How Not To Launch An Expansion For Your Eleven Year MMO
The fifth expansion for the almost eleven year old Final Fantasy XI is arriving tomorrow and will activate sometime on Wednesday. I say sometime, because we still don’t know when the content for the expansion actually goes live.
Seekers of Adoulin was announced at VanaFest this past June with a trailer containing an odd voice over– but it’s OK because Final Fantasy XIV fans got one too. A new continent, new jobs, a private island, and the possibility of a new user interface were among the shiny things that Square Enix showed to its devoted players.
Well as it turns out, the private islands aren’t quite ready yet. The user interface also isn’t done, not even close. In fact in a recent statement regarding the new UI, it sounds like what was shown at VanaFest was just a mock up and that the development team hasn’t even gotten a working interface up to the point shown in the video. Matsui predicts a fall release for the new interface.
Unfortunately, delayed content isn’t the only issue that surfaced on the road to Adoulin.
One of the largest complaints is by North American users that still play the game on the PlayStation 2. Yes, there are still some people out there that do. While the game will be available for the PS2 in Japan, North America will not see a release. In fact, Japan will see physical releases for Seekers of Adoulin and Vanadiel Collection 4 on all platforms while other areas of the world will receive digital downloads and only a physical copy for the Xbox 360. Largely, I would agree that anyone playing this game on a PS2 these days needs to move on, but I’m just a player. Surely a company like SE who has said numerous times that they would continue support for the PS2 version of Final Fantasy XI wouldn’t alienate a section of their player-base?
After VanaFest, we had the chance to throw some questions at Square Enix, and one of them related to the absent NA PS2 release.
In evaluating the North American release of the expansion across all platforms, we needed to consider multiple factors, including the number of players exclusively on the system, and the costs associated with publishing or developing a stand-alone download. Regrettably, these two factors greatly determined our final decision to support the PC and Xbox platforms exclusively. However, we remain committed to supporting FINAL FANTASY XI on the PlayStation 2 platform for the foreseeable future.
In my world “supporting Final Fantasy XI on the PlayStation 2” means continuing to release all content on that platform. However their decision does make sense. If that many people aren’t playing it on PS2 in North America then why bother? Of course there are still plenty of people playing the game on a Windows XP machine too I’m sure, and support for that isn’t supported anymore. One might think that perhaps they’re trying to phase out PS2 players and perhaps persuade them to play on a different platform. If that was the case though, Japan wouldn’t be seeing a PlayStation 2 release either. Even then, the client is based around the PS2 so phasing it out really wouldn’t have any large scale effects outside of redoing the entire game. I’m sure people will move on once Geomancer’s effects have melted the remaining PS2s that are running this game.
Europeans have had it rough when it comes to Seekers of Adoulin. A thread on the official forums in January asked a simple question “Where can we buy the expansion?” A month later the EU Community Team made a post saying that “We are currently working on updating the retail page and will soon be able to provide you with the juicy info! We really appreciate your patience!” At this time, posters confirmed that the standalone Seekers of Adoulin disc was available to pre-order for the Xbox 360 on Amazon.co.uk.
Worse yet was when the date arrived for the update that would add information from the new expansion. A date had been given, less than a month away and EU players still had no way of purchasing the expansion for the PC.
On March 15th, the Community Team replied again, saying that next week, they would have details on where they can acquire the PC version- which they delivered. The pre-orders for PC in Europe also happen to be void of a pre-order bonus containing a digital copy of Musicbox Adventures. Japan was able to get this as a physical good when pre-ordering the Vana’diel Collection 4, and North American players could get this item by pre-ordering the game on the Square Enix shop. However, European players have no way to obtain this bonus.
Today (days before launch), after being asked throughout the entirety of the thread, Square Enix confirmed that the Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition would not be available for the Xbox 360 in Europe. (Regardless of the fact that it’s listed on the EU Seekers of Adoulin site).
Similarly to the previous Ultimate Collection Abyssea Edition, unfortunately there won’t be an Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition release for Xbox 360 (neither digital version nor boxed version).
The EU Xbox 360 Seekers of Adoulin is only available from the following online stores:
(You won’t be able to walk into your local GAME store and pick up a copy)
There will not be a digital version for Xbox 360 either.
Therefore we regret to inform you that players outside of the UK will have to import their copies of Seekers of Adoulin from one of the above sites. We know this isn’t the answer that you have been waiting to hear but we have made sure that your concerns have been passed on to all of the teams.
Here’s a concern- Europe is seemingly not caring about its Final Fantasy XI players by withholding important purchasing information until days before the launch of a game that has to be shipped from online retailers. In addition, there is no pre-order bonus revolving around Musicbox Adventures which is something available to the other two regions supported by the game. And last but not least, Xbox 360 players have no way to obtain the Chocobo Shirt, which is only available to those that purchase the Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition. Wow, and I thought NA players got the short end of the stick. EU players don’t even get that. No stick. They get a piece of mulch off the ground.
Also, in case you don’t know about the Musicbox Adventures promotion, if you pre-order Seekers of Adoulin from the North American Square Enix shop, you can get a 5 track album that contains FFXI tracks recorded with musicbox instruments. What’s that? You haven’t heard of it? Neither have SE representatives, but it was announced…via a Tweet and a mention on the live stream that you may or may not have seen and that you can’t watch after the fact. So I guess North America has had an issue too huh?
There have been some good things- namely the live streams that were showing the community teams playing the new expansion. Though Japan did have two to North America’s one. Though there was North America’s one to Europes zero. I really wish that there was a more level playing field across the various regions. This has always been a problem- one that will seemingly never be fixed.
Of course, these are all things leading up to the release of Seekers of Adoulin. From what we’ve been shown of the expansion itself, it looks like it will add some very interesting content into the game such as Reives, which seem almost dynamic in nature, not unlike Final Fantasy XIV’s F.A.T.E content- something I personally never thought would be done in Final Fantasy XI. Geomancer and Rune Fencer look like interesting additions to the already implemented job classes. And of course we can’t forget the new quests, storyline, and lore that will accompany the new continent and towns. Seekers of Adoulin has a chance to shine in a way that we haven’t seen since Treasures of Aht Urhgan, and for that reason, I’m looking forward too it.