Ah that first climb to max level. How can anyone forget their first time in whichever MMO they were playing? It’s just one of those special memorable experiences that anyone that loves this genre should never forget. I’m sure there were a lot of good and bad moments in everyone’s first time, but you stuck with it and here we all are writing about them. Today i thought i’d continue of from my post about where it started for me and share a bit of my experience leveling for the first time. I’m talking about the journey so don’t stop believing. Sorry i had to.
I have fond memories of soloing crabs for my first ten levels in which i had to rest for a few minutes between just to stay alive. Dying meant exp loss or even down-leveling if my buffer wasn’t adequate enough. Yes this happened a lot to everyone, at the worst possible times of course, but we accepted it and got our butts back up and moved on. I was always super cautious and took my sweet time and managed to get myself to level ten without much issue.
Then the first group leveling area opened up. Oh the joys of looking around and realizing i was one of a dozen other warriors standing around waiting for a group to form just to level. FFXI was a group centered game that required grouping for everything. This was the norm back then so i didn’t think anything of it. So my first wait began shortly followed by my first train to zone. I remember seeing the shouts and not knowing what trains even were. I learned that lesson pretty quickly haha! That was the beauty of the entire system i thought – you either learned to adapt quickly or you didn’t advance.
The game didn’t teach these lessons to anyone, it was up to everyone to pay attention and learn just to avoid downtime and progress. Oh there was so much downtime though, which was normal. I lost count of how many of my evening were completely wasted as i waiting for a group invite for up to 8 hour stretches. I had my TV on so that helped pass the time but the journey was slow and steady even at the best times. Getting one level a day was satisfying but on occasion two happened and it was magical.
My overall journey took eight entire months before i hit the cap, which was 75 at the time. This was late November or early December of 2004. I have no screenshots of this time period which is a shame. Unfortunately around this time something else happened that would forever change the genre for good and bad. We thought it was the end of our world but i’ll get into that tomorrow!