Now flows innocent blood On Vana'diel, a vast land The entire world trembles In despair from the scourge
It is prevented By no fate It is stopped By no strength
But through the stormy night Behold: a star of glory shines!
—Memoro de la Ŝtono, excerpt from the main theme music (English Translation)
The eleventh entry in the thesaurus-exhaustingly popular Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy XI is the first MMORPG created by Square Enix, and the first MMO in the Final Fantasy franchise, released in Japan in May of 2002, with a North American release in October of 2003, followed by a European release in September of 2004. It is also the first MMORPG to be released both for home consoles (Playstation 2 and Xbox 360) and the PC. The game even mixes all these players together, as no world is region or console specific.The game takes place in the fantasy world of Vana'diel, which is split into three great nations: San d'Oria, Bastok and Windurst. Twenty years previously, the three nations united (with the aid of the neutral city-state of Jeuno) to fight an army of Beastmen led by the mysterious Shadow Lord. The Shadow Lord was eventually defeated, and the three nations entered into a peace treaty in which they would compete for territory not through armed conflict but a system of benefaction called "Conquest".Now in the present day, three great plots are stirring in the heart of each nation, calling for a new generation of adventurers to step into the spotlight of history. Furthermore, there have been signs of increased Beastman activity in recent months, leading to fears that the Shadow Lord may return and resume his bloody campaign across Vana'diel.The game places an incredible emphasis on story while remaining as open-ended as possible, featuring (as of this writing) ten complete storylines for players to experience: one of each of the three starting nations, and one for each expansion pack to the game.
List of storylines/expansion packs
San d'Oria: Trouble stirs within the royal court of the Elvaan nation as two royal princes wage a war of intrigue for control of the throne.
Bastok: Tension between the Humes and the Galka are at an all-time high, with the latter growing discontent with their role as brute labour within the nation.
Windurst: A prominent researcher has disappeared while investigating the slow decline of the earth, which may be linked to the mysterious monoliths placed around Windurst and the "Cardian" golems that act as servants within the capital.
Final Fantasy XI: Rumours continue to persist that the Beastmen are plotting to use a dark ritual to resurrect the Shadow Lord. With the help of a party of heroes assembled from each nation, the adventurers must rise to the challenge if they hope to prevent a repeat of the Crystal War.
Rise of the Zilart: The architects of the Shadow Lord plot are revealed to be survivors of the extinct Zilart race. The ambitions of the Zilart once led Vana'diel to destruction, and now the survivors intend to resume their centuries-long mission at the cost of the world's future.
Chains of Promathia: One of the creator gods of Vana'diel is stirring from his slumber, and it's up to a band of keen adventurers (along with the help of a spunky Elvaan named Prishe) to stop him before he literally "un-makes" the world.
Treasures of Aht Urhgan: The adventurers travel to the exotic continent of Aht Urhgan, where various guilds vie for power over the land and each other.
Wings of the Goddess: The adventurers discover strange portals that transport them through time to when the Crystal War was taking place, ensuring that their future is protected.
Seekers of Adoulin: The adventurers travel to the continent of Ulbuka to aid in its colonization efforts, and meet up with a young royal heir named Arciela.
A Crystalline Prophecy - Ode of Life Bestowing: A giant crystal appears above Jeuno, triggering a number of strange events across the land.
A Moogle Kupo d'Etat - Evil in Small Doses: An add-on story which starts with a Moogle attempting to fix a leaking Mog House and ends with an evil scheme of real-estate domination.
A Shantotto Ascension - The Legend Torn, Her Empire Born: A side-story starring Breakout Character Shantotto, an eccentric (but absurdly powerful) Tarutaru mage who returns from an expedition and suddenly declares that she wants to Take Over the World. Hilarity Ensues.
Vision of Abyssea (also Scars of and Heroes of): A number of sinister portals have appeared around Vana'diel, opening the gates to a parallel world called Abyssea: a dark version of Vana'diel where the failure of heroes has pushed the world to the brink of destruction. Now the adventurers of Vana'diel must stop the influence of Abyssea from leaking through the portals and corrupting their world.
