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Protecting Final Fantasy XI From the Gil-Sellers 116

Posted by Zonk
from the keeping-the-mean-streets-of-vana'diel-safe dept.
At GDC Austin, the technical keynote for Thursday focused in on the challenging task of developing the online game Final Fantasy XI. We were treated to a broad but vaguely technical discussion from Hiromichi Tanaka, the producer of the half-a-million strong game world. He was joined by Sage Sundi, the global producer of the game, who gave a fascinating discussion about Square/Enix's battle against real money traders. Their successes have been hard-fought, and are illustrative of the problems facing anyone running one of these games. Read on for notes from the event.
Tanaka is one of the original members of Square, was a planner for the first three Final Fantasy games, and has long been the producer of Final Fantasy XI. He spends Thursday some time Thursday morning discussing a history of the franchise, harkening back to the 'poor' sales of Final Fantasy at 500,000 copies. The series has since sold over 75 million games worldwide, up through the more recent PlayStation titles. He references the upcoming FFXIII and Versus FFXIII as the definitive vision of the series for the next few years.

FFXI is celebrating its 5th anniversary, a full quarter of the Final Fantasy series' history (at 20 years). It was released in May of 2002, the first cross-platform RPG (PS2 and PC). It was also a worldwide title, both aspects of which were almost unheard of for online games at the time.

The roots of the game reach back to 1999. The Chrono Cross, Legend of Mana, and Parasite Eve teams were roped together to make the game. In 2001 the public Beta began, and was released in May 2002 in Japan. November 2002 saw the Windows release, followed by the first expansion/US Release in October 2003, the second expansion/EU Launch in 2004, and the latest expansion in 2006. German and French versions were released just this year; it took two years to translate all the content in the game. They made sure as content was released (and the new expansions) that those teams were kept up to date. There are now four languages spoken inside the game world, each inside the same servers.

Early in the development of the game, they were already working on a version for the original Xbox. The main roadblock to the game's success was the small HDD; only 2GB wouldn't cut it. When the game was installed on the PS2 HDD, it reserved 8GB. They view updates as the 'lifeline' of the Massive game. No mass storage, no updates ... no MMOG.

PlayOnline is mentioned, with their concept being a 'portal for entertainment'. It's an independent platform for content, with a common information tool for all game playing options. It's crucial for the PS2 and 360, which don't have web browsers. It allows them to keep tabs on user statistics, as well.

The game is built around the concept of cross-region play. The three regions they support (US, EU, JP) are separated by big blocks of time, allowing them to financially support the concept. There are spikes, but the spike isn't all at once across the board thanks to the 24 hour day. A graph shows the different peaks around the world, with notes that the US peak is smaller than the JP one because of the number of time zones in the country. He provides some interesting stats: there are roughly 15-20k users per world. There's a fairly equal distribution between servers, and the service sees between 200-300k individual logins per day. The number of Hardcore players means that there is quite a bit of overlap between the 'US' timeslots and the 'JP' timeslots.

This overlap can lead to poor behavior for a number of reasons. Killstealing, Player Killing, and Spawn Camping are just three examples. They have tweaked the game's systems to remove some of the most easily-exploited elements. They removed general PvP, granted possession of a mob to the first player to attack it, and put in systems that encouraged cooperation. Their most successful outlet has been the sports-style PvP games. They're team vs. team sports, and give players the opportunity to beat each other 'silly' without causing grief.

The Auto translation feature is another success in bringing communities together. It translates FFXI-related terms to whatever language a player is using. It uses simple word and sentence structures, to avoid confusion. They have tied it deeply into the game to make it easy and fast to use; it's a part of the everyday game for many players. This was crucial to overcome the initial resistance that Japanese players had to dealing with thousands of American players. Despite requests from many points of view to host regional servers, they've always resisted. They see the universal servers as a real strength, a unique feature in the industry.

Unfortunately, they've had real problems with gold farmers. They've become much more aggressive due to the success of the genre, and have rapidly expanded across the globe thanks to cheap labor costs. They're huge organizations, spread across the globe, and seek to exploit weaknesses in an economy whenever they can find them. Mr. Tanaka then turns the floor over to Sage Sundi, the global producer of the game. He worked his way up to his position from a volunteer position with the Japanese version of UO. He's here to specifically address RMT.

