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FFXI Version Update History

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Since the Final Fantasy XI servers first went live in 2002, version updates introducing new content and game enhancements have been implemented on a regular basis. The timeline below is a chronological summary of the updates focusing on the past five years (since the release of the Wings of the Goddess expansion pack). Below the chronological update summary is a full list of the most noteworthy enhancements to the game over the past several years that significantly changed playability in one way or another. For complete details on each version update, including Square-Enix published update notes, added item lists, new recipes, and more, since early 2008, reference the Update History page.

If you are newly returning to the game, refer to the Returning to Vana'diel guide for extended information.

Pre-2008

The majority of pre-2008 content is no longer relevant in level 99 end-game so is not discussed at length here. In late 2004, Chains of Promathia was released. This expansion pack was heavy on story content and new areas and provided access to several new end-game events including the "Sea" NM system (akin to sky) in the Lumoria region, as well as Limbus (which added HQ versions of old Artifact armor) and new Dynamis battlefields introduced throughout 2005. 2006 and 2007 had a heavy end-game focus with the introduction of Assault (and Nyzul Isle Investigation), Einherjar, and Salvage, all as part of the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion pack, which also added an entirely new near east continent as well as the Blue Mage, Corsair, and Puppetmaster jobs. In late 2007, the Wings of the Goddess expansion pack was released, adding a past version of Vana'diel (the Crystal War era, set 20 years before present day) and two more new jobs to the game - Dancer and Scholar.

2008

The major updates of 2008 consisted of a series of missions and quests continuing the Wings of the Goddess storyline, as well as adjustments and updates to Campaign in the shadowreign eras, including the addition of armor suitable for level 75 endgame (no longer relevant at level 99) and small additions and adjustments of end-game content. A system known as "level sync" was added, allowing players to cap their party's level to that of any member of the party. Near the end of the year, two new battle systems were added: Fields of Valor, which allows players to receive bonus experience points, gil, and "tabs" (which can be exchanged for additional buff effects) by defeating certain combinations of normal monsters in various areas across Vana'diel, and Moblin Maze Mongers, a unique system allowing players to construct their own mini-dungeon which could be used to earn EXP or unique items.

2009

The major updates of 2009 consisted of a continuation of the Wings of the Goddess storyline as well as the addition of three separate "expansion scenarios," each with a short storyline culminating in a boss battle and the acquisition of a unique armor piece which could be tailored to each player's liking by choosing from a long list of possible item "augments." Item augmentation was a system added in 2009 which continues to be prevalent today, allowing players to add additional statistics to pre-existing weapons or armor. Fields of Valor was expanded with "elite" training, involving the defeat of old notorious monsters to receive evolith used in synergy item augmentation, or new notorious monsters used for the direct augmentation of various pre-existing pieces of non-rare/ex gear. Augmentation was accomplished through "synergy," a new crafting system added to FFXI which allows one or more players with varying craft specialties to combine their skills to synth unique items. Allied Notes NMs and Stronghold Invasion were two end-game systems added to Wings of the Goddess; however, the vast majority of the rewards from these systems are no longer relevant at level 99. Campaign updates continued with additional armor components and the addition of "Allied Unions" - with treasure pools granted to campaign participants at the end of a campaign battle, depending on their union's performance in battle.

2010

2010 was an exciting year in FFXI with the announcement and release of the Abyssea battle expansions and the raising of the long-standing level 75 level cap. As a prequel to abyssea, the voidwalker NM system, with unique rewards, was added, allowing players to spawn monsters in various fields across Vana'diel from the parallel dimension by using "abyssites." A weapon and armor upgrade system known as Trial of the Magians was added to the game, allowing for the creation of powerful weapons by allowing the upgrade of relic, mythic, and empyrean weapons to level 99, and also allowing for the creation of a vast amount of unique and high-performing other weapons. Abyssea itself was a revolution in the way FFXI was played and is now the main location for quickly leveling up higher level characters and one of the primary sources for level 99 end-game gear. The level cap was increased in 5 level increments with each of the three Abyssea additions, to level 90 by year's end. Abyssea also introduced a third set of powerful job-specific armor known as Empyrean Armor, often referred to as AF3, and a third set of powerful weapons to rival Relic and Mythic weapons known as Empyrean Weapons. Abyssea made prevalent a new battle mechanic known as staggering (originally introduced in Walk of Echoes), which has since been utilized in several new and updated events. 2010 also saw the finale of the Wings of the Goddess quests and missions storylines, and the addition of a non-reserved battlefield known as Walk of Echoes, which remains relevant today through the ongoing addition of battlefields with rewards suitable through level 99.

