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Fans of Final Fantasy and MMOs alike will find a great game in this online installment of the Final Fantasy series. Featuring elements common to the series such as airships and chocobos, this game enthralls people of all ages all over the world. While the game is getting a little dated, it remain one of the great classics of MMO gaming.

Pros: Many classes to choose from, Dual-class system, Great crafting system, Initial cost is cheap.

Cons: Looking a little dated now, Hardly any PvP, Subscription $11.95 p.m.

Storyline: Final Fantasy XI is set in the Age of Adventurers. It is the 884th year of the Crystal Era, twenty years after the end of the Crystal War that ravaged Vana'diel. The three main nations of Vana'diel, San d'Oria, Bastok and Windurst continue their struggle against the Beastmen who, although less organized, have regrouped and still terrorize the land. Rather than dispatching their own forces to deal with this threat, the nations of Vana'diel begin to employ adventurers to handle them as well as other minor tasks. The player is one such adventurer.

Features: There are five races in Vana'diel, the Hume (humans), the Elvaan (elves), the Tarutaru (smallfolk), the Galka (big and hairy) and the Mithra(fox/cat-like). The six basic jobs in Final Fantasy XI are; Monk, Warrior, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage and Thief. By completing certain missions you can unlock; Paladin, Dark Knight, Beastmaster, Bard, Ranger, Samurai, Ninja, Dragoon and Summoner. You can change your job any time, and eventually gain the ability to select a support job. With a support job, you can effectively "hold two jobs at once." Want to be a warrior who can cast white magic? How about a monk with black magic? With support jobs, the combinations are endless. So as you can see there are plenty of routes to go to suit your particular play style.

Modes of transportation are familiar to seasoned Final Fantasy player. Chocobos are unable to fly, but their powerful legs allow them to run at high speeds. In the past, the Elvaan primarily used chocobos as mounts--but as of late, chocobos have been raised all over the world and are a popular form of transportation. Great skill is required to ride them due to their wild nature. Airships were built under the direction of Cid (but of course!), the genius engineer. Based on an old set of blueprints, the airships of today are fitted with crystal-powered engines that were reintroduced by the Archduke of Jeuno. With lift provided by unique revolving wings and propulsion supplied by the crystal engine, airships are capable of nearly vertical takeoffs and landings from their waterfront ports.

Quests are specific requests from individuals, shops, or organizations, and you may accept or decline as you wish. The conditions for most quests are fairly loose, and typically do not require you to have a specific job level, ability, or allegiance. Quests rarely result in worthwhile monetary gain, but the trust and respect that your character will gain are priceless.

In a mission, your character is temporarily hired to solve a problem that is troubling your nation, and you will be compensated accordingly. The specific content of missions ranges from odd jobs to top-secret operations. With higher levels come increased trust and the opportunity to undertake important missions with great rewards... and high stakes.

Just like the mission system, conquests have a direct impact on your nation. In conquests, nations compete to rule over specific regions. Each region is made up of up to eight smaller areas. Your role is to fight beastmen and monsters for the honor and glory of your nation.

There are instances when the energy flowing through Vana'diel becomes concentrated and changes into a crystalline form. Combined with an image made by the user, the energy of these crystals can be focused onto other ingredients, resulting in new products. This process is known as Crystal synthesis. Through crystal synthesis, players can create a fantastic variety of items, many of which are unavailable in shops. The system is flexible and lets players experiment to make the items they want.

There are many fine fishing spots scattered throughout Vana'diel. By increasing your fishing skill, you can catch valuable fish and other items. And, any fish you catch can be cooked into a variety of dishes!

Final Fantasy XI has an auto-translate feature. Text entered from the list of common phrases will appear in either English or Japanese, depending on the version of the game that the player is using.

You cannot modify or add to the list of common phrases. However, the list contains a comprehensive vocabulary of words and phrases that will allow you to easily communicate with other players, no matter which language they are using!

There are a lot of Japanese-speaking players in Vana?diel. The auto-translate feature enables you to play in the same world as them so you can enjoy the best that online gaming has to offer.

Overall Final Fantasy XI is a well put together game and is still viable and popular to play even though it is a good few years old



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