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Final Fantasy XI

The Mog Log: 2013 in review for Final Fantasy XI and XIV

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Took a long time getting here.
This feels as if it's been a really long year to me. Spending an entire year waiting for a game to re-release is certainly part of the reason why, but it really seems that there were a lot of things going on for both Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV over the last 365-ish days. I didn't even do a year-in-review last year because what could be reviewed? One game shut down and was waiting for a full revamp, and the other was just hitting the numbers and moving along.

This year, though, has been the big one. The fifth expansion that no one ever expected to release actually came out. The relaunch happened. A whole lot of mechanics got updated. I flew across the freaking country. It was a big year if you were a fan of online games with moogles, even if that year wound up being a lot bigger for Final Fantasy XIV than Final Fantasy XI.

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Win some Gil and more in Final Fantasy XI's latest Mog Bonanza

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Events (In-Game), News Items, Anniversaries

Are you the gambling type? Does the chance of winning oodles of cash or special items in a lottery thrill and excite you? Then hold on to your helms -- Final Fantasy XI's Mog Bonanza has returned! Until January 23, 2014, at 3:00 a.m. EST, players can purchase Mog Bonanza marbles (up to 10 per character) and inscribe five numbers on each in hopes of winning various prizes, from Gil to a Kraken Club to a Chocobo suit. The cost of each marble is 1,111 Gil, and winning numbers will be announced February 13th at 3:00 a.m EST. For a complete run-down of the rules and a full list of possible prizes, visit the official site.

Pick up MMOs on the cheap in Steam's holiday sale

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Darkfall, EVE Online, Final Fantasy XI, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, The Secret World, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Defiance, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Steam Holiday Sale
It's that time of year again, folks -- the time when grandfather Valve slides down the chimney and offers you a huge pile of reasonably priced games. Yes, Steam's holiday sale is now in full effect, bringing with it some nice deals on a few MMO titles.

Here's what we've found so far: Keep in mind that sales change daily and that some games above do require subscription fees. The Steam holiday sales ends January 2nd, 2014.

Final Fantasy XI gets a nice juicy patch

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Subscription, MMORPG

Final Fantasy XI
Square Enix is pushing live a hefty patch for Final Fantasy XI. The patch, which lands December 11th JST (Japan Standard Time), includes the Records of Eminence system, the addition of new playable monster families and subfamilies, and the implementation of high-tier mission battlefields.

Also in the patch: new home points in a variety of locations; a host of modifications to the Summoner, Dragoon, and Beastmaster jobs; new synthesis recipes and items; and a movement speed increase for pets, playable characters, and enemies.

Check out the full patch notes for details; there are a lot of changes on deck.

The Mog Log: There's nothing to say about Final Fantasy XI

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, The Mog Log

So I'm going to spend about a thousand words talking about it anyway.  Enjoy!
At a glance, Final Fantasy XI is doing all right for itself. It's been running for over a decade and has had to deal with only occasional server merges. It launched another new expansion this year. It certainly doesn't have the population that it used to have, but the people who are playing seem happy enough with the game, and that's what matters. And yet for all that I ostensibly write about both of Square-Enix's online games, these days it's pretty much all Final Fantasy XIV.

Some readers have asked me why this is. Have I fallen out of love with Final Fantasy XI? Yes. And no. It's complicated. And I think discussing why I'm not writing more about XIV's more classic sibling also bears some discussion in the context of the game as a whole. So let's talk about why there's so little to say about Vana'diel these days, even while Vana'diel continues to be an active environment.

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Final Fantasy XI celebrates 11 years 11 ways

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Events (In-Game), News Items, Consoles, Anniversaries, Subscription

And the game has still more tree monsters to throw at you.
Final Fantasy XI is 11 years old this year (11 years and six months at this point, but that's nitpicking). So it seems appropriate that the title is kicking off a big anniversary event on November 11th. Except that it's really kicking off not one big anniversary event but 11 smaller ones. You see the theme at work. Whether you've been around for all 11 years or just 11 days, there's plenty of rewards available for everyone.

