I used to play Final Fantasy Online about a year ago, my first foray into MMORPGs, but I ended up quitting for several reasons. This forum thread discusses a lot of those reasons, so my experience wasn’t unique; if you’re approaching the game as something you’re trying to progress through (and given that the Final Fantasy line had some involved storylines, that’s not an unfair assumption), the game moves incredibly slow. It’s a lot of work having to level up multiple jobs and come up with the gil (money) you need to buy the things you need to stay alive. The bits that keep the overall story moving forward come few and far between, and if you’re a casual player, not putting in the hours night after night, then it can get easy to lose your place. There’s also an unspoken assumption that you’ll be looking up the info you need to get through the game on the internet, something that felt foreign and offputting to me as someone who will stubbornly keep at a game, refusing to look up any hints unless it becomes utterly futile to continue trying on my own. After getting to just level 26 in my highest job (out of 75, that is), I had had enough and quit.
Recently, I found George’s post describing FFXI as a “Life Simulation Game,” the kind of thing that’s really popular in Japan, but hasn’t really taken off in the States. It makes a lot of sense, given all the things one can do in-game (multiple crafts one can work at, buying/trading/auctioning, levelling, trying different jobs—classes—with the same character), and I wish I had been aware of that when I had first started. I would’ve set my expectations differently, and would have been okay taking my time.
George is also my coworker, and we’ve talked about playing FFXI together with new characters (or at least, I’d be starting over, having deleted my old stuff). He used the recruitment program so apparently we’ll each be getting special hats that’ll make it easier to party together. If you’re on the Cerberus server, I’ll be the red-headed bombshell cat-girl punching the crap out of things. Bees and, uh… plants, to start. Maybe a caterpillar.
Truth is, these days I’m more into collaborative game play, with people I know if possible, or with like-minded un-hardcore people I can manage to come across online. FFXI didn’t have enough of those, at least on the server I was on, another reason why I fell out of it.
But like I need another game to play, what with World of Warcraft on my Powerbook. Aiyah…