The History of Final Fantasy XI/2010
In 2010 Final Fantasy XI saw an unprecedented evolution. Alongside the first level cap increase in six and a half years and the first world mergers in seven years came players with mixed emotions. Included were happy, content, angry, and opinions. Abyssea saw its debut in the middle of the year, and Wings of the Goddess's storyline concluded at the end of the year.
Tetra Master and POL Character Emails shut down at the end of 2010, and Final Fantasy XIV was released in September 2010. Both of these events added further speculation of the direction of Final Fantasy XI's future.
|Jan. 1st, 2010|
Happy New Year 2010
|In 2010, tigers were the choice animal to grace Vana'diel for the New Year. Byakko's model was used as the lead tiger, followed by the regular black tiger models.
No new items were obtainable this year.
|Jan. 23rd, 2010|
FFXI Tarutaru Trading Arts mini figurines released
|A set of Tarutaru mini figurines were released as promotional item. These were available online on the Square-Enix shop store, as well as in Hatsudai, Tokyo at the Square Enix Character Good Shop Show Case. It was thought that these were created because of a Square Enix “Customer Support Questionnaire” that players had taken part in. Tarutaru were the top answer in the “Goods to create” section of the survey.
These figurines also came to North America in February. They were purchasable on the Square Enix shop website. The price was $24.99 USD for the set.
Packaging for each region was slightly altered. In Japan, the figurines were in blind boxes and it was lottery which one you would get. In North America, they were sold as a set of five. In both regions the figurines themselves were identical, though.
Four Tarutaru were featured as being available. Ajido-Marujido, Star Sibyl, Shantotto, and Robel-Akbel. A fifth, secret character was hinted at, which was Ark Angel TT.
Above: North American box set
Above: Japanese "blind box" set
|Feb. 4th, 2010|
Valentione's Day 2010
|The Valentione's Day event was held from February 4th until February 15th.
No changes were made to this event from 2009's version.
|Feb. 19th, 2010|
The Doll Festival 2010
|The Doll Festival event was held from February 19th until March 3rd.
No changes were made to this event from 2009's version.
|Feb. 28th, 2010|
Vana ★ Fest 2010
|The next real-life event was Vana ★ Fest 2010. The event venue was the Japan Youth Center, and the address was 7-1 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0013, Japan. The venue has since been demolished for a reconstruction project to build the new National Olympic Stadium to house the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
1,114 attendees were chosen in a lottery fashion to attend the event, and there was no entry fee charged to the participants. In order to enter the lottery drawing, attendees must have met the following requirements:
Attendees each received a Final Fantasy XI 8th Anniversary themed Moogle Tenugui pictured below (Equivalent of a hand towel in English) and a Campaign Code for a Chocobo Beret. Because there were 1114 attendees, 1114 Tenuguis + code combinations were given out. The “14” number was probably a reference to FF XIV.
Many staff and developers were also wearing these Tenuguis throughout the event.
Highlights to the event included:
Leading up to the festival was a contest for English and European players to win their own Chocobo Beret codes. The contest took place on Twitter with the twitter handle @VanaFest2010_EN. This Twitter contest took place from February 23, 2010 to February 27, 2010 with a total of 4 questions each day at 9:00 PST, 11:00 PST, 13:00 PST, and 15:00 PST. Each question was open for one hour. After the one hour window closed, the first five players who answered correctly and included their character name, World name, and VanaFest 2010 Trivia hash tag (#VanaFest2010Trivia) were contacted by the email address and PlayOnline mail address registered with the associated PlayOnline account notifying them that they won.
Major announcements during Vana Festival 2010 included the following:
The venue and line are pictured above.
As with every Square Enix event, a merchandise booth had to be present! The poster above was placed at the venue, signed by the developers. It was a major photo op on the way in.
Before Treasures of Aht Urhgan was released, Square Enix wrote “Wrestler” in a memo on the official site (instead of Warrior). Since then, Sumo Wrestler was a mock job idea. The above picture was shown during the job adjustment part of the event, which joked at the rumored job gaining Rock Salt in the Throwing slot.
The above video is the first release of the level cap increase, shown at the festival and streamed online.
Without a doubt, the biggest news was the level cap increase. A Red Mage was shown levelling up from 75, the response was insane, yet mixed. Below are some responses from the BG Forums during the event.
Mixed emotions ran through the community upon this announcement. Some players were excited that FFXI will “become a new game” and others said that it “will never be the same”. It sounded like they were getting FFXI ready for FFXIV, so that even if the population shot way down the people that stay could still get things done without needing a large group anymore. After the hype, players began to think twice about the consequences of a level cap increases and world merges. On one hand, the game was incredibly stagnant in the last year, and these announcements felt like a breath of fresh air was blown into the game. On the other, an increase to the level cap would ruin every aspect of the game regarding balance. Players were also afraid of overcrowding on the merged worlds. This fear was warranted, though, as Campaign became a bum rush of 50 players annihilating all the monsters in a battle. Popular events such as Campaign did not seem thought out fully when they decided on merging worlds. Additionally, would happen to Merit Points? The merit system was the developer's answer to players who “wanted to be stronger” at level 75. They were a superficial character improvement by obtaining incredibly minor character improvements like 1 STR, 2 Axe skill, -1 enmity… without ruining game balance. After the festival was over, only time would tell how things will pan out after June. Fear and speculation of the unknown future was real.
|Jan. 23rd, 2010|
FFXI and Lord of Vermilion Collaboration
|During Vana Fest 2010, cards were shown on a big screen during the show gathering time. These cards were a crossover for Square Enix's arcade-based fantasy collectible card game Lord of Vermilion.
