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1:44 AM on 10.24.2009

c[''''] Mocha's Top 100 Essentials of Final Fantasy XI: Pre-Details/Tutorial

Mocha's Top 100 Essentials of Final Fantasy XI is a countdown from 100 to 1 of... well, everything that encompasses FFXI. To sum it up, this can be the bare bones of the game, moments, areas, nostalgia - anything that really explains what the game was to those who have played it or the ones who didn't experience it.

[ Previous Entries ]
Top 100 Essentials of FFXI: Introduction


K. I lied about starting the 100-96, but I feel this is imperative to this list.

So here's the thing.

There's a few different categories that some of these can fall under, but I felt it's only necessary that they get their own part of the top 100. This is mostly due to their integral part of Final Fantasy XI or because putting it under the next-to-be-mentioned categories would be too "general". With that, I will - before listing 100 through 96 - give an introduction of four different categories that some of these may fall under.

In the brackets is the category. To the right of it - if necessary, in quotes - is how I will nickname it when it shows up in an individual category.

Example: [Jobs Breakdown - "Job"] means later on when I discuss Paladin, it will appear as:

[ Paladin ] - Job


Hopefully all of that made sense. If not... well... balls on you.

[Jobs Breakdown - "Job"]
Final Fantasy XI currently has a massive roster of 20 jobs. Most games can't even come close to matching up to that sort of statistic. The fantastic thing is that each job has its own purpose, talents, and feats that make it special and unique. Keep in mind that when I say feat, I'm not referring to what other MMOs may name their talents, but rather the actual word itself. With this mind, it's only fair that each of the twenty jobs get their own ranking instead of being grouped together under "Jobs" as one, big category.

For those new to the game, here's a brief tutorial on jobs...

When the original Final Fantasy XI was released, it debuted with six main jobs: Warrior, Thief, Monk, White Mage, Red Mage, and Black Mage. Sound familiar at all? This is part of the attraction most found themselves tied to when reading over or watching this game in action. Sure, the Final Fantasy lore is beyond words. However, when you factor in the amazing job system that has spanned over the different versions (Especially you, FFT <3), you can't help but wonder how fun it would be to wreck shop as just a [insert job here] in the game.

The climb from 1-30 was an endurance test for many of the starting off players. The leveling challenge of today, 1 year ago, and so on was much different than that of when FFXI was in its early stages. Back then, you had to be one hardcore sunny beach to survive the hazards of partying. The thing that made jobs different than other MMOs was the fact that if you wanted to progress, you had to level with other players. This was where the huge learning curve came into fruition as well. Back then, Warrior wasn't exactly an expert tank. The starting classes themselves weren't extremely powerful either. Also, the starting off gear wasn't as plentiful or brag-worthy in statistics. Why is this relevant? Because, if you made the climb to 30, you unlocked the option to unlock an additional 5** jobs. That's right! MOAR JOBS. However, because FFXI likes for you to test your virtues, you didn't just magically get these jobs...

...oh, no. You had to EARN them. Every new job that you wanted to unlock came with a quest... a trial more than anything to unlock them. Once completed, the job unlocked and would start off level 1 and thus you repeated the process all over again. These 5** additional classes were: Dark Knight, Paladin, Bard, Beastmaster, and Ranger. This added a whole new level of versatility to your parties because these weren't necessarily 'upgrades' to the previous jobs, but actually different leveling options altogether.

(**Note: Summoner was later available around the same time the expansion pack 'Rise of the Zilart' was released via an update. However, the expansion pack wasn't required to unlock the job... just the update download.)

Just like any job, the best part of these jobs was exploring their potential. Because FFXI focused more on a group-leveling system, this made job exploration even more important. It's one thing to know your job on a solo basis, but it's another thing to know your job on a party basis. To do that, you have to fully know your role (and on some occasions, shut your mouth), be comfortable with it, know how it works in different party setups, and be able to adjust tactics on-the-fly.

