Can There Only Be One?

Nobody thought FFXIV would be in FFXI's shadow. Is there room for both MMOs?

Remember last summer when a certain ZAM staff member wrote an editorial questioning whether Final Fantasy XI would crumble next to the magnificence of Final Fantasy XIV?

Yeah, so about that…

When I wrote my editorial last summer about the coming of Final Fantasy XIV, I figured many players would leave Vana’diel to check out Eorzea. I thought Square Enix was done adding significantly new content to Final Fantasy XI, and that the powers that be would rather have adventurers traipsing around Eorzea. After all, what kind of self-respecting gaming company would want its biggest cash cow chained to obsolete Playstation 2 technology?

Unfortunately, the launch of Final Fantasy XIV failed. The game is stunningly beautiful but still extremely low on content. Although the game still has a chance to rebound with a strong Playstation 3 release and continued tenacity from Naoki Yoshida, the game’s new producer, we may always wonder “what might have been” when pondering the game’s catastrophically premature release.

But today I'm wrestling with bigger questions -- could Final Fantasy XI be regarded as Final Fantasy XIV's biggest competitor? If so, would the folks at Square Enix be willing to cannibalize one game to save the other? And if the choice had to be made today, which game would be more worth saving?

Discuss this in the ZAM forums.

While Eorzea was floundering, Vana’diel was thriving, thanks in large part to the Abyssea battlefield expansions. The first Abyssea expansion, titled Vision of Abyssea, was released three months prior to the launch of Final Fantasy XIV. Expectations were low for the quality of the Abyssea series, mainly because of the low regard among players for the previously released trio of add-on scenario expansions. By the time Final Fantasy XIV was released, residents of Vana’diel were realizing the vast potential of the Abyssea areas.

Fast forward to today, and Abyssea has clearly redefined endgame in Final Fantasy XI. Rather than spend countless hours grinding for experience points, players can now spend more of their days hunting notorious monsters and seeking rare treasures. There are numerous carrots to be chased in the Abyssea areas, and the sticks are both long and short. Thanks to Abyssea, Vana’diel is suddenly an endgame adventurer’s dream come true.

The facelift of Final Fantasy XI doesn’t stop in Abyssea. Fields of Valor was expanded, allowing players to participate in unlimited battle regimens. The development team also increased the amount of experience points awarded for killing mobs in non-Abyssea areas, and skilling up weapons and magic was made easier. Not only was the endgame of FFXI reworked, but low-level soloers and parties were given a sizable boost. Next in line to be reinvented are the core zones of Dynamis. If the success of Abyssea is any indication, I have a feeling one of Vana’diel’s oldest activities is about to become lively again.

Even more amazing is the fact that my home server of Lakshmi seems as populated as it was last September. There must have been some attrition in Final Fantasy XI, otherwise Square Enix wouldn’t be on the verge of merging more servers. That said, there’s no way the playerbase of FFXIV holds a candle to the population of FFXI.

I still don’t doubt that Square Enix wants Final Fantasy XIV to be the company’s new flagship MMO, and why wouldn’t they? The game was (shockingly) under development for years. It’s built upon the in-house Crystal Tools graphics engine. The game is built with the latest technology in mind and is arguably the best-looking MMO on the market. Most of all, a revamped version of FFXIV would be very appealing to a large demographic of gamers who have grown up on the Final Fantasy series.

There was a time when Final Fantasy XIV was more attractive to a wider range of gamers. A poll conducted by developers earlier this year showed that people playing FFXIV had more experience in FFXI than any other MMO. Not far behind was World of Warcraft. Beyond that, FFXIV gamers had come from games ranging from Guild Wars to Aion to The Lord of the Rings Online. However, the bad press surrounding FFXIV’s failed launch as taken a toll on the game’s playerbase. I can’t imagine too many WoW refugees will pass up games like RIFT so they can stand around in Eorzea.

This highlights the ultimate truth. Not only does Square Enix need to completely revamp its flagging MMO, but the company must find a way to recapture that fan base that has carried the Final Fantasy franchise for so many years.