Four Final Fantasy XI characters would be featured in this game, including Ark Angel EV, Shadow Lord, Eald'narche, and Kam'lanaut. The Shadow Lord and Eald'narche are “super rare”, when Ark Angel EV and Kam'lanaut are “rare”.
|Mar. 23rd, 2010|
|For the first time in seven years, world consolidation took place. The eight least populated worlds were merged into the eight next least populated worlds. Alongside these merges, the character creation restriction on Odin and Bahamut were lifted. Players could now create new characters on those worlds as well as world transfer to those worlds once again. The first merge reduced the current worlds from 32 to 24. Players on all worlds held gatherings bidding farewell to their beloved worlds. Parties consisted of Fireworks and shout wars. With all the hype of FFXIV recently, it was a natural response for players and media to begin speculation that Final Fantasy XI was near end of life, backed up by “evidence” from this world merger. Obviously, that was not the case in the end.
Some players on merged worlds saw a huge number of players online, almost to the point of an overpopulation situation. Many wished that Square Enix would have waited a bit longer to see how much of a resurgence the game would have had before pulling the trigger. If these recent announcements and changes happened in 2009 instead, it would have pretty much guaranteed that the number of subscribers who stuck around would have been much higher.
|Mar. 23rd, 2010|
Trials of the Magians and New Avatars!
Announcing the level cap increase as well as all the new additions to come, it was the “shot in the arm” to reinvigorate many players enough to give the game another shot. This overall well received update helped bring players back in anticipation to upcoming Abyssea. Players were hoping that Square Enix would deliver the expansion of their dreams with upcoming Abyssea. For SE to stay on the right path like they did with this update, they really needed to nail these add-ons.
Wings of the Goddess storyline
The missions added in this round were well received, but it was disappointing to players not to see the Allied Ring come from the missions as an additional reward.
In the segment of missions added in this update, it is a good time to discuss Mayakov's flamboyant personality with obvious stereotypes. In western culture, we can obviously classify him as "flaming", but that is not exactly correct to the Japanese audience. In Japan, he would be labelled as "okama" - お釜, "pot", slang for "gay men". The stalest, most common okama joke is "that we are both man and woman and neither". He's a classic Japanese stereotype that has no real analogue in the west. You can't be much gayer than an okama. It is also interesting to note that this 'may' be the first time that there was an openly gay male character in a Final Fantasy game, other than Lehko Habhoka openly hitting on you regardless of your character's sex.
Trial of the Magians
The debut of the system only featured weapons, most of which were newly added. Many players expected the ability to augment and bring with them existing weapons and armor, which would carry them to the new cap. Disappointed players soon found out that their beloved equipment, such as Salvage Armor, could not be enhanced. There was major potential to keep veteran players happy if they did this, but it would further divide content that players wanted to complete. Simply adding new equipment seemed like the logical choice.
Additionally, the bar for the trial requirements was set very high. It took a great amount of time and effort to complete these tasks. Relic and Mythic weapon trials were 1500 objectives each! These objective counts, combined with the fact that the level cap was still 75, usually required assistance from friends to complete.
Nevertheless, the Trials system was innovative. Anything that was added in the game that encouraged cooperation instead of conflict was fantastic.
Voidwalker NM System
The VWNM system a fresh change of pace for HNM linkshells at the time. Rather than stand around and competing for a claim, monsters had to be hunted down through zones and earned. Progress was guaranteed, and it was nice that you could stop at any time and retain progress for kills. The rings were so good from the NMs that players assumed that they were rewards from the Wings of the Goddess Missions. Upon first release, the theory circulated that some versions of these new NMs were “Shadow” copies due to multiple spawns of the same NM in multiple zones. Obviously, this did not end up being the case.
Evolith and Hunt Registry Additions
In November of 2009 when the Evoliths were first introduced, players concluded that they just didn't have any luster. Some said, “wait until future updates”. The Hunt registry expansion was the perfect opportunity to put something worthwhile into Evoliths, but nothing came to fruition.
The whole system felt worse than the Fields of Valor augments. There were very few evoliths that are worth getting, and there wasn't a huge selection of gear and weapons to hold it. If they wanted to make an impact that was mildly interesting, they would have had to increase the evolith capacity per piece of eligible equipment by at least x10 and add in more etchings per item.
Evoliths were a very cool system and perhaps one of the most developed ones they ever released. It even had many models of (cool) armor, all with different colors, created for it. However, the actual evolith bonuses were either very situational or situational to the point of uselessness. Even if they were to have continued to expanded the system, the fact is that it was not worth using for half of a year.
At last, the final two Campaign medals were released as well as the last tier of purchasable items with Allied Notes. This marks 20 total medal ranks to fight your way through during Campaign battles. Final pieces that were purchasable cost a whopping 100,000 Notes. Some players had hundreds of thousands saved up, but many did not have this much to spend. Campaign saw a big participation increase after the update in order to obtain the new Weapons as well as unlock Fiat Lux for the new Shadow Lord equipment.
New weapons were made available for Allied Notes. The weapons had the unique Weapon Skills on them which used by heroes of the past. During Vanafest, they mentioned that “These weapon skills are too powerful to use outside of Campaign”, but of course that was not the case. They were not overpowered, but still limited to Campaign. Uriel Blade was particularly useful due to it inflicting magical damage.
Before this update, players rarely participated in Campaign Battles in Xarcabard (S) due to the dangerous conditions compared to other zones. Having Amphipteres all around the fortification was just ridiculous, not to mention all of the true sight Imps. Some poor bastard was always destined to get KO'd on the way to the fortification. Castle Zvahl was much worse than Xarcabard with Very Tough demons all around, and enemy units including Minotaurs and Vampyr NMs. It was incredibly dangerous just to navigate to the Throne Room. Five deaths to make it to Castle Zvahl was not unheard of. It was required to have a cooperating alliance in order to efficiently take over these zones. Regardless, players conquered the Northlands. Some worlds had the BCNM available the week of April 11th, 2010. It was unfortunate that the Nightfall clearly beat the level 75 Ragnarok.
|Mar. 25th, 2010|
Egg Hunt 2010
|The Easter Egg Hunt event was held from March 25th until April 6th.
