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EDITORIAL: Will FFXI Survive the Rapture?Follow

#1 Jun 11 2009 at 9:49 PM Rating: Excellent
It was a cold, quiet day in Jeuno.

The time was midday, but I can’t say whether the sun was out. The auction house and most of the concourse stood unusually empty. A few adventurers passed without words or a glance; they just walked by, shoulders sagging, eyes fixed forward.

My linkshell leader, Zarovich, was standing near me. He leaned against a wall, starring down at the concrete between his boots. I asked my leader what was wrong.

The world was ending, he said.

A profound feeling of desperation pressed upon Jeuno like a giant, invisible fist. I watched silently as the remaining, scattered adventurers exited the city for the last time. Even Zarovich left, although I didn’t see him go. My head was swimming. I didn’t want it to end.

I was walking to the chocobo stables when I woke up.

In my five years of playing Final Fantasy XI, only a few times has the game ever occupied my dreams. That one stayed with me though. I was glad it was only a dream, that I wouldn’t have to say goodbye to my virtual world or the real friendships within it.

Now, though, that dream seems more like prophecy.

Count me among the masses of players who are excited over the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XIV, which has long been referred to as "Rapture" by the folks at Square Enix. Based on my experiences in FFXI -- and from what I know of Square Enix -- I believe the new game will be nothing short of spectacular. A new world awaits, and I plan on being there when it goes live.

That said, I also don’t plan on leaving Vana’diel. I wonder, though, what will Vana’diel be like after The Rapture?

With Eorzea on the horizon, what will happen to the virtual world we inhabit now? Square Enix has promised at least one more year of new content, but what happens after that? Will the development team invest in an entirely new expansion to keep the game fresh? How long will Altana’s adventurers remain without significant, new content to experience and overcome? Are we almost at that point when the loathed question “is FFXI dying” is actually a valid question?

It’s too early to know whether the dawn of Eorzea will spell the end of Vana‘diel. There are too many players across too many servers for FFXI to die entirely, at least anytime soon. It wouldn’t surprise me if FFXI lived on for years to come.

Yet I can’t shake the feeling that a storm is coming. It started a few months ago when several in-game friends ended their FFXI careers. Their exodus didn‘t leave many members in our old social linkshell, and nobody left had the time available to lead. Rather than see our linkshell fade into oblivion, we decided to end it while we still had an ounce of strength left.

My Vana’diel experience has suffered without my longtime friends. Gone are the days of long linkshell chats, hilarious inside jokes and random late-night adventures. I still do dynamis, I still do campaign and I still try to help people with quests and missions when I can.

Without my friends, though, I often feel like I’m just going through the motions -- and more than ever I find myself asking why.

The Rapture -- the day when Final Fantasy XIV goes live -- will take many more adventurers from Vana’diel.

Some people will leave Final Fantasy XI to concentrate fully on the new game. Some will try to play both games, limiting the time they can spend with friends in Vana’diel. Others will keep playing until they’ve reached the end of the storyline or accomplished their in-game goals. Some will just stop playing.

Many adventurers who remain in Vana’diel will struggle with the same feelings I’ve faced during the past few months. That will cause more people to quit, which will cause more people to struggle, which will cause more people to quit.

Who knows how deeply this exodus will affect the game. If the cut is deep -- and I think it will be -- then the impact will be felt in all corners of Vana’diel.

What will happen to endgame linkshells as longtime leaders leave for the new game? Will larger groups merge before FFXIV to bolster their numbers to preemptively make up for people leaving?

Will the dawn of Eorzea be the sunset for new players in FFXI? The influx of new players is already at a trickle. Without new blood, will small social linkshells survive?

Veteran crafters who long ago reached their peaks in Vana’diel may migrate to the new game for a fresh start at striking it rich. Who will be left to create needed items and consumables in FFXI? And what will happen to the game’s economy?

Will the day come when you get more /tells from BroGames than you get from your friends?

