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The History of Final Fantasy XI
| Welcome to BGWiki's comprehensive Final Fantasy XI History resource!
We hope that you enjoy reading through our little slice of history. If you have pictures or other information you think should be on this page, please feel free to contribute.
If you are newly returning to the game and looking for a current resource, refer to the Returning to Vana'diel guide instead.
v.1: 2000-2003 originally created by by Elmer the Pointy on JPButton.com
v.2: 2000-2017 Further information & images gathered, researched, compiled and re-released by Funkworkz in August & September of 2017
| Header Key
2000 - 2001 Pre-Release
This section includes information on the development of Final Fantasy XI, beginning two years and four months before the first adventurer set foot into Vana’diel. Beta testing began in the winter of 2001.
|Jan. 29th, 2000|| |
PlayOnline Design Presentation
|Square displayed the plan for PlayOnline for the first time at a private event called, “Square Millennium” in Yokohama. Showing off FFIX, FFX and FFXI together, they revealed that FFXI would be the series’ first ever online experience. The next day, Square stock shot up in value.||PlayOnline was originally developed to interact with Final Fantasy X, but when those plans fell through it became a strategy site for Final Fantasy IX. The site was designed to complement BradyGames' and Piggyback Interactive's official strategy guides for the game, where players who bought the print guide had access to "keywords" that could be searched for on PlayOnline's site for extra tips and information. This caused fury among buyers of the guide, as they felt cheated for the expensive print guide. The blunder made GameSpy's "Top 5 Dumbest Moments in Gaming" list, and Square dropped the idea for Final Fantasy X, which was under development at the time.|
|Jul. 19th, 2001|| |
Final Fantasy X released in Japan, FFXI movie included
| Final Fantasy X went on sale. Included with the game was a bonus disc that gave a look into the progress made on FFXI, which was still in mid-development. “OTHER SIDE OF THE FINAL FANTASY.” The graphics at this time were relatively primitive. The video has since been added to Youtube, and is embedded in this page on the right.
Here are notes of interest.
|Sep. 17th, 2001|| |
PlayOnline Beta Testing Begins
|General public beta testing begins for PlayOnline with ads displayed in magazines and other media. An ISDN adapter for the Playstation 2 was sold for those participating in the beta.||
The rather thick manual was in a binder with an aluminum cover, and weighed about two kilograms. It came with warnings not to drop it, or to accidentally cut yourself on its sharp edges.
|Nov. 20th, 2001|| |
FFXI Playstation 2 Version Beta Signups Open
|Recruitment for the FFXI beta began appearing in magazines and other media. At the time, the PS2 Broadband Unit, (HDD) was not being sold in stores, and could only be acquired by signing up with an ISP. Despite this, there was an absolute deluge of participants. When FFXI was finished, sales of the BB Unit opened up to accomodate new players, but it was still out of stock almost everywhere. The biggest hurdle for a new user to overcome was simply finding a BB Unit to purchase. See this page explaining the difficulties at the time.||
|Dec. 17th, 2001|| |
FFXI PS2 Beta Test Begins
| The Final Fantasy XI beta test began with lucky players selected by lottery receiving the “PlayOnline Beta 2 Edition,” which included a beta PlayOnline Viewer, Final Fantasy XI beta, Tetra Master beta and a Service Manual binder. This kit is pictured on the bottom to the right.
Four world were made: Chaos, Zande, Golbez and Xdeath. Later, Xdeath and Golbez were combined into Zande. Worlds could not be chosen, and players were divided based on when they signed up. New players continued to be selected as the beta went on, adding new adventurers to Vana’diel from Decemeber up until March of the following year.
|Dec. 22nd, 2001|| |
Online Party 2002
|A private Square event, the “Online Party 2002″ was held at the Tokyo International Forum. It was an invitation-only event meant to formally introduce the public to Final Fantasy XI for the first time. Only stakeholders in the industry and a select few users drawn by lottery were invited to attend. 100 machines were setup to allow attendees to play for 15 minute sessions at a time. On stage, Morida Masakazu and Aoki Mayuko performed a mini-concert as Tidus and Yuna, respectively. All attendees received special FFXI neck straps.|
|The World of the FFXI Beta Test|
| The beta version of Final Fantasy XI was practically the same as the initial retail version, but there were still many things missing. Below are the important differences.
2002 - Release & First Updates
With the Playstation 2 beta test completed, Final Fantasy XI was finally given a public release. The Windows beta test ran through the Summer, and the final version was released in the Fall. Final Fantasy XI was ready to set sail.
|Feb. 7th, 2002|| |
Final Fantasy XI Credit Cards
|Square, DigiCube, and UC Card announced details concerning special Final Fantasy XI/PlayOnline Visa and Mastercard credit cards, which were available in Japan starting February 2002. These cards were one of the various marketing schemes designed to promote Square's online community.
The cards offered various benefits to PlayOnline users and Final Fantasy XI subscribers:
|Apr. 26th, 2002|| |
FFXI Playstation 2 Beta Test Ends
|The final version of Final Fantasy XI was put together, and the beta test ended. Testers were allowed to have their chosen names transferred over to the full game. The game began with 20 worlds, and it was announced that the last two digits of your total gil would determine where you were placed. This way, players were able to transfer along with their friends to the same server. This system led to servers initially being referred to by number, such as “World 0,” or “Server #5.”|
|May 16th, 2002|| |
FFXI PS2 goes on sale in Japan, Service begins!
| The names for the twenty worlds were revealed: Bahamut, Shiva, Titan, Ramuh, Phoenix, Carbuncle, Fenrir, Sylph, Valefor, Alexander, Leviathan, Odin, Ifrit, Diabolos, Caitsith, Quetzalcoatl, Siren, Unicorn, Gilgamesh and Ragnarok.
The PS2 version cost 7800 yen. It contained Final Fantasy XI, PlayOnline Viewer, Tetra Master and JongHoLo (a Mahjong game). It also came with a pretty thick playing manual, weighing in at 288 pages.
Square said they prepared 20 servers worldwide capable of withstanding 5,000 simultaneous connections towards the official version, and that they can handle 100,000 players at any time. FFXI was well organized in its launch, but suddenly big issues occurred immediately after the service started.
