The History of Final Fantasy XI/2009
In 2009, no offline Final Fantasy XI festivals were held anywhere in the world. Wings of the Goddess continued to receive storyline updates, and we were introduced to the Northland Shadowreign areas. All three new Add-on Scenarios were released in 2009 starting in April.
The player population started to decline this year. This affected veteran and new players alike. The main reasons for this were:
- The constant RMT battle. This continued to force Square Enix to change the way the game has been for so long regarding drops and gil. We started to see more “EX” gear
- No new end game content to keep veteran players interested.
- Salvage bans quite possibly could have led to a decline in new player population. The bad press attention might have pushed new players away.
- A lot of new players may have realized that nearly everything in the game took far too long to accomplish; they didn’t always result in a reward that justified the effort put in.
- More discussion about “Rapture” was throughout the game and message boards. Many people figured FFXI would stop being supported, so the thought was “What is the point of the time investment?”
- Lack of news and future announcements during the second half of the year. Focus for Square Enix switched to FFXIV.
|Jan. 1st, 2009|
Happy New Year 2009
|As with previous new year’s event, 2009 was no different. A buffalo family (Felific Buffalo and Ranchers) roamed areas outside of the three nations from January 1st thru January 13th.
The event this year had BB Ranch Milk as a common reward when trading items to the Buffalo family. Rarely, souvineer "bottle caps" could be obtained: Lycopodium Cap, Korrigan Cap, and Mandragora Cap. If players traded all three of these to Macchi Gazlitah in Ru'Lude Gardens, a Buffalo Milk Case was obtained. Players did not fully understand her shop at first, and this could someimes be purchased from her too. She was also sometimes sold Buffalo Meat for around 15k, which was a good source of income for some players to farm and sell for 50k on the Auction House. This caused the price to crash for quite some time.
Macchi Gazlitah opened shop and started selling wares on January 1st. It was rumored that this shop was only meant to be temporary for the New Year's event, but it still exists today. More items have been added to her wares since she opened, so she now permanent.
|Jan. 22nd, 2009|
The Great Salvage Banhammer
|The most shocking and unexpected wave of bans that ever happened in Final Fantasy XI took place on January 22nd, 2009. Some players who exploited duping practices in instanced zones were banned either permanently or temporarily.
The exploit occured by splitting an alliance after defeating a monster and obtaining a drop. The treasure obtained remained in the pool instead of being lost as it normally would. This allowed the item(s) including Alexandrite, Cells, and even Rare/ex armor to be duplicated two additional times.
Approximately 550 accounts who were found guilty of duplicating items in instanced zones such as Salvage, Assault, and the Sandworm Doomvoid BCNM were delivered a permanent ban, while 400 others received a temporary ban. These numbers were not nearly as high as the monthly Special Task Force results, but nearly all of of them were popular and well known players. Almost all endgame linkshells on every world were somehow affected by at least one significant player being banned. Among these players was Minidragon from Bismarck. He was quite possibly one of the first North American Maat's Cap on any world, but was for sure the first on Bismarck. All of his jobs at the time were 75. He had all of the best items including Defending Ring, Armada Hauberk, Dusk Gloves +1, and he had six relics which was unheard of. He was quoted to have spent 1 billion gil on his first relic. He was known to many as "The Ultimate FFXI Player" at the time. His FFXI AH profile can be found here.
North American/European perspective
Immediately after the bannings, the various FFXI communities exploded with heated arguments and debates on both sides of the Banhammer. Some cried out against the severity and inconsistency of the punishments while the rest deemed it an appropriate and fair recourse. Players compared Square Enix's management to WoW, saying how there were very little permabans in WoW compared to SE's harsh judgement. Blizzard would instead strip a player of all proceeds from such glitches instead of outright ban/temp ban them. Those lucky enough to only receive a temp ban did not have their armor removed, which really caught everybody by surprise. Players who were affected felt as if they were treated the same as RMT who were actually destroying the game.
Many wanted an answer as to why players were treated inconsistently in this banning. Some players who went on only one Salvage run were given a permanent ban, when they might not have even know what was going on or that the dupe even happened. At the same time some leaders, who were the instigators of the dupe, were only given temporary bans. Justice was not delt fairly, and this is where much of the controversy originated from.
What made the whole situation worse is that this glitch was not been fixed until an emergency maintenance in November 2008, around two years after its discovery. That means that people who knew of this were able to keep it "on the down low" for at least a quarter of the game's life. Many player's argument was "How could you allow hundreds of endgame linkshells to exploit what was clearly a very significant glitch; but only begin to act after two years of exploitation?".
Even GM Dave stated that staff at the Square Enix offices in California were surprised at this decision, which must have came from Japan.
The BlueGartr community was greatly affected. This included significant players who provided a lot of knowledge of game mechanics to the community, including a player who shared the final stages of completing a Mythic Weapon. Many players disliked BG as a whole as it was regarded as the "Elitist Community". BG was blamed for "hiding this information" from Square Enix, but it was confirmed that the problem was reported to SE before discussion threads were deleted.
The following perspective is a digest post made by Elmer the Pointy that was on jpbutton.com
The majority of 2chan posts on this day consisted of ざまーみろ！(zama miro!) or ざまーみやがれ！ (zama miyagare!) shortened to ざまー！. All of these mean the same thing… “In your face!” Literally, though, this meant “Look at the situation” or “How do you like them apples?”. Does this mean the Japanese community did not cheat? Not exactly. There were only 2chan and private blogs that Japanese players flocked to. Counter arguments to situations, while rare, were simply lost to the popular threads. Were Japanese players banned? Who knows, as they did not come forward and admit that they were. Even if they did, the anonymity of 2chan and other blog sites left no way for us to identify them like the English websites. It was seen that they were checking out the BG forum ban list thread to see names of those who were banned.
