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Protecting Final Fantasy XI From the Gil-Sellers

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the keeping-the-mean-streets-of-vana'diel-safe dept.

Role Playing (Games) 116

At GDC Austin, the technical keynote for Thursday focused in on the challenging task of developing the online game Final Fantasy XI. We were treated to a broad but vaguely technical discussion from Hiromichi Tanaka, the producer of the half-a-million strong game world. He was joined by Sage Sundi, the global producer of the game, who gave a fascinating discussion about Square/Enix's battle against real money traders. Their successes have been hard-fought, and are illustrative of the problems facing anyone running one of these games. Read on for notes from the event.Tanaka is one of the original members of Square, was a planner for the first three Final Fantasy games, and has long been the producer of Final Fantasy XI. He spends Thursday some time Thursday morning discussing a history of the franchise, harkening back to the 'poor' sales of Final Fantasy at 500,000 copies. The series has since sold over 75 million games worldwide, up through the more recent PlayStation titles. He references the upcoming FFXIII and Versus FFXIII as the definitive vision of the series for the next few years.

FFXI is celebrating its 5th anniversary, a full quarter of the Final Fantasy series' history (at 20 years). It was released in May of 2002, the first cross-platform RPG (PS2 and PC). It was also a worldwide title, both aspects of which were almost unheard of for online games at the time.

The roots of the game reach back to 1999. The Chrono Cross, Legend of Mana, and Parasite Eve teams were roped together to make the game. In 2001 the public Beta began, and was released in May 2002 in Japan. November 2002 saw the Windows release, followed by the first expansion/US Release in October 2003, the second expansion/EU Launch in 2004, and the latest expansion in 2006. German and French versions were released just this year; it took two years to translate all the content in the game. They made sure as content was released (and the new expansions) that those teams were kept up to date. There are now four languages spoken inside the game world, each inside the same servers.

Early in the development of the game, they were already working on a version for the original Xbox. The main roadblock to the game's success was the small HDD; only 2GB wouldn't cut it. When the game was installed on the PS2 HDD, it reserved 8GB. They view updates as the 'lifeline' of the Massive game. No mass storage, no updates ... no MMOG.

PlayOnline is mentioned, with their concept being a 'portal for entertainment'. It's an independent platform for content, with a common information tool for all game playing options. It's crucial for the PS2 and 360, which don't have web browsers. It allows them to keep tabs on user statistics, as well.

The game is built around the concept of cross-region play. The three regions they support (US, EU, JP) are separated by big blocks of time, allowing them to financially support the concept. There are spikes, but the spike isn't all at once across the board thanks to the 24 hour day. A graph shows the different peaks around the world, with notes that the US peak is smaller than the JP one because of the number of time zones in the country. He provides some interesting stats: there are roughly 15-20k users per world. There's a fairly equal distribution between servers, and the service sees between 200-300k individual logins per day. The number of Hardcore players means that there is quite a bit of overlap between the 'US' timeslots and the 'JP' timeslots.

This overlap can lead to poor behavior for a number of reasons. Killstealing, Player Killing, and Spawn Camping are just three examples. They have tweaked the game's systems to remove some of the most easily-exploited elements. They removed general PvP, granted possession of a mob to the first player to attack it, and put in systems that encouraged cooperation. Their most successful outlet has been the sports-style PvP games. They're team vs. team sports, and give players the opportunity to beat each other 'silly' without causing grief.

The Auto translation feature is another success in bringing communities together. It translates FFXI-related terms to whatever language a player is using. It uses simple word and sentence structures, to avoid confusion. They have tied it deeply into the game to make it easy and fast to use; it's a part of the everyday game for many players. This was crucial to overcome the initial resistance that Japanese players had to dealing with thousands of American players. Despite requests from many points of view to host regional servers, they've always resisted. They see the universal servers as a real strength, a unique feature in the industry.

Unfortunately, they've had real problems with gold farmers. They've become much more aggressive due to the success of the genre, and have rapidly expanded across the globe thanks to cheap labor costs. They're huge organizations, spread across the globe, and seek to exploit weaknesses in an economy whenever they can find them. Mr. Tanaka then turns the floor over to Sage Sundi, the global producer of the game. He worked his way up to his position from a volunteer position with the Japanese version of UO. He's here to specifically address RMT.

There are several ways to deal with the issue: allow it all, the company can engage in it itself, or they ignore it. They chose the hardest option: fighting it. Acting against it is a challenge, and they assembled a task force specifically for the issue. They claim that they've eliminated some 90% of the traders in the game world.

The problems RMT inflicts are: inflation, farming and monopolizing of monsters, and cheating. All of these affect the play experience for normal players. RMT would not be a problem, they say, if the people who engaged in it were polite. They have a great slide showing the huge inflation of the currency wildly out of sync with the new number of players in the game. Around the end of 2005 they detected the upsurge, and investigated.

An RMT organization is made up of several groups: Hunters are the ones who actually do the killing, and send the gil along to Bank players. The Front-End folks deal with customers, and make sure they get their stuff. The website element is also public facing; the biggest groups can employ up to 500 people. The task force went to work last year, and their two primary jobs were to analyze server data and comb through feedback. They examined server logs, customer issues, etc. The task force looks through the logs weekly, while originally they were addressed only once per month

Their conclusions:

  • The biggest RMT groups are connected.
  • With a few small exceptions, most larger groups are using common funds to do their work.
  • Removing Front-End folks and Bankers is not enough. It is effective in removing large amounts of currency from the game, but it will encourage the Hunters to increase productivity for their new masters.
  • The real goal is to eliminate the Hunters. This helps players by removing irritating experiences from the game world. It indirectly weakens the RMT front-end folks by lowering their supply of goods.
  • They'll be back. It doesn't matter if they're banned, they'll be back soon with new accounts. The company needs to keep cleaning, despite the 're-spawn' rate.
  • You have to maintain a good back-end data system to ensure these people can be identified.
  • Systems must be tweaked as often as possible to minimize Hunter success. Security holes must be closed, etc. At the same time, these efforts must be not harmful to the players. As an example: they added a monster to a high-level fishing area to ensure low-level Hunters were kept at bay. He's easy to kill for appropriate-level characters, but the low-level Hunter avatars run to the zone to do nothing but fish are easily destroyed.
  • It's critical to construct 'fair' guidelines to determine what is and isn't accepted. You can't ban all accounts from a country, for example. Don't encourage witchhunts among the players.
  • It's also important to keep it an internal discussion with the legal department, to get consensus with everyone on board.
The end result of their efforts is a slow deflation of the economy. They have already had some successes, and they project continued good 'correction' of the currency market. Approximately 2/3rds of the RMT sites that sold gil are now out of business. Some still provide 'gil on order services', but even then they estimate there are only a fraction of the previous number of Hunters left in the game world.

Tanaka returns to the stage to discuss their retention policies. They've had a very rapid expansion pack policy (3 in 5 years), along with major updates every 2 months, and monthly events like holidays. Changes and live feedback are their keys to this success. Wings of the Goddess is the fourth expansion coming, with a worldwide release. There are some 12 SKUs associated with that expansion, spread across all the markets.

They still have 500,000 users, and as long as they keep playing they'll keep developing the game. They are worried that the graphical capabilities of Vista and the 360 will make the game look faded. They are working on a new MMOG, also intended to be cross platform/cross region. They're also developing a common platform for all future games, borrowing technologies from their future MMOG and FFXIII. The new MMOG will be a cross-platform title, available for both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360; Tanaka reveals that Nintendo is currently not allowing cross-platform online games. He does, however, say that it's not out of the question from a technical perspective. Soon, he hints, we'll be able to hear more about these upcoming games. With that, Tanaka ends the event by showing us the beautiful Wings of the Goddess trailer, and the keynote is over.

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Geez... (1, Interesting)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507161)

Half a million people are still playing that? Wow. I'm half tempted to give it another look, since I was sort of an early-adopter on PC and their tech support wasn't exactly English-speaker-friendly at that time. But it really seemed like a grind - from what I remember, there was sort of a noob zone, say, level 1 - 8 type stuff (*pulling numbers out my ass here for example's sake*) and an intermediate zone, say, level 15+ stuff, but getting from 9 to 15 seemed like an endless grind of noob monsters. Maybe I was just doing it wrong? It was my first MMO...

