Returning after 6 mo. hiatus

About six months ago, I had stopped playing WoW for three reasons:

– Money
– Was caught up in FFXI, again
– The boyfriend’s computer could no longer handle it (its a dinosaur)

Last night, I decided to reactivate my account after some deep thought and like the last time I returned from a long hiatus… things were upside down and so different that I had a hard time figuring out just where I should spend my Talent Points (FFXI: Merits).

Now, unlike FFXI, I can generally get back into the swing of things fairly easy. Even though BRD, for example, is a little different than when I first started playing it years ago, it is still fairly the same with heavy important on singing, pulling, and sleeping adds. I come into WoW and I find all my Talents are wiped, Shaman has some nifty skills and additions added to the system, and a few other changes that totally blew my mind away.

In fact, I am still trying to figure out just what kind of build I am going to try out next for my Hunter and Shaman.

I think this is what I both like and dislike about WoW. I like that you can pick up after a long time, not worrying if your characters are going to be purged from the system. I also like how easier it is to level solo. What sometimes frustrate me? How patches can totally change how the game is, and trying to get a bearing on all those buttons you had put and mastered on your screen before… only to start out kind of like a baby and try to figure out just what all of them do again because there are so many of them!

Starting out again in WoW, so far, has been a lot of fun. Mekare (my bestest friend in FFXI) has been helping me out clear instances and get loot, and I’ve been remembering why WoW was a great break away from FFXI. More importantly, I am looking forward to being able to play other games with the boyfriend soon. Azeroth is fun with Mekare and solo, but I sorely miss playing with my bald headed, tentacle chinned, and Hunter obsessed boyfriend.

Opening the Path of Communication

Thanks to Corinth from Eorzeapedia, there is a new translated article from an issue of Famitsu that features an interview with FFXI’s and now FFXIV’s Global Producer – Sage Sundi. After reading the translated version of the interview with Sage Sundi, however, a sickening feeling of dread came over me.

I am mostly in annoyance over their reasoning over NOT having a global official community forum because of “language barriers”, but going as far as making a claim that they do not want to give up on cross-regional servers because doing so would be a step backwards.

Do not get me wrong here; I like global servers. I have met some decent EU players and I still fondly remember the kindness the JP showed me and my boyfriend when we first started playing FFXI. But I feel that if you are going to choose to do this as a company and create a diverse environment for different regional players, then you should have no reason against creating a single and/or official forum for people to be able to voice their opinions, concerns, or questions.

During a conversation with a fellow FFXIV blog member, the thought came that S-E just wants to control their customers. If this is the case, I think that S-E has failed to understand that their customers are not blithering idiots. People already see the double standards, how illogical S-E’s stance is on the matter and how unbalanced it is given that not even the JP has a proper outlet to express themselves to the dev team.

I think that if they were to create a community, they could easily create different forums on the community to pander to the different languages. Translators could provide communication between the community and dev team, or at least hire people who have more experience/understanding with the game to be a go between. What is more important is that there is a platform that truly allows the customer/player to be able to freely communicate their thoughts and ideas to the dev team, and for us to get simultaneous feedback that feels as though they are sincerely hearing our concerns and addressing them. The dependency on Premier Sites is only putting a barrier between player and company and does not help those who feel discourage to contribute in communities were reputation matters by how many posts you have made vs. the quality of the information and concerns you bring up.

It is clear, however, that both sides of the table are interested in opening up paths of discussion. The dev team has already expressed wanting to get as much feedback from the beta testers to know what works and what doesn’t before things are set into stone. This itself is monumental, but is frustrating in and of itself given that the only road block between both sides wanting to exchange dialogue is Sage Sundi and his team. However, given that the game is not even in its beta stages, there is hope (albeit a rather slim one) that maybe Sage Sundi will have a change of heart and create an official community since he had expressed wanting to search for new ways of communication previously unavailable in FFXI.

Thoughts on the Sept. 09 FFXIV Beta Rumors

In about four months, we will reach into a year Square-Enix has said they will release two of their highly anticipated games: Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIV. Already rumors have spread since June of beta testing starting as early as mid September, and that a private beta has begun as early as July-August. Even though there isn’t much to go on to believe that this is true, I decided to do some research into the likelihood of such a possibility of a September beta or how unlikely it may be.

