For many years, I avoided playing MMOs because they cost recurring amounts of money to play. Most of what I was used to was from the world of console games and PC games on CD; you buy it once and that’s all until it breaks on you.
However, around the summer of 2006, WoW offered a free account to play a character to a certain level. If we’re being technical, this was my first MMO experience, but since I didn’t have friends that consistently played the game, that experience faded with the summer. It was a fun grind being a shaman and changing into all of these different animals, but the world was large and my friends list small.
From here, there is a six-year period of silence in terms of that genre until a friend of mine, Cory, sends me a text inviting me to play Final Fantasy XI with him. I look into the game and I’m interested.
But money. I don’t want to pay for the game and then pay on a regular to play the game, so I give him a conditional acceptance: if you buy me the game, then I’ll pay for the recurring subscription. I had a decent enough job to pay for something once a month, but wasn’t sure about the upfront cost of the game. Who has money like that, right?
He smirked in victory; the full collection of the game and every published expansion was available on Amazon for $15. The game subscription? $12.95 per month.
Welp, GG. I made a character on the Odin server that was magic adept and that was that. I spent the first year or so just faffing about and not really focused on doing anything in particular. In 2014, I got added to a linkshell (or guild) called RoboticSquirrel who did more faffing about to be sure, but in an organized manner, and started getting better at doing things in the game that helped the shell.
My main job and first love was the Scholar (SCH) class, but I branched out into Geomancer (GEO) and Corsair (COR) as changes to the game made SCH less optimal for parties.
I’ve developed a fondness for a small bundle of classes that I’m working on as well, but what keeps me coming back is just the community. Most people are willing to help you complete things if you’re missing boss fights or materials, give advice on gear or ways to build things, and so on. I also find that the community fosters that sense of wanting to find new people in the community and help them along so they stay. The names of my first friends in the game still stick with me even if they have since moved on for various reasons.
For those reason, I count FFXI as my first true MMO. Others have come out since then, but the people of Odin truly have my heart. You can still find me playing and being awesome or hilariously bad. As for where to find me doing that if you don’t play the game, here’s my twitch page. Feel free to join me any time.