Happy New Year!
Currently I’m taking a short break from Final Fantasy XIV since my subscription expired just before the Christmas period, so it gave me an excuse to catch up on some other games that I’ve been meaning to complete, spending some quality time with family and friends, and actually starting this blog!
What’s an MMORPG you say?
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) are games where a player takes the role of a character in a world where a very large number of other players play and interact with each other.
RPG – Role Playing Games
From a young age I had always been fond of video games, RPGs in particular (Final Fantasy VII being the first one I ever played). As I got older, I moved more towards PC games and, although not classified as an MMORPG, the first online RPG I played was in 2002 playing Neverwinter Nights (NWN). Up until then, my experiences were mostly of single-player games (I do like a good JRPG), so to be able to play online with other people was really, really fun. I remember losing many hours of sleep just staying up all night playing the game with a friend. What made NWN unique was the custom content that the community could build and exploring these custom servers kept the game fresh and last long enough before Final Fantasy XI (FFXI) was released.
Final Fantasy XI
It was in my first years of secondary school that I remember sneakily going on the Final Fantasy XI website to see if there were any updates on its release info… or any info about the game really! I was so psyched for this game that I wasn’t too upset that I wouldn’t be able to play Final Fantasy X when it came out because I didn’t have a PS2. I also remember that it had already been released in Japan and there was a live video playing of a few different zones in-game; seeing a group of adventurers fight bats in Garliage Citadel or even just the camera panning through Qufim Island got me so excited (I know, not the most exciting zones but I didn’t know any better at the time!). I actually bought a US Import of FFXI at the North American release in October 2003 and fell in love with the game. I ended up playing the game for a few years, including the Rise of the Zilart, Chains of Promathia, Treasures of Aht Urhgan and Wings of the Goddess expansions. Admittedly I took a few breaks from this game but made sure to come back after the release of each expansion and finally decided to end my adventures in Vana’diel around 2008. To read more about my awesome experiences in the game, click on FFXI: My Journey Through Vana’diel – Reiku & Momoji.
World of Warcraft
What eventually drew me away from Final Fantasy XI was the hugely popular MMORPG of its time – World of Warcraft (WoW). Many of the friends I had made on FFXI also started playing WoW, however unlike FFXI which had cross-regional servers, the servers you could join in WoW depended on the regional copy of your game. When I took my ‘breaks’ from FFXI I would subscribe to WoW and vice versa; switching between the two games when content ran dry. I remember at one point being subscribed to both games at the same time and dual-boxing for the first time xD. I ended up playing WoW for a few years including The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm expansions, stopping completely in 2011. I thoroughly enjoyed this game, it certainly had a different feel compared to FFXI and I’m glad to have been able to experience both of these games in their time.
I also had my fair share of Free-to-play (F2P) and Freemium games. Along my journey of MMORPGs I’ve played games including: Ragnarok Online and later Ragnarok Online 2, Cabal Online, Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, Fiesta Online, Granado Espada, Aion, Atlantica Online and TERA. There are probably quite a few more that I’ve forgotten to mention but personally these games had a much shorter lifespan compared to FFXI or WoW.
Final Fantasy XIV
Which brings us back to what I am currently playing: Final Fantasy XIV. Because of my own experience with FFXI, I was hopeful for the release of FFXIV and was able to join the open beta test for the game. At that point in time, the game felt unfinished and ‘rough around the edges’ but being optimistic, I shrugged it off because it was still in beta testing phase – “maybe they’ll address these details on release”. Whilst there is merit to some aspects of FFXIV v1.0, the game generally received negative reviews on release. For me, the game still felt unfinished and my computer at the time couldn’t handle the game due to performance issues – no one likes a game that lags constantly!!! Despite this, the game’s graphics did look good; a huge improvement from FFXI, and much of the music was created by my favourite composer, the legendary Nobuo Uetmatsu. I stuck with the game for a while (also because the free trial period was extended and subscriptions were suspended for quite a while) but decided it was time to leave; I figured I would return if I waited for a few more patches for Square Enix to make some improvements to the game. I think it was just after Naoki Yoshida was appointed producer and director that I decided to return to the game. There were reduced subscription fees, additions and changes to the main storyline, and server merges happening so I figured it would be a good time to catch up on the game. The state of the game at that point in time was much more playable, a lot of improvements were made and I managed to get most some end-game content done. Because of this I managed to get legacy status and the option to get my name listed in the credits! I stayed on the game until servers closed down in November 2012.
Needless to say, many of us were tentative upon the release of Final Fantasy XIV: A Real Reborn. However, Naoki Yoshida and the team at Square Enix really delivered in comparison to v1.0. There were significant changes to the performance of the game, the HUD and combat system. Since I wasn’t committed to one single MMORPG at the time, I was somewhat craving something that would become my next dedicated MMORPG and I felt that A Realm Reborn could be just the game.
Fast forward a couple of years and I purchased the Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward expansion and continue my adventures in Eorzea 🙂 It’s been quite a journey but I’m really glad that I was able to experience all that I have. The friends that I made along the way definitely made it so much more worthwhile.
What’s your MMORPG journey like? Share your experiences! 🙂