Not too long after the release, Squenix released that aforementioned expansion (RotZ) with an additional 4 jobs to the roster: Ninja, Samurai, Summoner, and Dragoon. Instinctively, in any MMO setting, whenever a new job is released, everyone flocks to it immediately to exploit its strengths and maybe even try to shit on the rest of the jobs. This update certainly didn't disappoint in this category. Everyone and their mom (Literally! Not kidding!) masturbated to the point of mortal wounding through chaffing from this addition. I mean, read the roster again. Ninja. Who doesn't love ninjas? Samurai - need I say more? Dragoon? If you've played your fair share of Final Fantasy, you love you some Dragoon.

After this, FFXI took a 3-year-nap when it came to releasing new jobs -- even releasing another expansion (Chains of Promathia) in between this drought. With that, two more expansions would follow within a year-and-a-half of each other. First came 'Treasures of Aht Urhgan - which would give birth to Corsair, Blue Mage, and Puppetmaster. Later, they would release 'Wings of the Goddess' - spawning forth Scholar and Dancer. These would prove (at least for now) to be the last big (and I stress big for you purists out there) expansion to be released by Squenix and the last one to feature new jobs.

With all of this together, FFXI had its roster of 20 different jobs to choose from. It was this constant influx of new jobs that kept the gameplay interesting. New strategies began forming for partying, huge battles, and even PvP. The funny thing is: the more people went after new jobs, the more time it gave people to perfect the earlier jobs. This back-and-forth (has) continued from FFXI's conception to this day. Forum arguments continue to flare up with complex formulas, screenshots, parsers, and debates as to who is the best of the best in any given situation.

This is the heart of the job system in Final Fantasy XI. There's another aspect of this as well, but I'll be covering that much, much later. It's with this reasoning that I give each individual job its own category. Hopefully that's enough information to pacify the rest of you.

:: tl;dr ::
Jobs aren't as basic as "here's this, here's that". They were/are complex and need to be discussed on an individual basis.

Get used to that.

[While you Were Leveling/Bound to Happen]
Ok. So this is a fun category. If you're playing Final Fantasy XI for a good chunk of time, you're going to endure certain things. You may have to take part in a certain quest. You may have to experience a certain cut-scene. You may watch the inner-workings of a functional and a non-functional party. You will get to see the computer A.I. at work. Essentially, there are just some things in the game that you are going to see, going to experience, or are going to hear about.

These are mostly going to be FML moments. Let's face it - things happen. Unfortunately, in this game, things are going to happen all up-and-down your ass. Sorry. This isn't just stuff I can pile under "humorous moments" or "f-ups". Hence, each moment or item gets its own category as well.

:: tl;dr ::
Go fuck yourself. That was barely long. Read it.


[Do You Remember...? - "Nostalgia"]
To be fair, a lot of people played FFXI on a continuous basis; even more of them at least played it for a while. It was hard for any MMO to live under the shadow that World of Warcraft cast, but FFXI did so under the umbrella of wonderful moments. These moments could cancel out any fanboyism, anger, taunting, or frustration any person would dare endure. A lot of my experience in playing WoW and even moreso from friends who played it much more faithfully than me was that it lacked the memory creation that Final Fantasy is known for.

And so it was. What better way to hono(u)r these moments than to acknowledge them in this list on an individual basis. I believe this category and what qualifies under it really expresses what FFXI was more than of the others. I've always said that when I played the game, I was paying 12.95 a month for a chat service that came with a free game. Memories in the game didn't just come from preloaded cut-scenes. They didn't come from predetermined algorithms or computerized dice-rolls. The moments came from what you took out of the stories and what story you created from them. The moments came from the conversations you had with friends, party members, enemies, and random people. The moments came from the battles that you shouldn't have lost and the battles you shouldn't have won.

Hell, the game experienced a sleuth of up/downgrades (sometimes cleverly hidden as a patch or a hit from the almighty nerf bat...) that added instant memories each time due to their potency in changes made.