Nothing quite like this has happened in the MMO world. Yes, I know, a certain 10-year-old game called Everquest is still being played (and updated) years after its sequel, Everquest II, hit game store shelves. The population of Everquest supposedly took a substantial hit once EQII went live, but players who felt more at home in Everquest eventually trickled back to the original title.

However, many Final Fantasy XI players are not hardcore MMO gamers -- they are hardcore Final Fantasy fans.

We have been trained since the 1980s to buy and conquer the next Final Fantasy challenge. Even when given a game we don’t like (as I slog my way through FFXII), we still play through until we reach that ending cutscene. I liken the Final Fantasy series to a series of books. True fans want to read every single page.

Honestly, I don’t think it matters whether FFXIV pales in comparison to Everquest II. What matters is there was only one Everquest game before EQII. Meanwhile, there have been numerous Final Fantasy titles released across several different systems over the past two decades. We have grown up with Final Fantasy, and it seems logical we will continue to do so. To me, that indicates the playerbase shift from FFXI to FFXIV could be far more dramatic than the shift from EQ to EQII.

I’m very eager to experence Final Fantasy XIV. Those of us who are swept away by Rapture will be digitally reborn in a new, vibrant world.

Meanwhile, those left in Vana’diel will face Judgment Day. Many will be forced to make the ultimate decision: leave with their friends, or walk the world alone?

There’s plenty to love about Final Fantasy XI, but the best parts of the game are not dropped by monsters or added in with new expansions. It’s the people, the friendships, the memories and our virtual sense of purpose that compel us to keep logging in.

I won‘t give up on Vana‘diel. There are people who will keep playing until Square Enix literally rips the controls from their hands. That alone might be enough for SE to keep some servers running.

Still, I keep thinking back to that dream I had so long ago. Beyond Rapture and Judgment Day, is that the end that ultimately awaits those who stay? Or will the children of Altana carry on, even though drastic changes seem inevitable?

When the world ends, I plan to be in Valkurm Dunes, in that small cave west of Selbina. That’s where the game began for me, and fittingly, that’s where it will end. In my dream, I suspect that’s where I was going before I woke up.

In reality, I hope I won’t be heading there anytime soon.
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#2 Jun 11 2009 at 10:26 PM Rating: Decent
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A very good read, although rather depressing.

I suppose I'll just say what I've always been saying the entire time. The only thing that keeps me in this game is the people that I meet throughout my playtime. No amount of l33t gear I could get compares to that. However, my longtime friends left the game years ago when I left to "quit" the first time. To me, the people that you meet in the beginning of the game's life turns out to be the most special ones.

Without them, I don't really have the motivation for any longtime goals (Full Duelist/Valor set, complete all rank missions, etc), and I most definitely don't feel the same amount of accomplishment I get just due to the fact that I don't have my old friends saying "Congrats!" to me. Instead it just feels generic when I tell my linkshell.

So, for me, alot about the game for me is just going through the motions. The most exciting thing left on my list at all, is gaining Death Blossom and Atonement. After that, my time will be spent doing what I can, helping out the people I stumble upon, and enjoying what time I have left.

One thing I expect for sure however is when the week of FFXIV's release arrives, I'll be seeing alot of shouts in Whitegate of people selling the gear they have to the masses, and I'll be seeing alot of chat in my linkshells saying they're hanging up their weapons and logging off for the last time. I myself will be with them. However, I also expect the remnants of FFXI picking up the scraps, and going on with the usual business. The beginning of Eorzea will not be the end of Vana'diel.
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#3 Jun 11 2009 at 10:27 PM Rating: Decent
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That was...beautiful, and heart-rending, wonderful and terrible, all at the same time. I swear there are tears in my eyes after reading that.

Thinking back, I have a place that I will be when I do my final log-out as well, whenever that may be. Qufim, where I first met the monk, who showed me Raging fists, and O.Kotes, and inspired me to be a monk, and the best one I could be.
#4 Jun 11 2009 at 10:35 PM Rating: Good
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#5 Jun 11 2009 at 10:44 PM Rating: Decent
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Will the day come when you get more /tells from BroGames than you get from your friends?

