I, alone, will likely never play enough games released in one year to do any sort of Game of the Year list. I’m spread pretty thin across a variety of generations. Nothing I have to say about 2017 is all encompassing.
However, I do have a mix of thoughts from throughout the year that might be nice to sort of bundle into a weird list thing.
Like any live game, Final Fantasy XI has changed significantly over its fifteen year life. In my five years – plus some – with the game, I can’t think of a single bigger turning point than the release of the expansion Treasures of Aht Urhgan. The shift in design re-invigorated the game, as well as lightened the oppressive reputation the MMO had built.
Being an fan of older versions of Final Fantasy XI is somewhat of a sad situation. Many titles that people are nostalgic for exist in their entirety today. While you may not be able to recapture that exact point in your life, where you played Super Nintendo on a Saturday morning with few worries, the game itself is intact. You can have almost an identical experience today to the one you had ten, twenty or thirty years ago.
Final Fantasy XI is fortunate. Unlike many MMORPGs, the servers are still alive. Though, if you log in and expect to re-live the passion you had for it as it existed in the mid-2000s, you’ll likely be sorely disappointed. Your Final Fantasy XI no longer exists. It’s the nature of an online-only world that is constantly updating for a changing market.