What's great is it's a Mad Caddies reference AND an FFXI reference!  I rule. M M O R P G A M E R  
Drinking for XI
0 1 . 1 4 . 2 0 0 5

Count how many times I say the word "beta."

As usual, thanks go out to Adrienne Beck for Japanese translations. Where would we be without you?

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Project Mayhem 

If you follow MMO news outside of this column (pfft, what would the point of that be?), you surely heard about Wish getting scrapped. This came as one of the more shocking cancellations in, well, MMORPG history. Mainly because Wish had gathered such a huge following, with pretty much no advertising at all. In past times, when a company has taken an action not appreciated by a large number of fans, many of those fans have gotten together and darn well done something about it. In like manner, a band of gamers with programming skills have formed Project Wish. This group's function is to, by any means possible, make Wish come true. The first actions taken by the band's leaders involved contacting Mutable Realms and attempting to convince the company to resume the project. With Mutable Realms refusing, Project Wish now aims to recreate the game. Check out the site, read the latest news, and perhaps even lend your skills to the cause at the project's website.

To demonstrate the depression, I've pulled a few quotes from that site's message boards. I've fixed a few of the grammar slips.

"(tested beta v. 1.0 and 1,5) I loved Wish from day one"

"as far as i know, there's not a single game out there which had the same feeling as Wish"

"I... wouldn't change anything about the game; not the [point and click movement], not the fighting system, not amazing EQ2-standard graphics...nothing; it was top-notch and gonna be tough to beat now becoming my top game ever."

"My skills were a natrual extension of how I liked to play. That was the great. I wasn't a BORN warrior type... I liked that about the game. I wasn't forced to choose warrior or crafter or mage or anything like that. I could just exist and become stronger at what I liked to do. The world was also truly BREATHTAKING at times."

"The first live content i had been in, ahh, what a great day. The day started out as usual iwth me just chopping wood and getting ready for carpentry. While i was out chopping wood i heard shouts from town about gremlins in town. I arrived back and saw at least 100 of them and they even took down 2 guards. Well without thinking i jumped in and started fighting, and after ten minutes or so me and others were fighting the boss of the gremlins. He was able to take down the others and started hitting me hard but i was able to save myself since i had cleric. Well after the Gremlins death for a few hours i got a tell from sebenlik(i think that was the gnome's name) and asked me for an intereview. After the interview he said make sure i read the paper tomorrow to see what happened to the town. Well when i saw the newspaper and saw my name in the newspaper i nearly pissed myself and thought to myself that this was the most awesome thing i have ever seen in a game."

And, just in the feeling of it, let's post some screenshots from the beta test. These things are like baseball cards now. Credit for screen 1: "Ezzelin." Credit for the rest: "Psychoduck."

We're far away from the letters in this particular column, but while your minds are in the right gear, I'll ask now for your opinions of the Wish cancellation. Email them to me. We shall discuss.

World of Warcraft Begins Eurobeta
World of Warcraft

Earlier this week, the World of Warcraft official European site recently announced the start of the game's final beta testing on that continent, in preparation for release. Blizzard's letter reads, "Following the rapid sell-out of the European pre-order campaign and the successful start of the localised Closed Beta Test, we are happy to announce that the first phase of the European Final Beta Test of World of Warcraft starts now, in English, French and German. The first phase of the Final Beta Test will allow access to a select group of players: those who attained a beta key through the official Blizzard pre-order campaign, and current Closed Beta testers.

"The first phase of the Final Beta Test will also allow the testing of the World of Warcraft localized server infrastructure under heavy loads. As soon as system stability allows, the second phase of the testing process will begin and more players will be added into the Final Beta Test. We will make every effort to accommodate all requests for beta accounts but there is always the possibility that we will be unable to meet demand, and we therefore strongly encourage motivated players to register an account as quickly as possible once the second phase of the Final Beta Test begins.

See you in Azeroth,
Blizzard Entertainment."

eBay Gloveslaps Tsunami Relief Charity
Ultima Online

Not long ago, RPGamer reported that certain MMORPG communities, namely Ultima Online (in the form of Crazy Joe) and EVE Online, had become involved with tsunami-relief charities. Crazy Joe eventually hauled his stuff over to a new headquarters called Gamers Charity. One method of getting donations was selling Ultima Online gold and items on eBay. This worked well because the Red Cross got money and Ultima Online players got gold. In recent times, eBay has stepped in and removed the Gamers Charity auctions, saying covering seller costs with money earned is a violation of eBay policy, even though the auctions told buyers of this. Auctions already processed have gone through, with the money involved being donated to the Red Cross, but items that were still up for bids have been removed.

Visa Everywhere Final Fantasy XI Wants to Be

ePassporte, the world-leading provider of prepaid Visa cards sold online, has entered into a co-promotional agreement with Square Enix Ltd, to facilitate players' online experience with Final Fantasy XI by allowing them to make purchases on the internet. ePassporte is a prepaid, re-loadable Visa account that FFXI players will be able to fund with a bank-to-bank transfer, a credit card, or from other ePassporte account holders. The agreement eliminates the problems caused for people who wish to play online but do not own a personal credit card.

"We are very excited about this co-promotional opportunity with Square Enix and we look forward to enhancing the online experience of Final Fantasy XI players all over Europe," said Chris Mallick, CEO of ePassporte. "ePassporte provides players the ability to make Final Fantasy purchases over the Internet in a safe, seamless and secure manner."

Consumers use ePassporte to instantly create an identity-protected Virtual Visa online, make Internet purchases and transfer money between ePassporte accounts anywhere in the world instantly. In addition to the Virtual Visa account, which is used for online purchases, consumers may add a physical ePassporte Visa card which can be used to shop with merchants all over the world and retrieve funds from ATMs.

Shadowbane Unleashes Wrath

Ubisoft is ready to release a "New Game of Realms" with its upcoming Sahdowbane update, entitled "Wrath." Ashen Temper's post on the official site reads, "The Shadowbane Team is proud to announce that we will bring a new world online in the very near future. The projected arrival for Wrath, the latest game server, is late next week, though unforeseen issues may keep it from coming online until the following week. Wrath will use the Vorringia Mapset, with some modifications: several high-level zones around Safeholds have been swapped with low-level zones that exist elsewhere in the world, to better accommodate mid-level play. These changes will only appear on Wrath: the server layout of Damnation and Entropy will remain unchanged. Additionally, a new hamlet has been added to the newbie island between the adventuring zones, offering better access to low-level content. These changes were made from feedback from Beta participants during Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion testing.

"Curiosity and debate have raged in the community over the ruleset for the new server. First and foremost, Wrath will exist as a "clean" server: we will not allow any migration to it. In compensation for the fresh start, Wrath will offer accelerated Structure and Hireling upgrade times that mirror rates on the Test Server. Furthermore, the server will have a slight, permanent experience bonus, leading to faster leveling. Wrath will otherwise follow the same guidelines and principles as the other North American production servers.