Seal drop rates are improved for all characters in a party during the anniversary timeframe, as are are double synthesis skill increase rates and several seal-based battlefield rewards. Players will also earn double experience, doubled Salvage drops, doubled Monstrosity experience, doubled Shining Stars in Mog Gardens... the list goes on. Almost anything you choose to do between now and November 25th will see a significant boost, so take a look at the full list of bonuses and get ready to enjoy 11 bonuses for the next 14 days. (They can't all line up perfectly.)

Final Fantasy XI's newest update offers up artifact armor... again

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Subscription

Now everyone has artifact armor, and if you don't you'll never acquire it.
There was a time when Final Fantasy XI's Artifact Armor was the best equipment you could have on a high-level character, but that was ages and ages ago. Still, the iconic looks are coming back in the game's newest version update, which adds new quests for players to reforge their Artifact pieces as well as Relic, Mythic, and Empyrean weapons. It's not an easy process, but it's a chance to make the old hotness the new hotness all over again.

A pair of new zones has also been added to the Seekers of Adoulin regions with this update, complete with new monsters for players to hunt and kill. Players can also acquire new abilities, including weaponskills that were previously exclusive to certain weapons. And there are updates to Mog Gardens, magic maps, Monstrosity... in other words, the usual kitchen sink of content you expect from a Final Fantasy XI version update. You can take a look at the full list of patch changes and start playing now (or as soon as the patch finishes downloading).

One Shots: Certifiably Insane

Screenshots, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, DC Universe Online, Miscellaneous

One Shots Certifiably Insane
One of the things that I love the very most about superhero MMOs is that they give players a great platform to show off their creative designs. Yeah, they can be eyesores too, but I find that that's also a blessing in disguise because it's an easy visual indicator of lazy players whom I probably want to avoid.

I wouldn't want to avoid reader Carla, however, because she's bringing her crazy-A game to DC Universe Online today. "Here is a photo of my supervillain, Certifiably Insane, posing before the city she's conquered," she wrote.

So my question is, what do you do with a city once you conquer it? Get mired in administrative red tape? Does Certifiably Insane have to preside over council meetings and sewage labor union debates now? How does a supervillain deal with zoning issues, anyway?

The answers to that and so very much more are all after the break in this week's One Shots.

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Final Fantasy XI celebrates 11 years with high-level presents

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Game Mechanics, News Items, Consoles, Promotions, Anniversaries

Whatever you paid for today will be free for someone tomorrow.
Final Fantasy XI has been running continuously for 11 years now and just released its fifth expansion earlier this year. There are only a handful of other games that can boast that sort of longevity, so it seems only reasonable that the game would do something to celebrate. And it is celebrating... by granting every player several major high-level prizes as part of its Abyssea and Atma Axtravaganza. Aside from alliteration, that should give you an idea of what the prizes entail.

Every player who does not already possess the three Abyssea add-on scenarios will receive all three free of charge. All players will also receive a free Lunar Abyssite, 11 different Atma, 100,000 cruor, and a major bonus to your traverser stone stock in Abyssea. Those who haven't played the scenarios might be looking on with confusion, but if you have played these before you know that this is a whole lot of power for free. So don't miss out -- the event is running until October 11th, after which point you'll just be celebrating missing out on a big giveaway.

The Perfect Ten: MMO commercials that take us back

World of Warcraft, Video, Asheron's Call, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

The Perfect Ten Commercials that take us back
I don't see a lot of commercials these days. I like to imagine that I'm a one-man force out to frustrate advertisers, ducking and weaving whenever they try to wing a 30-second spot at me. A lot gets through, but I've long since canceled cable, and the only traditional commercials I sit through are the ones for the occasional YouTube video.

But there's something about a good commercial that can take us back on a wave of "remember whens?" and community bonding. I hear more discussions about creative ad spots the day after the Superbowl than the game itself. Commercials can even be a time capsule that unlocks memories for us of favorite movies, toys, and experiences.

