I was quite surprised to hear that last year SE announced a sequel to their online RPG Final Fantasy XI. Sure as hell I checked out their site and there it was, Final Fantasy XIV. From the graphics it's basically FFXI with different scenery, they still have the same old races but with different names to them. Nothing beats recycling garbage, huh? A few years back I was an FFXI player and had a high level character and doing endgame activities. Unlike WoW the levelling system and endgame is more competitive as you fight against others to claim monsters. While in WoW you have the choice of doing things on your own or with others to level up or earn xp from grinding instances, FFXI limits you after the first few starter levels to doing things with a group. In order to earn xp successfully you need to have a tank, a healer, someone capable of refreshing your healers' mana, and 3 dps. Earning the xp was much slower too, it could take several minutes to down a single monster for a mediocre amount of xp, and the world bosses at endgame could take hours to kill. Endgame was mostly camping a boss out which had a 21-24 hour spawn window. If you didn't know when it was due up you'd station someone willing to sit and wait, announce to your linkshell to come and get it when it appeared or note down its time of death for the next day to go out and camp it out. Often you'd be competing against other linkshells and even real money traders who would camp it out, and you'd find especially with the rmt's they'd use warp hacks and bots to warp to and claim the boss first. Some other special world bosses had 3 day respawn windows and required a large alliance of players to defeat it, and the more common ones would take approximately an hour to reappear and would require spawning by killing placeholders. The more common ones were always camped out by rmt's which caused much frustration amongst legit players. Other endgame activities included Dynamis which was a weekly instance and required a huge alliance of players. To enter it one player would have to purchase a highly expensive hourglass and then divide the hourglass between all the players so they could enter the instance. Dynamis was a phased part of the zone you were in and littered with monsters which would link in large packs, requiring several tanks to take them on and mages using crowd control on the ones that were not currently being attacked. There were also bosses which were spawned by defeating certain packs of mobs and everything had a chance to drop class-specific gear. There were also other instanced areas for differing levels known as Burning Circles. These were level-capped instances and depending on the level and choice of burning circle were either soloable or required a party. Because they were level capped they would de-level you temporarily, requiring you to have a full gear set for that level or else you'd go in naked. In order to enter the burning circles you needed a certain number of rare coins that were obtained when killing mobs that gave experience points. Usually these burning circles only had 1 boss in it and all you had to do was enter the instance, grab the boss and kill it. The only thing in your way was the route to the burning circle which could take hours to reach it and would require fighting through hostile mobs to reach the safe zone. If you failed to kill the boss in the instance then you lost all the coins it cost you to enter and you are not refunded them, and if you managed to kill the boss then you'd be given a bunch of rewards to split between your group which could range from being total rubbish to being highly valuable. A similar instance to the burning circle was the Summoner instances. These took a few days to reset before you could enter again. Summoner instances were originally to help summoners get their newest avatars, but were later being farmed out for gold. As with the burning circle instances you'd have to travel through hostile terrain to get to them. Sky and Sea zones were new places for higher level players to level in when the level cap was increased. These offered a new world of mobs, especially Sea, but required doing specific missions in order to enter them. I did not get to do a great deal in Sea as at that point my linkshell had disbanded and nobody else was recruiting, but I did get to experience a lot in Sky. The endgame had changed from camping a boss to camping a named mob that would drop an item which when used with other items would spawn one of 4 bosses that required an alliance to kill it. Each of these 4 bosses would drop a specific item and could be respawned as many times as you had items to spawn it. The 4 items obtained from the 4 bosses would be used to spawn an even more difficult boss inside the heart of Sky called Kirin. Although there was quite a vast amount to do at endgame the fact is that to do anything in the game you needed to do it with others and it took too long. If you weren't in a linkshell you couldn't do anything and would have to try your luck with shouting in the major cities for anyone needing an extra person for their alliance. There was also the frustration of competition and waiting around staring at a screen for hours for a mob to spawn. There was very little you could do on your own, most classes found soloing anything that was easy prey was too difficult and took too long to do. If a zone was camped out by players monopolising all the mobs in it to level on then you'd have to go elsewhere to a point you wouldn't be able to level up because everything was overcamped. Death penalties were also rather nasty, throwing you back to your save point if you don't get resurrected and taking off a portion of your earned experience points to the point you could get delevelled and even going naked if the gear you was wearing is now higher level than you as a result of losing your level. Being resurrected would reimburse some of your level but if you are not in a party with someone capable of resurrecting you then you're at the mercy of some kind stranger resurrecting you or having to choke the penalty and release to your save point. Since their last expansion I've heard rumours that a lot of things have changed, including the levelling system where you can enter a lower level zone and be temporarily delevelled in order to earn experience points as if you were that level, and the gear you are wearing will also have its stats reduced to match that level so that you don't have to carry different sets and risk going part-naked. A lot of the common world bosses had their drops changed to be bound when picked up and the bound when equipped counterparts were made as rewards from the burning circles. This was to stop the common world bosses from being overcamped by rmt's and people who were just purely farming them for gold. I haven't played FFXI since 4 or 5 years ago. I've thought about trying it again to see what changes have taken place since I last played it, but aside the fact there's the typical monthly fee aswell as the purchase of a new game and expansion packs there's also the dreaded thought of the amount of time it takes to download and install all the latest patches.