I think at this point most people are familiar with the 18 hour long fight against Final Fantasy XI’s Pandemonium Warden. The fight, which resulted in time restrictions on many of the games’ Notorious Monsters was heard about by gamers all around the world- the Warden also made it into the video game edition of the Guinness Book of World Records as being the toughest enemy in a Final Fantasy game.
Some time after that with the release of the Abyssea add-ons, Final Fantasy XI moved in a direction which allowed players to accomplish content in smaller groups. Since then, Square Enix has added larger group content such as Legion to cater to those that still belonged to a larger Linkshell.
Today, when reading up on the Naakuals- the newest NMs included in Final Fantasy XI’s fifth expansion, Seekers of Adoulin, I saw that a player had taken a group to fight one of these NMs and spent around four hours taking it down. Four hours certainly isn’t eighteen, but it made me think. How long should it take to complete content in an MMO? Or in this specific case, Final Fantasy XI.
After the final Abyssea add-on was released, many players had been woven into the low-man mentality that all they needed to accomplish things in the game anymore was a small group of people. Voidwatch was released which, while requiring a full alliance, could be easily joined via pick up groups. For some players, myself included, it seemed that Final Fantasy XI was steering itself more toward this seemingly casual low-man type of setup for content going forward. Then Legion was announced, which went in the opposite direction. Requiring the full alliances of old in order to complete the various chambers. I felt like this was taking a step back after more recent content releases but alas, I am only one of many players in the game and my opinion isn’t that of everyone. However I know that I’m also probably not the only one that is thinking this.
With the release up to Seekers of Adoulin, some of the preview footage that we saw of the new expansion led some to believe that you would be able to accomplish this new content with a smaller group of people, which I thought was great. In the launch trailer for Adoulin we can see a group of three people going up against one of the Naakual NMs in the game.
A post on the Dev Tracker today caught my attention. Someone who had taken a group to fight one of the new Naakuals didn’t receive any loot. And while yes, that sucks (and will be fixed shortly), what caught my eye was the mention of it taking the group around 4 hours to kill it.
Some content can have players inside for several hours, however given the nature of something like an NM fight, this means that players are focused on this content for 4 hours straight. Some NMs such as Kirin used to take a full alliance of people around four hours to kill and back then that was the norm and was accepted by the community. However I can’t help but wonder what today’s community thinks about an NM that takes four hours to defeat. Things have changed quite a bit over the last few years and the MMO genre as a whole I feel has become more geared towards casual players.
How long should it take in FFXI to kill a single NM? Vote in the poll and drop your comments below! We’ll make sure to talk about this on the next episode of our Final Fantasy XI podcast!