Drew asked me in an earlier comment if I had picked up FFXIV yet. I haven’t, part due to money being tight, but also part due to my time with FFXI. It’s not simple to explain, so I’ll give my personal history playing it.
I started playing FFXI at PS2 launch. Before that, I was playing with a small group of friends on Everquest Online Adventures, also on PS2. We had been looking forwards to FFXI for a while, and when it came to console we started playing. We were console players since Phantasy Star Online for the Gamecube.
Half of us left, Half of us stayed. I stayed, and wound up playing on Siren server a lot. Since I don’t have my PS2 or FFXI account any more, I can’t tell, but I played about two years.
Here’s the thing: that was actual playtime.
Yeah, I played a MMO for about 2 years of my physical life. FFXI launched on PS2 in 2004, and apart from a few months break I played it continually till maybe a two years ago. There were a lot of eight hour days, sometimes more in my worst moments. Not all of it was playtime in the sense of playing: leaving it on while I did other things happened too. I’m worried I may have played even more: without my FFXI account I can’t tell. I wasn’t alone either. A lot of people did. If you were in a HNM endgame shell, chances are you were unemployed just because its impossible to be in one due to pop timers and not be. My friend in game was.
I don’t really like raiding, and did a lot of bullshitting. If I had been more focused, I probably either would have leveled every single job to 75 or raided hardcore. There are 20 jobs in FFXI, and I had capped 5, with none below 37. But I spent a lot of time playing that game.
When FFXIV released I thought cool, but I started to worry some. You see, FFXIV is designed to make the transition from FFXI earlier. It uses all of the same races of FFXI, just renaming them. It uses even the same hairstyles and facemarkings. You can link your SE account to it.
While this gives continuity to the last game, it had the unintended effect of reminding me just how much I played FFXI. When 4-5 real life years pass while your main leisure activity is one game, being reminded of it tends to make you uneasy. I had fun, but still I’m uneasy.
For good reason, too. FFXI now is a beast, but the FFXI that released on the PS2 launch was a bare shadow of itself. FFXIV will grow to have an insane amount of content and probably the deepest endgame of any game, same as it’s parent. I’m not sure I can invest my soul into another game like it.
Oh, I’ll break down and play it sometime. But for now I’m not champing at the bit. I still have the internal dialogue running about how worth it giving that many years of my life to a game is, and if its possible to do so with its spiritual sequel. Right now I play Champions Online, and mostly because I can turn it off easily if I like. As for FFXIV we’ll see.