Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Final Fantasy XI moves one step closer to becoming a single-player game

Warts and all, Square Enix's first foray into the world of MMORPGs - Final Fantasy XI - still commands a devoted playerbase 12 years into its life cycle.

This might seem like an anomaly for a strictly PvE game, but FFXI's always offered a huge, beautiful world with rich storylines for players to explore.  Unfortunately, while the size of the world has increased with every new expansion, the number of players has dropped steadily in recent years... which makes accessing certain areas and content quite challenging for newer players.

To compensate for this attrition, Square Enix has announced a new magic/summoning system called Trust that allows players to summon famous in-game NPCs to fight alongside them.

This is a really cool update in general, but it's doubly cool if you've ever wanted to have San d'Oria's Prince Trion tank for you while Shantotto nukes mobs into paste.  Also, it beats the hell out of spending hours trying to find a pick-up group to grind some XP with.

Much like Adventuring Fellows, these NPCs will actually stick around and fight for a good amount of time and won't be one-move wonders. Better still, players can access Trust starting at level 5 (which you can hit in under an hour) and summon up to three allies via Trust at a time.

Add an Adventuring Fellow to the mix, and that's a 5-member party all run by one player.

Coincidentally, the planned February update also plans to increase the efficacy of pets for jobs that have access to them.  Single-player FFXI {can I have it?}

Square Enix published a list of NPCs available in the first phase of the Trust system and - unfortunately - the ever-popular Prishe has been left out.  She'll likely appear in the future, however, as Squeenix teased that "Additional alter egos can be unlocked through completing various missions and quests--who knows who might pop up next?"

There is some good news for the Prishe-lovers in Vana'diel, however.  The upcoming February patch will give players access to Prishe and Ulmia's facial models which have been unique in-game assets since they premiered in the Chains of Promathia expansion 10 years ago.

So, for the time being, you can't summon Prishe - but you can create a new character that looks just like her.  That's something, right?