And therein lays the ultimate dilemma – because thousands of those players are currently having the times of their lives in Abyssea.

So, I ask, what will become of Final Fantasy XI?

There’s no longer any question about whether Final Fantasy XI is dying. It’s not. But does saving Final Fantasy XIV mean stunting the growth of Final Fantasy XI? The world of Vana’diel is as lively as it has been in a long time, and the announcement of more new content – especially something as big as a full-scale expansion – could guarantee years of additional shelf life for the 9-year-old game. However, good luck convincing those players to move to Eorzea if any such expansions were to happen.

In a recent interview, Naoki Yoshida reaffirmed his commitment to salvage FFXIV. Unlike other gaming companies, Square Enix is not at the mercy of investors, he said, and can take whatever time is needed to heal its ailing title. On our forums and elsewhere, people have openly debated whether the Playstation 3 version will ever come to fruition. I have no doubt the game will be released on the PS3 – otherwise, Square Enix would have already pulled the plug.

That’s why I wouldn’t expect any massive content updates to Final Fantasy XI in the near future. Why would Square Enix want to release earth-shattering content for Final Fantasy XI at the risk of suffocating Final Fantasy XIV? On the flipside, how long can FFXI thrive on recycled content before players require something more? How long can Square Enix hold off on genuinely new content for Final Fantasy XI before the tried-and-true cash cow stops yielding milk?

Forget what you wanted six months ago and ask this question now: would you rather play a revamped version of Final Fantasy XIV – a game that still lacks plot, personality and purpose, and even with a massive overhaul might never get off the ground -- or today’s version of Final Fantasy XI, an incredibly deep and revitalized game that could conceivably be unchained from its PS2 anchor? I really love the drive that Naoki Yoshida brings to the FFXIV development team, and so I'm not ready to write off Eorzea.

Honestly, though, Vana’diel has never looked so good -- and for the folks at Square Enix, that’s got to be a serious problem.

Comments

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Im sure XIV Will end up almost as good as XI!
# Oct 09 2011 at 9:05 AM Rating: Decent
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i do Understand that FFXIV Failed Big time with its Launch.. Most games do fail at times.
But if SE tries to Replace XI with XIV. Then SE would lose ALOT of Players.. XI has over 10k Player base (Thats if you /sea all on Each server)

I'd Willing pay for both games. FFXIV was amazing for the 1st few Minutes i played it for. (Considering the fact that me computer only got a 300 in the Benchmark test)

Just cuz a Launch Failed Doesnt automatically say: "We failed. So the whole game will Fail."

I've seen some games in the past that Failed a Launch but are still going.
If XIV was a Major fail then im sure SE wouldn't be updating the **** out of it..
Also it would seem SE is working torwards XIV more then XI so players have a Bigger opportunity of what they wanna do.

EX: if you get bored on XI and have XIV then you can go play XIV till you think of somthing to do on XI...

I hope SE will keep both XI and XIV because they both seem to be really Amazing games!
The day XIV fully dies
# Aug 31 2011 at 10:41 AM Rating: Decent
3 posts
I think the only reason that XIV has players is because it's subscription free, the moment they start charging is the moment the players jump ship.
FFXIV will beat FFXI.
# Aug 08 2011 at 5:00 AM Rating: Good
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241 posts
I completely disagree with the premise that Abyssea was a good thing for FFXI or that it caused it to thrive. The continued consolidation of servers should be a clear sign that FFXI is not thriving. The servers are being consolidated because the player base is shrinking. Taking the challenge out of FFXI has caused a serious blow to the enjoyment factor of the game. I think that all of this can be faulted to one of the designers of FFXIV, Akihiko Matsui who became the director of FFXI during the release of Abyssea. (what a shock, he ruined two games.)