Some could even argue it's my overall experience with Final Fantasy XI that created all these memories. Everyone's story is different in FFXI, though. That's what really made it special. There was no real "beating the game" unless you count the expansion story-lines. This is what made the game compelling for me. I felt like I was playing a different game every day and that's why I didn't mind paying monthly charges. Thirteen bucks a month for a new game? Not a problem. There are other games I recently purchased that don't nearly do for me what FFXI did for me.

I think the slower game style of FFXI also made it easier to enjoy certain moments to take place as a memory -- if that makes any sense. It seems unfair, but this category (when noted) will seem like it's mostly for those who played the game and can resonate with what I'm scribing. For everyone else, you may enjoy it just through reading about it... how potent would that make that memory?

:: tl;dr ::
This game burned memories into your head whether you wanted it to or not. I will be covering those for vets/newbies alike.


[Locations Within the Game - "Location"]
Beautiful. Shut up. Say what you want about the graphics... at the time, it was stupid-impressive. Not only that, but all of the other flashy titles that would soon show up with all their cool graphics would just be in a flash-in-the-pan. You know why? It wasn't because they didn't look pretty - they did! It was because there was nothing noteworthy about the locations. Scenery should stick out to players. They should feel involved in a living, breathing environment. It should feel like its own organism - a world you could see existing... or you wish did. Final Fantasy XI had this in spades.

There's no fonder memories than when you travel through certain landscapes for the first time and get that wow-factor. For the most part, you never felt like you were in the same area or one you had previously visited. Even so, each area had its own characteristics. It's own personality. If it wasn't the scenery, the music, the weather, or the color... it was something more... involving. Something that made it seem believable. Monsters, for example, always seemed to fit the criteria for the area they were in. Sure, the game was guilty of color-palette swapping or maybe just renaming monsters with higher levels, but they fit the surroundings. Even the larger monsters never just showed up like, "Hi. I really don't belong here. Please put me somewhere I will make sense." It wasn't like you saw fire-based dragon in the middle of a below-freezing environment.

Just like other players, I've had my times where I would enter a certain zone and just stand there looking at it. I would often times search every crevice not for clipping, but the detail. I wanted to see what this world was like and what went where. It was this same exploration that made it so I very rarely found myself lost or looking at my map.

On a respect level, you have to realize that developers put time and effort into making these designs not to just have people scoff or ignore them. These are the same people who probably drew in their notebook during class. They might be the same ones who wanted to be dungeon masters when they were younger. Maybe they're people who played Ultima or watched vivid landscapes in Disney movies or Labyrinth or The Secret of Nimh. Either way, I was going to appreciate them just like they did.

In counter to that, besides the areas that were loved, people also had areas they absolutely hated. These areas could be wrought with bad memories of missions gone wrong, parties they wish they could forget about, or just an absolutely annoying and/or terrifying design to navigate through. I know every game has areas you just don't like, but FFXI made sure your head hung low and your nails stayed between your teeth in their designs. It wasn't so much the level, but maybe even more the consequences of poor navigation. Consequences like all out brawls of you and 5 others vs. an entire area, deleveling, taking up too much time, or having to re-navigate deep into an area in a game that is not travel friendly. Ugh. Just writing about this brings certain areas to life that are just not player-friendly... and that's okay. We'll discuss those later. We'll go into detail about areas that just make you bring your A-game and others that don't care if you fall asleep on your keyboard staring at them.

Whether your graphics card was low-end or high-end, you got the appreciation of the areas. Everyone has a favorite one; everyone has a hated one. Which is yours? I'll list mine as the list narrows down from 100.

:: tl;dr ::
From its debut to living under the veil of obscurity (sometimes) of other MMOs boasting beautiful graphics, FFXI showcased some great/frustrating areas. I will share some that are close to me.

Moving Forward:
OKAY! So no more teasing! Now that I've got the introduction and important stuff out of the way, I can officially bring the official 100 list out of hiding for all of you to see. I can now promise that the next update in this series will start off with 100-96 as expected.

For those reading so far, thank you for tolerating my delays and blabbering. Feel free to post your opinions, questions, comments, or "I'm looking forward to..." notions and I will comment accordingly.

Until then...

