My First Impressions of Horizon XI the FFXI Private Server

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All Screenshots are taken from game

I want to give out a huge shoutout to Michaël Janssens for buying me some coffee. I really appreciate the support and yes the coffee is going to taste so good. I hope you have a great day, stay blessed!

I got to play HorizonXI over the weekend during their official launch, and I was blown away by how smoothly it went. HorizonXI is a private server where you can play the classic MMO Final Fantasy XI. Sure its launch wasn’t without its issues, but it was a better experience than a few modern MMO launches I tried this year. If you were a fan of Final Fantasy 11 when it was alive and thriving, you need to get on this game now. If you are like me and never got the chance to play it back in the day, give this game a try. Final Fantasy XI is a classic MMO at its finest. Best of all, it is free. All you have to do is download the client from the official HorizonXI website and you are good to go.

At its peak, the server held about 3000 players and it ran well. I didn’t notice any performance issues, but the server did shut down a couple of times for bug fixes and resets. The shutdowns were rare, and the developers did a fantastic job at keeping the base informed on any news. If you are going to play this game, join the official discord server. This is a great place for questions, tips, parties, and for keeping up to date on news and the status of the server.

The gameplay so far has been a lot of fun. This is an early MMO so the grind is very noticeable, but I hear that it isn’t as bad as the original. Early leveling is chill, but it can be competitive at the start, especially during peak times. You will be competing for mobs in this game since you can’t attack an enemy that has already been tagged. I spent a lot of time in the starting zone rushing around mashing the enter key hoping that I could tag anything. If you find yourself in a competitive starting zone, find a bunny or worm and camp its spawn. I recommend you don’t start hardcore mode on a character until you are at least familiar with the game or else you will die to user error.

There is little hand-holding in this game. There are no arrows or markers to tell you where you need to go. You will be given directions, and you will have to find your own way. I have a terrible sense of direction. I spent a lot of my time running around in circles. I suggest you activate the allmaps addon from the start.

If this is your first time playing FFXI, the interface is going to be tricky. Spend some time learning the menus and adjusting the interface to your liking. You can use a keyboard and mouse to play, but I found the best configuration for me was to use the keyboard alone. I use the arrow keys to move the camera and asdw for movement. Controlling the camera with your mouse is a terrible idea, but if it works for you, go for it. If you prefer to use a controller, Horizons makes it very easy to configure through their launcher.

The HorizonXI Launcher is incredible. You can configure your resolution, select the language, and activate addons to help your play experience. Make sure you check your window resolution before you launch the game. Mine was set way too small. I am not sure if this has been fixed, but when I launched the game, everything was in Japanese. I had to go back into settings and change the language to Japanese and then change it back to English for it to work. The texture addon is on by default, and I recommend you leave it on because the game looks better with it on. Other addons are included with the launcher that you can activate with a flip of a switch, but your stability may suffer so be conscious of what you activate. There is a full list of allowed addons on their website. If there is something they don’t offer, you can always request it or install it through Windower.

HorizonXI is intended to be community-driven, and the actions from the developers have proven this fact so far. They are very active on their discord and will quickly address issues as they arise. One thing to note is that this project is run by passionate gamers who do this for the love of the game. There will be issues that arise, but they have proven that they are more than capable to keep the game afloat. Please be patient with the incredible people who are working on HorizonXI. They do this in their free time so there are bound to be issues, but best believe they will work on ironing them out when they can.

I love the experience so far. It may not be the high-paced MMO experience I am used to, but it feels more meaningful. One thing to note is that this game feels a lot more turn based than traditional MMOs I’ve played, and this has made for a chill early leveling experience. I love the leveling experience in MMO. I find peace in a certain amount of grind, so the early leveling in MMOs is a huge determining factor of whether or not I will stick with a game. I have dropped a lot of the modern titles because the experience was empty. FFXI is giving me a sense of peace that I have been savoring because I know the challenge that is to come.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to HorizonXI and experience a brilliant classic MMO worth your time and attention.

Image from https://preview.redd.it/uv86piiz94191.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=6edd8ca025e2151b8588c23ce6d4a84fed424564

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