Final Fantasy XI has tightened up its focus on its core audience: the hardest of the hardcore. I was privileged enough to be shown a glimpse of all this stuff I'll never actually see for myself: cutscenes from the Wings of the Goddess storyline, the new high-level "third artifact armor" gear, and level 90 characters and abilities. All this requires extensive grouping up, something I haven't been able to do in FFXI in over a year. It's tough being a solitary reviewer of a multiplayer game! At least, it's tough when you can't find a good group to play with. Which puts me in a somewhat awkward position to write this report: if you're like me, you don't have any friends still playing FFXI, you don't have a LS to return to, and you don't even have the latest Abyssea expansions, it's a steep uphill climb to dive back in. But if you do have all of those things, you've got a lot of exciting things to look forward to in October's FFXI update!
I spent many years playing FFXI with my Mithra Dragoon before my Linkshell dissolved, so here's my highlight of the tour: a Mithra Dragoon wearing part of the new Artifact Armor executing a weaponskill that's finally better than Penta Thrust! Kaboom!
I was pretty impressed as the tour guides were showing me around. It sounds like there's lots of cool stuff for those hard-core high-level people who have pearls for the still-active linkshells. Lots of loot to get, mainly. With all the new levels and new Abyssea areas, there's lots to do and get, especially with new Abyssea currency and assembling rare drops into upgraded gear. To top it all off, there are new loot-dropping bosses that play a big part in getting those awesome upgrades, so have fun whacking those pinatas apart. This big iron giant we killed on the tour was especially fun to destroy.
You might be wondering why there's any reason to play FFXI now that FFXIV is out, but here's a reminder that if you sign up to both FFXIV and FFXI you get a discount on the FFXI subscription. Not a bad idea for anyone with an interest in FFXIV and still playing FFXI, as the two games are so radically different it could, I suppose, be a nice change to play a somewhat casual FFXIV between intense end-game grind sessions in FFXI. FFXIV is still very limited in end-game content, it's mostly low level stuff now, so having both games can satisfy the wide range of needs MMO gamers might have!