We'll forgive you for thinking Final Fantasy XIV was the franchise's first MMORPG. After all, with such a shoddy start as '1.0' it really felt like Square Enix had no idea what they were doing. But what if we told you it wasn't their first rodeo? That they actually preceded Blizzard's entry into the market by a whopping 2 years? And that their efforts are still going?
To celebrate the game's 15th anniversary, Final Fantasy XI has gone free to play. And no, not completely. Just for a limited time. After all, throughout its more than a decade-long run, Final Fantasy XI became the most profitable entry in the entire franchise for Square Enix - and likely still is.
Things kicked off over the weekend, but they're only set to wind down on November 24; so there's plenty of time to decide whether you want to check this out or not. Just like the early days of World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI was known to require players essentially play nothing but this particular game to really get anywhere. Still rocking a subscription fee, players were certain to have felt value with the kind of playtime you could (and would) put into Final Fantasy XI.
But it's a little different these days. To keep up with the over-saturated market, Final Fantasy XI has recently implemented methods to speed things along and to make solo-play far more viable in the wake of vastly decreased player counts. The last I heard the game had around 50,000 subscribers. And while that's actually still a pretty high number, it far from its peak.
With more than a week left on the clock, the campaign technically only applies to those who've bought the base game at one point or another, but it's a great time for others to take up the free trial offer and party up with anyone who advocates the good old days of slow-paced grind-heavy MMORPGs (like me). It plays a lot like Final Fantasy XII, so think of it that way.
If you've been there since the beginning and lasted until the end, you've made this writer very jealous.