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  1. #1
    Player MasqueradingMind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Main Class
    THF Lv 28

    A calling to return... A message for Devs & Players

    Hello All,

    I have come back to FFXI after so very long. I originally started playing FFXI around it's PC release long before Zilart was a thing. I still remember the days when the three nations were hustling bustling busy places full of life and progress.

    I miss those days. After all these years I stumbled upon the returnee campaign. I honestly didn't even know that FFXI was even still in existence since FFXIV was around. I actually left FFXIV to come back to FFXI.

    Though upon my return, I have noticed that there have been strides to maintain the longevity of the game, even after all this time. Trusts have made it easier since Vulk's shores are no longer littered with parties seeking to advance in a desolate place where one could rarely afford to challenge it alone. I have noticed that a system has been added to earn gear all the way from the bottom to the top. Experience boosting items are handed out like candy... why?

    In the beginning, everything about FFXI, required an effort. Presented a challenge. In the beginning you chose a city and you were thrust into it without any pointers. Like a new born seeing the world for the very first time... you needed to make sense of it. You could run right out the gates and just start fighting... and for a long time, not realize that, yes, there were quests. After you started discovering those things, you then discovered this wasn't like other MMO's where you could solo your way to the end. You had to party up, which means you had to learn party dynamics... and then macros. Every inch of FFXI made you learn. We crawled our way out of the cities. Battled our way across the dangerous mob infested regions until finally we could not get further on our own. When even 'easy prey' could outright slaughter you.

    Remember crafting? People hunting for materials that could only be gathered with hatchets and pickaxes in most cases. That used to be the foundation of the in-game economy.

    So what's the point of this post? To hopefully remind the Devs and the Players of what made FFXI great. What made it stand out. But also to seriously suggest a few things for the quality of life. Vana'diel was and always has been a grand place with so much depth and structure... but I fear that some of these new systems have created a means to bypass alot of the things that make FFXI great. To what end? So many MMO's rush you to the end game these days... they rush you there because that's where the thickest wave of players still reside.

    FFXI was a slow crawl that made you earn every little thing. And when you earned it... when you finally got your hands on it, it felt good. It felt rewarding. Completing the sub-job quest back in the day was like a coming of age moment. Your character felt like he/she had finally started a new chapter. Ranking up in the nations had deep value. Farming for materials had purpose.

    So what now? You have this amazing campaign to try and bring back players. Or even get new players. Most will probably do as I did... log in for the first time in ages or start a new character and find that they are pretty much alone. The three nations now sit like barren relics of old. Sure you occasionally see someone, or a group setting up for some high level end game content but that's about it. You don't see any one farming for any kind of materials. All those enemies on the big huge open maps wander aimlessly and once in a great while someone comes along to cut a few down, level up and move on to the next massive map.

    Eventually they will get to Jeuno, if they are not already discouraged by the vast emptiness. Only to find, even Jeuno these days has lost its vitality. Everyone pools at the end game now and you extend that end game... just a little bit. Just enough to feed the populace something to keep them going and I love that even to this day it still stands and grows...

    But just for a moment... look back. Look ALL the way back. There is SO much there. From a development stand point how is it even possible you don't look back and think of ALL you could use that for? There are SO many assets back there to use or reuse... which by the way, saves on dev budget. Right now you have people rushing to the end game with this returnee campaign skipping most of what made FFXI the awesome community building storm it was in its day.

    Why not turn it into fuel... all those old assets, given fresh purpose while still maintaining the old purpose? All is takes is a spark. Extend the crafting system. Instead of making everything at end game craft-able by end game materials though... have maybe only one or two end game materials mixed with maybe three or four different materials that even beginners could farm up. That alone will drive even end-game players to return to low level areas just to farm while also giving new or returning players reason to farm again. Maybe the materials are for new room items, costumes, gear, weapons, ammo.. you've been adding stuff. So add more in this way as well. That will get the industry side going again. Farming leads to crafting. People who see that there is value in crafting will start buying up the materials and crafting them... and just like that you have people running back to old areas. Life starts coming back to all of Vana-diel instead of just at the end game.

