Final Fantasy XI: Diary 2 (4/3/2024)

Well, a lot has happened to me in the world of Vana'diel! The last time I wrote, I had parked myself in the town of Selbina after gaining the ability to use subjobs at level 18. At present, I just became a level 50 Warrior and I'm considering what I want to do with all that power! I think I'm going to become a Dark Knight, but there are lots of activities to do! Because so much has happened, a complete event-by-event recap would be pretty crazy!

Allies & Linkshells

The most awesome thing that's happened is that some other human beings are involved in my play experience! Firstly, I joined a Linkshell (these are basically like Guilds in WoW) through the Linkshell Concierge in Bastok, called TeraFlareXI. Pretty awesome name! I figured that would be enough to get my foot in the door somewhere. The day after that, I took the trip to Jeuno (a major hub city) to get my Chocobo license and the ability to ride mounts! A nice person from the Linkshell decided to keep me company and meet up in Jeuno. He's a White Mage/Monk He escorted me to where the quest objective was, which was so sweet and made me feel like a lady being treated. Except he took me to the wrong area, so we did an extra 20 or so minutes of walking... what is this, an anime romcom? Ugh!

At the end of our """date""", he took me to San d'Oria, because apparently, he needed to bring someone from Bastok in for a quest. As we logged off for dinner, I did the /bow emote, which for female characters is a cute little curtsy. I didn't know that, and I felt insanely gay all of a sudden, but cute. Everyone loves a girl with a big weapon, right?

I got into my second Linkshell through sheer accident. I was completing a story quest in the "Rhapsodies of Vanadiel" storyline, which took me to a new place to fight a Notorious Monster, Ophiotaurus. I got killed even with a full party of Trusts. Ouch! I was pretty upset. By some chance though, there were two Tarutaru there to save me! One was a Summoner and one a White Mage, I think? They had the Rearise spell, so maybe they were a Scholar? The Summoner used the awesome power of Garuda to destroy Ophiotaurus. It still took a few minutes, but my Tarutaru rescuers were taking 0 damage according to the battle log. That's the power of level 99!

I couldn't thank them enough, though I forgot to /bow. As my quest continued into cutscenes, they kindly invited me to their Linkshell, Forward Unto Dawn! How cool! It's a much fuller Linkshell with an impressive suite of people coordinating activities. I hope I can join them eventually. There's a catgirl in the Linkshell who likes to bite people, I am told. But that's the kind of thing MMOs are all about, and these funny interactions only come about in this genre!

Between those two events, I asked in Jeuno with a /yell if anyone knew of any LGBTQ Linkshells. Someone messaged me "If you find one, let me know!" almost right away. Isn't that sweet? They added me as a friend on PlayOnline and we talked again later.

The fact that stuff like this has happened to me suggests that FF11 is very much alive and that not everyone on Bahamut is a bot or hopeless addict. If you ever try this game out and bother to type in the chats, you will meet someone, somewhere.

Pacing Yourself Or Killing Monsters For Hours

For one of the main story quests in Bastok, you need to go to the Palborough Mines and kill like a million turtles until all the rare items drop. I seriously think I must have killed over a hundred. Still, this was a good chance for me to zone out for a bit and mindlessly acquire EXP. I can see why this would have been tough to coordinate when you absolutely had to have 2 or 3 other humans with you. Palborough Mines is basically a dungeon area (as far as I can approximate anyway), and the Quadav get tougher the deeper get into the zone.

One of the fun things about old RPGs like Dragon Quest and earlier Final Fantasy games especially is that the first order of business is usually to go outside and whack some monsters. It feels good to start your journey and feel a sense of growth. The degree to which this is standard operating procedure is different from game to game, but the tradition remains alive in FF11. I've gotten into a nice rhythm of doing story stuff, which is already paced well (more on that in a minute), but whenever I'm ready to cool off I can go grind levels, which enables me to do more stuff and safely go to more on and so forth!