Sadly, this is sometimes the case already, at least for me. The large majority of the people I got to know since I started playing in 06 have quit. However, even if most of the FFXI playerbase moves to FFXIV in 2010, it may not be all bad for FFXI.

While some things will be made harder with a smaller population, many things will also be easier. And with a much smaller pool of players around you, you'll get to know people better.. I'm guessing at that point the atmosphere will be a little laid back to how it has been and is now, hopefully a better opportunity to make new friends.

I anticipate logging into XI every once in a while post FFXIV release, and experiancing a pretty different Vana'diel. I do think it'll be enjoyable, with the right outlook and a little bit of luck in finding the right people.

Also, it would also be a great time to transfer and play with someone you've always wanted to, but never got the chance (due to LS's, friends on your server, etc).

Edited, Jun 12th 2009 2:48am by Carrilei
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#6 Jun 11 2009 at 11:13 PM Rating: Good
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As always, Thayos, yours is in incredible read. You have a writer's heart and a gamer's soul.

XIV is still on the horizon, but I've already grown tired of XI.

It started a few months ago when I traded my old Xbox for a slightly-less-old PS2. Is it sad that games like FFX and Kingdom Hearts stole my attention away from XI completely? Maybe, but it's still true. I went 2-3 weeks without a login, and I didn't feel a bit lonely.

My gear is now sold, and I'm just waiting for Bonanza numbers to be released before I cancel my content ID. I'll hang onto my character, just in case I return. But I, like many others, am not optimistic for the future.
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#7 Jun 11 2009 at 11:32 PM Rating: Excellent
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I have a really high hopes about the end for FFXI.

I don't know when that last day in my character life will be, but I'm pretty sure that I will hold it until the very end of the service.

What I expect is a game mechanic associated with the game, maybe 6 months before the end of the service or something, a way to end your characters carrier with some form of event, and at last see that two words that will make me feel complete with the game.

"THE END"

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#8 Jun 11 2009 at 11:48 PM Rating: Decent
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Well there are still a lot of options once population goes down in ffxi.
First thing you will see after let's say 6 months or so when ffxiv is out is that some servers will be closed and people can choose lower population servers for where they want to go to.

Also keep in mind that you still pay a monthly fee that probably will be the same amount you pay for ffxiv so chances are that onces ffxiv comes out the game get a lot cheaper.

Another possibility is that the original games becomes free for everyone which basicly means that the 'old' world is free to play.
#9 Jun 11 2009 at 11:54 PM Rating: Good
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So we cant stand a single "FFXI IS DYING!" thread anymore, yet when it's an admin it's suddenly ok? Pick a side and stand by it guys.

Turn off rate-down immunity.

It's a nice story to just say the same thing. Let's have karma decide.
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#10 Jun 12 2009 at 12:01 AM Rating: Excellent
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This is actually an editorial on the front page, but I'd feel weird taking all the text out of Thay's post with a link.
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#11 Jun 12 2009 at 12:42 AM Rating: Good
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KojiroSoma wrote:
So we cant stand a single "FFXI IS DYING!" thread anymore, yet when it's an admin it's suddenly ok? Pick a side and stand by it guys.

Turn off rate-down immunity.

It's a nice story to just say the same thing. Let's have karma decide.


A small handful of people deciding something isn't worth reading with an eager clicking of buttons doesn't mean it's not worth reading. I've always felt the anti-"DIEING!" crowd to be foolishly over-reactive, myself. It will happen. Maybe sooner. Maybe later. Just don't run around living in denial saying everything's all peachy when plenty are more than willing to disagree. They just might not care to rate. Or be able to.

One of the best things about MMOs and probably one of the worst is that no single player's experiences are the same. A feature to one can be a hindrance to others. Some say soloists have no skills and are anti-social. Some say everything shouldn't require groups to make casual play more appealing. I know this is a drawn out way of making the opinions and cornholes analogy, but closing off your mind and senses won't make others go away. It's not like some of us want the game to falter, after all.

