In light of the recent update, I got to wondering what FFXI was like way back when... like, way back when the game first started, and how it compares to now. So, I went researching and found out some interesting facts. Knowing how it used to be really makes me appreciate all the changes SE has done over the years!
[Please note: This info is correct to the best of my ability. I looked at the official Playonline.com update info in both Japanese and English to compile this list. I am not 100% fluent in Japanese, so there may be some errors.]
How Things Used to Be:
- Gravity did not exist, and did not lower mob evasion when first introduced.
- RDM could not use Raise.
- RDM could not use Invisible, Sneak, or Deodorize.
- Refresh was not added until February 3, 2003.
- Regen was introduced as a RDM-only spell, and could be used like Poison to prevent Sleep.
- RDM's Enfeebling Magic skill was not as high.
- Dispel did not exist, and was added much later than Magic Finale.
- The effect of BRD songs lasted longer.
- Horde Lullaby did not exist.
- Elemental Threnodies did not exist.
- Magic Finale did not exist.
- Mage's Ballad was originally stronger.
- Prelude was originally an area song.
- Etudes were originally area songs.
- Teleport-Mea, Teleport-Holla, Teleport-Dem, and Teleport-Vahzl did not exist even in the original game.
- Protectra II-IV and Shellra II-IV did not exist.
- Sneak, Invisible, and Deodorize did not exist, and when first introduced, all could be overwritten by recasting before the spell wore off.
- Reraise did not exist.
- Raise II and III did not exist.
- Erase did not exist, and when first introduced had an even longer recast.
- Cure V was not WHM-only when introduced.
- Cure V originally did not have a set hate value, but acted like other Cure spells.
- Bar-spells originally lasted much longer, took longer to cast, and cost more MP.
- Warp II did not exist.
- Escape did not exist.
- Tractor did not exist.
- Sleepga and Sleepga II did not exist.
- Absorb spells did not exist.
- Stun did not exist.
- Flash did not exist.
- In a funny error, SE claimed to introduce the elemental spirit pacts when SMN was released, but actually Thunder Spirit Pact and Earth Spirit Pact did not exist until a much later update.
Job Ability & Trait Related
- For almost 1 year of gameplay, RDM did not have Convert. It did not exist until April 15, 2003.
- Mighty Strikes used to be even shorter duration.
- WAR ability Aggressor originally gave a bonus to Ranged Accuracy.
- Sneak Attack dealt the same high damage even when subbing THF.
- Sneak Attack had a wider angle of use behind the mob.
- Treasure Hunter II did not exist.
- Trick Attack did not exist.
- BST ability Leave was higher than level 35.
- BST ability Call Beast did not exist.
- Charm had a much longer recast timer.
- Charm did not Bind un-Charmable targets.
- BST ability Reward did not exist.
- MNK's Dodge, Focus, and Chakra had a 15 minute recast.
- MNK abilities Chi Blast and Kick Attacks did not exist.
- Divine Seal did not exist.
- Elemental Seal did not exist.
- Weapon Bash did not exist.
- Sentinel did not have a high enmity value.
- PLD ability Rampart did not exist.
- RNG ability Unlimited Shot did not exist.
- 2-Hour abilities originally could be reset by changing jobs.
- SMN did not originally have Clear Mind.
- SMN's Astral Flow was of shorter duration.
- BLM's Manafont ability originally allowed for spells to be interrupted.
- SAM's Meikyo Shisui did not originally fill the TP bar.
- "Killer" and "Circle" traits and abilities originally had the effect of Slow rather than Paralyze.
- DRG's Spirit Link did not exist, and when introduced, did not heal status effects.
- Guns were RNG-only.
- Ammo only stacked to 12, not 99.
- Quivers did not exist.
- Ranged attacks did not generate TP.
- DRKs could not use Great Sword Weaponskills.
- PLD's could originally use Axes and Great Axes.
- PLD originally had Throwing skill.
- RDM originally had Marksmanship skill.
- BRD could not use Staves.
- RNG could not use Axes.
- Equipping a boomerang did not originally change TP, but equipping a fishing rod and bait did.
- **Experience Chains** did not exist. @__@
- Weather and day effects on spells did not exist.
- Half-resists on spells did not exist.
- Magic Bursts did not exist.
- The enmity system was drastically different, with more abilities having set hate amounts rather than based on damage.
- RSE did not exist.
- Crystals were much rarer drops from enemies.
- Crystal clusters did not exist.
- Percentage-boost foods did not exist; All foods gave static bonuses.
- AF did not exist until November 26, 2002.
- The Life Belt could not be worn by All Jobs.
- Kindred Seals did not exist.
- Scrolls of Instant Warp and Scrolls of Instant Reraise cost double the amount of CP.
- Eldieme Necropolis, Crawler's Nest, Garlaige Citadel, and Castle Zvahl Baileys were less difficult and had a lower level enemy cap.
Other Game Related
- The original Level Cap was 50.
- The highest Rank was 5.
- Crafts were capped at level 60.
- Harvesting, Excavation, Logging, and Mining did not exist.
- Gardening did not exist.
- Chests and coffers did not exist.
- Only items came from chests and coffers, not gil.
- Thieves did not have the ability to pick chests and coffers.
- Mog Safe expansions did not exist.
- Gobbiebag quests did not exist.
- It was not possible to exit to any zone in a city from a Mog House.
- There were no fame-reporter NPCs.
