The History of Final Fantasy XI/2011

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Contents
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Pre-Release & Beta

2000 - 2001


Release & The First Year

2002


The Rise of the Zilart Era

2003


The Chains of Promathia Era

2004


Conclusion of Chains of Promathia

2005


The Treasures of Aht Urhgan Era

2006


Conclusion of Treasures of Aht Urhgan

2007


The Age of Mythical Weapons

2008


The Add-on Scenarios

2009


The End of the Level 75 Cap

2010


The Beginning of Post-Abyssea

2011


The Level 99 Era

Coming Soon!

Header Key
    Historynews.gif News Entry
    Historyversionup.png Version Update
    Historybeta.png Beta Information
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png FFXI In-Game Event
    Counterfeit Gil icon.png Merchandise Released
    JPFlag.png Real Life Event in Japan
    USFlag.png Real Life Event in North America
    EUFlag.png Real Life Event in Europe

2011

In the year of 2011, some major events happened to Final Fantasy XI. On March 11th, the Great East Japan Earthquake impacted Japan. The game servers and services were suspended to conserve electricity for the country. This was the longest amount of time that Final Fantasy XI was inaccessible since the Japanese release. Dynamis as well as “The Three Kings” were completely changed. Voidwatch made its debut this year, although the content would not finish until 2012. At the end of the year, the level cap hit 99.

Jan. 1st, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png Happy New Year 2011
As with previous years, 2011 had another New Year’s event. From the 1st to the 17th a group of rabbits named Celebratory Coney, Harbinger Hare, Revelry Rarab, Bountiful Bunny and Rejoicing Rabbit made their rounds in Vana’diel.

The Gyokuto Obi and Galette des Rois were new item randomly obtained upon trading with the NPCs. For the first time during the New Year’s events, other random food effects and random items were obtainable upon trading the NPCs.

Image01-01-2011.jpg
Jan. 14th, 2011
    Historynews.gif FFXI Twitter Accounts Debut
Final Fantasy XI’s first step into social media was when Square Enix decided to create English and Japanese Twitter Accounts pertaining exclusively to the game.

The URLs to the accounts are:

Twitter would be used for all types of communication, and even for special community contests in the future. Twitter was the first official avenue of directly communicating with Square Enix and the community team members who ran the Twitter accounts. Before, you could submit general emails or post on community forums with no real satisfaction because you had no idea if your concern was seen. The main purpose of Twitter, however, was to relay announcements that were posted on the official PlayOnline website. This would make it easier for active and inactive players alike to follow news about Final Fantasy XI.

6129.jpg


Twitter was quite popular in Japan at the time, and the Japanese account was well received. The Japanese account would always keep substantially more followers and double the number of tweets than the English account. Additionally, they were more interactive and informative to players in general than the English account.

This could easily be associated with how much more popular the Japanese account was with the Japanese community. Additionally, English players quickly jumped to assumptions that nothing important would come from following or interacting with the English account, and it simply gave Square Enix more ways to not communicate with players.

Jan. 31st, 2011
    Historynews.gif 8,888 Twitter Followers on FFXI_JP
To commemorate @FFXI_JP hitting 8,888 followers, Square Enix decided to hold an 8 day series of tweets that would hint at one of eight ingredients in the mysterious Goblin Stir-Fry recipe.
Goblin Stir-Fry description.png
To compare popularity, on the same day the English account was only at 2,440 followers.

While it is a rather lackluster food, mysterious food recipes like this have always been in Final Fantasy XI and never disclosed to players. The hope was players would come across these recipes one day by trying to synthesize random ingredients together. Having 8 ingredients, it was quite the impossible task to come across such a recipe by happenstance. The recipe was never found until revealed on Twitter with hints.

Feb. 1st, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png Valentione's Day 2011
Valentione’s Day 2011 returned and was held from February 1st until February 15th.

The event and rewards were the same as 2010’s event.

Image01-25-2011.jpg
Feb. 15th, 2011
    Historyversionup.png The First Mini Update
  • No new items were included with this Version Update.

This update was the first “Mini Update”, as dubbed by SE, that would introduce changes to the game between the releases of the major version updates. Mini updates focused on things such as qualify of life changes, while major updates had job adjustments and battle content additions.

  • Nation Missions, known as “2-3” and “5-1”, had their battlefield level caps removed in order to ease the difficulty aspect.
  • Fields of Valor’s once-per-day limit on undertaking training regimes was lifted. Regimes were now able to be completed for experience as often as desired. Gil and tab rewards, however, were still awarded only once per Vana'diel day. With this change, hunts and individual training no longer share the same timer.
  • Traverser stones from the NPC Joachim in Port Jeuno may now be acquired in bulk, up to your maximum carrying capacity.
  • The NPC Ehrhard (A) in Abyssea - Grauberg has been replaced by the NPC Tancredi (A).
  • Experience point yield for defeating monsters in non-Abyssea areas has been increased.
    • This increase also applied to dragoon wyverns and adventuring fellows.
  • Combat and magic skill increase conditions have been reworked in the following ways:
    • Skills may now be increased to their caps by fighting foes rated "Decent Challenge" or stronger.
    • Skills will rise more rapidly, and larger values will accompany each skill increase.
  • Item drop rates were adjusted for the notorious monsters Apademak and Dragua.
  • The following reward items for the Treasures of Aht Urhgan mission scenario could now be reobtained:
  • Additional items were made storable with Storage Slip 04 (AF1 Weapons) and Storage Slip 11 (Mission Rewards and Misc. Event Items).
  • Items involved in ongoing Magian trials are no longer able to be stored with Storage Slips.
  • The Pet Food Eta recipe was changed. Ruszor Meat was replaced with Buffalo Meat.
  • The cost of a scroll of Instant Retrace was reduced from 500 Allied Notes to 10 each.
  • The Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 installer now required less space on the hard disk, allowing future version updates to be accessible for these players.
  • New Commands: <petmpp> and <wait #>
Mission 2-3 and 5-1

The level caps were previously Level 25 for “2-3” (or the “Dragon Fight”) and Level 50 for “5-1” (of the Fei'Yin Skeleton Fight).

These two missions were notorious for being a couple of the first toughest fights a player would face when playing the game. To complete these missions, Help was needed by other players. They both were incredibly hard for some jobs to solo and straight up impossible for others.

Experience Points and Skillup Increases

Prior to this update, Decent Challenge monsters rewarded an exceptionally low amount of experience per kill and were almost not worth the time. Due to the quick kill times, they became a main source of experience for low level jobs. Regardless of the change, Abyssean parties were still the preferred levelling method.

Skill Up changes were well welcomed, especially with how quick players were levelling up. It was all but required to focus on skilling up your magic and combat skills once you cap out.

Wait Command

The new <wait> command being inserted at the end of a macro line opened at least three new lines per macro without the developers actually adding more lines. More line additions have never been added to the game.

Console HDD Space

During the December 2010 version update download process, console players (specifically PS2 players) were encountering insufficient Hard Disk Drive space errors. Many PS2 players began fearing that PS2 support might be ending very soon due to these errors. It was nearly impossible to find a replacement hard drive at this point in the game’s life, so if there was no way of getting around the error, then PS2 support might have been over. Of course, these concerns were answered by other players with “The PS2 is 10 years old. Spend the money and get a PC”.

Luckily Square Enix acknowledged the concern in a Q&A, and this version update in February 2011 helped reduce overall file size for the PS2 client.

Feb. 17th, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png The Doll Festival 2011
The Doll Festival was held from February 17th until March 3rd.

The event and rewards were the same as 2010’s event.

Image02-09-2011.jpg
Feb. 25th, 2011
    Historynews.gif Shantotto depicted in the FFTCG
On February 25th, 2011 the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game’s first chapter was released in Japan. Final Fantasy XI was represented by Shantotto.

Later chapters of the game featured Prishe (Released in May of 2011), Leviathan, Titan, and two different White Mage depictions. All versions of these cards were models from Final Fantasy XI.