FFXIV was rushed and did have a poor release but it also has yet to reach even "Rise of the Zilart" status of FFXI. The new director of FFXIV, Naoki Yoshida is clearly on the ball and the impressive improvements in the current 1.8 patch are a good indication of what is to come in the future of FFXIV. I predict that by the time XIV reaches the level of refinement that XI received by the time COP came out there will be very few players left on XI, and the ones that did move over to XIV will be kicking themselves that they didn't get an early jump on it.
ffxi had chocobos and airships on Launch in USA
# Aug 06 2011 at 6:42 PM Rating: Default
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588 posts
FFXI had airships and chocobos on day one of launch in USA only the poor japanese players that played pre zilart didnt have them both.

So to launch another gam in the US without it was a totally bad idea and a huge part of why the game sucked / sucks so bad.

all you can do it doa few v quests then you literally have to wait a week to do it again because anima has to regenerate or you cant get anywhere solo. and noone wants to run for 35 minutes just to do 1 lv quest... then go somewhere else that takes 40 minutes to run to without anima..

The game was very poorly designed and still has nothing appealing about it except crafting which now that so many people jumped ship you cant sell anything anyways noone to buy it.....
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ffxi
# Aug 08 2011 at 4:56 AM Rating: Decent
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241 posts
Yeah I dont think you really played FFXI in the past.. **** it took almost an hour to get to sky in the old days via choco from teleport mea.

Edited, Aug 8th 2011 3:59am by Jadier
Honestly,
# Jun 20 2011 at 11:31 AM Rating: Good
16 posts
They should've just released this current "FF14" as a "FF11-2". Transfer over your characters to the more graphically pleasing engine and upgrade your race. Let's face it, the races in FF14 are essentially a step up in sophistication from the FF11 races.

But see, FF11 has history and depth. All it really lags behind on is graphics.

So, really I think Square should've released this as a big expansion to FF11, title it something like FF11-2 at best, and upgrade to the PS3 and abandon the PS2 support.

All instead of wasting the FF14 name on a second MMO.
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ffxi may never die
# Jun 19 2011 at 6:16 AM Rating: Decent
I played FFXI for many years after the zilart expansion was released. I can across a time when i was unable to play and after seeing the release of the abyssea areas i rushed back to buy the game booted up my old ps2 and ive been playing for a solid 2 months now. I have also seen a record high of returning and new players coming to the game to check out all the abys action. It is awesome. As a player who played the game for so many years and spent such a great deal of time playing the game and even going to the extent of making a whole new avatar to play the game with. I have to say I enjoy it more now then ever. I have met a good 50 other players that have also returned to the game in the last 2 months and the number is growing and the servers left are booming. It would be a shame to see SE just stop adding content to FFXI. Above all other games I have played this is the best. With both of my accounts being online 24hrs a day pretty much and my own Linkshell being very active I see no end to the amount of money that SE could still make off of FFXI. It's a great game. I would also love to see FFXIV come out with some more content before I even try to play it. It just doesn't seem worth the time at the moment with so much going on in the world of FFXI. FFXI stands to be active for many more years if they keep adding a little new content every now and again. Ashvina siren server 90dnc 90nin 90blu and loving every min of this exciting new world in FFXI.
OR
# May 02 2011 at 5:52 AM Rating: Decent
2 posts
or people could play both if they wanted to, at the same time. gasp! no way!
Future of XI and XIV
# Apr 25 2011 at 11:21 PM Rating: Decent
14 posts
If SE dropped PS2 support for XI and released a remastered HD version and a new expansion pack the game would be able to compete with any other MMO on the market. However, they will most likely never drop the PS2 support which holds FFXI back from ever catching up with the expectations of graphics and performance that modern gamers have. They have their heads up their asses and thanks to how they seem to isolate themselves from the desires of customers and market trends I doubt we'll see XI go anywhere worthwhile.

I like Naoki's attitude towards XIV and I think the game has some decent material to work off of. The writing is superb, and while the storyline quests are few, they are interesting and could set the stage for an impressive and captivating setting like XI has. It's just going to take an enormous amount of resources to get XIV off the ground.
Sequels
# Apr 18 2011 at 10:37 AM Rating: Good
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11,538 posts
Firstly, I'm not worried about FFXI closing its doors until EQ1 does.