Final Fantasy XI

Before we can even look at other MMORPGs, let us first take a look at FFXIV’s predecessor: Final Fantasy XI. It is said that the beta took place approximately four months NA side. At this time, they were doing a PC release only since the PS2 release would not take place until March 23, 2004 in North America. The short beta could probably be attributed to the fact that the game had already been in Japan since May 16, 2002 on the PS2 and November 7, 2002 for the PC. That is almost a year difference for the PC alone, and some issues would have already been pointed out on Japanese servers beforehand. The system specs of the time are also obviously dated and did not require as much horsepower as they do now. 30 FPS at the time was the norm, and the fact that the minimum requirement was a Pentium III also gives one to pause to think of when such a thing existed! Recommended requirements would most likely garner a chuckle nowadays with a Pentium 4 with 256 MB Memory, NVIDIA® GeForce FX™ series or GeForce 6 series, and Direct X 8.1 sound card!

Though I have no knowledge of how long the beta took for the JP PC release, I managed to find that the closed testing started in August of 2001 and ended with a public test in December of that same year for the PS2. If that were the case, that is approximately the same length of time as the NA test if they did no further testing in 2002.

MMOs After Final Fantasy XI

So what about after Final Fantasy XI? What about popular MMOs like WoW? Well, WoW’s closed beta time started on March 18 2004 and ended on October that same year. Open beta for WoW started at around November 4, 2004 with the game launching on the 23rd of that month. So in total the beta lasted 9 months total; 5 months longer than the beta for FFXI in 2003. The five extra months were probably especially crucial given that the system requirements are higher than FFXIs and it was not tested in another market beforehand. Another sample MMO I had taken was Warhammer Online. Although it currently admits to lower subscriber numbers than the 7-year-old Veteran that is FFXI, their beta period was for almost 16 months! Warhammer’s closed beta started on May 30, 2007 and lasted up until September 7, 2008 with a brief open beta period before the game’s release date.

Then there is Lord of the Rings Online. Released before Warhammer but after WoW in the year of 2007, it had a quaint closed beta testing period of six – seven months with about one month worth of open beta testing available. Aion Online, a game I am currently beta testing, had an even shorter closed beta test period but also followed suit with Final Fantasy XI and had already been released in other countries before making its debut on North American shores.

So what about Final Fantasy XIV?

Going by what Square-Enix has announced, they plan on having a longer beta testing period for XIV than they did for XI and that the game will be released in 2010. I will stress the fact that they said just 2010 because there are several quarters in which they could actually make their release, and that there is a chance they could very well release it at the very end of 2010 while still doing plenty of beta testing in that same year. Even if they were not, the one main reason I have doubts of a Sept. beta test is because of the date that TGS falls upon: September 24 to September 27. Seeing as this is the Japanese equivalent to E3, I have a feeling that they would want to leave something for their home turf unless they decide to announce something completely different since they have announced to make an appearance at GAMEScom next week on Aug 19 – 23.

More than likely, I am hedging on October at the least and January of 2010 at the latest so that nothing would be taken away from their presence at TGS and would still allow for testing for at least several months even if they were to release their game in the middle of 2010. Unless, of course, they want to have a beta test as long as Warhammer’s was, and I am actually hoping for something closer to a year or more to ensure that FFXIV is more polished than FFXI was when it was released. This is particularly ideal since WoW still seems to be dominating the MMO scene and FFXI’s main appeal at the moment is that it is different than many of the WoW replicas released to date.

Despite my reservations, I am still keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed for a mid Sept. start on beta testing. S-E does, after all, have many different games they could still talk about at either convention and one can imagine that their fans are going mad with hunger for the limited information we have been given thus far. Let’s just hope that GamesCom will harbor new and hopeful news on the sought after date for the beta!

This isn’t goodbye; just a see-you-next-time

During the month of July, I had come to a realization that was a very hard pill to swallow: I had lost interest in FFXI. Its not that I hate the game (though I will admit to being incredibly frustrated with particular aspects), S-E, or wish I had regained all the time and money I had thrown into the game. The mere fact is this: my interest had started to dwindle with the announcement of FFXIV. I had kept on trucking regardless until my interest took a sharper turn downward when S-E had banned gardeners and labeled them RMT and that I had come to the acceptance that there are just some things I will never get to accomplish in the game that should be simple in theory but aren’t because of either in game mechanics or the simple fact of how I choose play the game and live my life.

