Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Free Final Fantasy XI Experience

I am a huge fan of RPGs (Role Playing Games) - and absolutely love the Final Fantasy series. That said, I am conversely not a fan of MMORPGs. (Massive Multiplayer Online RPGs) I just don't like the concept of continuing to pay for a game over time, and also dislike the idea that such a purchases would become useless after I'm unwilling to keep paying for it, or time moves on and the company no longer supports it. Like many Final Fantasy fans, I just skipped over FF11 - hating that it was even included in the numbered series. MMORPGs and me just don't get along.

So, anyway, that was my general opinion of MMORPGs at the time, and more or less still is - but I've become more willing to give these games a chance, especially when they are offering the game to me for free. I tried World of Warcraft on it's free trial period and found it fun, but ultimately found little reward in constantly leveling up. Now I'm trying Final Fantasy 11 - and I have to say I am enjoying the experience. Like the World of Warcraft there is also a lot of leveling up, but so far it feels like it still has a point to it. Perhaps that's just because it has the famous Final Fantasy logo, and instantly inspires more good will to it than other fictional MMORPG realms.

I thought I'd tell you about my experience so far trying this game out. For starters - this game is horribly hard to download and get into. I clicked on their website's Free Demo and went through and downloaded the all the instillation and software. I had to do it through my Safari Browser to get it working, but it all got downloaded to my computer. The PlayOnline screen came up and I happily went to register myself so I could play the game. First problem - during Registration it said it needed a Registration Code. I had not yet been given such a code, and it seemed (becuase of it's name) that I should perhaps get this code AFTER registering. But, nope, you absolutely need the Registration code to get in. So..... What Registration Code? I looked at their website, and found a link that said Registration Code - but it only was detailing information about people who bought the game and who where adding Expansions. I got quite frustrated with this, checking my email, my spam filter, everything - and not getting any answers about how I'm suppose to get the Registration code. You'd think you'd be directed to such an essential thing when downloading the demo - but, nope, you're left alone to figure it out. PlayOnline's FAQ wasn't much help either, and eventually I just had to email a request for help. Luckily, before they emailed back the next day, I found what I needed through a search on Google. Seriously - I needed to Google this darn Registration Code, even though I was combing through the actual website holding the code hostage! For anyone attempting to try the free demo, here's a link to the Registration Code. This really should be simpler.

Second problem - you have to download even more of the game, something like over 10000 files; it it took 10 hours to do this. It really must be the Final Fantasy logo, because I continued to trek along. I went to sleep and the next morning it was downloaded.

After that entire un-user friendly experience, I finally got logged it to Final Fantasy 11 and dove right into the game. I chose to be a male Elf, Red Mage. He pretty much looks like this.

I named my character Andolf and began my adventure! The graphics are quite nice, though a bit dated nowadays. My first mission in this game - learning the controls! This experience could not be any less user friendly. I got how to move the character with the mouse, and controlling the camera through the directional buttons. I wanted to look through the city, but for the life of me I could not find out how to access the Map. The introductory NPCs (Non Playable Characters) where absolutely no help, only suggesting I use my map, accessed from the main menu. What button do I press for the main menu? The letter M, or any other number or letter key, isn't it - as that's all used for text. I literally was attempting to find this button by pressing all the buttons - yet to no avail. I NEEDED HELP! Luckily I found another player catching fishes next to the bridge. I asked how you accessed the main menu. It's essentially on the Keypad on the far Right Side of the Keyboard - press the "-", for Minus Key, to display the main menu. Then I found myself unable to run, and again had to ask for help. Luckily the person explained that this dash button, "/" would fix this. This person was very helpful, and I simply would have been left there crying if not for them.

Now a master of my controls I set out on my adventure. As luck would have it, the next introductory NPC was much more helpful, explaining many of the elements of combat. I've reached Level 4 and have since bought myself a new hat. I plan on setting out north of the town to fight some stronger enemies.

Bottom Line
That's about all I've done so far. I gotta say, for my first day at this, I'm finding this game much more fun than I thought it would be. The combat is a little hard to get use to at first, but after killing a few Giant Wasps - I feel a tremendous amount of pride at being able to finally get into this game.

I'm probably not going to buy this game, but I can definitely see this being a very rewarding MMORPG experience. I'd definitely choose it over World of Warcraft. I have 13 more days to play this game - so I'm sure I'll have gotten my fill of it by then. This does redeem the concept of MMORPGs in my mind, though. I was able to successfully communicate with a person, kill a few wasps, and bought myself a hat. A very exciting day indeed!

Final Fantasy XIV
This makes me wonder about the next Final Fantasy MMORPG - which has already been selected as FF14. I know, again in the numbered series - Good grief! I think it's just so they can have another development team work on FF15 and have less of a gap between sequels. As far as the game it's self goes, perhaps I'll try the game's free demo too. Maybe it will be more user friendly. I can only hope.

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