"With that said, some existing server rules will seem very new on Wrath. All of the new rules and systems added in Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion have been almost invisible on existing servers, because existing guilds, cities, and nations were grandfathered into the new paradigm. Wrath will be the first server to fully experience the huge chessboard ToO added to the political and endgame in Shadowbane. Wrath, therefore, has a maximum amount of cities that can exist, and a hard limit to the number of guilds that can be a part of a Nation. Additionally, the server will be brand new: there will be no "Feature Character" gear or huge stockpiles of pre-crafting items. Wrath will be a fresh start, and offer and endgame closer to the original vision of Shadowbane than any of the other servers to date. These new systems and limitations should ensure that performance on Wrath will be superior to other servers, even in the long run. Despite clear community opinion, we decided not to add new a ruleset to Wrath, so that we can better monitor and evaluate the effects that Throne of Oblivion's new systems will have on player politics and dynamics.

"Understandably, some members of the community are worried that a new server may impact other server populations. The Shadowbane Team will be keeping a watchful eye on this and will take appropriate actions if necessary. Plans involving server migrations, consolidations, and even other new servers, are being evaluated. Migration for characters who want to leave Entropy will happen, hopefully by the end of this month. If a new server should come online in the undetermined future, it is highly likely that it will contain a new ruleset. Community feedback has made a Faction/Loreplay system the front runner."

Featured Games 
Rose Online

When I noticed a game claiming to be the "first MMORPG featuring seven different planets," I said to myself, "Well, this is certainly getting covered."

Rose Online uses this intergalactic concept to implement unique twists on certain aspects that other MMOs have used. Describing one such highlight, the official site says, "Players can form groups and compete for dominion over the seven planets. Unlike a small scale war, such as a guild war in which players fight for the possession of castles, players can take part in a huge war in which the fate of an entire planet is at stake."

And this little bit kind of made me think of Wish: "The quests in R.O.S.E Online are affected by the activities of the user community. Every change in the game, such as Item price, monster spawn rate, MVP monster spawn rate or the weather, is dramatically influenced by the actions of the users. Every major event that occurs on the seven planets is recorded on the official website. The names of characters that played key roles in these events are displayed on the official website so that they may receive recognition as legends." Seriously, the similarity there is intriguing.

Wow, look at this picture of the planets. One of them is called "Ska." Awesome.

Short Stories 
Dark Age of Camelot

Dark Age of Camelot's "Spellcraft Calculator," which is a player-friendly guide to spellcrafting, has now been edited to include the updates that came with the Catacombs expansion. Check out the crafter here.

Guild Wars

ArenaNet is hosting another Guild Wars fan contest. The new contest invites Guild Wars fans to design a guild emblem, the ones judged to be best becoming permanent feature of the game. In conjunction with the contest announcement, ArenaNet has also expanded its gallery to include the ever-growing Guild Wars "Guild Emblem Catalogue" section. Find the contest info here, and the Emblem Catalogue here.

South Korea

With its free MMO Red Stone currently in the beta testing phase, GameOn has announced that the game will conclude beta testing the morning of January 20th. In the afternoon of that same day, the game will be officially opened for regular play. In preparation for next week's launch, two more character types have been added, bringing the game's total to four character types and eight job types. Another server has also been added, creating a world specifically for players who can only play for short lengths of time.


LucasArts' Star Wars Galaxies has just been added to Sony Online Entertainment's "Station Access" subscription plan. For those who are unfamiliar with this package, all SOE-developed MMOGs are available to subscribers for $21.99 USD per month. Star Wars Galaxies will join the ranks of titles such as the traditional EverQuest games, Planetside, and others this February. John Smedley, president, Sony Online Entertainment, stated, "Station Access has been a compelling deal for our subscribers since it launched last year, but now itís a must-have for all online gamers." You can read the full press release on this here.

Readers Speak 

A whole lot more Final Fantasy XI emails came in, which I thought was good at first, until I saw a bunch of them were personal shouts--either high-fives for my commentary or rants about how and why I suck and should be turned over to communist Bastok to be punished for the crime making an observation about FFXI. But there were several good letters in ye olde inbox, which you'll see printed below. I usually print letters in the order they're received, but in this case I posted the ones that spoke on the new topic of "what do you drink with your MMOs?"

Dos Equis

Dear Heath,
Nothing can beat Mountain Dew for the caffeine and sugar boost needed to grind through a level when you really want to but are too tired. I'm talking about solo'ing here, though.

If you're going to group (and are over 21 of course =P) I'd suggest something a bit stronger. Not too much, mind you, as drunk party members are as useless as mana potions to non-hybrid melee tank. But a little bit of alcohol can mellow the insanity, take the edge off of death, and make you more tolerant of others mistakes. Not all groups suck though, and if you're in a good one, the alcohol may improve your wit or if you aren't witty, then perhaps it will make everything seem more funny.

My alcoholic beverage of choice for MMORPG's is hard apple cider. The game I'm focusing most of my attention on is World of Warcraft.



That letter made Heath laugh. I use Mt. Dew not just for grinding, but for everything. Then after too much, my throat gets all dry and I have to switch to juice.

You know what we need? Machines that people hookup to their heads when playing MMORPGs, and when you die, it makes you pass out for a little while like those kids that went into comas in .hack. Wow, I don't know what brought that on, but I'm not backspacing. Pfft.


So im going to rant about random things and FFXI haters Then im going to close with some interesting findings. You can accuse me of not having a point because my topics shift randomly, or i mite spel sumthin rong. My, punctuation; may' be. a. little! off.

I have about 55 days of FFXI under my Sword Belt +1. It is my first MMORPG and probably my last. It my last because I realized that MMORPG's are evil tools of the devil used to suck your soul from your mindless corpse. This is quite easy to do when one hand is on the mouse and the other is stuck to wasd while your eyes are fixated on the screen for 4+ hrs at a time. It ruins your life and the lives of those around you. I don't really believe that last line but think about how many solid, story driven RPG's you could beat in the time spent paying an MMORPG. In my case that would be around 25 games. Of course there is the price to play time ratio. Where playing that many rpgs could easily add up to hundreds of dollars a year where mmos come out to around $150 Dollars a year (not including the price of the game).

I like FFXI. I am a final fantasy rabid fanboy (now all the MMO vets think to themselves, "Figures"). I hated EQ because the game was so freaking choppy and the movements were horrible. Quite frankly the game was ugly. WoW is really an awesome game, I played it for the free month before realizing that I have too much going for me in FFXI. The best thing about WoW is how user friendly it is. Despite that, every mmo has one thing in common: WORK. These games take a lot of work and to a certain point stop being fun.

Problem with FFXI: People hate that you can't really solo once you get past the early levels of the game. My answer: That has been an underlying theme of FFXI from the beginning. They wanted to bring people together to work together. For all the people who have not played a Final Fantasy game, they have ALL been about the PARTY.