Edited, Jun 12th 2009 4:43am by Seriha
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#12 Jun 12 2009 at 2:15 AM Rating: Decent
Nice Thayos. Ninja writing skill ftw! I think i'll take myself to Port San'doria on the final day. I'll stand in front of that NPC, and try to give him that stupid Adventurers certificate back.
#13 Jun 12 2009 at 2:43 AM Rating: Decent
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When the world ends, I plan to be in Valkurm Dunes, in that small cave west of Selbina. That’s where the game began for me, and fittingly, that’s where it will end. In my dream, I suspect that’s where I was going before I woke up.



While I enjoyed the editorial, I fail to see how the game began for him in the dunes. All characters start in either Bastok, Sandy or Windy.
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#14 Jun 12 2009 at 3:13 AM Rating: Decent
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This is like watching the news on a slow day.

When you wrote this, did you honestly think that we needed another thread about FFXIV and how it will affect FFXI? I mean seriously, people are so retarded, someone had to create a 'How to read Roman Numerals' thread.

Or was it simply that you needed copy for the front page since it was your turn and you just banged this out?

Either way, I'll say that this is getting ridiculous. Look at =10. It's littered with FFXIV posts. I would argue that the admins of the site have a higher standard to uphold in regards to forums. Posts like these fall below those standards. In fact, you should be helping to 'keep it alive' if you are all so afraid the rapture is coming.
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#15 Jun 12 2009 at 3:42 AM Rating: Decent
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I’m very eager to experence Final Fantasy XIV. Those of us who are swept away by Rapture will be digitally reborn in a new, vibrant world.

Meanwhile, those left in Vana’diel will face Judgment Day. Many will be forced to make the ultimate decision: leave with their friends, or walk the world alone?

If you want to chat with your friends, use an instant messaging program. They do not cost 12.95/mo. If you want to play with your friends, ******* play with your friends.
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#16 Jun 12 2009 at 4:35 AM Rating: Decent
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I've said it before and I'll say it again. I won't quit FFXI until either; 1) I get bant, 2) All my friends quit or 3) They **** off the servers.


I'll follow my friends if they move the Eorza, it's not the game I like. It's the people I play with that keep me paying my fees.
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#17 Jun 12 2009 at 4:46 AM Rating: Decent
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Maybe this will prompt a response about the future of FFXI like last time ^^ I don't mean the content planned for the next year nonsense either, I wanna know if a large enough group of us continue playing(server merging will fix any low population problems) will we still get updatesto the game. Indeed are they closing the game down in a year or not >.>
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#18 Jun 12 2009 at 5:18 AM Rating: Good
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good read. but what I find funny is if this was posted by anyone but an admin it would be sub-defaulted, the suckups on this site, amazing.
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#19 Jun 12 2009 at 5:30 AM Rating: Good
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xbobbobx wrote:
good read. but what I find funny is if this was posted by anyone but an admin it would be sub-defaulted, the suckups on this site, amazing.

Of course, the lack of the karma buttons on an Admin's post wouldn't be a hindrance to anyone wishing to rate it would it?

Edited, Jun 12th 2009 9:31am by Kragorn
#20 Jun 12 2009 at 5:42 AM Rating: Default
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Waiting for the day I can walk up and /poke all the Ground Kings while they are unclaimed. It will be a sad day indeed.

(Maybe the /gilfinders will leave XI for the most part....Ok, ok. It was wishful thinking though.....
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#21 Jun 12 2009 at 5:56 AM Rating: Good
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Waiting for the day I can walk up and /poke all the Ground Kings while they are unclaimed. It will be a sad day indeed.


You think people that paid $4k for their bots are leaving that easy?
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#22 Jun 12 2009 at 5:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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THE END IS COMING! THE RAPTURE IS HERE! REPENT, FOR THE END IS NIGH! *cough*

Anyway...

