I thought i’d spend today on a bit of a nostalgia trip and talk about when and where my obsession with MMORPG’s began. I wish i could say i was in on the ground floor, so to say, but my journey began years after the first generation of Ultima Online, EverQuest, and Asheron’s Call launched the genre in the late 90’s. I was simply working too many hours at my job at the time to have any sort of available time for online gaming. As anyone who played them knows, those games required a ridiculous time commitment. They were basically second jobs. Ironically, that would still ring true during my time in the second gen.
My time actually began, surprisingly, on the PS2! That’s right, i was a console peasant at the time and had heard about this new game being released based in the Final Fantasy universe. Well that struck me in all the right spots being a huge fan of the franchise and i had to have it! So i headed out the door to my nearest Best Buy and purchased my first MMORPG – Final Fantasy XI in March of 2014. I remember to this day the huge box the game came in due to it requiring a hard drive. At the time i think this was the first and only game on the PS2 that actually required the HDD, in order to receive patches of course. It was definitely all new to me but absolutely exciting at the same time.
Speaking of patches – before i could play i obviously had to install the game and update everything while also creating accounts for numerous services all on my super fast DSL connection. It was a nightmare as you can imagine. Disconnects left and right and at one point i think my PS2 overheated from being on for so long. I think i spent my entire night waiting for the game to be ready. Ironically again, this was something i’d have to get used to as i’d be waiting around a lot once i finally made it into the game. You think you have a long wait for groups and content now? Back in my day we waited days for groups and there was no content. Leveling was our content! That’s the way it was and we liked it! Hehe, no it was terrible but we didn’t know any better.
My original PS2 game box and all the discs associated with it seem to have been lost over the years and several moves across states. That’s what i assume happened anyway because i’ve torn up my house looking for them with no luck. I did manage to dig up the PS2 and the rest of my old games though but no FFXI disks. Luckily about a year after i started playing i decided to migrate over to the PC version. It’s amazing to think now that we had a cross platform MMORPG and everyone played together over 15 years ago. My PC disks managed to survive the move in a pretty beat up box, but i’ll take it! They’re a nice reminder of how many round plastic circles were required for some games back then.
I can’t believe i even found the original Brady Games Strategy Guide for the game as well. This was sort of a joke at the time or maybe it evolved into one over the course of the game, but i still remember the meme’s. Anyone that ever asked a question was immediately trolled with “you should consult the Brady Games Guide” or something to that effect. Then there was the absolutely atrocious PlayOnline Viewer that i found the disk for as well. I think this was SE’s attempt at a Battle.net type system but it never panned out for some reason. Having to log into multiple accounts before being able to log into the game had a lot to do with that i think. Oh and that log in music still instantly induces rage whenever i hear it, which i don’t anymore. Well sometimes i still have nightmares about it but that’s another story for another time.