FFXI's first week of sales amounted to 63,958 units (Famitsu survey). Dispite being below the 100,000 limit that Square announced, the "Authentication Servers" accessed when logging into the game couldn't withstand the enormous amount of traffic. On top of this, the official FFXI site and their support center were having technical difficulties so Square was unable to communicate with their customers via their official site.
Not only could people not play the game, some were even being charged duplicate amounts when registering their WebMoney code. A majority of BB units were also not delivered on launch day as promised.
All connectivity issues were completely fixed by May 19. Due to the loss of service, free play was extended past the end of May until the end of June.
Early FFXI Official Website
|May 18th, 2002|| |
|On the morning of the 18th, the article to the right was printed in the national newspaper in Japan in the advertisement column. It is an apology advertisement written by the president of Square. They apologize for the difficult launch of FFXI and about duplicate charges. The term "Nightmare" was used.|
|May 23rd, 2002|| |
The First Version Update
|Jun. 5th, 2002|| |
FFXI Original Soundtrack Released
| A Regular Edition (2,854 Yen, pictured on right top) and Limited Edition (3,150 Yen, pictured on the right middle and bottom) of the soundtrack were both sold.
The Limited Edition was contained in a special package featuring artwork from Mr. Yoshitaka Amano. A picture booklet and DVD containing the opening movie were also included with the limited edition. The soundtrack itself contained all the same songs on either version.
|Jun. 11th, 2002|| |
The First Big Version Update
| Mining Fad
The “Mythril Marathon” was a mining fad that began around June of 2002. Players would bring Pickaxes to Palborough Mines, mine up some Mine Gravel, convert it into Mythril Sand using a machine found in the dungeon, and sell it to an NPC. Adventurers would go naked (maximizing inventory space) and head to Palborough over and over, raising Chocobo prices in Bastok over 1000 gil a ride. After July 9th, Pickaxe prices rose, while Mythril Sand prices fell, making this method of earning money less lucrative.
To commemorate this event, a weekly Records of Eminence objective was added for the Vana'diel 15th Vana'versary in 2017. To complete it, you had to perform 10 conversions of Mine Gravel to Mythril Sand.
|Jun. 17th, 2002|| |
Recruitment for Windows Beta Testers
|Ads were circulated through magazines and the Internet to recruit for a public beta test. At the time, the computer specs required were fairly high and not many people's computers met them. The beta participation was done via public offering to ensure the highest participation possible.|
|Jun. 17th, 2002|| |
FFXI Windows Beta Test Begins
|The world Glasyalabolas was formed for Windows beta testers. Beta testing for Tetra Master in Windows took place at the same time.|
|Jun. 24th, 2002|| |
Monsters made unable to attack players on Chocobo
|Jun. 25th, 2002|| |
The Level 50 Cap - First Players Reach Level 50
| From the start, the level cap was set to 50 but this was not disclosed to players. Square announced in June of 2002 that the first players who reached level 50 would have their names published on the official site. They also announced during the month that the game was prepared for players to go up to level 100 for a maximum.
On this day, the first players across all worlds attained level 50.
| As players were all rushing to level to 50, other casual players didn't enjoy that. Square announced that this game has more than plain leveling.
With that announcement, it caused a big uproar that became a continuous joke in Japan:
[SE] Do this.
[SE] Don't do it.
Players questioned SE "what else there is to do other than leveling?", which SE did not respond to (probably because it was a fact). Later on, during an interview, the dev team claimed that players were leveling too fast, and they never expected everyone to be only leveling everyday.
Though, at that time, the game really only have leveling to do.
|Jul. 2nd, 2002|| |
The patch from hell
|The sense of danger was present after this update, as it was easier for mages and melee with little defense to pull hate.|
|Jul. 9th, 2002|| |
The Introduction of “Incredibly Tough,” & A Wide Array of Job Adjustments
| Mob Placement Changes
Bone Hunting Boom
With the rise of demands for new camps, players started moving to Eldieme, Garlaige, Behemoth Dominion and places. As a result, lv32 - lv47 leveling camps were mainly skeletons hunting. Japanese players called it “骨骨ファンタージ,” or “Bone-Bone Fantasy,” and it was an era when Warriors and Black Mages would team up to produce Fusion skillchains with repeated Earth Crushers. After adjustments to monsters, this technique became less effective against Skeletons, and it fell out of favor.
Players were unaware that skeletons didn't link, so the rumor spread to "Not link bones when pulling with Cure"
|Jul. 17th, 2002|| |
| Equipment, spells and other information were displayed within the PlayOnline Viewer.
||Information like items, magic and abilities were available for the public to view in order to aid adventurers. However, since you had to logout to PlayOnline to actually view this content, not many people utilized the feature. Fan sites took over from there and the usefulness of the database faded and was ultimately closed on December 27, 2005.|
|Jul. 19th, 2002|| |
First Public Event: Moogles Take a Trip
|For five hours, between 8pm July 19th and 1am July 20th, players could search for 21 moogles that were lost across every region. Talking to a lost moogle would net you a point. Depending on the points you accumulate, you could receive a Bronze Moogle Belt. Storing up enough points could even get you a Silver Moogle Belt or Gold Moogle Belt. Being the first public event, there was a large influx of participants, causing many areas to become unstable.||Compared to today, this first event was very short. System messages advanced the event in real time, and everyone was very nervous as to whether things would run smoothly. Adventurers heavily congregated in areas designated for the event, causing clients to have display problems or become unstable. Due to the limited time of the event, many people were also unable to participate altogether. As time went on, FFXI events grew longer and longer because of the concerns voiced in this first trial run.|
|Jul. 29th, 2002|| |
User Event: Bon-Odori
|This was an event users planned through bulletin boards across the Internet. It was the first user event to take place across all worlds. There were no fireworks available yet, so players enjoyed dancing using the /panic emote, and used flashy spells and abilities to their advantage. Later on, the Vana'diel Tribune did a story on the event, and the following year an official Bon-Odori was held. This is how the official Sunbreeze Festival came to be.|
|Jul. 30th, 2002|| |
The First Vana’diel Census
|The distribution of main jobs was displayed. The average level was 10, and the majority of players were under level 20. At the time, only 0.4% of players had reached the cap of level 50. However, these statistics included secondary characters, which skewed the results (59% of players at level 1), and the average level among active players was most likely higher.|
|Jul. 30th, 2002|| |
Teleports and Warp II Added
| Warp II
The quest to obtain Warp II, brought adventurers to the basement of Fei'Yin, where the dangerously high-level ghost Utukku dwells. The level cap was 50 at the time, but there were very few people who had attained it. Adventurers around level 40 would band together into alliances and still be defeated. Not to mention, Sneak and Invisible were not yet in the game, causing this to be an incredibly difficult quest to complete.