Re:Geez... (1)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507215)

It's definitely still a big grind game. Reactivated my account a few weeks back, took me over a week to get up to level 6.

Re:Geez... (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507277)

wow you must be a terrible player. Even with a WHM I could hit level 6 in 3 hours BEFORE they made it stupidly easy to level in the lower levels with signet bonuses.

Re:Geez... (1)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507345)

Could be the fact that I was playing a Taru warrior...I dunno. Could also be that I hardly ever party.

Re:Geez... (1)

drzhivago (310144) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507387)

You can solo easily (and quickly) to level 13-15. Of course, that takes into account knowing what to fight when to some degree. Someone who just started playing isn't going to be that efficient.

Re:Geez... (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507527)

Not true. I solod to 15 back when the US PS2 version was just released using very little trial and error to figure out whats good (sapplings and bee's) and whats bad (>.>; Rams)

Now you could with a XP ring hit 20 easily without even stepping foot into a party till Quifm. Even then with a group of 2-3 you could hit 37 with ease.

Its a totally different game IMHO.

Re:Geez... (1)

Reapman (740286) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507379)

a WEEK? ouch.. thats unheard of for the new guys I've met, the first 10 levels are usually done in 2-3 days if your not grinding too hard, a single night if you want to get it over with and have a power leveler. I'm not much of a grinder, so my last job was 3 days to 10 I think. But your right, it IS a grinder of a game. Better then before, but still a grinder.

I still play the game, and enjoy it (the people really make the game), and seeing what SE now does with the game makes me wish they started it earlier. Things like more open communication, the agressive anti RMT tactics, heck even commiting to building in the capability to run FFXI on a Window in a PC. SE has definitly improved relations as of late, and I've seen several friends come back after a year to reenjoy the game.

The game is more dated then WoW, sure, but still fun I find. I can't wait to finish the story arcs, something I've been trying to focus on moreso now then before.

It's more of a grinder game, and I wish they'd allow XP to be done via quests, like in WoW. I imagine it has at least 2, maybe 3 years left in it. Hell even UO is still running.

Bastok foreveh! :)

Re:Geez... (1)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507449)

XP via quests would be an excellent addition to the game. If they did that I'd be back in a heartbeat.

I actually like how dated it is, as it allows me to run it on my computer without any problems, since my computers are quite old machines.

Oh, and Windurst is better. :)

Re:Geez... (1)

Gregb05 (754217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507773)

There's dozens of ways to get Exp through quests; Eco-Warrior, Escort Quests, More Escort Quests, a bunch of CoP level-capped quests., and Ballista.
The problem with it is that most of these require either a reasonably high level already (Escort, Eco-Warror, Ballista and most of them are Fame based), or they require a certain mission completion (The CoP ones). This creates a sort of problem, but the thing is that you can use the exp quests when you have a high-level job to accelerate the leveling of lower level jobs.

FFXI is weird in that the longer you play, the easier *everything* gets, from earning money, killing monsters, and travelling. It's also interesting that they took out the alternate-character issues by using one character with multiple jobs, so even if I have 7 jobs at level 75, I've only had to do the Zilart/CoP/ToAU missions once, Each dynamis area once, and so on to have full access with all 7 jobs.
(Disclaimer: I don't have 7 level 75 jobs)

Of course, with WoW, you only have to buy the expansion packs to have full access...

Re:Geez... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507445)

Are you trying to kill monsters by only casting "Dia" on them?

{Troll, no thanks}

Re:Geez... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507285)

but getting from 9 to 15 seemed like an endless grind of noob monsters.

Yes you were doing it wrong. If you follow the masses around without looking for yourself what is the best area to level up, then this game is not for you. With the changes to game now, 3 man parties are as viable as 6 man parties in the lower levels.

Re:Geez... (2, Informative)

Vacuous (652107) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507555)

Yeah you did it wrong, around level 10 you should really begin partying with other players for much better XP. It's been a year since I played but i'm assuming the Valkrum Dunes is still the place to go for those levels.

Re:Geez... (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508025)

And it's been four years since I've played and I still remember Valkrum Dunes as one of the lowest levels of hell.

Re:Geez... (1)

nekura (600099) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510075)

The new hotness is going to Ghelsba Outpost and soloing from 10->19. The mobs are low EXP, but you kill so fast that your EXP/hour is the same, if not better than your typical Dunes party. After those levels, you can continue to solo on BST-mob's pets, but it can be dangerous.

Re:Geez... (0, Offtopic)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508145)

Half a million people are still playing that? Wow. I'm half tempted to give it another look, since I was sort of an early-adopter on PC and their tech support wasn't exactly English-speaker-friendly at that time.

Blizzard is clever, you can't express amazement without reminding people of world of warcraft. the slang WOW is not forever ruined for me.

Re:Geez... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20510009)

I recommend using "Jesus" as a substitute. Example: "Half a million people are still playing that? Jesus. I'm half tempted to give it another look."

This is only a temporary measure. Expect it to change again after the release of Jesus Wars Online.

Re:Geez... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20510159)

the slang WOW is not forever ruined for me.

Well, that's a relief.

Re:Geez... (1)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 7 years ago | (#20509277)

The noob area should take you from lvl 1-10 solo and be doable in aprox 4 hours once you get the hang of it, 2 if you have a powerleveler to assist. Next is the hated "Dunes" area, which is setup for lvl 10-20 in party play. Time here could be anything between 8 hours to a week depending on the quality of party that you manage to pick up.

With regards to not finding suitable party members, that is a common difficulty but in these events, you should try and scout your own party. Often some of the best parties I was in were the ones that didn't conform to the standard Tank, Healer, Puller, Nuker, Support & 1 more setup. Due to FFXI's subclass system it's entirely possible to put together a party with no main healer, instead using 2-3 players with a White Mage subclass to do the job of main healer and any other buff/debuff/support duties that their main class would do.

The best thing to do of course is to join one of the larger linkshells (guilds) and shout on your ls chat if you're missing a couple of vital classes for a party. The large linkshells will always have players with lots of classes on the go at once, so chances are they will be happy to change class and join you if they need to level up a class in that level range.

WoW....RMTs in FFXI? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507165)

Let's see how many non-FFXI players try to comment to this thread without knowing anything about the measures taken from SE so far to reduce RMT.

Cough....WoW.....cough......

Hmmm (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507365)

he spends Thursday some time Thursday morning discussing

Usually I like to start off my Thursdays with Thursday mornings.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#20509449)

Usually I like to start off my Thursdays with Thursday mornings.
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

What a crock of shit. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507467)

FFXI was Japan only for ages before finally being released in North America and then Europe. All the Japanese players were already maxed out and already camping the best spawns, even the noob level spawns that dropped special items were always camped 24/7 by max level Japanese players.

And its still not really a worldwide game, as all the servers are in Japan and so playing from North America there is really bad latency, bad enough that mobs can chase you and hit you while you run away, but you can't hit them while you chase them.

And the auto-translation feature is both painfully awkward to use (even more so than the rest of the horrible UI), and so lacking in words that its unusable.

FFXI is quite possibly the single worst MMOG ever played, and people only put up with it out of desperate love of the final fantasy name and franchise.

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507617)

The other genius move they made was making sure you couldn't play FF XI on a slimline PS2, only on one of the original hairdryer ones.

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507955)

You seem to be confused, or possibly retarded.

SquareEnix != Sony. Sony is the one that removed the HDD from the slim PS2, FFXI has always required it.

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512793)

Yes, and my point is that SquareEnix should maybe have come up with an alternative. Like an external USB hard drive plugged in to the slim PS2's USB port.

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

Morlark (814687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20516295)

At which point some genius would start complaining that they were forced to buy this USB drive that they didn't want, just to play a game. C'mon, you know that people will complain about anything. Better by far to do it the way they have done. If your machine doesn't meet the minimum specs, simply don't play the game.

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

iTowelie (1118013) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508167)

SE was not the company that put the kibosh on hard drive for the PS2 slimline. That was Sony's move. Sony saw that FFXI was pretty much the only game that heavily required the hard drive "add on" (other than HD loader and few games for saves) and didn't see any future influx of players. So they crunched the numbers and chose aesthetics over a small group of MMORPGers who might need a second PS2 when their first one died. This was 2 years after FFXI came out.
I lucked out as my first PS2 is still going strong with it's 40GB hard disk. (knocks on wood). Actually FFXI will now play on a PS3 with a small patch that needs to be downloaded in order for it to be compatible.

