage (and through a lot of the storyline I had gotten through) and we pretty much became a really good duo. I'd tank and do hardly any damage, and she would throw out the big nukes. Call it a FFXI iteration of a Steiner/Vivi combination if you will. It was a blast! (Pun intended). I think a combination of her leaving in February of 2009 and Chamber breaking up in August 2009 were contributing factors to me not playing as much since then.

-We also hunted down Lord of Onzozo with the linkshell around this time. We didn't get a drop though.

-In the months between beating Chains of Promathia being completed in November of 2005 and Treasures of Aht Urhgan's release in Spring of 2006, I took some time to go back and complete Rise of the Zilart with some of my LS mates (Landis, Aremuss, ... I can't remember the rest). I had my members get drunk in order to not give a damn about whether they lived or died and lost EXP. Kind of selfish, really, but it put me into the tanking mode, and I could throw them at the Ark Angels repeatedly until they died. I didn't do it the Divine Might way, we did it the 6 person vs 1 way. (It was quite a challenge for it's time. I did eventually beat Divine might, but not for years later). We then fought Ealdnarche for Zilart final, even though that took two tries.

I also helped various LS members get to Sky and to an extent a decent way through the CoP missions.

When Treasures of Aht Urhgan came out in 2006, that was the first giant change to how Final Fantasy XI worked. It was a whole new continent that opened up to the east. People in dozens flocked over by paying 500,000 gil (like I did), or waiting a day and then taking the ship over. In any case, I thought the new continent and storyline was going to be amazing! They introduced Blue Mages (from older games) and a lot of the FF summons we know and love. Odin and Alexander, both of which were heavily intertwined within the storyline. It was a fresh new perspective on the world, and I consider this to be my favorite time within XI.

I don't have any pictures of me initially going through some of the beginning missions in 2006, but I'll post the ones I redid with my LS afterward that came out at that time.

Around June of 2007, I began to really get fed up of Garuda Server. All of my linkshells were starting to fall apart, I had a distaste in my mouth with player mentality and the elitesm of its players. (Fox and Noelle stole a Valor Cape from me in our Dynamis LS and ended up stopped playing from the LS). My real life friend was on Titan server, so I convinced Sorasha to come with me to Titan as soon as server transferring became available.

It was then when we joined the Dynamis LS: TheGreatBelowII. Though they were kind of suspicious at first because we transferred servers out of nowhere, but Chster got her and I in because he's cool like that! I ended up getting a Valor Cape from the LS about a year later.

We beat Alexander and Treasures of Aht Urhgan in the second half of 2007.

Then Wings of the Goddess came out in November of 2007, I wasn't there on launch day since copies couldn't come to the Friday after Thanksgiving. Sorasha and I duoed up until Mission 15 when we had a huge argument that caused us to part ways where she went to another server.

Around this time, I also met a new friend, Laoiyah, and we teamed up to get Captain Wildcat Badge together, us two pretty much led the party and the strategies and that was one of the most fun times I've ever had in FFXI. Doing Assaults no one else cared to do. He ended up quitting sometime later, but I was very lucky to find him on Facebook and we keep in touch on there. Who knows, he may even join on Final Fantasy XIV!

I kind of just wandered here and there with missions until I formed a Wings of the Goddess static with Anza, Arngrim, and Ayrihl. The static eventually expanded to include Pfeffernuse, Lukeprime, and Darkpheonix (after the latter transferred over from Garuda!). We stuck together to beat Wings of the Goddess on December 10, 2010.

And now I have nothing else to complete. I've beaten everything to beat in FFXI. The stuff I've mentioned is only a nutshell of my accomplishments. This doesn't include the time I beat all the add-ons, my venture into Abyssea, the people I've met in every linkshell I've led and been in. VivaChocobo, WereStillWithYellow, TeamSuicide, etc... There are so many people to acknowledge.

Anza, Pfeffernuse, Ayrihl, Arngrim, Darkpheonix, Laoiyah, Takko, Sorasha, Alorra, Krys, Fayn, Aremuss, Landis, Ois, Whitesand, Stucky, Ironmonk, Renatus, Myloko, Chster, Warslaya, Armanta, Gauis, Kalipigeon, Ssjvegeta, Hazen, Zello, Lukeprime, Trega, Dayala, Rayanna, Xnera, Valdrake, ... (if I forget anyone, feel free to call me out on it)


Back in 2003, I was really looking forward to playing Final Fantasy XI as I've enjoyed the FF series a lot. However, like many other of my friends, they were all put off by the monthly fee and/or couldn't afford it.

At that time, online gaming wasn't very mainstream, either. By October 2003, the only online game I had played was Age of Mythology, and even that still has a very basic online functionality for a game. World of Warcraft wasn't released yet, either. (Came out in 2004.) So MMOs in general were this stereotypical nerdy cliche thing (even more so than now). The only main ones that were out at the time of Final Fantasy XI's release were Everquest (still surprisingly going strong) and Lineage, and I can't think of any others, but all of these MMOs were created with a pre-World of Warcraft construct. By this I mean, extremely large EXP to level up, hard monsters, forced grouping, lack of instancing, open world monsters, lack of raids, et cetera.

However, Final Fantasy XI has graphics that still exceed those of World of Warcraft's, and has a storyline on-par (or even exceeds?) some of the other Final Fantasy off-line titles. A clear story that can still be told for an MMORPG outside of little NPC quests was unprecedented.

Final Fantasy XI is (probably will be the only) game that emphasizes player interaction to such an extent where the people you adventure with, you see them more as just a face on the other side of a computer. You actually get to know people personally just from the adventures in the game, and develop friendships that extend from outside of the game. I know various people who have hooked up from playing XI together, I've seen people even have children and get married with/to others they've met through the game.

Unfortunately, I don't think there will ever be another game like Final Fantasy XI. No other game that heavily relies on knocking out content with a group of friends and/or party members that one gets to know so well. It really does feel like a single player RPG where you actually get to know the people you adventure with, I will probably never see that kind of cooperation between people in any future online MMO. Not in Final Fantasy XIV, not in World of Warcraft, not in any MMO. And that's what makes XI so unique and why I loved playing it for so long.

MMO Addiction Tangent:

I started playing FFXI around the same time I got bullied in school, so as I started getting more into the game, I started shutting out the crappy feelings I was having towards my real life. I was seriously happy playing the game. However, my real life had to pay for it as I began neglecting everything that I disliked in order to play the game, I eventually got distanced from a lot of my friends and became a recluse for about a five year period.

I started regularly scheduling my life around the game, and that (in turn) became very unhealthy. It's not something I'd ever do again. Obviously, I've gotten over this period, but I'd like to point out that while I used the game as my escape from what I hated about my real life at the time, never use the game as a full substitute, it becomes an unhealthy addiction.

I've learned to find a balance between my schoolwork, my personal life, and my gaming - I'm now really happy with where I am in life because I do so, but I wouldn't suggest to anyone to play games to replace bad feelings, it should be used to supplement good feelings or just cheer someone up. But all in all, the message with S-E rings true, and I guess their message applied to me. Never use the game to replace your family, friends, school, and work. I seriously laughed when I first saw it when logging on, but for five out of the seven years, I became the "person" they were talking about.

What am I doing next?:

I'm going to be focusing more on me playing Final Fantasy XIV (albeit in my spare time, this time) and leading a linkshell I formed with some friends in July of 2010 called Viva Eorzea Linkshell. I want to play through the game with a fresh perspective and I'm looking forward to what Square-Enix has in store for us players. I'm hoping to see some of my old FFXI friends to come and visit me on Figaro Server from time to time. :)
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