Lots of images — well, lots of the same image — are coming out of the Nexon developers conference showing the upcoming FFXI “reboot” for iOS.
The idea of FFXI on mobile devices intrigues me for a few reasons.
I’m growing quite fond of my iPhone gaming. I play Clash Royale, Kingdom Hearts Unchained X, Yokai Watch Wibble Wobble, and plenty more mobile games daily. I have lots of time to play in short bursts of 3 minutes here and 10 minutes there. That’s why mobile gaming is so convenient for me. Mobile games are becoming more like games and less like gambling by offering whole gaming experiences. MMORPGs on mobile devices would definitely take things up a notch for me.
I think the first question I have to ask myself is whether or not I want to even play a MMORPG on a phone. I think my answer is yes, though when given the choice I’ll take PC over phone. But when I’m not at my PC, is FFXI a game I’d boot up? I think so. I recently returned to FFXI on Nasomi, and I enjoy the experience enough. Having that, or even better a rebooted version of that, experience on mobile could be great.
The very thought of FFXI on a mobile device at first sounds horrible, but then I think about the menu system already being more intuitive for clicking. Then there’s the idea of a “reboot” where this could be a much simplified version. Maybe 5 abilities usable at a time? Refined menu system? After that, the only barrier becomes proper chat support and I think they have something.
The business model will make it or break it for me. Nexon doesn’t have a great reputation for handling business models well. The currencies listed at the top of that first screenshot worry me. I’m not interested in a game where I pay to win or can’t do half the stuff F2P whales can do. I’d rather pay $10 and have the whole experience. Realistically my chances of that are nil. Will they have built in play-time limitations? Pay to win shops?
Lots of potential. FFXI is hopefully only the beginning of bigger things to come for mobile games. Never thought I would ever say that.
Little bit of an update on what I’m up to for you guys. Right now I’m playing two MMOs: World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy 11. It’s the oddest feeling swapping between these two radically different games.
I’m still on the Fenris server. You’ll recall I returned to WoW and followed my friends here to the Alliance side after spending most of my previous years as Horde. Thankfully, this server is PvE so I don’t have to worry about the ganking I experienced on Emerald Dream. I’m playing a Monk right now, and while it’s decently fun, I just don’t see myself playing one for too long. I was glad to see that Legion is announced for the end of August, and that I’ll be able to hopefully start my Gnome Hunter in the prelaunch patch in July (hoping it comes in July).
Right now I’m level 88’ish questing in Pandaria. My friends and I were leveling pretty tight together for 1-70, but due to play time conflicts and ::cough:: patience issues ::cough:: one person shot up quickly to 90, and has since jumped to 97 in like a day. Our spread looks like this: 85, 88, 98 (probably 100 now). My friend who is 85 hates questing — I do too, can’t blame him there — so he’s leveling slowly through BGs and the occasional dungeon.
With 4 months to go until Legion, I think I’ll keep my sub active. I have 3k gold to my name and I would like to see that number grow substantially before Legion launch. I’ll likely fiddle with my Garrison a bit and experience the Alliance side of WoD. I can already tell you that I think I like Alliance better. Something about the way everything looks appeals to me more than Horde.
I’m playing on the Nasomi FF11 server with some of my other friends. I still have no idea what I’m doing. I orginally rolled my Taru RDM in Bastok, but decided that I would go San d’oria instead, so I deleted Keen and rerolled. Getting to level 5 really took no time at all, and I’m already level 7.5 again after just an hour or so of grinding. I’ve changed my mind and decided that instead of SMN/RDM I’ll go RDM/WHM. I think that’ll be a really good support character and welcomed into groups.
FF11 is way more complex than EQ. In EQ you simply pick a class, level up, and get abilities/gear. FF11 requires a lot more from the player in terms of decisions and what to do. I find myself at a complete loss, but that’s part of my adventure I suppose. Right now my goal is to slay rabbits until I can’t stand it anymore, then hopefully reach level 10 or so and head the this renowned “Dunes” place where supposedly grouping is easier.
The interface is FF11’s biggest problem. Everything from targeting to executing abilities takes an extra step. I feel like I’m slow and clunky to respond as I try and figure out something as simple as targeting a member of my group. I’m using a controller to make the experience feel less wonky, and with macros I think I might be getting the hang of it somewhat. I created a macro where if I press left trigger then A, I can cast cure on myself immediately — that’s pretty useful. I just have to figure out how a group will even work, and what’s expected from me. Should be interesting. Again, if you have any FF11 tips — quests I should do, items I should look for, places I should go, etc. — please let me know. I’m a sponge ready to soak up the useful knowledge.