In the end, there wasn’t much in the way of “juicy gossip” as the NA community. It’s counter to their high valuation of personal privacy, and really, who would volunteer to jump in and be roasted with a response?
|News sites throughout the internet covered this story. A lot of bad publicity against Square Enix was spread throughout the gaming community, and some say this began the gradual decline of the population of Final Fantasy XI. Who would want to play a game if the creator's policy was that "We can ban you for any reason"?
Perhaps the most amusing part of this whole situation was the sense of invulnerability that the exploiters felt.
Below are a few quotes from players who frequented the BG Forums. Many of these players were banned.
lol. the people who should/deserved to know, knew. Those that didn't, didn't. It's as simple as that. It was kept quiet so to keep the high and mighty people who deemed this sort of behaviour as "inappropriate" from reporting it in mass scale and ruining it for those of us who enjoyed gaining our just rewards. Do Salvage 4-7 times a week for a year, complete a whopping piss poor 2-3 pieces and then come back with your Q.Q'ing.
It's just as if not more likely that a JP spilled the beans. Ah well, at least I got an Ares's Flanchard for my 37 DRK.
The "process" used in game mechanics with ZERO hacks or forced cheats (i.e. pos hacking takes game data on your computer, changes it and sends false data packets back to SE. This is illegal as it is doing something outside of the game.) As such they're not gonna ban anyone because no one "cheated" in the black and white sense of the word.
Go cry me a river, we had 100 salvage pieces completed by LS intern groups before we found out about it. If you had any friends that would trust you, you might have known about it before it got fixed ;)
Look at my jobs and my Salvage gear, do you really think this fix hits me as hard as you want to?
Final Fantasy XI Original Stickies – Square Enix Members Contest
|This notepad set was part of a Square Enix Members Christmas Promotion. Players had to enter for a drawing via their Square Enix Member account. This notepad set was given out to 100 random winners who participated in the contest.
The top of the letter says:
“Square Enix Members
Image from finalfantasy7110.com
|Feb. 2nd, 2009|
Pandemonium Warden Defeated... two weeks later?
|A notice was posted that Pandemonium Warden was defeated, which linked to an Allakazham article.
To everyone's amazement, this news was at least two weeks old. A thread already posted on the BG Forums back in January. Flashbacks to the long delay of the salvage bans
|Feb. 6th, 2009|
Valentione's Day 2009
|The yearly Valentione's Day event was run in 2009 from February 6th thru February 15th.
There were no new additions to the event this year.
|Feb. 20th, 2009|
The Doll Festival 2009
|The Doll Festival ran in 2009 from February 20th thru March 3rd.|
|Feb. 23rd, 2009|
FFXI Original Blog tools downloadable
|Announced only to Japanese players, official blog tools were made downloadable. These tools were intented to use on players online adventuring blogs, and placed a widget of sorts on the sidebar for visitors to play FFXI themed music while reading a blog.
Adventuring blogs were much more popular in Japan rather than North America and Europe. Instead, Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter started kicking off at this time.
|Mar. 10th, 2009|
Security Token Announced
|On March 10th, Square Enix announced the release of the Security Token. Like some announcements, this came out of nowhere and was a surprise to most players. The price and an in-game incentive were announced at a later date. Luckily, tokens were not region specific. Players with other region accounts did not have to worry for once.
On March 31st, details regarding the Mog Satchel storage were announced, as well as an order date of April 7th. The Square Enix Account system was also first introduced on April 7th. In its early stages, it was not a requirement to use a Square Enix account in conjunction to Playonline. For a few more years, it was only used to register a Square Enix token to a Playonline Account. Players saw it as doing nothing but making the Playonline system more convoluted. Many players couldn’t login after linking the two, as it was now required to add that information to Playonline before logging in.
All of the Premier Sites were given tokens to give away to visitors. Various contests were held on these sites.
Storage Space Controversy
Not many players were in favor of additional account security and the purchase of a token to obtain precious storage space. With the Add-on scenarios also being charged for, players felt like 2009 was a large money grab by Square Enix. Keep in mind that at this time the United States economy was still on the tail end of the recession.
Too little, too late
Unfortunately for some, this token came too late. Many accounts have been compromised prior to this. The biggest blame was corrupt iframes on popular fan websites. Many players used the Firefox browser with the NoScript add-on to prevent possible malicious ads. In addition to this, it was important to keep your Flash plugin up-to-date to avoid a known exploit at the time. Youtube was becoming very popular in 2009, so Flash was a new thing to a lot of people. It wasn't known that you needed to keep the plugin updated, so it was easy for hackers to take advantage of this.
Before this announcement, Blizzard Entertainment had already released a token just like this for World of Warcraft. Regardless of Square Enix’s track record of failing with their software releases, the token released and worked well. Sure, the new Square Enix Account system made Playonline even more convoluted.
Alas, nothing is perfect though. Players soon found out that entering the wrong token generated password still kicks off whoever was online on the account. This was not a huge issue, but still annoying nonetheless. It did give players a warning to change their Playonline passwords, rather than unauthorized access occurring.
|Mar. 17th, 2009|
Character creation suspension on Bahamut
|Similar to Odin, Bahamut became overcrowded. On this date, new character creation as well as world transfers to Bahamut were suspended. Free world migration was offered to Bahamut players to move to less populated worlds.
This suspension, as well as Odin's, remained in effect until the major world merge on March 23rd, 2010.
|Mar. 23rd, 2009|
A Crystalline Prophecy Preorder Available
|A Crystalline Prophecy - Ode to Life Bestowing was made available for preorder via Playonline. The price was 980 Yen, or $9.99 USD. Access to the content did not take place until the version update on April 9th, 2009.
The idea behind making the add-on available for purchase in advance was to alleviate congestion. The pre-sale tactic may have worked, as there was little lag in Playonline. However, this also could also have been because less sales were made than a formal expansion pack... Sales were still higher than Square Enix expected.
