My big plan for this week was to try out the Monster Hunter World crossover because I was honestly less interested in Pagos. (Yes, I like the idea behind Eureka, but there are only so many hours in the day.) I honestly found the experience a bit… not bad, necessarily, but just underwhelming. It was neutral. And I think some of it comes down to how the game has been increasingly handling its crossovers and whether or not those are, well, good things or less-good things.
final fantasy xi
Official Site: Final Fantasy XI
Studio: Square Enix
Launch Date: May 16, 2002 (in de facto maintenance mode as of November 10, 2015)
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: Subscription
Platform: PC, PS2, Xbox 360
There are two new battlefield types for players to challenge in Final Fantasy XI this month, starting with a challenge against the Rhapsodies of Vana’diel heroine Iroha. Players who have completed the story can take part in the more straightforward battle against her, while those looking for a greater challenge can enter the master trial version with a full party (you can enter alone, but alter egos cannot be summoned and you will probably get killed in short order).
Meanwhile, the new treasure trove content allows players to try their luck by opening treasure chests in hopes of getting a big payout; there are deadly mimics lurking there as well as the chance to lose everything, but success nets you a nice batch of rewards. Add in the updates to Ambuscade on its monthly rotation, and everyone should have lots to do with the game’s latest patch.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Neverwinter, Sea of Thieves, Reign of Guilds, OrbusVR, PlanetSide 2, Final Fantasy XIV, Manyland, Lineage 2 Revolution, Guardians of Ember, War Thunder, The Cycle, DCUO, and Final Fantasy XI, all waiting for you after the break!
Do you want to fight Iroha in Final Fantasy XI? Of course not, she’s a perfect darling and wonderful. But fighting her is one of the new bits of content arriving in the game as part of the August version update, so you’ll need to get over that impulse. Luckily, you’ll have the option to fight her at one of two difficulties, so you can opt for the punishing challenge of the Master Trial content or fight and easier battle just to see what it’s like.
The patch will also contain a new A.M.A.N. Trove content style, in which players get to open successive chests in hopes of spectacular rewards… or losing everything. Add that to the summer event festival going on right now, and players will have lots to do all the way through August, even without getting into things like the usual monthly Ambuscade cycling.
Most MMO dungeons are normal songs. You start out and you have a pretty clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end; they don’t really change up much. But the endless dungeon is like improvisational jazz. Sure, there’s a beginning and often a fairly reliable end, but the space in the middle can be filled with all sorts of things. You don’t even know what’s going to be there until you’re already in the thick of it. It could be filled with creme! (Probably not, but hey, life is weird sometimes.)
Our reader Arsin asked us a while back about MMOs with endless dungeon modes of some sort, and well, we do our best to find these things out. The goal here is to have an online-only game with randomly generated content between the start and end. Arguably some of these might not fit your personal criteria, but that’s all right; there’s plenty of variety here!
Well, you’ll have to read for that. For now, let’s just make sure you’re caught up with the bottom ranks and the middle ranks. We’ve got five tribes left to go, and so by process of elimination you no doubt have a relatively clear picture of what tribes have to be here in some order, but let’s count them down. Starting with number five, just past the break. (The other four are further past the break.)
The latest patch for Final Fantasy XI has gear you might not be able to wear yet. That might sound surprising, what with the game having established a rather firm equipment cap for several years now, but it’s the truth. Players can acquire new Superior 4 and Superior 5 gear, both of which require new job gifts to equip; the latter requires the Mastery gift, so you shan’t be able to unlock it until you’ve reached the highest tier of job progress.
The new gear is acquired by lasting through even more difficult waves in Dynamis, so it’s not going to be found just lying about on the ground. If you’re not up to that level of play, though, don’t worry; you can still take part in the game’s login campaign, which among other things is adding back more or less every single mount added through previous logins to give you a plethora of options for what to ride around. Good news for anyone who wants more ornate riding choices.
Curious about how the game is to play right now? We just wrapped up our Choose My Adventure series in the game, so you can check that out.