There are several ways to deal with the issue: allow it all, the company can engage in it itself, or they ignore it. They chose the hardest option: fighting it. Acting against it is a challenge, and they assembled a task force specifically for the issue. They claim that they've eliminated some 90% of the traders in the game world.

The problems RMT inflicts are: inflation, farming and monopolizing of monsters, and cheating. All of these affect the play experience for normal players. RMT would not be a problem, they say, if the people who engaged in it were polite. They have a great slide showing the huge inflation of the currency wildly out of sync with the new number of players in the game. Around the end of 2005 they detected the upsurge, and investigated.

An RMT organization is made up of several groups: Hunters are the ones who actually do the killing, and send the gil along to Bank players. The Front-End folks deal with customers, and make sure they get their stuff. The website element is also public facing; the biggest groups can employ up to 500 people. The task force went to work last year, and their two primary jobs were to analyze server data and comb through feedback. They examined server logs, customer issues, etc. The task force looks through the logs weekly, while originally they were addressed only once per month

Their conclusions:
  • The biggest RMT groups are connected.
  • With a few small exceptions, most larger groups are using common funds to do their work.
  • Removing Front-End folks and Bankers is not enough. It is effective in removing large amounts of currency from the game, but it will encourage the Hunters to increase productivity for their new masters.
  • The real goal is to eliminate the Hunters. This helps players by removing irritating experiences from the game world. It indirectly weakens the RMT front-end folks by lowering their supply of goods.
  • They'll be back. It doesn't matter if they're banned, they'll be back soon with new accounts. The company needs to keep cleaning, despite the 're-spawn' rate.
  • You have to maintain a good back-end data system to ensure these people can be identified.
  • Systems must be tweaked as often as possible to minimize Hunter success. Security holes must be closed, etc. At the same time, these efforts must be not harmful to the players. As an example: they added a monster to a high-level fishing area to ensure low-level Hunters were kept at bay. He's easy to kill for appropriate-level characters, but the low-level Hunter avatars run to the zone to do nothing but fish are easily destroyed.
  • It's critical to construct 'fair' guidelines to determine what is and isn't accepted. You can't ban all accounts from a country, for example. Don't encourage witchhunts among the players.
  • It's also important to keep it an internal discussion with the legal department, to get consensus with everyone on board.
The end result of their efforts is a slow deflation of the economy. They have already had some successes, and they project continued good 'correction' of the currency market. Approximately 2/3rds of the RMT sites that sold gil are now out of business. Some still provide 'gil on order services', but even then they estimate there are only a fraction of the previous number of Hunters left in the game world.

Tanaka returns to the stage to discuss their retention policies. They've had a very rapid expansion pack policy (3 in 5 years), along with major updates every 2 months, and monthly events like holidays. Changes and live feedback are their keys to this success. Wings of the Goddess is the fourth expansion coming, with a worldwide release. There are some 12 SKUs associated with that expansion, spread across all the markets.

They still have 500,000 users, and as long as they keep playing they'll keep developing the game. They are worried that the graphical capabilities of Vista and the 360 will make the game look faded. They are working on a new MMOG, also intended to be cross platform/cross region. They're also developing a common platform for all future games, borrowing technologies from their future MMOG and FFXIII. The new MMOG will be a cross-platform title, available for both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360; Tanaka reveals that Nintendo is currently not allowing cross-platform online games. He does, however, say that it's not out of the question from a technical perspective. Soon, he hints, we'll be able to hear more about these upcoming games. With that, Tanaka ends the event by showing us the beautiful Wings of the Goddess trailer, and the keynote is over.
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Protecting Final Fantasy XI From the Gil-Sellers