The game also allows a player to change their job class at any time without having to make a new character, potentially allowing a single character to experience all twenty-two* of this writing, August 2013 unique classes in the game. This mixing and matching of classes is crucial to character build, as a character can designate a "Support Job" that grants stat bonuses and abilities to their main class.Having gained a reputation for being intensely-unfriendly to beginners, Final Fantasy XI has softened in recent years by introducing a multitude of tutorials and stat-boosters designed to help new players get off to a running start. There is even a 14-day trial for new players to try the game without devoting to it. With that said, the game is still notably less "casual" than market leaders like World of Warcraft: for example, parties are practically required after Lv.10, forcing players to learn the skills necessary to survive in high-level play from an early stage. Most worthwhile activities require a time investment of at least two hours, and Level Grinding is a staple of gameplay.There are also very few options for "direct" Player versus Player gameplay. Territory is determined through the Conquest system, which involves no direct combat with opposing players. Ballista and Brenner allow for direct combat but within the confines of a highly-structured sports game. There is also Chocobo Racing and Pankration, which involve capturing/raising monsters and pitting them against each other in competition.This does not mean, however, that the game has not enjoyed success. Final Fantasy XI had over 500,000 subscribers, with nearly 2 million characters playing at its peak, and while there are a number of indications those figures have declined significantly since then, it's still the single most profitable Final Fantasy title ever made.See also Final Fantasy XIV, the online successor to XI.
This game deals in the following tropes:
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: One in San d'Oria, one in Tavnazia, and one in Windurst; although the first is actually a dungeon and the other two are aqueducts.
After the End: Abyssea is an alternate version of the events following the Chains of Promathia story. In Abyssea, your character, Prishe, and Selh'teus challenged Promathia and failed. After absorbing your Abyssea alternate and Selh'teus, Promathia grows stronger, turns the skies of Abyssea blood red, and sends endless hordes of fiends to extinguish all life on the planet.
Dynamis is an alternate world where the Shadow Lord's armies won the Crystal War, which explains the cities being full of beastmen.
The Astral Realm is the place where avatars, powerful elemental beings that can be enslaved for labor by summoners, reside.
The capital of the Zilart, Al'Taieu, was displaced into a pocket dimension, where the laws of physics don't fully apply. (Water is solid, although native species still move through it like water.)
Promyvion is a realm of memories, in the process of degrading and eaten away by Emptiness, small patches of eroded land and buildings haunted by the physical remains of thoughts.
The Wings of the Goddess expansion deals with a past (actually the original) version of Vana'diel, and attempts are made by different factions to change it.
The Abyssea mini-expansions take place in an Alternate Dimension version of Vana'diel, where alien beings invaded, slaughtered more sentient beings, and turned the skies blood red.
Both this past world and the alternate world can be reached through Cavernous Maws, which are fragments of the trans-dimensional and trans-time being Atomos. Walk of Echos is the garbage dump of Atomos, a pocket dimension between dimensions.
Always Chaotic Evil: It's certainly seems the beastmen are like this in the game, but then you find out what motivates them, and the world becomes a lot more gray... except the Orcs. They're pretty much just a nasty warrior race.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Played straight with Archduke Kam'lanaut, although technically he should be a Grand Duke. Averted with most other nobles/royals, although they sometimes tease at it.
Authority Equals Asskicking: The nation storyline missions will have you fighting alongside Captain Volker, Prince Trion, and Minister Ajido-Marujido. Also, generals in Campaign are much more powerful than entire groups of players, and generals in Besieged would easily reach Game Breaker status if they fought normal enemies. A well-geared player getting charmed hits General Rughadjeen for insignificant damage and gets hit for 1/3 to 1/2 of their max HP in return.
Averted somewhat by the fact that the actual leaders of those countries (President Karst, King Destin, Star Sybil) are generally pacifist weaklings.
Although it was played straight with Bastok's President Prion in the Wings of the Goddess expansion. He personally leads the Bastokan troops during the Battle of Xarcabard.
Averted in Volker's case by his defense being comparable to that of a wet paper bag when you actually fight alongside him. Of course, he was up against Zeid, who would have Volker's position if he hadn't left Bastok to wander Vana'diel.
Justified since Volker is a Warrior. Unless a Warrior wears very specialized damage reduction gear, they generally don't have much more defense than your average paper bag, wet or dry.
Furthermore, while Ajido-Marujido hits very hard with his magic, he has less survivability than most mages his level.
Awesome, but Impractical: Blood Weapon, a Dark Knight's 2-Hour, and a few other 2-Hours, to a lesser degree. When combined with certain equipment and other abilities, it results in flatly obscene amounts of damage... but only once every 2 hours.
The Dragoon's old 2-Hour, Call Wyvern. As cool as the Wyvern was to look at, it had such low HP that nearly any mob with an AoE ability would kill it, and the only way of healing it involved resting, which got rid of TP for the Dragoon. Waiting 2-Hours for it, even if it died in the first fight after it was summoned, made it that much worse. This has since been changed.