Take the classes and abilities from Final Fantasy with the basic gameplay from Monster Hunter, and you get Final Fantasy Explorers. The premise of the game should be very familiar to Monster Hunter fans. Your goal is to advance your character by running quests, crafting better gear with drops, and mutating abilities. While really not even close to MH’s depth, FFE strikes a chord with me that MH wasn’t able to — FFE’s pacing is way more my style.[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://youtu.be/I8SM2CSLsro” width=”700″ rel=”no” wmode=”transparent”][/su_youtube_advanced]
Basic Questing / Gameplay
The game takes place on an island with diverse areas/tilesets to explore. The main hub of operations where the player upgrades gear, obtains quests, and advances the very thin plot is in the town of Libertas. From Libertas you can accept quests to go out and slay summoned monsters, bosses, etc., in an overall effort to gain more crystals. I guess you might say it’s Crystal Chronicles meets Monster Hunter.
The questing system is straight forward. You get to accept one main quest and any number of sub quests. The main quest is something like “Go kill Ramuh” and a subquest can be to use a certain ability during the fight.
Combat is much more intuitive for me than MH. Although deep enough to incorporate positional attacks and skill shots, the interface and execution are easier. Hold LB and RB opens up submenus with X, Y, A, and B for each. So you can basically bookmark 8 abilities, a basic attack, sprint, and item menu. This is way easier than having to remember combos, and it works so much better too.
Battles play out much like a standard RPG or even MMORPG in real time. Combat mechanics include tanks, heals, boosters, and damagers with a variety of ways to execute each. Monsters fight back using the typical, though a tad unoriginal, mechanics too. You’ll see lots of AOE attacks, charging monsters, and ‘get out of the red circle or instantly die’ mechanics. Despite being a little contrived, they work.[su_lightbox type=”image” src=”http://i.imgur.com/5e5LOHp.jpg” class=”pointer”][/su_lightbox]
Classes & Abilities: FFE has lots of them
Knight, Monk, White Mage, Black Mage, Dragoon, Paladin, Thief, Ninja, Red Mage, Time Mage, Bard, Hunter, Dark Knight, Beastmaster, Geomancer, Machinist, Alchemist, Sage, Blue Mage, Samurai, and Freelancer. Those are your class choices in Final Fantasy Explorers. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a variety of tanks, heals, dps, and boosters (buffers) to play, and a variety of ways to satisfy each play style. Want pure burst dps? Go Machinist. Want a traditional Tank? Go Knight.
I like how the abilities, in some cases, can be used cross-class. I can use Cure on my Knight to help heal myself in a pinch. Eventually you can master a class and obtain access to additional weapons and abilities.
Mutating and upgrading abilities adds a whole new level of customization. As you use crystal surges (special abilities on timers) you can then use other abilities that, when used in tandem, spark a mutation. Mutations can stack and build custom abilities. Let’s say you use Guard during a mutation opportunity and it adds Haste. This creates a NEW abilities that will give you both Guard and Haste at the same time. It’s like ability stacking, and you can ultimately walk around with all of your abilities no longer basic simple skills but mutated abilities. The customization here is overwhelming, but if you simply focus on making abilities you think are cool and useful then you’ll get by just fine.
Single-player & Multiplayer
Graev and I have been playing FFE together almost exclusively. Multiplayer works flawlessly without any lag at all. Final Fantasy Explorers works great solo, don’t get me wrong. You can create monster pets to act as a companion and do just fine in the game solo, but I think the true spirit of the game is best felt in multiplayer with up to 4 players.
Again, combat is designed for that typical ‘group’ gameplay. Graev is playing a Time Mage with lots of support abilities and heals, but a healthy dose of damage too. Remember, you can customize your character quite a bit, so he has made a character that fits his style. I’m playing a Knight (standard tank) until I unlock either Red Mage or Dark Knight. I think both of those sound most fun to me.
Teamwork and synergizing together, planning attacks, etc., are all beneficial in FFE. We did a boss fight against Ifrit and realized we hadn’t properly planned. Neither of us came in with the abilities we’d need to synergize a good combo or to output enough damage. Fixing that issue, we defeated Ifrit again in half the time.