Towelie - Sylph Server

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#20517881)

No, there was another. "Resident Evil: Please Wait^W^WOutbreak".

Took upwards of 15 minutes to load without the damn HDD.

Sony != SquareEnix (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508773)

Actually SquareEnix was a huge opponent of the slimline PS2. Statistically, SquareEnix has pointed out that most Japanese FFXI players play the game on the PS2 so when Sony removed hard drive support on the slimline PS2, they essentially killed most Japanese FFXI gamers (since the Xbox 360 version has nearly no demand in Japan). Oh and the lack of PS2 hard drives on the (used) market hasn't helped.

Re:What a crock of shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507755)

And its still not really a worldwide game, as all the servers are in Japan and so playing from North America there is really bad latency, bad enough that mobs can chase you and hit you while you run away, but you can't hit them while you chase them.

The mobs hitting you while running has nothing to do with latency. And you can hit mobs while you are chasing them, just take off auto-target.

And the auto-translation feature is both painfully awkward to use (even more so than the rest of the horrible UI), and so lacking in words that its unusable.

You must of only played the game 3 years ago...

even the noob level spawns that dropped special items were always camped 24/7 by max level Japanese players

I regularly out-claim japanese players on NMs. And my computer is 5 years old. You probably have ADD...

FFXI is quite possibly the single worst MMOG ever played, and people only put up with it out of desperate love of the final fantasy name and franchise.

You must be a teenager.

Re:What a crock of shit. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507999)

You must of only played the game 3 years ago...
That's must've, short for must have you cockfag. However, if you're looking to spell things phonetically without understanding what it is you're writing, you might be interested to know that you could also substitute mussed for must and it still sounds the same!

Ewe mussed half own lee played the gaim 3 ears a go.
 

Re:What a crock of shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20512227)

No normal adult calls another a "cockfag", unless you are like Senator Craig...you know repressed in some form you don't want to admit.

However, if you're looking to spell things phonetically without understanding what it is you're writing

Heh, english is my third language, thanks for your kind help.

On a side note, "hormone" is word from the image...how ironic, don't you think?

Re:What a crock of shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20510533)

"The mobs hitting you while running has nothing to do with latency. And you can hit mobs while you are chasing them, just take off auto-target."

Yes it does moron. The game server is only updating your position periodically, and with a horrible latency. So you skip across the zone, while the mob who lives on the server and has no latency has plenty of time to run up to you, and then hit you. And yes, I know you can hit them while you are running if you run way out in front of them to compensate for the horrible latency, but that's not chasing them now is it dumbass? Admitting that the latency is so bad that you have to run way out ahead of what you are "chasing" to hit it doesn't exactly make for a convincing rebuttal.

"You must of only played the game 3 years ago..."

'Must have' you illiterate knobgobbler. And which part are you pretending has been fixed, the horrible interface or the shitty "autotranslate" that never should have contained the 'auto' prefix? I guess it doesn't matter much, since either way you're full of shit. Neither have been fixed, both are still complete and utter worthless shit.

"I regularly out-claim japanese players on NMs. And my computer is 5 years old. You probably have ADD..."

Are you seriously this fucking stupid? The game has been out for a while now dumbass. I pointed out that it was far from a world wide game, it was a Japanese game, released in Japan WAY before anywhere else, so the Japanese got a huge head start. I'm glad you overcame that head start after 3 years, but its hardly relevant is it? And why do you keep ending every sentance with three periods? You only put one of those at the end of a sentance, please consult your second grade teacher for further information on this subject.

"You must be a teenager."

Why would my age have anything to do with the fact that FFXI is the worst MMOG I've ever played? You can tell I'm not a teenager because I use the correct "MMOG" instead of the moronic txtard "MMO" that teenagers and people with IQs below 80 use. I'm in my mid thirties and have played nearly every major MMOG since UO. None of them have come close to sucking as badly as FFXI, not even AC2. Only sketchy Chinese free to play MMOGs have managed that incredible feat so far.

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510877)

And why do you keep ending every sentance with three periods? You only put one of those at the end of a sentance, please consult your second grade teacher for further information on this subject.
You seem to know very little of advanced grammar. Three "periods" in a row is a special kind of marking called an ellipses. They are actually very common, and in this case are used to mark dramatic silence.

You can tell I'm not a teenager because I use the correct "MMOG" instead of the moronic txtard "MMO" that teenagers and people with IQs below 80 use.
MMOG is still fairly inaccurate. If you want to play the "I'm more accurate" card call it an MMORPG.

Are you seriously this fucking stupid? The game has been out for a while now dumbass.
Not good with tenses are you? They were speaking in present tense, yet you refer to the past.

Re:What a crock of shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20512853)

"You seem to know very little of advanced grammar. Three "periods" in a row is a special kind of marking called an ellipses. They are actually very common, and in this case are used to mark dramatic silence"

And you don't just put them at the end of every sentance for no reason. That's kinda the point genius.

"MMOG is still fairly inaccurate. If you want to play the "I'm more accurate" card call it an MMORPG."

No, Massively Multiplayer Online Game is an accurate description, and has meaning. Saying "I play this awesome massively multiplayer online" makes no sense, hence MMO makes no sense. Wether FFXI qualifies as having anything to do with roleplaying in any way is quite debatable, and since I was referencing MMOGs in general, including those that most certainly have nothing to do with role playing, MMORPG would be much less accurate.

"Not good with tenses are you? They were speaking in present tense, yet you refer to the past."

Not good with reading are you? "It was also a worldwide title". Sounds pretty fucking past tense to me. When did "was" start reffering to present tense?

Congrats though, you are definately kicking that ACs ass in the stupid FFXI fanboy contest. He's at least managed to make a couple valid points, and even state some things that are true. You're much better than that, with your inability to grasp even the basics of english, but ironic desire to teach everyone else how it works.

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513139)

And you don't just put them at the end of every sentance for no reason. That's kinda the point genius.
So the person who didn't know what they were is going to tell me how to use them? You are allowed to use them at the end of every paragraph, which they did.

Not good with reading are you? "It was also a worldwide title". Sounds pretty fucking past tense to me. When did "was" start reffering to present tense?
I don't know, what part of "I regularly out-claim japanese players on NMs. And my computer is 5 years old. You probably have ADD..." says "It was also a worldwide title"? Sounds like I'm not the only one around here who "can't read".

Saying "I play this awesome massively multiplayer online" makes no sense, hence MMO makes no sense.
One word for this, slang. MMO is accepted slang for games that have a genre that begins with MMO. Since MMO also refers to genres like MMOFPS, and MMOTPS.

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

R00BYtheN00BY (1118945) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513617)

sentance

Re:What a crock of shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20514037)

This is worth repeating in case you missed it:

And why do you keep ending every sentance with three periods? You only put one of those at the end of a sentance, please consult your second grade teacher for further information on this subject.
You seem to know very little of advanced grammar. Three "periods" in a row is a special kind of marking called an ellipses. They are actually very common, and in this case are used to mark dramatic silence.

You can tell I'm not a teenager because I use the correct "MMOG" instead of the moronic txtard "MMO" that teenagers and people with IQs below 80 use.
MMOG is still fairly inaccurate. If you want to play the "I'm more accurate" card call it an MMORPG.

Are you seriously this fucking stupid? The game has been out for a while now dumbass.
Not good with tenses are you? They were speaking in present tense, yet you refer to the past.


Thanks.

Now to my response:

Yes it does moron. The game server is only updating your position periodically, and with a horrible latency. So you skip across the zone, while the mob who lives on the server and has no latency has plenty of time to run up to you, and then hit you.

Most mobs run at the same speed as you, so if you are 1 inch outside their range, they will not speed up and catch you. Latency has nothing to do with this, you have time to run to the zone if you insist on doing so. Go try it out, but first make sure you log out of WoW...

Are you seriously this fucking stupid? The game has been out for a while now dumbass. I pointed out that it was far from a world wide game, it was a Japanese game, released in Japan WAY before anywhere else, so the Japanese got a huge head start.