    Thicken the crafts. Keep whats there already and just sparsely add new craft-able items that can only be gotten through crafting. New gear options for up and coming levelers. New cosmetics or furniture. Things that even end game people might want. This is all stuff you've been doing already. This gives reasons to come back and coming back will give long time players nostalgia. Not just one off reasons like coming back just so I can warp from this specific point to some instance. I've seen the cavernous maw's on the map. Add some enemies. Something no beginner should touch or they will learn to fear it when it one hits them. Then when a new player sees someone battling it they will be wow'ed by the moment. And don't make them easy so a single person with their Trusts can beat it... no make them strong enough that a party has to work together to beat them. A passing by player seeing a party of people, real people playing together, handling this enemy will give them an idea of what the future holds for them if they keep playing. It brings back the awe and wonder. Curiosity and fear that drives passion and compassion alike. Seeing people is vitally important. Knowing that its a player and not an NPC is important. We are social beings.

    I think in all honesty just doing these two simple suggestions instead of building more dynamis would reinspire what it means to play FFXI, and reinspire end gamers as well as new comers alike.

    You guys have that big sale coming up... and that's ALOT of content for a sweet deal of a price. There will be people who buy into it but if they are just going to power level all the way to end game... it takes away from all the value of all that content. 15 years of content! Make it worth something again... reinvigorate it. Right now SO many developers are just out to grab some money and run and its starting to drive the gaming industry into a tail spin. People are getting desperate for something worth the price tag... and you guys have that. But I am telling you right now, most people will get into a game like this, see so few people and wonder why they are even bothering.

    Finally, to that other group... to those of you who are not developers... The Players. You guys are the life blood of Vana'diel and I wish I had never left. Now that I am back though... I do have this to say to you: Help me. I don't know how many of you are still here from those days long since past... but if you are then I know you remember the good old days... the hard fought challenges. The first time you saw someone in game who inspired you to just keep going. The memories... Help me breathe life back into Vana'diel. You got a hundred and one extra mules? Delete one, start over. Make a fresh new character and grind your way back to the top. Find other people, greet them, party with them... let them know there is still life here. That people actually play this game. Be present! Be friendly. Tour someone around. Act like you are totally new to this game too if you want.

    Help me... I personally have played a vast number of MMOs among other games and to this day, I still hold FFXI in the highest regard. The memories made here cannot have been made in any other MMO. Even FFXIV doesn't hold the challenge that FFXI does. That's what makes this game beautiful... A community forged in hardship.

    I myself shall toss aside any experience boosting item from this point forward. I will not be using the Eminence to acquire gear unless it is the only way to acquire such a gear piece. If I have to I will farm the materials I need, raise my crafting skills and make the items I need before even thinking of the Eminence system. I will do this... and I will do it alone if I must. So if you happen to be in Bastok and see me around... give me a wave. For me, the magic of FFXI will not fade.
    Last edited by MasqueradingMind; 12-31-2017 at 01:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Player Stompa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Main Class
    WHM Lv 99
    I really enjoyed reading your post, and I can think of two main things that I will comment on.

    The first point is that you have the option of levelling to 75, and locking your character on Merit Points, not doing the LB 76+, which means you will never get to level 76. You can try to start a LS or join one, where people share your feelings about the Old Game.

    There are quite a few people spread across the servers who are trying to play at level 75 again, and do the old areas and old content. I myself have Mules who are locked on level 75, and geared well for level 75 play.

    So there is a minor Cultural Exodus of players who have abandoned the lvl 119 Mouse-Wheel "get more gear every month!" lifestyle. We are the minority, but we do exist.