Secondly, if SE closes down FFXI to try to push people toward FFXIV, it sends a very loud and clear message that they would be willing to shut down FFXIV to push people towards FFXX online (or whatever else they come up with). Signing on to play a game made by a company that is shutting the doors on a working, popular product to try and save a failing one on life support is -not- a selling point.
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pewpew
# Apr 18 2011 at 9:32 AM Rating: Decent
2 posts
the veterans of XI dont play the game because it is groundbreaking.

99.99% of the time these people will have the best gear fore 2 or 3 (or 10) of their jobs. they beat newly released content with their linkshells the first week or so. then they afk in jeuno (or patrol jeuno as I like to call it).

so why do these players stay in game? why do they pay monthly for a game they "beat" after they got their byakko's haidate all those years ago?

its because XI is part of their lives. some people have spent a YEAR (in most cases more) of GAMETIME on their characters. every swing against a mob brings back memories of leveling for the first time in east ronfaure. every swing is a reminder of "look how far i've come". (every swing those players say "thank god im passed the dunes")

and that is the magic of XI. its not a game for most people out there anymore. its a record of their journeys and all their ups and their downs. its a measure of progress and achievement.

XIV looks like (it could be) an amazing game. its too bad that the system requirements are really high. its too bad that the ps3 release was delayed. its too bad that it lacks endgame content. I'm extremely glad that SE does not seem to be giving up on XIV, because in the near future I (hope) to be playing this game. i also hope that it remains f2p lmfao.

However, I know that XI will always be my first and favorite MMO. as retarded as SE can be I know that their dev. team also loves XI as much as the veterans of the game do. they will never cannibalize XI in hopes of buffing up the playerbase of XIV.
Consequently its unfair to measure the launch of XIV to XI. as stated above people have a much higher expectation of new MMO's now (but new MMO's should also have learned from the past so its not really an excuse how bad XIV was recieved).
Js...
# Apr 11 2011 at 6:35 AM Rating: Decent
4 posts
If I may direct your attention to a little company called Sony... They have two MMORPG's running at the same time: Everquest and Everquest 2. They both still release expansion packs. EQ1 was Sony's first MMO as well. EQ2 doesn't suck either. Both games have a very large player base. Starting to see the trend?

sigh.....
# Apr 09 2011 at 6:10 PM Rating: Decent
17 posts
back to 7-8 yrs ago mmo industries were still immature, ffxi was my 1st mmorpg i ever played. it was like fresh, exciting, also fun to fight along with friends and other players. until today, after many famous mmo game we knew, more option and more comparison, and if the new game just 1 step backward, people will bit#h the **** out of it, like why dont do this why dont do that. think about it, if ffxiv was SE 1st mmorpg before ffxi, i dont think people will complain as much as we do today.

after some big updates, ffxiv wasnt too bad after all, it just gamers had more experience and idea, expecting what a good new generation game should be.
how can they be different?
# Apr 09 2011 at 1:09 PM Rating: Good
19 posts
I played/play both games, i played ff11 for three years, i found it to be very addicting. ff14 is a a pretty picture but there is too much redundancy in the geography and levelquests (and monsters) so far.

In the matter of FF11 being replaced by 14, i do not believe it to be so, erozea doesnt even have chocobos or airships yet, I was very dissapointed in finding that out. I was hoping that you could raise a chocobo just like in ff11, but that is the problem isnt it, The games are so alike ( if you were to think about what ff14 could and possibly will contain), how can sqaure enix make them different? Right now ff11 has so much more then ff14, Its almost like looking at **** woman, she might look good but she doesnt have any appealing qualities other then that, she is dull. ff11 looks almost as pleasurable but is more aged, and has interesting and exciting qualities, somthing youd actually stick to because it has the ability to do more then just be eye candy.
how can they be different?
# Jul 27 2011 at 10:34 PM Rating: Decent
10 posts
You realize that it took about 6 years before you could raise a chocobo on ffxi right? And I'm betting that there were not Choco's and Airship's at the launch of ffxi.
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Is he Trolling?
# Apr 09 2011 at 6:32 AM Rating: Default
45 posts
Wow did you just say FFXIV's launch failed, and it has a lack of content?


