I have no idea if thereís any interest in a journal like this around here. I know only a handful of people around here played FFXI, and even fewer really got into the story and world building. I would like to think that due to the former though, thereís a decent amount of people at least curious of the game since itís probably ďthat one FF I never played because MMOs are for OCD pack ratsĒ.
With this playthrough I mostly want to just present the story with the game (while re-experiencing it for myself since some of this content I played years ago), which is what really made me fall in love with it- thereís actually not a lot, if any, sites focused on just the story and lore of VanaíDiel (anymore at least, I recall there used to be, but I canít seem to find them). Itís actually possible to do that now because in recent years theyíve done a crazy amount of overhauls to the solo playing experience to the game so that you donít have to put your trust in total strangers not to suck at the game just to get to the next story section. Iíve wanted to do something similar to this for a while, but I imagine itís a pretty big time investment even with all those changes- oh well, letís see how long Iíll last. If there ends up actually being interest in this Iíll keep going.
In retrospect people reading this might not feel FFXI is really anything special in the world building department, but for me personally I feel like it went way beyond any of the JRPGs I had played up to that point, and it was also my first real MMO (the other online games I had played were things like Diablo and PSO)- I had never played Ultima Online or Everquest. The sheer size of the world was also amazing to me, though it probably helps that the game was not released stateside until nearly a year after it launched.
So letís start grinding those pixel swords!
Players are first treated to a pretty CGI opening
which, while very cool, is also very misleading because the depicted area is basically only part of the background story and canít actually be visited (Well, arguably it was a few years down the line, but Iím getting ahead of myself).
I should take a moment to mention that I think even people who donít like MMOs will probably appreciate the music composed for FFXI, which was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, Kumi Tanioka, and Naoshi Mizuta, the last was a relative newcomer at SquareEnix and had the role of main composer, showing a great deal of improvement as he composed more and more music for FFXI and its expansions. That first song in the opening movie was composed by Uematsu, so the first introduction players would have to Mizuta would be the VanaíDiel March
- hard for me to comment on it because it instills a lot of nostalgia in me but probably not for anybody reading.
So time to create a character.
I have a choice between a human- I mean, a ďHumeĒ, an elf, a catgirl (no Japanese game is complete without them), a tall monkey/lion man thing, and a loli chipmunk gnome. Well, I know from Fire Emblem Awakening that you guys love your lolis-who-are-actually-adults so letís go with that last one. Surely she will strike fear into the hearts of her enemies.
Considering where I am, her name will be Rapifafa (a lore-friendly name!) and she even has green hair- it was meant to be. Unfortunately there is no ďGreen MageĒ class in the game, so she shall be a Red Mage- Rapifafa knows sheíll get a spiffy hat at level 60.
Next I get to pick one of the three major cities to start in. Itís a choice between French Elf Knights with bagpipes playing in the background all day, the industrial mining city filled with asshole humans (there are no other types of humans in fantasy worlds), and the hippie mage city with giant trees. Rapifafa probably will be more comfortable living amongst her own kind, so the hippies it is (she also gets a bonus starting ring for choosing the ďrightĒ city- take that, cultural diversity).Music: The Federation of Windurst
The intro informs us that long ago, starving wanderers were led to the fields of Sarutabaruta by a star, which then returned to the heavens and returned as a being known as the Star Sybil, leading the Windurstians to prosperity. It also brought them magic, which they practiced vigorously. Eventually Windurst formed five ministries and became a city known for its academics. In recent years, the Tarutaru formed bonds with the Mithra and Windurst grew in size and influence.
With that out of the way, Rapifafa wanders into town, spying a pair of Tarutaru concerned about their missing minister of the Orastery, one of the five ministries. They gossip for a bit until they spot a Mithran Sibyl Guard.
The Tarutaru run off, apparently afraid her of wasting their time playing 20 questions. She instead stops Rapifafa, but she seems friendly enough, introducing herself as Semih Lafihna and telling her about the city. Their conversation is cut short, however, when Semih spots a Tarutaru in strange clothing running by. Apparently, she found whoever she was looking for.
Now Rapifafa is left alone to explore the city. Windurst is probably the largest of the three starting cities- it was also the one I picked when I first started playing. Even now that I know my way around, it still took me a few hours to go around talking to everyone. One thing I really like about the major cities in FFXI is that the way theyíre designed shows that thereís a Residential Area, which if you walk into just takes you into your personal house, but I do like that thereís the implication the cityís actually even larger than what they give to explore.
Rapifafaís conversation with the people around the city lets her quickly learn the present state of Windurst. During the war 20 years ago, Windurst was saved by a hero by the name of Karaha-Baruha. Since then Windurst made a peace agreement with the Yagudo, a race of bird-like beastmen. While the official stance is that Windurst is in a time of peace, some of the citizens donít think thatíll last very long. Recently, Semih Lafihna has been seen around town a lot more often, though most assume it to simply be due to the activity of the local cat burglar. Generally things are as they seem though, most are going about their daily lives, and the local children even invite Rapifafa to join their group ofÖS.O.B.s.
Not before she agrees to go on a fetch quest though!
While running around town Rapifafa also runs into Doctor Shantotto, a highly respected (and feared- mostly feared) mage even amongst the Tarutaru. Some of you may recognize her from Dissidia or from some events held in FFXIV.
Now familiar with the city, Rapifafa goes to a guard to see if she can find some work. Sheís told the Orastery needs help with an experiment of some sort, probably since most are too worried about getting blown up to get close to the mage training academy. Upon entering, she immediately recognizes the two instructors- they were the two Tarutaru she had spotted when she first arrived in the city.
They take some time out of their day blowing up dolls to tell her that the minister had already left long before she arrived, and to catch up with him in the nearby Horutoto Ruins to help him perform his experiment. She nods and leaves them to their work, but before she leaves she decides to speak with some of the staff at the academy- apparently, it has been almost 20 years since the last War Warlock had been born. Windurst cannot afford to have any sort of conflict in its current state.
All Rapifafa knows is that a lack of new talented mages just means she gets more jobs like this one, so with her cheap sword in one hand and a dusty old spell scroll in the other, Rapifafa makes her way to her first adventure outside the city!
(Sorry for the huge post- tried my best to keep it short but I had to introduce the game and all that. Pretty sure any future entires won't be this long.)