More details regarding this add-on are in the April 9th, 2009 Version Update entry on this page.
Release trailer for A Crystalline Prophecy
|Apr. 2nd, 2009|
7th Vana'versary Art Contest
|An announcement was made regarding the fourth Art Contest commemorating the 7th Vana'versary of Final Fantasy XI. Submissions were gathered from April 2nd thru May 6th.
Creators of the winning illustrations received a Nomad Moogle Rod for their efforts.
|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. 9th, 2009|
The Job Adjustments Update to end all Job Adjustment Updates
Wings of the Goddess storyline
At this point, many people regarded WoTG as a simple failure. By this time, it has been out for a year and a half already. Comparing this lifespan to ToAU, we had Salvage, Nyzul AND Einherjar. WoTG was just a series of updates that say "Yeah, we're making it slightly better/harder/easier/cheesier for you to earn 3k exp max in an hour". ToAU had all the awesome EXP camps for higher-end players, but WoTG had hardly anything that people will want to Exp on. A vast majority of areas were inaccessible quickly. The ability to teleport to the beastmen strongholds in this update helped this issue, but nobody bothered EXPing there. If anything, it was an easier way to get around for the Stronghold Invasion system.
Whilst the WoTG storylines were shaping up to be something quite interesting, the actual content of the zones is utter fail. Before ANNMs, they gave us Dark Ixion, Sandworm and Stronghold Invasion. Nothing else in 16 months. No Merit camps, no good NMs, nothing tangibly good. The Northlands turned into “the hope for WOTG”. Players wanted some awesome Merit camps and a Sky/Sea/ZNM-like system, with rewards like that of Salvage, but just as much of a grind to obtain.
A Crystalline Prophecy
Overall, the view on this first Add-on was “Eh”. The content was designed for all level players, starting at 10 in the beginning mission all the way to a 75 fight at the end. Perhaps the idea was to gradually complete the content on your journey to 75, but of course no one bothered to do that. The entire Add--on could be finished within 12 hours if you were with a dedicated group who finished it until the end. This was thought of only as an inconvenience, rather than an additional story to experience, to get the new bodies.
As far as rewards, the body options were great and featured the new augment system. These customizable rewards were unexpected, as all content rewards in the past were static. This update with the Augment system was a turning point in the history of armor rewards in Final Fantasy XI. Chains of Promathia saw Enchantment and Dispense armor. These did not see much use in battle, only as quality of life improvements such as Warp Cudgels. During Treasures of Aht Urhgan we saw new stats like Magic Accuracy and set bonuses. Wings of the Goddess improved on the set bonuses to be cumulative set bonuses, where two pieces gave an effect rather than having all five equipped. Augments now had a place in almost every high end gear piece in the game from now on. A couple choices for bodies are still useful during the item level 119 era.
In addition to the final reward, there were also two other randomly augmented rewards that were obtained during the earlier fights in the storyline. Square Enix had intended players to continually repeat these battles in hopes for a piece of armor with a nice augment, but a negligible amount of these rewards proved useful and 99% of them were NPC fodder. One could repeat the battles 50 times and not see any equipment that was worth the time investment. There were a few reports of good augments though, such as Magic Accuracy+2 on a Sapphire Earring. Another example is a Brocade Obi with MP+4, Magic Accuracy+1, and Enhancing Magic Skill+2.
White Mage Adjustments
In this update, White Mage was regarded as “Redefined” rather than “Adjusted”. There were no nerfs to White Mage, only benefits. Almost every job benefited from Cureskin, such as PLD/NIN tanks able to take a hit while putting up shadows. Many players who retired the job decided to pick it back up again, and Scholar as a subjob was also solidified.
Before this update, Scholar was known as the healer king by some. Red Mage was almost always chosen over White Mage for Merit Point parties. Suddenly, the demand for White Mage became much higher for all types of content.
Red Mage Adjustments
Players thought Square Enix got their shit together with White Mage’s adjustments, and then they give Red Mage melee buffs. These adjustments to Red Mage were laughable. Nobody liked melee RDMs at the time, and this just gave them more of a reason to attempt to do so. The biggest problem with RDM melee is the fact that they had to spend so much time casting spells that they did not have time to swing their weapons. Not just Refresh, Haste, Phalanx on themselves, but those spells on other party members too. Increasing the recast timer on ‘’’’’all spells’’’’’ just to increase the duration on yourself was not the solution. OK, so maybe they can click off Composure? Goodbye Accuracy bonus.
Ninja’d Enfeebling Nerf?
Not mentioned in the version update notes was a change to potency and duration of several types of magic - most notably enfeebling spells, Elemental Seal+Troubadour+Elegy, and Stun. Inquiries were made to SE regarding these changes. Was it a glitch? Was it a ninja nerf? After many emergency maintenances, the issue remained - one of the most sweeping nerfs the game has ever seen.
After being asked multiple times, SE was silent regarding this change. Players didn’t understand why developers felt the need to change such a fundamental aspect of the game, especially something that was a complete non-issue to the player base. Scores of players were left scratching their heads over SE’s path of inaction. This wasn't the first-time concerns have been raised about SE's response times to critical issues.
Finally, on April 23rd almost two weeks later, the issue was fixed in an emergency maintenance. A public apology was made on an Allakhazam post as well as in the emergency maintenance topic.
No more Fortification Skillups!
Since the implementation of Wings of the Goddess until this version update, many players used the Campaign system to simply skill up their weapons. If one were to not obtain Allied Tags, they could attack an enemy Fortification and afk with little danger of getting attacked at all. This act was referred to as many things, including "Wall Tapping", "Wall Striking", "Wall Pannier", and "Floor Tapping". There was a Records of Eminence objective to commemorate this era for the 15th Vana’versary and was called "Break the Blockade".