Brave players would have to act as decoys, striking the enemy and leading it away from the party in order for people to finally clear this ordeal.
Black Cloud The increase to skeleton's Black Cloud attack started the neverending JP joke of:
[SE] Discover your own camps.
[Players] Wow, this place is nice for EXP.
[SE] Ok, removing that camp.
Lock Picking Woes
Because thieves were able to pick locks so easily on treasure chests, they went for the coveted Astral Ring in Castle Oztroja. Some players did not leave the zone for hours since multiple rings could be held, and sold for a premium price.
At this time, the rams in La Theine Plateau and Konschtat Highlands had an abnormally high drop rate of Ram Skins and Ram Horns. This caused a monopoly, and players who want the Purple Belt horns and lanolin all cried collectively due to rivalry.
Silver Hairpins At this time, selling the Silver Hairpin could infinitely increase your gil, which created the age where Goldsmithers would fly back and forth on Airships to multiply their gil. This was of course, removed.
Old Job Change Screen
|Aug. 24th, 2002|| |
Exterminate the Beastmen
|The second officially sanctioned event. In order for the nations of Altana to combat the ever-growing threat of the Beastmen, nationality would no longer play a part in receiving Signet. At the same time, the collection of weapons and armor for the advancement of Conquest began.||During the time of this event, the vast majority of adventurers had low Missions ranks, and with Valkurm Dunes being a virtual Mecca for parties leveling jobs, many players would lose their Signet while in the dunes. San d'Oria had a strong advantage with their relatively close proximity to the area, and on many worlds they were able to continuously control Valkurm and refresh their Signets at the Outpost. However, Bastok was ahead of San d'Oria in sheer number of adventurers, so this event brought about the end of San d'Orias little scheme. Soon after, the Kingdom's influence fell, and across many worlds they were consistently ranked last in Conquest. Eventually, adventurers took the pleas of Prince Trion from the Vana'diel Tribune to heart, and established the 赤獅子騎士団 (Red Lion Knights) Linkshell in support of San d'Oria, and the shell quickly spread across multiple servers.|
|Sep. 6th, 2002|| |
The Second Vana’diel Census
|Statistics on job levels, job choices, and national affiliation were presented. This time, level 1 characters were excluded from the percentages. The amount of level 50 players increased to 0.8%. Advanced Jobs (Paladin, Dark Knight, Beastmaster, Bard and Ranger) comprised 6.65% of the player base, showing there were still very few people who had acquired these jobs. Now, the census was presented by Sage Sundi, the Online Service Manager.|
|Sep. 12th, 2002|| |
The First Limit Break Quest
| Mad Dash for Monsters
The first Limit Break Quest, “In Defiant Challenge,” had players seeking items that dropped from three different monsters. With few monsters and low drop rates, players went to great pains to obtain these items. A later Version Update repositioned some of the monsters and increased their numbers. Experience Points to progress to level 51 was astronomically high compared to what everyone was used to. (7600 > 7700 > 7800 > 10000 > 11000 > 13000 > 16000 > 20000). Also with the increasing need to maintain the level range to maximize EXP gain, players became more weary of the level difference in parties.
Northwest Nerfs Sneak Attack?
Ever since service began, there had been a glitch where Sneak Attack would not work if one was facing Northwest. It came to be considered an unlucky direction and parties would often request the tank stand South of the enemy to avoid the issue.
The Debut of Invisible, Sneak and Deodorize
Invisible, Sneak and Deodorize were added, but they only dropped off of Notorious Monsters, and were hard to get. After the October 2nd Version Update, these scrolls were dropped off of regular monsters and people were able to acquire them with relative ease. This whole issue could have been the birthplace of the "direction to face when crafting" myth.
Players & Patches
Sometime in August of 2002, the Dev team blamed the lackluster and anti-player patches on "Players are not used to our new patches, that's all.".
|Sep. 21st, 2002|| |
Chase the Dancing White Shadow
| This was an event that ran from 5pm September 21st to 1am September 22nd. White rabbits that ran at great speed appeared in every region. Players had to catch one and trade it a Moon Carrot, which was received from Moogles. This could net you a Moon Ball.
Depending on the Moon Phase, you might also receive one of the following five wands:
|Here is the event in progress in Batallia Downs|
|Sep. 26th, 2002|| |
FFXI 2002 SPECIAL ART BOX
| A limited edition package, the box contained original illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano and a DVD-ROM with his artwork on its label. A wristband with one of the four national flags (Bastok, San d'Oria, Windurst or Jeuno) depicted was also included. The cost of this special edition was 8,000 Yen not including Tax.
An unboxing video is to the right.
|Sep. 28th, 2002|| |
User Event:Castle Zvahl Charge
|Back in 2002, when there was a low level cap and before Sneak and Invisible, nobody knew what lied in Castle Zvahl Baileys. Players created the event "Castle Zvahl Charge". On all 20 severs players gathered in Xarcabard. Some players were destroyed before even making it to the castle, but some players made it to Castle Zvahl Keep.|
|Oct. 2nd, 2002|| |
Teleport Vahzl, Escape Added
| Since there was no chat entry for displaying one’s TP up until now, people would simply say “TPOK” when they had stored enough points up for a Skillchain. However, many adventurers found it annoying to have to switch typesets all the time, and would just write “tぽk.”
Shadow Lord Subdued
Finally after the level cap was raised to 55 and the change in damage calculations, the Shadow Lord was able to be beaten with more ease. The Vana'diel Tribune published an article talking about the first defeat coming from the Shiva world. After the cap was raised to 60, it eased the difficulty of the fight even further. The path to reach the Throne Room was still difficult and confusing for most, so the majority of players were not able to win the fight until 2003.