    Because there is no way to return to 2004 and the simple happy Adventuring days, at least not completely in the mainstream playerbase. We have to build our own little retro lifestyles within the broader game, which has totally moved on and will never return.

    The other point is that I would say 90% of the changes that have occurred since 2009, have been because Players actually complained "The Game Is Too Difficult." People felt that this was a far too challenging and immersive Roleplaying Game. The game was made easier to attract more players, and stop players quitting.

    Predictably, making the game easier meant that people "finished" the game a lot faster, and stood around being bored with their RME weapons etc. A lot of people quit, when they realised it was no fun to just one-shot kill everything on solo. And the inevitable Mouse Wheel arrived with new gear all the time, to keep people interested.

    Personally, I was happier when I had no RME weapons at all, RME were just a distant and elusive dream, a mirage. And I had only ever seen a single completed RME in the world. How I would talk about that weapon, that I once saw. I was captivated by the Hero who wielding such a weapon. I saw somebody wearing a Maat's Cap in 2006, and I didn't stop talking about that Player for a whole year!

    So I was thrilled that there were real Heroes who could go out and achieve amazing things, those things that were beyond my own ability. I wasn't jealous of them. The fact that they existed, and they were SO RARE, made it a very special memory for me, to meet such people.

    I didn't think the game was too hard, only that it was incredibly challenging, and if I was unable to accept the challenge, then I would be content to watch from the side-lines and watch the Heroes who could actually achieve those super rare accomplishments.

    I felt that this Old Game "too hard" and "elitist" system was WAY more fun than the new socialist "everybody wins the same prize!" system that we have got today. I really liked that fact that we were not all equal in the Old Game, and that there were a small number of rare players walking amongst us, like Gods walking amongst mortals. This deeply stratified world made the game more atmospheric and honest, less uniform and predictable.

    In the Old Game, you would say to somebody "OMG I can't believe you have got that weapon!!!" because literally nobody else had one. But now its like "why don't you have that weapon yet?" because literally everybody else has one.

    I'm totally not complaining at all, because I am so very thankful to be roaming around Vana'diel, and I always will be happy in this beautiful and magical world. I am always grateful that Vana'diel is still online, and so I understand that changes and concessions have had to be made, because novelty is essential to keep younger and casual gamers interested.

    I think it is good to remember the past, and to TAILOR your own game experience to preserve and enjoy those things you cherish most about the original days in Vana'diel.

    But primarily, it is important to always count our blessings that FFXI is still online, and that is the main thing. I always thank my lucky stars that I can visit Vana'diel, even if those small and old-fashioned stars are no longer visible in the mainstream skies.

  3. #3
    Player VoiceMemo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Main Class
    BRD Lv 99
    While it is nice to reminisce of the old days of ffxi, those of us who never quit the game and continued with the gear progression and ilvl as they were released are unlikely to want to go back to 75 era gear, lvl 35 subs. The game has changed alot from before, I did kings, sky, etc when they were all end game content.

    The phrase, "it's not the destination, but the journey that counts" is brought to mind, those that never quit the game have likely fought through the journey.

    I remember when delve first came out, it was hard with 18 people, now delve is a cake walk. I personally would not like to have that experience again, it was frustrating at the time, yes when you won there was a sense of accomplishment but there were tons of failures, which can hurt the moral of a linkshell.

    The game has changed also so that it's not as much of a time sink as before. I've played for 13 years now, there is no way I could put in the hours I did before, so the changes have helped continue end game events(dynamis D, omen), without being the huge time sink it was before.

    Just because everyone can obtain the same gear now, doesn't mean they all put it to the same use. It still takes time to get good at a job, 1 downside of leveling too quickly is that you don't learn the job as well as someone who had to grind their way to 75. In that respect the changes have hurt some that have leveled jobs.

    Trusts are handy but no way on the same level as a good player.

    My advice for any returning player is find a good linkshell, it is more important than ever at the moment and can make or break your playing experience