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Reader Comments (25)

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 11:08AM lazymangaka said

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I've wanted to start playing Final Fantasy XI for a good while now, but I keep stopping myself for just this reason. Is it too late to be any real fun? Is it too close to the next entry's release to matter? Am I too far behind the curve to ever, EVER catch up?

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 11:26AM (Unverified) said

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You will either love FFXI no matter what, or you will hate it with the fury of a thousand suns. Just be prepared for months and months of grinding and de-leveling.
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Posted: Dec 16th 2009 11:57AM DFuzzy1 said

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The Level Sync feature in FFXI lets characters scale down their levels so lower-level monsters give experience proportional to the level they scaled down to. Basically, it lets higher level characters group up with lower level ones while still getting decent experience out of it.

If I recall, one minor side effect is that weapon proficiency levels didn't scale with you, so you could gimp yourself if you gain too much sync exp to the point where you couldn't hit things once you returned to your normal level (plus whatever levels you may have gained from the sync process). Not sure if that was addressed or not.

And Brawler speaks the truth. I remember playing the free trial and quitting in disgust after about two days because I was trying to solo as a Black Mage and doing it wrong. (using my staff? who does that?) I eventually gave it another shot and had a pretty fun time getting my Red Mage to lvl 39, but then my linkshell ran into some drama and everyone was told to migrate to a new one (instead of just booting the offenders). I figured that was a good time to take a break and try new things.
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Posted: Dec 16th 2009 4:32PM breezer said

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I go back and forth with this issue and FFXI.

It could take a new player with no prior knowledge of the game YEARS to catch up with veteran players. Just unlocking the areas required for most end game linkshells could take a substantial amount of time. Even getting to that point where you're ready to unlock endgame stuff there are tons of roadblocks and hurdles to overcome. Learning the peculiarities of the game system and party mechanics, learning to earn gil, basic missions, level limit caps, many, many jobs to level (every job requires multiple subjobs), on and on...

Then again, I know players who started playing and were in top endgame shells within 8 months. In fact, just a few days ago a player who was banned in the famous salvage bans last February (?) revealed that he already had a relic weapon on a character he started in April. That is beyond insane, but it's possible, apparently.

If you have school, a job, family, or any kind of outside responsibilities you won't be advancing anywhere near that fast. FFXI is old school in the time sink department as even the simplest tasks can take insane amounts of time due to needing a group of a particular makeup to accomplish virtually anything,
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Posted: Dec 16th 2009 11:20AM (Unverified) said

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Considering my girlfriend just picked up her first Asheron's Call subscription over 10 years after the game started, I think most people can deal with problems like this.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 11:30AM Crsh said

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I think it only really becomes a problem in PvP-centric games, EVE (example) makes it rough for newbies since many players have been playing for a long time and a newcomer will likely never be able to catch up to them completely (but they will get to a point where they can be effective and competitive).

PvE games are a different breed, you'll be behind but you will catch up nonetheless; the progression gaps are easier to fill and since there are always players rolling new characters, it's unlikely you will be alone leveling up.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 12:23PM CunningB said

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What! EvE is by the the game with the LEAST skill gap for a new player compared to an old one! you can be in the smaller ships and trained up to the level of a 6y/o account within 3-4months its all about focus!

Sure the 6y/o player has more choice and can fly multiple different ships but they can only ever fly one ship at a time and no ship "level" in EvE is useless hell that's why the T1 frigate the rifter is one of the most popular ships in the game!
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Posted: Dec 16th 2009 11:54AM MrGutts said

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The only problem I see is when you hit Moria and are forced to do your class quests and legendary for your skills and everyone that I know just wants to avoid Moria like a bad disease.

Let's hope they move those class quests out of Moria for future xpaks.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 12:13PM EdmundDante said

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Most significant problem right now when starting LOTRO by a new player or with a new alt is the group required quests.

I think the LOTRO dev teams are working on this but ever so slowly ... in the meanwhile, it sometimes takes days for you to find a group to go on a certain quest - even if you're lucky enough to be in a LOTRO kin.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 12:17PM dudes said

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LOTR online is a nice, mature game. No Goldshire for a frikkin start. Recommended.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 12:19PM TheJackman said

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Its never to late to play any MMO! Like any good MMO (well there is really only one really good right now) got new players like you every day or people that start making alts so they are always people of your level range on that will become more powerful with you! If your game does not allow this and starter zones are like dead well your playing a really bad game!

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 12:22PM (Unverified) said

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It's never too late to get into LOTRO. I started playing about the end of march and hit 60 after a month. (Fast, but enjoyable leveling with XP weeks occurring twice in a row)

Within one week after hitting 60, I had 5 radiance pieces and was working on completing the set to do VM... which was the main raid at the time.

