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Archive for the ‘MMOs’ Category

Looks like TESO is the first entry in the Elder Scrolls series to have passable character art. Exciting!

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Lately, I’ve had a bit of a curatorial streak to my gaming. There’s games I haven’t played, either because they were on a console I didn’t own, or just wasn’t that interested in at the time, but have become a part of gaming history. And I’ve felt that even though I may not enjoy them, to get my “gaming literacy” up, I should play them – simply having experienced that “classic” game would enrich me, even if the game was garbage.

As part of this, I decided I would really buckle down and play all the Final Fantasy games, and to completion (I’ve only ever beaten X). And part of that meant giving Final Fantasy XI a try. For those who aren’t familiar, XI was the first Final Fantasy MMO. And with the release (or rather, re-release) of Final Fantasy XIV, their second MMO, I figured what better time than now to jump right in.

But as with any MMO, there’s a bit of a process to install and register before you can actually play, and the process for Final Fantasy XI is a bit more confusing and circuitous than others, so if you ever need to install, you can follow this guide which makes the whole thing simple!

  1. Buy the “Square Enix” collection in a Steam Holiday Sale. Enjoy many of the games included in the bundle, like Tomb Raider: Legend and Deus Ex. In doing so, obtain a copy of Final Fantasy XI, and relegate it to the “Shit I Will Never Play” section of your steam library.
  2. Wait two years.
  3. Buy a treadmill. Hook up an Xbox 360 and an original, backwards compatible PS3 to it. Realize that some games are better treadmill games than others, and that Final Fantasy games are pretty good treadmill games.
  4. Make a neat stack of all your PS2 and 360 Final Fantasy games near the treadmill. Notice a gap between X-2 and XII. The completionist in you feels sad.
  5. Remember that you own XI “so you can try it for free”.
  6. Read online that the Xbox 360 version (aka, “the one with gamerscore”) runs the same characters and servers as the PC (and Ps2, though that’s not relevant) and can retroactively unlock achievements for things accomplished on other versions.
  7. Have a really shitty day at work. Say “fuck it” and start downloading that steam version sitting in your library.
  8. Talk to your wife, decide to play Rift instead. If you’ve never played Rift, download the client, create an account and start playing. The process from deciding to play to playing takes like six minutes total and is incredibly seamless.
  9. Resume your Steam download. Buy the xbox 360 version of “Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition” for treadmill play. Sure if you buy the xbox version, it’s no longer free, but paying a bit to be able to try it on the treadmill as well is probably worth it. Also, this version has ALL of the expansions, and the 2-year old steam version doesn’t, so using the code from the xbox will unlock all of the content on both versions.
  10. Copy the “CD Key” from steam, go to the final fantasy website. You will be informed that PlayOnline accounts have been suspended, and you will now login with a square enix account. Great! You already have a Square Enix account from when you bought Final Fantasy VII during step 2.
  11. Attempt to sign into the site. Fail. Attempt again. Fail. OOPS YOU MUST HAVE FORGOTTEN YOUR SQUARE ENIX USERNAME AND PASSWORD.
  12. Continue attempting for a half hour to sign in with various possible email/username/password combinations you may have used. Each attempt, fill out a terrible aggressive captcha.ffxi
  13. Go to square-enix.com. Be automatically signed in to your account. You now know your actual username and email you signed up with, so the only guesswork is on the password.
  14. Make a few more attempts with various passwords you may have used. When none of them work, give up and click the “Forgot your ID or Password” link.
  15. Be informed that there is no square enix account at the email you entered EVEN THOUGH YOU WERE JUST ON IT.
  16. APPARENTLY THERE ARE TWO SQUARE ENIX ACCOUNT SYSTEMS NAMED THE SAME GODDAMN THING AND IT DOESN’T MENTION THAT ANYWHERE WHAT THE FUCK SHIT GOD DAMN WHY AM I EVEN TRYING THIS WHAT THE SHIT SERIOUSLY SERIOUSLY SERIOUSLY WHAT THE SHIT I’M DONE
  17. Come back the next day and pick up where you left off. This time, make a new square enix account!
  18. Even though PlayOnline accounts have been merged with square-enix accounts (but not square-enix accounts, lets be clear). You still will need a PlayOnline account. Don’t worry! They will create you one! Your username and password will both be something easy to remember like XLIDNFLIDSN.
  19. During the account creation process it will ask if you want to set up the ability to spend “Crysta” which is Squeenix’s microtransaction currency. To set this up, you have to add a bunch of personal information to your account which is permanent and unchangable – including, for some reason, gender. Wonder for a bit why they could possibly need to know what your gender is in order to take your money, but since you’re not going to be using their microtransactions anyway, decide to politely decline and move on. However, there is no ‘politely decline’ button on this screen, and no way really to go back at all. So, hit the back button on your browser.
  20. At this point, the webpage will crash. Don’t panic, I’m sure it was supposed to do that!
  21. Log back in and continue, this time when it asks if you want to sign up for Crysta, don’t let your curiosity take you onto that screen! Shut that shit down right here and continue.
  22. You will get to the main page of the site. There is pretty much nothing you can do here. Trying to click on just about anything, including the things that would let you play the game, prompt you for that Crysta shit.
  23. Give up, and add in addition personal information about yourself that it turns out is not actually optional after all!
  24. Remember yesterday when you copied the “CD Key” from steam? Well since a day has passed, do that again.
  25. Even though you have a “square-enix account” (and a “square-enix account”) and a “playonline account” you now need a “service account” to redeem your code. So click on that handy “Add a service account” button.
  26. You will see a familiar looking series of five text boxes like you might expect for a CD Key. So click in that first box and Ctrl-V to paste in the code. This will paste the first 4 digits in the first box, and leave the other 4 boxes blank because I guess this is still 2003.