Heh, true, but none have been about the party that you find by standing around for 4 hours twiddling your thumbs saying "man, I wish my linkshell guys were on."

P: People hate the menu system.
A: Again this is a Final Fantasy game. If it did not have the menu's it would lack the feel. They had to influence the final fantasy fan base. Besides i dont even use the battle menu and i only use a few macros because i play as every class. Ctrl commands really help with the menus.

They don't hate the fact that there are menus or a system of them, they hate the crappy way it is implemented. Don't tell me you can't feel the "Enix" reeking from that interface ;)


P: Leveling takes too long.
A: Oh come on, I was averaging 2 lvls a day at 4-6 hrs of play in FFXI (I have over 300 lvls between my classes). I averaged roughly the same with WoW even with the rested meter and experience for quests.

P: Lack of skills, High Monster Life, Low drop rate, Lack of diverse classes and number of unique equipment.
A: Yea those really do suck. In defense of the equipment issue, every mmo has those few pieces of equipment that everyone wants. So in every mmo some equipment just becomes worthless and ignored anyways. Therefore it doesnt really matter how many types of equipment there are.

You have to really like battles, and other final fantasy games to enjoy FFXI. I personally hate quests. I would rather just plain kill stuff and get stronger. If you like quests, play WoW or some other quest heavy game. So far the story is pretty interesting in FFXI. Probably the most interesting story of any mmo.


Indeed. Generally, the people I've seen making that gripe are those who are both unfamiliar with MMORPGs in general and don't like FFXI. Most MMOs have slower leveling.

And yes, FFXI has one of the best stories an MMORPG has ever offered.


When i played PSO ( not an mmo really 4 players in a game) i would love to kick back with some IBC cream soda. During my year of FFXI I have tried playing with coffee to stay up but i still get tired. I quit soda because im on a diet (believe it or not eating right works) so with now I drink water or Juice (sometimes i sneak in an IBC for old times).

On a different note DO NOT CONSUME ALCOHOL WHILE PLAYING MMO'S!!!!!! You M**** ****ers!!!!!!! Always get people killed. I'm going to join PADTHMMORPGS. Players Againts Drunk Tanks and Healers in Mass Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.

Interesting thing to think about. I did some research on two mmo currencies (WoW and FFXI) and compared them to real life currency. Too lazy to look at the others. I used two sites to get this info, feel free to challenge me or submit your findings. Everying I am presenting is based on what i found at these two sites. Here is what i found:

There is roughly 16K FFXI Gil in a US dollar. There is roughly 7 WoW Silver (700 Copper) in a US dollar. I did not look at all world currencies but i found at least 8 Countries whose currency are worth less then then the WoW copper and 1 worth less then the FFXI Gil.
There is about 22 Gil in one Copper. (However the drop rate of copper is roughly the same in WoW as it is in FFXI. Theoretically you could farm more money for ffxi for much esier in WoW. Then sell your copper for real currency and then buy gil with that money. If you really want to go through all that trouble.) If you had 60K WoW Gold you could get 1 oz of real Gold.

If anyone wants to list more findings or correct me feel free. I am curious of which mmo has the most valuable currency and how it stacks up to the US dollar and other world currency. I also wonder if the value of an MMO currency is directly related to how long it has been out. ( Maybe compare Ultima Online to EQ2 or another newer MMO)



Heh, sounds like you and the reader above have slight differences on the drinking issue. But yeah, wow, nice research on the money thing. I have no contradicting information, nor do I have the ambition to go out and fact-check. Good work. If anyone else wants to put into the infohat, I'd love to see some more of this stuff.

Staff Love


While playing my MMO of choice, there are two drinks I prefer. One is Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. It doesn't really have that much of a diet aftertaste. But because I can't have too much caffeine (I bounce off the walls enough as it is), after I finish one glass I switch to plain water.


Whoa. A lightweight, eh?

Moderation is key, however. Drinking too much can lead to many AFK moments, which means that something may sneak up and jump you while you're doing your business.

Remember, kids: always take breaks in safe, aggro-free areas. Otherwise, you could return to a corpse.

Cortney Stone
A.K.A. Alethea

Dude, that totally happened to me once. On my first or second day in FFXI, I was being shown around by a friendly neighborhood White Mage named Elizara. After a quick tour of Windurst and a few battles, Eli was knelt down to recover MP. She gave me a quick "BRB" in doing so. I felt nature calling, so I left for a while. I came back to see my corpse laying in front of the still-kneeling mage, as if she had gone crazymadbyatch. She then returned from wherever AFKness she was and raised me, explaining the concept of "aggro" in the process. I expected it in the game initially, but seeing most monsters not attack me made me think they were all equally passive. Heh.

A Response to a response

So I took the time and read all of [name deleted]'s rant about FFXI, it's amazing how fanatical people can be! I haven't played FFXI but, after reading that why would I want to? I started playing MMOs with UO way back in the day. It was great, friendl people, you where free to play however you wanted. I eventually moved onto a UO free server and after that my MMO experience faded away. Fanatics like [name deleted] are the reason why I haven't really played MMOs since I quit playing UO around 5 years ago. Fanatics take all the fun out of the game! I now play Phantasy Star Online(on GameCube), which isn't much of an MMO but it's fun. You also don't have people like [name deleted] around every corner and that's why I still play it online. These people whose lives seem to revolve around the things... they ruin it for those that are really trying to have fun! You could sense the hostility in [name deleted]'s letter... it makes you wonder what else these people do with their time (or what little they do)!


Is this the official PSO column? Phantasy Star Online is representing here tonight. Okay with me; I high-five players of that game. What I like about that game is that if you don't want to go online, you don't have to. You can bring over a friend and just thrash Ragol offline. And the levels you gain will still be apllied to your character. Sweet. Props to ya, MD.

Anyway, let's move on to more venting.

