Perfect Ten: The old-school guide to grouping up in Final Fantasy XI back in the day

Guess who's back. Back again.

Recently, our resident Choose My Adventure expert Chris has been taking on Final Fantasy XI, and he’s come away with a somewhat… let’s say rocky experience. And you know what? It’s no shock because he’s playing the modern, fallen incarnation of the game. The developers have added things like trusts and free teleports and the ability to spend more of your time actually doing stuff outside of Jeuno, taking the game away from its true state. Back when men were men, and women were women, and agendered people were not culturally accepted, and goblins were dangerous.

It’s probably a little late for this, but as a veteran of the game I feel it’s important to let all of you know the way that partying used to work in the game, back when everyone had to play it the way that God intended us to play. Not like it’s played now with all you lousy entitled millennials with your soy toast and avocado coffee or whatever. The proper way.


1. Log in and message people

To begin, you will need to log in to PlayOnline and start by messaging various friends from the launcher’s messaging feature. This is not really because you want to talk with any of them. You don’t care what these people are doing. You’re messaging them on the off chance that one of them has a party that just happens to need you to fill in a spot immediately.

The bright side is that you will often get similar contact from other people who are hoping you have a party in the same place. If you squint your eyes really intently and are very, very isolated, you can convince yourself that these people qualify as friends by something other than the technical definition. If you ever need sympathy or emotional connection, you can get that by telling them that you’re thinking of quitting because of an actual problem and then mention that you haven’t decided whom to give your stuff to.

2. Get your Dragoon ready and prepped

Upon finishing the login procedure, your next step is making sure that you are ready to go for leveling. That means making sure that your Dragoon is set as your job with your correct subjob, stopping by the auction house to pick up a supply of damage food as well as a supply of Prism Powder and Silent Oil to allow you the ability to bypass patrolling monsters. You’ll probably also check a couple of gear items that allow you a marginal stat increase and wonder how anyone affords those dang boots.

3. Put up your party flag

Pretty simple! Just follow the party menu to flag yourself as available and looking for a group, and maybe even tell yourself that you can’t wait to get the experience flowing! Tonight’s going to be the night! Recline against your favorite wall in Jeuno and get ready.

Everything old is new again.

4. Do nothing in-game for two hours

Right, by “get ready” what I really meant was “get ready to do something else.” Because the real mark of an excellent video game – you know, a thing marketed as an entertainment product – is when you turn to something else for entertainment while your character is sitting around doing nothing in a major city waiting for an invitation that never comes. You could bug your “friends” some more during this time, but they’re never going to have anything for you, so you might as well read a book or play a different game on your PlayStation 2 or even just listen to “Battle Without Honor Or Humanity” on loop.

What? It was 2004. Of course, then you wouldn’t be listening to YouTube; you’d be listening on WinAmp. And I’ve been informed that I am not allowed to go into a lengthy digression on WinAmp, so we’ll just move on.

5. Change to White Mage

So go over to your Mog House and you change to White Mage while you tell yourself that you’re still a Dragoon main, but you would like to actually play the game a little as long as you’re logged in. So you change to White mage.

6. Get 17 party requests before leaving your Mog House

Your party flag is not yet up. You do not have food for White Mage. You do not have gear equipped yet. None of these facts matters in the slightest; you have many people asking if you want to join a group immediately. These party requests come in three flavors:

  • Unnecessarily terse: a single tell saying “pt?” followed by seven more tells with identical text.
  • Unnecessarily polite: “Excuse me, would you like to come join our leveling party in Crawler’s Nest? We were doing very well until our last healer left. My name is Neil and I live in Wisconsin. Let me tell you a bit about my party members…”

Which one should you pick? It doesn’t matter; the guide works regardless. Just pick one.


7. Spend an hour getting to camp

It doesn’t matter where you are, really. Getting to the required spot is going to take you a couple hours no matter how well you know the maps and camps, whether or not you can dodge aggro effectively, what city you were waiting in, etc. So now the party members get to read their books for an hour while you take forever traveling from one place to another. But at least when you get there, the experience will flow like wine and everything will be worthwhile!

8. Kill two things before the party breaks up

You will get to the camp, you will cast buffs, and one thing will be pulled and it will go all right. Then you will kill another thing and it will go all right, even if it’s not exactly flowing quickly. And then the tank is tired. And the Black Mage needs to go restock on food. And your Samurai suddenly remembered that she promised to meet a Mithra for a thing she refuses to specify, and before you can even say “wait, can we just do one more thing” the entire party has abandoned you in the camp spot.

For a moment you consider forming your own party, and then a second later another full party moves into your camp spot. They might tell you they were waiting for the spot because it’s better than their last camp. Maybe.

9. Die immediately

At this point, take two steps in any direction possible. You will then hear a monster noise, and then you will orient yourself and start running for the zone line at top speed because you realize that somehow you aggroed something. It doesn’t matter; even if you had taken off with the speed of an SR-71 Blackbird in full burn, the thing that aggroed you will catch up to you, and it will maim you, and your fellow players will just let it happen because they don’t want to die.

There is at least a 50% chance what kills you is an adorable bunny or bat or something. So now you have less experience than when you started the evening some four or five hours ago.

10. Go to sleep

Sleep is important. Don’t worry, tomorrow might be different! (It will not be.)

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