  27. Re-open the CD Key on steam. Resize and arrange your windows so you can see both at the same time. Type in the code manually. Click next.
  28. This screen will tell you two things. First, that the code you entered is only for a 14 day limited trial of the game. Secondly, that you need to create a service account before you can add a code. Wait, didn’t I click on the “Add a service account” button? YES. I CLICKED THE ADD SERVICE ACCOUNT BUTTON. THERE ARE ONLY TWO GODDAMN BUTTONS, ONE SAYS ADD SERVICE ACCOUNT BUT IF YOU WANT TO ADD A SERVICE ACCOUNT THAT IS NOT THE ONE YOU CLICK WHAT THE SHIT WHO THE FUCK MADE THIS HOW IS THIS STILL THE WAY IT IS YOU HAD ELEVEN GODDAMN YEARS TO WORK ON THIS AND THIS BULLSHIT IS STILL A THING SERIOUSLY SERIOUSLY JESUS CHRIST THIS IS GODDAMN FUCKING UNACCEPTABLE WHY AM I DOING THIS SHIT fuckffxi2
  29. Alright, you had a good night’s sleep! Time to resume! And today the xbox disk you ordered on Amazon is arriving, so you can use that code, and now you know how! Problems solved! This time click on the “Play Online” button to add a service account.
  30. Add the code from the insert in your xbox copy of the game. It’ll show you a list of all the content you own, including the base game and all expansions. Also on this screen you can purchase additional characters, why would you? Spending money? pfft.
  31. Okay! Done with account management. See how easy that was! Go into steam and launch the game.
  32. The “PlayOnline Launcher” will open. It will need to update itself IMMEDIATELY even though you just downloaded it.
  33. It will then prompt you for a PlayOnline profile and to create one, you need to give it your square-enix account username and your PlayOnline account username and your PlayOnline account password. Hope you wrote them down!
  34. After this, click on Final Fantasy XI. This will give you an error message about not having any “Content IDs”
  35. Google a bit. Learn that the default number of characters you get is ZERO. You have to pay for the game itself, pay a monthly fee to have the game, and pay an additional monthly fee to actually HAVE A CHARACTER. WHAT THE FUCK no. I’m not going to get angry. This is incredibly dumb, but I’m going to keep my cool and push through.
  36. Okay, lets log back into the account management, and add a character. OH FUCKING GREAT I HAVE TO ADD A CREDIT CARD IN ORDER TO HAVE A CHARACTER FOR MY FREE TRIAL OF COURSE whatever. I’ll put in a credit card since I’m just going to cancel this shit later since I don’t even think the game is any good and certainly not worth this.
  37. Launch the game again! This time you’ll get in for sure.
  38. It has to patch first.
  39. JESUS
  40. FUCKING
  41. CHRIST
  42. COULDN’T YOU HAVE JUST HAD THE MOST RECENT VERSION DOWNLOADED
  43. COULDN”T I HAVE STARTED THE PATCHING MUCH EARLIER IN THE PROCESS
  44. I REALLY NEED TO PAY YOU FOR A CHARACTER IN ORDER TO PATCH
  45. SERIOUSLY?
  46. FINE I’LL WAIT FOR THIS BULLSHIT TO PATCH BECAUSE I AM DETERMINED TO PLAY THIS GARBAGE TONIGHT
  47. CALCULATING TIME REMAINING
  48. TWENTY HOURS FUCK FUCK FUCK REALLY
  49. Alright, you wake up the next morning ready to go! Go downstairs to see if it’s finished
  50. “You have been disconnected from PlayOnline because you were idle for 20 minutes” OH MY GOD ARE YOU FUCKING SERIO oh false alarm it actally finished. phew! That was a close one!
  51. Okay, go through the like 12 step process clicking through the PlayOnline launcher to get to the actual game.
  52. Wow! Glorious 640×480 graphics! Since it’s not 2003, you’ll want to update that to 1920×1080. Okay where is that settings button to change that…
  53. Close the game, close the launcher, go to steam and launch the config utility. Set the resolution to 1920×1080 in three different places.
  54. Go through the 12 step process to get to the actual game again. This time it looks much better, but still not good.
  55. Oh joy! Another error! What could this one say “Expansion content is not installed and will not be accessible”. Well what the shit were you installing for 20 hours? I clearly have a license for the content!
  56. Look on the official website for expansion client – fruitless.
  57. Look online for the expansion client – fruitless.
  58. Go on steam and look for any DLC, there isn’t any, and the store page for the game is gone.
  59. Search Steam, find that although “Final Fantasy XI” is no longer listed, “Final Fantasy XI Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition” is. Go to that page, and download that?
  60. No, you can’t download that. You can buy it for only 30 bucks! BUT I ALREADY OWN THIS LIKE LEGITIMATELY LEGALLY OWN THIS JUST LET ME HAVE MY SHIT.
  61. Hey, steam has your back though! Previous owners of Final Fantasy XI can get the updated game for a special discounted price! Okay, good. Thirty bucks was pretty expensive for something you should already own. Okay, what’s the discounted price OH WAIT THIRTY BUCKS IS THE DISCOUNTED PRICE JOKES ON YOU FUCKER
  62. REALLY?
  63. At this point you have two choices: Give up and quit like a fucking quitter, or suck it up, pay the 30 bucks and power through. It is payday after all, but it really blows the “lets just try this free game i have” all to shit.
  64. WAIT. You own this on XBOX! You can just play this on xbox 360 on the treadmill and forget the pc version ever happened.
  65. Read the box of the xbox game. “Players 1” “Players Online 2-100+” “Storage required to save 13GB” Teehee those are some wacky requirements!
  66. Remember that the xbox in front of the treadmill is the cheaper model with a 2GB hard drive
  67. FUCK
  68. FUCK
  69. FUCK
  70. Okay GOD DAMN IT i have come too far have nothing to show for it! I’LL REBUY THE PC VERSION I DON’T EVEN CARE JUST FUCKING WORK THIS TIME
  71. “In order to install, you will need to ‘Delete Local Content’ for any previous versions of Final Fantasy XI you own on Steam” SURE, LETS FLUSH ALL THE WORK FROM STEPS 32-54 DOWN THE FUCKING TOILET I DON’T GIVE A FUCK
  72. Download the game on Steam
  73. Launch the PlayOnline Launcher; it needs to update itself
  74. Recreate your PlayOnline Profile using both you SquareEnix and PlayOnline account data
  75. Start installing the 20-hour patch
  76. Remind yourself how Rift went from download the client (right off their website!) to playable in SIX FUCKING MINUTES NOT 4 FUCKING DAYS
  77. Get to the game GOD DAMN IT SHIT GRAPHICS
  78. Close the game
  79. Run the config utility
  80. Change the resolution to 1920×1080 in three different places
  81. Log into the PlayOnline Launcher again and get to the game
  82. VICTORY MOTHERFUCKER
  83. I AM A FUCKING CHAMPION
  84. wow this game isn’t very good

