Final Fantasy XI Vs Lineage II

Since the PS2 release of Final Fantasy 11, I have been playing the game on my computer to run around with friends and do what have you. The game cost me $40 at the time and since then, I have had to pay an additional $60 for two expansions ($30 each), not to mention an additional $13.95/month for access to my main character and a spare to hold extra items.

Don’t misunderstand me. This is a great game. It has a unique (for Final Fantasy) story that pits the three nations of San’Doria, Windrust, and Bastok against the beastman hoards. However, the game also has competition between the three nations to control the world itself. More so, the nation of Jeuno which holds dominance over all three kingdoms is a vile place run by a malevolent dictator dubbed the Archduke.

With the Aht Urghan expansion, the players of the game have been introduced to an entirely new kingdom on a new continent. There have been several issues with this chapter of the game and it has been constantly modified since its release. Again, Square-Enix (formally my favorite two companies for RPGs) has let its customers down in releasing something that should have been worked on a bit better before its release.

The Blue Mage job released with Aht Urghan is one of the most fun jobs I have played in the game, and I have tested each out to some extent. It has a great deal of power comparable to a black mage’s nuking potential at a warrior’s melee speed. This of course is very limited by the Blue Mage’s magic pool, but still lethal in quick doses.

In comparison, recently I have been introduced to Lineage II, which has had a lot of bad reviews and I can’t argue with many of them. The system is relatively simple to use and it took me five minutes to get myself into a simple understanding of the game mechanics. Any complaint to the difficulty of the interface is strictly opinion and you need to try it out for yourself.

Lineage II is completely free to download, but their main game servers charge a monthly fee of $15 or pay $143.40/yearly subscription. Alternatively, Lineage II has made it clear that anyone who wishes can create a private server and the game can be played absolutely free. I found Evolva’s low experience private server (http://lineage.evolva.ro/) to be the best choice and have been playing with them for several days now. The problem with a private server is that not all the data in the full game is there and on some small occasions, it can be a bit annoying. For instance, some of the rivers have not been coded as rivers and so you have no choice but to walk across the basin as opposed to swimming across the river. This private server has the same functionality as the main game otherwise and fully allows you to keep up to date with the free expansions as well.

Everyone that has said anything nice about Lineage II has said something along the following, so let me get it out of the way. The graphics in Lineage II are beautifully done. The music is wonderful and chosen specifically to add a certain feel to each town you walk into. Final Fantasy’s music in town was great for about the first half hour of gameplay, now I’d rather keep my music muted most of the time I’m in a city. The graphics fall between almost as good as Lineage II and laughable at worse.

The dwarven race, which I play, has some interesting crafting ability to make up for its lack of magical prowess and I can keep a steady supply of arrows and weapons at the ready with a little effort. Final Fantasy’s crafting system is a frustrating attempt to waste what precious little money you get in the game which has led to selling in-game currency for real world money that has actually had an impact on real world economy. People have created companies that pay people to play Final Fantasy XI to rake in gil (currency) to sell to players for profit. Some people play this game like it is their life and not a recreational game. Final Fantasy XI is not a recreational game to at least half the playerbase. Final Fantasy XI has taken over people’s lives. I’ve even heard rumor that Final Fantasy XI has been the cause of couples breaking up on more than one occasion because they can’t understand reality vs game, but I digress.

In-game travel is a pain in Final Fantasy. This holds true after getting to level twenty and being able to ride a chocobo. This holds true after reaching rank five in your city and being able to get permission to ride airships. The only way to travel in Final Fantasy XI that isn’t a pain is to use the teleportation system which is excellent. Of course, to get access to the system, you have to first run a supply mission to each area while your nation is in control of it. I still haven’t gotten them all and I will never switch allegiances cause then they’ll all be undone.

In-game travel in Lineage II is pleasant and money driven. You can get from point A to point B with relative ease using either a mount, the teleport system in each town, or walking/swimming. I personally like swimming a lot. The teleport system is open to anyone as long as they can pay the affordable price to teleport.

Lineage II has a branching class system that allows you to branch into more specific forms of your original class as you level up. Final Fantasy has single class options that you can choose to level individually. In Lineage II, a magic-user can evolve either offensively, defensively, or balanced between the two. In Final Fantasy XI, the classes are generic and every warrior thief or black mage is the same as any other warrior thief or black mage as long as you have the hard to come by currency to pay for it all.

The quest system in Final Fantasy XI is a disgrace. The rewards for completing quests are mostly useless or just plain not worth the time to do the mission when you can find the reward easier elsewhere. With a few exceptions for white or black magic scrolls that are expensive, quests are only to be done so that you can have the fame to be known in the area so you can earn your right to face off with the god avatars for a summoner to earn the right to summon them. This leaves the entirety of Final Fantasy XI to be based around grind gring grind until you reach level 75. Upon reaching level 75, you are welcome to go with other players who will stab you in the back for gear in Dynamis, Sky, Sea, or any other form of Hyper Notorious Monster hunting. The new areas in Aht Urghan are specifically designed for these high level people to go and play in because if you aren’t at least level 58 with five more people with you, you aren’t stepping foot into those zones to level in. Final Fantasy XI has become nothing more than an end-game game. If you aren’t level 60+, there is nothing that is really worth doing.

The quest system is simple in Lineage II as you can always go to your quest list and see how you are doing on any quest. Your quest items that you gather are kept separate in your inventory so you don’t accidently sell them. In Final Fantasy, your character has extraordinarily limited carrying capacity. Lineage II is limited by your strength and can be increased by leveling your skill. I haven’t gone even close to half of my characters carrying capacity yet in Lineage II. The rewards for doing quests are great and almost always useful. Harder quests that you complete mean better rewards in the end. I earned over 100,000 adenia (currency) for completing the last quest I did and got a nice shield that was worth about 3,000 more. The money reward was excellent. The shield was not of interest since I use hand-to-hand weaponry at this point in time when I’m not doing archery. The quest was only mildly difficult to complete and was well worth it as it earned me more than twice what I had on me in adenia. This game has quests that range from low level to high level and are fun things to do. Lineage II is a game that has been designed to be fun from level one onward.

Alright, now I would like to turn around and show the upside of Final Fantasy to Lineage II. Final Fantasy has a complex and overarching story that spans the entirety of the game and an additional substory with each expansion. In addition to minor story events that come with some of the quests. This is the only reason to do all the quests, because you never know when one of them might have a good cut scene. I’m a sucker for a good FMV (Full Motion Video) every now and then. The arrival of the Wyrm King Bahamut was a personal favorite of mine.

Lineage II has a good, albeit short, story that you can read on the game’s main site. Outside of this, there are no FMVs that I have seen yet outside of the ones you download from their page. Their intro movie on the website isn’t even actually in the game. It would have been a nice touch to have included it, perhaps during the loading time for the game at the start instead of the black screen that makes you wonder if the game is hanging and not going to actually start.

Lineage II’s great graphics also mean that more processing power and a better video card are suggested, but if you can run Final Fantasy XI, you can run Lineage II, just remember it can take a minute to load an area. Unlike Final Fantasy though, which has many many zones, Lineage has one zone. Everything is one huge map. This is something that I love about the game. The only zoning that you do in Lineage II is teleporting, returning to the village when you die, and loading the game itself.

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