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  • Geez... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Odin_Tiger (585113)
    Half a million people are still playing that? Wow. I'm half tempted to give it another look, since I was sort of an early-adopter on PC and their tech support wasn't exactly English-speaker-friendly at that time. But it really seemed like a grind - from what I remember, there was sort of a noob zone, say, level 1 - 8 type stuff (*pulling numbers out my ass here for example's sake*) and an intermediate zone, say, level 15+ stuff, but getting from 9 to 15 seemed like an endless grind of noob monsters. May
    • It's definitely still a big grind game. Reactivated my account a few weeks back, took me over a week to get up to level 6.
      • wow you must be a terrible player. Even with a WHM I could hit level 6 in 3 hours BEFORE they made it stupidly easy to level in the lower levels with signet bonuses.
        • Could be the fact that I was playing a Taru warrior...I dunno. Could also be that I hardly ever party.
          • by drzhivago (310144)
            You can solo easily (and quickly) to level 13-15. Of course, that takes into account knowing what to fight when to some degree. Someone who just started playing isn't going to be that efficient.
            • Not true. I solod to 15 back when the US PS2 version was just released using very little trial and error to figure out whats good (sapplings and bee's) and whats bad (>.>; Rams)

              Now you could with a XP ring hit 20 easily without even stepping foot into a party till Quifm. Even then with a group of 2-3 you could hit 37 with ease.

              Its a totally different game IMHO.

      • by Reapman (740286)
        a WEEK? ouch.. thats unheard of for the new guys I've met, the first 10 levels are usually done in 2-3 days if your not grinding too hard, a single night if you want to get it over with and have a power leveler. I'm not much of a grinder, so my last job was 3 days to 10 I think. But your right, it IS a grinder of a game. Better then before, but still a grinder.

        I still play the game, and enjoy it (the people really make the game), and seeing what SE now does with the game makes me wish they started it ea
        • XP via quests would be an excellent addition to the game. If they did that I'd be back in a heartbeat.

          I actually like how dated it is, as it allows me to run it on my computer without any problems, since my computers are quite old machines.

          Oh, and Windurst is better. :)
          • by Gregb05 (754217)
            There's dozens of ways to get Exp through quests; Eco-Warrior, Escort Quests, More Escort Quests, a bunch of CoP level-capped quests., and Ballista.
            The problem with it is that most of these require either a reasonably high level already (Escort, Eco-Warror, Ballista and most of them are Fame based), or they require a certain mission completion (The CoP ones). This creates a sort of problem, but the thing is that you can use the exp quests when you have a high-level job to accelerate the leveling of lower
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Vacuous (652107)
      Yeah you did it wrong, around level 10 you should really begin partying with other players for much better XP. It's been a year since I played but i'm assuming the Valkrum Dunes is still the place to go for those levels.
      • And it's been four years since I've played and I still remember Valkrum Dunes as one of the lowest levels of hell.
        • by nekura (600099)
          The new hotness is going to Ghelsba Outpost and soloing from 10->19. The mobs are low EXP, but you kill so fast that your EXP/hour is the same, if not better than your typical Dunes party. After those levels, you can continue to solo on BST-mob's pets, but it can be dangerous.
          • by Vacuous (652107)
            Ah, so would that make Qufim the new dunes huh.
            • by nekura (600099)
              Mm, Qufim's not too bad. I personally find Kazham to be the new Dunes, because you spend a lot of the time fighting Mandragoras that have that stupid AoE sleep move.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by king-manic (409855)
      Half a million people are still playing that? Wow. I'm half tempted to give it another look, since I was sort of an early-adopter on PC and their tech support wasn't exactly English-speaker-friendly at that time.

      Blizzard is clever, you can't express amazement without reminding people of world of warcraft. the slang WOW is not forever ruined for me.
    • The noob area should take you from lvl 1-10 solo and be doable in aprox 4 hours once you get the hang of it, 2 if you have a powerleveler to assist. Next is the hated "Dunes" area, which is setup for lvl 10-20 in party play. Time here could be anything between 8 hours to a week depending on the quality of party that you manage to pick up.