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MMORPG.com features a fantastic interview today with original lead designer and producer of EverQuest Brad McQuaid, in which he provides some interesting backstory on the inspiration and development of the game.

This is great fun to read for a longtime fan, but as someone who enjoyed (read: suffered through) the olden days of “The Vision,” I do have to take issue with some of the interview’s assertions.

First of all, I can’t agree that original EQ created “themepark” style games. I really think World of Warcraft deserves that distinction, and though EverQuest was undeniably the inspiration for and spiritual progenitor of WoW, calling EQ a “themepark” is a huge stretch. A “theme park” is not simply an area centered around some kind of theme, it’s also a place for harmless play, a place carefully constructed to create the idea of adventure while simultaneously ensuring that no actual harm can possibly befall you. Playing original EQ, with its punitive consequences for failure and bad luck alike, was really more akin to being a deer on a game preserve.

Secondly, though McQuaid insists that their intention was to create a game first/world second, I don’t think they managed to meet this goal. Much of the “game” in launch-era EQ was sort of like winding a jack-in-the-box toy which, 99 times out of 100, would punch you square in the jaw when triggered. The 100th time, though, you get a great, gleaming golden egg.

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A brief aside

So today was the official opening day for new MMO Rift, though the game has been available to pre-order subscribers for a week or two already. I’ll be passing on this title, but I’d like to note that once upon a time, when Trion Worlds’ Creative Director Scott Hartsman served as lead producer for EverQuest II, ¬†he effected an amazing turnaround for the title, transforming it from a jumbled mishmash of systems lifted from other games into a truly fun game with a direction and feel of its own. I wish Scott and the team at Trion all the best.

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