Shantotto TCG.jpg
Mar. 3rd, 2011
    Historynews.gif Final Fantasy XI Represented in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy was released in Japan for the PSP on March 3rd, 2011. Prishe joined Shantotto and represented Final Fantasy XI in the game. The voice actress Aya Hirano was Prishe's voice in the Japanese version.

In North America, the game was released on March 22nd, 2011. Julie Nathanson was Prishe's voice for this release.

Additionally, the Empyreal Paradox was also represented by a battle stage in the game.

Mar. 8th, 2011
    Historynews.gif Official Forum Released
The Official Forums were released this day by Square Enix to support community discussion between players and the developers. This was the first type of officially sanctioned communication line that Square Enix provided. The Forums would be used going forward for all types of communication, including Version Update Notes, and contests.

Link to the Official Forums: https://forum.square-enix.com/ffxi/forum.php

When first introduced, the forums were in Japanese, English, French, and German. As with before, the Japanese side had more activity from the developers.

Square Enix started to make news posts and forum threads leading up to a version update. These posts detailed major Version Update changes that were going to take place prior to the implementation of a Version Update. This was beneficial as it gave players the ability to provide crucial feedback, but the element of surprise when reading the version update notes no longer existed. DAT file mining and gear findings still existed, however.

Official Forum B.jpg
Although a forum was a wonderful idea, and should have been released a lot earlier, there were drawbacks to it.

Besides being a central area for newer players to ask easily answered questions with google, for one, you needed a Square Enix ID linked with an active PlayOnline ID to login and post.

Additionally, the forums were (and still are) highly monitored and censored. Getting permanently banned was, and still is, incredibly easy. All it took was a tame insult to another player or even scrutinizing the game development in any way. It even seemed that bandwagon reporting of posts by other users was also a way to get banned, even if the post had nothing wrong with it.

Posting anything remotely like game code (even if the code itself was just an example and not even in the game) resulted in a ban. It was even posted six months earlier.

Mar. 11th, 2011
    Historynews.gif The Great East Japan Earthquake
On March 11th, 2011 a magnitude 9.0 – 9.1 earthquake occurred off the central coast of Japan. This was referred to as the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災, Higashi nihon daishinsai).

At the time it was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful in the world. The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that may have reached up to 133 feet in Miyako and travelled 435 miles inland.

Several nuclear and conventional power plants went offline after the earthquake, reducing the Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) total capacity by 21 GW. Rolling blackouts began on March 14th due to power shortages caused by the earthquake. TEPCO, which normally provides approximately 40 GW of electricity, announced that it could only provide about 30 GW, because 40% of the electricity used in the greater Tokyo area was supplied by reactors in the Niigata and Fukushima prefectures.

Rolling blackouts of approximately three hours were experienced throughout April and May while TEPCO scrambled to find a temporary power solution. The blackouts affected Tokyo, Kanagawa, Eastern Shizuoka, Yamanashi, Chiba, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tochigi, and Gunma prefectures.

Voluntary reductions in electricity use by consumers in the Kanto area helped reduce the predicted frequency and duration of the blackouts. Square Enix was one of these companies.

Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV, and PlayOnline servers were shut down from March 11th until March 25th. The game servers accounted for 11.6% of the total power usage at Square-Enix's offices. Throughout the shutdown, the official website and forum remained online. These took far less energy than the game worlds did, so the line of communication remained open for updates.

Earthquake Epicenter

Earthquake epicenter.png

Mar. 23rd, 2011
    Counterfeit Gil icon.png Crysta Relief Donations Opened
On March 23rd, Square Enix began accepting donations via their Square Enix Account management system with the Crysta currency. Donations were used towards Japanese relief efforts for the earthquake on March 11th.

In exchange for donations, players who had their Square Enix account linked were rewarded with the in-game item Charity Cap. There was no minimum required to be donated to be eligible for a cap. Consideration for the item was discussed on the Official Forum before implementation.

The cap was exclusive to this donation drive, and it is the only Moogle type cap with a green pompom on it in-game. There are no stats besides DEF:1 on the cap, it is simply a symbolic meaning of gratitude to the players who contributed to the relief fund.

The Japanese version of the cap is called “グラトス” (Gratos) which is Portuguese for “Thankful”.

Charity Cap Appearance.png
Mar. 25th, 2011
    Historynews.gif Game Services Restored
In exchange for bringing the games back online on March 25th, the Square Enix offices instead turned off their Air Conditioner units and reduced lighting and other electricity usage in their building. Even though the electricity crisis was not over, this exchange of energy usage was enough to allow operation of the game worlds again. April 2011 service fees were not billed to make up for the downtime.

Many speculation threads on community sites thought the servers would be down for months, or even permanently. Two weeks seemed like an eternity for some, while others were happy for the forced time off.

Apr. 7th, 2011
    Historynews.gif 9th Vana'versary Art Contest
The sixth art contest announcement was made in commemorating the 9th anniversary of Final Fantasy XI. Submissions were gathered from April 7th til May 8th.

Creators of the winning illustrations received a Chocobo Beret again this year, but no moogle rod.

All art submissions for this contest can be viewed here.

Be sure to click the "Next" button on bottom of the page to see the other pages of entries.

Apr. 12th, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png Egg Hunt 2011
Easter's in-game event known as the Egg Hunt was held from April 12th until April 26th.

The event and rewards were the same as 2010’s version.

Image04-05-2011.jpg
Apr. 14th, 2011
    Historynews.gif Siren falls in Besieged!
On this day at 4:00PM Japanese time, the Siren world finally succumbed to its first Besieged loss. The content was implemented about five years before this loss occurred.

The record was 3166 consecutive wins. It was even more impressive because it was during the level 75 cap that most of these wins occurred.

During the server outage of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Besieged records were unintentionally reset. Emergency Maintenance was performed on March 29th to fix the counts.

Although the exact number cannot be investigated, there were many players on Siren who took the following volunteer actions to defend Al Zahbi:

  • Defeating Archaic Mirrors prior to Besieged marches, which weakened enemy forces.
  • Promptly free any captured NPCs after each battle, which greatly benefited the temporary items provided to players.
  • Donating Imperial Bronze Pieces to the Imperial Defense after each battle.

It is without a doubt that such a virtuous cycle of events is the reason why the record continued. After the loss, the number of consecutive defense successes increased. As of March 31st, 2016 when the PS2 and Xbox 360 server access shut down, the number of losses was only this one.

Apr. 28th, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png Feast of Swords 2011
The Feast of Swords ran from April 28th until May 10th.

The event and rewards were the same as 2010’s version.

An interesting tidbit of information regarding this year’s event was that it was also run during the timeframe of the data collection for the 10th Vana’diel Census. That being said, the statistic for “Top 100 monsters who killed the most players” ranked Omodaka Armor as 17th place.

Image04-21-2011.jpg
Apr. 28th, 2011
    Historynews.gif Abyssea Add-On Gift Announcement
It was announced that players who purchased and registered of all three Abyssea battle content add-ons would receive a Prishe Statue for free in-game.

At this point in time, statues were still a big deal and quite popular with players.

Prishe Statue Appearance.PNG
May 9th, 2011
    Historynews.gif Second World Mergers
Due to continued population decline, a large-scale world merger was carried out on May 9th, 2011. Some worlds that were online since the beginning of service were merged for the first time.

Like what happened last year during the previous world merge, many players were not happy with the idea of merging. Frustrated players from the source world were especially bitter because they were the ones who had to go through a name change and not the destination world players.

Again, the biggest complaint was overpopulation after the merge. It was true that both source and destination worlds had a low active population online at any given time; but by combining worlds, the situation went from desolate to overcrowding practically overnight. Due in part from the merge, Abyssea had congestion issues occurring for quite some time following the May version update.