I gots ta preach it

Hello Heath, I have been reading your comments and retorts on FFXI from yourself and fellow readers, and I have to say I felt like a huge discomfort from my chest has been lifted (I'm getting to a vital point ^^;) I played FFXI for 4-8 months (give or take my breaks in-between.) Conforming to cliche job setups was bland but, like most FFXI members, you delt with it. (just like how men within their 40's go for a prostate exams... something you DON'T want to do but know it's good for your existence) So I became SMN/WHM. I read the pros and cons about EVERY job in the game for months and I just wanted to have "fun" reguardless if SMN was one of the most uphill struggle jobs to date. My second goal was to try to bring my EQ mentaility to the FFXI community (helping people out of kindness and only asking for friendship and trust) So I created a LinkShell with two Real life friends, and one truly dedicated online friend. We took in new players to grow with. Many players we came across did not want a LS that wasn't fully developed. Players wanted a clear path to the end-game... they didn't want to give back to the community. We thought that our server (Valefor) was flawed. We knew some of the end-game (HMNLS's) on the server and thier members just used LS's to get there "s**t" done and get out of the boat before the ship sinks. This pushed me away from the game among other things, thus making my friends leave the LS and get into the top LS's. I came back after 2 months and to only find out that not much has changed (besides their level ^^) So they leave the "top" LS and we took advantage of the world shift and went to Remora (hoping to start fresh and find like minded players) We again bent over backwards to improve the community, doing AF, Rank, Genki, Quests with a smile knowing in our hearts (as lame as it sounds) that maybe we can give players a sense of belonging and trust whch we felt the community was lacking. Well, here is our LS's (Reflection) final bit of News for the FFXI mass that was previously posted on our own website. "Let me get straight to it, I would like to say for the few (and I do mean few) who actully tried to put at least 5% of effort into this LS and wanted to GROW (that means team effort ^^) I thank you. For the others who basically joined and used our friendship as a ticket to get your 's**t done' since every other LS wouldn't even be bothered with it, to those, I say Thank you again....why? Because you proved to me that the community (or lack there of) in this game is dictated by the (l Reward l) that benefits the self. I can't blame you though, I mean heck when you log on this game, this is a second job to most right? People want XP by the hour? People want Gil by the hour? And when you are asked to do something other then your 'job' you want to know 'What's in it for me?' Reflections whole thing was to give something back to the community, help others when no one else would, give you something stable and something you could depend on and all we wanted was for you to do the same for another in need and progress as a family / unit. A real tool in this game once told me something that sums it up 'Would you help a stranger you just met in real-life out?' (my response was something pointless like 'Would it be so wrong to depend on your community?') This LS in the end, was a 'Reflection' of the FFXI community." Well there it is point blank, I do apologize if it is long but I REALLY think this piece of evidence needs to be directed to the gaming community and for the record I was a Lv.55 SMN/WHM (Zanadul) which is now more or less... retired. A part of me was more so dissapointed then angry with FFXI's community. I have never seen such a large group of gamers truly unhappy with the one thing that is supose to bring them joy... a video game.


Well, glad I could lend a, (how do I say this?) "/cry-ing" shoulder. That's a bummer your Linkshell didn't take off so well. I could complain about the causes in an editorial-like manner, but I already have and you have, too, so I'll keep on trucking through these letters. Thanks for the submission!

Ramblings of the Disgruntled

The past 2 times I've read your columns, it's been about FFXI(At least in the readers response area)... And I just had to give my 2 cents too, as I do own the game, and haven been playing for quite awhile. First and foremost, I agree with you, and can't see how many of the viewers responded without fully reading the article.

Secondly, [revisits community generousity issue]. Well, I'm gonna have to go back to that part about the servers being US & JPN... Although, I haven't very much stability in concreting this, it's only an idea... Being as JPN in the game don't speak much English(Or any at all, and seem to be generally rude to Americans... You know "JP PARTY ONLY"... For that, the first people to start joining the game had no help from their JPN counter parts... And actually maded the game harsh and cold. At least, that's my perspective as when I joined the game, no one helped me, but maybe that's cuz I never asked as I'm not quite a party-person, or like to bother people.

As I've progressed through the game(Lvl 39 DRK, 31 RDM, 24 BRD, etc)... I've become just as angsty as everyone else in the game... And it passes along to other people. I've been approached by people for charity(Of course I don't think people should be asking for it when I never did)... and of course I tell them off. Of course, I've been power lvled, and one day(if I continue playing, and advancing any supporting jobs)... I shall return the favor.

Like I said, I agree fully with you. The community is bad, as well the system. And I also agree about the "subjob" thing, in which, everyone must choose the best subjob for the character. That's the games fault for making subjobs so... specific? So I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I can only blame the games faults. The hard as ####ing earned EXP, the death penelty, the idea that monsters do not stop chasing you until you zone(Which I thought was bullshit), the lack of money recieved(Let alone the people who camp NM's 24/7, which hopefully will be fixed as mentioned by SE)... I suppose I could go on about it's faults. But as all games do, and for an MMORPG, those faults can be worked on, which is maybe why I still play.

I was amused by your first MMORPG players thing... As well as it is true... (and I hate to say this as well) By level 30, that whole newbie thing sort of dies... Hell, by lvl 25 even. Anyways, I think the true error of the game is it's forced idea of partying... ####, I can barely fight "easy prey" with my 39 DRK without lossing 500 out of 700 HP... And when I win, OMG 22 EXP! And then I get to heal for about 20 minutes, GLEE! And oh yes, can't forget the wonderful "insect wings" I got!

Oh well I suppose. It is just a game...

Heh, sorry site regulations required me to edit the profanity there, but I'm sure most readers will get the point without the actual words ;)

But yes, I see where you are coming from. The thing is, in this situation, I'm listening to that "Final Fantasy 20020220" CD, and therefore can't bring myself to muster up any bad comments about any Final Fantasy game, even though I am aware of all the ammo available to me. Plus, as I've said before, the FFXI commentary is almost entirely gone from me.

A horse of a different color

Hey Heath,

I'm not a real hardcore reader of yours, but I recently just stumbled unto your column. Man, the heated debates here on FFXI are pretty...heated. Whatever.That's not why I'm writing though. I actually noticed that you guys don't have any covergae on the game Monster Hunter for the PS2. It is, by its own rights, an MMORPG, just not in the conventional way.

To make it simple, it is a game released last October by Capcom, in which players have the option to play both offline and online. The idea being, players would prepare themselves offline and then go online to form parties with others. They whould then go on quests together and well, hunt monsters (dragons really). It didn't exactly get astounding reviews from gaming magazines and such, as it is relatively unknown. However, the reason for that would be the battle system, which requires players to be actually skillful, instead of having characters who are skillful. That is, the system is actually real time battles, Zelda-ish but without the lock-on system. The magazine reviewers didn't like that, but it actually weeds out the weak players. Simply because then players aren't babied and it doesn't become easy hack and slash. Believe me, it takes true skill.

There are no levels, only what your "Hunter Rank" is. You, as a player, are judged only by your equipment and to a smaller extent your rank. But the real judgement only comes when your teammates have seen your battle ability. That is, YOURS, not your character's. There is no 'magic' per se, but it is instead replaced by Items and Tools. The majority of which being pit traps, bombs, and battle tools for defeating large dragons.

Now before you say this game doesn't belong here, it IS an MMORPG. I've layed FFXI and Lineage 2 and although Monster Hunter does things differently, it certainly meets all the requirements to be an rpg that is online. If that made sense. All in all, please print this because I would like to introduce this wonderful game to the vast population that plays mmorpgs. If you are fed up with things like not being invited to a party because your character isn't the class others need, then try out Monster Hunter. In this game there are no set "perfect" parties; any combination of classes can become a fine monster hunting party.

Oh yeah, one last thing. Once you buy this game, Capcom, bless their souls, have set up the game so everyone can play it online FREE. Not a cent. None. $0.