I've found that the best general framework for the game is the Rhapsodies of Vana'diel storyline. You can get a general overview here, but basically this content has been designed to help take you through the last 20-some years of stuff in Final Fantasy 11. I wouldn't call it a full-blown new-player experience, but you get nice permanent bonuses to things like EXP gains and discounts for some teleportation services. You can start doing this storyline pretty much right when you get your subjob, but at certain points, you will be asked to complete some thing from the original game or expansions. For example, in the beginning, I had to complete the initial set of Bastok missions before I could continue. This introduced me to the base game story with the Shadow Lord and stuff, then I could progress in Rhapsodies and get some nice rewards. Also, you will meet the very cute Iroha, who I understand made some crossover appearances in both Granblue Fantasy and Final Fantasy XIV (the 14 art style makes her look much less cute than 11 sadly). Don't you want to meet a cute girl? This is my recommended way to get going after you get the very basics down. The Quickstart guide makes it seem like a bit of an afterthought, but it puts you on the right track!

Weapon Skills and Job Abilities

Let's talk a little gameplay. In FF11, you have a few different kinds of actions in battles. There are your Job Abilities, which are tied to your job, of course. Warrior, what I've been playing, gets some really strong ones like Warcry and the important Provoke. Remember though, you can have two jobs in FF11, a main and a sub. If I were to change my job (to say, Dark Knight), I can regain all these job abilities as I level in Dark Knight with a Warrior subjob. Cool, right? There are lot of interesting combinations that go over my head a bit. It seems like the most optimal ones have been long figured out, but others have situational purposes. Generally speaking, it seems like you would simply be a weak caster if you were to do something ilke Warrior/Black Mage, without enhancing your melee potential. Still, explore and have fun! I tend to enjoy these sub-optimal but high variety kinds of characters.

There's also Weapon Skills, these are tied to what type of weapon you are using. As far as I know, these are totally unique per weapon type, and you level your weapon skill by smacking monsters with them. I've been using the Great Axe weapons. You can't really take these with you if you change weapons, although your skill in a weapon doesn't go away either. Hypothetical example, if I leveled a Thief using a dagger, and then changed to Warrior, I'd still have all the dagger Skills I learned regardless of what my subjob is as a Warrior. Each job has a different cap on which weapons it can use effectively. Warriors can use almost anything, but they're strongest with Great Axes and Axes. If you leveled up with a Monk using a Hand to Hand, you're probably not gonna want to use the HtH skills in the Warrior, though you could. There are charts that explain all this on Job pages.

Weapon Skills consume TP, a resource that builds as you both auto-attack and get hit. I'm pretty sure gear later on will help you generate TP faster so you can get in there and go wild! Oh, and Magic Spells will consume MP, a different resource, but you probably knew that, right?

I mention this because at first, you might not have a lot of buttons to push. Melee jobs certainly don't seem to. But as I got into my 40s as a Warrior, my third eye started to open to what was possible. I don't generate TP quickly, but the Great Axe Weapon Skills have some neat utility. You can lower evasion, or defense, or use all of your TP for a powerful strike with Iron Tempest. I don't mind zoning out for auto-attacking while I'm leveling, but I'm starting to see what interesting things can be possible with all these systems. If my explanations don't make sense, I apologize. I didn't totally understand everything on my first few days of playing, but we're getting there!

Making Your Own Fun

One day in 2010, playing WoW with my friend, I was getting a little fatigued from all the questing. He said something like "We can do something else. Sometimes in this game, you have to make your own fun y'know?". At that time, I scoffed a little bit, but I think he was right. Sometimes you have to go fishing, or see some weird place in the world, or try doing something new in your MMO world.

I bumped into the leader of the Forward Unto Dawn randomly in Bastok. I didn't even know we were in the same Linkshell! I guess they didn't know either, because they messaged me and my gender-affirming e-boy questmate that if we wanted help with anything or had questions to just ask. Their Linkshell was available for our assistance. Minutes after leaving Bastok, we appeared in the Linkshell chat together. Hehe! I did end up asking our kind leader a few questions, which ended with a little lesson.

"It's about whatever you want to do, whatever you find fun." The same thing my friend had said all those years ago! For some, paying a subscription to 'mess around' might seem juvenile, but it's true. This led to me to try out a new job, even though technically, for a while, I would be setting myself back on some progress. But as you've learned, I don't mind running around and leveling up! To me, it's both exciting and a familiar, relaxing activity. The fact you can "soft reset" yourself this way by changing jobs is a feature! Your familiar activity could be something different for you! It was so sweet to hear these kind words from a veteran player.

We will leave becoming a Dark Knight for next time...! See you in the world of Vana'diel! If you see Croconaw on Bahamut, say hi because that's me!

Current Play Time: 1 day, 7 hours, 2 minutes and 43 seconds.

See you next time! Logging out...

- James