Source World Destination World
Ramuh => Bahamut
Alexander => Shiva
Titan => Phoenix
Gilgamesh => Carbuncle
Unicorn => Fenrir
Ifrit => Odin
Diabolos => Siren
Caitsith => Ragnarok
May 10th, 2011
    Historyversionup.png The First Post-Abyssea Version Update
New Features & Content


Job Adjustments
Update05-09-2011 4.jpg
  • The Level Cap restriction for the Quest Return to the Depths BCNM was removed.
  • The NM Almighty Apkallu now appears more easily.
  • The amount of time it takes for the NM Yilbegan to despawn due to excessive distance from the player has been extended.
  • The Abyssea - Attohwa NM Rahu was renamed to Svarbhanu.
  • Additional equipment was made available for purchase with Imperial Standing.
  • New rewards were added to the ENM Pulling the Strings.
  • Fireworks vendors Kindlix and Pyropox were added to Port Jeuno at (J-7).
    • Additionally, NPC vendors had their sale prices and buy prices of fireworks reduced.
  • Many Abyssean upgrade items were made stackable to 12.
  • Many enchantment items were shortened to a 1 hour recast time. Examples include: Pashhow Ring, Kazham Earring, Warp Cudgel, and many Costume pieces of equipment.
  • The Nexus Cape and other teleportation pieces of equipment had their timers shortened to 20 hours.
  • More items were added to the Porter Moogle.
  • The Delivery System was adjusted to allow many Exclusive Exclusive items to be deliverable to the same characters on a PlayOnline Account.
  • The cap on physical damage sustainable with Burtgang equipped as well as magical damage sustainable with Aegis equipped were both increased.
  • Fishing underwent the following changes:
    • There is now a different message displayed in the chat log depending on what caught the hook:
      • Small fish: "Something caught the hook!"
      • Large fish: "Something caught the hook!!!"
      • Non-fish targets: "You feel something pulling at your line."
      • Monsters: "Something clamps onto your line ferociously!"
    • Critical Bites added - Players with fishing skill surpassing the rank of their target will register a critical bite, and be rewarded with advance knowledge as to the identity of their prey.
  • Signet effect durations were increased by three hours across the board. The maximum possible duration remained unchanged at 15 hours.
  • When conducting currency exchange with either the NPC Ugrihd (Aht Urhgan Whitegate) or Awaheen (Nashmau), players may now specify the Imperial coin of their choice as well as the quantity desired.
  • New Command: “/blockhelp”
    • This command allows players to toggle on and off the ability to bring up the "Call for Help" button in the command menu. The default setting for this command is on; logging out of the game will revert this setting to default.
  • The active command window may be hidden, and radar displayed by pressing the triangle button or plus key during battle.
  • The font used to display characters' names above their heads has been changed on the Windows and Xbox 360 versions of the game.
Initially, this version update was postponed due to the delays from the earthquake. Players expected a lot from this update because of the information released prior on its contents. The level cap on Synthesis skills was supposed to increase, and adjustments were instead made for Synergy due to feedback on the official forum. As soon as this was announced, the outlook on the update changed.

Poor measures were taken to alleviate congestion following the world merges. Weakening Puppetmaster, even after they said they would not nerf any jobs. The first item nerf without prior notice (Burattinaios), besides typos. Backtracking on the ability to send the Black Belt quest items. Adjusting low level dungeon areas, completely ignoring new players existed. Windurst's horrible NPC placement locations. Fierce criticism flooded the official forums. Players even compared this update to the great July 2nd, 2002's "Hell Patch".

The increasing of Merit Points, addition of Grounds of Valor, adjustments to Dark Knight, and item enchantment reduction timers were welcomed. Although there were pros and cons, the major changes to Dynamis and cancelling of the Synthesis cap increase took the cake. The two consecutive updates after this one were due to the criticism received, and helped roll back the situation a bit.

Job Adjustments

Dark Knight a clear winner in this update. Increasing the duration of Last Resort six fold was an incredible boost to damage.

Rangers new Dead Aim job trait gave players a clear +40% damage boost at level 90 with Critical Hit Weapon Skills.

Puppetmaster was severely nerfed with the changes in this update, but the following two updates helped reverse some of the changes.

Burattinaios

The Burattinaios was implemented in the December 2010 version update. The weapon was powerful enough that it completely changed the dynamic of Puppetmaster whether you had them or not, similar to a REM weapon. The nerf to the weapon Burattinaios changed the TP Regain from 10 TP/second to 1 TP/second which is 1/10th of its original value (to what it is in today's TP change), without any notice to players. This was the first item nerf in FFXI's history, besides typographical error corrections.

Combining this change with the other PUP changes in this update caused major backlash on the official forums. Comments such as "too weak for it's acquisition difficulty" and "too weak for anything" were made, specifically because the nerfing in this update centered on ONLY Puppetmaster, while making other jobs stronger.

Voidwatch

With the introduction of Voidwatch comes the first significant Post-Abyssea content addition. Most players were tired of “God Mode”, and steam rolling monsters in Abyssea with the use of Atmatice/Atmas. Voidwatch was a fresh, albeit difficult, change of pace. The stagger system introduced in Abyssea was carried over to Voidwatch along with Dynamis. Temporary items were also added to Voidwatch. The theory was that players needed the terrorize and temp item assistance to handle these new Notorious Monsters without Abyssea buffs. The first chapter fights were not easy, and not really “challenging”. They were, however, “harder” than Abyssea content. The event itself encouraged players to form large alliances again, rather than running 2-person parties.

The cooldown time was initially 20 hours for additional Voidstones, but many could accumulate on the NPC. This “gather as many as you want before using them all at once” was a nice change compared to events of the past, as well as the ability to still participate even if you do not have a stone. The weird thing was that the currency used for the event was Cruor. Players had a stockpile from playing in Abyssea for the last year. Normally, events received a new type of currency rather than re-use one already in the game.

Lotting was the way to win a valuable item between multiple people until this point. Albeit that the gear was more accessible than the 3 Kings used to be, linkshells that have not yet disbanded had little motivation to run the event as a group. It did not feel like you were helping each other attain gear you wanted. Well-organized pick-up groups served the same purpose now.

Only a masochist would enjoy the low drop rates re-introduced in Voidwatch, no doubt from Tanaka, yet the biggest complaint about the system that players had was the treasure drop mechanics. Prior to the personal loot pools drops in Voidwatch, players had a community treasure pool and lotted items they wanted or needed. This would generally ensure that the item went to good use. Having personal loot pools was not a big deal, but with that came the inability to share rare treasure that you ALREADY HAD or did not want with somebody else that needed it.

It was depressing as hell to watch a mule obtain a Coruscanti.

TanakaBalance1.jpg

Exclusive Items Deliverable

The ability to send Exclusive armor to mules was an incredibly unexpected addition to the game. Before it was implemented, it was something that players would never fathom being possible. When the announcement on the forum was made, players were first assuming that all EX gear would be able to be sent, so it would be a way to chance races. After implementation, however, it turned out to be a way to store gear more than anything.

Dynamis Adjustments

The original Dynamis was an incredibly unique event, albeit very repetitive. No other event was as chaotic while still requiring a high degree of team cooperation. Today, some players even miss the experience it used to be. The changes to the event were very welcomed, even though the changes were drastic and made it feel like a new event all together. During the first few days, players thought that ancient currency would be rarer than before due to abysmal drop rates. After the stagger system was figured out, coins were dropping much more frequently than anticipated. With proper procs and Treasure Hunter, players would receive many more coins than the old version of Dynamis.

The old 3-day lockout timer and “Reservation” of a Dynamis zone used to be a requirement. Linkshells on each server needed to have their own days, times, and zones pre-picked as to not to run into any conflicts. Some worlds even made online calendars so that groups on that world could see what others had planned and reserve their own areas too. “Zone Sniping” existed, where players would rush out with a glass, right before another group was ready to enter, and snag a zone from underneath them. This would cause animosity between linkshells. Last minute zone changes were quite frequent.

Earning a Relic Weapon was a huge accomplishment with the old version of Dynamis. “Sponsoring a run” was done by players who were working on a Relic Weapon. They would buy the hourglass, and as such collect all the ancient currency dropped in a run. This usually always turned out to be more efficient than straight up buying the currency unless the run went horribly wrong. In return, players would get a shot at Relic Armor. Looking back on this method today, it seemed like madness that players would devote hours of time a week helping one player with a relic weapon. Even then, players knew no other way at the time. Linkshells also typically chose a member’s relic to upgrade too and collect all currency in a run and donated it to the cause.