Ok, that's it for now. Thanks Heath, and good luck to you in your future debates.


HR: 17
Greyburg Javelin, Monoblos Helm, Hornetaur Mail+, Rathian Braces, High Metal Tasset+, Rathalos Graves.

You get points for originality. Yeah, you know...I've heard of that game, but it always slips my mind when I'm at EB. *sigh* Oh well. That's probably for the best. Or maybe you should just lie to me and say it's for the best so I don't go burning $40 I don't have on a game that must compete with other MMOs plus my Christmas games >_<


Long time listener, first time caller

Greetings Heath!

have been following MMORpgamer for awhile now, being a large fan of the genre. I may be a little late for the discussion but I just wanted to put my bit on the FFXI situation. Now, unlike a lot of the people who posted on it, FFXI was not my first mmorpg, nor second, nor third, or even fourth. I started back in the days of Ultima Online, when I was running a Cyrix 686, a 28.8 modem and a 2x cd-rom. I had the best system in town. Now, I played UO for almost 2 years before some friends of mine introduced to my EQ. The game was prettier than UO (this doesn't say much) and I could actually level! I played that for about a year or so, messed around with the little anime mmo called Dark Ages for a bit, did my free month of Asheron's Call before throwing it out the window, I even played Lineage for about 15 minutes!

I actually pre-ordered WoW and have been bouncing back and forth between it and FFXI. All my "real life friends" play WoW, but I just can't get away from FFXI because I have grown attatched to the people there. Its funny, because as somebody who plays FFXI, I still hate a lot of its features and often say to myself, "[damn] this is dumb, WoW is so much better in this aspect." Which can go for just about everything but the auction system.

I have encountered very few rude players here on Sylph, we even have some gil farmers that work for one of the companies, and I don't know how many times I have seen them stop killing an nm so a player can complete their quest. The only time I actually dreaded, was when the PS2 version of FFXI came out. It made me think of all the console gamers jumping into a genre they have never touched. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had feared, if anything it made it easier to level some lower level jobs again. Anyway, I guess I really didn't have one solid point, but I figured I would give you some material to make fun of, because the way you respond to people's letters really makes me laugh. Wish there was some way to make your FFXI stay more enjoyable, because while it doesn't have all the best features, it does have enough to still be a real solid game.

50 Paladin/40 Bard/35 Warrior/32 Dragoon/20 White Mage/A lot of other jobs and I feel like a pathetic nerd for having so many leveled.

P.S. While FFTA was an alright game, Fire Emblem and Tactics Ogre would still have been far superior even if all the sprites were stick figures, and the dragons looked like ducks.

(*Alarms sound*) Whoa, let's not discuss offline RPGs! Heh, totally kidding. Yeah, it would be funny to see big ducks flying around destroying things. Heck, not even disguised by graphics, they just ARE ducks. "Oh no, a duck is coming!!"

I think what leads to addictions such as the one you express--you know, the one where ya play FFXI and don't know why--can be credited to the environment. Just kinda hanging out and doing nothing at all is oddly...addictive. As a few letters and my comments in weeks past have noted, Vana'diel is certainly a nice place. So nice that it sucks you in. And sucks...aaaaannd...

Willie writes a novel

Hi Heath, having just read your article on the "issues" regarding the community of FFXI's digital world, I felt compelled to write a note.

I was an avid console RPGamer back in the day - Dragon Warrior, Legend of Zelda, Astyanax, and Crystalis on the NES were a few of the things that dreams are made of back when I was like 6-10 years old. I can still remember cracking open that one big map that came along with the DW game. With all the monsters' stats and dungeons on it. It was my key to ambition. A gateway to freedom. Back then I had friends in school and made straight A's, my parents reinforced my good behavior, praised me and bought me things on occasion - heck I was even the teacher's pet and I don't think any of my classmates held it against me.

And yet the appeal was still there. The need to escape and hide away. To cast aside an intangible burden. Sometimes I found this release inside of Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy, other times inside of books, or other times inside of daydreams.

Hormones aside, I'd say that puberty came to me like a thief in the night, rearranging an insane amount of chemistry inside of my brain, then running off with just about every ounce of conformity that I may have thought that it was necessary to cherish and endure previously. Once I began to perceive all the absurdities within society - the injustice and lack of self understanding (many people love their way of life irrationally - that and also, because of the fact that pop culture's inhabitants will by definition be perpetually too young and inexperienced to understand the meaning behind what they are exhalting and thus perpetually propel an economy not because of their own ignorance, but from within an enigmatic cloud of it.) The authority figures of my past became the obstacles of my present. A new identity began to emerge in rebellion to assimilation.

Somehow, (grace of God, and my family) I like many others battled my way through the turbulance and like Kid Arctica from SKGaming says in her profile, instead of living I just found ways of killing time. I got to college and now I am a senior there.

Alright, to the point now.
While in that college I was introduced by a friend of mine to Starcraft. Which naturally led to Warcraft III when it came out. The community within these games started out friendly enough, and so I took it for granted, however, as time passed and resentment to one's own limitations began to mount to a point of critical mass, in came the influx of bad "manner" like an catastrophic implosion.

I think this was due to the fact that the game was always indesputably imbalanced. Anyone with a right mind could tell that the Night Elf "anti-magic" unit (the dryad) with its speed of 400, range, immunity to all magic spells including that of heroes and ultimates, the ability to slow down targets when hitting them as well as adding poison side effects for 8 damage a second, for a cost of 150 gold where a little bit "difficult" to defeat by using orcish grunts who can do none of those things and who were the only proper counter to said units at one time.

The game was rigged, and yet, the players continued to get pissed at one another. The orc player called the dryad masser another "n00b elf" as in "another n00b elf with the same lame strat, gg abuser", the NE player got pissed and says, "u just suck u just suck I l33t you n00b!!!11!!" etc. When what he was really thinking was "What the #### else can I do - I've tried other things but they work only 5% of the time - If I go anything other than this you'd go 'cookie cutter' and rape my ass in 5 minutes". And who can blame him? Losing isn't very fun after having committed several months in training to a game, especially not while the vain images of god-like progamers in Korea and Europe are sharing harddrive space in their replay files right next to your own.

"Ok, so do I go n00b forever or do I go god-like?"

I think the answer's simple for most people, but it wasn't for me. It finally got to the point where I couldn't play the game anymore, even though I was improving. Winning with cookie cutter strategies in a strategy game is synonomous to not playing a strategy game, because it was no longer about devising a plan and implementing it but it was only about the desire to gain power (unlike MMORPGs you only gain power in personal skill and ability, not in persistent characters-as you know).