Well they did get a head start to level 50, but who cares? The level cap was raised once NA got the game so it was fair game. By the way, it's a game, not a competition. And I hate to break it to you but level 61 is halfway to 75 in terms of xp, 50 is nothing.

I'm in my mid thirties and have played nearly every major MMOG since UO

Looks like you need some sunlight... ---- Hey look, more dramatic silence.

You probably bash Microsoft here at Slashdot, at every chance you get, don't you?

Re:What a crock of shit. (2, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507935)

FFXI is quite possibly the single worst MMOG ever played, and people only put up with it out of desperate love of the final fantasy name and franchise.

Allow me to introduce you to Star Wars Galaxies.

Re:What a crock of shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20508565)

Star Wars Galaxies was good once. It's slowly devolved into FFXI. It's hard to explain just how much FFXI sucks as a game. It's sucks enough that it spawned a Firefox extension [mozilla.org] to try and ease gameplay. (I wouldn't try installing it unless you want Firefox to chew 100% CPU - the clock in it is completely braindead, and I had the skillchain part destroy a profile in the past.)

FFXI's basic problem is its basic premise. Instead of just leveling up one class per character, you have to level up two classes per character, one at a time. (You have a "main" class and a "support" class. You can change classes at certain locations, but only the "main" one gains levels.) This means you'll see the newbie areas a lot. Especially because each class has another class that it works best with, meaning you'll frequently be leveling up one class, then its side class, then its side class, and so on. The newbie areas get a lot of action.

There's no character customization. The most you can customize your character is to be missing skills, because skills cost money. Add to that the broken gameplay mechanics, where you need extremely rare equipment and consumables to even be able to hit creatures that grant experience, and you've got a game that focuses on farming to the exclusion of all else.

Gold farming is a problem in FFXI because FFXI is designed to demand it of its players. This creates a market for FFXI gold, and creates demand for FFXI gold farmers. As this article notes, Square-Enix has decided to try and ban all the gold farmers instead of fixing their broken game that's designed to demand gold farmers.

Re:What a crock of shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20509061)

Instead of just leveling up one class per character, you have to level up two classes per character, one at a time.

So? That's FF attire, the job system.

There's no character customization. The most you can customize your character is to be missing skills, because skills cost money.

Are you sure you are talking about FFXI? Skills do not cost money. And yes, you can customize your character through merits.

Add to that the broken gameplay mechanics, where you need extremely rare equipment and consumables to even be able to hit creatures that grant experience

That is simply not true. You can buy all your gear from the AH and do fine. No need for drops from NMs.

and you've got a game that focuses on farming to the exclusion of all else.

I leveled bst to 75 without farming once. No need for expensive equipment, and if you want pricy things, then level off monsters that drop worthwhile items.

Gold farming is a problem in FFXI because FFXI is designed to demand it of its players.

There is no gold in FFXI you WoW fanboi. RMT is present in every MMPORG in one fashion or another. FFXI has a player driven economy, SE can't really alter it.

Re:What a crock of shit. (2, Informative)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20509159)

There is no gold in FFXI you WoW fanboi.
Gold, Gil, same difference. No need to fight over the term used. We all know it means in-game money.

Are you sure you are talking about FFXI? Skills do not cost money.
Ever played a mage? Those spells do seem to cost money.

That is simply not true. You can buy all your gear from the AH and do fine. No need for drops from NMs.
I don't think the source of equipment was the point there. I think the fact that you need rarer equipment that was the point.

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511013)

I don't think the source of equipment was the point there. I think the fact that you need rarer equipment that was the point.

Actually, he was right, you DON'T need it, not to be functional. Yes, really rare gear is powerful, and helpful, but not required. In fact, in this respect, FFXI is much for forgiving than games like WoW since I could easily go up against some the newest and toughest endgame mobs and still only be wearing mostly average AH gear, while good luck getting through Black Temple doing the same.

Re:What a crock of shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20510317)

Let me introduce you to World of Warcraft! You know how boring it was to travel the Sea in Zelda Wind waker? Multiple that times ten in WoW.

Re:What a crock of shit. (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510777)

"FFXI was Japan only for ages before finally being released in North America"

About a year and a half. And the North American release coincided with a gradual raising of the level cap from 50 to 75.

"and then Europe."

A little over two years, and the release coincided with the introduction of several level-capped areas and missions.

"All the Japanese players were already maxed"

Even if they had reached level 50 with all jobs available, the North American release coincided with the introduction of 4 new jobs.

"FFXI is quite possibly the single worst MMOG ever played, and people only put up with it out of desperate love of the final fantasy name and franchise."

I continue to play it because they continue to add new content in the form of quests and missions. I play it for the cutscenes.

A player's viewpoint (5, Interesting)

Orii (55092) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507469)

As a longtime FFXI player (3 1/2 years now), I noticed a big change in how Square-Enix approached gilsellers/hunters/farmers. For a long time there was very little from SE on the issue, and the in-game consequences were very noticeable. Normal players would be killed by groups of gilsellers merely for being in the area of one of their camps, the economy was inflating crazily, and there was no competing with them in certain economic areas. People were becoming depressed and leaving, at least in part because of the bad environment.

And then SE decided to pull themselves together and really address the problem. Month postings detailing the number of banned players for various reasons were posted. We started seeing long-time gilselling groups disappear from their usual haunts and then from the game entirely. And most importantly, a sense of optimism started to creep in among the general population.

There are still issues with the economy of course. There has been a large deflation as billions of gil were removed by banning accounts. It's hard to make a living crafting, and people seems to be on much tighter budgets these days. But I don't think any of us would want to return to the time when gilsellers roamed free.

I'm very thankful SE took a stand and put in so much effort to crack down on this problem.

Re:A player's viewpoint (2, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507767)

Honestly, it was much better for crafters before they started cracking down on gilsellers. The RMT concentrated on camping HNMs and didn't do much with crafting (minus fishing). At least I didn't notice much from Cooking. Now with all the changes, Cooking is almost useless as well as any other craft (Mule is Cloth)

I also used to set up KS30 ODS runs and took 20% of drops. Split between 4 BLMs I was making 5-10m a week during the high inflation. Now, it's not even worth doing anymore.

I'm glad the RMT are going away, but until they stop crafting, I won't be happy as that's my main source of income.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

Artaxs (1002024) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508843)

One of the frustrating things for me was that it was almost impossible to make money from the game itself in FFXI. The quest "rewards" never grant significant amounts of gil, and the goblins drop a pathetic amount even at high levels. Only a couple of jobs (BST and BLU) are even capable of soloing even the mid-level content/monsters, so you're constantly splitting whatever loot you do get with other players.

Still, I really loved the game, though I think that WoW has spoiled me forever against playing a "real" MMO. Let's face it, fellow WoW players, the game is *too easy*. I know of 6 and 7 year olds who've solo'ed and played their way to level 70 in WoW without any serious difficulties. By contrast, in FFXI, getting to level 75 in even one job is a real challenge and beating Maat for the last limit break on levels is something your linkshell friends really cheer you on for.

-Former FFXI WHM

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

Morlark (814687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20516419)

Let's face it, fellow WoW players, the game is *too easy*. I know of 6 and 7 year olds who've solo'ed and played their way to level 70 in WoW without any serious difficulties.

Tbh, I think you're comparing apples to oranges. Yes, it is extremely easy to reach the max level in WoW, but it's intentionally so. Levelling in WoW is all about teaching you the basics of your class. It's not until you reach the level cap that the game really begins, which is why much of group-based content requires you to be at or near the cap.

Re:A player's viewpoint (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20507897)

Oh, please, Square-Enix didn't do a damned thing. Blizzard did. World of Warcraft simply removed the market for Final Farming XI gil, so the number of gil sellers went down thanks to Blizzard.

If Square-Enix really wanted to do anything about gil selling, they would have fixed their damned game to make it playable without farming gil.

Tanaka returns to the stage to discuss their retention policies.
Does that include ending their "fuck you for leaving" policy? (Where they delete everything related to your account after three months.)

Re:A player's viewpoint (2, Insightful)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508005)

Does that include ending their "fuck you for leaving" policy? (Where they delete everything related to your account after three months.)
I have never had any of my characters get deleted, so I'm not sure how well this policy is enforced. I've got inactive characters that I made 1+ years ago sitting around collecting dust. Also, they only have limited space. If you're not paying them, what's their incentive to let you sit your characters in their space?