Red Mages are known for being able to solo a ridiculous number of difficult fights, but only if they have top-notch gear, and a whole evening to kill. Some of the novice Red Mage solos are on the order of 2-3 hours long.
Bare-Fisted Monk: Sort of averted by the Monk job. They fight with cesti, claws, hooks, katars, and other weapons which attach directly to the hands.
Well, you *can* fight as a Monk without weapons — and you will, if you start as one; Monk is the only one of the six starting classes to get no weapon as part of his starting outfit (you get a White Belt instead: +1 Strength). Unless you're getting help, you won't be able to afford a weapon for a few levels.
When the game initially launched in the US, Monks started with a pair of Onion Cesti, which increased the delay between attacks by 50% and increased damage by 10%. Bare-fisted was the way to go anyway.
Beware My Stinger Tail: Many Notorious Monster species have a special Weapon Skill for people who have hate from behind; Behemoth with "Kick Out", Hydra with "Serpentine Tail", and Khimaira with "Plague Swipe". Of course, the granddaddy of them all: Wyrms have Spike Flail. If you see a Wyrm attacking with its tail, prepare for the impending Instant Death Radius.
Big Boo's Haunt: Several areas fit this, a few of them a result of the Crystal War.
Some Red Mage strategies for soloing much harder NMs revolve around using a weapon that specifically does 0 damage to avoiding giving it TP to use its special attacks. This makes the fights much longer, but combining this with a series of enhancing spells that cause additional elemental damage every time their weapon hits lets Red Mage kill some NMs that would otherwise be impossible.
And the biggest boost to your performance in the game? Your lunch. Food gives tremendous stat boosts.
Boss in Mook Clothing: Uragnites, which, at around level 30, take nearly 5 minutes to kill by a player at level 75 (the previous player cap).
Boss Room: Burning Circles, as well as many other analogous battlefields in later expansions.
Breast Plate: While actual breastplates seem to avoid this, it is almost scientifically impossible for a Mithra to wear actual pants. More to the point, Female characters in general will occasionally find themselves wearing a bikini bottom when the same piece of equipment yields pants for males. However, this is not always the case.
Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Well, calling them Rarabs anyway, among other examples. To be fair, though, they are called rabbits or hares most of the time; Rarab seems to be a Windurstian colloquialism.
Cast From HP: A Red Mage's Convert ability swaps HP with MP, while a Scholar's Sublimation ability makes you gradually lose HP into a pool you can restore your MP with later, in both cases effectively using one's health to restore your magic. A different take on this trope, for sure.
Cat Folk: One of the playable races are Mithra, a Cat Girl style Little Bit Beastly feline race; the playable portion is entirely made of females. There is precisely one male Mithra shown in the new expansion. There's a hilarious cutscene of whole units of the Mithran Mercenaries swooning over him.
Counter Attack: Used by Monks (completely avoiding a physical attack sometimes), Warriors (retaliating after being attacked), and Blue Mages (like monks, if they set a couple of specific high-level spells). Colibri will parrot magic cast on them, as well.
Clock Roaches: The Cavernous Maws, which are how you get to the Crystal War era and back. These are actually manifestations of the Eldritch Abomination Atomos, whose job is to eat impossible futures out of existence and deposit them in the Walk of Echoes.
Critical Existence Failure: During Wings of the Goddess, turns out Atomos couldn't swallow both futures without suffering one. It seems it bit off more than he could chew.
Dark World: Four areas fit this trope: The Crystal War era, Dynamis, Promyvion, and Abyssea. Is the devteam obsessed with this trope, or just lazy?
Derelict Graveyard: Arrapago Reef, full of undead. And snake and fish women. Not exactly the pretty kind, either.
Deal with the Devil: This is part of the ritual in becoming a Blue Mage. Fortunately, the order also takes precautions so that your soul is not lost to the beast, including special armor and trying to assassinate you when they believe you have become too powerful.
Death Equals Redemption: Lady Lilith, once she realises that she's done for, gives to Lilisette a solution to save both futures.
To be fair, it's explained that most of the avatars you fight (and summon) are just fragments of that actual being's power.
In the Wings of the Goddess quest, an NPC asks you if you had ever fought a god before. Sadly, since your character does not speak, the NPC does not get to learn the truth. Players who have done all of the missions, quests, and hunt Notorious Monsters have fought 21 gods.The List Ifirt, Shiva, Garuda, Titan, Ramuh, Levithan, Genbu, Seiryu, Suzaku, Byakko, Kirin, Fenrir, Diabolos, Bahamut, Promathia, Carbuncle, Odin, Alexander, Dark Ixion, Cait Sith Ceithir, and Atmos. This does not count supremely powerful beings such as Pandemonium Warden, or beastmen leaders who call themselves gods but are just unusually strong for their species. The only two named gods in the game that players have not fought (yet?) are Phoenix and Altana.