Here’s the weird part about this week’s column: I’m going to tell you, in short, that Final Fantasy XI is still a good game once you get past the initial hurdles involved. I am also going to tell you that it is a game which has not aged well, in part because of those facts. Which no doubt is going to sound kind of weird, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in.
There are really two things you have to look at with this particular game. The first is whether or not the game is approachable by someone who hasn’t played the game in years or ever, whether or not you can make reasonable progress when you start playing. The other is whether or not the game gives you slightest idea about how to do so, or indeed about how to do anything in the game. Because all of the systems in the world don’t help if you don’t know what they are.
Most of the tribes this week, by contrast, have one or the other but not both. Either there’s not much compelling about a tribe but plenty of stuff done with that foundation, or there’s really interesting material there that just isn’t explored. So let’s start unpacking this middle of the pack, which are generally tribes that I feel are just shy of being really compelling and interesting for one reason or another.
Age is catching up to Final Fantasy XI, but the development team remains as passionate as ever. For the game’s 16th Anniversary, English-speaking fans asked a number of questions, and 20 of those questions have been answered by the development team and posted on Reddit. And the one bit of bad news in the whole answer is a confirmation that some things which would be nice to have in the game (like specifically disabling mount music) aren’t high priority simply because the team is small at this point.
Why is the team small? Because that helped ensure that the game would have a team providing updates for as long as possible.
Of course, that still means adjusting what’s on offer; the team has plans to keep offering more side story quests for post-storyline content along with balance adjustments, having noted that a focus on gear adjustments meant that players felt like not much was happening for the title. The team also wants to capitalize on the fact that the game is still supporting subscribers, although it remains to be seen if there will be any sort of discount for subscribers to Final Fantasy XIV. (It has to be considered from a business perspective.) Check out all the answers for a peek behind the curtain for the most actively developed game ever to declare itself in maintenance mode.
Get ready for additional waves of enemies in Dynamis-Divergence in Final Fantasy XI when July comes around, because that’s what’s being added. The game’s next version update will include new waves of enemies and according new rewards, so players will need to team up to take down new challenges. Players will also need to find someone capable of synthesizing weapons with the new materials dropped by those additional waves, which might be a more difficult proposition.
The version update includes the usual new rotation of challenges to defeat in Ambuscade featuring a battle against cracklaws, new titles to show off, and new items to be stored with porter moogles. So it should be a slightly meatier update for players to enjoy if you’re ready to take on new waves of enemies, although otherwise you’ll just have… well, the abundant content already in the game. So you should still have plenty to do, actually.
All right. When last I left off my Final Fantasy XI time, it was… wait, June 7th?! What the heck happened? If not for the fact that my posts still show up here regularly, I wouldn’t blame people for assuming I was dead, and I certainly wouldn’t blame people for thinking that I had dropped the column altogether. But neither of those things occurred, and I’ll happily explain… past the cut.
The important thing is that after the last column, my goal was back over to leveling and to seeing how far I could get within my one month of playtime. The answer is… well, about as far as I initially thought, but it didn’t look like it at first. After all, at level 25 and having hoped to hit the game’s first level cap before my playtime was up, it sure seemed like it would be a tall mountain to climb, even if I had at this point gained some fifty-odd levels across multiple jobs.
By now, many of you probably know that I’m the curator of the MMO Timeline on my personal blog. On this page, I’ve attempted to catalog the launches, expansions, business model shifts, reboots, platform transitions, and sunsets of MMOs by year. It certainly helps me to get a high-level overview of certain eras of online gaming history as well as to trace the development of certain titles.
For fun, because that’s a lot of what Perfect Ten is about, I wanted to start with the year that MMORPGs really took off and select one title per year over the next two decades that I felt had the best debut and was the most exciting title to launch that year. Some years it’s going to be really easy to pick, while others… man, I am setting myself up for some hate mail, aren’t I?
Let’s turn our time machine back to 1997 and get this show on the road!