      With regards to not finding suitable party members, that is a common difficulty but in these events, you should try and scout your own party. Often some of the best parties
  • Hmmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday September 07, 2007 @10:18AM (#20507365) Homepage Journal
    he spends Thursday some time Thursday morning discussing

    Usually I like to start off my Thursdays with Thursday mornings.
    • Usually I like to start off my Thursdays with Thursday mornings.
      I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
  • A player's viewpoint (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Orii (55092) on Friday September 07, 2007 @10:27AM (#20507469)
    As a longtime FFXI player (3 1/2 years now), I noticed a big change in how Square-Enix approached gilsellers/hunters/farmers. For a long time there was very little from SE on the issue, and the in-game consequences were very noticeable. Normal players would be killed by groups of gilsellers merely for being in the area of one of their camps, the economy was inflating crazily, and there was no competing with them in certain economic areas. People were becoming depressed and leaving, at least in part because of the bad environment.

    And then SE decided to pull themselves together and really address the problem. Month postings detailing the number of banned players for various reasons were posted. We started seeing long-time gilselling groups disappear from their usual haunts and then from the game entirely. And most importantly, a sense of optimism started to creep in among the general population.

    There are still issues with the economy of course. There has been a large deflation as billions of gil were removed by banning accounts. It's hard to make a living crafting, and people seems to be on much tighter budgets these days. But I don't think any of us would want to return to the time when gilsellers roamed free.

    I'm very thankful SE took a stand and put in so much effort to crack down on this problem.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sanosuke001 (640243)
      Honestly, it was much better for crafters before they started cracking down on gilsellers. The RMT concentrated on camping HNMs and didn't do much with crafting (minus fishing). At least I didn't notice much from Cooking. Now with all the changes, Cooking is almost useless as well as any other craft (Mule is Cloth)

      I also used to set up KS30 ODS runs and took 20% of drops. Split between 4 BLMs I was making 5-10m a week during the high inflation. Now, it's not even worth doing anymore.

      I'm glad the RMT are goi
      • by Artaxs (1002024)
        One of the frustrating things for me was that it was almost impossible to make money from the game itself in FFXI. The quest "rewards" never grant significant amounts of gil, and the goblins drop a pathetic amount even at high levels. Only a couple of jobs (BST and BLU) are even capable of soloing even the mid-level content/monsters, so you're constantly splitting whatever loot you do get with other players.

        Still, I really loved the game, though I think that WoW has spoiled me forever against playing a
        • by Morlark (814687)

          Let's face it, fellow WoW players, the game is *too easy*. I know of 6 and 7 year olds who've solo'ed and played their way to level 70 in WoW without any serious difficulties.

          Tbh, I think you're comparing apples to oranges. Yes, it is extremely easy to reach the max level in WoW, but it's intentionally so. Levelling in WoW is all about teaching you the basics of your class. It's not until you reach the level cap that the game really begins, which is why much of group-based content requires you to be at

    • by medeii (472309)

      As a crafter, I'd much rather return to those days; I could actually make money back then, but more importantly, so could anyone else.

      The problem with removing gil from the online economies is that it forces price drops on everything without adjusting item drop rates as well. You've got billions of gil disappearing literally overnight, while item rates remain the same. What happens (and has happened) is that consumable prices stay solid, because they're always in demand, but the rest of the crafting profes

    • by milamber3 (173273)
      I played a long time ago so maybe my memory is going bad but I don't remember any PvP. How did the gilsellers kill other players for being in the area? I remember trying to camp for those really nice boots (never actually got them due to my latency) but the high level campers just seemed to ignore us.
      • they used to bind mobs on people or train them to death. There were various ways you could get around the no PvP system to kill people but at this point they are all gone. SE redid much of the mob mechanics to take away the free roaming nature of them. Now they despawn if they leave their roaming area.
  • When I left the game inflation was out of control, making good items ridiculously expensive. You couldn't hunt for the special items because of the campers. You would save up for a month and then the item you wanted would be twice as high. Stories that it might be improved are interesting.

    That and it was impossible to find a party if you character didn't fit certain molds, but that was more a powergaming problem then gilselling.
    • I recently went back to FFXI, but stopped because of school starting up again. It really has improved. My only major frustration is that shortly before I quit last time, I had just spent about 1.5 million gil on some new gear, leaving me with 50k gil remaining. That same gear can now be bought for under 200k, so I was out about 1.3 million (a lot of gil now). The difference in the economy was astounding, and I was throughly impressed.
  • by RalphtheDwarf (951661) on Friday September 07, 2007 @11:44AM (#20508595)
    I've been playing FFXI since around 2004. I think a lot of FFXI's RMT problems stem from SE's insistence on many items being rare, and their implementation of it.

