So Final Fantasy XI turns its titular 11 this month. As usual SE is having its annual adventurer's appreciation campaign. I got to thinking and that's really an incredible milestone for a subscription MMO in this day and age of F2P. More shockingly I thought, was the fact that I have been playing this game on and off for over a decade. So yes my dear friends, this is a trip down memory lane...
*Yes I know there's a Journal Thread, but this is more of a Nostalgia thread than an achievement one. *
I remember participating in the beta test on PC in the summer of 2002 as a RDM and recreating that character one day before NA launch. I remember spending all day turning in Zehrun soot among the other lowbie repeatable quests just so I could buy our first Linkshell: ZOHAR. I like to think that Arliman was the first "official" NA character on Leviathan, but that's my ego :p Anyway, we populated the Linkshell with mostly RPGFan folks, and about half of our editorial staff at the time. The LS imploded and Dio, Mike and I formed Solaris, which became the home of RPGFan on Leviathan for several years. I still remember the first time we did the mission for the airship pass in an alliance. It was like herding cats with all the sneak/invis wearing, but it was good times. We were among the first group to complete Genkai 1, with the help of a few Japanese players - back when the vast majority of them still wanted to play with westerners.
I remember clearly riding my way to Hall of the Gods, even though I was nowhere close to that progression in Rise of the Zilart, just cause I wanted to see the landmark. Then again when pushing everyone through for sky access. Somewhere around Chapter 5 of Chains of Promathia (pre-nerf) a little game called World of Warcraft and split the group up and for a while a new Solaris thrived in WoW with about half of the old guard, but nothing quite captured the fondness of the times we had in FFXI. From the chain deaths in Castle Oztraja to stomping all over Kam'lanaut, those were the days. Even after so many other MMOs, XI has still kept its hearth warm. The game has held up well over the years and I'm curious to see this UI revamp they keep talking about, but like always, change in XI is always slow. Maybe that's why it's stood the test of time for so long.
As a longtime MMO player, I long for that magical game to come along that recaptures that special feeling that I had for FFXI so long ago. You know, a place to finally hang my hat and say "I'm home..." I'm hoping FFXIV:ARR can grant that wish, but if it doesn't, FFXI will forever hold a special place in my heart. From the friends I made (who are still friends 11 years later), to the memories we made, Vana'diel will always be a home away from home.
Here's a small portion of my old pics.Arliman's Pics
Please feel free to share any of your old special memories and pictures from the game.