With a Sequel Hook that Lillesette has to stay there until the Cavernous Maws are frozen in stone, like he is in our present time. Maybe for an Apacalypse Nigh style quest, possible even more.
Drought Level of Doom: The game has many events like Limbus and Dynamis with armies of Mooks and a time limit, with Assault and Einherjar being the most hectic of the events. Campaign Battles can possibly be like this, depending on the amount and timing of enemy waves.
Dual Wielding: Was very much a Game Breaker for awhile. Only the ninja, dancer, blue mage, and thief job allows this (or dancer or ninja subjob), although hand-to-hand attacks involve both hands and occasionally feet.
Duel Boss: There actually are a few fights like this, the best example being the final level cap quest.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: NPCs will send you to do mundane tasks even after you've saved the world. Some even act as if you've done nothing for them... even if you did. One NPC specifically tells you that doing random crap is "what adventurers are for."
Dying Dream: Revealed in Wings of the Goddess: The Vana'diel you know? Turns out to be a lie: the good guys never actually win the Crystal War, and the war is still ongoing. Oh, and this reality is trying to consume the dream you live in, because if it doesn't, it will disappear.
Elite Mooks: Ever go to Dynamis? Filled with the suckers.
The Empire: Shantotto is set to have one of her own in a new expansion. Also, the Orcish Empire is a state to the north that invaded the San d'Oria region, so all the orcs in the game are just the expeditionary force of a larger empire.
Not to mention the Empire of Aht Urhgan, although this has some aspects of The Kingdom as well from a trope perspective.
Enemy Summoner: And these guys are the cause of many a wipe in Dynamis. Oddly, they're pretty tame elsewhere.
Fantastic Racism: Fairly light in the game itself, and light in the player base compared to World of Warcraft, but it exists. Some think Tarutaru are evil little demons hiding behind their cuteness, Elvaan are total jerks, etc. It should be noted that these are mainly restricted to their home cities, for instance, Galka in Aht Urhgan act and are treated pretty much the same as anyone else there.
Elvaan can be total jerks. Except Prince Trion, he's an idiot. Or a shining example of a righteous warrior, depending on how much worth you put on Gameplay and Story Segregation (gold armor as a disguise aside). Ashmea B Greinner, on the other hand...
San d'Orian Elvaan may act proud, but they don't actively oppress any other races, like the Humes did to the Galka, which is a major part of Bastok's storyline in the past. Tarutaru often hide contempt or evil intentions behind cutesy mannerisms and verbal tics.
There is a fairly prevalent theory as to why Mithra and Galka share the lowest Charisma score: they're closer to looking like the beastmen than the other races.
Mithras get handwaved due to them being a tribal society on their home continent. Galkas don't get off so lucky, though.
Raogrimm a.k.a the Shadowlord is forced to watch over Dynamis until hatred no longer exists. Hopefully, he's not alone.
Lilisette has no other choice but to leave her world behind, and replace her Evil Counterpart in her own world in order to close Atomos's maws and allow the two futures to survive. And her actions during the Crystal War are Ret Gone, which means that only you remember her.
The Federation: The Federation of Windurst. Also, the enemies during the Crystal War are referred to as the Beastmen Confederate, but they are organized more like a horde or The Empire, bowing to the Shadow Lord's power.
Fun with Acronyms: It seems that Windurstian kids don't think their group names through, as a string of Windurst quests involve the Star Onion Brigade. This seems to be a perpetual thing, since in the Wings of the Goddess, there is another group called the Windurstian Teen Force. Seekers of Adoulin added the Fantastic Adoulin Imperial Liberators.
The Gambler: Corsairs are gambler pirates who boost specific stats by random amounts, and use a blackjack-like mechanic to improve the results.
Also an example of Four Is Death — the "unlucky number" which gives the worst version of each Corsair buff is always exactly four more than the "lucky number" that gives the second best (11 always being the best — any higher and you "go bust", with predictable results).
In an interesting inversion, the number four is actually the Lucky Number for about half of the EXP Party Rolls that Corsairs use on a regular basis, i.e. Ninja, Hunter, Chaos Rolls.
Glass Cannon: Dark Knights. They can actually kill themselves with Souleater.
