by Hunter Crowell
Final Fantasy XI has become a huge hit with gamers and the general public. It is a very appealing title and has caught the attention of a major cross-section of society. It now enjoys a passionate following and has built up a substantial community of fans.
The success of Final Fantasy XI is interesting because it appeals to a great variety of players. The game has appealed to fans of the series, to fans of online games, and to new players as well. The Final Fantasy series obviously had many fans to begin with but this didn’t guarantee that they would take to the new title. The series’ move into online gaming was different and initially the fans weren’t sure if it would work. The excellence of the game removed any concerns or fears that they might have had.
A wide range of people play Final Fantasy XI. The game naturally appeals to the young, with many teenagers playing it. Adults enjoy it too, with the opportunity to be in a simulated world proving to be a major draw. The world of Vana’diel is a family experience for some – people will play it with their parents, while brothers and sisters will compete against one another in the game. The feature that allows two characters to ‘marry’ each other encourages couples to play together as well.
The fanbase of Final Fantasy XI is global, reflecting the international make-up of the Vana’diel player base itself. The game was released in phases, first of all in Japan, followed by America, and then finally in Europe, and it developed a following everywhere it was launched. The fact that everyone plays together on the same servers helps the fan community to thrive, as the fans all directly interact with each other in the game. Players can meet people from other countries and bond with them.
The world of Vana’diel acts as a home for the Final Fantasy XI fanbase. You can become acquainted with other fans and then see their characters in the game world itself. There are special in-game events that help Vana’diel to feel like a proper community. Celebrations and festivals are common and are open to every player. There are also tournaments and sporting events where teams can compete at activities like Ballista, in a kind of virtual championship.
Final Fantasy XI has an extensive presence on the Internet. There is an official site that provides news and information for the game’s fans. The game’s developers Square Enix have established a good relationship with the fanbase and the official site is well run and full of interesting material. It serves as a focal point for anyone who is interested in the game. In general, the attention and warmth that Square show towards players is impressive.
Final Fantasy XI has a large number of unofficial fan sites as well. Players set up web sites containing guides for the game and forums where they can discuss every aspect of it. The fan sites are often beautifully made and feature lavish artwork and images. They convey the love and affection that people have for this title. The fans are very creative and like to write ‘fan fiction’ stories that have been directly inspired by the game. They also make fan ‘movies’ based upon their own personal game footage.
There have been special fan events held for Final Fantasy XI. In October 2004 there was the Anniversary Masquerade event in the San Francisco Metreon. This was a celebration to mark the game’s first year of release in America. Fans wore special costumes modelled upon characters from the game, and took part in contests and challenges. There were prizes to win and gifts for all of the attendees. It was a party with music and dancing and it proved to be very popular.
There is a special Final Fantasy XI Fan Festival taking place in Los Angeles in March 2006. This event has much to offer to enthusiasts of the game. It features the premiere of the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion and includes the opportunity to speak with the game’s developers. It is set to be the largest fan event to date.
Overall, the fanbase of Final Fantasy XI is going from strength to strength and faces a bright future. It is a community of players from many different backgrounds and age groups. Its presence is pleasing and enriches the whole experience of the game.
Hunter Crowell is a researcher, marketer, and an avid online gamer, including Final Fantasy XI and also the creator of Buy FFXI Gil Price List, a web site setup to help players find the cheapest place to buy their FFXI Gil. http://www.ffxi-gil.info
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