If certain monsters were spawned before they should be, an entire run could have been ruined. Relic Weapons were made much easier to obtain with higher currency amounts being introduced into circulation. Farming could now be done in small/duo groups. Before, it usually took multiple runs to receive the correct Attestation needed, and the monsters that dropped them only spawned once per run. Additionally, fragment monsters required specific strategies to kill them and to not wipe. Beaucedine runs needed to be dedicated to Attestation farming if that was the goal. Xarcabard also needed special runs to be focused on one Fragment, as two-hour abilities and special job setups were required to kill them before they warped.

Kirin Teleporter

Depending on luck, it could have taken a linkshell up to an hour for everyone to reach the Kirin room. Changing the teleporters to absolute locations was long overdue. Randomly teleport players in the first place was an absolute waste of everyone’s time.

Abyssea Adjustments

Abyssea’s changes did not have much of an effect on congestion. Rather, Dynamis and Voidwatch helped disburse players into other content. The addition of more NPCs was more of a “Wish that was there last year” type of situation.

Three Kings

Players were suggesting for years that kings should be changed to a force spawn system. By the time it was finally done, Fafnir/Nidhogg and Adamantoise/Aspidochelone were irrelevant except for the Wyrm Beard. Behemoth and King Behemoth were still camped for the Defending Ring.

In the Level 75 era, KS99 BCNMs could have potential to be a goldmine. The Dreizack was the best polearm for non-relic Dragoona. The Kriegsbeil was highly desired by Warriors and Rangers. The Behemoth KS99 always guaranteed you Behemoth Hides and Behemoth Horns, which were desired for crafting Dusk Gloves and Behemoth Rings.

The overall drop rate for the Defending Ring remained the same with this new system, but the item itself became overall more accessible to players due to the face that monopolization could no longer take place. A key factors that affected this were that it took a substantial amount of Kindred's Seals just to fight a Behemoth.

The consensus from the player base was “If they listened to us this much five years ago, the game would have a much higher population today.” Nevertheless, better late than never.

Monster Spawn Adjustments

With the addition of high-level monsters in non-Abyssea areas, Square Enix was attempting to create leveling spots for players as an alternative to the Abyssea method. This did not quite work out, as players only thought of them to alternatives to Magian Trials rather than a new Experience source.

These monsters became an unintended death sentence to new players. It was very odd to encounter such a high-level monster that can one shot you mere feet away from a level 30 monster you just defeated.

Merit Point Adjustments

Higher category limits were welcomed, but because of how quick it was to get merits, players asked “What was the point?”. Was there going to be a significant difference seen in performance?

Experience Loss Adjustments

Changing the Experience Points penalty to no loss below level 30 was a wonderful way to encourage new players to try something new if their tactics did not work. Getting killed at level 2 and de-levelling was disheartening if you are just trying to learn how to play the game.

Almighty Apkallu

The legend of the Birdman Cape and Skanda Boots in the TOAU era continued until this version update. The items were found in the .DAT files when they were implemented in July 2006, but nobody ever found out how to obtain them. Due to the cape being one of the best Bard capes at the time, it was highly desired complete with a cult following. Players simply used the process of elimination, along with the item name, to assume the cape came from Almighty Apkallu (which was also found in the .DAT monster lists). There were only ever a couple of screenshots on the internet of Almighty Apkallu, and many sighting claims were written off as hearsay. The testimonials that did surface of fighting it said he had an additional effect of Stun on its attacks with a Paralyze AoE TP move. It was clear that a strong party was needed to kill it at level 75 cap, but it would be madness to ride the boat back and forth in hopes of encountering the NM, so it probably only defeated a handful of times since implementation.

With the spawn condition changes, the NM would now spawn multiple times per boat ride. Paired with the fact that players were level 90 now, Birdman Capes popped up everywhere. At this point the item was not nearly as desired.

During the Reddit AMA in mid-2016, the question was asked what the spawn conditions of Almighty Apkallu used to be before this update. The response was that “Simply put, the spawn rate was extremely low. Essentially, the lottery would not start unless there were specific weather events, and the chances for it to pop within this already limited time-frame were very low”.

Tatter and Scrap Augments

The introduction of Tatter and Scrap Synergy Augments was the first upgrade system for level 75 era armor. The first thing players thought about was “Where are my Salvage Augments?” – Not knowing of Salvage upgrades coming later.

While a lot of the augments did not rival Empyrean +2 options, many perfect or near perfect pieces were incredibly significant even at Level 99 cap. A couple augments remained relevant for years even. An example was the Genbu's Shield. Magic Accuracy and Cure Potency were BiS for Bard until Omen was introduced years later.

Burtgang and Aegis Changes

Even though both changes to the Burtgang and Aegis were significant, Paladin was still laughed at as a tank. Melee tanking and going all out was the norm these days. Paladin couldn’t hold hate well, and Atmas were used to help mitigate damage and increase surivibility.

With the introduction of Voidwatch, Paladin became a bit more significant without Melee’s god mode. Many abilities on the T4 bosses ate through shadows, and the Ochain was a significant piece of equipment.

Fishing Changes

The messages that now display for fish helped old and new fishermen alike. It was now clear what was biting on your line, and this information could be used as a reference to avoid pulling up junk items and burn through fatigue.

BCNMs

The main excitement generated from new BCNMs was that Shami now stored Kindred's Crests and High Kindred's Crests, thus generating many new inventory spots for players. At this point, players were simply throwing them away for space. The BCNMs themselves did not offer much in terms of desirable rewards, although with the naming choices, it was obvious that the localization team at Square Enix was obsessed with Arnold given the names chosen... Kindergarten Cap and Last Orc-Shunned Hero.

Arnold-smoking-weed.jpg

Bone Bone Fantasy's Last Stand

Since the addition of the Treasures of Aht Urhgan zones, and therefore Colibri camps, all types of skeletons were well avoided. Due to the implementation of Grounds of Valor, original levelling areas were rejuvenated once more. Skeletons became a viable target once again. Specifically, Gusgen Mines became a popular choice due to it being only a Teleport-Dem and short Chocobo ride away.

After that, factors such as Trust Magic's implementation and EXP bonuses implemented one after another made it easy and efficient to level on monsters other than skeletons. Players shied away from GoV objectives, and the Bone Bone fantasy came to an end.

May 11th, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png 9th Anniversary Adventurer Appreciation Campaign
The Adventurer’s Appreciation Campaign for Final Fantasy XI’s 9th Anniversary ran from May 11th until May 31st. The overall event itself was the same as 2010, but instead of the Anniversary Ring, players received the Novennial Ring upon speaking to the Statistic Moogle.

Additionally, the Novennial Coat and Novennial Hose were given to male characters, while female characters got the Novennial Dress and Novennial Boots.

Novennial Ring description.png

Upon equipping the gear, a mini quest was available to players. Essentially, you needed to speak to moogles in six locations to end up with three items. When you spoke with the Statistic Moogle again, you would receive a Moogle's Largesse. Using this item grants players 100~10,000 Gil, with a 9-use limit which commemorates the 9th Anniversary.

Moogle's Largesse description.png

Image05-11-2011.jpg
Novennial Coat Appearance.jpg Novennial Dress Appearance.jpg
May 13th, 2011
    Historyversionup.png May 2011 Supplemental Update #1
Job Adjustments
  • Puppetmaster
    • Attachments were changed in the following ways:
      • Heat Capacitor: Will no longer erase all Fire Maneuver effects.
      • Power Cooler: Will reduce the MP cost even if there are no Ice Maneuvers in effect.
      • Galvanizer: Will increase the chance of countering even if there are no Thunder Maneuvers in effect.
    • The following adjustments were made to the new weapon skills that were added. In addition, they addressed an issue wherein weapon skill damage was not calculated properly.
Gee, thanks

The changes made in this update were more of a “Thanks, but it would have been nice last year” type of response.

May 16th, 2011
    Counterfeit Gil icon.png Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Collection Abyssea Edition Released
The third “Collection” edition of Final Fantasy XI was released on May 16th, simultaneously around the world on the same day. For the first time, this version of the game was only released digitally. All expansions, add-on content, as well as the Abyssea battle scenarios were included. The North American version retailed at $19.99, the Japanese version was 3980 Yen, and the European version was £17.99.