    The original endgame system worked where a highly desired item would be a uncommon drop of off a monster that spawned once every 1-3 real life days with predictable spawn conditions. This might have been fine when there were few players at the level cap but as endgame became more crowded this became more and more of a source of conflict between the players. There were also lesser monsters that dropped rare items that were on shorter timers, but still had predictable spawn conditions and low drop rates.

    Naturally, players started resorting to 3rd party tools to outclaim the other guilds in the game and RMT soon realized that they could set up shop 24 hours a day and then form their own in game mafia of sorts and monopolize these monsters and basically extort the players. While a legit player would unlikely be online for that 5 am Simurgh spawn, the RMT were on all day and knew when everything would be up.

    SE played dumb while this was happening, letting the RMT slowly take over the game's economy. Everything of value was being perma-camped by packs of RMT.

    Fast forward a few years, and two expansion packs later. The matter is further complicated because the population has become even more top heavy with more and more players reaching maximum level. The additional expansion packs had basically failed to break the original expansion's dominance in the game. Much of the original expansion's equipment is still the most highly desirable and fought over equipment in the game. This seems to run contrary to most other game's expansions where the old content is quickly forgotten about when a new expansion is added.

    SE finally started listening to the playerbase and changing some of the monster spawn conditions, but it was basically making an already annoying process more convoluted.

    SE had a great chance to fix their RMT problems by designing a new endgame system that couldn't be monopolized by the RMT in their newer expansions and making the original expansion obsolete. But their insistence that the original expansion's items remain rare and powerful has held the game back. Not only does it leave us fighting over the same 3 year old items but it also begs the question of why bother adding a new expansion when everyone is going to rush off to camp the old monsters (lolFafnir) moments after going live.

    One of the most applauded features of the current expansion pack was giving us a few new methods of obtaining items from the original expansion pack. What a joke. I think a lot of FFXI's RMT problems would fade into the woodwork if SE would stop insisting that this 3 year old expansion remain relevant and let their new expansions shine on their own.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Derekloffin (741455)
      A lot of WoW players would disagree. They have the exact opposite complaint, that old content is made worthless with each expansion. When BC came out, Azeroth endgame became a ghost town. A lot of people spent a ton of time on Azeroth end game gear, getting attunements, raiding and such, that overnight became green quality. With Blizzard having set that pattern you can expect as soon as a solid release date is known for WOLK that BC endgame will quickly start to die out.

      I actually really appreciated th

      • by CatPieMan (460995)
        Its nice, to a point. I don't think that the best sword of 2004 should still be the best sword of 2007 (Ridill). And the 21-24 hour spawn timers have got to go -- when its generally the same people claiming the monsters over and over, it gets boring. There should be a point where people are either finished with certain monsters, or they have enough incentive to move on to other monsters and leave the old ones for the round 2 group.

        As it is now, it is almost impossible for a guild/linkshell to ever finish
        • by Morlark (814687)

          I think the problem with WoW's expansion items may be overstated a little bit. Sure sometimes I think that it's a shame that old items aren't more useful. But the obsolescence of these items is not something new that the expansion has brought. WoW has always been a game about character progression via gear. (It kinda had to be, since levelling in WoW is trivial.) It is a rare player in WoW who can truly say that they have the best gear they can possibly have. And even then, that gear is acquired with the un

    • by CatPieMan (460995)
      As another player who has been playing since 2004, I agree.