To me it wasn't fun anymore. It was only brutally competitive. Eventually, the "mad manners" subsided quietly, and that's all that happened. Becuase people just ceased to speak with one another almost entirely. Much like in the busy sidewalks of an urban city in reality. The intimacy of digital-intellectual fantasy got entangled and mangled and destroyed within the gears of a faulty machinery. I don't care what anyone says, Warcraft III was never balanced. Today, I hardly take too much interest in games relative to the days of Dragon Warrior, however, the prospect of escaping to a higher dimension, of a world where all contingencies and variables are balanced and community is king is extemely appealing. I'm constantly telling myself that "I hate society", but at the same time I'm absolutely entralled by community. That is why, I think that I've become a political science major.

Whoa, you hate society too?

My brother, I 100% understand your article on the nature of the MMORPG community which uses FFXI as an example. Because what you are saying is that why pay money to build a digital elitist conformist "fantasy" society for play, when we've already got all of that and then some in our real society for everything else? I think what you're valuing in EQ is the community, the feeling of several autonomous individuals getting together and supporting one another's desire to find fulfillment - in this case, in the form of a quest or an adventure. But to make it purer than that, a lack of limitation on choice and human soverignty within a productive functioning social enviornment. A place with no inextinguishable tyrants - such as relatively invulnerable Satans, either personal or systemic, as in incessant inconquerable economic, ideological, or spiritual insecurity. And the demands of social groups that they bring along with them. I mean compare a human being's circumstances to those which are perfect - God's, and you can clearly see, that relatively speaking we are very screwed, this system isn't fair and it doesn't tend to discourage "abusers" or single-minded energetics who overspecialize and seek to compel others to conform. Infants are, in a sense born into a spiritual and social headlock, everyone of us. You either move with the flow or allow the tension to make you snap - at that point you've either died mentally, spiritually, or economically. I hate to be cliche but its, game over. MMORPGs should not have systems who too closely mimic that of reality, otherwise, they've deluded themselves a forfeited part of their legitamacy in the first place.

Control---Escape---A world free of inextinguishable tyrants of soverignty, whether personal or systemic. Being compelled to be a certain class or group is coercion when combined with social expectation.

Your "rant" is very similair to the message in Radiohead's Subterreanean Homesick Aliens, which if you haven't heard I recommend it as a very good song. There is a "higher" ideal that these people can't participate in because they can't perceive it.

How can a den of thieves appreciate the virtue of charity? When thievery is all a thief knows how can they possibly be anything else? "Mad mannered" warcraft players don't know how to concede to a loss graciously (some of them). War torn nations can't bring themselves to terms with peace when war is all they are used to. Righteous people are righteous whether they nurture or destroy, while spouting lies and conveying truths. In a sense I guess it boils down to the fact that you are what you eat. Man is one with his enviornment and therefore he seeks to control it desperately.

I guess the universe of MMORPG worlds needs some sort of social contract and digital law by which to abide by. Something along the lines of " I promise to play nicely and not be a creep "? Help them all help themselves in a way, in order to guide them towards a way of digital life that is more functional and filled with purpose. Naw, these people just need the "right" bits of information ( such as "fuck this game world, go someplace else, that is, of course, unless you're one of "them" ). Sadly, however, the exact same thing can be expressed to describe the condition of our political physical reality.

Too bad you can't seperate into factions based upon ideological affiliation within that game world and start beating the hell out of one another in order to make the wrong way of thinking disappear off the face of the Earth, er Azeroth, er Azendale, or whatever. (But anyway,) So long as the game itself remains balanced in the way that it currently is, the "n00b abusers" of RTS and the "power-leveler elitists" of MMORPG would have others' necks upon a platter. But, we could always give it a try, couldn't we? (By becoming more like them, the thing we hate -- at least temporarily?) *Sigh, sometimes the path to Paradise isn't a spacial one, but instead, a process of elimination, a process in which the notion of self definition is usually first to be disintergrated... (^-^)

But I digress.

In other words, I commend you on your rant. It isn't often that I find an opinion that I agree with.

Rage, ha, I like that name.

-Willie Green
P.S. You don't have to agree with me, I'm only stating that I agreed with you.

A political scientist comes in with ideas of war. Nice. Well hey, if you ever come up with any other plans for scheduled uprisings, I'm there.

Hit by a Bluick

Let me start this by saying i hope the ffXI bashing is over. I played FFXI for over a year; I loved it, i hated it, I was addicted to it. but I was a monk, a job not worth a damn till about lvl 40. I have allways loved the final fantasy monk job (and yes I joined FFXI becasue of the FF). The Monk was shunned for a large part of my play experience, there are only so many times i wanna have a chat session with my linkshell while waiting for a party invite. sometimes I would sign on take a nap, and wake up without a single invite for 6hrs. There was a time where I tried a monk/ black mage. I thought it was a fun combination but no party invites...ever. I finally accepted my fate and became a mnk/war. but the last straw in the game for me was the expansion. I would give it maybe a 1 out of 10. it was trash, it added nothing that i wanted. After CoP me and all 7of my friends on MidgardSrmr quit the game and moved on to other games, such as WoW and EQ2 and some even went back to UO. In short FFXI was a fun flawed game that ate my life for far too long.

As long as any game exists in a playable form, someone somewhere will be bashing it on the internet. We're hardly even towards the middle of what will become the entire history of FFXI bashing.

Also, good for the guys who went back to UO. Ultima Online is the boss.

The bottom line

I think the bottom line is people (not everyone of course) are becoming to selfish and lazy to help anyone out in the damn game and only care about themselves and their gil or whatever. Most people's attitudes are "Whats in it for me?" Although they dont say it, but thats generally what it comes down to in the end. I'm personally a big fan of the game and enjoy playing it but the community sucks. The thing that doesnt make sense an MMORPG (which MOST people know stands for, Massive MULTIPLAYER...(no one seems to understand this part) Online RPG) is all about interacting with other people (thats y we play it right?) and helping out, thats how things get done. I help anyone anytime I can because its part of the game (well maye not in ffxi). I just wish more people could say the same.

Thanks for the email. Yeah, my FFXI commentary is like that tube of toothpaste that you've got sitting there empty for way too long. Like, it's flat for about 3 weeks, but eeeevery night you walk into the bathroom and desperately squeeze out that precious one-more-night's-worth, hoping to put off buying more toothpaste another day. Yep. That's what's left of my insight into FFXI.

Take that, Promathia!

I hear alot of talk about the Final Fantasy XI community and such. I'd just like to say that the one thing that destroys it is greed. I tried to start a BCNM 40 one day, took 1.5 hours to form the party and once we're all together we get in an argument about the treasure and how to split it. Some say star orb holder gets the drops, which i dissagree with and say either lot or sell and split gil evenly. Eventually half the group leaves cause they can't compromise and we end up searching again. This would never happen if there weren't gil sellers. I have a big beef with FF XI and that is its innability to act on the gil sellers and fishing bots. Why the hell does monster signa have to cost 400,000 gil? Surely by now there should have been enough drops for almost everyone in each server to have one! But no, the price seems to rise despite the fact that char reliant jobs are some of the least used jobs in the game. There's always someone camping it at anytime of the day (the nm) so by now you'd think 2 years into its (the game) existence that there'd be enough signas to go around for atleast all the bards and whatever job would want one. Which brings me to a couple conspiracy theory.