No new changes were made to the event from the 2009 version.
|Apr. 27th, 2010|
Feast of Swords 2010
|The Feast of Swords event was held from April 27th thru May 11th.
As promised at Vanafest 2010, new rewards were added, but the event itself was overall the same.
|May 11th, 2010|
8th Vana'versary Adeventurer Appreciation Campaign
|Although the name was changed from 2009, the 8th anniversary event was still pretty similar with a few additions. It ran this year from May 11th thru May 25th.
The Anniversary Ring returned, but new mini games were added. Players had to equip their Dinner Jacket and Dinner Hose while speaking to popular NPCs, such as Maat, Naji, and Halver, throughout the world. After receiving all of these Key Items, speaking to a Moogle would reward the player with a Moggiebag.
This year marks the first time the annual Vana'diel Census was not released. Surprisingly, not many people realized it was missing.
|May 12th, 2010|
FFXI “Memories of Dusk and Dawn” 8th Anniversary Soundtrack Released
|The Memories of Dusk and Dawn is a compilation soundtrack released in conjunction of the 8th Anniversary of Final Fantasy XI. The tracks were selected through a Japanese fan voting survey, which ended on March 8th, 2010. In order to vote, players needed a Japanese Square Enix Account. They could vote for three tracks from each of the previously released OSTs.
Players referred to it as a “Greatest Hits” soundtrack, which was spot on. The physical CD was only released in Japan (for the price of 1800 Yen, tax included), while a digital version was released on iTunes in North America. The CD included a very popular selection of nostalgic songs from Final Fantasy XI and even Playonline. Most of these songs were already released on previous soundtracks, but the Playonline tracks were newly released.
|May 16th, 2010|
8th Vana'versary Mog Bonanza
|The fourth Bonanza, dubbed the 8th Vana'versary Bonanza, had marbles sell from May 16th thru June 7th, 2010. The drawing took place on June 24th, 2010 and prizes were available to claim until July 8th.
Note: See the 8th Vana'versary Mog Bonanza page for details on the event such as prizes and results.
To make matters worse, the drawing was June 24th. This was two days after the level cap increases. Nobody knew how, and even if, armor would be scalable to level 80.
|May 16th, 2010|
8th Vana'versary Art Contest
|An announcement was made regarding the fifth Art Contest commemorating the 8th Vana'versary of Final Fantasy XI. Submissions were gathered from May 16th til June 16th.||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.
|Jun. 3rd, 2010|
|Due to unauthorized access to Square Enix data centers, POL Account IDs and passwords were compromised. Not all users were affected. Square Enix sent out an email to those who were, and some who were not. They stated that they are changing the passwords of those who had their data taken and mailing out new passwords to them via USPS, or they can contact Support to get one sooner than waiting.
Even some players who bought a security token were affected. At this time, they were out of stock on the SE Store website. Some thought it was a publicity stunt to sell more once they came back.
Many players were hesitant in believing the email they received was real. An announcement on the official site was not made for a few hours after the emails were sent out, and players were saying in game that they did not receive an email and were affected. Square Enix accounts were not yet required at this time, so that only increased the confusion.
Phishing scams by RMT to steal accounts were a huge threat, and players had the right to question the email and the legitimacy of the situation.
|Jun. 8th, 2010|
Vision of Abyssea Preorder Available
Like the Add-on Scenarios from last year, the new Abyssea Battle Content Add-ons became available for preorder before they were able to be played. The price of these addons were 980 Yen, or $9.99 USD. Access to the first Abyssea content was available after the completion of the June 22nd, 2010 Version Update.
The first Abyssea pack to release was Vision of Abyssea.
More information and player reception can be found below after the June 22nd Version Update entry on this page.
|Jun. 18th, 2010|
Vinyl Record Final Fantasy XI W/F : Music From Vana'diel Released
|The first and only vinyl record ever released for Final Fantasy XI debuted in limited quantity for Japanese players. It was available on the Square Enix store, and only for those who reserved it. The composer was Naoshi Mizuta, and the record cost 2800 Yen (tax included).
The following eight songs were on the record:
|Jun. 22nd, 2010|
Abyssea Nigh… End of the 75 Cap
Note: Due to the huge overall impact that the level cap increases and Abyssea had on the game, this aspect has its own entry below this update entry.
Abyssea First Look
During the extended 8.5 hour maintenance period on update day, many players were disappointed with the patch notes. Specifically, players believed that the time limit on the new zones was too little, and that nothing could be accomplished. The time extension system was not disclosed directly, so players had to figure out the logistics. The concern quickly went away after that. Most of the monsters that were introduced were bigger/slight alterations to what we already had, like the extra horns on the Tortoise and Bugards. Overall the mob designs were disappointing, but the pop system was not. We did receive a few Abyssea-only mobs, but there was little reason to fight them.
Synergy had a major upgrade in order to make room for the new level 76+ armor recipes. Players figured that Synergy would be the future of crafting rather than the guilds that we were used to prior. The economy began to have huge shifts in price for previous high ticket, top of the line equipment. An example is the Hauberk +1 dropped to under 500k in the first couple weeks. This was due to the release of the Perle Hauberk which could be obtained for little effort. This update also affected Salvage pieces. Players were hoping that the developers would allow the equipment to go through the Trial of the Magians process to keep it relevant. This trend of new equipment being released that outpaces level 75 equipment continued to increase after every update. The game felt totally remade with all the insane never before seen stats on LV 76+ equipment.
For the first month or two after the update, talk around message boards was what exactly did the Primeval Brew do? Players knew it cost 2 million Cruor, which was insane at the time. Theories included that it was used for the final Relic Weapon upgrade or a Limit Break quest later on.
Dancer had a huge overhaul this update with the addition of a natural Dual Wield trait. This opened the ability to have a different subjob than Ninja that was all but required before. Even putting Dancer as a main job aside, as a subjob also gave players Dual Wield with the addition of healing capabilities. Thief's were upset that they didn't also get Dual Wield natively when they have been asking for it for a long time.