...keep Balrog from SFIV in mind as he loses a match and says to all of you:

(Note: For those not getting the reference, Balrog says "My fight monaaaayyyyyy!" while falling if defeated in Street Fighter IV.)
=======================================================   read

12:33 PM on 10.20.2009

c[''''] Mocha's Top 100 of Final Fantasy XI: Introduction

NOTE: I started this prematurely a while back, but ended it abruptly. I did so under the urge to post about this great game, but I realized I was doing it an injustice by writing on such short notice. With that, I bring you the full realization of that same attempt.




Did you know there was a Final Fantasy that took place in between Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII? Spooky - I know. There was this rumor that there was such a game - but it was online... so surely it didn't count for anything. After all, why should I pay monthly for a Final Fantasy? I never have before. Well, if you did, you treated yourself to one of the best in the series in terms of storyline, immersion, and satisfaction.

For those not in the know, I'm referring to...

In fact, for those who played FFXII so dutifully and loved it, you can thank XI for many of those game-play elements, enemies, and overall structure.

For those too lazy to Wikipedia, here's the history lesson:

The game debuted in Japan first on the PS2 console May 16, 2002 and on the PC for Japan November 7, 2002. What? JP and NA release? You bet! Welcome to the interesting dichotomy of this MMORPG. This game then hit the shores of NA on PC first October 28, 2003 and then PS2 later on March 23, 2004. In 2006, Xbox 360 would join the pack for the NA, JP, and EU release. How's that for multicultural?

I was lucky enough to join the game February of 2004 on my PC thanks to some non-stop bugging from my friend Danji would said: "YOU HAVE TO PLAY THIS. IT'S WORTH IT." Ugh. Famous last words much?

My friend in all of his starting-gear-glory.

So... I picked it up... and played for 4.5 years. I chose Ramuh as my world and went on to play as an Elvaan named Aneubis living in San d'Oria... before realizing I hated the direction I was going. Afterwards, I switched to a blonde, short-haired hume named Wintieu living in Bastok and thus my world was opened.

This was a much later point in my FFXI career. However, I always flaunted my Bastokan pride... as shown above.

This wasn't my first rodeo - I had previously played Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast. However, this was my first hardcore MMORPG and I wasn't sucked in immediately. The game had its share of faults, hiccups, frustrations, and time-sinks. In lieu of that, the game also had its successes, glories, celebrations, and worthwhile-moments. For anyone just glancing at it or trying it for a day - hell, maybe even a week - I can understand why you'd dislike it. For those who stayed around for a bit longer, you know the love/hate relationship that FFXI creates with you.

Some will debate the atrocities in the game and compare them to other games that were out at the time like World of Warcraft, Ragnarok Online, Maple Story, Guild Wars, Everquest 1/2, Lineage, Runescape, Star Wars Galaxies, and so on. Fact is: FFXI boasted one thing that not many of those games could match: a phenomenal storyline and an entire franchise's worth of content to fall back on.


With that, I'm going to bring to you the Top 100... well, Everything's of Final Fantasy XI... by 5's. I will include what screen-shots I have left, detailed descriptions, and maybe my own examples of what I experienced with the examples given.

Hopefully, those who are hardcore FF advocates - but never played this game - will learn what this particular game was about and add it to their FF knowledge and culture.

This game means so much to me; friend-wise and passion for gaming alike.

Tonight, I will post 100-96 and get this thing kicked off. Hopefully this is something everyone can look forward to whether you hated, loved, or never played the game.

Until then, I'll leave you with a snippet of conversation that I used to experience in Final Fantasy XI.

Remember, think of Balrog losing every time you read this as he screams:


12:36 AM on 10.18.2009

Wet Ink 01: Renegade (NES)

WET INK :// 01

So today I had a good 45 minutes before I had to be at work when I arrived at my destination. It's a nice little spot by the docks where you can see water from your toes to the horizon. It's an amazing place where the air is a bit chillier from the river waters and the smell is flavored by the various solvents in the same water in front of you.

It was a good day to write.

I looked out into the waters and tapped my pen to paper to conjure some sort of thought of what I should write about. Then it came to me:

My recent game purchase!