Metal Gear Solid With the addition of teleport and MGS magic, players begun their search of new camps in the Northlands. This led players to Fei'Yin which was the most popular.
|Oct. 10th, 2002|| |
The Third Vana’diel Census
|Adventurers level 50 and above (excluding level 1s) comprised 3.64% of the population.|
|Nov. 1st, 2002|| |
Official Benchmark Software
|In order to test out the specs on a Windows machine, the Official Benchmark Software was created. It was dubbed “FF Bench,” or “Taru Bench” (due to the large number of Tarus in the demo). It wasn’t just for those curious about getting into the game, but also useful for people wanting to graphically tweak their PC for other games. Future versions would be included on expansion discs.|
|Nov. 1st, 2002|| |
Windows Beta Test Ends
|When moving over to the final version of the game, players could only take PlayOnline IDs, handles, Friend Lists, mail addresses, but not their characters.|
|Nov. 6th, 2002|| |
Pandemonium and Garuda Open
|These worlds were opened along with the sale of the Windows version. Players could not transfer from already existing worlds.|
|Nov. 7th, 2002|| |
FFXI Windows Released in Japan
| The Windows version contained 4 discs rather than a DVD, and the packaging was very simple with the logo from the PS2 version displayed prominently. PlayOnline Viewer and Tetra Master were included, but the Mahjong game from the PS2 version was absent. The instruction manual was 248 pages long. The price point for the Windows version was 8,000 ~ 10,000 Yen.
The blue box on the PC version says "For Online Only"
|Nov. 7th, 2002|| |
|A new world was constructed to accommodate an increasing population. Transfers were unavailable.|
|Nov. 10th, 2002|| |
Final Fantasy XI Wins Award for Network Media at 7th Annual Animation Kobe
|Nov. 22nd, 2002|| |
Rise of the Zilart Announced
|Ads for the first expansion pack, “Rise of Zilart” appeared in gaming magazines. Pictures were shown of of Kazham, Yuhtunga Jungle and “Riqua Desert” (later changed to Altepa).||
(Center) In the Final Fantasy series, summoned beasts were very familiar and Ifrit was shown. (Upper Left) Kam'lanaut is shown (nobody knew his name at that point obviously) The dialogue "finally we could wake up thanks to him" is meaningful. (Bottom Left) Samurai Artifact Armor is shown for the first time. (Right 3) Carbuncle along with two Zilart themed dungeons are shown.
(Top 3) Ifrit blood pacts are shown. Party members do not move besides the summoner, so everyone theorized that time stopped during blood pacts. (Lower 3) New Zilart monsters and areas are shown.
A mithran village is showcased. The caption roughly reads: Kazham is a fishing village at the northern tip of Elshimo Island. The residents live in hunting and fishing as living as the majority of Mithra's tribe. Buildings of atmosphere close to Mithra residential district of Windurst are lining up.
A desert is showcased. The name is later changed to Altepa. The caption roughly reads: The Riqua Desert is a place where the capital of Galka was long ago, now there are scattered ruins that unleash the past reflections, and there are stateless villages where adventurers can rest.
Yuhtunga and Yhoator Jungle
The Yutunga Jungle is a forested area covering the whole of Elshimo Island, with a forested area blocking sunlight, a large group of large trees with age-old age, a volcanic zone that exudes smoke without interruption, a waterfall reminiscent of ancient times s left as it is. There are ruins in the outback of the jungle that tell a story that someone built civilization.
|Nov. 26th, 2002|| |
Level Cap Raised to 60
| Artifact Armor Added
Artifact Armor proved much more useful at the time then crafted equipment, which became extremely hard to sell. Skill-up parties proved very successful at procuring Coffer keys for players.
Sucks to Have MP
Up until now, monsters that sensed magic to attack players would assault anyone with MP even if they simply used an ability or item. Paladins and Dark Knights had it tough, and Warriors needed to be extra careful when pulling with Provoke if they subbed White Mage.
High Enmity Charm
At the time, Charm generated an extreme amount of enmity, so Paladins would often sub Beastmaster to hold hate against monsters immune to the ability. Since Charm had a recast timer of 15 seconds, it proved more effective than Provoke. Using things like Protectra and Army's Paeon were also popular ways of holding hate around this time.
The De-Synth Boom
When de-sythning was first introduced, the success rate was absurdly high, and results often generated 2-4 items. Adventurers could make plenty of gil by purchasing cheap equipment from NPCs, de-synthing them, and selling the results. Lightning crystals shot up in value, and Thunder Elementals were hunted into virtual extinction. Several days later, this was adjusted in a maintenance, and the system was balanced to its current state.
|Nov. 26th, 2002|| |
Wedding Support Opens
|Service begins for official in-game weddings. The Wedding Dress was not yet available at the time. The Wedding Ring was introduced, but players names could not yet be added to the rings.|| This service is not like it is today. It used to involve an application process through Playonline, and a GM (Attendant) would approve and setup your marriage date and location. The whole process used to be first come-first served, but the burden on the one Wedding Attendant GM was too large. On June 2, 2004 the system was changed to a lottery. On November 18 2009, the system was changed so that players did the whole event without help from GMs but rather NPCs.
Above is an image of an actual in-game wedding in 2003.
This is a picture of the application process from 2005.
Due to the incompetence of GMs, most weddings were cancelled and never followed up on.
|Dec. 17th, 2002|| |
Developers’ Blog Beta Test
|A Developers’ Blog, to be displayed on the public site, was put into beta testing. Its purpose was to facilitate discussion between the development team and the players.|
|Dec. 19th, 2002|| |
Taxes for Jeuno Bazaars
|Rochefogne, the Popular NPC|
|Dec. 19th, 2002|| |
Kujata, Bismarck, Ixion, Typhon and Kirin Open
|The amount of people on the original worlds had grown, so these new ones were established. Transfers from existing worlds to these new ones was unavailable.|| A Stream of New HNMs
Around this time, a number of so-called HNMs, or stronger than average Notorious Monsters, began appearing across Vana'diel. A lot of new equipment could be made using the materials they dropped.
|Dec. 22nd, 2002|| |
Developers’ Blog Beta Test Closure
| The reason that it was closed, was that a certain spammer named Azagba caused too much trouble, Square decided to close the board altogether.
