Soon after FFXI first launched in the US, my sister and I were there in the world of Vana’deil. I had grand dreams for my Red Mage, but most of those dreams would never come to pass. While the game was great for people who had lots of time, friends and a solid linkshell, it did not do much to include folks like me.
I was casual, group-shy, and couldn’t fathom the amount of time that went into looking for a group, much less the kind of grinding required (back then) to actually progress anywhere in the game. I think as far as I managed to get was to unlock the ability to switch to a sub-class. Everything else – advanced classes, relic armor, and even getting a chocobo – were far beyond what I could accomplish… mostly due to the fact the game was not solo friendly. And that’s an understatement.
I’m describing my limited experience from back in 2003, so I don’t know much about how the game stands today. Obviously, since I couldn’t get very far in the game, as much as I really wanted to keep playing, I eventually put it aside. And that’s pretty much all my memories of this game that I wanted to love, but couldn’t advance in.
FFXI on Mobile
So when I read today that Square Enix (partnered with Nexon – really? REALLY? ) is bringing FFXI to mobile platforms as a MMMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Mobile RPG), I did a double take. My idea of smartphone gaming revolves around simple, casual games that you pick up and put down from time to time. I’m thinking about the battery limitations and screen size limitations. I’m pondering things like subscription fees vs. in game transactions. Thinking about these things, I’m wondering how this all will actually work.
Sure, the graphics and interface may be adjusted to fit mobile. But FFXI is a game I consider quite hardcore back in its day, which is the exact opposite of what I usually stereotype as a mobile game. The article did note that:
Final Fantasy Mobile plans to offer things like improved party organizing, solo-play improvements, better battle functionality, enriched community features as well as other tweaked in-game elements.
But unless the foundation of the game has changed significantly from what I remember, they’re going to have a lot to do to improve the non-existent solo-play that casual people are going to expect from a mobile game. I guess I’m just trying to wrap my mind around how they’re going to squish all those complexities into a little smartphone app.
On the other hand, if they can make it work, go for it. Having more meaningful mobile games would be a step in the right direction. And we’ve already heard that ArcheAge wants to go mobile, too.
Other news sees FFXI releasing its final large content update and shutting down servers for Xbox 360 and PS2 players March of 2016. The PC servers don’t appear to be effected from this news, though it’s unknown if this new mobile version will have any connection to existing PC servers. I’m kinda doubting it, though.
So what do you think about trying to squeeze MMO complexity into a mobile app? Are you ready to embrace MMMORPGs, or do you have some reservations about the idea?