2011

2011 saw the addition of a new battle system to FFXI known as Voidwatch. This system was the source of the majority of end-game content in 2011 and into early 2012. The level cap was raised in 2011 to 95 in September and finally to 99 in December. Dynamis areas were also overhauled to allow daily access (up to two hours) and no longer require reservations - the areas are now open zones accessible by anyone, complete with party-specific drops, a new stagger system required to obtain currency at a good drop rate, new items that allow relic armor to be upgraded to +2 versions, and new powerful "arch" notorious monsters, including Arch Dynamis Lord. Also added in 2011 was a synergy augmentation system involving "tatters" and "scraps" of abjurations and sky god seals, which made several pieces of sky and abjuration gear relevant again. Near the end of the year, an upgrade system was added to relic armor to make much of it once again useful for level 99 end-game with unique augments that make group 2 merit abilities, traits, and spells, as well as original SP abilities, more effective. New BCNMs were also added, accessible with higher tier orbs gained with higher tier seals known as Kindred's Crests and High Kindred's Crests. A worldwide battle system known as Grounds of Valor (similar to Fields of Valor, but taking place primarily in dungeon areas against higher level foes) was added with unique rewards available nowhere else. Finally, a new merit category of powerful weapon skills unlocked and upgraded with merit points was added.

2012

Updates in 2012 included the completion of the Voidwatch battle system and storyline, including a new area with the final battles known as Provenance, the addition of a challenging new alliance format end-game event known as Legion, and the addition of a new Assault-style battle system for smaller groups known as Meeble Burrows. Additionally, several older end-game events (Einherjar, Limbus, and Nyzul) previously designed for level 75 have been refreshed with content designed to be challenging at level 99 and yield rewards suitable for level 99 end-game. This trend continued in December with the Salvage renewal adding new, higher level Remnants and ten new armor sets. December also added a new method of transport, related to the upcoming Seekers of Adoulin expansion, involving a series of quests to unlock various teleportation waypoints.

2013

Previously scheduled for 2012 but delayed for further adjustments, the first update of 2013 focused on additional expeditions for Meeble Burrows. In mid-2013, additional updates will included the overhaul of elemental magic damage calculation, and the addition of the Monstrosity (play-as-a-monster) battle system. November's update contained the addition of a new SP ability for each job,

The main focus of 2013, however, is Seekers of Adoulin, the fifth full expansion pack for Final Fantasy XI which released in March. Seekers of Adoulin added two new jobs (Geomancer and Rune Fencer), an all-new mission-based storyline, a wide variety of new quests and areas, new battle systems (Reives, Skirmishes, and Delve) and a new regional system called "Colonization" accomplished through Reive battles and assignments performed for the various Coalitions of Adoulin, whose rank increases as pioneers perform more and more of their tasks. The alliance-based Delve system in particular caused a major shift in gear paradigms as it introduced new armor and weapons that were significantly stronger than anything previously available in the game due to a new classifier called "Item Level" allowing for equipment statistics to effectively go beyond level 99. The initial updates after the release of the expansion pack added more content with a continuing storyline through the addition of new quests, missions, and areas, expansion of Skirmish content, addition of a variety of new equipment, increase of the rank limits and services of Coalitions, addition of merits and artifact armor for Geomancer and Rune Fencer, and the addition of the Mog Garden (an area where a player can cultivate, fish, and gather a multitude of materials on their own plot of land).

A future upgrade will also include the Ranch, where players can grow monsters to obtain their crafting materials. Additional battle content is also planned to be introduced through expansions of Reive, Delve, and more.

Quality of Life Updates

In addition to the content updates which have taken place over the past several years, there have been many significant changes to various jobs, battle systems, and battlefields, in order to make them more accessible for players. Many of the major changes are highlighted below, but this list is certainly not all-encompassing.