Red Mage – The Red Mage tanking ability was dead after the enmity generation on their spells was lowered considerably. Paladin used to even sometimes sub Red Mage for Phalanx and the ability to spam spells as an alternative to Provoke.
Beastmaster – At this point, Charm usefulness quickly deteriorated. Call Beast and Jugs quickly became the norm for Beastmasters, especially due to Jug's higher stats and not having to bother with Charm.
Bard – The Bard job was in a strange place from the June 2010 update until the February 2017 update. Atmas greatly decreased the viability and usefulness of a Bard in a group, and the new way Experience was generated didn't need bard at all. The new ways of regenerating MP, such as White Mage's Orison Pantaloons, caused the Gjallarhorn to quickly become one of the least desired relics for quite some time. One of the main reasons a player would make one is for the unique Ballad +2 statistic on it. This was the single best source of MP regeneration at level 75 cap. The first cap increase gave bard the worst possible songs as new spells – Minne, Requiem, and Paeon. These were the least used songs, but they had to start somewhere.
Walk of Echoes
Unlike Sky and Sea where players needed to reach the end of the mission line for those expansions to access the endgame content, Walk of Echoes only needed a few cutscenes completed to join the frey. In addition, there was no reserving the areas for each fight. Walk of Echoes was basically pick up group content, which anyone could join in on your fight. That being said, the difficult was still set way too high even for level 80 characters. The whole event seemed like a bad version of Campaign. Walk of Echoes was not the “Sky” or “Sea” content that players were hoping for. Looking back at previous expansion endgame: Rise of the Zilart was the foundation for the future development of the game. Sky was a mid-50s players dream – Linkshell Collaboration, and tough monsters to kill. Treasures of Aht Urhgan had the pinnacle of rewards, which does not count it's HNMs. Wings of the Goddess really fell behind with this system. It failed because it couldn't generate the hype that Abyssea did, and hardly paid off for the effort put into it other than for trial upgraders.
Upon release of the update, the Abyssea website was updated with the level 80 versions of the new Empyrean Weapons. Even without any stats, almost every weapon beat anything ever seen before. With the ease of obtaining a weapon compared to a Relic or Mythic, they continued to be pursued. Because these weapons were introduced in stages, it was basically lottery whether you upgraded the correct weapon path between March and June updates before they were found.
During the 80 cap, Abyssea NMs gave players quite some trouble. It was time consuming to farm the required number of EX items for upgrades.
New Weapon Skills
The new wave of Weapon Skills added in this update were mainly situational at best. They seemed like filler content to keep players wanting more, which they did receive eventually. A promotional video (below) was released before the update, so players assumed that they would all be elemental based weapon skills, and not be very good.
Chains of Promathia Nerfs
With the removal of the level capped zones and BCNMs, Chains of Promathia was now solo content. The storyline in Promathia was the pinnacle in terms of story development. The challenge and teamwork that the missions required (before the nerfs of course) was never seen again in Final Fantasy XI. Players who accomplished the story when it was first released told the story to their friends like a grandpa would tell his grandchildren; Back in my day I walked to school for two miles in the snow, uphill both ways. Some players wish they had the opportunity to experience these fights at the original difficulty like the seasoned players. The reality was, after Wings of the Goddess many players had a hard time finding help in completing these missions. They would shout for hours in town without anyone wanting to deal with walking the player through the zones and helping with a level cap fight. Nobody wanted to redo fights, even at the lower difficulty.
End of the Colibri Fantasy
The Colibri Fantasy was a situation where Colibris were the preferred camp for Experience Points parties. The birds had special TP abilities, such as Pecking Flurry, Snatch Morsel and Reflect. These abilities would normally be avoided by players. Regardless of this, Colibri were easy to access and became a natural target. The downfall was that Colbiri only inhabited Aht Urhgan and the Shadowreign areas. Level 30 to 40 had a popular spot in East Ronfaure (S), while Level 54-55 to early 60s resided outside of Al Zahbi. Greater Colibri were a common EXP location, even with all of the Merit Point parties targeting that spot. Beyond 75, Merit Point parties also preferred to target Colibri. Tandjana Islet was an area in Bhaflau Thickets, accessed through Nyzul Isle where 3 parties could merit effectively on Colibri. At almost any time during the day you could find at least one party at that location. Piercing weapons were preferred to fight these birds due to their weakness. Dragoons and Thieves were preferred party members with their multi hit weapon skills for fast kills. It was also possible to skip having a tank, as it was easy to bounce hate back and forth between melee with Utsusemi for survivability. This opened an additional party spot for more damage to be dealt and faster kills. Colibri were still targeted for a short time after Abyssea's release. When the lights system and visitor status was figured out, it was the end of the Colibri Fantasy. The Abyssea Fantasy then began.
|Jun. 22nd, 2010|
The Impact of Abyssea and the Level Cap Increase
|The following entry is an attempt to capture all the mixed emotions that players experienced after the release of all three Abyssea add-ons. Specific details on each of the releases have their own details next to each Version Update entry on this page. Be sure to read all four in order to read the full details.|
|The Good Views
Abyssea, although not a full expansion, added a plethora of new and exciting things to do to stay busy. There was a lot of content to take part in, and an incredible progression trail. It was a new world within a world, never seen in the game before. Drops and gear were fairly easy to obtain unlike other content. Some people complained that all the old gear has been made obsolete, but far more people complained that we had been struggling to obtain the SAME gear for 5 straight years. The idea that gear was now progressing and you won't be grinding some god awful event for years just for ONE drop alone makes it the best thing that happened to the game. Abyssea was made different in that Notorious Monsters had more than just one use - Gear, Seals, Atmas, Key Items, and also Quest Progression were all potential rewards from one NM. This caused players to have different motivators in joining for a fight rather than trying to out lot that one item everybody wants (Crimson Cuisses, I'm looking at you).