Theory 1: Squaresoft supports and makes money off gilsellers Dare I say it, all squaresoft needs to do is buy the stuff being sold at outrageous prices with money that it creates, thus cramping the supply and supplying the gil sellers.

Theory 2: Game Gods. Who wouldn't want to be a game god? A very powerful invisible being not unlike gm in some ways but completely different with complete power over an entire world/server? I believe there are game gods, certain people able to control the game in many and unlimited ways from changing stats of characters at whim without them knowing it, to controlling where nms pop and drop rates to support gil sellers and punish hard working gamers who are helplessly addicted like me! I've titled my letter possibilities for a reason, and by now you'll see I'm not really trying to argue with anyone. My hope is that some day someone will be able to do something great, something truly unpresidented, and I think this is possible. To somehow unite the world of vanadiel to do one thing, everyone stand in front of the Palace in Jeuno and demand a few changes and to really create the sense of community the game deserves. It was good that the Vanadiel times got an adds space for adventurers like me who like to step out of the mold and hold activities like weekly comedy clubs, sports leagues (Soul Monster is a sport that revolves around hate and the ability to keep it) and chocobo racing tournaments, but this is where my beef with the community appears, its impossible to find people who want to do anything else than what they want, they want to be the center of attention, they want to have all the gil, they want to be level 75 before anyone else, and greed is what is killing this game. And yes, i myself have manifested such greed on more than one occasion, no one is perfect. We must live with these flaws and I hope once i hit level seventy-five and have millions of gil I will have enough in game influence to truly be able to lead the people of Vanadiel to a funner happier state that they deserve yet keep themselves from having without even knowing.
Jeez, what did I just say?

On another note, I do wish that there was more flexibility within the job system, but thats just because people appreciate stats too much and not ability. I've partied with white mages who have no clue about timing and conserving mp and this slows down the party terribly so, and these are level 45+ white mages! For me its not so much the job you have, but how you use it.

Soulofbass (level 50 bard)- Siren

PS: Wouldn't it be cool if FFXI had multiplayer mini games, like a mini-FPS you could play with a few other players, or an ingame version of TM or even poker, or maybe a real chocobo racing game? Squaresoft ought to think of things like this. Im an RPGamer all the way, but I just think little things like that, games you could play while waiting for an invite instead of running around town doing favors for NPC's for minimal rewards, would add alot of value to the game. CoP= biggest dissapointment in expansion history.

Dude a mini-game like that would ROCK. Vana'diel needs to add a Gold Saucer in the next expansion. That alone would justify at least a $20 retail price tag. Factor in some other stuff and Ka-blamo! insiders doing the gil-selling, eh? That's a very interesting thought. I wouldn't doubt that it has happened in the past. It would just be so...easy and profitable.

The Tale of Sir Pete

Hi Heath,

I read your rant about FFXI, and having spend 100+ days (played time) on this games and achieving my DRG to 75, couple with NIN, WHM, WAR and BLM above 50+ (you can see how much effort I put in this game^^). FFXI is just not a well balance game at all, I agree with you that the game is bad if it force you to play in a certain way (like certain type of job combo. ). I believe good game should have a room for "option" that allow user to do whatever they want. Unfortunately, you can not see this in FFXI. I am not going to go through about those in detail since you already cover them. Another problem in FFXI (which I think its a very big problem, and I am sure all FFXI players will agree with this) is the game is very slow. Apart from the fact that you have to spend a lot of times looking/making a Party to level (which can be fom 30mins - forever), when in combat, the fight is so slow. I mean, the battle time for each fight is over a mins, and cool down for most ability are from 1min to 2hrs!. Spell casting time can go from anything between 4sec - 20sec. How slow can this game get-_-!

In FFXI, you will be spending lots of time watching at your screen while your character do the wacking, this is not call playing, it is called watching. It's is true that you get to do more stuff if you play BLM, RDM, BRD, WHM or any tank class. But my main point is, the way you play all the job in FFXI is linear. Doesn't require thinking, which is not fun. I am pretty sure for those that play FFXI will often go off and play other games, reading the book, etc while waiting for PT or waiting for everyone to meet. This just go to show how slow this game is, and I don't think there should be a game that allow you to do other stuff while you actually playing, 'cos this mean you are not playing! Thus its a flaw of this games.

I have to admit that I too play FFXI b/c of its name and this is my first MMORPG. However, I always give other games a chance, should they arise. This is why I play WoW as of now, the games is much faster, require you to think before you execute any command (I play mage), and it is well balance, because the games itself, leave so much options for players. For PT, you only really need to look at tank, healer and any other jobs to fit into the rest of the PT. Since there are so many job that can heal and tank, you don't really have to look into some specific jobs for some particular role in WoW. In fact, what matter most in PT in that games is how you played rather what jobs you are playing, a Good druid can tank better than an average Warrior. But the best equip/good DRG can not tank better than the worst PLD, hmm I wonder why. I guess I am going to stop for now, 'cos I might end up promoting WoW^_^.

Another bad issue in FFXI is crafting, originally you suppose to craft so you can make more money (that's how you make money in many MMORPG I believe) but in FFXI, whatever you craft and sold to other players will always be there, since whoever buy your items will sell it to other players. This leave the problem of many same items lying around in the server, thus the price of that items will drop and it will no longer be a profit to craft. Unless you craft the consumable items but it still doesn't net you a profit unless you HQ it. This is one of the reason why economy in FFXI got ruined. Many people blame it on gil-seller and greed. But the games system itself help the economy to be bad in the long run.

I am sure that when we played MMORPG, we all want to look different and unique. There aren't many equipment in FFXI that players can wear that will make them look distinctive from one another, let alone the model that we can choose at the start of the game. Thus, many players with the same job and racial face will look the same. AF armor in the game is sound good, but it turn out to be bad, 'cos that will eventually make everyone look the same. And there are only a handful of good items in the games thus at high lvl, most players will be wearing the same armor again (like Scorpion Harness, Noble Tunic, etc)

I mention before that how you played each job in this game is linear, actually jobs development is linear too. For example, all lvl 75 DRG have exact same ability and do exactly the samething, no different at all, unlike WoW tech tree development (oops i promote WoW again^^) that will make your jobs at the same lvl different than others. In addition, in FFXI, dodge, parrying and blocking are all doing the samething, no dmg recieve. They should implement something like if you parry u can counter, etc.

Having said all these, the main flawed in FFXI are: the game is slow and it is not balance.

thank you for reading if you have read it to this far.

I can't stress enough: don't let the expiration of FFXI-based responses from me imply that I didn't read/didn't like the letters. I read them all and appreciate them all. They are like my children. See you in the inbox, Pete!