JP rumored that Azagba is actually Tanaka from the SE team. Afterward, it did reopen, but no one bothered to post anymore. It officially closed in mid-2003.
|Dec. 25th, 2002|| |
First Vana'diel Christmas
|No official christmas event was held until 2003, but treants with lights in their branches were placed in certain areas. This treant will return in 2003!|
2003 - Rise of the Zilart Era
From April of 2003, the first expansion disc, “Rise of the Zilart” widened the scope of adventurer activity farther than ever before. In October, service began in North America. December 2003 saw the introduction of the level 75 cap. It was a very busy and event-filled year for Vana’diel.
|Jan. 1st, 2003|| |
Lucky Sheep Roam Vana’diel
|To celebrate the New Year, there were sheep named Fortune Ram, Bless Ewe, Merry Mary, Happy Baabaa and Lucky Lamb. In addition, two Mandragora named “Ake” and “Ome” appeared in each nation, including Jeuno.||
Ake and Ome were two Mandragora NPCs with little oranges on their heads. They didn’t do anything special besides stand around in town, but adventurers just couldn’t get enough screenshots of the adorable pair.
Ake and Ome get their names from the phrase “Akemashite omedetou,” which is said to wish a Happy New Year.
|Jan. 14th, 2003|| |
Worlds Consolidate Into Kujata, Bismarck
|Ixion, Typhon and Kirin were shut down and the population added to Kujata and Bismarck.|
|Jan. 15th, 2003|| |
FFXI-TV Begins Broadcasting
|On “Channel BB” (channel 755) of Sky Perfect TV!, a program titled FFXI-TV begins broadcast. This program was aired 13 times in 30 minute segments. Square Enix sponsored this program. Vana'diel Wind (known today as Live Vana'diel) occasionally aired the program. The Japanese actress Yuko Mizuno stared in the program. This program aired until August 31st, 2004.|| No subtitles were added to the show. Each time, the player was given a task via a Moogle "Directive". Below is a list of the episodes.
|January 2003|| |
The Counter of the Crafting Bug
|As we knew it, there was a crafting bug in which a player could force an interruption on their craft. The result of this was that the crystal broke, did not generate any material losses, and the player still had a chance of skilling up. This was discovered and fixed in a few days.||Those who exploited this bug either had their skill rolled back or were perm banned. This caused the uproar from players, complaining that they run this game like an offline game. This news was also reported on TV in Japan.|
|January 2003|| |
Announcement of Rise of the Zilart Release Date
|The release date for Rise of the Zilart was announced in January of 2003. Along with that, the announcement also included a temporary change to the update schedules: in which, updates would be every few months instead of monthly.||This was obviously well received by many players even after the official expansion launch. SE's reply to this for the next couple of years was that "We did not plan this kind of workload." and the like. Although it was planned as a temporary change, by the end of 2004 they decided to just make it their normal update speed for many years to come.|
|Feb. 5th, 2003|| |
Search Comments Implemented
| Level Cap?!
Because there were a lot of high levels at this time already, this was done to stop players from soloing the mission BCs.
NM Spawn Time The NM Spawn time change was made due to uproar that it was unfair that only "Haijins" (in english, it would mean "No Life People") could log in immediately after a server maintenance. This was the only answer that SE had to "solve" the problem for more casual players.
The First BCNMs Six BCNMs were initially added: “Tails of Woe” “The Worm's Turn” “Steamed Sprouts” “Dismemberment Brigade” “Grimshell Shocktroopers” and “Divine Punishers”, although they were yet to be given these names. Also, the battlefields were not yet called “BF” and were referred to as BC戦, an acronym of Burning Circle.
Enter Mimics Up until now, the only trap awaiting Thieves who failed to pick a chest was a severe Weakness effect. Now, treasure boxes could turn into Mimic-type monsters. If one managed to defeat the Mimic, they would always receive a key. Sneak and Invisible wearing off also was to stop thieves from picking all day. With the latter two changes, the thief lock picking craze gradually went down.
Red Mages Head to Ranguemont Pass Although the high-end spell Refresh was added to the game, how to obtain the scroll was still shrouded in mystery. A rumor originating on an Internet message board soon spread, which claimed that a Hecteyes-type monster in Ranguemont Pass, namely Taisai, dropped the scroll.
The truth, however, was that the scroll was a reward from a BCNM. The drop rate was approximately 1 in 8 runs, and the Auction House price of the spell was 1 million gil. This was unheard of back then.
Fish Botting To counter fish botting, the system was changed so that when pressing the O button, the fishing would be cancelled. However, they forgot to implement this on the ENTER button or the right mouse click.
Combat and Magic Skillup Parties After this update, the rate of which combat and magic skillups were gained was dramatically reduced. This caused jobs that have multiple 2 handed weapons to find it extra hard to keep everything capped. This change gave birth to "Skill up Parties" that were popular for quite awhile.
The combat and magic skill tweak was "Ninja'd" into the update and players who called GMs to report bugs had only received typical responses that "it wasn't changed".
|Feb. 8th, 2003|| |
|On February 8th until February 14th, new NPCs appeared in the three nations selling Kukuru Beans and Selbina Milk. At the same time, a recipe for Bubble Chocolate (HQ Heart Chocolate) was added. There was no official event for Valentine's day yet.|
|February 2003|| |
|Enormous lag problems happened in the month of February 2003, and it seemed that Playonline and something else clashed making servers unstable. People experienced serious glitches during their gameplay.|
|Mar. 13th, 2003|| |
Seraph and Lakshmi Open
|Two new worlds were establish to alleviate the rising population. Players could transfer to the new worlds only from select existing worlds.|
|Mar. 21st, 2003|| |
Cherry Blossoms Appear
|Cherry blossom trees in full bloom appeared in Ru'Lude Gardens, Port San d'Oria, Metalworks and Windurst Waters.|
|Apr. 1st, 2003|| |
The Two Companies Combine
|Formerly called Square and Enix respectively, Japan's two massive RPG makers combined and Square Enix was born. From here on, the change was reflected in Final Fantasy XI’s credits and the screenshot function.|
|Apr. 15th, 2003|| |
Search Comments Implemented
| Game changers
Long Lines A certain monster in Konschtat Highlands caused a huge influx of adventurers looking to acquire new jobs. There were so many challengers, that adventurers formed a long line and waited their turn.
At the same time, a battlefield required for the completion of the Dragoon acquisition quest had an Orcish hut looking like a popular ramen shop.
2-Hours On Demand Before now, the timers for 2-hour abilities would be reset upon changing jobs. When doing multiple BCNMs, it was customary to repeatedly reset your 2-hours between BCNM attempts.