The Goomba: Considering the look of Mario's first foe, it's not actually that odd to fight a walking, punching onion (or flower, or whatever).
Mandragoras? They're only the 1st mob if you start in Windurst. Black mandragoras (called korrigans) are death on legs.
Grim Up North: Xarcabard, the ever-cliche hangout of the Shadow Lord.
Guide Dang It: So many quests are insanely difficult to do, or even know about, without using the internet. Quest givers are unlabeled, the steps are vague, the in-game quest log doesn't update with progress beyond initial opening and completion, and the rewards are usually unmentioned. Considering how many of the quests are all but required (Chocobo License, Advanced and Sub Jobs), checking the fan wiki or other guides is required.
For perspective as to how bad this can be, there are several quests where you are asked to bring an item to the quest giver. To be extra clear, he/she literally will not elaborate further than an "item".
Hammerspace: Players either pull ranged weapons from their leg, like Robocop... or their ass. Not to mention that somehow a bowl of soup and a bed take up the same inventory space.
Hard Work Hardly Works: Subverted by the fact that any challenge you beat is really done by a group of yourself and other players, and horribly averted by the NPC generals in Besieged and Campaign.
For instance, some generals (I'm looking at you, Valaineral) in campaign can defeat multiple enemy squads singlehandedly, including multiple overpowered enemy commanders that can take dozens of players twice as long to defeat. Cerane I Virgaut can take the collective beating of three or four whole enemy squads and her health will barely budge at all.
Healing Factor: A White Mage's Auto-Regen fits this trope. Also obtainable by Blue Mages with a specific spell combination, earlier than White Mages — but any character can have this in Aht Urgan or past areas with Sanction or Sigil respectively. And the Regen spells.
"Us goblins, we don't like you, but we'll like you for a price."
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With regards to fanart, a subsect of artists have taken a fondness to pairing up Elvaan and Mithra (or Tarutaru) on opposite ends of their size spectrum. It's very dramatic looking.
Oddly inverted, for many jobs (mainly mages), the Elemental Staves and Magian weapons are actually better than the Relic and Mythic Weapons. Relic Weapons are simply high-damage melee damage weapons that do nothing to help casting stats. Certain Mythic Weapons (WHM and BLM) are useful in certain situations, the SMN Mythic Weapon is clearly superior, but other Mythic Weapons (RDM, BRD, and SCH) should not be used for spells cast on enemies.
Most mobs are bad enough, but generally speaking, messing with those Monk monsters isn't a good idea.
There's also "Extremely Bad Breath", which is used by 3 specific Morbol NMs. It instantly kills anyone within a certain radius. Odin's Zantetsuken is the best example of this; it is an AOE death effect.
Interspecies Romance: Humes and Elvaan can canonically cross-breed; Mithra crossbreeding is less likely, but it is heavily implied (especially in Fanon... go figure) that members of any of the playable races can become involved with any other races. Yes, even Tarutaru.
Invulnerable Civilians: Many, many NPCs are somehow undetectable by monsters... and don't get hurt by area attacks, to the point that the adventurers seem to be the weakest folks in the world. Unarmed children and the elderly often get to places by themselves that we need a dozen other players, and many brutal fights against deadly opponents, to reach. And they're always there FIRST!
Joke Item: A bunch of crafted clothing and fireworks.
Don't forget the Cheese Sandwich added because a fan asked during a Q&A at FFXI Fan Fest one year..
Killer Rabbit: Pretty much every monster class, no matter how soft and fuzzy, has rather high-level Notorious Monster representatives. Hence the maxim: "No matter how powerful you are, somewhere in the world there is a rabbit that can kick your ass." Related, "There's a crab for every level."
Perhaps a humanoid example with Professor Shantotto, and the Tartaru race in general, they're only about 1"1/2 feet tops, and they're unbelievably powerful casters, so much so that Shantotto, regarded as the strongest, can take over the world if she ever turned evil.
Kiting: Kiting is broken up into normal kiting, where healers can be attacked if the kiters don't keep the mob's attention, and "super-kiting," where due to how the game's enmity system works, a kiter can be healed infinitely without having to do anything other than run. For obvious reasons, the latter doesn't work against many bosses.
The Kingdom: All three of the joinable nations fall under this trope to some extent, although the Kingdom of San d'Oria is probably the straightest example because it's a monarchy as well. The Marquisate of Tavnazia and the Grand Duchy of Jeuno may also fall under this, but have certain mitigating factors what with the former being destroyed except for a hole in the ground and the latter being ruled by a secretly evil Archduke.