Although this method only increased skills to around the cap at level 50, it was still a great way to catch up from level 0 to join Skillup Parties. After the update, little to no experience was earned for attacking Fortifications, and no skills were raised. This lasted until the March 18th, 2014 version update where this change was basically reversed.
Fields of Valor Augments
For this FoV addition, only items up to level 50 were able to be augmented. Also, Rare/EX gear could not be augmented. Because only purchasable gear was able to be used, and since and tags were added, they became bound to a character and unable to be resold or reaugmented. There were many horrible augments that emerged. Low digit additions or subtractions to elemental resistances, HP/MP, and stats were the common results.
Right after the update there was a glitch in the augment system. If you augmented a piece of gear that could be stored and then stored that gear, the augment would be removed after retrieving it. This was fixed during an emergency maintenance soon after.
The ANNM system proved much more useful than this FoV augment roulette. Strategies were needed to defeat the NMs. The more adds killed, the better potential rewards. If you got lucky you could obtain high level equipment with pretty useful bonuses. For instance, there were reports of “DEX+3, Evasion+8” on a Yasha Samue. Also, a player received a Mythic Pole with “Summoning Magic+9, Avatar Magic Acc.+1”.
|Apr. 9th, 2009|
Egg Hunt 2009
|The Egg Hunt event itself was the same as 2008, except with the addition of new furnishings. This year it ran from April 9th til April 20th.
The four furnishings Egg Locker, Egg Table, Egg Stool and Egg Lantern were added. By trading all four to your Mog House Moogle, an Egg Buffet was obtained. Trading this back to the Moogle gave a player back the four original components.
|Apr. 22nd, 2009|
Vana’diel Population hits 2 million characters!
|In the third week of April of 2009, the population of Vana’diel finally reached 2 million for the first time!||Note that this was not concurrently active characters. This number of two million was simply the total number of characters that existed, activated or not.|
|Apr. 28th, 2009|
Feast of Swords 2009
|The Feast of Swords was held from April 28th to May 12th. No changes were made to the event in 2009.|
|Apr. 30th, 2009|
Community Team Podcast Tour
|The Final Fantasy XI Community team at Square Enix appeared as guests on three of the most popular FFXI podcasts at the time. The appearances were all within a couple weeks.
How could there possibly be controversy with a Podcast, you may ask? It was revealed by Elmer the Pointy that Square Enix highly censored the podcasts, and forced the hosts to re-edit (sometimes multiple times) and cut out anything not approved by SE.
One such forbidden phrase was the mention of the website jpbutton.com. Limit Break Radio held a contest on their forum, and Square provided five prizes for giveaway. One of the contributors to jpbutton.com won the grand prize of the Shadow Lord Statue, and because of her affiliation with jpbutton.com she could not be mentioned. To their credit, the hosts tried to ninja in a mention, but were shut down every time. It was not known why jpbutton was forbidden, and the reason was not made clear. Perhaps it was that the name itself was sort of a meme in the community against Japanese players having an in-game advantage? The website had nothing to do with this, though.
Other phrases that were not allowed to be mentioned or discussed:
|May 12th, 2009|
7th Vana’versary “Adventurer's Appreciation Campaign +” & Mog Tablets Debut
|The “Adventurer Appreciation Campaign +” was nearly identical as 2008, including distribution of the Anniversary Ring. This year the event period was from May 12th thru May 25th.
The only difference this year was that this was the first appearance of the The Mog Tablet Quest. When all tablets were found during the event period, all the Super Kupowers were released at once. This is what ended up leading to all Kupowers activating during every yearly Vana’versary to come.
|Players were thrilled to have yet another Experience Points bonus ring, the Kupofried's Ring. Early speculation was that this ring came from the upcoming Kupo d'Etat Add-on. At that time, the bonus was different than it is today. It was Experience Points Bonus +100% as well as the 24-hour duration, but the maximum bonus gained was only 6,000 EXP instead of the 30,000 EXP we have now.
The Mog Tablets were much harder to find back when they were first released. A player had to virtually be on top of it to see and interact with the tablet, and they were not viewable on Widescan like today.
This was also the first time, along with the 7th Vana'versary Mog Bonanza, where Statues started to become available for a player’s Mog House. This started a long trend, active even to this day, of Statues that would continue to be added to the game. At the time when they were new, they were very popular. Everybody wanted the 3 King statues from Bonanza.
|May 12th, 2009|
7th Vana'versary Mog Bonanza
|The 7th Vana'versary Mog Bonanza had marbles sell from May 15th-31st, and its drawing was on June 16th.
The Defending Ring made its debut in this bonanza as a Rank 1 prize. Mog Kupons also saw their debut this year, starting with only two options: Kupon A-DXar and Kupon A-DBcd. This change to make Relic Armor obtainable from a ticket basically opened more slots for other Rank 2 and 3 prize that players could choose.
Note: See 7th Vana'versary Mog Bonanza for details on the event such as prizes and results.
The Defending Ring was hands down the best Rank 1 prize option at this time. With rank 2 including the Joyeuse but rank 3 including Hauteclaire, D.Ring didn’t seem to belong on the prize list at all. In mid-2009, Defending Ring was the only reason to camp the 3 kings anymore. Adaman Hauberks now came from Odin's Chamber, which was still a great piece of gear but the majority no longer came from Nidhogg.
Change to the Gil prize option
This time, the gil prize for each rank was based on marble sales instead of a set amount of gil. This resulted in around a 15% reduction in the gil prize choice for Rank 1, a 40% reduction for Rank 2, and a 30% reduction for Rank 3. It was foolish to choose the gil prize in any rank this year, as there was at least one sellable item per rank that was worth much more.