- Title-changing NPCs did not exist.
- Synthesis inside a Mog House was not possible.
- Changing your job required an entire other game screen, instead of the Mog House menu.
- Chocobos were not available at Crags.
- The level limit for riding Chocobos even from home cities was originally 20, not 15.
- Expeditionary Force quests did not exist.
- Non-quest BCNMs did not exist.
- BCNM orbs cost more Beastmen Seals.
- BCNM clear-time scores were not recorded.
- SMN, SAM, NIN, and DRG did not exist until April 15, 2003.
- True Sight did not exist as a mob ability.
- DRGs could not originally change their wyvern's name.
- Dying in a BC originally had an experience penalty equal to your true level (rather than your capped level).
- Jeuno originally only had 2 Auction Houses, one in Ru'Lude and one in Lower.
- The amount of PCs allowed in Lower Jeuno at any one time was restricted (due to game/server limitations).
- Desynthesis did not exist.
- Synthesis recipes for ninja tools originally produced less tools per synth.
- Cutscenes from quests could not be replayed.
- Furniture did not add any Storage.
- Moghancements did not exist.
- Wedding Services did not exist.
- Garrison battles did not exist.
- PVP in the form of Ballista was added nearly 2 years after FFXI's release.
- The Mentor system did not exist.
- The Merit Point system did not exist.
- There was only 1 window-type, instead of 8.
- /attack on & /attack off commands did not exist.
- /names command did not exist.
- The following emotes did not exist: /kneel, /sigh, /comfort, /huh, /blush, /angry, /disgusted, /upset, /panic, /fume, /doubt, /sulk, /shocked, /hurray, /toss. (In the beginning, Taru couldn't dance!)
- /sit and its associated emotes were added only after the NA release.
- The Triangle and + buttons couldn't be used to cycle through different windows.
- The log window could not be decreased in size manually.
- The log window could not be filtered into the different chat channels.
- Calling for Help did not make a target appear on nearby people's compasses.
- Valkurm Dunes was not displayed on the Title Screen.
- Text for items was not color-coded (I.E., Yellow, Green, Red, or Blue).
- The subtarget cursor did not function except when using magic spells.
- Received Friends List messages could not be read in-game.
- The <call> function did not exist.
- Search Comments did not exist.
- The first Search Comment function did not have any category subdivisions.
- Names in the search function were not color-coded (Blue for in-party, Yellow for party-leader).
- The following commands did not exist: <pos>, <tp> <st>, <lastst>, <stpc>, <stnpc>, <hp>, <mp>, <job>, <hpp>, <mpp>, <bt>, <scan>, <mjob>, <sjob>, <pet>, <pethpp>, <pettp>, <ht>
- World Passes originally could only be used by one person per WP.
- The ! icon above the head of a player seeking party did not exist.
- Originally it was impossible to Seek Party while in a Mog House.
- /lsmes and Linkshell opening messages did not exist.
- Originally a player had to be in the same zone to invite them to your party, rather than the same region.
Interesting Points of Note
- When Behemoth was introduced, the level cap was only 55.
- When Invisible was first released, you could not see your own character at all after it being cast.
- AF was not all introduced at the same time. The six standard jobs of WAR, MNK, WHM, BLM, RDM, THF recieved their AF quests a full month before the other jobs.
- Coffers were not introduced until AF.
- "Steal II" was originally planned for THF, but was later cancelled.
- When the <call> function was introduced, there were only call0-call3.
- Bazaar tax in Jeuno used to be different depending on which level of Jeuno the bazaar was in. Ru'Lude and Lower had a 10% tax, while Upper and Port had a 5% tax.
- Kazham, Rabao, and Norg all originally had their own seperate bazaar tax. Kazham was steepest, a hefty 15% tax.
- AOE spells originally had a similar radius vertically as horizontally, thus allowing a -ga spell to hit mobs on multiple floors.
- The first people to reach level 60 had never had access to popular leveling spots like Kazham, Crawler's Nest, Garlaige Citadel, Gustav Tunnel, Altepa Desert, Kuftal Tunnel, Cape Terrigan, Valley of Sorrows, or Boyahda Tree.
- When SMN was first released as a job, the level cap was only 65, thus making the avatar prime fights all the harder.
- SMN, SAM, NIN, and DRG were released all at the same time, but SMN did not require the Zilart expansion pack to unlock and play.
- The level cap was originally intended to go much higher, over 100. For Example, RDM was supposed to learn Blizzard III at level 86, while DRK would learn it at level 103.
- Reraise did not originally reset when changing jobs. Thus anyone with a high-enough level WHM job could have Reraise or Reraise II active.
- The spell Absorb-DEX originally contained a typo and was called "Absorb-TEX"
- An error when the job was first released allowed DRGs to summon two wyverns.
- The first NA update increased the job cap to 70.
- The level cap was increased to 75 on December 16, 2003, 19 months after FFXI was released.
- Fenrir was released almost a year after SMN was added as a job. Incindentally, Happy Birthday Fenrir! (Feb 26.)
- Dynamis was released about this time last year.
So! Looking back on it, quite a lot has happened since May 15, 2002, when FFXI was first released in Japan. Considering all that, I'm pretty pleased with what SE has done over the years. I hope you enjoyed this little look back into the past. ^-^ Let's hope future updates are just as interesting!
P.S. If you would like to see the update pages I looked at for this info, links do them can be found here: http://ffxi.cannotlinkto/links/