Be Careful With Those Items Up till now, moving while activating an item would cause it to be consumed without effect. This caused particular concern with rare, difficult to acquire items like Warp and Teleport scrolls.
While this was fixed, for much longer players affected by Paralyze could lose their items without receiving their effects.
Also with this change they added a "delay" when using items. This caused many mecidines to become useless unlike other Final Fantasy games of the past.
New Sections in Dungeons The newly opened areas inside these dungeons had previously been shut off. Bostaunieux Oubliette in particular never had monsters before, but now received several NMs for adventurers to hunt.
Jeuno's Regional Vendors In various places around Jeuno, there were vendors for each region. These NPCs were invaluable for crafters, until they were removed. Afterwards, Conquest determined where things could or could not be purchased. This gave birth to Regional Vendors.
The new event The Green Festival reintroduced these vendors for a short period.
|Apr. 17th, 2003|| |
FFXI: Rise of the Zilart Goes on Sale
| The PS2 version and Windows version of the expansion were shipped to stores simultaneously. The price for the expansion only was 3,980 Yen (tax not included). The "FFXI Rise of Zilart All-in-One Pack 2003″ was also released at the price of 7,800 Yen (tax not included) either the PS2 version or the Windows version.
Overall, the expansion was well received. A few complaints included same model mobs in most areas, and lack of progression and improvement were part of the dislikes in the community. What was worse was the countless nerfs that were added in the patch post launch. The economies began to inflate with limited stocked items. Many players quit after discovering the large experience progression requirements post level 60 along with accuracy problems.
Two packages, the expansion-only version with a red colored left label (PS2 version pictured below) and All-In-One version (Windows version pictured above) were both available for PS2 and Windows PCs. An official Square Enix logo had yet to be designed, so SQUARESOFT still appeared on the cover. This was Square and Enix’s first collaborative title.
|May 16th, 2003|| |
Final Fantasy XI Completes 1 Year of Service
|May 23rd, 2003|| |
FFXI: Rise of Zilart OST Released
|The price for the soundtrack was 2,100 Yen (tax included)|
|May 27th, 2003|| |
Adventurer Appreciation Campaign
| For a limited time, special moogles appeared in every region. Upon talking to them, one could learn their personal statistics, such as:
Chat Lines, NPC Chat times, Parties Joined, Alliances Joined, Battles Fought, Times K.O.d, Enemies Defeated and GM Calls made. Highly ranked people on each world would be rewarded with a Chocobo Wand. Also, once an Earth day, adventurers could receive various presents (Little Comets, Twinkle Showers, Crackers, etc).
|The Chocobo Wand was awarded to highly-ranked people, and since no Chocobo Jack Coat existed, it was the only item to increase riding time. The wand was also coveted for having its own distinct graphic.|
|May 27th, 2003|| |
Expansion Areas Get Cheaper - Version Update
| Back then, you had to transfer your Mog House to use the Nomad Moogle, and thus, pay a fee. Add in bazaar taxes and Auction House fees, and expansion areas started feeling like high-class resorts.
After July 17th, the Mog House transfer fee and bazaar taxes were done away with, and the Auction House listing costs were lowered as well. After these changes, Kazham became a much more popular place in which to level.
Walking Worms After the patch landed, a glitch occured where worms began to move around like other monsters instead of burrowing under the ground.
|May 2003|| |
Suggestion Forum Drama
| Latent MP
At this time because of Zilart's horrible launch patch, the healer shortage became more apparent. SE suggested that in order to fix this problem, they would have it so when melee jobs sub a mage, they would get more MP. Because this is obviously ignoring the core of why there is a healer shortage, players responded with dismay, at the end, this idea was scratched.
|Later during an interview, the dev team stated that "users have misunderstood their words", that their plan was to increase the number of backline jobs instead. After that, they buffed WHM up, gave them Hexa Strike, Divine Breastplate and various buffs, obviously in an attempt to draw people to WHM. This shifted the problem of shortage of WHM to the shortage of RDM and BRD.|
|Jun. 10th, 2003|| |
|Players could transfer from any of the 20 initial worlds.|
|Jun. 12th, 2003|| |
FFXI Entry Disc for PS2 and Windows
|Accompanying the release of Rise of Zilart, the basic game was now sold as an "Entry Disc" and the price lowered to 4,800 Yen (tax not included).|
|Jun. 12th, 2003|| |
North American Beta Test Opens
|The world was named Cactuar.|
|Jul. 17th, 2003|| |
Level 70 Unleashed
| The Ninja Tank is Born
With Ni-level Ninjutsu shortened to a 1.5 second recast timer, Ninja could now use both tiers of Utsusemi to tank effectively. Prior to this, both tiers had the same casting times, if not Ni being slower. The supply of Ninja tools wasn't yet large enough to make this technique especially common, but it gradually became the norm. Before this, Ninja was looked at the same as Summoner: "a job with no purpose at all".
Experience Point Changes Although publicly saying they had no plans to bring an ease to the level 61+ leveling, they ninja fixed the issue with a few little changes:
Mog House Disband? Up until now, players were automatically disbanded from their party upon entering their Mog House. Even just going to change your sub job meant you had to re-join the party afterwards. This was corrected to match Nomad Moogles, which were preferred for not causing this issue.
Pet Hunting Beastmaster pets were popular prey due to the high experience they gave relative to their strength. These Beastmaster were often placed near zone lines, which made them all the more popular for parties to hunt.
However, once their spawn locations were changed, and pet recast was lengthened to 60 seconds, it became too difficult to keep up experience chains, and parties found other prey to hunt.
New BCNMs This update saw the addition of five new battlefields:
“Come Into My Parlor” was set to be added this day, but was delayed until the 22nd.