Now, you need a bit more radiance and there are more options of obtaining them without forcing you into the pug unfriendly instances. Sure, it'll take a bit more time, but you'll get there slowly but surely.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 12:25PM Sonoran said

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When you decide to start playing a game that's been around for a while it usually pays to do a little research. If the game requires grouping at all, find out which servers have the best population levels and play there.

If you're on a desolate server as new player in a mature game that requires grouping, you're really gonna struggle.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 12:34PM mrgabrielserna said

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I was in the LotRO beta and didn't come back to the game until October and so far I've never had a hard time doing anything except for maybe getting materials to craft with, but if you are social you can find a Kinship pretty easy to solve that problem and the one of group quests.

One of the reasons I enjoy this game more so than WoW and FFXI is that in WoW everything is designed to be a distraction to make you spend time in game even if you aren't leveling all be it covertly and FFXI is a total time sink that forces you to group ( which I didn't mind until Linkshell drama conflicted with enjoying the game way to often) and the fact that as a new player all of your travel options are locked and so are the advanced jobs that are going to take you months to open even if you find groups.

in lotro you can solo pretty much any class to start and get a feel for how you like it and the new "adventure pack" lets you have shared storage between alts so even farming materials becomes easy to start, that along with a pace of play that is mainly dictated by you and not the game allows you to feel like you are accomplishing stuff even if you take it slow so I never feel forced to group or grind just to keep up with others that have been around a long time.

Even if you wanted to work to catch up to the 30's were the new skirmish system from SoM starts you can do it in short order since I got 3 characters now with 1 at 28, 1 at 30 and 1 at 16 and I have only played maybe 3 hours or so a day or less since the end of october and that is even with me taking time off of each 1 for a few days at a time.

people have so many alts running around that finding people around that are your level isn't a problem either so I can easily recommend lotro to a new player even this far into its life far far easier than I could tell someone to try to start FFXI this far in.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 12:45PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with mrgutts here - i'm still waiting on completing class quests and some of the epic storyline in moria because it takes so long to find a group, and i just don't have the time to wait generally.
but when that got frustrating, i just rolled a few alts and have been leveling them up with friends that started on the game later than i did - and it's never really been a problem finding groups in the low level areas. there is no population issue on the brandywine server, that's for sure.
yeah, some people did move back to their mains a bit with the new expansion, myself included, but they also revamped the lone lands area and some of the early epic quests so i rolled another alt to check that out too. it's pretty busy around there.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 12:51PM (Unverified) said

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Starting an older MMO is always easy compared to starting fresh in a newly released MMO. The longer the game is out, the more information that is out on the interwebs.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 12:53PM LaughingTarget said

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I just started LOTRO up again about two weeks ago, new server, fresh character. The population is perfect. The game feels like it exists in a big world but there are just enough players to not feel isolated.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 1:18PM (Unverified) said

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Ongoing modifications are changing LoTRO into a solo-centric game at lower levels. I only needed a group for one dungeon up to level 25 or so. Plus, the new scalable skirmishes are being worked into the Epic storyline, making that content accessible to everyone. Another thing is the heroic buffs you can get for some content - essentially turning you into a 1-man fellowship.

Point being, MMOs (or at least ones that have active development) find ways to make as much content available as possible to up and coming players. WoW has the cross-server groupings which is a great way to fill out groups for less-run content. Forcing grouped content and not giving more tools to complete said content is a surefire way to alienate new players.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 1:22PM (Unverified) said

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LOTRO would be fine to start 'now' and if you're thinking about trying it and haven't yet you really should.

Very sadly, this wasn't the case a few years ago when they had that horrific ratio of group quests. The whole experience of being a new player 'back then' (notice I'm talking about the past here, not as it is now) was by far the worst thing I've ever tried, seriously.

But now top marks, get in there and go for it. That way too many group quests have been mercifully cut out leaving an amazingly class PvE game. Good if you think that other games are too much like a cartoon or childish and want something a little more mature.

Posted: Dec 16th 2009 2:48PM (Unverified) said

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I'm doing the Eve free trial and the problem I'm having is it's too hard to jump into the PVP action if you're new. Most will tell you to wait 2 or 3 months to get enough skills and money under your belt before heading into the more dangerous parts of space. Most corporations won't take you if you haven't been in the game 2 or 3 months. So that leaves you with basically mining and running missions ("go kill 10 space pirates") for 2 or 3 months? Ugh. Kill me now.

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