Thayos you TROLL. LOL Come on guys isn't that what everyone does on here when someone says something negative about FFXIV.

Why are you posting here... lol This is a happy place, please don't say anything negative about his game.

Ahhh love you all.
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Is he Trolling?
# Apr 09 2011 at 6:56 AM Rating: Default
4 posts
What are you talking about? FFXIV's launch was a complete flop. It was so bad that even if it is remade into an amazing game, it still won't bring in the sales that FFXI did because the first launch was so bad and nobody will trust a second.
#braingame, Posted: Apr 08 2011 at 9:44 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Wrong. FFXIV will replace FFXI within a 2 year period. FFXI is dying daily losing customers to others MMOs and with Yoshi-P in control of FFXIV the game is getting the complete overhaul it needs. Already since he has been here the game has improved big time and honestly right now only thing FFXIV is lacking is end game content and within the next few months we will be getting some. Within a year I expect the game to pull ahead of FFXI without a single doubt.
XI vs XIV
# Apr 08 2011 at 1:09 PM Rating: Good
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XIV will never replace XI at this point, without a monumental and simultaneously catastrophic shift for players. The word is entrenched into anyone's mind who would have ever played XIV: Stay away for a good, long while...not worth your time.

So anyone who might have been interested in the two FF MMO titles, is going to shift to XI. SE would be idiotic to cannabalize it for the forseeable future. By that, I mean the next two to three years. That's how long it would take for XIV to finish its 180-shift in priorities and regain consumer confidence at this point.

The games aren't really competitors against each other, when there's little to no competition. XI trumps XIV in every way except graphics and modernization. Perhaps in some distant month, they might MIGHT break neck-and-neck, but I think SE will scrap XIV before it ever gets to that point. They are simply not seeing the overwhelmingly positive feedback and increased player base they'd hoped for since Yoshi took the helm almost five months ago.

I quit XI a couple of years ago, and dropped XIV after toiling away for four months. I don't need to return to either to tell you this is how it is.

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# Apr 08 2011 at 12:36 PM Rating: Default
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FFXI is and has been primarily targeted for PC users and has enjoyed its greatest success there. The primary platform for FFXIV will be the PS3. Everything that has been or is being developed for the game has been done so with that in mind. Therefore FFXIV can succeed with a strong release for that platform irregardless of XI. Most PC users that I know of balked at FFXIV because of the large investments required to upgrade their pcs in order to play FFXIV <again remember that the specs were designed for easy compatability for the PS3>. These players will contiinue to play FFXI irregardless of the sucess of FFXIV. FFXI can only fail if SE continues down the unimaginitve path of content such as Abyssea. I continue to play XI with my friends but must admit I am getting bored doing the same thing night in and night out. More varity is needed there. If XIV can reach the same level of content that XI did with ZIlhart when the PS3 is released then it has a good chance of success
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No...
# Apr 08 2011 at 12:12 PM Rating: Default
I've played the FF series since the release of Final Fantasy on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and while each FF that I have played and grown with were memorable, there comes a time and place when you just want to move forward. To this day I can play any of the FF games that I like (FF1, FF2, FF3, FF4, FF6, FF7, FFTactics, FF9, FF10, FF11) and still enjoy them but there will always be a yearning for something 'new'. If you still think FFXI will have the same player base that it has now in even within the next two years then I would have to respectfully disagree.

Even if FFXIV is 'just as good' as FFXI and not better than FFXI you will still see FFXI's population dwindle for the mere fact that most players will want to move on at some point. I stopped playing FFXI with 6 high level characters with at least 2 jobs lvl 85+ that I leveled over a period of 6+ years but I stopped last summer and I am not going back for the simple fact that I want something new. I will never go back and reactivate an account that I don't sincerely want to play anymore, not to mention the fact pay for monthly. Just not gonna happen. I'd rather go to a new JP free to pay mmorpg and have fun there.

FFXI is truly an awesome game but it's awesomeness will not last forever.