Large and in Charge: While beastmen leaders can be larger than the others, any boss that isn't a monster or beastman will be only as big as a tall Galka, at best.
Laughably Evil: Aquila from the Wings of The Goddess storyline is a amusingly childish sort of guy, but that doesn't make him any less of a jerk.
Consider that out of 75 levels, you reach the halfway point (in terms of total exp) at level 66.
And then at VanaFest 2010, from the Developers themselves, the level cap is increased from 75, to 99.
The Abyssea mini-expansion seems to be working on averting this for higher level characters (which is a good thing, considering the increased cap with each Abyssea addon), as one can earn massive amounts of experience in a relatively short amount of time.
Lord British Postulate: Absolute Virtue. Square used to intentionally try to make the boss even more unbeatable if someone actually does beat it, then sometimes banned the players for exploiting glitches to do so.
Lost Forever: If you see a Paladin ranting about Bibiki Seashells, this is why.
The Lost Woods: Jugner Forest, though there is a clear if winding path through it in the present. For very old growth style forest, there is The Sanctuary of Zi'Tah, filled with trees that reach beyond the draw distance, numerous roaving plantoids, bugs, walking mushrooms, and tree-tending creatures. There is also a dungeon within that zone called the Boyhada Tree.
For getting lost, The Great War era version of Jugner Forest has barricades blocking the usual routes, leading to new detours. Yhoator and Yuhtunga Jungle are better applications, as the map only shows the aboveground paths, and it's up to the player to figure out which undergound paths link them. Caederva Mire can also apply, as the player doesn't even get a map to this place before jumping through a few hoops.
Loot Drama: The trope was originally called "The Ridill" over the infamous drama Ridill would cause when it dropped. The Ridill was a sword that was usable by multiple classes and had an extremely useful effect, but was a 5% drop off a boss that only appeared once every day.
Other items that have similar effects on the player-base but at a reduced rate due to being more specialized, even rarer, etc include Defending Ring, Hauteclaire, and anything from Absolute Virtue.
The Medic: Many job classes fit this, primarily White Mages, but Red Mages get preferred a lot more at higher levels, much to the dismay of quite a few of them (And all of the other jobs that normally heal.)
In order to learn a summon, the Summoner must defeat the creature before he or she may summon it.
Metal Slime: You know this trope counts if you've ever seen Cactrot Rapido. There's a quest Notorious Monster with this name too.
A character is lucky if they can mod up to 2000 HP. Cactrot Rapido can use 10000 Needles, as opposed to normal cactaurs being limited to 1000 Needles.
Ms. Fanservice: When the female avatars are stripped of all equipment, the Female Humes wear a low-cut, cleavage-baring shirt and a pair of shorts. Female Elvaan wear a sleevless top (that does cover their entire bust, however) and a pair of bikini-cut shorts. But the poor Female Mithrans get a cleavage-baring leather halter top and bikini-cut bottoms.
Mythology Gag: References to characters and events from earlier games in the series; for example an escaping thief in San d'Oria calls a town guard a Spoony Bard.
Necromancer: You can meet one living in a dungeon for a quest series. Necromancer was also one of the jobs discussed to be added in the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion, but they decided against it since the job would be essentially useless during the day. We instead got Puppetmaster. Later, Puppetmastergot a few buffs.
Nerf: There's a reason for the lolDRG joke. And what exactly did Sambas on pets do to you, Square Enix?
That said, there haven't been any real job-related nerfs for a while, and dragoon specifically has gotten quite some buffs in its own right. Lately, the nerfs seem more towards easy ways to make money to discourage RMTs, but which often just makes things harder for more casual players, and may actually drive business for RMTs.
Tends to be rarer than many MMOs, because SE usually increases the strength of weaker classes to balance them rather than reduce stronger classes. Even the original Dragoon nerf was only indirect because it was a change to Weaponskill TP gain rather than any effect on the class itself.note Prior to the nerf, weaponskills that were said to hit multiple times actually did, for the purposes of generating TP, and spears had a weaponskill that could hit up to eight times; if it did, it would generate enough TP to use the weaponskill again immediately, meaning Dragoons could use a Limit Breakover and over again. The "nerf" made multi-hit weaponskills count as one hit for the purposes of TP generation.
Scholar got two nasty ones. When it was discovered Absolute Virtue could be epically owned by a party of Scholars stacking Modus Veritas, they nerfed it to the point that normal mobs could resist it, let alone bosses. Embrava was changed from Regen/Regain/Haste to Regen/Refresh/Haste.
Nice Hat: As the Artifact Armor is the iconic look of each job class, many of them have a Nice Hat. Black Mage, Red Mage, and Dragoon in particular have iconic hats.