Heath and Wenrick are Right

First and foremost,

I played FFXI and it wasn't my cup of tea, so I left. Yeah the community wasn't that great, and boy was it a hard time to find a group as a monk, but people forget to realize that FFXI isn't an MMORPG for MMORPGamers. Vana'Diel was a boring world, with stupid monsters, almost no storyline, and no sense of accomplishment when I did reach a higher rank or level because none of it really mattered.

The biggest problem with a lot of letters you've received about FFXI is that they all say, well my server is great and you should just make a character here. The game was designed to prevent people from just making a character on whatever server they wanted. That was a huge detraction for a lot of people I know. Yes, world passes exist, but what you're telling me is either I have to beg long enough to get the money for it, or fight long enough to get it, and then whoever I give it too has to start out all over(or wait to start) just so my friend and I can play on the same server. Where's that nifty BS meter? That move was horrible. I don't care if it was to balance servers, it was stupid.

As for Wenrick, I loved your letter, but please don't hope that FFXI's dumb players will go to World of WarCraft, that game is fine, and I don't wish for my good community on my server to get tainted because some people don't believe in the spirit of helping others out in need, which beleive me, plenty people do on WoW. The great thing is, you don't even have to ask for help sometimes(unless it is a location of a place), you could be running across the terrain and all of a sudden a passerby just decides to cast a little spell that gives you a stat boost in almost every category.

Ex-player of: UO, EQ, DaoC, AC, FFXI
Current player of: WoW
Looking forward to: Guild Wars, PlaneShift, and I so badly want to try CoH.

I would also like to try City of Heroes. That game sounds like the freaking shizzle. Every time I look at screens and write news, I'm like "Wow this sounds/looks neat." Heh, and while Vana'diel can be "boring" with a certain lack of activity, it's at least fun for walking around in. Come on, you had to love looking around at it ^_^ Eh?

Well Wishing

Hello there Heath!

[Snipped talk of Heath's awesomeness]

Oh and I did want to add... Doesn't it suck that they cancelled WISH? A friend of mine that was beta testing it and played UO back in the good days (Pre UO:R) told me that they felt like they were playing UO again, and that the live content was amazing. Damn. I thought I may have actually had an MMORPG to stick to. Ah well.

I wish the best for you in your MMO experiences and keep up the good work with the articles!

Thomas Sirovey, A1C, USAF

Applications Developer, 81 TRSS/TSUI

Indeed, many people declare that Wish was targeted at the Ultima Online crowd. With that in mind, pehaps EA is glad to hear of Mutable Realms' ill fate? Then again, knowing EA and what they've done with football games, they probably would have tried to get a monopoly on MMORPGs to prevent competition. I saw a quote on a message board that said something like "Ultima Online's players have a very sedentary nature about them. They're happy in their hole. I know; I'm one of them." I should put that in my signature...or on my answering machine....

The Last Hoorah

Hey person that I am writing this letter to,

I played FFXI for the first 6 months it was out in the US. I accumulated over 18 days of playtime(mostly in the first 3 months). Sad? Yes, I know it is, but still there were people with more so I don't feel like too much of a loser.


I literally, this is NOT an exageration, spent 3 hours finding a party at level 31 only for it to fall apart after 30 minutes than I looked for another hour and a half until I gave up and logged off, Once I finally managed to get to 32, I died on the way back to town and deleveled back to 31.

Being a thief, I was more of an "optional" person to have in a party. I'm surprised I even made it to 30 before I gave up on the game. Some may say "if you weren't happy with your class, you could have always changed!" But I didn't want to change. I wanted to be a thief. Once I reached 30 I did the ninja quest(which I died doing and deleveled to 29). As a ninja, it was somewhat easier to get parties until people realized they had this awesome ability called utsusemi! Of course, this ability costing 100k gil there was no way I could ever buy it so than find a party became hopeless again because "soory! utsusemi nins only!"

At that point I realized I was tired of the whole game. I decided I didn't want to spend any more time or money on a game I was starting to despise because of the endless amounts of time I spent looking for a party. I don't think its a bad game, I just think I had bad experiences while playing it.

After leaving FFXI, I began looking for a new game to eat my time. I played various betas and whatnot but I couldn't find anything to satisfy my need. I was switching games at least once a week. I had heard about such upcoming games as EQII and WoW. At that time, neither really interested me, but than one day I got a magazine.

I forget what magazine it was but it had a long article on EQII and I thought "Wow, this looks really cool!" I thought about getting it and thought it would be really fun, until I read an article on WoW. Now this article I found much more interesting than EQII so I decided to try and get into the beta. Now, I must also mention, this happened during my last 3 months of playing FFXI, which was like an hour a week if that. So, I signed up for closed beta.

Of course, with my outstanding good luck, I didn't get in! "O well," I thought, and I went back to playing subpar MMORPGs switching from one to another at frequent intervals, mostly playing those really crappy ones that probably a lot of people haven't heard of. I waited, I played, I got bored. Finally, the WoW open beta came! Of course I immediately made an acoount and started playing. I was just completely amazed at how good it was!

I played for a week until I stopped not wanting to invest too much time into a character that would be deleted. After that I waited for retail and once it came I played it as much as I could. But, looking back on the time I have spent playing so far, I've decided some things.

One is, I like it just about as much as I did when I first started playing FFXI, maybe a little more. Also, I realized, unlike FFXI, there is almost no need for a party, at least for me being a hunter with a pet. I thought of how I actually missed partying with people and planning out battle strategies. I thoguht to myself, too bad the only real partying is instancing which I don't even do too much.

So far, I haven't found too much wrong with WoW, except server problems which are getting annoying. I think I am going to like WoW more and what it has to offer but after about the year and 2 or so months since FFXI came out, I have realized two things. First, I will never be sastisfied. My favorite part of every MMORPG is the first time you play. You have no idea what your doing you still have the entire world to explore and plenty of other things too do. Second, no matter how good or bad a game is and no matter how well it does, there will ALWAYS be those that completely hate it, those that don't really care about it, and those that think it is the best thing since sliced bread.

No matter what your argument, what your stance, or how you feel about MMORPGs, you are going to be both right and wrong at the same time.

I don't know if any of this made since, but I enjoyed typing it.

A guy with too much free time

Too much free time? Nah. You just know how to use it wisely...or something. Also, I think World of Warcraft has the most appropriate abbreviation ever: WoW. That's it: WoW. The way it accurately describes the game AND saves typing is awesome. Thanks for the letter.

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A whole lotta news going on. Congratulations, Europe--enjoy Azeroth!

So yeah, check out that Project Wish site. It's pretty cool. I really respect those guys. I'm planning on writing an editorial about Wish in the near future. Watch for it in our Editorials section. And feel free to send in your own thoughts on Wish, either to me to be printed here or to Philip Bloom to appear on the site as an editorial.

Meanwhile, take care until next week. Soon we're probably gonna have a sharp new layout and start doing these Q&A's on a different page in the interest of space. Word.

Tell Heath Hindman what you're fighting for!

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