But what about MMOs? Well, they have commercials too, although not as many have made it to the standard airwaves. They're out there, though. Lurking. Emitting nostalgia rays from the past. And I've been hunting them down, looking for commercials that take us back to a simpler, goofier time. A few thousand dead brain cells later, I've got 10 of the margh make it sop pleaze pleaaa...


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Jukebox Heroes: Expansion themes

Age of Conan, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Allods Online, Miscellaneous, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Jukebox Heroes Expansion themes
Main themes seem to be a strong favorite among video game music fans (and even the casual set), but I've talked about them a few times already. So instead of puttering around with main MMO themes, why not give expansions some of the credit?

Not every expansion gets its own theme tune, of course, but plenty do. We've covered a few of them in this column so far, including Riders of Rohan and EVE Online: Apocrypha. What we haven't done is spend an entire week looking at these upstart themes and see how they compare to the originals.

So strap on your headphones and prepare for symphonic excellence. Here are six great MMO expansion themes that deserve a few minutes of your time!

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Jukebox Heroes: Character select music

City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Vanguard, Miscellaneous, WildStar, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Jukebox Heroes Character select music
Character select and creation music has always fascinated me. OK, maybe not fascinated; it's interested me. I've always viewed such themes as the overture of the game, the interlude between the title theme and the game proper to come.

These themes don't tend to be rip-roaring in their presentation because that's not their purpose. They have to be pleasant enough without being annoying when looped endlessly. After all, sometimes players spend a loooong time making their characters or sitting there at the select screen, and the last thing you want is for their ears to become fatigued by the experience.

So here are six MMO character select and character creation themes that I've enjoyed over the years. And if you saw the title graphic up there and immediately started hearing this song in your head, then you and I probably grew up in the same era.

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Final Fantasy XI's Feast of Swords cuts into another year

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Events (In-Game), Previews, News Items, Consoles

Sweating moogles probably smell terrible, for the record.
We're just a month away from the 11-year anniversary of Final Fantasy XI, which means that certain events in the game have taken on a certain sense of routine. Every year the Feast of Swords comes around at the same time, and every year a ceremonial armor gets stolen. This year's lore piece isn't about the event, it's about the growing suspicion of an adventurer that there's more behind this annual event and "unexpected" theft than anyone has been told...

But you don't need that as motivation to go beat up armor with a wooden katana, do you? Of course not. The event starts off on April 24th this year and runs until May 8th. The procedure is much the same as in previous years -- characters pick up a wooden katana, get a buff, and run around starter zones tying to beat up enchanted armor. It might be a conspiracy in-game, but out of the game it's just a chance for everyone to be a samurai for a few days.

The Daily Grind: Do you play multiple IP-based MMOs simultaneously?

Fantasy, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Final Fantasy XIV

The Daily Grind Do you play multiple IPbased MMOs simultaneously
Ahem, take two on today's Daily Grind.

IP-based MMOs are something of a rarity these days, but the major ones seem to come in pairs more often than not. Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV were running concurrently and will be again when the latter finishes its Realm Reborn reboot. EverQuest and EverQuest II have also been playable simultaneously for over eight years now, leading to a dilemma for franchise fans who are long on nostalgia but short on time.

So, how about it Massively readers? Can you play two MMOs based on the same IP simultaneously, or do you stick with one or the other?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Mog Log: Don't you want me, FFXI?

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Culture, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, The Mog Log

Final Fantasy XI has launched its fifth expansion, and yet I can't bring myself to be as excited as I should be. Longtime readers will recall that the account I've been playing on is younger and lacking in many of the higher-level conveniences such as airship passes and a white mage leveled enough to handle Sneak and Invisible. Put simply, I'm not in a place to just jump right into all of the content that Seekers of Adoulin has to offer right out of the gate.

On the plus side, I do have several conveniences that completely new players wouldn't have, not the least of which is an extensive knowledge of the game as a whole. A new player coming in straight would look at the game and just wind up baffled, and I can't blame him in the least. If you're starting fresh, the game is not welcoming you.

Longtime readers will also know that I've long been a proponent of making the game easier to get into. But is this even worth bothering with? Is the game for players starting at lower levels any more? Is there even a point to easing up the lower-level restrictions any longer?

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