Life in Vana’diel: 19 years in, Final Fantasy 11 is still an MMO unlike any other

Final Fantasy 11 was tough as nails. The version we can play in 2021 is accommodating, the end result of nearly two decades of quality of life improvements. But the early days were no joke. Every death would take a huge chunk of your experience—sometimes enough to de-level you and leave you naked, suddenly outleveled by your equipment. The difficulty galvanized the community, though, this subscription-based trial by fire. Suffering through a game is one thing, but suffering through it together with a tight-knit group of friends is an entirely different experience.

Like hobbits huddling around a campfire having survived a brush with death, these things bond you to those who can relate.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

The development team are caretakers, satisfying the hardcore fans who stick around. Someday it will be their job to shut the game down.

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