Final Fantasy XIV is indeed coming, but it does not necessarily spell the end for Final Fantasy XI. To see how well Final Fantasy XIV may fair against Final Fantasy XI, one just needs to look at how other MMO sequels have done.

The first obvious sequel is Everquest II. When Everquest II was released, it was seen as an "Everquest" killer to one of the most successful (for its time) MMOs, and Everquest II was set to be as successful. However, it did not fair as well, and while it did enjoy some success, it never got as many subscribers as Everquest did.

The second example is Asheron's Call. Asheron's Call enjoyed some success, although not as great Evercrack...err...Everquest. It's sequel, Asheron's Call II, did even worst. After 3 years, Asheron's Call 2 was cancelled. The reason? Mainly because it was seen as "too different" from Asheron's Call.

Another example of MMO sequels is Lineage II. Lineage II is a bit of an exception, as it showed a bit more success than its prequel. For a brief period of time, there were more subscribers in Lineage II than in the original Lineage. However, that number declined quickly, and there are currently the same number of subscribers in Lineage II as in Lineage.

The final example that I'll bring up is Ultima Online, the grand-daddy of all MMOs. One of the oldest MMOs in the genre still active, it had several sequels plan (Ultima X: Odyssey and Ultima Online II) but it never came to the light of beta. The main reason? EA didn't want those games to hurt the base of its original game, Ultima Online. They didn't want to cannibalize the player base.

So, the question is will the release of Final Fantasy XIV spell the end of Final Fantasy XI? If history is any indication, then the answer is no. Sequels are rare in the MMO world, and in cases where there has been a sequel, the sequel does not fare as well as its predecessor. And there has never been a case where the prequel was ended because the sequel did so well.

So, even with the announcement of Final Fantasy XIV, I think it is a bit premature to declare that "FINAL FANTASY XI IS DIEING!!!". If anything, Final Fantasy XIV is going to have a more difficult time moving forward than Final Fantasy XI. I'll close with this thought. SE developers have said time and time again that as long as fans continue to support and play Final Fantasy XI, then Final Fantasy XI will continue to be supported and new content will be developed. The game isn't over until we, the fans, say it's over.

And frankly, I'm not going to believe it's over until the number of subscribers go down, and they start closing and consolidating servers. Then maybe the statement, "FINAL FANTASY XI IS DIEING!!!" will hold a bit of weight other than a polemic statement.
#23 Jun 12 2009 at 6:11 AM Rating: Decent
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KojiroSoma wrote:
So we cant stand a single "FFXI IS DYING!" thread anymore, yet when it's an admin it's suddenly ok? Pick a side and stand by it guys.

It's because all of the "FFXI IS DYING" threads were always just rants about SE not "supporting" the game enough.

While I do agree the editorial is overdramatic, it does have what all the other ones don't: An honest worry of the game itself, rather than "when the next update" will be.
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#24 Jun 12 2009 at 6:12 AM Rating: Good
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The text MUD, which was pay to play, that I played back in the mid 90s is still running today, still pay to play.

Everquest 1 is still running alongside Everquest 2.

I've had people telling me that FFXI is going to be shutdown within months almost since I started playing.

MMOs is not an old industry. No one, absolutely no one, can predict what will happen to FF11 when FF14 comes out.


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#25 Jun 12 2009 at 6:22 AM Rating: Default
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You think people that paid $4k for their bots are leaving that easy?


Well, those people are can bite my shinny metal ***. (Love that show)
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#26 Jun 12 2009 at 6:29 AM Rating: Excellent
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What kills me is all the people saying they're gonna quit FF11 as soon as FF14 is out. Why? We know FF11. We don't know FF14. What if it turns out to be radically different to FF11, as other sequels to MMOs have been when compared to their "original"? FF11 is presently unique in the MMO market; we don't yet know what 14 will be like, so rather than predict doom and gloom, or make a decision early, why not wait until we know what the game itself will be like? Makes no sense to me.
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