This collection edition purchase featured the premier of the Destrier Beret, an item that would remain useful for new players from this point onward. Many veteran players ended up buying this version of the game just for a Destrier Beret on their main character. Destrier Beret description.png

Ultimate Collection - Abyssea Edition Promotional Trailer

May 20th, 2011
    Historyversionup.png May 2011 Supplemental Update #2
Voiddust

Due to the popularity of the Voidwatch content, players were using stones as quickly as they were recharged. Voiddust was a great substitute, and a fantastic use of all of that dusty Conquest Points and Allied Notes.

Abyssea Bottlenecks

Thanks to the addition of certain key items in the treasure chests, many of the Abyssea bottlenecks were alleviated with alternate sources instead of fighting over a timed spawn. As an example, the Molted peiste skin, from Gukumatz was a big time sink in farming. It was always camped due to the high desire for Sobek's Skin for the popular Almace.

May 26th, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png 9th Vana'versary Mog Bonanza
The seventh Mog Bonanza, called the 9th Vana'versary Bonanza, had marbles sell from May 27th until June 30th, 2011. The drawing took place on July 14th, 2011 and prizes were available to claim until July 28th.

For the first time, not counting the Nomad Mog Bonanza I from Vanafest last year, Relic Weapons and Mythic Weapons were made available as a Mog Bonanza Rank 1 prize choice. The level 90 Ultimate Weapon variant of choice was awarded via the Mog Kupon “RW”, “MW” and “EW”.

Note: See the 9th Vana'versary Mog Bonanza page for details on the event such as prizes and results.

Mog Bonanza.jpg

This Bonanza was the first in which Exclusive EX items were transferable via POL Accounts to different characters. Because of this, many players picked equipment on their mules as a prize rather than just Gil.

Jun. 6th, 2011
    Historyversionup.png Abyssea Congestion Relief Update
In order to continue the efforts to relieve congestion in Abyssea, the following changes were implemented:
  • Sturdy pyxides now appear in significantly greater quantities.
  • Players will now have the option to manually destroy any unwanted pyxides for a small amount of Cruor.
  • The name of the player who successfully struck a fiend's weakness will be displayed in the message log.
  • When performing atma infusions, players may now view and select from a list of their twelve most recently infused Atma.
Atma List

The 12 favorite atma list was one of the most desired improvements that players were looking forward to in the May version update. It was delayed a month for further testing, and finally came to fruition in this relief update. It was a tedious chore surfing through your Atma list if you came to Abyssea on a different job than normal. This way, four sets of most used Atma are available for the choosing instead of having to look through a gigantic list.

Jun. 20th, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png Celestial Nights 2011
The Celestial Nights event was held from June 27th until July 10th.

The event remained the same as 2010.

Image06-20-2011.jpg
Jun. 28th, 2011
    Historynews.gif The 10th Vana’diel Census
Making a return from 2009 was the 10th Vana’diel Census. Data used for the census was obtained during May 2011.

Interesting new statistics included “Top 100 Monsters that Have KO’d Players” with Shinryu taking first with 61,130, and Total times KO’d by Linkshell, which was Bismarck with 417,132 across 531 members.

The entire Census can be found here, it is certainly worth a read.
Jun. 29th, 2011
    Historynews.gif Official Forum Update
As of June 29th, the Official Forums were updated to show character details, such as name, world and up to three jobs, on all of a user’s forum posts. Forum posts could not be made until a character was selected. The Backlash

Japanese players have, for the most part, enjoyed anonymity online. This is one of the reasons that 2chan was and is still rather popular in Japanese culture. Changing the forums to show your character identity was a huge concern to Japanese players, especially since many have already made posts. This was all retroactive, and posts made since the forum’s inception were also updated.

Many players found themselves abandoning their forum accounts or even paying for dedicated mules in order to complete the linking process and continue posting.

Jul. 12th, 2011
    Historyversionup.png /yell is born
Job Adjustments
Job Adjustments

Samurai's ability adjustments were amazing, especially Konzen-ittai. Paired with Masamune (Level 90), it just made the Empyrean that much better than Relic. Zanshin was still nothing to write home about, as Double Attack prevailed due to its ability to work on Weapon Skills. Even with these adjustments, players still preferred playing as Warrior, but Samurai would slowly gain popularity from this point onward.

Seal Trading

Seal trading was quite useful, as players hardly ever received Kindred's Seals anymore. Players focus was on KS99 orbs to get Black Belt items and Behemoth (and eventually King Behemoth) pops for Defending Ring.

Porter Moogle Additions & Battle Trophies

Addition of Porter Moogle locations was convenient, but not necessary. Similarly, many players turned in a single battle trophy just to find out that the armor was not NPCable. That was also not a necessary change.

Campaign and Besieged

Nobody really paid any attention to Campaign or Beseiged at this point, so the adjustments were not really taken advantage of. They were significant, however.

Yell is born

Since the beginning of Final Fantasy XI, players have had the tendency to gather in the most convenient areas of the game closest to the most relevant content of the time. This used to always cause congestion and difficulty accessing those areas where players are the most concentrated.

Square Enix has always taken steps to alleviate such congestion. Yell was one of those steps. Due to testing purposes, and to not overload servers, a trial period was held from the July 12th update until later that month on July 26th. Upon initial implementation, yell had the following default restrictions:

  • Usable only every 60 seconds.
  • The yell chat filter was always on upon logging in and had to be toggled off to use.
  • /yellsw was used to toggle the ability on or off.
  • Only Usable in the four areas of Jeuno.
    • Compared to /shout only displaying text across a single zone.

Because of these restrictions, many players either didn’t use yell, forgot it existed, or forgot to enable it. Due to feedback, the restrictions were eased. The maintenance on July 26th, 2011 changed the interval to 30 seconds, the yell filter was turned off by default, and the status was displayed in the log when a player changed the filter.

Jul. 27th, 2011
    Historynews.gif PlayOnline ID to Square Enix ID Transition Began
The transfer of all PlayOnline IDs to the (relatively new) Square Enix Account ID system began on July 27th.

It was initially announced that players must migrate before Wednesday, August 31st to continue service. This date was later pushed back by a few months to accommodate the incredible dissatisfaction in the new systems’ restrictive billing options and requirements.

One of the reasons for the move to the Square Enix Account system was that the PlayOnline registration servers always had a 2-3 day maintenance at the end of every month in order to process billing in an archaic way. Everyone was charged around the 1st of the month for that month’s service. If a player wanted to deactivate their account, they needed to be sure to perform the deactivation on the 28th or earlier every month to avoid getting locked out, and then being forced to pay for an additional month that they did not want.

Players who completed the migration were given an in-game item Rounsey Wand.

Rounsey Wand description.png

Square Enix's Laughable Billing System

2011 saw many changes in Square Enix’s billing methods. The switch to the Square Enix account was supposed to streamline the billing process with FFXIV. In April, players found themselves getting deactivated and disconnected from the game due to billing system errors. The errors were related to not charging players for March services from the downtime while also attempting to collect fees for Add-on content purchases in March. With the high rate of deactivations, PlayOnline threw many USC-5001 “Server is busy, try later” errors to players attempting to reactivate. Those who were in the middle of playing and were then disconnected were assuming they got hit by RMT account theft when they logged back in to see no Content ID on their accounts.

Square Enix was bad about double charging players. It was a consistent, apparently random issue. Players do not dare try disputing a charge with their credit card company or bank. A bizarre policy that Square Enix had was if a player, or even a bank, intentionally (or accidently) caused a chargeback with their billing method, they were likely to be banned or permabanned. If they were banned, whether it was warranted or not, they could also be endangering other players they know in real life. It was common practice to cross ban innocent accounts that had a credit card in common, whether past or present, with accounts who were banned for any type of chargeback or Terms of Service violation. While this makes sense for hunting RMT, it was detrimental for players in the same household who were likely to use the same credit card to play. Banks were known to automatically stop charges if more than one of the same amount came from the same merchant, chalking it up as fraud.