Weapon Skills Where?! New weapon skills were not immediately available. The developers stated that they used all of their resources on existing weapon skill graphic effects. Mages were complaining how melee get new weapon skills for free while mages had to work for them every time. This was the birth of WSNMs
Rare HNMs Rare HNMs (like Nidhogg) were implemented. The spawn time was 60~72 hours. Before this, players occasionally took breaks from camping them. Due to the rarity and desirability of the gear that drops from them, players now continuously camped.
|Jul. 18th, 2003|| |
Fireworks Available for a Limited Time
|From July 18th until July 27th, fireworks could be purchased in Port San d'Oria, Port Bastok, Windurst Waters and Rabao.||Four types of fireworks were available so users could celebrate summer festivals. The three nations and Rabao sold Airborne, Konron Hassen, Kongou Inaho and Meifu Goma. The Airborne and Konron Hassen were especially popular as they shot up into the sky. There were still no crafting recipes for these fireworks, and they could only be acquired through purchase.|
|Jul. 22nd, 2003|| |
Clotho Orb Added
|Jul. 26th, 2003|| |
|Users again held a Bon-Odori event, but this time there was an official moogle to announce the event, as well as the old Yughott Grotto BGM from the beta test as music.|
|Aug. 15th, 2003|| |
PlayOnline Terms of Service Change
|Players were now forbidden to use any outside programs or tools while playing.|| Around this time rumors surfaced of GMs unjustly banning players; although officially they announced them as rule breaking. As the GM's reputation was bad to begin with, this event further dented their player's trust.
Before this announcement, there was no action taken against the cheaters. Although, after this change of rules they tried several ways to stop fishbotting. The damage of untrustworthy GMs was already too deep to be undone.
Despite this announcement, the rate of fish bot bans were very minimal and were still found everywhere. Turbo controllers proved difficult to determine by SE if they were bots.
|Aug. 16th, 2003|| |
A Mysterious Creature Emerges!
| This was an event where a giant creature appeared in the areas surrounded each of the three nations. Even without Calling for Help, multiple parties and alliances could take part. If a player was defeated by the monster, they would not lose any experience.
Due to an glitch, the event was temporarily canceled.
|The event consisted of fighting Doomed-type monsters that roamed the areas outside of home nations. A large amount of adventurers took part in massive battles. This event was made very unpopular as too many people rushed in, and the atmosphere feelt like Lower Jeuno AH at the time. Later, players rumored that this was just in preparation for the Treant + OP warp event, an experimental event.|
|Aug. 16th, 2003|| |
Developer’s Blog Service Begins
|The beta test now finished, Final Fantasy XI players could begin using this service.||This service lasted until December 27th, 2005.|
|Aug. 30th, 2003|| |
A Mysterious Creature Emerges! Redux
| The event that had been canceled back on the 16th was now reborn as a 2-day event, spanning August 30th and 31st.
Touching the Beastman Banner in East Ronfaure, North Gustaberg or West Sarutabaruta would cap you at level 30 and allow you to fight the Gigantoad. Defeating the three monsters would display a congratulatory System Message.
|Sep. 12th, 2003|| |
Vana’diel’s White Shadow Returns
| This event was held for 7 hours, from 10pm September 12th to 5am September 13th. Players could receive a Moon Carrot from a Moogle, and trade said carrots to speedy little rabbits in various areas.
The rabbits were even faster than last year, but the prize was upgraded as well to Thoth's Wand.
|This event was only held in 2002 and 2003, and did not return after that. All of the glitches from the previous event remained, and it all did not go over well with players.|
|Sep. 26th, 2003|| |
Official Benchmark 2 Released
|The setting for this version was the Yuhtunga Jungle / Yhoator Jungle.|
|Sep. 26th, 2003|| |
Announcement of Future Plans
|SE announced their upcoming plans for the game; from Ballista, Dynamis, further level cap increase, and the release of NA version.|| At this time, they announced that the NA version would share server with the Japanese, which lead to many players worrying, but SE only replied with "We are treating this as an experiment.".
The Development team announced "From now on, the version update will come every few months."(Remember that they said they would update every 1 month, and then changed to 3 months, and now "few months".). They seemed to be using localization for the NA version as an excuse for further slowing down their updates. This did not help the animosity view of Japanese players towards English players.
|Oct. 7th, 2003|| |
Fairy World Opens
|A new world was established for the increasing population. Transfer was available from all worlds.|
|Oct. 14th, 2003|| |
North American Beta Test Ends
|There was a special event on the final day, where Moogles were placed at Home Points. Upon speaking with them, you could be teleported to NMs like Serket or King Behemoth and fight with them. GMs also joined the fray.|
|Oct 21st, 2003|| |
Nation Rank Missions and Zilart Completed
| The Titan Marathon Ends
Around this time, players were repeatedly undertake the Titan acquisition quest in order to earn gil. Now, they were unable to do so until midnight Earth time. With Teleport-Altep and Escape for Korroloka Tunnel, players used to easily complete 4 runs in an hour.
Cloister of Tides BCNM
At this time three BCs were added to the game. Although they had yet to receive their official names, the battlefields were:
Out of these, “Amphibian Assault” was added to the Cloister of Tides. Ultimately, it was decided that the special Avatar battle arena should be unique to the Summoner quests, and the four Sahagin were moved to the Sacrificial Chamber on June 29th, 2004.
Othinus' Bow Popular Among Marksmen
New Ex/Rare drops were added to NMs around this time, and they proved to be an immediate hit. One especially, the Othinus' Bow, was so coveted it practically made Archery obsolete. Acid Bolts and Sleep Bolts were also added in this update, further improving Marksmanship.
According the Japanese sites, the March glitch was said to have given players an unimaginable speed boost. Two-handed weapon users could swing like one-handers, dagger users were as fast as Hundred Fists, and Monk could hold hate comfortably without Provoke.
-Ga spells Ga spells were already unpopular due to their MP demand, but now they scaled in accordance to the number of targets hit by the spell. With the improvement of Magic Burst bonuses, despite the high cost, -ga spells became popular as a single target nuke. However, monster -ga spells were not affected by the number of players hit.
EX tag items This update implemented a large number of EX items. The dev team reasoning was that "People won't have to camp it again if they already have it", as well as preventing a monopoly situation to sell items. In reality, players found the actual effect is "Even if you don't want to, you have to camp it". In many cases these EX items did not do what the dev team expected it to. On top of this, high priced items still dropped from NMs such as Shining Cloth from King Behemoth and Damascene Cloth from Aquarius. Players still camped these NMs for profitable gil drops even though they already had the equipment.
As part of the EX craze, the dev team was sure to announce that many NMs could be killed by leveling parties who happen to be killing placeholders. Knowing that Ninja was an unexpected tank, the dev team's idea of balance was very questionable.