More to Come…
There’s a little much to put here in a review. You know me, I like to keep these short and to the point with a bit of info to satisfy your questions and whether or not you should buy or skip. While FFE’s scope is easier to grasp than MH, the depth is there for at least 100 hours of gameplay. I’m going to try and rig up a way to stream FFE and/or record a video so that you guys can see it in action from my perspective.
I highly recommend Final Fantasy Explorers. Go into it expecting a game all about playing interesting classes and beating bosses. This is a game about grinding for loot drops to craft that perfect weapon, customizing your abilities to make your character feel just right, and simply enjoying to thrill of the hunt. Just don’t expect a plot — there really isn’t one — or anything close to a traditional Final Fantasy game. But trust me, you won’t miss it. Looks for whatever videos I can come up with soon as they’ll answer more questions and provide more insight into gameplay.
P.S. I highly recommend you purchase FFE on Amazon. Gamestops are sold out, and Best Buy laughed at me. Amazon had it to me in 2 days.
My wife has arranged another video game song! You guys requested “To Zanarkand” from FFX, and she happily put my EverQuest requests aside. Grumble…. Nevertheless, “To Zanarkand” is a really pretty song. Such a calming, almost haunting melody. I’m honestly not very familiar with FFX, but listening to the song and looking at pictures I can surmise that Zanarkand felt like a once great city, and now lies in ruins.[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://youtu.be/wIMM8RchJZ8″ width=”700″ rel=”no” wmode=”transparent”][/su_youtube_advanced]
Definitely visit her Musical Bri Youtube Channel and subscribe/like/etc. You’ll make her day.
If you have more requests let her know! She’s actually reading your comments. I’m expecting my EverQuest next (no pun intended for those paying attention)…
In somewhat (loosely) relataed news, I have started playing Final Fantasy Explorers. Initial impressions are very favorable, and I can tell you now I’m already liking it more than the Monster Hunter series. Much more my pace and style.
FFXIV dungeons and content in general are very mechanic based. Move out of fire, avoid cone attacks, remove a debuff, and DPS before insta-kill move triggers are prevalent. Although very much a themepark MMO, one of the attributes blatantly missing from FFXIV dungeons is the use of the Final Fantasy theme.
There are tons of great Final Fantasy themed events and dungeons I have rolling around in my head. Instead of just being about killing trash monsters to get to the next boss, the ‘dungeon’ could be an ‘experience’ to play through. Heck, who’s to say they even have to be like dungeons at all?
A dungeon, a boss, or simply an event could be played out entirely in turn-based combat just like the traditional Final Fantasy style. The enemies would be on the left and your party could be staggered on the right. Each player would take a turn to using abilities.
Another throwback idea is randomly being jumped by a group of monsters as you make your way through a dungeon. Maybe mix in the overworld monsters making contact to start battles. This mechanic can be implemented somehow to be a lot of fun in a upcoming dungeon.
Final Fantasy Tactics
Tactics uses a movement grid. Characters take turns moving on the grid and receive bonuses based on where they are positioned (terrain, position, etc). It’s like traditional FF combat with movement on a grid.
Active Time Battle System
In a ATB system everyone has a gauge and once the gauge fills up. Once full, it’s your turn. This could take into affect skill speed and let players strategically have to use their bar. This adds a depth to the turn-based system and could also be a lot of fun.
Chocobo Battle Race
Not every dungeon has to be about traditional combat. Here’s an idea going outside of the box a bit more. What if the entire ‘dungeon’ was a race on the back of chocobos. Players could obtain powerups to fire off at each other and simply have a lot of fun racing at high speeds. I see it being really similar to Mario Kart. The winner could get some tokens or something.
In Final Fantasy 7’s Golden Saucer there’s an arena that players can enter to battle monsters.. Square could always add specific mechanics to the fights like “don’t do X” or “only do Y” to spice things up and make the battles not just normal combat in a confined space. Introduce new mobs every week or month and adding different battle mechanics is a great way to keep simple content like this interesting. Playing through the different arena battles could give all sorts of prizes ranging for vanity items to tomes. We know they’re working on adding the Golden Saucer anyway so this is a perfect opportunity.
This is the type of content I would add to FFXIV if I was in charge. Out of the box ideas meant to excite and get players eager to do more than run through dungeons repeatedly. More ‘Final Fantasy’ and less ‘MMO mechanics’. Thoughts? Ideas of your own you think would make for great content in FFXIV?