Heya folks, welcome to the second review for Final Fantasy Month. This week, which I was supposed to be reviewing Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, has been switched with what was supposed to be next weeks, Final Fantasy XI. So, I’m looking at the MMO, this week, Tactics Advance next. Let’s jump in, shall we?
Now, yes I do play FFXI regularly, played it for a few months before Celtic Gaming started, and shall play for many months after this review. I am aware at least thirty times more people play World of Warcraft, and to be honest I don’t care – I like what I saw of WoW and that’s it. If I had a halfway-decent machine, it would be a World of Warcraft review you saw here…not on the same day, it would probably be Crystal Chronicles, but you know what I mean. I may get WoW one day…that will also be the day I return to Team Fortress 2, but that is a rant for later on – maybe tomorrow after my interview…
Every MMO will be compared to WoW so let’s get it over with. It does several things different than World of Warcraft, such as how you level, how you play – it’s a very different game, but the basic kill, sell and power up of every single MMO is obvious here. First off, you aren’t limited to one job per character – you are free to level up any job you wish, however, you need to unlock jobs beyond the initial six of White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage, Warrior, Thief and Monk. There’s a further 14 jobs that can be unlocked when you reach level 30 in one of the initial six, which include Dancer, Summoner, Paladin and Beastmaster. The classes are nicely varied and balanced, and you are also able to have a sub-job, after the completion of a certain class. The sub-job is one half of your main job, rounded down. At the moment, I have level twenty in Red Mage and Level 15 in White Mage. With White Mage as my main, my subbed Red Mage is only Level 7. The whole purpose of the sub job is to not only give you more options ((I can cast black magic with my White Mage if Red is subbed)), but allow for more strategy, instead of being stuck as a single class without the need to reroll.
Now, an MMO has to look good, otherwise people will not play. Although Vana’diel is not as big as…World of Warcraft’s world by a long shot, it certainly looks nicer. I’ve always been a believer in quality over quantity – and the graphic quality shines through. Everything looks smooth, and a little better than Final Fantasies X, X-2 and XII on the PS2. And FFXII was kickass in terms of looks. Every character model is detailed – clothing doesn’t cling to character’s bodies, and there aren’t any clones – except for the guards, but guards need to be clones. Even so, they all have a different face, so that keeps things different. Actual character customization isn’t too high, with eight faces and hair styles for each race/gender – however the vast amount of clothing still keeps everyone you meet looking less like you.
Levelling is a certainly unique thing in FFXI – with Experience points dependent on how much your power differs to the creature you defeat. It’s a good system that forces you to explore, and keep areas good for low level characters. There are also Notorious Monsters, high level creatures in low level areas – these guys drop mainly rare stuff, and are hunted by the high level peoples. Another thing FFXI does is push you towards forming parties with people, with Level syncing available – this allows several high levels teaming with a low level, their levels lowered, to help them level, while gaining more EXP then they would, soaring into the three hundreds, where solo you struggle to get 90. Although it’s a good idea, and promotes teamwork, I don’t like the view that appears to be forced as a way to get stronger.
There are various Missions, these boost your ranking with a nation, and quests – these are non-story related quests that yield small rewards. They can range from simple as “Go get me an item” to “Go defeat this level 69 boss that can chomp your head off without you realising it” – again, they don’t have to be done, but they do help raise funds, which you need to do because things are really expensive – I would moan about a potion costing 900 gil, but considering you can heal yourself by sitting down and resting, I shan’t, but it can but a major dent into levelling.
Another option is to resort to craft skills such as alchemy, cooking, bonecraft…this can be time consuming, and hard to do without the financial backing. It’s usually you level up, get plenty of cash, then proceed to level up in stuff such as cooking. I can’t see the point in some of the skills myself, but that will probably come when I reach the higher levels.
As an MMO, there’s not much else to say – it’s good, and different from WoW. It’s not trying to be WoW, nor is it better or worse than it – it’s just for people with different tastes. It’s more for the more intelligent, as from what I’ve seen, I encountered a lot more idiots on my 5 or so hours playing WoW compared to my one hundred of hours on FFXI. It average IQ is higher, so that makes it a bit more preferred in my books. This isn’t stopping me wanting to get WoW and try it out proper. We shall see one day, until then – see you soon