      My server (Diabolos) is fairly unique in that we had a split in the end-game groups very early, which prevented 1 all powerful linkshell (guild) from forming. We have no less than 7 who can kill just about anything in the game, and that's just the english speaking world. I have screen shots of the zone "Dragon's Aery" with over 200 people waiting for what was definitly a Fafnir (not Nidhogg) pop day (2 days after Nidhogg popped). I also have scre
    • The problem with replacing the old gear is that some of it is so high powered that adding anything stronger would require a re balancing of the game to compensate. (eg. Hecatomb harness set, Adaman plate set) and some equipment takes so long to get that rendering it obsolete would cause people to quit. (eg. any relic weapon) I mean, if SE suddenly released a better dagger than Mandau, I would cancel my account the next day. It tool me 2 and a half years of doing dynamis and over 900 million gil to get th
  • . It was released in May of 2002, the first cross-platform RPG (PS2 and PC). What? Ignoring all other examples, FFVIII was released for both PS1 and PC.
  • by Alzheimers (467217) on Friday September 07, 2007 @11:51AM (#20508751)
    FFXI has some of the best, and some of the worst, features of any MMO I've played.

    The best:
    -Seasonal Events - Not to be understated, but this is really the game's greatest feature. The holidays were always something to look forward to, as there were unique games and events that really built a spirit of community.
    -Audio and Video - The graphics for the time were breathtaking, and it appears that the new expansions look just as good. The sound effects and music were top notch.
    -Class Systems - So many different jobs to choose from, and the best part was that you could switch it whenever you felt like it. Dual classes made for some very interesting strategies.
    -Crafting Systems - So many recipies and craft items to work with, you could literally spend all your time just making stuff.
    -Quests - Really quite varied for the standard Fetch/Kill/Courier mission structures we see in all MMOs, the cutscenes were the true payoffs.

    The Worst:
    -Leveling/Grind - Difficult to solo past level 10, after 30 you're practically forced to be in a group, and some classes can take hours just to find one.
    -Market - The Auction house was a total lagfest and a nightmare to browse. Letting players sell their items directly was a nice touch, but the inventory was too limited and the economy decimated by farmers when I left
    -Spawncamping - It wasn't bad enough that spawncamping was the only way to get certain mission-critical items (The key quest was a waste of a weekend), but training and aggro bugs made it easy for one high-level magi to run through a map, "steal" spawns for their group, then annihilate the entire bunch with a few spells and give the rare/bind loot to his low-level friends.
    -Variety (or lack of) of mobs - When you're a level 2, you're fighting goblins. When you're level 20, you're fighting ... goblins. When you're level 30, you're fighting goblins.
    • by Guppy (12314)

      -Market - The Auction house was a total lagfest and a nightmare to browse.
      Try accessing the AH from one of the less populated satellite sites -- I use Tavnazia, easily accessible (for those that have done the CoP missions) using the Tavn. Ring or the AlTaieu shortcut.
  • by GrnArmadillo (697378) on Friday September 07, 2007 @11:59AM (#20508929)
    I lasted about 6 weeks in FFXI. The iconic experience of my time there was when I entered an area for one of the low level quests and found a player around my level farming there. The player inspected me and informed me that I was high enough level to equip earrings. I asked what type of earrings I should get, and he told me. I went back to town to check the AH and discovered that the earrings in question cost 10K gil each. I had a few hundred.

    FFXI's job system is a clever attempt to reconcile forced grouping with new players starting the game and not having people their level to group with. In fact, ALL players are required to level at least one job other than their preferred class to half of the level cap. While this does have the benefit of ensuring that there are more low level characters online at any given time, the issue is that almost all of them don't actually want to be there. As a result, there's a tremendous pressure to optimize your characters with the very best gear, food, subjobs (yes, sometimes you may need to level a job you don't care about because it's the optimal subjob for the optimal subjob for your actual job), items to prevent foes from aggroing as you travel to the area you want to go and farm (yes, even travel is a group activity) etc. If you've got all these things, and an ideal group, you might be able to shave a day or two off your time in low level purgatory, so players jump at the chance. And don't get me started on how access to airship travel is restricted until you get to a very high level (that will be very hard to reach without airship access).... unless you come up with 500,000 gil from somewhere.

    In short, cash is a bad place to put your timesinks. If you create a gil sellers' paradise, you can't be too shocked when they show up.
    • You know, they went after the supply side of the system... It would be a lot more effective if they used a bit of FUD to influence the demand side. Start banning people that bought money. They already have a list of people that were RMT's, just ban all the people the RMT's gave money to.