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

Sheltim (673293) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508051)

Deleting your account after a short period of time when you cancel your account in one way to encourage people NOT to come back. I've seen many people in WoW quit for 6 months and then come back, at least in part because they didn't have to start over from scratch.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508125)

It's one factor that may play into the decision sure, but not coming back ever again just because of it is just stupid. If you like the game then you shouldn't mind having to start over again. I have a group of friends who recently took it back up again and chose to start off with all level one characters for the joy of it.

Re:A player's viewpoint (3, Informative)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508127)

They don't delete your account, they just don't guarantee it's going to be there after 3 months. Many people have come back after a year or longer and just logged back in and picked up where they left off.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

pat_trick (218868) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510417)

I beg to differ. If you wait longer than a year, they won't restore your account. Believe me, I've tried.

I canceled in the fall of 2004. Recently, some of my friends got into the game, and I decided to see if I could dust off my character and have it reinstated. The phone support rep said that they couldn't do it, due to a one year policy.

There's been one event where they offered account recoveries called "The Return Home to Vana'diel" which was in May of 2006. During this time, they opened restorations to all players. They haven't shown any indications of repeating this event in the near future.

It makes me wonder how many customers they're loosing that might have returned to give the game another try.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510701)

That is assuming they remove it in the first place. They seem to be very lax about even deleting accounts. I've had an account with them since I first got it years ago. So far the only characters that have been deleted are the ones I chose to delete. Some of the remaining (yet inactive) characters are well over a year old.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

pat_trick (218868) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510889)

Hrm. I'll give it a test go later this evening then and see what happens.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

johnson911 (921581) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511173)

I cancelled my account for over a year, and everything was there when I came back. Sorry you didn't have the same luck. I will say that with WOW, you shouldn't care if you have to start over, because it doesn't take very long to get back to level 70, or even get multiple characters to level 70. If you lose your FFXI characters though, that could require an absurd amount of time to get back to where you were when you left. I had over 30 days played on my character, and still wasn't capped in any job or profession. I only had two jobs over level 40, and was level 64 in goldcrafting. FFXI is definitely a game that I wouldn't return to if my character was deleted.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#20517909)

Not always true... I got a wild hair up one day and decided, in spite of the raping that rogues got in 1.7, that I would sign back up for WoW. So I go to my account to make sure my character is still around. Hell, not only was my toon gone, my SERVER was gone.

I picked up the 3 GW campaigns instead.

Re:A player's viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511115)

Whoever modded this as flamebait needs to take a peek at the timeline.

World of Warcraft came out in November 2004. FFXI started dealing with gil sellers at the end of 2005. Believe me when I say the game was infested with them since it was released in the US. It took World of Warcraft leaching away their subscribers to get Square-Enix to do anything about the gil sellers.

The people that remain in FFXI are almost exclusively players that are stuck on consoles. If they had a PC, they'd be playing World of Warcraft. Since WoW doesn't have a console port, they're stuck with the only console MMORPG still receiving some form of active support: FFXI. Should Blizzard ever decide to port WoW to the Xbox 360 or PS3, FFXI would die the instant it was released.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20515639)

Yes, the remaining players are on consoles...

A majority of players in Europe play on PC, hell, the first console release of FFXI in Europe was with the Xbox 360 port in April '06. Same goes for the rest of the world, with the exception of Japan, most players are playing the PC port.

Perhaps it's time for some of you Blizzard fanboys to get off your high horse. WoW most certainly isn't the be all and end all of MMORPGs. Contrary to a belief held by many of you, people who aren't playing WoW are simply not playing WoW because well, guess what, it's not that hot a game. We certainly don't sit at home playing our respective MMORPGs wishing we were playing WoW.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

medeii (472309) | more than 7 years ago | (#20509723)

As a crafter, I'd much rather return to those days; I could actually make money back then, but more importantly, so could anyone else.

The problem with removing gil from the online economies is that it forces price drops on everything without adjusting item drop rates as well. You've got billions of gil disappearing literally overnight, while item rates remain the same. What happens (and has happened) is that consumable prices stay solid, because they're always in demand, but the rest of the crafting professions tank and drop like rocks. Of course, RMT aren't stupid; they moved into Cooking and Alchemy, the two consumable professions. And so this is what the economy looks like as more and more players get priced out of their own markets:

Server economy comparison graph from FFXIAH [ffxiah.com]

The above graph starts at the end of the inflation period, roughly March 2006. Now, realize that those lines are not merely price indicators, but also a representation of earning power; after all, this is a graph of player-to-player transactions, not NPC-to-player (which are a constant currency drain.) The reason for this recession (let's call it what it is, really) is Square's response. It wasn't just that prices dropped, but that the ability of players to earn gil was severely restricted and the amount of time required for farming was far beyond what many people could stomach. It's led to a lot of departures from the game, myself included.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510971)

I played a long time ago so maybe my memory is going bad but I don't remember any PvP. How did the gilsellers kill other players for being in the area? I remember trying to camp for those really nice boots (never actually got them due to my latency) but the high level campers just seemed to ignore us.

Re:A player's viewpoint (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511455)

they used to bind mobs on people or train them to death. There were various ways you could get around the no PvP system to kill people but at this point they are all gone. SE redid much of the mob mechanics to take away the free roaming nature of them. Now they despawn if they leave their roaming area.

Hmm (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 7 years ago | (#20507871)

When I left the game inflation was out of control, making good items ridiculously expensive. You couldn't hunt for the special items because of the campers. You would save up for a month and then the item you wanted would be twice as high. Stories that it might be improved are interesting.

That and it was impossible to find a party if you character didn't fit certain molds, but that was more a powergaming problem then gilselling.

Re:Hmm (1)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508755)

I recently went back to FFXI, but stopped because of school starting up again. It really has improved. My only major frustration is that shortly before I quit last time, I had just spent about 1.5 million gil on some new gear, leaving me with 50k gil remaining. That same gear can now be bought for under 200k, so I was out about 1.3 million (a lot of gil now). The difference in the economy was astounding, and I was throughly impressed.

Another player's point of view (5, Interesting)

RalphtheDwarf (951661) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508595)

I've been playing FFXI since around 2004. I think a lot of FFXI's RMT problems stem from SE's insistence on many items being rare, and their implementation of it.

The original endgame system worked where a highly desired item would be a uncommon drop of off a monster that spawned once every 1-3 real life days with predictable spawn conditions. This might have been fine when there were few players at the level cap but as endgame became more crowded this became more and more of a source of conflict between the players. There were also lesser monsters that dropped rare items that were on shorter timers, but still had predictable spawn conditions and low drop rates.

Naturally, players started resorting to 3rd party tools to outclaim the other guilds in the game and RMT soon realized that they could set up shop 24 hours a day and then form their own in game mafia of sorts and monopolize these monsters and basically extort the players. While a legit player would unlikely be online for that 5 am Simurgh spawn, the RMT were on all day and knew when everything would be up.

SE played dumb while this was happening, letting the RMT slowly take over the game's economy. Everything of value was being perma-camped by packs of RMT.

Fast forward a few years, and two expansion packs later. The matter is further complicated because the population has become even more top heavy with more and more players reaching maximum level. The additional expansion packs had basically failed to break the original expansion's dominance in the game. Much of the original expansion's equipment is still the most highly desirable and fought over equipment in the game. This seems to run contrary to most other game's expansions where the old content is quickly forgotten about when a new expansion is added.

SE finally started listening to the playerbase and changing some of the monster spawn conditions, but it was basically making an already annoying process more convoluted.

SE had a great chance to fix their RMT problems by designing a new endgame system that couldn't be monopolized by the RMT in their newer expansions and making the original expansion obsolete. But their insistence that the original expansion's items remain rare and powerful has held the game back. Not only does it leave us fighting over the same 3 year old items but it also begs the question of why bother adding a new expansion when everyone is going to rush off to camp the old monsters (lolFafnir) moments after going live.

One of the most applauded features of the current expansion pack was giving us a few new methods of obtaining items from the original expansion pack. What a joke. I think a lot of FFXI's RMT problems would fade into the woodwork if SE would stop insisting that this 3 year old expansion remain relevant and let their new expansions shine on their own.