Additionally, Bahamut and Odin worlds were closed for new characters to be made. Players could not create mules to buy more marbles, so it is possible that sales were a lot less this year due to this.
|May 20th, 2009|
The Star Onions’ second album “Sanctuary” released
|After about four years, The Star Onions released their next album. Composed by Mr. Mizuta, 11 songs were included on this cd. The price was 3,000 Yen (tax included).|
|May 27th, 2009|
Siren world remains undefeated in 2,000 Besieged battles
|On this date, the Siren world hit 2,000 consecutive victories in Besieged. As of this day, they were the only world to remain undefeated since the release of the content.||There was an announcement made on the Playonline website on June 4th commemorating this achievement.|
|May 27th, 2009|
Character Reactivation Service
|Up until now, adventurers wishing to return to Final Fantasy XI had to wait for the limited time event, the Welcome Home to Vana’diel Campaign, to return. This service was changed into a permanent feature called the “Character Reactivation Service”.
By filling out a form with pertinent account details, you could have nearly any character restored by using this service.
|Bonus items were no longer distributed for players in exchange for this service being available year-round.|
|Jun. 11th, 2009|
Final Fantasy XI Story Ultimania Released
|Released only in Japan for a list price of 1,995 Yen (tax included), was this 493-page Ultimania book. It was compiled and created by Studio BentStuff and published by Square Enix.
The book contained lore, summaries, dialogue, and the outcome of over 500 quests and missions that were implemented in the game up to this point. It even covered the newest April Version Update Wings of the Goddess nation quests.
In addition to the massive lore information, Scenario Staff Q&As on each expansion and questline could be found inside. Finally, concept art pertaining to every expansion was also included.
|Jun. 22nd, 2009|
The 9th Vana’diel Census
|New this year was a first attempt player questionnaire that was conducted prior to the Census. Some examples of questions that were asked were “On average, how much gil do you make per week?” and “What is your favorite Job Combination (Main/Sub)?”
Also new were Merit Point distribution statistics, as well as completed Mythic Weapon counts. There were 0 completed Aymur, Ryunohige, Tupsimati, Gastraphetes, and Death Penalty when the data was pulled.
|The entire Census can be found here.|
|Jun. 26th, 2009|
Celestial Nights 2009
|Celestial Nights was held from June 26th thru July 8th in all nation cities. There were only minor dialogue changes to the event in 2009.|
|Jul. 6th, 2009|
A Moogle’s Kupo d’Etat Preorder Available
|A Moogle’s Kupo d’Etat was made available for preorder via Playonline. Like the previous Add-on, the price was 980 Yen, or $9.99 USD. Access to the content did not take place until the version update on July 21st, 2009.
Allakazham was given an “In-Game Virtual Media Tour”, which was essentially a sneak peek of the upcoming add-on and version update.
The second Add-on was more of a lighthearted adventure rather than a serious storyline like A Crystalline Prophecy. More details regarding this add-on are in the July 21st, 2009 Version Update entry on this page.
Release trailer for A Moogle’s Kupo d’Etat
|Jul. 21st, 2009|
The Shadowreign Northlands & More Augments!
Summoner and Dragoon’s changes were regarded as more of a bug fix than anything (The kind that should have been fixed long ago). The best change was MP not being consumed if an avatar was unable to perform a Blood Pact.
A Mooge's Kupo d'Etat Add-on
Now that this Add-on was out, a trend was emerging. Each addon will be comprised of Mini BCNMs and Fetch Quests leading up to the ending BCNM; all of which again can be completed within 12 hours. The light-hearted adventure was very different than the stories we have been used to, particularly the interesting new “Cartoony” graphics in the cutscenes. Players either really loved or completely despised the plot.
Regardless of the content, a few of the ending hat augment combinations are still used in the 119 era just like A Crystalline Prophecy’s.
New Avatar Where?
A week or two before this update, Tanaka was interviewed and was quoted saying that a new Summoner Avatar was coming. The question about Avatars was around since Wings of the Goddess’s release but starting with this update the player base began to really wonder when it would be. Odin and Alexander did not appear until March 2010.
Fields of Valor expansion
The system was very promising, but a large gil investment might have been required to get a useful result…
Succor to the Sidhe
During the DAT mining when maintenance was going on, players were comparing the Fane Hexagun to their Artifact Armor Trump Gun which had the same Damage and Delay. Black Mage even received a Scythe (Ogre Sickle) instead of a Staff. Everyone assumed the system was a bust.
On the contrary, some of the weapons became Best in Slot for many jobs. As an example, the Dweomer Knife for Bard could be augmented with CHR+x, Magic Accuracy+x, and Song Spellcasting Time -x. This dagger became the best Precast weapon for Bard until Felibre's Dague, introduced almost a year and a half later.
For the first time, Dynamis currency was now obtainable from somewhere other than inside of Dynamis. There were reports of many single pieces dropping from Campaign Unions, as well as reports of 100 pieces. Naturally, players immediately called the screenshots fake and demanded more pictures as proof. It was eventually confirmed that currency (including 100s), could drop from the corresponding nations areas.
Unions also ended up being Square’s way of adding crafting materials to the economy, thus deflation followed. Rare materials such as Dragon Blood, Orichalcum Ingots, Divine Lumber, Molybdenum Ingots, Elemental Ore, etc…
Notably, the Harajnite Shell was a drop. The elusive NM Harajnite only appeared on the Manaclipper when it was fished up. Due to the nature of the monster’s regen, it was incredibly difficult to kill during the timeframe given before the boat docked. The Igqira Huaraches (not to mention Genie Huaraches) used to be a very rare piece of armor to come by until this update.
|Jul. 28th, 2009|
The Player Event Support Service begins
|As mentioned at previous Fan Festivals and Altana Festivals, this new Player Event Support service helped players run and create their own in-game events.
By using the newly added Pendant Compass, coordinates could be obtained in the chat log to use on a form to customize placement of Moogle NPCs for characters to use.