BAD. ASS. (Yes, that's my top-loader NES2.)

That's not your parents' NES game. This is fucking RENEGADE. I'm not going to lie; I was not surprised to see the title was in all caps in such hardcore font. You can tell from the cover that this game pulls no punches.

Short story: I went to our local game/vinyl/VHS/retro store to see if there was anything to play with and this just stood out to me as a title that said, "I'm about to dropkick you in the balls just for looking at me." That's how hardcore it was. I'm slowly building my NES collection and there was this no-gimmicks-needed game flexing at me for a bargain of $2.50. Now get this: I don't have the much celebrated Mega Man II yet for NES and that was above for $10.00. That's how intimidating this game was. I was shook before I even had it in my console. So naturally, I had to purchase. On that same evening, I also purchased Street Fighter II (original!) for the SNES - but that's another blog for another day.

So I know you're wondering to yourself: "How did you know this game was about to wreck shop on your NES?" Well, easy... the game has a tagline on the spine of the cartridge! Look!



Are you as hard as I am right now after reading that?

So anyway, I pop this bad-boy in and let me tell you: it's well worth the money spent.

...however, that's not necessarily a good thing. Yes, I spent two dollars and fifty cents - but it's worth just about that much. I'm judging this from a completely retro-minded view and maybe from an over-the-top satirical view as well. The game opens with a title screen. That's right - there's no gameplay preview or anything. This game wants you to know that you have no idea what you're in store for. You better just hang on to your ass and be prepared.

Soon after you press start, you appear in a subway surrounded by three guys. Three angry guys. Three guys all wearing white shirts with black slacks and there you are in your cowboy vest and khaki pants. If this doesn't scream battle royal, I'm not sure what does. I guess I want to start off by asking why the hell can't you close your mouth? Are you yelling the entire time? The A.I. is the exact same palette. You're all just standing there with your mouths open like you can't stop yelling at each other. That's what I'm going to do the next time I walk into a subway - just stand there with my mouth open angrily.

Maybe it's just one, big shouting contest?

</derail> Anyway, the button layout is unique in the sense that your A and B buttons aren't attack buttons to your respective limbs like most beat'em-ups. From what I've learned in playing, each button controls the direction of your attack... so-to-speak. So, lets say baddie #1 is on your left and baddie #2 is on your right. The B button would focus your attacks to the left whilst the A button would focus on attacking right. Whatever opponent your facing will be the recipient of some malice-enriched punches to the dome while the one you're blatantly ignoring (because you're too busy being bad-ass) will catch a "HWAAAHH!" back-kick.


For some reason, each level comes with a handy-dandy count down timer that causes a game over when it reaches 0. Why is that? Why is that added? What happens at 0 anyway? Is this like Crank? Do they kill your girlfriend?** Do the Knicks win the playoffs? Does your hot pocket get overcooked? Either way, that's one more obstacle you have in your way besides the enemies themselves... which always come in waves of three. Yeah. Three people who really, really don't like you.

**NOTE: There's the rub: there IS NO GIRLFRIEND to rescue!**

YEAH! So what the hell are you doing fighting these people anyway? Let's ask the instruction manual:


You're surrounded by gangs of blood-thirsty thugs. You weren't
looking for trouble but you're not going to run from it either.

Only you can put these punks in their place-face down in the
gutter. Your flying fists and killer kicks will have to do the job. It's you or them!

...What?! YOU (Mr. K, the protagonist!) are not bright! Let's read the spine of the game again:

Why not just take the fucking bus? Is that why he's a RENEGADE? Because he takes the subway like a bad ass knowing there's "blood-thirsty thugs" meandering around down there. That doesn't make him a Renegade. That makes him a DUMBASS. In fact, that should be the title of the game. "DUMBASS - BECAUSE YOU TRIED TO TAKE THE SUBWAY AT 2 A.M. IN YOUR McLOVIN VEST AND PANTS... IDIOT"

That's probably why his mouth is open.








[Thug 2]: DUMBASS.