In late 2010 and early 2011, Square Enix made the decision to only accept “3DS (3D Secure)” and “Verified by Visa” credit cards to pay for the game. The purpose of this was to lower the number of chargebacks and to prevent players from using prepaid cards. Not many players had access to this type of credit card at the time, so they became unable to pay for the game without going out of their way to get a proper credit card. A bypass was possible using a PS2, but a lot of work was required to do it correctly.

Another “bribe” to get North American players to use the new Crysta payment option was a contest run from August 2011 through September 2011. The contest was by Playspan (acquired by Visa in March 2011), Square Enix’s credit card merchant of choice at the time. The contest itself was when a customer used Playspan to buy Crysta, they were placed into drawing to win one of multiple “Ultimate Game Cards”. These were essentially a prepaid Visa gift card of sorts.

Aug. 2nd, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png Fantastic Fraulein Mumor in Dark Designs of a Dubious Diva!
The Sunbreeze Festival ran in 2011 from August 2nd until August 16th. Overall, the basic content of the event was the same as 2010 with a few exceptions.

The Heroine show’s name was changed to “Fantastic Fraulein Mumor – Dark Designs of a Dubious Diva!”. New equipment was added when you synchronized your dances enough. Specifically, new graphic Yukatas were added: Hikogami Yukata and Himegami Yukata.

A new furnishing, the Celestial Globe was added to the game. Each of the ingredients for the Level 1 Alchemy recipe were from the event: Mumor’s dance-off, Goldfish Scooping, and “Fun and Frolic”.

New fireworks added include: Marine Blisses, Shisai Kabokus, and Falling Stars.

Celestial Globe in a Mog House

Celestial globe appearance.jpg

Image07-26-2010 1.jpg
Aug. 29th, 2011
    Historynews.gif Test Server Launches
The first Test Server named Undine was launched on August 29th, and was in operation until July 26th, 2016. Note that this is not the same world as the Atomos world, which is also used for development and official events.

Access to the test server required registration and a lottery selection process. Test periods involved upcoming content that was planned for release in future version updates, as well as various other game elements under development. Feedback sections were available on the forum for players to comment on test runs. Because it was a testing server, there were numerous bugs scattered all throughout the game. Because of this, it was desirable to play while checking the official forums for announcements of glitches.

In addition to being chosen, players must have installed a special test client to play on the test server. This client was separate from the main Final Fantasy XI client. In addition to this, the test client was only available on Windows. Because of this, it was possible to .DAT mine the test server client for future gear stats. Players also needed to have their account migrated to a Square-Enix Account and be registered on the official forum.

The First Test

The initial test period focused on the new job abilities, job traits, and magic spells that were set to accompany the level cap increase in the upcoming September 2011 Version Update. Natually, there was nearly zero developer response to the English test server forum, but almost every other thread on the Japanese section had a reply from a developer.

Ongoing Tests Many players appreciated being able to login the server and see new features before they went live. Many aspects of the game were testable, such as new Job Abilities and Spells, without worry of adverse effects on main characters. Inventory items were automatically generated, as well as skill caps and other game mechanics, all without having to raise them yourself to testing something new right away.

In addition, there was a moogle in player’s Mog Houses named =TEST=Moogle GM. With this NPC, players could warp to major areas, change to any job of any value, increase Merit Points, reset job abilities, learn all magic, and more. NPCs in the world were also changed in and out depending on the content being tested.

Sep. 8th, 2011
    Historynews.gif First North American Screenshot Contest
A Screenshot Contest was held on the Official Forums for North American players. It was more of a “meme caption contest” than the screenshot contests run later on.

Players needed to download a screenshot provided on the official forum, reupload it, and provide a caption. The theme was “Humorous”, and the image was of a Beastmaster trying to charm Shinryu. Judging was done by other players with a forum account.

The most “Liked” entries won, with a Grand Prize, Second Place, and Third place.

The image used for the contest is below:

Screenshot Caption Contest NA2011.jpg
The grand prize winner received the Shadow Lord Statue, released in 2008, along with the Tarutaru Trading Arts mini figurines.

Shadow Lord RL Statue.jpg

Second and Third place entries won the Tarutaru Trading Arts mini figurines.

Tarutarutrademini.jpeg

Sep. 20th, 2011
    Historyversionup.png Level Cap 95
New Features & Content


Job Adjustments
Beginning with this update, players have already experienced many changes on the Test Server. Changes were postponed more often beginning with this update due to the feedback on the official forum. Because of the harsh Puppetmaster feedback in the July update, many job adjustments that would take place upon raising the level cap were postponed, such as the planned Warrior and Monk updates that were supposed to take place in this update. Relic Armor was supposed to receive augmented statistics similar to that of the Tatter and Scrap augments, but the concept was abandoned.

The feeling of the playerbase was that the test server was mainly supposed to be for a live debugging instead of internal testers, rather than listening to the playerbase and making changes based on feedback. Rarely, developers did listen to certain changes and cause them to be postponed. On the dark side, players were able to play the market on certain aspects of the test server. Items used for upcoming new quests, trial of the magian information and adjustments such as that were found early. Some players were able to manipulate the live auction houses to gain a monetary advantage over others.

Almost all of the new magic scrolls were not sold via NPCs, o there was criticism for having limited supplies from Voidwatch.

Unlike previous updates, the world maintenance was 30 minutes shorter than before. It also did not require the usual emergency maintenance that accompanied updates as of late, so that was well received. In addition, players were able to login and play on the test server when the live servers were down, which was a nice little bonus.

It was a new feeling with the Quality of Life adjustments in this update. Increasing items to stack to 99, voluntary being able to set training regimes to automatically repeat, and the Loadstone quest being added to the game. For convenience sake it was an improvement and welcomed.

Voidwatch Chapter II

With the update came Zilart region Tier I-III and Jeuno tiers I-III. Unintentionally, Voidwatch became one of the most significant time savers with Voidwatch warps, like the one to Hall of the Gods for quick transportation to Tu'Lia. The new fights added in this chapter were incredibly fun and refreshing with their gameplay gimmicks. With the higher level NMs, Atmacite became more important to upgrade and equip, as well as Temporary Items.

The Quest and Key Item progression from this point on got rather confusing for players to catch up if you have not been progressing each version update. In addition to this, it did not help that players could participate and receive rewards without having the correct Key Item and only a Voidstone. If you forgot to enhance your key item from talking to the Voidwatch NPCs, you would be left behind without knowing it.

Players were hoping that the Heavy Metal Pouches found in the .DAT files would give closer to a full stack of 99 plates when used, rather than just the 10~ they gave. In addition, the level 95 Pulse Panoplia weapons were added in this update, with the abysmal drop rates included. Before this, the Sagasinger was added I the previous update with the release of revamped Dynamis.

Level Cap Increase and Job Adjustments

Many of the job adjustments and new abilities were well received. Paladin’s did not help with the current enmity gain situation, so there was no hate to lose. Scholar really needed Cure V but would not receive it yet.

Holy was about a 17 yalm casting distance, while Banish/Flash was 21.5. Having to run in just to cast it made a situation where players just didn't use it. Having all of them the same distance just made sense.

Since Abyssea, Beastmaster has been relying on Jug pets. Adding more Jug pets only exacerbated the situation. With Voidwatch content, it was clear that this would be the new path for the near future, and Charm would be left on the wayside.

The limit break quest was a parody of the Dragon Ball story. The animations in-game felt to some players that it "broke the fourth wall" and destroyed the world-view of Vana'diel.

REM 90 to 95 Trials

The Relic and Mythic trials were quite disproportionate if compared to the difficulty of the Empyrean trials requiring 1500 Heavy Metal Plates. It was a completely uncharacteristic upgrade compared to how easy the weapons were to level up prior to this. With the horrible drop rate, it was nearly impossible to obtain enough plates for quite some time. Level 90 Empyreans still pulled ahead of most, if not all, level 95 weapons in damage output.

Sep. 20th, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png Blazing Buffaloes 2011
The Blazing Buffaloes event ran from September 20th until October 4th.

