Games | PC / PlayStation 2 / Xbox 360 | Final Fantasy XI: The DIY Guide


Article by Parish | Originally published October, 2003 | Part of the Final Fantasy Series


So you're a long-time Final Fantasy fan who has finally been lured to the dark side -- that is, massively multiplayer online role-playing -- by the siren song of FFXI. Fun as the game may be, if you're new to the genre you're probably going to have trouble adjusting from the linear, pre-scripted style of the first ten games to the open-ended unstructured approach of this new online world. Many fans of the series may never come to grips with some of the Final Fantasy elements that have gone missing. Like predefined characters, airships and a cinematic plot.

There's not much to be done about the airships or the plot, but at the very least you can take the character issue into your own hands. After all, this is a role-playing game -- in fact, probably more so than any previous chapter. Final Fantasy characters tend to come in predetermined types, so it's easy enough to make your FFXI party feel like they'd be at home anywhere else in the series. For your convenience, we've put together a guide to the ten most popular FF character archetypes and how to mimic them. Just don't use the word "clichés" or the fanboys will never let you hear the end of it.


1. The Plucky Hero

Who?:
Locke, Zidane, Tidus

What Are They?:
The Plucky Hero isn't as common in Final Fantasy games as in, say, GameArts RPGs. But despite these characters' bright dispositions, they inevitably have a dark secret in their past. Fortunately, all it takes is a single sidequest for them to make peace with their demons.

Who Should Do It?:
Relentlessly optimistic types. The sort of person who can be low on HP and MP and surrounded by a party of high-level Tonberries and expect to come out unscathed. If your friends frequently tell you to "cheer down" with an exasperated tone, you're a shoe-in to be a Plucky Hero.

How To Do It:
Just be yourself. Try to look on the bright side of any situation, share your treasures with your companions, always help anyone in need of assistance, and inflict aphorisms and good cheer on your party members. They'll probably grow to hate your saccharine happiness, but as long as you're dishing out free Gil they'll pretend to be nice.


2. The Sullen Hero

Who?:
Cecil, Terra, Cloud, Squall

What Are They?:
The Sullen Heroes are good people, but unlike their plucky counterparts, they like to brood quietly about the dark secrets in their past. Happily, there's always a plot twist about a halfway through the story that teaches them to love life and be friendly. (Or at least slightly less grouchy.)

Who Should Do It?:
Well-intentioned players with a broad antisocial streak.

How To Do It?:
Keep in mind that it's a dog-eat-dog world, and everyone needs to learn to be tough. Help out your companions when they're in dire need, but don't put up with needy weaklings for too long. And if your companions complain about your introverted silence, just slap 'em with a taciturn "...Whatever."


3. The Precocious Underaged Waif

Who?:
Rydia, Klire, Relm, Yuffie, Selphie, Eiko, Rikku

What Are They?:
Very young women whose dialogue tends toward "smart-assed." They also frequently possess the cynicism (and sexual awareness) of women twice their age despite their veneer of youthful innocence.

Who Should Do It?:
Aspiring jailbait.

How To Do It?:
There aren't actually any children character models in FFXI, so you have two options: play as a pudgy female Tarutaru, or make a Hume or Elvann female as short as possible. After that, it's just a matter of acting as bubbly as innocent as possible. Then blindside everyone with occasional veiled innuendos.


4. The Boring-Ass Animal Person

Who?:
Mog, Red XIII, Freya, Khimari

What Are They?:
Demihumans estranged from their tribes and forced to hang out with humans, much to their disgust. They generally have the personality of soggy cardboard.

Who Should Do It?:
That strange niche of gamers who likes to draw heavily-pierced catgirls in baggy cargo pants or write naughty stories about characters from "The Lion King."

How To Do It?:
This one's easy: just make your character a Mithra or Galka and spend all your time talking about how much you hate puny HU-MANS.


5. The Inspid Love Interest

Who?:
Rosa, Aeris, Rinoa, Garnet, Yuna

What Are They?:
Meek, passive women whose personalities are defined largely by the fact that they dig the main character. The plot usually pivots around them through no merit of their own. Perennial victims in need of a rescue.