Re:Another player's point of view (2, Informative)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510671)

A lot of WoW players would disagree. They have the exact opposite complaint, that old content is made worthless with each expansion. When BC came out, Azeroth endgame became a ghost town. A lot of people spent a ton of time on Azeroth end game gear, getting attunements, raiding and such, that overnight became green quality. With Blizzard having set that pattern you can expect as soon as a solid release date is known for WOLK that BC endgame will quickly start to die out.

I actually really appreciated the fact that FFXI didn't suddenly devalue old world gear and continued to keep it relevant. It kept the whole game interesting longer.

Re:Another player's point of view (1)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511233)

Its nice, to a point. I don't think that the best sword of 2004 should still be the best sword of 2007 (Ridill). And the 21-24 hour spawn timers have got to go -- when its generally the same people claiming the monsters over and over, it gets boring. There should be a point where people are either finished with certain monsters, or they have enough incentive to move on to other monsters and leave the old ones for the round 2 group.

As it is now, it is almost impossible for a guild/linkshell to ever finish with some monsters, if only because selling drops is one of the only ways to make money anymore.

Re:Another player's point of view (1)

Morlark (814687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20516575)

I think the problem with WoW's expansion items may be overstated a little bit. Sure sometimes I think that it's a shame that old items aren't more useful. But the obsolescence of these items is not something new that the expansion has brought. WoW has always been a game about character progression via gear. (It kinda had to be, since levelling in WoW is trivial.) It is a rare player in WoW who can truly say that they have the best gear they can possibly have. And even then, that gear is acquired with the understanding that it will not still be the best a few months down the line. I think the system works quite well.

Re:Another player's point of view (1)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510923)

As another player who has been playing since 2004, I agree.

My server (Diabolos) is fairly unique in that we had a split in the end-game groups very early, which prevented 1 all powerful linkshell (guild) from forming. We have no less than 7 who can kill just about anything in the game, and that's just the english speaking world. I have screen shots of the zone "Dragon's Aery" with over 200 people waiting for what was definitly a Fafnir (not Nidhogg) pop day (2 days after Nidhogg popped). I also have screenshots of Aspid running free with no competition.

The other issue is Dynamis (an end-game, non-instanced area). While some servers have calenders, Diabolos does not. There is a policy of /randoming for the zone, which leads to groups sending 2-3 people to 'reserve' a zone, or try to force a /random as another group is about to enter. I really believe that Limbus and Dynamis need to be instanced, or at the very least, double the number of available zones (DynamisSanA, DynamisSanB). Diabolos has new 'end game' and 'dynamis' groups forming every week or two, and while I enjoy the cheap currency and pop items they sell the following week, it is very crowded.

Sky is usually packed. My ls has just stopped going to sky farm after 8 PM EST, its just not worth it. And there is no reason to even bother to try to camp any hnms, as they are all botted.

21-24 hour spawns might have worked well 3 years ago, but they have been too dated for the server's actual population for at least 1 1/2 years. I'd really like to see a true instanced area where you have exclusive rights to the big monsters that have been around for years, and has the same drops as the original, and isn't some sort of KS/BCNM with only some of the drops. Or, give us obtainable gear that is better than the 4 year old stuff. Really, we shouldn't be fighting the exact same monsters as 3 years ago, and instances that last for 30 minutes are kind of a cop-out. I'd really like to see WoW-style instancing, and no more "here, have exclusive use of this zone for a little while" type activities. It might give the feeling of community more, but it really gets old and obnoxious fast.

SE really needs to make us forget about the old stuff. Instead, we get crap that is half of what the old stuff offers, with a couple real gems for a handful of jobs. I've personally been in sky for 2 years now off and on. I'm sick of it. You are correct, SE had the perfect chance to make everything obtainable. Instead, they give us somewhat meh gear in assault. The Nyzle Isle could have been the perfect place to make really good stuff fall, instead we get new stuff that is mostly meh until you get the whole set.

The gear dropped from the "Sky" areas and the "3 Kings" are still the best in the game. Sure we got a "replacement" item for the dalmatica, sort of, if you get the whole set. There are still so many items that are amazing, but unobtainable. I've never seen a ridil drop, and defending rings are amazingly rare. I really think that the whole "end game" needs to be revamped, with WoW style instancing for everything, unless SE really wants the same linkshells that have dominated all end-game gear for years to continue to dominate it.

I'm kind of hoping that the next expansion fixes some of these issues, and offers another way to get the ancient currency, but I really doubt it.

-CPM

No, no it's not (1)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508689)

. It was released in May of 2002, the first cross-platform RPG (PS2 and PC). What? Ignoring all other examples, FFVIII was released for both PS1 and PC.

Re:No, no it's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20509545)

Presumably he meant first cross-platform MMORPG, because there have been tons of cross-platform RPGs over the years.

Which also isn't true. EverQuest, released in 1999, was also cross-platform. And I'm probably forgetting some other, smaller MMORPG that's also cross-platform.

If he meant "first cross-PC/PlayStation 2 MMORPG" then EverQuest still has it beat. EverQuest's PS2 version came out in 2003, FFXI wasn't available on the PC until 2004.

Re:No, no it's not (1)

Mooset (9986) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510769)

EverQuest wasn't truely cross-platform. EverQuest PC, Macintosh, and PS2 each had their own set of servers and were not maintained and updated at the same pace.

I believe what they REALLY mean is FFXI is the first MMORPG that allows players on different platforms to play together.

Re:No, no it's not (1)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511285)

I believe it is still the only one which allows this. Even PSO had different servers for the 360 and PC clients.

I guess you could argue that WoW is cross platform as PC and Mac play on the same servers, but I don't really agree.

Re:No, no it's not (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513001)

How is a game that plays on two different platforms not cross-platform?

Not to mention that it's three platforms: Windows, Linux, and OS X.

Re:No, no it's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20517601)

Emulation doesn't count as a platform. There is no official WoW Linux client, they just run the Windows client through wine/whatever.

Re:No, no it's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20515721)

Actually, the PC version was released November, 2002.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_fantasy_xi [wikipedia.org]

Re:No, no it's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20509689)

it was the first cross platform mmo rpg. They probably just left the mmo part out.

The Best and the Worst (4, Informative)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508751)

FFXI has some of the best, and some of the worst, features of any MMO I've played.

The best:
-Seasonal Events - Not to be understated, but this is really the game's greatest feature. The holidays were always something to look forward to, as there were unique games and events that really built a spirit of community.
-Audio and Video - The graphics for the time were breathtaking, and it appears that the new expansions look just as good. The sound effects and music were top notch.
-Class Systems - So many different jobs to choose from, and the best part was that you could switch it whenever you felt like it. Dual classes made for some very interesting strategies.
-Crafting Systems - So many recipies and craft items to work with, you could literally spend all your time just making stuff.
-Quests - Really quite varied for the standard Fetch/Kill/Courier mission structures we see in all MMOs, the cutscenes were the true payoffs.

The Worst:
-Leveling/Grind - Difficult to solo past level 10, after 30 you're practically forced to be in a group, and some classes can take hours just to find one.
-Market - The Auction house was a total lagfest and a nightmare to browse. Letting players sell their items directly was a nice touch, but the inventory was too limited and the economy decimated by farmers when I left
-Spawncamping - It wasn't bad enough that spawncamping was the only way to get certain mission-critical items (The key quest was a waste of a weekend), but training and aggro bugs made it easy for one high-level magi to run through a map, "steal" spawns for their group, then annihilate the entire bunch with a few spells and give the rare/bind loot to his low-level friends.
-Variety (or lack of) of mobs - When you're a level 2, you're fighting goblins. When you're level 20, you're fighting ... goblins. When you're level 30, you're fighting goblins.

Re:The Best and the Worst (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 7 years ago | (#20509135)

-Market - The Auction house was a total lagfest and a nightmare to browse.
Try accessing the AH from one of the less populated satellite sites -- I use Tavnazia, easily accessible (for those that have done the CoP missions) using the Tavn. Ring or the AlTaieu shortcut.

Re:The Best and the Worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20509865)

-Spawncamping - It wasn't bad enough that spawncamping was the only way to get certain mission-critical items (The key quest was a waste of a weekend), but training and aggro bugs made it easy for one high-level magi to run through a map, "steal" spawns for their group, then annihilate the entire bunch with a few spells and give the rare/bind loot to his low-level friends.