By filling out an online form, players could select their own placement for moogles in customized locations. Moogle’s messages could also be customized, and many in game props/decorations from other official in-game events (like the dancing Tarutarus during the Sunbreeze Festival) could be used.
|This service was typically only used for player Weddings, which was expanded in the November 2009 Version Update. It designed based on player made events back in 2002-2003, but unfortunately it came too late to be used much.
This service is still available today. The official website can be found here, and many players do not even know it exists.
|Jul. 28th, 2009|
PlayOnline Billing Requirement Changes
|Perhaps the most overlooked (but major) change to Square Enix policies involved the new requirement for credit cards to have a security feature called “Payer Authentication Service” (Also known as 3-D compliant). This means that Visa cards must have been eligible for a service called “Verified by Visa”, and Mastercards must have had the “SecureCode” service activated.
The problem with this was that many banks did not yet support these options on their debit/credit cards. It was not limited to small banks either, Some Chase and Capital One cards were not yet supporting verification programs. To make it worse, some companies outsourced the option to third parties due to how new it was. These websites looked very fishy and illegitimate.
|inb4 “Trying to kill off XI for XIV"
Some players were not bothered by this change, as their credit cards did not expire for a while. As far as new players, “How many more flaming hoops did they have to add to the game for new users?” was the question. It was possible to call the Information Center if your card did not qualify, but it involved a 1.5-2-hour phone call. Many felt that the effort was not worth it and ended up being forced to leave the game.
After this change, they've made billing damn near impossible. If you got overcharged (double charges were common), you'd call SE and they'd say the charges were legit. Yet, if you called your bank to charge it back, you'd get banned by SE. This was terrible customer service, and it has nothing do with their representatives.
The Email of Doom
Regardless of Square Enix’s statement that only those who had expiring credit cards or new accounts will require this new verification system, some players received the “Email of Doom” stating otherwise. They were told that they needed to “update your payment information with a 3-D Secure Card, or your account would be closed”. It was unclear why some accounts could avoid this, but some were forced to change their cards.
Square Enix used to have a monthly registration server maintenance on Playonline, where you could not change billing information while they gathered and charged active FFXI accounts. Double billing was incredibly common, and if you were to dispute it with your bank or chargeback, you were banned. One theory was that players who have been double charged were forced to change their cards in an effort to lower these charge backs that were happening.
Silence, with a side of random bannings!
|August 2009 was a very quiet time for Final Fantasy XI. Just off the ridiculous billing requirement changes, focus at SE seemed to have shifted from FFXI to FFXIV.
Not a single news article was posted to the North American or European Playonline websites. The additional hype for FFXIV at Tokyo Game Show in September 2009 and little to none for FFXI did not help the situation.
Due to the lack of leadership and morale within endgame linkshells, players began splintering from normal linkshell schedules to forming cliques to get content done they would rather do. Players began to develop low man strategies for almost all content in order to get it done.
It was reported that starting in May, players began receiving “LM-17” bans for many different, sometimes illegitimate, reasons. One such was if they did not update an expiring credit card payment source. Another was if they had a history of a failed billing attempt or credit card chargebacks. These billing bannings happened again in June and July until this 3-D Secure payment announcement was made. Some players had success in getting a chargeback banning reversed, but it depended on which employee you were matched with and how good of a day they were having.
Additionally, some players reported that after they made a new account and two new characters, they were banned for after playing for one day. After contacting support, they were told the ban was due to RMT activity and that they could return the game to the store for a refund. It was obviously impossible to return an opened video game/PC game to a store. Needless to say, randomly banning new players was a horrible business practice which pushed new players away thinking they might be next.
|Aug. 3rd, 2009|
Event Battles playable at Internet Cafes
|Players in Japan who logged into Final Fantasy XI from affiliated Net Cafes were now able to challenge the special battlefields that were previously only available during the previous year’s Offline Event. If players succeeded in the fights, the special Battlefield titles could be earned for their characters.
Included battlefields were:
|Before, only players with a special PlayOnline ID linked to the Cafes were able to login at these locations. The service was now available to everyone.|
|Aug. 4th, 2009|
The Sunbreeze Festival & Superheroine Stage Show
|In 2009, the Sunbreeze Festival ran from August 4th thru August 17th. The basic content of the Sunbreeze Festival was the same as in 2008, but the Superheroine Show was expanded.
The Goldfish Scooping mini-game had the White Butterfly, Bell Cricket, and Glowfly added. These three ingredients could be made into the new furnishings Butterfly Cage, Cricket Cage, and Glowfly Cage.
|Sep. 24th, 2009|
Final Fantasy XI Player's Collection Part II
The second addition of the Final Fantasy XI Player’s Collection became available for purchase on September 24th .
This round was a choice of one of three silver Dog Tag chains, each having one of the three home nation insignias on the front. Purchasers could choose to have their character name and world engraved on the back.
Prices were $106.99 USD, 10,000 Yen (tax included), or 65.99 pounds.
No in-game Campaign Codes were included with these items. In addition to that, the high price tag caused many players to call this a “ridiculous” item.
|Sep. 24th, 2009|
Chirping Chocobo Chick on sale
|A chocobo chick made of ABS/PVC/Metal went on sale on the same day as the Dog Tag. A sensor was on the bottom of the chick, so that when it rests in your hand or on skin it makes a chirping noise.
Prices were $15.99 USD, 1,500 Yen (tax included), or 9.99 pounds.
|Sep. 24th, 2009|
Tokyo Game Show 2009
|In 2009, the Tokyo Game Show was held from September 24th thru September 27th. Final Fantasy XI had minimal presence, debuting the new A Shantotto Ascension Add-on trailer (This trailer is shown below under the Shantotto Ascension Preorder news entry). The trailer was also posted on playonline.com, earlier than the last two Add-on trailers.
