A return to Final Fantasy XI

In Final Fantasy XI, I came up with the name of “Dedric” for my character. From that point on, I had used it for many other games such as Star Wars Galaxies, The Sims Online, Project Entropia, and then eventually for Second Life.

While taking a breather from Final Fantasy XIII, I started looking into Final Fantasy XI. My PS2 was stolen a few years back. I discovered that my PS3 was able to recognize that the disc needed a hard drive. The PS3 prompted me to create a HDD and needed me to clear 13 GB of space. Too bad I couldn’t put my original PS2 hard drive in it, as everything is already installed there. After I made enough room, it took a while to create and format a hard drive for the PS2. I’m assuming it’s a virtual hard drive of some kind.

I went through and installed the PlayOnline client. I was pleasantly surprised that it recognized the wireless connection on the PS3 as sort of a wired LAN connection. I didn’t have to setup any wireless information (password, type, SSID, etc.) or add a new MAC address to the list of permitted PC’s to access the network. The whole experience felt like I was working with a Virtual PC – but for a gaming system. When I tried to connect to Square-Enix’s PlayOnline service, it said the credentials were not valid. I had all the information written down, so I knew for a fact that it was correct.

I went to the website and found that the same problem occurred there as well. Their password retrieval process has got to be the worst I have seen. First, there is no “forgot password” link. There are no links to anything. I had to google for information before I found the support site. Apparently password retrieval is not a common question listed on the FAQ. I had to go through and search to find out how to reset your Final Fantasy XI password. The article stated that my information should be submitted on the site, such as the last four digits of my credit card, address, date of birth, phone number, email on account, contact email, first/last name, date registered, registration code, etc. It was pretty detailed with everything that they wanted. I got an email Friday afternoon that I needed to contact support by email or phone during business hours – pacific time. It felt pretty pointless to ask me for all of that information if they were just going to send me a basic form letter to call support (with even less information).

After a long weekend wait, I was able to call into the support desk. After a 25 minute wait time (and a constant repeating message of what information to have on hand every 30 seconds), I got to speak to a person. It turns out that my account doesn’t exist any longer. After three months to one year, the account is deleted. I can’t register for another account with my registration codes as they are a one-time use only. There were two options that he gave me. The first was to buy a new copy of the software, or to wait until they have a program start back up (once a year) for old people to come back. From the looks of it, I would not meet the requirements to do the “return Home to Vana’diel” campaign.

I really wasn’t happy with either choice. I had already purchased the program for the PC in 2003, and then again once it was available for the PS2. I didn’t see why I should have to pay again. In the past, I handed the registration code for the PS2 to my wife to try out on her computer. The program to grab old accounts was new to me. I had never seen an email about it – and I’ve searched just to verify. The last communications from them was back in January of 2006 with a news letter around the time my PS2 was stolen. The gentlemen stated that I would need to check the website for when the next promotional period would start.

In general, I was just looking to see if I could get it working again to see what has changed. I’m not really up for spending 150.0 US$ to get the game and four expansion packs (The Vana’diel Collection) for the PS2. Getting Final Fantasy XI without expansion packs for PS2 alone is $60 and comes with a hard drive that would collect dust with the other one that I have. With Final Fantasy XIV around the corner, I can wait. On the other hand, the PC version is $1.99. The registration codes for the PC game should also work for the PS2.

After digging around some more, I found that I could try out a free 14 day trial of the latest expansions and game for the PC. I was able to download FFXI on FilePlanet. During the registration process, I was asked for a registration code. I was stuck again as a code was not emailed to me, and the Key on FilePlanet for the final fantasy XI trial download was too long for what they were asking for. I searched the internet and found a page to request a free trial key. The PlayOnline viewer looks the same as ever, but FFXI is something I have yet to see. It’s downloading updates and claims that I need to wait ten hours before it downloads them all.

It’s a little unsettling in how information is scattered about, and that you need to use Google (or another search engine) to find information that should be listed on the companies website.

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