Final Fantasy XI: Diary 4 (5/26/2024)

Last time, I prayed that my heart would warm back up to Final Fantasy XI after a series of difficulties with Limit Breaks and the main questline. I'm saddened to report that my heart remained cold. I don't want to be mean to the game, but like I touched on once in an old post, when a game gets frustrating, it can be fine to just hang it up. And so, that is what I did. I let my subscription run out last week.

I've been really positive about the game in previous diary entries, because those first 50 levels are relatively chill as you unlock new conveniences and quickly level. I'll reiterate, I had a lot of fun simply running around, fighting monsters, seeing the beautiful sights, and being myself. Hanging out with other people, uncommon as it was, was a blessing. In the first diary entry, I discussed my own personal final fantasy (lowercase), which boils down largely to cooperating with other people. Feel free to read it again for a more sentimental version. I still have that fantasy and feel that way, but I've lost my way in getting there with XI. Lastly, I outlined that sometimes, at least in some games, you should do some fun things for yourself, even if it's not optimal progress or even beneficial.

I'll start with that. I did end up completing that arduous Magicite quest, with help as mentioned previously. At that time, I decided to simply take a break from Limit Breaks and the questline, and even leveling, in which I was fairly close to the next cap anyway. Something I really wanted to get done was the Artifact Armor quest, which would be a pretty big upgrade from what I was wearing, and most importantly, I'd look even cooler!

This seemed relatively easy, but this is where Treasure Coffers threw me for a loop. Getting the key to open these damned things is thankfully, no problem. You can get these Coffer Keys from a Moogle in most major cities. Finding the Coffers is what sucks. Basically, they have a few designated spawn points, but they're random. So you'll be checking all of them until you find the spawn point that it happens to be at. If someone opened one recently, I believe it takes about ten real life minutes for them to respawn. I spent about an hour looking for the coffer I needed. I figured I would simply find it eventually, there's only so many spawn points.

Enemies in The Eldieme Necropolis would aggro to me and my party of Trusts. I couldn't explore the whole place with Invis, because there are doors you have to open with switches all over the place. This slowed down this process tremendously. Eventually, when I explored the lower floor of the Necropolis, the enemies were simply too strong and able to wipe my party fairly easily. I felt my heart break at this point. What was I to do? It seemed that everywhere, I went at this stage in the game, death was hanging around every corner. Not in an exciting way, but in a way that seemed like something was wrong. It couldn't be my character level, I was into my 60's. I didn't have that much more headroom for that without doing another LB quest. I was wearing the two pieces of Dark Knight gear, and fairly up-to-date gear I could afford with Sparks.

"Why?", I wondered, did everything in this game turn into such a chore? I was having trouble making my own tasks. Everywhere was some kind of death trap now. Once again, I found myself stuck on something for about 90 minutes, and logged off having more or less wasted my time. This was becoming a repeat feeling. I was still tense after taking a week to complete the last few quests. I knew this one shouldn't take that long. I was also told by some Forward Unto Dawn Linkshell folks that the Limit Breaks after 70 are way, way more chill. The thought was soothing, but I just couldn't carry on like this.

The loneliness was starting to get to me, too. Trusts can simulate a party when you're squinting and vibing, but it's not like you can talk to them or anything. I mentioned in Diary 3 (and sort of in Diary 1) that XIV bugs me because it feels like you're playing a single player game with other folks also playing single player, most of the time. I came to discover at a certain point that, at least during this leveling process with no group content to break things up, XI is very possibly worse about this. When it was originally designed, everything in XI was cooperation. Now, though, there are systems in place to allow solo players to do it all, a necessary feature for a dwindling population game. But boy, it stings sometimes!

I'll admit, with lots of my friends abuzz with XIV news, I even considered that after my XI sub ran out, I could try it again. But I didn't wanna go through all that again, either.

I will say this. I still think you should try this game. Just because I burned out here doesn't mean you shouldn't take a look for yourself. Go get the Free Trial. Seriously. You should see what this game is like now, and learn about what it was. It's fascinating. Go through that install, see some of this history, and goodness, take in the beauty of the world and the art design.

It's an unromantic end to this little series, but I had lots of fun reporting here and exploring Vana'diel. If I pick up another MMO, I'll happily tell you about it. Stay strong, readers!

Logging out...

- James