I’ve been digging through a lot of old files lately due to restoring my retro websites on Neocities. Yesterday, I ran across a folder which was a treasure trove of time travel for me – FFXI screenshots that date back to 2003!
Seeing that FFXI released in NA for PC on October 28, 2003 – my earliest picture seems to have been taken on November 8, 2003. So I was basically participating in the launch window. I probably played a bit before that because the first picture I took had my character in harness gear which means I’d already gotten through the intro bits, and was finally out in the forest where I was leveling.
Ironically, my first character in FFXI was Ben. It just so happens that my current main in FFXIV is also now Ben! I never got Ben beyond level 20-ish if I remember right, and sadly, I don’t think his character exists anymore, either.
Still, here’s a gallery of Ben’s early progress as a Red Mage (which is also his main job in FFXIV now).
I see that I took some pictures of the landscape (it was amazing graphics at the time) and random things. Namely… a summoner with a carbuncle! How exciting!!
And… my first group in the Dunes! Working on drops for that sub job quest!
And then, my sister joined the game. I have pictures of her on her White Mage.
It seems that I rolled an alt character (yes even back then) to level with my sister. This was a Mithra named Aywren. I think I see a pattern there and in FFXIV. 🙂
This character MIGHT still exist. It seems somewhere down the line, I had two service accounts and both have an Aywren on them.
Anyhow… seems I still made more progress on Ben, however.
I was around for the Christmas event that year. Here’s decking the halls in San d’Oria!
And then some final pictures of Ben’s progress into January.
And that was it. I played FFXI at launch for about three months before the inability to solo and just the overall difficulty of the game got to me. I know my sister left before I did, so after that, I was pretty much alone and it just made it impossible to progress in any meaningful way.
I did return to it on and off over the years. I see my last service date on that account is 2006.
The game has changed a LOT since those days – I even wrote a series of posts when I tried it out again back in 2016. I’m not sure why I stopped playing again back then – probably got too busy – but I did purchase all of the expansions on my SE account. Sooooo….
All of this has inspired me to reup my sub, especially given the 20th anniversary is rolling around. While I do currently have an Aywren character, I might just create a new version of Ben to try the game from level 1 again. It’s been 5 years since I’ve touched the game (thankfully, documenting it years ago has helped give me a boost on what I need to do to get it up and running again), so I’m lost in approaching controls and such.
Anyhow. I started with my first ever screenshot. Have my last screenshot from 2004.