Guide: Changing from Console to PC
Yeah I know I know I KNOW! The game is only supported on PC now. Also I've seen a lot of people say to console players when they get problems, “Get a PC” but not what to do to get the game changed to the PC. Well, 'ol Eli's got your back. I made the switch 2-3 years ago b/c of a bit of a PS2 argument and have never looked back, tho I have access to the PS2 version for a backup. (I rarely use it for more than backing up my macros to it, however.)
Enough of this, let's get into the meat.
First off, you need a pc that can run the game. Minimum system requirements are(from the US site; I've commented some): Pentium 3 800 MgZ processor(Or Athelon 3600 or so; Don't use their newest processor, I hear sadly the newest Athelons suck), 128 mb of RAM, a decent video card, either Nvidia or Radeon (Site says ATI Radeon 9000 series if you use a Radeon; I've actually ran it on a 4000 series card before I rebuilt my PC. Which wasn't bad bad (I got some artifacts when I had that pc but that didn't bother me) but they don't mention you can run it on older cards. I wouldn't recommend less than a 3000 series card, however.), Direct X 8.1 compat sound card or sound chip, and 9.5 gb hdd space. Oh and you need a dvd-rom drive if you don't plan to install the game electronically. Also some newer machines (Yes, I'm looking at you Windows 8.1 and Windows 10) may not have the proper Direct X files on there to run FFXI even if the bench runs. (!#@$%^!) so you should install this Direct X rollup to be safe. Don't worry, it won't harm your pc and that site is legit. Also if you ARE on win 8.1 (bleech!) or Windows 10, make sure you enable DirectPlay under legacy features in your control panel. (It's somewhere under Programs and Features. You might have to do a search for it on Windows 10)
Of course, if you got better than that you're golden. Just to be sure.. run the benchmark, which you can find here. I have only been able to find it on the EU version of the official site but that should tell you if you can run it.
Next, you need a some kinda joystick. For PS2 players, I suggest getting a clone for a PS2 joystick or a Super Dual Box Pro or some kind of PS2 controller to USB adapter. (If you get a clone for a ps2 controller, I suggest you check reviews on reliability and go to a physical store to pick one up and check the feel of it before you buy. The few times I haven't used a adapter, I've used This controller which I like; but everyone's different, so make sure you do your homework.) There are others, check reviews before you buy since some of them sorta suck and break easily. There is a way to use a PS3 controller for a pc if you don't wanna spend money; Here is a the best driver/wrapper to get that to work that I've found. (WARNING; since that is based on the Xbox controller drivers, it will steal your R2 and L2 buttons. Luckily you can steal them back with this Direct Input Wrapper. Works like a dream.. Just make sure you leave the joystick checked and keep it up at all times after you hit Go.) As for those who have been playing Xbox 360, a Xbox 360 controller can be used on a pc straight up since MS has made official drivers. Anyway, get one if you don't wanna relearn how to move.
Next thing, you need to make sure the PC is going to be secure. I know. Account hackings are not so common anymore but I would not want to take the risk if I were you; unfortunately the PC is more vulnerable than consoles to accounts getting stolen because you can get viruses/spyware/keyloggers/crap on a pc, while you can't on the console. So you need to defend yourself before you install FFXI, since believe me, preventing it is better than trying to get your account back and cure it. >.< First off, if the computer has been being used, you need to check it for viruses and spyware. I suggest getting MalwareBytes and Avast or Avira or Microsoft Security Essentials and do a full scan. Clean it if needed, if you really got garbage on that pc that those will not remove, this thread on BG should be able to help you get it cleaned. Only use the directions in there if you absolutely have to, however. There is a risk you might have to reformat anyway when you use those instructions, so make sure you have your windows disks and drivers close at hand if you find yourself doing that.
