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FF XI: Is Online The Future?
By Tidus
When Squaresoft announced that Final Fantasy XI would be an online only game, there was a lot of speculation, even on my part. We all wondered what was Squaresoft thinking?? Could this idea possibly work?? This question still remains, but this article will try to examine what direction the game is heading from the information that has been released, but it will also talk about some negative aspects of having an online RPG.

As of now, very little has been announced about FFXI's gameplay. All we've seen are several screenshots and a trailer movie of it that came with FFX. All indications point to FFXI's gameplay being very similar to PSO, the other big online RPG on the Sega Dreamcast. This is definitely different than any of the other games in the Final Fantasy series as it strays away from the series's turn based roots. I think that this decision would be a wise one for Squaresoft as an massive online RPG with turn based fighting would get very tedious. Although I don't like real time fighting systems THAT much, they work much better than turn based when implemented for online games.

Tetsuya Nomura, character designer of FFVII, FFVIII and FFX, is doing the character designs. From the pictures we've seen so far, it also seems that the character design is more akin to your typical Dungeons and Dragons characters. Of course, there has been very little information in this regard as well. I think I've read somewhere that FFXI would have 2000 characters, but that sounds a little far fetched.

We do know that FFXI will utilize Squaresoft's PlayOnline service and it will probably cost $5-$10. This price seems pretty reasonable as Squaresoft will be constantly changing and improving the game. A problem with online gaming is hacking and that will be a big problem in FFXI. Let's hope Squaresoft can solve this problem. My biggest concern with FFXI is that I'll probably have to play it on my PC, my PS2 is nowhere near a phone line, but that's only me.

FFXI opens many possibilities; online clans, communities, an ongoing engrossing story, but with it comes monthly costs which some people may not be willing to pay. The game might also stray too far away from its roots and die-hard FF fans will shun it. When FFXI is released, we'll have to wait and see how the public reacts.

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