It was a daring plan to increase the level cap above 75. Many interviews prior, Square admitted themselves that it would be too difficult to achieve game balance if they did this. Players needed something this drastic after the last year of dull, repetitive campaign battles.
Upon hearing the news of more levelling, players wondered what their massive next TNL (Experience needed “To Next Level”) would be. After EXPing in Abyssea was discovered, that concern disappeared. This was a double-edged sword, however. The grind to level 75 was one of the worse to max out your character for any MMO. If the same system was kept with an increased level cap to 99, the game would have ended long ago. Raising the level cap was the first step in FF11's shift from an old school philosophy to the modern times. Many video games released in 2010-2011 became faster paced and mobile. We needed to adapt in order to keep driving players interest; even if it was a necessary evil.
Some jobs at 75 cap seemed rather useless, such as Dancer and Scholar, with no way of fixing them. Raising the cap gave the developers more room to vastly improve and change every job. This changed the way many of them were played from the 75 cap to 99. Blue Mage wouldn't even be close to where it is today without the addition of several Job Traits that were given through new spells; Occultation, Barrier Tusk, White Wind, Sinker Drill, the broken ass elemental nukes…. It created a powerhouse. Scholar's further specialization into HoTs and DoTs became the conductor of mage-oriented fights and gave it a very fun niche that didn't quite exist yet. White Mage's Empyrean Armor set granted it what it envied so long from Red Mage, endurance when curing. Having MP-free Curagas allowed them to power through heavy damage like no other healer could.
|The Bad Views
After the first level cap increase, all jobs became unbalanced as they started growing and adapting from their level 75 version to their level 99 maturity. This unbalance continues to this day, well during the Item Level era. Atmas ruined what could have been a series of fun and challenging content. After gaining 24 extra levels, 3 lunar abyssites, various Atma and even the Brews, it made everything far too easy in Abyssea. These changes also destroyed the synergy between jobs. You no longer needed a Bard or Red Mage to keep MP recovery high. Various tactics were devised by players to cope with the mighty HNMs during the 75/37 cap. Tactics like RDM sub DRK for Chainspell Stun. Player's inquisitiveness was deep to the developers, so they had to nerf things like this for later enemies like TOAU HNMs. Now, with the increased level, many HNMs started to become soloable. For instance, at 80 cap a Beastmaster could solo Khimaira with a Dipper Yuly. Vrtra became soloable at 85 cap with jug pets. Monsters that caused so much heartache camping… blood, sweat and tears… to obtain your coveted Hauteclaire and Vrtra Vanquisher title… killed by a Jug Pet. You can also not forget about Absolute Virtue! With an increase in the level cap, it was easy to take down AV now with a little effort and not even worrying about the 2HR ability gimmicks.
High value Crafting Materials such as Angel Skin, Dragon Hearts and Khroma Ore were rare at first and remained valuable. Unfortunately, the equipment they were to create quickly became outdated. The economy soon began to see another huge imbalance, and it became tough to find items to sell for any type of decent gil. While this was happening, we began to see a shift in the direction that equipment began to take. We moved from almost an entire gil-based game at level 75, to having gil have almost no use. All the top tier equipment from Abyssea was Rare/Ex. If it was not, it was rather easy to obtain with little effort. By the time Scars was released, there was little impact in having materials drop from chests.
With all nine Abyssea zones releasing in 2010, there was a huge difference between the quality of each zones and the Notorious Monster pop flow. Abyssea - Tahrongi was well thought out with the NM progress, but Abyssea - La Theine was vastly different. It was easy to tell that they were pressed to meet deadlines and changing the way a Notorious Monster popped after it was released was impossible to do. In regard to the nonexistent Abyssea missions, the storyline had no depth. The running joke was that all of the writers moved to FFXIV, and everyone just spammed enter in the small cutscenes we did receive. This continued through the whole storyline until the climax.
Final Fantasy XI was an epic adventure. Players considered it was a great achievement to level from a measly noob all the way to level 75. Endgame felt like water being slowly released from a dam. The game could feel slow at times, but it took so long to grind that you always felt like there was something to do. People took more pride and had more entertainment in their jobs back then. You felt more specialized and useful by having a particular job geared up due to how long it took to level and then collect items. Abyssea changed this entire outlook. Players now had their sights set to endgame rather than the journey to get there. Instead of one, two, or three specialized jobs at 75, players changed focus to max out every job at 75 and collect all the equipment possible.
|The Ugly Views
When Trial of the Magians questlines were released in March, players were assuming that Square Enix would have players bringing their valuable 75 equipment with them on their levelling journey to 99. Another assumption was that all level 75 content would be capped at 75. Soon after the June update, everyone realized that this was far from the case. With all the new Abyssean gear that started to be released every update, the top-notch 75 era pieces of equipment such as the Armada Hauberk became a relic of the past. The Armada Hauberk was a tier of gear took players years of dedication to achieve. Imagine waking up one day to see that a Rare/Ex piece of artifact armor shits all over your item that took you three years of effort to acquire.
Relic Weapons used to take a year or longer to obtain. It required either a lot of gil investment, or dedication from your linkshell in order to help you obtain enough currency to complete a weapon. When Abyssea was released, Empyrean Weapons could be completed within a weekend depending on the weapon you choose and the dedication of your group. Almost every Empyrean Weapon even outclassed Relic Weapons.
The concept of the battle add-ons themselves took away the entire need for a linkshell anymore. This is the basis of a Massively Multiplayer Online game. Many linkshells broke, especially the large ones. 24/7 groups turned into prime-time only linkshells.
With the introduction of Abyssea, the conventional six-man experience party, and by extension the entire conventional way of gaining experience, was altered. Abyssea killed the most fun part of levelling; and that was developing friendships and comradery through the slow grind up to level 75. At level 10, Valkurm Dunes was essentially a rite of passage for every player and every job. You learned how to work as a group, and how a job functioned in a party. A little seen side of this that it was MUCH harder for new players to get into the game now. Everybody elected to solo their low-level jobs until 30, then got power levelled in Abyssea.