Calm the fuck down?

You know what's kinda amusing though? There's a two-player mode. However, there's no secondary protagonist like most two-player NES games. Instead, it's the same hero... except controlled by player number two. The only logical explanation I have for this is that this is actually the guy's twin and this game is a prequel for Double Impact starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. If that's truly the case, I would give anything to have one Michael Bay direct a film adaptation as long as it consists of the above dialogue recited by JCVD.

I'd be so enthralled...

You know what's even more amazing? After you beat up all the thugs with your sick martial arts skills... the subway doors open. OK, OK... you obviously have four options:

1. Get into this subway some time past 2 A.M. shortly after dispensing of several blood-thirsty, but surprisingly well-groomed and laundry-shirt-attentive thugs(?)

2. Get out of there and take the bus.

3. Let time expire.

4. Run all the way to the right, fall off the ledge, and onto the tracks to your death.

Guess which one of those you CAN'T do?

So, after you board the subway, guess what happens? YOU FIGHT MORE THUGS... DUMBASS. You know what happens after that? The doors to the subway open. You now have four more options:

1. Get off of this subway some time past 2 A.M. shortly after dispensing of several blood-thirsty, but surprisingly well-groomed and laundry-shirt-attentive thugs(?)

2. Look out the window to examine the situation and maybe consider taking a safer exit... I mean, it's not like you're obligated to save ANYONE and it's obvious you've already cleaned this cart of baddies. Besides, aren't you making 2-minute hot pockets?

3. Let time expire.

4. Yell.

Guess which of those you CAN'T do?

You would guess this continues subway car after subway car, but believe it or not, you eventually end up fighting at some docking area (ironic considering my writing location... and even moreso if you consider my reference to Double Impact) against some dudes on motorcycles?


So yeah - best $2.50 I think I've ever spent. I haven't beaten the game yet, but when I have, I'll be sure to sing the praises.

If you have an NES; get the game.

If you don't, buy an NES; get the game.

I hope the time I spend writing random stuff like this every day can only be as epic as this game's awesomeness allows me to interpret. With that, I'll leave you with a picture of me with a half-hearted RENEGADE face.

So until then, think of Balrog losing in Street Fighter IV when he says:

[img]">[/img]   read

12:01 PM on 10.17.2009

Wet Ink - I lessthanthree gaming.

Greeting and Salutations, destructoifaces!

This is just my way of waving and greeting all my fellow gamers out there in a very cliché introductory manner. For those who want to know of me, look no further than the right-hand side column. For those wondering what the hell my deal is, read ahead.

For all intents and purposes, I will be using this blog as an outlet for all things gaming that I discuss. This can be anything from videos to podcasts to writing pieces, to photos, to drunken texts to obscure gaming characters - whatever!

I will do my best to spread the good word of gaming while entertaining all those who would dare bother to read further. With that, I thank you for your time in reading this and hope I can provide you with some laughs, some insight, and some reasons to be proud to be a gamer.

In the vein of redundancy, I will post the reasoning behind this being called Wet Ink even though it's listed on the sidebar:

A friend of mine (Desi) has inspired me to write something everyday outside of the home. She has a little project of her own called "Project 365" where she takes a photo every day to capture a memory complete with a description. I can't tell you how much I'm infatuated with this. It's not necessarily a photo of her every day, but of just life. As she describes it: For me, it's just a reminder of life. The years are going by faster and faster and I want to remember them. I want to see how the world, family, friends, even myself change throughout the year. Just a little visual history :)

SO! I've decided that once a day, I will write for 30 minutes minimum in a location that's not in the home as my thoughts are usually clouded there. My headphones will almost always accompany me as well as my notepad. Every day, I will post in my notes what I wrote about and label it as "Wet Ink".

If you feel like this is your cup of tea to follow, I encourage you to do so.

With that being said, look forward to my first installment tonight as I hopefully write down something that doesn't suck in a random location around town to get the juices flowing and the hamster running... fat bastard.

Until then, keep in mind what Balrog says today when losing a fight in SFIV:

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