Ninja Looting: Being an MMORPG, there's always a chance for this. Linkshells normally deal with this quickly, however.
No-Gear Level: Salvage strips players of the ability to use all gear upon entering (the excuse is something about psychowaves in the ruins). Special cells dropped by enemies can be used to lift the equipment restrictions, slot by slot.
Old Master: Maat. Don't let the age fool you. He mastered most jobs in the game — but sticks to Monk when fighting in the past. He goes about as easy on the beastmen as he goes on players.
His good taste extends beyond his choice in caps and to his job class, it seems.
Oggbi also counts, as he's the man who teaches Monks the dreaded Asuran Fists weapon skill, and does not play around in Campaign battles.
There are classic summon and kill everything demons, though only 3 of them exist of the Dvergr class.
Our Elves Are Better: FFXI's version are the Elvaan, which seem to be a subversion of most elves. They're very tall with somewhat awkwardly long necks and large hands, very strong (stronger than the 8 foot tall wall of muscle that Galka are), and fairly poor with magic. However, they are ostensibly better at healing magic than other schools. They're terrible with bows, though. Legolas they ain't.
Perpetually Static: The developers try and spice it up, but it's still the same if you defeat any Big Bad or not. They do make continuity quite convenient, for example having "Duke Vicarious" Esha'ntarl take what would be Kam'lanaut's role in the Chains of Promathia story, because of what happens during Rise of the Zilart.
Power Fist: Both Monks and Puppetmasters use hand-to-hand weapons the most.
Power-Up Food: Food is powerful enough that it can equal the effect of several expensive pieces of equipment. For instance, many melee characters use equipment that boosts strength and attack, but leave most of the accuracy buffs to sushi.
Praetorian Guard: Several of them. The most visible ones are in San d'Oria (the Royal Guard for the d'Oraguilles and the Temple Knights under the Church), Jueno's Ducal Guard, and Aht Urhgan's Immortals. Windurst also has two divisions: The Patriarch Protectors guard the Parliament of Patriarchs while the Sibyl Guards were formed from war orphans and protect the Star Sibyl. Bastok's Gold Musketeers may qualify as well, and all of these squads can be seen in actual combat except for the Sibyl and Ducal Guards, and they tend to kick butt compared to other units.
Primal Stance: With Orcs being evil and whatnot, this was inevitable.
Really 700 Years Old: Prishe and Eald'narche both qualify — the former due to an encounter with a certain mysterious object that left her fixed at the age she was at during the encounter, and the latter because not only is he one of the last surviving Zilart, but he is actually older than his brother Kam'lanaut.Esha'ntarl for the same reasons as Eald'narche, too.
Red Baron: Lilisette, the "Moonshade Butterfly," or as her friends jokingly refer to her, the "Moonshade Wolverine".
She also only rhymes in the North American localization.
Ribcage Ridge: Tahrongi Canyon and the Maze of Shakhrami have quite a few wyrm skeletons in them, to the extent one would almost expect to see that kind of dragon nerby often — however, since those are close to starter areas, they end up just hinting at Tiamat being in the nearby Attowa Chasm, which fortunately isn't easily reached by accident.
Robot Buddy: Both Automatons and Cardians fit here, Cardians moreso, being capable of handling tasks a bit more independently (Although Aht Urhgan doesn't have an Automaton tutor...).
Depends on what you mean. Cardians are much more effective combatants, but have barely any independent thought. Automatons are weaker, but have full fledged personalities, with hopes and dreams. That unfortunately don't always line up with their master's.
Rule 34: If you combine the loads of this that Final Fantasy titles tend to spawn with the longevity of an MMO, you end up with a disturbingly large amount of it floating around.
Script Breaking: You can have very different quest and missions active at the same time which can sometime share characters being in very different states — for example, getting a quest from Shantotto before or during her own expansion, and finishing it during or after it respectively (during her expansion story, the one you can visit is suppposed to be a fake in her absence whom can apparently pose as an ambassador in Aht Urghan and nuke a khimaira for thousands of damage, activating a quest that shows your NPC fellow in trouble at an enemy stronghold, have him help you with a fight for a different quest related to him, then go save him at the original dungeon later; Lion dying at the end of the Zilart missions, but if you change nations and do the new nation's missions, you'll eventually meet her again as if nothing had happened. Can't blame the devs, there's a lot of story to keep track of and they keep adding more, but it can get odd at times.