This has been nerfed a long time ago. Looks like you are commenting on a game you haven't played in a long time. It has changed drastically.

-Variety (or lack of) of mobs - When you're a level 2, you're fighting goblins. When you're level 20, you're fighting ... goblins. When you're level 30, you're fighting goblins.

All beastman races have very different level ranges. Just like the players...

Leveling/Grind - Difficult to solo past level 10, after 30 you're practically forced to be in a group, and some classes can take hours just to find one.

So many folks spreading lies, it's not even funny.

Here are 5 jobs that can solo extremely well past 40 (even to 75 if wanted):
BST, BLM, BLU, PUP, DRG

I could name more but what's the point with you trolls.

Speaking of spreading lies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511351)

Do you seriously think nobody who has played the game is reading this to point out your bullshit? 2 jobs can solo, BST always could, and then when they added PUP it could too (since its the same damn thing). BLM? DRG? What kind of crack are you smoking? A DRG can't solo any better than every other fighting job, you'd be just as well off trying to solo as a DRK. And a BLM is even worse, what the hell are you talking about? RDM is better for soloing than a BLM. And BLU is perhaps less horrible for soloing with than most jobs, but its certainly not capable of productive soloing like a BST or PUP is.

Re:Speaking of spreading lies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20515807)

BLM is basically forced to solo 50-75 because normal exp mobs either have strong resistance to their spells or they will mimic the spells and throw it right back at them. In fact, I've heard of BLMs soloing up to 10k exp/hour, which is much more than I've ever heard BST and PUP soloing for. DRG/WHM, /RDM, or /BLU all can solo decently well with the wyvern's Healing Breath. And just about every job can solo Beastmen's pets or as /NIN. The Signet DEF and EVA bonuses help soloers greatly as well.

Better idea: Limit the need for cash at low levels (2, Insightful)

GrnArmadillo (697378) | more than 7 years ago | (#20508929)

I lasted about 6 weeks in FFXI. The iconic experience of my time there was when I entered an area for one of the low level quests and found a player around my level farming there. The player inspected me and informed me that I was high enough level to equip earrings. I asked what type of earrings I should get, and he told me. I went back to town to check the AH and discovered that the earrings in question cost 10K gil each. I had a few hundred.

FFXI's job system is a clever attempt to reconcile forced grouping with new players starting the game and not having people their level to group with. In fact, ALL players are required to level at least one job other than their preferred class to half of the level cap. While this does have the benefit of ensuring that there are more low level characters online at any given time, the issue is that almost all of them don't actually want to be there. As a result, there's a tremendous pressure to optimize your characters with the very best gear, food, subjobs (yes, sometimes you may need to level a job you don't care about because it's the optimal subjob for the optimal subjob for your actual job), items to prevent foes from aggroing as you travel to the area you want to go and farm (yes, even travel is a group activity) etc. If you've got all these things, and an ideal group, you might be able to shave a day or two off your time in low level purgatory, so players jump at the chance. And don't get me started on how access to airship travel is restricted until you get to a very high level (that will be very hard to reach without airship access).... unless you come up with 500,000 gil from somewhere.

In short, cash is a bad place to put your timesinks. If you create a gil sellers' paradise, you can't be too shocked when they show up.

Re:Better idea: (1)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 7 years ago | (#20514409)

You know, they went after the supply side of the system... It would be a lot more effective if they used a bit of FUD to influence the demand side. Start banning people that bought money. They already have a list of people that were RMT's, just ban all the people the RMT's gave money to.

I have never bought money online. I don't even like to receive money or help from friends unless I've tried to do it before myself.

Why SWG still has a place in my heart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20509451)

Yeah, yeah I know, a SOE game, ruined by "updates" that never left beta. BUT it did try some new ways of doing an MMORPG that overcame much of the problems of the likes of WoW, Lotro and Final Fantasy Online.

Loot drops as such barely existed in the game (yes sony in their insistence to ruin the game did add them later) and in fact the economy was based on player crafting.

Combat player would either gather resources and/or money, sell these to crafters, who turned them into items, that the combat players could use.

This had a very simple effect, camping a spawn was rare (yes it happened for some drops used for some items, but these items were usually not the effort) for instance say that a spectactular resource appeared in the world (the quality of resources, minerals mined and meat hunted, changed over time) then suddenly you would find a lot of players in that area trying to get it, but that area was an entire planet with more then enough space to accomadate ALL the players on a server.

By not having the best equipment be rare drops, you avoid camping. In SWG the best items were only limited by the willingness of people to gather a resource.

A second difference was that SWG had very few quests. I am currently playing Lotro and while its quests are very nice and tell a decent enough story, the simple fact is that it can often be a pain to assemble a group who are on the same stage of a quest.

In SWG, you mostly did basic missions, which meant that finding a group was trivial (well apart from when Sony screwed up with the doc buffs and you got the SWG only creation of the Solo Group (don't ask)), as everyone in an area would usually be doing the same type of mission.

Most other MMORPG's seem to purposully introduce elements that encourage RMT and asshole behaviour and then never fail to first ignore it, until people are leaving in droves and then complain how the RMT destroyed their game.

No, sorry, you the designer did. Lotro too at the moment is being slowly overrun by gold sellers, yet does Turbine show any concern about this? Hell, it won't even tell you that they banned an account after it has spammed advertising. Now they introduced a free trial. Oh yeah, that always worked wonders before and never has been a RMT traders wetdream. Free, unlimited accounts to spam with.

Like many MMORPG's companies Square is now left with a small userbase because at no point in the design process did they think of what their design decisions would mean to the eventual ingame economy.

RMT? (2, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#20509949)

Can you de-TLA the term RMT?

Re:RMT? (2, Informative)

pat_trick (218868) | more than 7 years ago | (#20510709)

Real Money Trading.

jargon overload (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511373)

WTF is a gil? What is RMT?

Are these general terms in many multiplayers games, or specific to this particular game?

Re:jargon overload (1)

pieaholicx (1148705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511501)

Gil is Final Fantasy currency. Has been for ages.

RMT = Real Money Trader/Trading. Which was defined in another comment.

Gil = Final Fantasy unit of currency (1)

Myria (562655) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511703)

Although it'd been used before FF4, the official line is that the currency is named after Prince Gilbert of Damcyan in FF4.

RMT = real-money trading, as someone else above explained.

As a player who saw inflation first-hand... (1)

mjhacker (922395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511697)

I have to say, this might be the best thing Square Enix ever did for this game. I was around a couple of years back, and the inflation was absolutely terrible. I'll give a simple example.

The whole crafting system is based around the use of crystals, which drop from mobs if you've gotten your nation's signet cast upon you. The going rate for crystals was about 1000-2000 gil per stack of 12. I remember, within a span of about 2 weeks on my server, the price of fire crystals going from 2000 to 7000 gil. It was outrageously bad! I was a newbie, and there was no way I could afford good equipment or spells because of the massive inflation of everything. Items that used to cost 100,000 gil went up to a million or more. The list could go on and on.

I recently came back to the game, and I am very happy with what has happened to the economy. Crystals are down to 700-1500 per stack, and other things that were once ridiculously expensive - even low level gear - went down to more normal prices, meaning you didn't have to spend a week farming to get one piece of EQ.

The economy's fix, coupled with the introduction of items that make leveling a bit faster, makes this game a bit easier. To anyone who's looking to take a break from WoW or another MMO should check this game out. Be warned - it is very top-heavy, with most of the players already at 75, so finding people to group with may be difficult during non-peak times. However, due to the ability to change jobs at anytime, and the advent of the new expansion, I think there won't be a shortage of potential party members when WotG comes out.

About Grinding (2, Informative)

mjhacker (922395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511863)

I honestly don't see it being as bad as people are claiming it to be. The battle system is by far more interesting and strategy oriented than WoW. The only complaint that I can understand is that since it is party-based, if one person is a moron and screws up, everyone suffers. That is the frustrating part.

If you really wanted to solo on FFXI, though, you'd play a BST (beastmaster). They are the only job in the game that solo quite effectively.