At the merchandise booth, the new Chocobo Chick (including the Campaign Code) was for sale. On display was a sneak peek of the upcoming Tarutaru Trading Arts minis, set to be on sale Winter ‘09/’10.
Final Fantasy XIII was Square Enix’s flagship this year, overshadowing Final Fantasy XI with its main title name and fancy new graphics.
|Sep. 25th, 2009|
Buffalo Blitz 2009
|The Buffalo Blitz returned from September 25th thru October 5th.
There were no changes to the event compared to the previous year.
|Oct. 10th, 2009|
A Shantotto’s Ascension Art Contest
|An announcement was made regarding another Art Contest commemorating the upcoming Add-on scenario A Shantotto Ascension. Submissions were gathered from October 10th thru November 3rd. The submissions all centered around the beloved Shantotto heroine. Winning entries were announced on November 20th, 2009 and the full gallery of all submissions was available for viewing on December 9th.
Creators of the winning illustrations received a Nomad Moogle Rod for their efforts.
|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.
|Oct. 16th, 2009|
Trick or Treat 2009
|The Halloween event in 2009 ran from October 16th thru November 2nd.|
|Oct. 26th, 2009|
A Shantotto Ascension Preorder Available
|A Shantotto Ascension - The Legend Torn, Her Empire Born was made available for preorder via Playonline. Again, the price was 980 Yen, or $9.99 USD. Access to the content did not take place until the version update on November 9th, 2009.
More details regarding this add-on are in the November 9th, 2009 Version Update entry on this page.
Tokyo Game Show 2009 trailer for A Shantotto Ascension
|Oct. 16th, 2009|
Allakhazam Pumpkin Carving Contest Returns
|Due to it’s popularity, Allakhazam hosted another Pumpkin Carving Contest this year. Entries were accepted until October 24th.
These two Furnishings remained exclusive to this contest until they were reused in an official Halloween contest in 2012.
|Grand Prize on the left, and First Place on the right
Second Place on the left, and Third Place on the right
|Nov. 2nd, 2009|
Introduction of the Add-on Trilogy Bonus Gift
|The Nexus Cape was announced as a bonus in-game item for those players who purchased all three Add-on scenarios. The cape would allow players to teleport to the location or zone that their party member is in. It only worked in the original/COP/Zilart outdoor areas and towns, and only if the player has been to that location previously.
Due to the usefulness of the cape, many players felt that now it was almost a necessity to purchase the Add-ons even if they did not want them. The new Ultimate Collection release of the game already included the three Add-ons, so new players were eligible for this cape and they only had to pay $19.99 for the whole game compared to veteran players who paid $29.97 for all three add-ons throughout 2009.
The original timer on the cape was a 40-hour interval but was later changed to 20 hours. The question also arose as to why it did not work in TOAU areas or Zi’Tah.
At some point post-Abyssea era, the cape was broken for quite a long time. It would only be a 50/50 chance whether the cape would work. This was not fixed until the December 2017 update, and additional zones were added to the list where it would teleport a player. These zones included TOAU, WOTG, and Adoulin zones.
|Nov. 10th, 2009|
The final Add-on Scenario Released
A Shantotto Ascension
Players enjoyed ASA more than the other two add-ons. The farming portions were not as tedious, battles more enjoyable, and the storyline was particularly more interesting than the other two.
The consensus for the pants: all of them were fugly. The augments were sub-par with options already available in the game, such as: Byakko's Haidate's 5% Haste vs the 3% offered, Crimson Cuisses’s 12% Movement Speed vs the 8% offered. As like the other add-on pieces, some combinations are still used in the Item level 119 era.
High Synergy and Crafting skill was required to create these new Aern-style weapons, but they looked really cool so everyone wanted one. The new Notorious Monsters that were added in this update were a totally fresh take on mob design. For instance, it is the first time we saw monsters able to "Level Up" mid fight. The gimmicks that they offered were pretty fun to try and figure out, as each one was unique and something that players have never encountered before.
Without the reduced enmity adjustment being added, the remaining changes seemed more like a nerf. The placement did add a few sweet spots for Ranger, but nothing significant.
Everybody saw this nerf was imminent. It didn’t get out of hand before it was taken care of, but it didn’t have to go that far for players to know it was broken.
Before this nerf, the ability Modus Veritas was a multiplier and was able to be stacked with multiple Scholars. A high enough damaging Helix spell must be cast, and the Scholars must have the ability fully merited.
If done correctly, it was possible to instantly kill NMs. See the below video for an example of how powerful the ability was. If the ability was not nerfed, it was almost guaranteed that players would be taking advantage of this mechanic in almost every fight.
It was rumored that Absolute Virtue was killed by a linkshell doing this, but no proof was ever found.
Worthless new filter
At this time, RMT shouts and /tell spam was rampant. Messages to visit gil selling websites, and messages where the RMT pretended to be GMs demanding players visit phishing websites to enter their POL details or else they would be banned. Many players fell for this, which resulted in more stolen accounts. The solution was to add an AI spam filter. Naturally, it was horrible. Here are some examples of false positives:
Hey whats up what are you up to?
He'll probably want me to PT with him after sea since he's off work tomorrow.
I'm going to be a little bit late, I have to go pick my cat up at the vet in about 20 minutes.
"www.brosale.com" was filtered as it should have been (RMT site at the time), but "brosale.com" and "brosale" were not. Additionally, including spaces in the urls commonly bypassed the filter.
|Nov. 10th, 2009|
Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Collection Released
|The Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Collection was released in physical form for Japan and North America. All expansions and add-ons to-date were included at an MSRP of $19.99 USD, 6,090 Yen (tax included) for PS2/360, and the Windows version was open price.
The North American version was released via the popular new STEAM gaming app on PC for the same price. Players hoped that this version would do away with PlayOnline, but were disappointed as it did not. There was also an unexplainable 16,100 file version update download that was required with this install. From December 23rd thru January 3rd, the Ultimate Collection was on sale for $11 on Steam. This was the lowest price to date that the entire game could be purchased for.