Edited, Apr 8th 2011 2:19pm by Tekma
Nope
# Apr 08 2011 at 8:14 AM Rating: Excellent
4 posts
I think the fact that they're even considering salvaging FFXIV is a ridiculous move. If there's one thing these companies should have learned by now is that the first impression is also the last. You can't have a completely failed launch and expect with a little bit of rework that people are going to come back. It's especially ridiculous to already have a very successful MMO that's still coming out with amazing content and expect people to leave it for your new one. FFXIV has already dug its own grave and we all know you can't bring the dead back to life.
Down with FFXI, UP WITH FFXIV
# Apr 08 2011 at 7:45 AM Rating: Default
11 posts
I have played FFXI for many years nows and can honestly say that I growed very tired of playing it. Its old news. SE did the right thing with FFXIV----------> moving forward. Yes the game lacks alot of content for now but lets be realistic. 5 years from now do you see yourself still playing FFXI. Ofcourse not. If all of you players that are still playing FFXI are truely a fan of the series then you would all have faith in SE and know that they will make FFXIV and epic adventure in the series. Bottom line is, if you all gave FFXI all those years of playing like I have, you would all give the same to FFXIV. And I do believe that FFXIV will be far greater the FFXI will ever be.
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Down with FFXI, UP WITH FFXIV
# Apr 09 2011 at 3:56 PM Rating: Decent
1 post
I agree. I played FFXI for over 5 years and quit playing for FFXIV. FFXIV was fun at first then after the constant level grinding and not really getting any where I decided to wait until they fixed the lack of content. FFXIV will eventually surpass FFXI it'll just take a couple of years. Think about how FFXI started it didn't have as much content as it does now and it grew to be an awesome game. Though I will say that FFXIV should have been released later and for PS3 first mainly because I had to buy a special computer to even play it because, the graphics card in my laptop wouldn't support it, which sucked. I would personally rather play on my laptop like i was able to do with FFXI but because FFXIV is so technologically advanced that's not possible on most laptops. While they should have waited to release it possible... it's still a pretty picture to look at at least lol >^_^<.
XI vs XIV
# Apr 08 2011 at 5:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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2,890 posts
FFXIV failed even though it had "latest technology" *cough* yet FFXI continues to thrive. The reason is simple, players do not want to play FFXIV, no amount of magic hand waiving will change what players want to play. Having dipped my feat into FFXIV I can say without a doubt that the core concepts behind the game are flawed. Its salvageable but it will take lots of time as the previous guys pretty much fck the game up. They tried to build a game ~they~ wanted to play and not a game that players wanted to play.

As it stands now, FFXI will continue to do well and make the company money. SE will not deliberately kill off its money supply, especially out of some already dis-proven notion that it'll drive players to FFXIV. About the worst you have to worry about is SE siphoning off talent from the XI dev team for XIV and thus slowing down FFXI. Although knowing east Asian business culture that would just ensure that the younger developers got an actual chance to test their ideas rather then being forced to nod their heads and accept the senior's idea's as correct.
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a good point
# Apr 08 2011 at 2:32 AM Rating: Good
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Yeh I dont see FFXIV thriving at the death of FFXI, its just too polished at this point. Many of my fellow players have quit out right or gone back to WoW but I must say after a short time most of them miss FFXI or get bored with WoW very quickly. The same happened to me. My expectations for Abyssea were low and I came into those expansions late but I must say they brought back the love in FFXI for me. While FFXI cant last forever given its age, SE must eventually do something to either keep it around, or kill it. Personally, I'd like to see it turn into a player based content mmo. Of course this would entail some work but to me they can only offer but so much new content. While being able to add things I would want would give the ability for the player to freshen the game to their hearts content.
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XI vs XIV
# Apr 08 2011 at 2:12 AM Rating: Excellent
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The idea that if they stopped releasing content for XI would cause player to shift from there to XIV is crazy most of the ppl I know on XI would just quit FF entirely if forced to either play XIV or nothing at all. They can't save XIV by killing XI.
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