Open Beta Impressions

Initial Alpha testing for Square Enix’s newest MMO has been going on since April now, and finally just weeks before the games September 22nd release, the general populous has been invited to take part in an open beta test. General reaction around the globe so far has been somewhat mixed, amongst both FFXI veterans and newcomers alike. I fall into the former group so the majority of my beta impressions thus far are in direct comparison to the standards I’ve come to expect from their prior MMO efffort.


+ The graphics are great, and the art direction is beautiful. Featuring sprawling environments, gorgeous vistas, and a rich color pallette, it’s one of the best looking MMOs to date.

+ Nobuo Uematsu returns to compose the entire soundtrack; the first Final Fantasy for which he has done  in 10 years, and it’s fantastic. The quality here is just something that you will not see in any other MMO.

+ Character creation is much deeper this time around, and the probability of running into another player out there with the same exact model on your server, or in just in general is highly unlikely.

+ What very little there is to see of any story thus far is very well crafted and extremely cinematic. Each of the 3 starting city-states have unique and engaging  opening segments. This is something ultimately set XI apart from it’s competitors, and all indications point to this being a strong point this time as well.

The Moggles, they do nothing!

+ The Armory class change system is a very nice addition. You can change your class at will by changing your equipped weapon, which is incredibly convenient. The ability to customize your current class with abilities that you have earned from other classes is also an interesting twist on XI’s subjob system.


– The biggest problem with the game as it is now is the user interface, and its a major issue. Menu navigation is slow and laggy, and the layout is nonsensical. Doing things as simple as changing your equipment, or setting up macros is much more of a hassle than it needs to be. This is baffling considering how easy FFXI’s UI was to use.

– The Auction House is non-existent at this point, and its unclear whether or not one will be added for retail release. Instead of the auction house they’ve added something called the retainer system. You can hire NPCs to set up personal shops and sell your items for you, even while you are offline. This is a good concept, but as the main means of commerce it is just a waste of time. Instead of browsing a simple to use Auction House, you’re reduced to going into these wards areas which are filled with players shops to browse, you’re forced to browse every shop until you find what you’re looking for, and if you hope to have a price comparison you’ll just have to keep browsing everyone’s separate shops. It’s a complete mess. It’s more efficient to simply shop at NPC vendors even if you end up paying more. Again it’s a nice way to set up player shops, but an Auction House without unnecessary tax would work infinitely better.

– Targeting is clunky and frustrating. With the lack of an auto-attack, dealing with multiple enemies usually ends up with you awkwardly trying to target the next enemy after defeating one, losing precious time in the process.

– The Search function isn’t where it needs to be. Again this is something that in comparison to XI is just a huge step back.

Now, it’s important to remember that this is still a beta, the game will definitely be patched many times in the coming weeks and theoretically all these issues could be addressed for retail release. At this point, this isn’t a recommendation or condemnation. I’m still excited, and it is still addicting, but it remains to be seen what kind of longevity it can have.

Open Beta Application

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