Who Should Do It?:
Young women looking for love with an eligible MMORPG geek (there are lots to choose from). Or lonely 40-year-old basement dwellers named Stanley looking for imaginary love.

How To Do It?:
Just latch on to a random hero-type and tug on his heartstrings a little. If you want to play it to the hilt, arrange to be "kidnapped" so he has to come rescue you. Note to heroes: you may want to keep in mind that this "CuteLuvvyGirl" character who keeps following you around is probably named "Roger" in real life.


6. Cid

Who?:
Cid, Cid, Cid, Cid, Cid, Cid, Cid, Cid, Dr. Sid, Cid

What Are They?:

The engineers, tinkerers and explorers of the Final Fantasy world -- there's one in every game, and they always help the hero in some capacity. They also have some sort of tragic flaw. For instance, Cid Pollendina from FFIV was tragically ugly, Cid from FFVI wore a hideous raincoat all the time, Cid Highwind had a potty mouth, Cid Fabul was a shameless womanizer, and Dr. Sid was in "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within." Poor sap.

Who Should Do It?:
Old guys named Cid.

How To Do It?:
There aren't any engineer-type classes in FFXI, but it shouldn't matter; the real hallmark of a Cid is that he's cantankerous and usually absent-minded. Just call your companions "kid" a lot and act all gruff and you'll be fine.


7. The Mentor

Who?:
Galuf, Cyan, Barrett, Quistis, Steiner, Auron

What Are They?:
Older characters with a paternal (or maternal, in Quistis' case) mindset toward a fellow party member. Generally somewhat overbearing, but with the best of intentions.

Who Should Do It?:
Parents "borrowing" the game while their kids are at school. Or incredibly anal-retentive types. Or people with a sidekick complex.

How To Do It?:
Choose a lower-level character and suffocate him or her with protection, attention and advice. Sure, they may ask a moderator to ban you for harrassment, but eventually they'll realize that it's for their own good.


8. The Noble Villain

Who?:
Golbez, Gilgamesh, Leo, Reeve, Seifer, Beatrix

What Are They?:
Bad guys who aren't all bad, just misled. They may loot and rape and pillage entire countries, but eventually they see the error of their ways and all is forgiven.

Who Should Do It?:
Players with a Saul of Tarsus complex. Heroes are a dime a dozen, but reformed villains always get the coolest costumes and the best lines. Of course, they tend to die in a spate of noble self-sacrifice, but it's worth the risk, right?

How To Do It?:
You won't be able to take this role until SquareEnix implements player-versus-player. Then you can cruise around killing random heroes until you're bored, at which point you can "see the light" and become reformed. It may take a little effort to convince your former victims of your new outlook on life, though.


9. The Zany Henchman

Who?:
Gilgamesh, Ultros & Zigfried, TURKS, Disciplinary Committee, Le Blanc Syndicate

What Are They?:
Recurring villains (frequently appearing in teams) who provide both valuable experience points for the heroes and welcome comic relief for the gamer. They can't be killed, merely deterred.

Who Should Do It?:
Well-adjusted people. It's just a game, right? Hang out with some friends and have fun. And if you can harrass some of those annoying Plucky Hero types along the way, that's just gravy.

How To Do It?:
You and your fellow Zany Henchmen can roam the servers and engage hapless heroes in combat with comical hijinx. It's fun! You'll have to wait for PVP support, of course, but that's OK. By the time it's ready you just might have finally gotten all your friends onto the same server and leveled up as needed. Maybe.


10. The Evil Villain

Who?:
Chaos, X-Death, Kefka, Sephiroth , Ultimecia, Necron, Sin

What Are They?:
The big bad guys -- the final bosses. They may or may not have a decent backstory (sometimes they're not even mentioned until the very end), but they all want one thing: destruction. Like those German guys from "The Big Lebowski," they're all nihilists. (Although none of them carry marmotts, more's the pity.)

Who Should Do It?:
Young men age 14-19 who wear black trenchcoats even in the summer and have notebooks full of Tolkeinesque runes and pentagrams.

How?:
Needless to say, you'll have to wait for PVP to be implemented once again. But in order to pull this off you'll have to max out your levels and learn all the best magic and basically turn yourself into a raging god of teenage angst, so you can afford to wait.