After Abyssean EXP parties became a thing, barely anyone had to pay attention. Players could simply afk for 2-3 hours and then you could be capped out on Experience. A “Keyer” was typically a low-level player who ran around and did nothing but open chests for the alliance. While integral, they were truly a leech for someone wanting to max a job. These new EXP parties resulted in players having multiple capped exp jobs, with little to no actual knowledge on how the job worked. Additionally, they would have grossly uncapped skills and no idea how to gear themselves. This led to many more Job Guides being created after this point.
Astral Burn parties used to have the same concept as Abyssea EXP alliances. Summoners would shout to sell spots in a party. They would then mass train everything in Korroloka Tunnel and use Astral Flow to kill everything off. When combined at a very low level with Level Sync, this resulted in a massive Experience Points gain. Abyssea brought the concept to a new level and allowed everyone to take advantage of it.
The feeling of accomplishment was dead. The era of instant gratification began.
|Jun. 29th, 2010|
Celestial Nights 2010
|Celestial Nights returned, and the event was held from June 29th until July 13th.
No new changes were made to the event from the 2009 version.
|Aug. 3rd, 2010|
Sunbreeze Festival & Fantastic Faulein - Mumor 3
|The popular Sunbreeze Festival returned from August 3rd thru August 17th.
The contents were basically the same as 2009, but the show's name changed this year. The story of the Mumor stage show somewhat changed every year for about three years. For instance, Uka was introduced in the second year as an enemy, then became an ally in the third year.
Additionally, we received three new furnishings by participating in the mini games:
In particular, the Aeolsglocke has a pretty cool chime effect. See its page for the video.
|Aug. 24th, 2010|
Scars of Abyssea Preorder Available
The second Abyssea Battle Content Add-on Scenario, Scars of Abyssea, became available for preorder a couple weeks before the next update. The price again was 980 Yen, or $9.99 USD. Access to the second Abyssea add-on was available after the completion of the September 9th, 2010 Version Update.
More information and player reception can be found below after the September 9th Version Update entry on this page.
|Sep. 1st, 2010|
New Director for Final Fantasy XI
|With the imminent release of Final Fantasy XIV, Mr. Hiromichi Tanaka turned focus from Final Fantasy XI. Mr. Akihiko Matsui assumed role as the Director of Final Fantasy XI.
Even before being appointed as Director, he was a frequent user on Twitter. In some cases, players questions were answered directly by him and even some specifications were revealed. This was referred to by Japanese players as “松 井 ったー” (Matsuitta, or Tatsui Matsui). It was a play on words, which combined “Matsui” + “Twitter”. He used twitter under the account name @matsuiakihiko. This account was his own personal, non-business affiliated account. He would respond to many user questions, most of the time more than 20 per day!
At this time, we did not yet have the Official Forums. To be able to talk directly to the development team of Final Fantasy XI, AND gain a personal response, was unheard of. With such a direct connection to the developers, albeit not 100% of players got a response, the outlook on the development team greatly changed. In a sense, this twitter connection felt like it was a “Second Creator's Voice”.
Mr. Matsui would only remain director until December 2010 before moving to assist with Final Fantasy XIV's rough launch.
|Sep. 10th, 2010|
Scars of Abyssea & Level 85
Abyssea… Second Look
The increased level cap to level 85 instead of 90 was a surprise to some. The assumption was that because three addon scenarios were announced, Scars would take players to 90 and the last expansion would take them to 99. Although it seems like a small change, the ability to purchase multiple Forbidden Keys in one transaction was a huge time saver. Additionally, making them stack to 99 was just icing on the cake.
After the update, the grind for Kindred's Crests were real. These seals were added on the same day of the update, after which they became required for the Limit Break as well as multiple Trial of the Magian quests. Upon release, they could not be traded to Shami, hence not able to be converted into from other seals. Alliances were formed in almost all popular high mob level areas to farm for thousands of crests. It was fierce competition to get just the 5 needed for the Limit Break. On Sep. 15th, there was a mini update to address this issue. Level 85+ monsters no longer dropped Kindred or Beastmen seals, and instead the Crests took their place. This caused them to begin to drop en masse.
Empyrean Armor far exceeded players expectations. Players were really mind blown on just how many stats were being added to these new pieces of equipment. Unlike some useless stats placed on Artifact and Relic, Empyrean had beneficial bonuses based on how players 'actually' played the game. Most Head+2 pieces destroyed Maat's Cap, and most Leg+2 equipment made Byakko's Haidate obsolete. It was hard to believe just how powerful one could become after being used to level 75 era armor. Suddenly, progression went from a horizontal path to a vertical path for each level cap increase. Around 80% of the Visions of Abyssea gear released last update was replaced with Scars gear, and 99% of it was replaced with Heroes gear.
Bastion was known as “The Campaign of Abyssea”. Battles did not last long, and the Experience per mob was fantastic and was awarded immediately. Unlike Campaign where the battle had to be over or you needed to ask for an evaluation, Bastion also did not judge a player on performance. Experience was simply awarded for defeating a monster.
Although the Weakness Targeting system was first introduced in June 2010's update, the usefulness of the effect did not become apparent until Empyrean armor was released. Treasure Hunter took a back seat, as it was soon found out that proc'ing a monster had a much higher effect on drop rates. Due to blue procs being most viable at night, and having the most effect on Equipment, Monk and White Mage would soon be duo partners for 90% of Abyssea content.
Trial of the Magians Adjustments
Relic Trials: Pre-update, Relic Trials had to be done practically solo. Party members assisting you made no difference for objectives such as kill shots w/Weapon Skills. Now, teaming up was encouraged. Party members fulfilling your same requirements counted towards your Trial if you were in Experience Points range. Regardless of this change, there was no mercy for the weary. The level 80 to 85 trials required EVEN MORE objectives than before – 2000!!