The event itself and rewards were the same as 2010.

Image09-13-2011.jpg
Oct. 18th, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png The Harvest Festival 2011
The Harvest Festival ran from October 18th until November 1st.

A new mini-game was added to the event in 2011 involving defeating the Pyracmon while wearing the Eerie Cloak / Eerie Cloak +1. Three similarly looking furnishings were added, unique to each nation, as newly obtainable rewards: Spook-a-Swirl, Chocolate Grumpkin, and Harvest Horror.

Harvest Horror Appearance.jpg Choc Grumpkin Appearance.jpg Spook-a-Swirl Appearance.jpg

Image10-12-2011.jpg
Oct. 19th, 2011
    Historynews.gif FFXI YouTube Channel Created
A channel was created on YouTube to host videos pertaining to Final Fantasy XI. Unlike the language-specific Twitter accounts created earlier in the year, the channel uploaded English and Japanese videos.

The types of videos uploaded included game trailers as well as in-game footage of features soon to be implemented. The channel is still in use to this day.

The Channel URL is: http://www.youtube.com/finalfantasyxi

Image10-18-2011.jpg
Oct. 20th, 2011
    Historynews.gif FFXI Free Trial Resumes, and “Vana TV” Debut
The Final Fantasy XI Free Trial service was restarted on October 20th. It was stopped on September 30th, 2010 with little to no announcement, probably due to the release of Final Fantasy XIV on that same day.

The Free Trial that resumed is much like the one today. Accounts had a 3-character limit, level 30 maximum attainable, basic areas only, Auction House restriction, Party joining restrictions, no tells, shouts, or yells, 100,000 Gil maximum, and more to limit RMT abuse. Of course, if players upgraded to the paid version these restrictions were lifted.

In accordance with the free trial return, video content called “Vana TV” with the theme of Final Fantasy XI started broadcasting in Japanese on a special FFXI website. The URL no longer works, but it was www.finalfantasyxi.jp/vanatv. The show ran from October 20th, 2011 until February 22nd, 2012.

Narrators included Japanese voice talent actor/actresses Katsuyuki Konishi, Emiri Katō and Maaya Uchida. Art for the videos, including the overlays, was done by Fumio Minagawa.

In addition to “Vana TV”, two other renditions of the series also aired during this timeframe. “Vana TV Radio” and “Vana TV Fellow”. The “Radio” episodes featured in-game cutscenes where the actor/actresses read text dialogue that appeared in mission cutscenes. The “Fellow” version of the show featured higher level content of FFXI such as Limit breaks, Artifact quests, and Synthesis.

Vana TV

The “Vana TV” series was basically showing potential Free Trial participants how it was to start the game at level one, and explained the basics of the battle system, auction house, and early nation missions.

The broadcasted videos are still on the Final Fantasy XI Youtube channel and can watched to this day. Search on Youtube for “ヴァナTV” to get a lot of results.

A Christmas special called “ヴァナTV Presents クリ【スマッシュ】スペシャル” (or “VanaTV Presents Chestnut SMASH Special”) was aired on December 22nd, 2011. This live action episode shows all three of the hosts sitting at a table, wearing santa hats, while discussing the game. They also took turns voice acting over the characters that they play in-game. Lines for the voice over segments were obtained from fan suggestions on Twitter.

Oct. 26th, 2011
    Historyversionup.png Additional Battlefields Implemented
New Features & Content
  • Voidwatch was adjusted in the following ways:
    • The Planar Rift on the second floor of Lower Delkfutt's Tower was moved from (J-5) to (F-5).
    • If disconnected from the game, players can now fulfill victory conditions by examining the Riftworn Pyxis upon reconnecting.
No Seals!

Even if these battlefields were unique and resembled the Empty, nobody had seals to use on these BCNM orbs. Everybody was converting their seals to Kindred's Seals for KS99.

Nov. 9th, 2011
    Counterfeit Gil icon.png Final Fantasy XI “OST – PLUS” Disk Released
The next Final Fantasy XI music release, simply titled “Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack - Plus”, was released on November 9th in Japan and November 15th in North America. The album is a 2-disk collection, containing mostly previously unreleased music. The second disk had 28 PlayOnline songs on it, of which only two were previously released.

The price was 3000 Yen, or $29.99 USD.

Ff11ostplus.jpg
As a bonus to purchasing the OST, a Campaign Code was given out with the initial shipment of the OST.

Redeeming the code gave the player the Spinet Furnishing. If arranged in mog house layout, it randomly changes the mog house background music to one of several songs from FFXI shortly after loading (when re-entering the mog house or initially placing it in the layout). Below is a promotional video showing off the item.

Nov. 11th, 2011
    JPFlag.png “Final Fantasy XI Vana ♪ Con Anniversary 11/11/11” Orchestral Concert
An orchestral concert was held in Japan in commemoration of the “11/11/11” date. The venue was Katsushika Symphony Hills in the Mozart Hall.

Players with an active Japanese PlayOnline/Square Enix Service Account could apply until October 3rd for a ticket. Due to the flood of applications, a lottery drawing was held. Those who were chosen to purchase a ticket had from October 7th until October 11th to complete the procedure.

Only 1318 tickets to the event were distributed, as that is the maximum seating in the venue. Due to the flood of applications, the concert was broadcast on NicoNico as a paid broadcast for those who did not win a ticket. A 1500 Yen payment was required to tune in to the online stream. Due to the extremely limited tickets, price gougers attempted to sell tickets on online auction websites. Square Enix made an announcement on November 1st that any tickets resold would not be valid.

The concert was conducted by Mr. Masahiko Enkoji, and the event was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Emiri Kato, who was familiar for those who watched “Vana TV”, was the host. Composers Naoshi Mizuta and Kumi Tanikoa appeared as honored guests. Tanikoa also participated in the performance.

As a special benefit for visitors, a clear file was given out which included a Campaign Code for the Maestro's Baton in-game item. Additionally, the first 111 people who purchased the newly released “FFXI OST PLUS” CD at the product sales corner were presented with a signed colored paper by Naoshi Mizuta.

Maestro's Baton description.png


Vanaconfile.jpg
7297.jpg


Vanacon11.jpg Vanacon21.jpg

Vanacon31.jpg Vanacon41.jpg


The entire concert can be found on YouTube at the link below. It is certainly worth watching.

Dec. 6th, 2011
    Historynews.gif “Moogle’s Law” Forum Contest
The second forum contest for North American players was held on the Official Forum.

Players needed to post a “Moogle’s Law” “phenomena” type of scenario. This was a spoof of the supposed “Murphy’s Law”, which is a supposed law of nature, expressed in various humorous popular sayings, to the effect that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Three winners were selected by the Community Team Members based on humor and creativity. The prize for all winners was the Nomad Moogle Statue.

N. Moogle Statue Appearance.jpg
The winning entries were:
  • Name: Amael
  • Moogle's Law: “The chance of Misstargeting a Tell is directly proportional to how embarrassing/private/personal the Tell is.”
  • Name: Jinne
  • Moogle's Law: “That lovely lady adventurer you've been consorting with, spending your hard-earned Gil on and devoting your time to, turns out not to be a lady at all... Oh my!”
  • Name: Hakkuro
  • Moogle's Law: “The sacrifice of Tarutaru Black Mages is directly proportional to the drop rate of Relic Armor. The drop rate is further increased if these brave Tarutarus /panic and /dance before their eventual demise at the hands of a well-timed Firaga III.”
Dec. 12th, 2011
    Historynews.gif First European Screenshot Contest
Last as usual, the European players received their first screenshot contest.

As with the other versions of the contest, players needed to download a screenshot provided on the official forum, reupload it, and provide a caption. The theme was Christmas, and the image was some humes dressed in the in-game Christmas outfits fighting a Gigas. Judging was done by other players with a forum account.

The most “Liked” entries won, with a Grand Prize, Second Place, and Third place.

The image used for the contest is below:

Screenshot caption contest EU.JPG
The grand prize winner received the “Tarutaru Mini Figurines” released in Early 2010 as well as the newly released FFXI OST Plus CD.