  • All jobs have received new abilities, spells, traits, and tweaks - the best way to see these would be to check out your job in-game and/or navigate to the job's main page here.
  • Level caps have been removed on all Chains of Promathia areas and battlefields.
  • All types of seals (Beastmen's Seals, Kindred's Crests, etc.) can be traded for one another at a 3:1 ratio.
  • Most Ex-Icon.gif tagged items can now be delivered to other characters on the same account as the player (for muling purposes).
  • Ullikummi has been transitioned to a force pop system, all sky NMs now have a chance to drop two sky god pop items, and all sky gods have a chance to drop two seals. Teleportation to the Kirin room is no longer random.
  • Fafnir, Adamantoise, and Behemoth (and the HQs) have been transitioned to a force pop system. KS99 battlefields drop one guaranteed pop for the NQ land HNM (for example, Early Bird Catches the Wyrm drops a Fafnir pop), and the NQ land HNM has a small chance to drop the pop for the HQ land HNM (Fafnir has a small chance to drop a Nidhogg pop). The pop spots are located in the same areas where the HNMs used to spawn.
  • Zeni acquisition for ZNMs has been eased greatly with some soul plates granting up to 10 times as much Zeni as before.
  • Item storage
    • The item bag limit has been increased to 80 with gobbiebag quests (The Gobbiebag Part IX & The Gobbiebag Part X).
    • Porter Moogles have been added in city areas of Vana'diel allowing a huge amount of items to be stored on "storage slips" without the need to acquire a full set.
    • The mog sack, an additional inventory bag accessible anywhere, has been added, and can be purchased from any Artisan Moogle for a nominal fee.
  • Overall caps have been raised on many merit categories.
  • All auction houses are now tied together (Bastok, Windurst, and San d'Oria no longer have separate auction listings).
  • All job-specific group 2 merit upgrades which previously reduced a merit ability's timer now increase that ability's effectiveness instead, with the timer now set at the previously lowest meritable value.
  • Caps have been raised significantly on many statistics such as casting time reduction and on the effect many skill-related spells such as Drain.
  • All enemies now yield more experience points than before.
  • Higher level monsters yielding experience through level 99 have been added in many fields and dungeons around Vana'diel, with previously existing monsters and notorious monsters being repositioned as necessary to make room for the new additions.
  • Skills are now gained at an improved rate, especially when using Skill Up Foods, and can be taken to their cap against decent challenge or stronger monsters.
  • Within Abyssea, three ??? spots have been added at almost all NM pop locations, free-spawn NM pop times have been reduced, and almost all pop NM key items can now be obtained in maximum level gold crates.
  • The maximum range on ranged weapon skills and abilities has been greatly increased.
  • The calculation method for curing spell power has been significantly changed and is tied strongly with Healing Magic skill. Cure IV can now be almost twice as strong as before, while Cure V and VI actually saw small decreases in overall power.
  • Crafting skill caps have been raised to 110 on main crafts, 70 on sub-crafts (40 total craft levels beyond 70), and 80 on synergy, with further cap increases planned for the future.
  • Guild point accumulation is now possible for all crafting guilds a player is a member of.
  • The required delays between synthesis attempts and between making guild purchases have been greatly reduced.
  • The delay between ranged attacks and/or ranged weapon skills and the delays between disengaging and re-engaging have been greatly reduced.
  • Iridal Staff and Chatoyant Staff have been added -- combinations of the eight pre-existing NQ and HQ elemental staves, respectively.
  • Enfeebling magic immunity is now displayed in the chat log if a spell a monster is immune to is casted on the monster. In certain battles, Immunobreak is also possible, giving a chance to reduce a monster's resistance to enfeebling magic each time it is resisted until the spell lands.
  • The timer on SP Abilities has been reduced from two hours to one hour.
  • The addition of Proto-Waypoints greatly expanded the availability of teleportation destinations.
  • Dynamis currency trading at NPCs is now only processed if the exact required amount for an item is traded.
  • The player's current inventory size and limit are now shown on the trade dialog box.
  • The strength/duration of Embrava and Perfect Defense were reduced considerably, with significant adjustments made to level 99 content to compensate for the change.
  • The Enmity gain for dealing damage has been reduced considerably, to approximately 30% of the previous value against level 99 or higher enemies. The Enmity associated with nearly all static enmity spells and several abilities has also been reduced significantly.
  • Mog house storage (from furnishings) is now available to access from all Rent-a-room locations.
  • A number of changes have been made within Abyssea so that players starting Abyssea can more quickly progress through its content and obtain upgraded armor.
  • The Mog Case has been introduced, with no requirements to access. This automatically gives all players, even if they are level one, 80 additional inventory spaces.

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