Does that mean doink! will no longer be? No. I have decided recently that doink! will just be dedicated to gaming in general as was the original intent when I moved my blog from Livejournal to Vox and then onto my own personal domian. The primary focus of FFXI on doink! happened because that was where most of my attention was when I was free to play and because I knew that was how I would be able to attract and possibly retain viewers. I don’t care as much now, because I have found that writing in general makes me damned happy and if people read it- great! If not, then I’ll just be another droning voice on the internet. No big deal, since I at least I am paying droning voice on the net!

So what about FFXI and FFXIV? By the end of September, I will most likely cancel my accounts. I do not play as often anymore, and I don’t want to waste money playing a game I am not that interested in. I might return and I might change my mind, but for now it stands as a dead end for me unless something happens that will grip my attention without feeling forced to do it. With FFXIV, I am hoping to be added onto an already progressing blog project and contribute something useful in the community since it will be starting fresh. I already have plans and ideas formulating in my head, and I’m quite eager to be able to share these things. If it doesn’t work out, I will still continue what I do or create my own project.

In the mean time, I am going to be playing Aion (or WoW) and hope that when FFXIV beta testing starts that I will become accepted. I will also be writing about other gaming things such as Aion, Fat Princess, and maybe the messed up things I have been doing on Sims3 (its so bad that I’ve been called a jerk by several people). And if I do something note worthy in FFXI? Then you will definitely know of it! In the mean time, FFXI’ers, see-you-next-time!

Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds Concert

Last month, at Seattle’s beautiful Benaroya Hall, there were three beautiful days of Final Fantasy music being played downtown with the concert being further graced with the appearances of Arnie Roth and Nobuo Uematsu. Although I was unable to pay the $100 to meet both conductor and composer, I did sit close enough to see Nobuo and have a great view of the orchestra. It was amazing it and of itself that Seattle was able to get three concerts total and that they were able to get both Arnie and Nobuo to attend all three!

Unlike Play! from last year, there were some notable differences:

– Arnie Roth was actually present! This man is AMAZING. The energy he produces on the stage is nothing short of spectacular. His command of the orchestra is simply superb and there was an obvious difference in how the orchestra played during the Distant Worlds concert series vs. the Play! series when he was not present.

– They replaced the Seattle BoyChoir and VocalPoint! Seattle with a more professional and mature group: the Seattle Choral Company. Important in and of itself, since Liberi Fatali and One Winged Angel no longer sounded like children were being put into hard labor.

– Many more raving and screaming Nobuo fans. I thought it was funny when they were screaming while mispronouncing his name or saying something that didn’t really sound like Nobuo at all. It was like “whut?”

– Angela Nlederloh did a WONDERFUL job singing Distand Worlds AND the FF6 Opera! I actually prefer her singing in comparison to the original singer for the same song.

Now for the program itself:

  • Liberi Fatali
  • To Zanarkand
  • Don’t Be Afraid
  • Aerith’s Theme
  • Medley 2002
  • Dear Friends
  • Vamo’alla Flamenco
  • Love Grows
  • Ronafaure
  • FF: Main Theme


  • Bombing Mission
  • Fisherman’s Horizon
  • Memoro de la Stono – Distant Worlds
  • the Man with the Machine Gun
  • Theme of Love
  • Swind de Chocobo
  • Opera – Maria and Draco
  • Terra’s Theme
  • SPECIAL: One Winged Angel with guest singer NOBUO UEMATSU!

The last piece was snuck in the last minute, I believe after Nobuo threw his fish at the crowd. Yes, fish. I thought it was funny considering that is what Pike Place Market is known for. Too bad Arnie’s fish ended up… smacking someone in the orchestra.

Now, for those in Canada: the Distant Worlds Concert will be coming up to Vancouver sometime in October. My sister and I are debating going up because the set there will be different than the set list being played down in the US. For one, there is word that the Black Mages will be performing and that Nobuo Uematsu himself will take a more active role within the orchestra. I don’t know how much is true or not, but its only a few hours away from me and I do love Vancouver, BC a ton and who could say no to listening to favorite FF tunes being played LIVE? It is a great experience that I encourage anyone to attend!