Tarutarutrademini.jpeg Ff11ostplus.jpg


Second place won the FFXI OST Plus CD.

Third place won one of three Final Fantasy series Mascot Keychain Straps. One of: Moogle/Tonberry/Chocobo.

FFStraps.jpg
Dec. 15th, 2011
    Historyversionup.png Level Cap 99 & Voidwatch Chapter III
New Features & Content


Job Adjustments
Yet again, scrolls for new magic only came from Voidwatch or Walk of Echoes. Only weathly players were able to afford them, so dissatisfaction was strong in that regard. After initial implementation, Voidwatch completion increased and supply increased. There was a gap where some players did not have the spells until the price decreased on the Auction House.

Job Adjustments

Job additions from 95-99 were lackluster upon first release. Sure, there was some nice stuff, but nothing was really worth writing home about. Scholar really needed the adjustments that it received, but Automatons received more love. The new spells were nice but expected. Overall, it seemed like this level cap increase was prematurely released just to give players more levels so they could take on Voidwatch Chapter III fights.

Relic +2 armor was added in this update. The ability to skip the +1 version and go from base directly to +2 was certainly a kick in the nuts to players who farmed their -1 pieces for months in Dreamland areas. On the Test Server, it was not specified what items were needed, but the quantity was shown.

Voidwatch Chapter III

The Periapt of clarity was added in this update, which greatly assisted with magic based Weakness Targeting. On the other hand, the questline and new paths made progression even more obscured and confusing.

Players these days found themselves spamming Campaign just for Allied Notes to buy Voiddust and avoid the 20 hour wait time for recharges, since so much Voidwatch was being done. The fights were challenging, especially the newly implemented Botulus Rex and Ig-Alima.

Low drop rates remained with these fights. The situation was worse due to difficulty, causing less kills and overall less drops.

New Weapon Skills

The new Merit Weapon Skills (Lv.96) were showcased on Final Fantasy XI’s Youtube channel during the days leading up to the Version Update. Only the animations were shown, and no details provided. Players all came to the consensus that the weapon skills themselves were all flashy and looked great. Weapon skill names were shown in the videos in all four languages that the game supported at the time, with multiple races demonstrating them.

The Test Server was updated allowing players to test these new Weapon Skills. The conclusion was that Square Enix thought they were too powerful compared to other weapon skills and decided to lower the attribute modifiers for almost all the weapon skills.

Both Japanese and English players disagreed with this conclusion. It made no sense that investing 100 merits into a weapon skill would result in it being overall weaker than a weapon skill that players obtained naturally 200 skill levels ago! There was no doubt that Tanaka had some kind of call in this alteration. The player base was divided on this sudden 180-degree change to the game. Half of the players appreciated the new difficulty and challenge that Voidwatch provided, while the other half blamed him for FFXIV’s flop and rather have him leave FFXI alone.

TanakaBalance2.jpg

Final Limit Break

Besides the Maat fight of the past, the limit breaks were relatively straightforward with the exchange of seals and Merit Points. Adding in the tough BCNM fight was quite out of left field. A Developer Post on the forum gave a warning of sorts that they were working on fine tuning the BCNM, and that there would be more than just the old trade in a few things for the quest.

It was odd that the BCNM was limited to 10 minutes instead of 15, and the items used to weaken the boss were compared in usefulness to Animas from back in the Promyvion days.

Hundred Fists was really the threat compared to the enmity loss. This being said, Beastmaster with jug pets paired with Summoner avatars were the easiest way to win. Some players had a difficult time if they did not have a useful job for certain setups and needed to be carried.

REM Upgrades

The Test Server update on the 14th implemented the next Trial of the Magians REM quests, along with the items needed for the upgrades and the Level 99 Weapons. Level 99 REM initially all had Afterglow effects on them, and there were no non-afterglow versions. Accordingly, the test server initially stated that 500-1000 items were needed to upgrade from REM Level 95-99. It was also discovered soon after where these items came from – Pandemonium Warden, Arch Dynamis Lord, and high level Voidwatch. The backlash for this decision was some of the worst ever received from the player base.

If 500 Scorcia were required, a player would have to turn in 10 pictures for Zeni every hour, of every day, for four years in order to have enough Zeni to pop enough Pandemonium Wardens for one 95 to 99 mythic weapon. Long story short: Tanaka struck again. He is the type of guy that'd hold a press conference, be asked about insane requirements for 99 mythics, slowly digest the question, light a cigarette, blow out a puff of smoke like the Herman Cain ad and utter one statement: "Deal with it." followed by walking off stage. The fact that they did not lower Heavy Metal, there was not much hope in this stage being lowered by very much if at all.

In the end, the negative feedback was enough to postpone the Trial implementation to the game for further testing. The items were added, however, and players could begin collecting them. The February 2012 Version Update added the re-thought reasonable paths that we have today for non-Afterglow weapons. Afterglow versions had a lot less of a requirement than initially planned.

Upon the update being released, an unintended boost was given to Relic and Mythic Weapons. If a level 90 or higher version was equipped in the offhand slot, the attack bonus was granted to the player. Originally, everybody thought this intentionally added due to the multiple requests for it. General community consensus was that it would be a good idea. A statement was released under the Known Issues news section saying that it was unintended.

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Paralyze Russian Roulette

Prior to this update, all usable items were lost if Paralyze proc'd when attempting to “use” something. Albeit a Remedy, Warp Cudgels, Ninja Tool Bags, and even expensive Magic Scrolls! The worst by far was in Salvage. Losing a cell drop to Paralyze was detrimental, and often ruined runs.

Dec. 16th, 2011
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png Starlight Celebration 2011
The Starlight Celebration had additions in 2011, and it ran from December 16th until December 31st.

This year, the Goblin Gift mini game was added. Interacting enough with the NPC Goblin Merrymakers would yield a colored present, depending on the nation you are in. When returning the present to the Moogles, they will tell you which NPC it is for. After delivering the present, the Dream Trousers (+1) or Dream Pants (+1) were obtainable.

Additionally, three nation themed furnishings were available like the Halloween event. The Couronne des Etoiles, Silberkranz, and Leafberry Wreath.

Cour des Etoiles Appearance.jpg Silberkranz Appearance.jpg Leafberry Wreath Appearance.jpg

Image12-09-2011.jpg
Dec. 26th, 2011
    Historynews.gif Live Vana’diel Renewed
The Live Vana’diel camera was placed back on the PlayOnline website and is now broadcast live via YouTube Live.

The broadcast itself was around since the dawn of Final Fantasy XI. Back then, it was called “Vana’diel Wind”, which was in operation before the beta test. The live feed was popular back then, as anyone could use the internet to experience the series’ first online world.

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Early Controversy

In the early days of the live feed, the course of the automatic patrol camera was known to feature a lot of eroticism. Subligars and Mithra were frequently caught from a low angle, and the camera stopped there for a prolonged period.

Some Japanese players were assuming that this tactic could have been the company’s marketing strategy to mesmerize or captivate the general public into checking out Vana’diel. Others thought that the person in charge of the camera had a hidden desire for voyeurism.

The low angle was due to the camera using a Tarutaru’s perspective for the feed. As of August 2017, a Galka played the roll, and the viewpoint was higher.

Contents
Back to the Main Page

Pre-Release & Beta

2000 - 2001


Release & The First Year

2002


The Rise of the Zilart Era

2003


The Chains of Promathia Era

2004


Conclusion of Chains of Promathia

2005


The Treasures of Aht Urhgan Era

2006


Conclusion of Treasures of Aht Urhgan

2007


The Age of Mythical Weapons

2008


The Add-on Scenarios

2009


The End of the Level 75 Cap

2010


The Beginning of Post-Abyssea

2011


The Level 99 Era

Coming Soon!

Header Key
    Historynews.gif News Entry
    Historyversionup.png Version Update
    Historybeta.png Beta Information
    Excalibur (Level 75) icon.png FFXI In-Game Event
    Counterfeit Gil icon.png Merchandise Released
    JPFlag.png Real Life Event in Japan
    USFlag.png Real Life Event in North America
    EUFlag.png Real Life Event in Europe