If you’re not caught up with the latest Final Fantasy XI news, which is fair because it’s an old game that lots of people fondly remember but don’t necessarily actively play and follow, allow me to catch you up.
In a recent Freshly Picked Vana’diel (read: update blog), the developers were feeling quite saucy and decided to let fans know that they had big plans for Final Fantasy in the next few years. Saying:
“At the end of the show we mentioned that starting next fiscal year, we’re going to focus our development and operations on a long-term goal of the twentieth anniversary. As such, there may be some time where the version updates may feel a bit lighter, but we’re hoping to be able to deliver something that can surprise everyone later on.”
We don’t know what exactly they have in mind. We just know that work is going to start in the next fiscal year, and it’s substantial enough that the developers are warning us now that the regular updates might be a little lighter as a result.
While it might be surprising to the casual observer to hear that Final Fantasy XI has a future at all, considering many thought the game was on the way out after the discontinuing of the PS2 and Xbox 360 versions. If anything, the opposite has come to fruition.
Final Fantasy XI has been well supported since that move. It still receives frequent monthly updates which include new battle content from time to time, and it’s still popular enough to carry a paid subscription.
Anyway, as a long time fan since day one of NA launch, and a current active subscriber, it got me thinking what this big update could possibly be. Let’s dive into what I feel are the three most likely scenarios.
Final Fantasy XI Classic
Classic servers are all the rage right now in the MMORPG community, especially really old ones like Final Fantasy XI. There are lots of players in the FFXI community that have an interest in replaying the game, but the modern changes and the anxiety of feeling super far behind is a turn-off.
In fact, some of the most popular private servers are effectively level 75-era capped servers that go up through the game’s second expansion, Chains of Promathia or around there. Three more major expansions followed Chains of Promathia, and eventually, the level cap was brought up to level 99.
Final Fantasy XI now would almost be unrecognizable to someone that quit somewhere around the Chains of Promathia-era. I’d argue FFXI is just different now, it’s worse in some ways, but much better off in others. But still change is scary, and some people just want to experience the game as they remember it.
So, what better send off for the game’s 20th anniversary than creating a server that restores the game back to the state where most of its former fans remember it. Six person EXP chain parties in Tu’Lia, hunting for Jailers in “sea,” kiting Kirin around, etc. the whole nine yards.
And who knows, people might come for the classic server, but end up sticking around to see what Final Fantasy XI is like now. The
only question would be if newer jobs like Blue Mage, Dancer, and Geomancer would be invited to this party, Seekers of Adoulin jobs especially are balanced for level 99 abilities. Either way, a classic server on paper seems like a pretty good idea.