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The Beta WIP

by Eric "sevenchaos" Rawdin
Is this a journal? No. Is this a review? No. Perhaps a preview? Get real. This is what I'd like to call my up-do-date reactions to the Final Fantasy XI 360 beta test. If you feel the need to respond to what I post then by golly send me an E-Mail and quite possibly I will add it to this very page.

Gearing Up for Review 20.04.06
    So the beta ended about a month ago. Now we're at the release of ToA and most importantly the Xbox 360 version. With my retail copy in hand I will stepping away from the beta stage and look at the 360 version as a whole. I have started a brand new character on the Kujata server for which I am extremely addicted. I will work my way up to Aht Urhgan entirely on the 360. Expect a review in the coming weeks and witness what I think will be a worthwhile take on Final Fantasy XI. There are still problems with the 360 but man am I enjoying it. I will keep everyone up to date on future episodes of Mega Elixir. Stay tuned.

Starting Over 23.02.06
    I must say it sure feels good to play Final Fantasy XI from the comfort of my bed. Now granted its only about six feet away from the monitor but laying down roxx! The larger interface rules, SE. You guys won this battle, now lets see if you can win the war. Wheres my shortcut to FFXI when I first log in to PlayOnline? We here in what I call the real world want quick access to anything and everything. Now enough with the boring interface talk.
    Having given up on White Mage a couple weeks back I decided I needed to start over. For a few days I would log on and just chill. Watch the local folk tear it up. But that of course got boring a little too quickly. I did the unthinkable and ran back to Bastok to level up my Warrior. Yes, for those of you melee'ing out there you might want to level up Warrior first. You get Provoke (party's like that). It was nice going back to the starting zones and dealing with a couple hundred people instead of half a thousand. Leveling up Warrior sure is a lot faster than White Mage and now more than ever I wish I had leveled this class up first. So to end my sob story and this entry, I will be attempting the dunes once more. This time with an axe, a shield, and some armor that shows my bellybutton.

Subjobs mixed with a little rant. 09.02.06
    I keep seeing a lot of players in their 20's without a sub job. Do people understand the importance of obtaining a sub job? It's like running in to battle with no weapon. You have a shield but you have nothing to fight the enemy with. Yes, I understand some people might not know how to obtain their sub job. Heck you could look on line and find out in a jiffy. I've also seen a lot of funny job combinations. WAR/WHM was always a favorite of mine. I saw a THF/WHM the other day that was an interesting pair. For those of you new to the game you should understand that the sub job is there to help improve your main job. If you are a warrior don't have a white mage sub. It doesn't help out warrior one bit. What helps out warrior is monk or thief. If you feel this urge to cure then be a mage. Remember cookie cutter games don't like out of the box thinkers. So what will you get out of this entry? Probably nothing. Good luck getting that sub job.

    I had to take a week off just to let everything sink in. This my friends is what we like to call denial. I love this game and I know you all love it too. But when I turn on my 360 and hop on that darn beta server I feel the need to rip someone's eye out. Maybe its because I've already logged almost two years of my life to this game and starting over would be the biggest step backwards mankind could ever make. Maybe I'm uncomfortable of having a female avatar. Let it be known that I now understand why most male gamers make female counterparts. It's invigorating! For the love of all things good and pure I too am enthralled to be on the opposite side of the spectrum for once. People have hit on me! It's weird I tell you but nonetheless entertaining.
    On my sixth day playing I had finally hit level ten. I bought what I needed and hurried my way to the Valkurm Dunes. Not being able to ride a chocobo sucks. For those of you that are new as soon as you hit 20 head up to Jeuno to get a chocobo license. I got to the dunes fairly early one day and figured the levels would come rollin' my way. Boy was I stupid. The biggest problem with FFXI is that if one member of your party doesn't do their job right your whole party is screwed. Especially in the dunes. I was unlucky and got in to a party where a new person had to go about every fifteen minutes. I love standing there doing nothing. Finally, I decided to take charge and became the new leader of the party. That didn't help much either. All I saw was a sea of Red Mages. Don't get me wrong, I love the little guys but I already had two in my party.
    About two hours in we finally had a complete party containing two Warriors, two Red Mages, and two White Mages. Aint that some funny right there. We fight a couple mobs and its just crappy exp after crappy exp. So to end this sad tale I managed to barely gain one level my whole time partying. Chock that up to a waisted afternoon. Now some of you might be confused at this point. I'm mister negativity and all that stuff, right? I love this game but most gamers don't fully understand how to play until they make it through the dunes. People who are angry you must stick it out and make it to Jeuno. Qufim is fun and I can assure you that people will be smarter once you arrive.

Day One: 360 = PC +1? 18.01.06
    Final Fantasy XI is sitting snug inside my Xbox 360. But is that the best place for it to be? I have to admit that I have been touting the 360 as the platform to experience Final Fantasy XI on. Forget the PS2. Forget the extremely blurry graphics and the sub par frame rate. Forget the PC. Forget the crappy draw distance and the inability to alt tab. The 360 reigns supreme in almost every area and will feature the sharpest rendition yet. Did I mention that this game is crisp? Almost too crisp for its own good.
    All my games look good in HD. All my games except Final Fantasy XI. Don't get me wrong I love the visual style this game has to offer but we all need to understand that porting older games to beefier systems doesn't always help. In this case playing FFXI in HD doesn't seem to improve much over the PC. Yes, there are less jaggies and yes the text is much sharper. The game just doesn't look good compared to the games of today. But who plays games for graphics anyways.
    One user on the Official Xbox forums declared that the game featured crappy elevator music. Now thats just wrong. Every Final Fantasy game has delivered great soundtracks and FFXI is still right up there. You my friend, need to rethink your thoughts. Did you ever stop and listen to elevator music? It sounds nothing like this. Besides if the music bothers you so much why don't you listen to your own stuff through the 360 dashboard.
    Is the beta test really necessary? Sure, why not. Who wouldn't want to try a subscription based game at no cost? In a perfect world most of what we ask of SquareEnix will be added in to the game. All the bugs that really annoy us and not them will be fixed long before the game hits retail. The avatars we create will not die with beta and frolic quite happily on one of the live servers. The frame rate will be solid and never dip below thirty even with fifty plus players on the screen. There's more and yes I could keep going but I'm sure you get the idea. If SE really cares for us they will listen to what we have to say and really make the 360 port worth all the blood, sweat, and tears. I am not giving up on the 360 and I'll be damned if I let any of you. After all we've only been in beta for one week.

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June 5, 2006