Anyway, after you do that, don't use IE for anything from then on other than updating Windows! IE BAAAD, it's full of security holes. It might as well be made of swiss cheese. I recommend going to Firefox or Google Chrome immediately, tho the extensions are a little different for Chrome. Anyway, for Firefox, and before I go on; this is mostly based on this guide I wrote which is a updated version of the old thread on Windower's board. (thread got nuked, sadly in a board upgrade, blaaaaaah!)
First off, once you got Firefox, install Adblocker Plus and NoScript before you do anything else! Set up Adblocker Plus and Noscript same as that thread says (the options haven't changed), then here's where it changes; you need to go here to install the EasyList and EasyPrivacy filters and what's left of Fanboy's List, then go here to find out how to use adblocker to remove both google and yahoo ads (Google ads were blamed for a certain hacking attack).
If you got Chrome, you want Adblocker Plus for Chrome and either Notscript or ScriptNo or use native stuff in Google Chrome to block scripts.. I recommend ScriptNo if you are not very computer smart; it's more intuitive than the other two options for script blocking, however. Just install the same Adblocker Plus filters as if you were using Firefox (all of them have Chrome versions now) and you'll have the same first line of defense as Firefox users. I don't know all the configs on that but I don't think it'll be hard to figure out. ^^
Now for the last bits. The programs I mentioned earlier for scanning for viruses/spyware should do you(take your pick of antiviruses), also I suggest you install HijackThis and make sure you run it once a month or so to check for anything “off” or “wierd”. Also if you got some money to spend, you want either ESET Online Security or Kapersky for antivirus protection.
As for firewalls, the one mentioned in the thread is so out of date it really stinks. Windows Firewall is okay, tho if you're really paranoid, Comodo Firewall is very good, so is Online Armor. Both give you decent protection with very little nagging. Also, if you're behind a router you're proly already behind a firewall, to be honest, so you might wanna stomp that paranoia.
Also, there's some stuff you might want to get rid of b/c it is buggy or often is a vector for viruses/hacks anyway. Three programs can be trouble; that is, Adobe Acrobat, Quicktime, and Real Player. I can understand someone keeping quicktime if they got an ipod or ipad or an iphone however; Apple's kinda mmm. Bad that way. And I know some have to use Acrobat for school or work, so if that's the case for you, you might feel it's better to keep it. If you can get away with getting rid of it however, I suggest replacing Acrobat with Foxit Reader (make sure you do a custom install on that however; if you're not careful you can get some stuff you don't want with that), Quicktime with QT Lite or VLC(make sure you custom install VLC since it's not the best thing to play everything, you don't want it the default player), and Real Player with Real Alternative or VLC(again, custom install VLC). Either way, ALWAYS keep all your programs updated; everything from Flash (which also can also be a vector for viruses/gunk but is so much a part of most people's browsing lives that it's impossible to get rid of; not to mention there is NOT a substitute) to Windows itself. This will patch any holes that those clowns use to get the stuff on yer system. If you wanna be fast about it, Ninite can set you up a autoinstaller for most other common stuff; just a warning with that however, never select anything that you have to do a custom install with to avoid extra unwanted garbage (Foxit, VLC) for it will install the extra garbage without telling you. Best to update those by hand.
Ok, enough for the security stuff for the moment. Now, you need a copy of the game. There's some mmm..less than legal ways to get it, which I won't cover here (I like to know where the frick my software has been, so I'm very wary of anything pirated) Basically you got about three choices if you don't wanna be erm, naughty. (Two if you want Seekers too.)You can go on Ebay and buy a used copy if you don't care about the new expansion (Codes? You got the codes!) of the Ultimate Edition (Don't get anything less than that.), you can buy the Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition off Amazon (again, codes? Who needs codes? Well, unless you want Seekers, then you want the codes for sure.). If you get it off Amazon, it will proly run you no more than 40 bucks USD; the pain in the **** is no disks. There is one more option however; Get it off Steam. Steam often has sales on it that will bring it down to $10 or less, however, you will not get any disks. Unfortunately you will get codes for this, but the tradeoff is you'll be able to get any of the minis you missed + a neat chocobo cap, tho watch out; Steamed FFXI can have some major problems. If you REALLY don't wanna pay for another copy of the game (Don't blame you!) there is one legal way to get it for free: US Ultimate Collection, Seekers Edition or EU Ultimate Collection, Seekers Edition. D/l the one for your region and make sure all the parts are in the same folder, and then run and it should install. Also if you're running Windows 10, you will HAVE to download that either way, since older copies WILL NOT WORK. I know, I tried recently and ended up cussin' for a couple hours until I finally figured out the problem...
