- Final Fantasy XI for Xbox 360 includes the main game, as well as the three expansion packs, Rise of the Zilart, Chains of Promathia and the Treasures of Aht Urhgan. We're getting a pretty good value for our $60 when you consider PC and PS2 owners had to buy everything separate at full price.
- You don't need an Xbox Live Gold account. Silver members can play MMORPGs with no Xbox Live fees
- You do have to pay $12.95 plus $1 for each additional character per month to SquareEnix to use their PlayOnline service, so this game can get very expensive. Your first 30 days of FFXI are free.
- A hard drive is required to play FFXI. The game installs itself onto your hard drive and takes up about 5GB of space. Part of the installation process is that the game will automatically download updates and patches which takes quite a while. You also have to input registration details and credit card info at this point. The installation process takes a good 2+ hours to complete.
- There is no voice chat in the game. You must have a USB keyboard to communicate with other players.
- There are no achievements or gamerpoints in FFXI for the Xbox 360. EDIT: When this article was written, achievements were not available in FFXI. Since then, Square Enix has added them in a downloadable update.
- Players of the 360 version can play with owners of the PC and PS2 versions
Final Fantasy XI Basics
Final Fantasy XI is a MMORPG, which means that most of the characters you see in the game world are real live people. There are AI controlled NPC characters spread around the world, but players control most of what happens in the game. You can wander around the game world doing quests and leveling up by yourself, but the key to FFXI is joining up with groups of other people to form parties. By yourself, you are small and weak. But with a good party, you can take on pretty much anything the game has to offer. Fighting and leveling isn't the only draw here, though. Really, the main attraction in MMORPGs is just hanging out with all of the other people and chatting and goofing off.
Steep Learning Curve
Some things of note - Final Fantasy XI is notorious for being one of the hardest MMORPGs to get into. When you start out you are pitifully weak and can't really go very far. All of the fun stuff other characters are doing costs a ton of (in game) money and you are just a poor noob. Since you are so weak, even wimpy enemies kick your butt so you can't level and you can't earn any money without a major struggle. If you can get past the first 8 hours or so of boring tediousness, you'll be over the hump and the game becomes much more enjoyable. My other note is that to even scratch the surface of the game you have to spend hundreds of hours with it. There is a lot of stuff to see and do so be prepared to spend weeks and even months with this game. It is a pretty major commitment to start a MMORPG, so keep that in mind.