Perfect Ten: 10 things I really dislike about Final Fantasy XI

Guess who's back. Back again.

You don’t have to dig very far to find my articles that say nice things about it Final Fantasy XI. I say them often. I’d be tempted to say nice things about the game at this point, even if the game doesn’t just get better years after it supposedly went into maintenance mode monthly updated but significantly the ones – including story updates – that were supposed to be what it was definitive doesn’t happen anymore! That’s pretty ass.

But saying nice things about it doesn’t mean I did it only nice things to say about it. This game hasn’t generally aged like fine wine; It has several elements that have aged poorly, aspects of modern design that don’t go well together, and even just a few telltale signs that the people currently working on the game don’t want to fix some problems, even if they are things that could technically changed. So today I really want to break that down. Yes, it’s Say hard things about things you like day.


1. PlayOnline is terrible

Look, we all know why PlayOnline exists as the game’s launcher. The idea has always been to create something that will run correctly in both the PlayStation 2 environment and PCs, and it was a compromise to deal with the fact that the PlayStation 2 wasn’t really designed as an online machine , yadda yadda yadda. None of that matters. PlayOnline is a terrible, terrible thing that is a terrible wrapper for the game, it was designed as a multi-game launcher that never really got that multiple games Part works more than the technical definition and the only reason to keep it now is that I’m pretty sure if you remove it the game will catch fire. PlayOnline is garbage.

2. The game is impenetrable

What does “Counter +1” mean? I understand if you can’t fit all of this information into the game due to character limitations (it’s important to remember that the game is still programmed for the PS2; we’ll get to that later), but that doesn’t mean that you cannot provide any information to the players. There are games that have full object databases that fans can browse complete with additional information, and I know the designers know that because one of them is manufactured by the same department. So much information about this game is obscure and obscure for no other reason than the fact that it has always been this way.

Well told, but not well planned.

3. Controls are unclear and strange

Look, I’m not here to pillory the game for the fact that space isn’t jump (there’s no jumping in the game). That is not the problem. The problem isn’t even the way you control things primarily with the number pad and arrow keys. It is strange, but you develop muscle memory and then it’s fine. But it’s hard to tie it back, and the fact is, it is the game isn’t even on the ps2 anymore. Literally. I understand that there are age and design limitations, but it shouldn’t be that difficult to explain to a new player how to walk around or open the menus.

4. It gets really lonely

The game has done a great job of ensuring that a game that was designed as a standalone social hub in the days of MMOs (which is a concept that deserves its own article) can still work today. You no longer need to manually level up a party, which is good because while there is a community, it’s mostly at the level cap doing level cap stuff. So brilliant. I can go out and just solo and level up, something I’ve always wanted.

And I’m grateful.

But I’m lonely Because the game Is still a relic from a time when MMOs were your social network. You weren’t talking on Discord and Twitter, and you weren’t hanging out in-game either. I have a solid list of friends in Final Fantasy XIV I talk to you in and out of the game. But FFXI is a great social hangout in many ways, and while it’s been revamped to work well solo so you can still get plenty of experience, you know there used to be social boundaries that are gone now, especially if you’re in were near during the day.

Like a boss.

5. Existing problems are often left alone

While the current ones in charge of this game have not contempt of the original leader, Hiromichi Tanaka, there’s a lot of these despicable issues that just…remain, because, well, who cares? The game isn’t really expected to grow too much at this point; It’s for the people who want to remember it and revisit it. This is a surefire way to make it even harder for the game to grow. And that leads directly to the next point…

6. Tutorials are useless

FFXI actually has a tutorial quest. It was bad when it was first added and doesn’t tell players much about how to actually play the game. It’s even worse Nowhave even less meaningful information for new players. The actual guide you need for things like setting up trusts and using Valor and Records of Eminence just doesn’t exist; The tutorial for Records of Eminence requires that you first Check the Eminence’s records. It’s like the tutorial for a mechanic is only introduced after you know what the mechanic is. It’s not great! It’s not the best it can be!

7. The world feels separate

This is not a universal problem either FFXI, to be fair. For the first two extensions Rise of the Zilaart (which was included in the original North American release) and Chains of Promathiathe new zones are organically connected to the rest of the game world. However, the other expansions require you to do certain things to access their zones and often go into areas that you may not know about and in at least one case you can fool you permanently by being teleported to a place that is difficult to return from without realizing it. And again the complete lack of guidance could mean people have no idea they are not being shown these areas!

see eye.

8. Information is poorly curated

So let’s just assume that for some reason you can’t fit all of this into the game. I don’t know what that could be; Let’s say El Chupacabra because I always vote for El Chupacabra. Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s held together by coding on old PlayStation 2 programmers that should have died a decade ago, whatever. You could at least make up for it by having a great website design with lots of information on it to point you in the right direction and make sure you know what you’re doing!

What you have instead is a very poorly aged site that’s still designed and optimized for people using monitors that find 1024 x 2768 to be luxurious screen real estate with tiny screenshots, poor information design, and zero links to the various fan-curated wikis that it is Also not good! You have to be pretty good at figuring out how to search for information just to figure out how to complete a quest! Forget Dark Souls; FFXI is the real git gud game.

9. Arbitrary boundaries hold it back

You need to mod and hack the game for it to display at 60 FPS. And before you tell me that this is a limit of the old programming kits used to create the game, the benchmarks run at 60 FPS. The designers know how to do this. There are a lot of things in the game that are just randomly done the way they used to be done for reasons that no longer apply, and for a game that generally looks and plays well, that’s justified not necessary.

10. He really shows his age

Some of these things can be fixed. But not all, and the fact is that things that tip are fixed, stand out like sore thumbs, because yes, you can’t ignore it, the game is old. It’s from a different era of design, and all patch jobs to keep it playable are shown as patch jobs. It’s a shame because there’s a really good game to play here. It just takes a lot of work to… you know… actually play it.

blankEveryone likes a good list and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO theme and breaks it down into 10 delicious, fun, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Have a good idea for a list? Email us at or with “Perfect Ten” in the subject line.

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Curtis Crabtree

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