Anyway; got your adapter/joystick plugged in and set up/drivers installed? Computer secured? Ok. Install the game by whatever method, depending on where you got it. Make sure you have your original instruction book nearby or at least know what your account number/POL pass/Square Enix Account name/Square Enix password is. When it asks for the codes, just hit “I have an existing account” and enter in the information it asks for. POL will then update, which won't take very long.
Then comes the real mess, updating FFXI. You'll have to do this no matter what. Might as well get it over with since this is one of the worst parts.. Log fully in (add sq.enix credentials first by hitting Settings and entering in your Square Enix id or you can't do it!) and go update FFXI. This will take 2-3 hours(At least for my connection; it CAN take longer; up to 7 or 8 hours if congestion is bad or it's feeling slow that day since FFXI is capped at 56k). If it looks like it's going to take that long, do it overnight.). Once it finishes, do NOT go into FFXI; back out using the mouse and the Escape key immediately. You won't be able to do anything in game without your controller, so that's next on the agenda..Log fully out and close POL.
After that and POL is closed, go directly to the FFXI config; you need to set up your joypad. On the first tab, hit Gamepad Settings. That's where you can set it up. Click Enable, then you'll have to tweak it, which can be a pain in the can. If you're using Dual Box Pro however, this is what I once used when i used a Dual Shock 2, which is about as close to a real PS2 as you can get. I didn't use force feedback since an earlier version of this adapter caused FFXI to crash with it on. (That's rumble btw, if you used it on PS2, you might try and see if it doesn't crash FFXI anymore but you might have to kiss it goodbye.) If you're using a Xbox 360 controller or this this driver for a Dual Shock 3, be aware the triggers(in the case of the Xbox) or the L2/R2 buttons may not want to work for you, I've heard of people having to use Xpadder to get them to work right, but there is another way at least for DS3: Try this and make sure you follow the instructions to get it to install. It will have to be run every time you run FFXI tho. Anyway, be prepared to cuss a bit, just keep trying and hitting Test Joystick (so you can see how it'd work) until you got it working the way you want. (This is also why I recommend you have your original manual around since it has the default controller config in it for your system. If you lost it (BAD!) Wiki has a list of the default controller configs.) After you hit okay, check what your screen res is and change the res to match or as close as you can get, you can always change that later. IF you can't find the FFXI config, it SHOULD be right there in the start menu under Playonline/Final Fantasy XI (I've never seen it NOT be there, but I'm aware Windows 7 can be strange; I know my brother always has to search for FFXI for some dumb reason) use Windows Search to search for a file called "FINAL FANTASY XI Config.exe" and run it. (It should be in your FFXI directory in either \PlayOnline\SquareEnix\FINAL FANTASY XI\ToolsUS\ or \PlayOnline\SquareEnix\FINAL FANTASY XI\ToolsEU\ ).
To finish, you'd better go get your macros. Boot up your console version, get to where your characters are, highlight your main, and:
If you're on PS2: Hit L1+L3 (Press the left stick like a button for L3.)
If you're on Xbox 360: Hit LB+ Left Stick Button
Then back out and log out. This will save your macros to the server so you can get them later.
Now it's time to get your macros on the PC. Login again, highlight your main again on the chara select screen then hit Shift + Alt + Ctrl + R. Then back out again; since the config changed a while back, you'll prolly want to tweak the res in FFXI config once more to go better with your screen resolution.