A disclaimer was added on the PC version that a Verified by Visa/SecureCode credit card was now required to play.
The PAL format of this collection was only available via digital download, and not sold in stores.
Final Fantasy XI Art Director Ryosuke Aiba said that the art on the cover of the new collection was inspired by the Riverne zones. Aiba said he was fond of that area for its dynamic, fantasy look. The wyrm on the cover is also reminiscent of the Chains of Promathia expansion.
Also, look at some of the armor that the characters are wearing. Some of those outfits were currently not in the game. Aiba said there could be a chance that some of those outfits might be used in the future. There was also a chance, he said, that some of the designs were ready to go already. They were going to go with player feedback on whether to implement them.
|Nov. 11th, 2009|
Mercenary Camp Tournament
|A special tournament named ‘’’Mercenary Camp Championship 2009’’’ was held in affiliated Net Cafes throughout Japan from November 11th thru December 11th, 2009. The tournament had rewards for players who had the best clear times for the Mercenary Camp BCNM (This is the same BCNM we have today that can be entered using the Mercenary Camp Entry Slips).
Ranks, World Names, Team Names, and Clear Times were published when the event was over. Character names were not disclosed due to privacy concerns. Not only were top prizes awarded, but also prizes for special places such as 11th place as well as 4th thru 10th, 22nd, 33rd, 44th, and 55th. There was also a lottery prize for 200 entrants.
WebMoney card given away as a prize
|Nov. 18th, 2009|
Renewed Wedding Support Service
|As mentioned in the latest Version Update, the Wedding Service was totally remade.
No longer did players need GM support to perform in-game weddings. Instead, Matrimonial Coffers were added selling wedding goods, and NPCs were added to instruct players on the procedures of a ceremony.
Pairing this new system with the newly added Player Event Support, weddings became much easier and customizable to perform.
Same Sex Marriage?
Only opposite genders could marry in-game before this change, and it remained the same after this new system was introduced.
|Dec. 10th, 2009|
Synergy and Evoliths Added
Not counting the Evolith armor and weapons, upon release Synergy was mainly comprised of alternate recipes for consumables such as Medicine and Drinks. Many players were required to complete high level recipes such as the Galley Kitchen.
Players learned about the fail-synthing skillup method on the first day via the Crafting Apron/Smock synth. Level 50 was achieved within 24 hours via the Cuffs > Apron > Nuggets path.
None of the Evolith gear was downright horrible, but a large majority of it wasn’t better than what was already out. This was especially true as it was a pain in the ass to get a lot of the new Evolith mats, not to mention the dismal drop rates. There were even reports of players intentionally despawning certain monsters that groups were gathering to fight.
Most of the new Aern style weapons were slightly worse than other available weapons. Blau Dolch was better than the dagger. The Concordia (Sword) was referred to as a “Organics -1”. Algol debatably beat the Great Sword.
Most of the armor was compared to other pieces as “-1”. A lot of the armor had “Vs Family” stats, which was the completely wrong angle. Most of it was , and nobody was going to carry around these pieces of armor for “just in case” situations for every family. If they were going to make this kind of armor, they should have made it decisively stronger than alternatives.
Similarly, for Bard there were “Certain Element Song Spellcasting Down” stats, or “Vs Family Magic Accuracy” which were ridiculous. Players did not have enough room to carry around this very specific situational pieces of equipment.
|Dec. 18th, 2009|
Starlight Celebration 2009
|The Starlight Celebration ran from December 18th thru December 31st this year.
The boot camp remained implemented even after the event was over, but the NPCs were changed to wear different, non-Christmas themed outfits.
|Dec. 24th, 2009|
Moggy New Year Bonanza
|The third Bonanza, Moggy New Year Bonanza 2010, had marbles sell from Dec 24th thru January 15th, 2010, and its drawing was on January 29th, 2010.
Note: See Moggy New Year Bonanza 2010 page for details on the event such as prizes and results.
|Dec. 24th, 2009|
Announcement regarding Third-Party Programs
|On Christmas Eve 2009, Square Enix announced the following regarding Third Party programs:
Over a period of time, we have been monitoring an individual responsible for the creation, sale and distribution of 2 third party tools in violation of the rules of the FINAL FANTASY XI service and various state and federal laws. The tools were utilized by players and gil farmers to gain an unfair advantage over other players in a variety of ways. As a result of our investigation, we have taken appropriate action against the individual, have halted distribution of the programs and have disabled the servers used to run them.
We are in the process of investigating other third party tools originating in the U.S. and abroad and will take similar action against the creators and their customers when we are ready to do so. We have a zero-tolerance policy against any attempts to artificially manipulate FINAL FANTASY XI gameplay or the PlayOnline service. Usage of third-party tools will not be tolerated within the FINAL FANTASY XI community, and we will continue to ban user accounts for consumers of these products and will potentially take legal actions against those who create the tools.
|Too little, too late?
This announcement was regarding the creator of the third-party tools “FFXI-App” and the “NASA” bot. These programs were available for the past 3 and a half years. At this point, the damage has already been done.
There was a post on the BG Forums on September 25th, 2009 rumoring that these programs would be shut down within that week. Sure enough, it was true. Square Enix shut down the authentication servers, so the bot couldn’t be used. FFXI-App used this same process, so it was also now offline. Nobody knew until December 24th if the Cease and Desist order was true, or if the developer just decided to end the service.
NASA cost anywhere from $3,000 - $4,000 to obtain it for your character/linkshell. Many groups just sold Gil to earn enough money to buy the bot. FFXI-App was only $15 per character.
Most of the NASA linkshells migrated to the inferior Wizbot claim tool. At last, many non-NASA linkshells finally stood a chance to be able to claim the three kings.