Elemental Weapon Trials: Post update, elemental trials could now be completed more quickly under the effects of a Weather condition in the zone. Each kill counted as 5 instead of 1. If a kill was performed on the same day, it counted as 6.
Other Trials: Some monster targets were changed to different families. Specifically, Apkallu were changed to Manticore. Apkallu were very difficult to kill solo or with a small group, as they would run away and link with other Apkallu. Manticores were much more manageable.
In this update, base stats to all jobs were boosted but they did not announce this. There was essentially +2 added to each of the 7 stats for all races, and some stats were even +3.
Storage woes began to become even more relevant with this update. Collecting massive amounts of Job Seals and +2 upgrade items did not help. This forced players to continue selling off their low-level equipment. The Auction House was overflowing with a lot of gear that was no longer relevant, and prices dropped substantially on almost everything. The value of Gil continued its decline as players started favoring Best in Slot Rare/Ex items.
Bard – Let's just go ahead and throw some salt in that Abyssea wound by introducing the Crooner's Cithara, a Ballad +1 Instrument. Hell, lets go ahead and introduce some new “Song”+3 instruments while we are at it. This forced all Bards to go out and farm for their +3 instruments in order to keep providing their strongest songs. Aegis and Gjallarhorn still did not have any Trial of the Magians quest for their instruments. Players wondered if they would ever come, or if they would be forced to leave their Relic achievements at level 75.
Puppetmaster – Deus Ex Automata was an incredible addition to the game. Its recast timer was separate from Activate. Additionally, the change to Deactivate with the timer reset was incredible. The wait time before for summoning your Automaton could sometimes be at 19 minutes! Pairing this with the Repair changes made Puppetmaster almost an entirely new job.
Warrior – The increase to Fell Cleave in this update is what gave birth to the Fell Cleave Experience Points parties. RMT would soon move to selling spots in an alliance for a set amount per hour, usually around 1-2 million gil. Players would join, pay, then afk. When they came back, they would have a fresh (or close to fresh) capped job to play.
|Sep. 28th, 2010|
Blazing Buffaloes 2010
|Blazing Buffaloes 2010 ran from September 28th, thru October 12th.
No new changes were made to the event from the 2009 version.
|Sep. 30th, 2010|
Final Fantasy XIV Released
|Previously known in the Final Fantasy XI community as “Rapture”, FFXIV was highly discussed in 2009 and 2010. Many players assumed XI was all but doomed when XIV was out, and everyone was skeptical that it would release in 2010. Earlier in the month it was announced that Tetra Master and POL Character emails would end service at the end of 2010. This added more fuel to the rumor mill about FFXI ending soon.
The following bonuses were given to FFXI players who purchased and played FFXIV upon release.
Firstly, Square Enix was offering a discount to FFXI from $12.95/mo to $7.00/mo for subscribing to both services. This discount was originally meant to end in January 2012 but was extended through March 2012. Because of this discount, therefore some FFXI and FFXIV players today want a discount available again for subscribing to both services.
Secondly, they let players transfer their FF XI name to their FF XIV account, but it was a rather pathetic transfer. It simply took your character name and your world name, then made that your name in XIV. Nobody liked the naming scheme. Jokes floated about saying that they are thankful Fairy was no longer a server...
Finally, new characters who had both services billed on a Square Enix account were given Hermes' Shoes in FF XIV which increased movement speed.
|Many Final Fantasy XI players began to upgrade their PCs in anticipation for XIV's release, only to find out that XIV was 20 steps backwards in terms of development from where XI was.
Except the grass textures, they were sweet.
|Oct. 19th, 2010|
Harvest Festival 2010
|Halloween returned to Vana'diel from October 19th thru November 2nd.
The event itself was the same, but this year new Candlestick furnishings were available.
After placing all three in your Mog House, then speaking to your Moogle, you would obtain another Candlestick
|Nov. 24th, 2010|
Heroes of Abyssea Preorder Available
The third and final Abyssea Battle Content Add-on Scenario, Heroes of Abyssea, became available for preorder. The price again was 980 Yen, or $9.99 USD. Access to the final Abyssea add-on was available after the completion of the December 7th, 2010 Version Update.
More information and player reception can be found below after the December 7th Version Update entry on this page.
|Dec. 7th, 2010|
Heroes of Abyssea & Level 90
Abyssea… Third and Final Look
Over this update and the last; Salvage, Kings, Sky, and Limbus sets were now a thing of the past. Empyrean Armor +2 armor was best in slot for almost every piece across every job. As always, there must be a few bad apples – Some pieces were just horrible. Some “WTF” moments included the White Mage's Orison Bliaud +2. With their empyrean legs though, it was hard to complain. A lot of the new Earrings were also wonderful, such as the Bale Earring with STR+4 and Attack+8.
When Empyrean Weapons were added, and people fought Carabosse for Gems, the first response was "Holy shit this is bullshit, Empyrean weapons are too hard to get." Fast forward to December and people were now complaining that they are way too easy to get due to the level cap increase and much better gear.
Dominion was quickly compared to Fields of Valor. It was a very nice alternative to those who didn't have a lot of time to commit to a long Abyssea grind. You could duo or take a small group and easily get up to 50k/hr if not more under the right conditions. The randomly augmented equipment via Trophy redemption was useful during level 90 cap months, as long as you didn't get skunked with something like CHR+2.
Lastly, the Shinryu finale to Abyssea had such amazing armor, every piece was game breaking! The Twilight Mail was quickly compared to the Kirin's Osode of level 90. For jobs that could use the Twilight Belt, it was the new staple TP set belt for quite some time. The Twilight Cloak is to this day, the only item that allows Impact to be cast. The Twilight Scythe initially had a Hidden Effect of Formless Strikes, non-attribute elemental damage, but in 2016 it was changed to be an Enchantment effect.