WoW vs FFXI (2, Informative)

Dewser (853519) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511869)

One way to deal with farmers is make them not needed! WoW has done this by creating daily quests. You get an average of 12g per quest along with faction rep. So basically you are giving players a steady cash flow. With the ability to make enough gold to eventually buy one of the epic flying mounts, it deters most players from buying gold. Granted it may take a year if you do not do them every day, but you know it will happen. Just like granting epic gear through pvp, you need to pvp a certain amount of time in a battleground or arena (arena you have to win) and you are awarded points. You know it will take a certain amount of points to get said piece of gear.

Some may say that this takes some of the challenge out of the game but on the other hand some of these quests are not the easiest and it allows you to spend time doing other things instead of camping a mob all day.

Three things I like about WoW compared to FFXI:
1. It is only a time sync if you want it to be. I can jump in game and do something really quick and jump out, whether its a few BGs, arena or just doing some fishing.
2. Experience gain is greater and allows you to make it to mid level fairly quickly which makes it easier to catch up to friends and join them in end game. Also the quests are design to get you levels appropriate to the next set. By the time you hit the next zone you are at the level you should be for that zone.
3. Soloing - this goes back to #1 on the list. One MAJOR thing I didn't like about FFXI was waiting around to join a group just to kill mobs for xp.

Now the things I liked about FFXI compared to WoW:
1. The community was better in FFXI. Having to play with people from Japan it forced you to be polite to others. The community in a whole seemed more intelligent. If you don't believe me, spend a day in Barrens Chat or the Trade channel on WoW. You will grow dumber just reading the crap that flows from there.
2. Group mechanics - yeah I like to solo, but I also like some social interaction. Much of FFXI required you to be in groups at low levels. so by the time you got to end-game content you should know your class and how it works in the group. WoW makes it TOO easy for people to rush to 70 and then you get someone with a pet or totem that keeps breaking CC because that pet keeps attacking anything nearby.

Ok, thats all. These stories always get me going.

One thing FFXI can do to improve on fighting farmers is give the players more gil through quests or mob drops making the need to use the farmers less.

Re:WoW vs FFXI (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512847)

I don't believe a daily quest type system would work with FFXI. There isn't really anything (at least when I played) like an epic mount cost where money was taken out of the economy. The whole economy was completely player driven. The money being spent at the auction house was going to another player.

Many items used in crafting where drops from mobs. These drops were then put on the AH and sold to crafters who then used them to make other items which were often sold to other players on the AH.

The game had fees on auctions and taxes on bazaared items to have some deflation; however, giving the player more money directly would only cause inflation. Having a repeatable quest that gave a decent cash reward or mobs dropping more would just cause more money to be introduced without removing it. The big issue the game had with fish bots was that they could run 24x7 and sell directly to vendors. This meant new money kept being introduced without being removed.

The only real way to keep the economy level in the game would be price fixing by SE at the AH. This would be for them to create auctions selling items by bogus characters. This would keep items from raising in price so a seller would then sell at the going rate. By having the player run economy it wouldn't be uncommon to have items in the AH be sold out and players would start raising the price to make more money (supply and demand). It wasn't uncommon to find an item in demand in one city where you could easily buy it from another vendor. You could buy stock, send it to a mule in another and turn a healthy profit.

My FFXI Experience (1)

Schmapdi (840038) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512309)

Went alot like this - level a class to level 8 or so, go to Valkurn (or something) Dunes - spam level 9 Monk LFG for 2 hours and hope the group that finally takes you doesn't break apart in 5 minutes when the Japanese tank decides he'd rather just play with Japanese players. Take your intrepid group of 6 (or was it 5?) players and kill a single crab (you can maybe take 2 if you're good or lucky) repeat times 1000 until you hit level 18. At level 18 kill a zillion ghouls until you get the ghoul skull you need for the subjob quest. Repeat the steps above to level your subjob (it won't get any experience - you have to do it seperately). At level 20 spend several hours feeding a chocobo so you gain the ability to RENT one at specific locations which shortens your run from zone to zone from 20 minutes to 10 minutes.

And well, thats as far as I made it - level 20 monk/10 warrior - in about 3 months worth of effort. I couldn't stomach the thought of going to a slightly higher new zone and killing a different color crab for another 50 levels (crabs were the scourge of FFXI). Its too bad too, because there was a fun game buried in there someplace amongst the tedium and frustration.

*note - this was in 2004 - so its improved a bit since then, though from what I read about the updates not much.

Re:My FFXI Experience (1)

Dewser (853519) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512617)

LOL, I spent the time to kill more crabs to get to a lv34 warrior, lv52 SAM, lv15 THF, NIN and a few others. My final ending was waiting for 3 hours for a party only to get invited to one at the tree with the spiders and have a party with no refresh class (rdm or brd) try to pull something we could not take without one of those classes. We die and I deleveled (oh another piece of crap concept!). At that point I said farewell to the game donated things to the Linkshell and sold items that I could not trade to other players.

I recently tried again to go the route of rdm and eventually get bst but I got 4 levels in a few days and got bored.

Re:My FFXI Experience (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512809)

"spam level 9 Monk LFG for 2 hours"

First off, /shout spamming like that probably kept you waiting longer. Nobody likes spammers, so why invite one?

Secondly, in those two hours, instead of sitting on your ass and /shouting, why not leave your /invite flag up, go to a weaker zone, and solo your way to 10 (at least)? Until around, say, level 30, partying is a faster way to get experience points, but by no means the only way, and at least one job (namely, black mage) I soloed past Dunes levels.

The main problem with the game are players that lack creativity. "You have to go to Valkurm Dunes at 10," "You have to go to Jeuno at 20." There are other places to go to, other things to do, but if you focus exclusively on stat building, trying to follow "the correct way" to build your levels, that's all you're going to find.

Why Valkurm Dunes? Why not Bubumiru Peninsula? What about Jugner Forrest, Pashhow Marshlands or Meriphataud Mountains? They all have monsters with the same levels and linking behavior.

"At level 20 spend several hours feeding a chocobo"

Once per hour, three or four times. And it never occurred to you to get up and do other things during the intervening time? Maybe talk to some other townspeople at least? At 20 that was likely your first time in Jeuno.

"so you gain the ability to RENT one at specific locations which shortens your run from zone to zone from 20 minutes to 10 minutes."

Why, exactly, did you stray so far from home? What was in Valkurm Dunes that wasn't in Dangruf Wadi, King Ranperre's Tomb or Inner Horutoto Ruins? Your burning need to /shout for two hours?

It's easy enough to make friends in FFXI who are as sick of Valkurm Dunes as you are. Find some, get together and go do something else instead. If nothing else, it sounds like your main problem with the game was that you were playing it by someone else's method rather than your own.

Re:My FFXI Experience (1)

Schmapdi (840038) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513221)

You're taking me too literally and being defensive - also ignoring the fact that in the intervening 3 years I may have gotten some tiny details wrong.

One, I'm sure I did use the LFG system - I'm never one for spamming anything, the notion was that I had to wait around for hours to find a group to level. Good for you for soloing past the dunes, but I remember soloing on my Monk as being super dangerous and even slower than LFG. You'll note I said level 8 or so - I may well have been level 10 or higher - its been 3 years! Why didn't I got to Bubumiru Peninsula? Probably because I never heard of it - and it wasn't near my starting city of Bastock(sp?) Why did I go to Jeuno at 20? To get my damn chocobo so I could cut my 20 minute trips to other zones in half - duh.

Actually, for the Chocobo quest I think I logged in, fed my bird and logged out a few times- it was still a pain in the ass - and yes I did explore Jeuno quite a bit thanks (it was an impressive place) I even did the "light the torches" quest iirc. The point was it could have easily been "gather 3 greens and take them to the Chocobo in Jeuno" (which getting there was a pretty dangerous run IIRC).

One - Dunes was only 2 zones over - so I wasn't straying so far from home. Two - Groups were in those places, as opposed to the Barren Dangruf (that I had to explore for a mission I think - and maybe farmed the chocobo grass there?) and those other places that I haven't heard of/dont't remember. Did you miss the part where I said I played for 3 months? How did you expect me to be such an expert at the best places to level? I went where other people went and stayed close to home as possible.

I'm glad you like FFXI - don't be a dick about it; it could be a hundred times more player friendly and you know it. I played WoW for 2 years (quit recently) and it makes starting out and leveling a lot easier and a good deal more fun, as does City of Heroes (currently playing the free trial) and Guild Wars (ditto).
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