Also if your charas looked squashed/fat on the select screen, it's proly because the aspect ratio is wrong. You need to change that both in game and on the title screen. To change in game, log in fully to the game, make sure you know what your screen aspect ratio is (you'll have to look that up; look up your monitor on Google so you can find out), go to big menu in game, hit MISC2, then up the background aspect ratio to match what your monitor's is. To change it so they don't look squashed/fat on the chara select screen, go to Config on the title screen, then up the aspect ratio to what your monitor's is. (Again, look your monitor up on Google so you can find out what your monitor's native aspect ratio is) Once you fix that; go to Global and make sure auto-disconnect is off (and the language filter is off as well if that bothers you; I keep it on b/c I got friends with salty mouths and I don't want to see that, tho it causes some funny situations sometimes.)
After that, finally one more security bit and I'll shut up; you proly will want to get a new security token if you got it only for the mog satchel then deactivated it (I bet you are kicking yourself if you did now). That is meant to be the final lock on your account; think of all the other security stuff as a bunch of locks to keep hackers from finding out your FFXI passwords, and the token as the big, heavy, ugly lock on the top of all the other locks. Go here if you live in NA, here if you live in EU, and get one, get a software token for your Ipod/Ipad/Android Phone/Android based tablet or get a new one and attach it to the account. I also suggest you get a keychain (I use a stuffed animal keychain) to put it on by itself so you won't lose it if you're using a phys token VS. the software token.
One more thing, if you got the joypad config wrong (you'll know the instant you log fully in the first time, it'll feel wrong) /shutdown and go mess with the controller config again.
It may feel strange at first also if you're used to using the onscreen kb or a chatpad (UGH, how can you use that *****?) because you'll have to adjust to using a keyboard and a controller from here on out; there is no onscreen in FFXI PC, but it'll stay compatible for a very long time, proly until the game goes down. ^^
Frequently Asked Questions That I Didn't Cover in the Guide:
1. What about Windower? -- I don't use it so I can't help you; not to mention that's Fight Club!! You don't talk about windower!!! But if you want to use it, search for "FFXI Windower" on Google; make sure you always d/l from the official site for that to avoid viruses/crap. Other than that, ask on their board if you need help.
2. My graphics look like crap/res problems -- Run FFXI config and play with that. If that doesn't get it to where you want it, this should help you. WARNING! Make sure you back up your registry before you use that wiki page!
3. I'm using a Xbox controller and I still can't get the triggers to work, even with xpadder -- I can't guarantee anything with that. I have not played with that controller, ever..the only ones in the house belong to a certain little brother I do not want to cross. Someone said This or This might help; either is worth a shot.
To be frank, if you came from PS2, I recommend using a Super Dual Box Pro or a PS2 controller clone(Like this one) for plug, install driver, and play on FFXI without cursing TOO much. Logitech also makes a decent one but if you don't want it to break after a year, get some electrical tape and wrap it around the wire right next to where it comes out of the joystick; stupid thing didn't have any strain relief, which is what causes it to break (without the tape, that means the wire breaks inside after a while. Which sucks!) Just with USB PS2 controller clones, check reviews first; some of them break after a year and you don't want that. I can understand a Xbox player wanting to stick with the controller they're used to though.
[Update 1] Added more about using the trial client; my friend was right! You CAN use that if you already got a account and get the software legally for free! Nice! Also some clarification for those on Windows 7 for finding the FFXI Config; I SWEAR on Windows 7 machines, FFXI likes to hide. (I forgot that Shadowneko, my brother, always has to use the windows search feature to find any program files for FFXI. Square, you stinkpot!)
[Update 2] Thanks catwho. Chrome information added; we're not all tied to Firefox anymore really and I knew it, I just didn't know what to look up. Thanks! Went to test it with a quick Chrome install, and then changed it accordingly!