Wings of the Goddess Finale
As far as the storyline goes, many thought the ending to be predictable and lackluster. The Moonshade Earring augment choices, besides the TP Bonus +25 (+250 now), were not worth the three years of Wings of the Goddess story updates to obtain. Previous expansion rewards were amazing and game changing (looking at you Ethereal Earring and Rajas Ring) compared to the Moonshade. The Moonshade Earring was the only expansion reward to stand the test of time post Adoulin days for its TP Bonus.
Trial of the Magians
Empyrean Weapons – The Ochain and Daurdabla were introduced in this version update, with trials implemented immediately giving players the opportunity to raise them to level 90. The harp granting a whole additional song was mind blowing. Paladin was not used in Abyssea for Visions or Scars, but it was still an amazing shield. Aegis was still a necessity for Magic casting monster fights, and Ochain was now the shield to use for Physical damage fights.
Relic and Mythic Trials – Someone at Square finally woke up and realized how ridiculous and demanding the Relic and Empyrean objectives were for Trials. The objectives were lowered from 1500–2000 per trial to 150–400, what they are today. We touched on this ridiculous requirement before, but to put it into context once more… It used to take over 5000 kill shots, with a sometimes horrible weapon skill, to raise that weapon from level 75-85.
This was the update that added the hidden effect of +25% damage to Relic Weapon Skills. Even with the buff, Empyrean level 90 weapons still beat Relic Weapons in damage and effectiveness.
Flame Geodes – The Flame Geodes suddenly skyrocketed in price due to new STR path augments on Trials weapons. Many topics came up on forums talking about the most efficient locations to farm the rocks.
Level Cap Increase - Level 90 – Unlike the last cap increase, players had merits for days as well as the previously released Kindred's Crests stored up. After the easy level cap quest and more understanding of Abyssea lights, players were level 90 in the same day as the update.
Black Mage – As if the great ability Mana Wall wasn't enough, Enmity Douse was a full hate reset when used on a monster after a large nuke. Combining these abilities with great new spells such as Blizzard V, Black Mage was in a great spot at the time. -Aja spells were not fully understood and they never really gained traction.
Scholar – There were major changes to Scholar in this update. Immanence was added, thus the Scholar Skillchain was born. Defensive buffs were also added, which gave Black Mage the opportunity to start subbing Scholar instead of Red Mage.
At last a decent answer to players storage space woes – Porter Moogles! This incredibly easy to use system allowed somewhat quick storage for all that outdated armor players couldn't bring themselves to toss. The system would continue to be the main type of storage in the game, adding multiple new slips for years to come.
In addition, the Mog Sack was also added in this update. Players were happy they didn't need to spend real life money on more storage that they should have had in the first place. Combining these two additions with universal Ninja Tools and Cards, players could finally breathe a little easier regarding their inventories.
Ease of Entry
Entry requirements were finally eased regarding Salvage. Three players was a much better compromise than six, but some still found it funny that you could not just enter solo. In addition, the Assault Points requirement was much friendlier. One high level Assault was now enough for 2.5-3 Salvage entries.
Sky NM System Adjustments
The Sky NM System was adjusted and allowed triggers to drop in double quantities sometimes. The Rare tag was not removed, however, so you needed multiple characters to hold the pop items. It was a good idea to keep the Rare tags on so RMT could not monopolize NMs as easily and have an inventory full of triggers.
Sneak and Invisible
Before this change, Sneak and Invisible effects would have totally random timers. Sneak would even sometimes begin to wear off immediately after it was cast! After this change, they both had identical timers and lasted much longer.
This update ushered in some PS2s beginning to run out of storage space, and some players could not even download the update. SE's official solution was to completely reinstall the game files on the PS2, and that they “were working on compacting game files for future updates”. This solution, although time consuming, did work for players. Many had to perform it in order to continue playing on their consoles.
|Dec. 10th, 2010|
New Directors for Final Fantasy XI… again
|Mizuki Ito took over as Director in December of 2010. He was the mastermind behind Salvage, Einherjar, Besieged, Campaign, Dynamis Lord, and Abyssea. He would be assisted by Mr Yoji Fujito as his Associate Director.
Besides the content listed above, any other type of End Game content with a high degree of difficulty was collectively referred to as “Ito Content” to Japanese players. During his time as Director, his role was centered around end game content. He did not take balance into consideration very often. Players had a serious case of whiplash with how hard the game became post Abyssea with content such as the final limit break quest Beyond Infinity, Nyzul Isle Uncharted, and Legion.
While these difficult events were released, we also saw adjustments being made to make some events more casual. Examples include Dynamis's remake as well as Campaign and Besieged receiving adjustments to tailor to casual players.
The most popular blunder of Ito's was an interview with Allakazam where he admitted that Abyssea was a mistake. He tried to segway and backtrack out of these comments on a thread targeting the Japanese community. The effort ended in vain. Distrust of his abilities as a Director and animosity from the Japanese community only became worse with the weekly recap thread. He attempted to make a self-defense statement on the situation. It had no place and was totally unrelated to the thread.
|Dec. 16th, 2010|
The Starlight Celebration 2010
|The Starlight Celebration once again returned to Final Fantasy XI for 2010. The event was held from December 16th, thru December 31st.
This year, the 2005 version of the event in where Goblin Riders would be digging up Overturned Soil was back. Players had to find the Tenshodo cards first. These had to be turned back in to moogles in town.
As with other seasonal events in 2010, more furnishings were added to the game for players to obtain. For the Starlight Celebration, we received furnaces.
|Dec. 22nd, 2010|
Moggy New Year Bonanza 2011
|The fifth Bonanza had marbles sell from December 22nd thru January 18th. The drawing took place on February 3rd, 2011 and prizes were available to claim until February 23rd, 2011.
Ark Angel statues made their appearance in this campaign as Rank 5 prizes.
Note: See the Moggy New Year Bonanza 2011 page for details on the event such as prizes and results.
|Dec. 24th, 2010|
Siren Besieged Victories Reach 3000
|The Siren world hits 3,000 continuous Besieged victories on Christmas Eve, 2010. At this date, they have not suffered a loss since the content was implemented.|