      I have never bought money online. I don't even like to receive money or help from friends unless I've tried to do it before myself.
      • by JoelKatz (46478)
        They have a list of people that *received* money, not a list of people that bought money. How do you think they can tell who bought money? You think the gilsellers care who pays them or who they give the money to? They just do what they're told. You think there aren't Joe Jobs?
  • RMT? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Speare (84249) on Friday September 07, 2007 @12:49PM (#20509949) Homepage Journal
    Can you de-TLA the term RMT?
  • I have to say, this might be the best thing Square Enix ever did for this game. I was around a couple of years back, and the inflation was absolutely terrible. I'll give a simple example.

    The whole crafting system is based around the use of crystals, which drop from mobs if you've gotten your nation's signet cast upon you. The going rate for crystals was about 1000-2000 gil per stack of 12. I remember, within a span of about 2 weeks on my server, the price of fire crystals going from 2000 to 7000 gil.
  • About Grinding (Score:2, Informative)

    by mjhacker (922395)
    I honestly don't see it being as bad as people are claiming it to be. The battle system is by far more interesting and strategy oriented than WoW. The only complaint that I can understand is that since it is party-based, if one person is a moron and screws up, everyone suffers. That is the frustrating part.

    If you really wanted to solo on FFXI, though, you'd play a BST (beastmaster). They are the only job in the game that solo quite effectively.
  • WoW vs FFXI (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dewser (853519)
    One way to deal with farmers is make them not needed! WoW has done this by creating daily quests. You get an average of 12g per quest along with faction rep. So basically you are giving players a steady cash flow. With the ability to make enough gold to eventually buy one of the epic flying mounts, it deters most players from buying gold. Granted it may take a year if you do not do them every day, but you know it will happen. Just like granting epic gear through pvp, you need to pvp a certain amount o
    • by SScorpio (595836)
      I don't believe a daily quest type system would work with FFXI. There isn't really anything (at least when I played) like an epic mount cost where money was taken out of the economy. The whole economy was completely player driven. The money being spent at the auction house was going to another player.

      Many items used in crafting where drops from mobs. These drops were then put on the AH and sold to crafters who then used them to make other items which were often sold to other players on the AH.

      The game h
  • Went alot like this - level a class to level 8 or so, go to Valkurn (or something) Dunes - spam level 9 Monk LFG for 2 hours and hope the group that finally takes you doesn't break apart in 5 minutes when the Japanese tank decides he'd rather just play with Japanese players. Take your intrepid group of 6 (or was it 5?) players and kill a single crab (you can maybe take 2 if you're good or lucky) repeat times 1000 until you hit level 18. At level 18 kill a zillion ghouls until you get the ghoul skull you n
    • by Dewser (853519)
      LOL, I spent the time to kill more crabs to get to a lv34 warrior, lv52 SAM, lv15 THF, NIN and a few others. My final ending was waiting for 3 hours for a party only to get invited to one at the tree with the spiders and have a party with no refresh class (rdm or brd) try to pull something we could not take without one of those classes. We die and I deleveled (oh another piece of crap concept!). At that point I said farewell to the game donated things to the Linkshell and sold items that I could not trad
    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      "spam level 9 Monk LFG for 2 hours"

      First off, /shout spamming like that probably kept you waiting longer. Nobody likes spammers, so why invite one?

      Secondly, in those two hours, instead of sitting on your ass and /shouting, why not leave your /invite flag up, go to a weaker zone, and solo your way to 10 (at least)? Until around, say, level 30, partying is a faster way to get experience points, but by no means the only way, and at least one job (namely, black mage) I soloed past Dunes levels.

      The main proble
      • by Schmapdi (840038)
        You're taking me too literally and being defensive - also ignoring the fact that in the intervening 3 years I may have gotten some tiny details wrong.

        One, I'm sure I did use the LFG system - I'm never one for spamming anything, the notion was that I had to wait around for hours to find a group to level. Good for you for soloing past the dunes, but I remember soloing on my Monk as being super dangerous and even slower than LFG. You'll note I said level 8 or so - I may well have been level 10 or higher - it

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