Development Team running out of ideas?! With the Lucky Roll and fortune teller features added, this was SE's answer to player's demand for "New Entertainment". The community's view that the development team was simply running out of ideas was largely increased after these were implemented. The question "What the f*** were the developers thinking?" remained a popular meme for years to come.
|Oct. 28th, 2003|| |
North American Windows Version Released
| When service in North America began for Final Fantasy XI, a large amount of foreign players immediately flooded the game. English chat flowed through towns, and Conquest results were upset by low level activity (there were dead people everywhere). Japanese players avoided home nations due to /shout spam.
Although before the release, some supported the idea of cross server in the name of international gaming. After the release, with the "PL plaz" "Gil plez" "Item pelaz" begging, sexual harassment comments, and the random party replacement(People leaving after 1 kill, leader leaving party after level, tossing leader to a random member without asking, etc, the negative complaints begun.
At the same time, the auto translator feature was added. With the tell spam of "Help Me out!" "cap" "coffer" "thank you", many Japanese players put up the "JP Only" comment. On a side note, "cap" in translator translates to the cap as in baseball cap to the Japanese, just like how "Break" is translated to relaxing to the Japanese.
These all lead to the increasing demand(still active now) of separating servers, mostly from the Japanese players. However, the CEO announced that "Cross nation and Translator are very well done, and we received a lot of praises", even though no one understand where they get those idea from.
|Oct. 30th, 2003|| |
7th CESA GAME AWARDS Winner
|Final Fantasy XI took the award for being the first PS2 MMORPG, connecting PS2 and Windows on the same servers, and for user satisfaction with Rise of the Zilart updates.|
|Oct. 31st, 2003|| |
Trick or Treat!
|From October 31st to November 3rd, players could transform in monsters by trading fruits and sweets to certain NPCs. Prizes included Jack-o'-Lantern, Trick Staff, Treat Staff, Pumpkin Head and Horror Head. Goblin Chocolate was also available for purchase.||The equipment available during this event was cute and very different, so it immediately became quite popular. Towns were filled with adventurers in puffy hats with bat staves on their back. You could also see people everywhere bopping monsters on the head, testing out the Treat Staff latent effect of Warp.|
|Nov. 4th, 2003|| |
Treat Staff Effect Changed
|Nov. 11th, 2003|| |
| Many people would group suicide to force regions to become beastmen controlled (Kolshushu was beastmen controlled for almost a year before this change). Even with this change, many regions continued to be beastmen controlled (Qufim, Elshimo, Aragoneu, etc)
Regional merchants became very rare, affecting prices of items such as Yagudo Drink.
|Nov. 16th, 2003|| |
|The official site was massively updated with Concept Art (for a set fee) and a Creator’s Voice blog. The Concept Art was found inside the Developer’s Room.|
|Nov. 18th, 2003|| |
PlayOnline Plus Beta Testing Begins
|Beta testing began for services that included a special e-mail address ([email protected]), mail forwarding and other features.|
|Dec. 4th, 2003|| |
First Annual Spike TV Video Game Awards “Best Online Game” winner
|Dec. 9th, 2003|| |
|This world was established due to the rising population. Transfer was available from all worlds.|
|Dec. 12th, 2003|| |
"REAL VANA’DIEL" Net Cafe Opens in Akihabara
| Melco Online Entertainment opened a net cafe for the enjoyment of FFXI in Akihabara. There was a Mog House resting area (smoking allowed), and staff members dressed up as FFXI characters. Satire jokes arose, such as "I am a Dark Knight. Should I AFK IRL too?"
All computers at the time gauged “Incredibly Tough” against the game’s requirements. See the pictures to the right for a glimpse inside this store and the layout.
See This Link for an article regarding the store.
|Dec. 16, 2003|| |
Level Cap 75
| No One Can Help You Now
The final Limit Break quest had players squaring off against Maat alone. Until now, quests could easily be completed with parties, but this time people had to face the challenge alone, leaving many unable to overcome it. Red Mages especially had a rough time, eventually leading to some adjustments to the difficulty. This quest was very unpopular, and some jobs had it much harder than others.
No More Yokodama
Yokodama was the practice of Sneak and Trick Attacking from the side of a monster.
(“Yoko” means side, and “dama” is the first two syllables of Damashiuchi, or Trick Attack).
On this day, it was decided that Trick Attack would only function properly if one stood directly behind the enemy. The Yokodama was no more.
Square said in an interview the month prior that "Yokodama wasn't planned, and it was making the game too easy. We may consider fixing it." Many players supported this and found it to be making fighting too easy. For some mysterious reason, players then started then complaining about the lack of Yokodama after the patch. The spells Flash and Stun were born to alleviate hate control issues.
Tu'Lia Notorious Monsters
New NMs were added to sky, namely Kirin, Byakko, Suzaku, Seiryu and Genbu. At the time, they looked just like any other monsters; even though Byakko means “white tiger,” the model was black. Eventually, these enemies were altered to look unique.
With the sky NM system now implemented, Sky Linkshells were born.
WSNMs The majority of the WSNMs had bad performance, so the effort needed to obtain them was not well received.
|Dec. 16th, 2003|| |
Holy Night in Vana’diel
|Christmas decorations were put up in all three nations. Players could talk to Moogles once a Vana’diel day to receive Popstar, Brilliant Snow, Sparkling Hand or Air Rider.||This was the start of the yearly Christmas Starlight Celebration in Vana’diel.|
|Dec. 26th, 2003|| |
| In various areas, a monsters called Twinkling Treant (a tree decorated on December 16th) appeared. Talking to nearby Moogles would impose a level cap and allow one to fight the monster.
It was announced that defeating the trees would grant the world Outpost Teleportation service. All servers succeeded in attaining this prize.
Destroy the Christmas Tree?! At first, no matter how much you hit the tree, the HP wouldn't decrease. This was a prime weapon/magic skill up opportunity. To prevent this, SE lowered the HP in the middle of the event. This also caused SE to issue a server message saying that if the NM was not killed, that world would not receive OP Warps. Some worlds were able to dispose of the tree quickly, while others just couldn’t manage to take it down. A System Message announced that the event would not end until all servers had one. The ordeal was finally over after Midgardsormr was the last to claim victory.
|Dec. 29th, 2003|| |
Outpost Teleport Service Begins
|As a reward for success in the Christmas event, all worlds were bestowed with Outpost Teleportation Service following a maintenance.|
- 2004 and onward coming soon!