[Update 3] Rearranged sections because copperhamster from LJ reminded me that with the trial client you need to update first if you use the trial client. Thanks guy. ^^ Also mentioned Ninite; that's very useful tho you have to be careful with it!
[Update 4] I poked Jahn, who is a EU friend of mine, and finally got the page to order a security token for you EU players. Thank you, Jahn!
[Update 5] OOps! I dun messed up. thanks for telling me, ChaChaJaJa! Also started a q and A section for frequently asked questions.
[Update 6] Added some controller recommendations; me and my brother are partial to the Nyko Airflow controllers which play very nice with FFXI, actually. I'm aware there are others; that particular one seems to be a truck, however. Been kicked a few times and it still works after about 2 years. If anyone has any recommendations, keep in mind ps2 to pc players tend to be newbies at PCs, so keep controllers to plug, install driver, and play.
[Update 7] Oops, saw a minor problem. Squashed.
[Update 8] Since someone had a problem, added a warning about the trial client. ^^
[Update 9]Added link to guide for using a PS3 controller on a pc. Fair warning, I have not tested it, so it may or may not work for you; don't sue me if it doesn't work. ^^ Also updated for Seekers coming out. I forgot but the bovine fecal material hit the fan recently in RL (boy did it ever..) so it slipped my mind for a bit.
[Update 10] Finally got my PC rebuilt, so change to reflect that. Also a link fix. For the curious, here's my new system; I'll proly be upgrading it as time goes on. ^^
[Update 11] Argh, I should of gotten on this sooner, but the old thread on Windower's site is gone gone. I had been doing a security guide on my own site to replace it; I hope it suits. Of course, feedback welcome! I hope I covered everything..
[Update 12] Oops. Now that the software token is in full release and is just as good, I made a change to what I said about it. Hey, if you're not using the phys token *nods to the stuffed animal keychain* then you don't need a keychain lol. ^^
[Update 13] I've seen some "GRR, where's Direct X 8.1?" on BG and other places, so I went ahead and added a note about the rollup. Far as I know (correct me if I'm wrong!) the Direct X 9 rollup should fix any Direct X errors pertaining to this game. So nip it in the bud!
[Update 14] More nip it in the bud! Darn you DirectPlay in Windows 8.1!
[Update 15] Slight update on codecs. And I should of mentioned the VLC in the first place. It's NOT the be all and end all, but I've always had it on my systems as a last resort player. Luckily it can handle both QT and Realplayer files if you don't wanna mess with codecs. :)
[Update 16] Oops, I never got around to playing with this, but you can now change the aspect ratio in the Config screen on the title screen. No more squashed/fat charas anywhere. Added to the guide.
[Update 17] I've had some controller issues, namely ones that were fragile or didn't belong to me. Finally went and got me a PS3 Dual Shock; I found out that MotionInJoy thankfully is discontinued, but this means that there's some xpaddering you have to do if you use a PS3 Dual Shock/Sixaxis now a days since it is basically a wrapper for the Xbox 360 controller driver. So that means..trigger thief, thief thief!
[Update 18] Found a better way to "YOINK!" the L2/R2 buttons back if you're using a DS3. Makes me feel a lot better for Xpadder isn't the best way to get those buttons back!
[Update 19] So hokay. Windows 10's been out a while, also there's a updated version of ye old DS3 driver that works with Windows 10. Added. Also I make a plea to anyone who's still playing, How well does FFXI work with Win 10? Any issues? Please let me know since I finally retired from the game.
[Update 20] Came back for a little bit to the game and..Oh noice! They finally made the game available for d/l without having to buy new codes. /gets rid of any mention of the trial. There. And a bit about installing it on Windows 10. Man, I must of scared sis really bad today.. Also the update archive is gone now :/ so I killed that. Sorry, and if anyone knows someone who is still keeping that stuff going, please let me know.
Edited, May 14th 2016 4:35pm by maryadavies