Averted while a particular Treasures of Aht Urghan is active. Until the mission is cleared the player is not allowed to visit the location where a NPC is located due to the forementioned NPC's involvement in the mission.
Secret A.I. Moves: Ninja Notorious Monsters don't die when they blow up, and it hits the whole party instead of one target. Some even get clones that fight alongside them when casting Utsusemi instead of just images that absorb an attack and disappear.
Shoot the Medic First: Averted. Due to the fact that groups of enemies are fought by putting the entire group to sleep and ganging up on one at a time, enemy White Mages are often targeted last because Benediction would wake up and fully heal every other enemy.
Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Many, many enemies make a noise when they aggro you... except Fomors, which makes them even creepier than they already are, as they're undead versions of the player races. This can also lead to an ugly massacre if someone is depending on the sound of aggro to know when to stop running.
Space Compression: The Vana'diel players have access to is only a portion of the entire planet, as only a quarter of the planet is currently accessible. Still, that would make the planet maybe the same size as Earth's Moon, if that, so the trope still applies.
Stalking Mission: "All by Myself", even though it's stupidly hard to do it that way...
Stat Sticks: Elemental staves. Or any weapon most mage jobs equip, really — melee by mages is suboptimal and heavily discouraged by the playerbase, leaving the stat boosts as the only reason to have anything in the weapon slots.
Status Buff: The combat system has a very large amount of buffs. Mages can spend several minutes straight doing nothing but buffing before a fight.
Stealth Run: Try walking around in a high-level dungeon without Invisible and Sneak, and not get aggro... I DARE you. We'll just clean up the fine paste that is your corpse afterwards.
It's actually quite easy in many areas, as anything that will aggro you ignores Sneak and Invisible. This only changes the type of stealth required.
Avoiding things that aggro by sight tends to be easy, as all you need is for them to turn and leave some room behind them. Sound aggro memories basically run after anything within their radius, so sneaking past undead, bats, or slimes in tight passages without the use of the enchantment tends to be difficult.
Too Awesome to Use: Again, 2-hours. Even when its use would be justified, some people save them anyways.
Twenty Bear Asses: While, for the most part, this only really happens at low levels in order to gain fame and unlock higher-level quests, getting the second-best fishing rod in the game requires catching no less than 10,000 carp.
Useless Useful Spell: A notable aversion for the series. Due to even normal fights taking minutes, status effects are very handy.
Verbal Tic: In the English localization, Tarutaru tend to replace any word ending T with "taru" and tend to rhyme words as well in a childlike, "cutesy wutesy" kind of way, which is somewhat similar in the Japanese version. Mithra tend to have Trrrilling Rrrs instead in English, while in Japanese they usually end their sentences with -nya.
Video Game Stealing: Well, there is a Thief job. Thankfully, the things you can steal are things you can expect from that enemy... such as stealing a slice of hare meat from a rarab (hare) before it's dead.
Virtue/Vice Codification: The seven bosses Jailers of the Sea/Jailers of Virtue. In order of kill, they are Jailer of: Temperance, Fortitude, Faith, Justice, Hope, Prudence, and Love.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Moogles, Goblins, and Qiqirn are allowed to live with "people" and even start their own business or host a large-scale event. Everyone else? Killed on sight.
Sort of. When you consider how many allied Yagudo there are, it comes off like the Altana races are merely collectively racist. Also supporting this, the reason Galkas and Mithras have a lower charisma score than the other player races is that they look more like beastmen than the other races.
The beastmen races are not all evil. Originally, the Orcs were allies of the Elvaan, and the Yagudo were peaceful people who were invaded by the tarutaru, with no real opinion on the other races. The Quadav only become enemies because the Bastokans destroyed the Quadav nesting grounds to mine ore.
Though, the Aht Urghan beastmen are just evil. "Hey guys, they have a shiny thing! Let's kill them and take it!"
Actually, it's more like "Hey guys, they have the shiny thing that powered a massive doomsday machine that was used to subjugate almost an entire continent. Let's take it so they don't do that shit again. Give 'em some of their own medicine while we're at it." If Lamia/Merrow, add revenge for being created beings. If Trolls, add being mercs.
Tarutaru used to beare evil little bastards. In the game's backstory, they invaded and occupied what would become San d'Oria, subjugating the Elvaan for a very long time. They see themselves as having done nothing wrong, despite being clear aggressors and conquerors no different from the beastmen.
Even worse, the frog Beastman race, the Poroggos, saw themselves as kin to the Taru and learned their language and magic arts; the end result? The Taru tried to genocide them.
Wind is Green: The wind elemental resistance symbol is green, the moon turns green on Windsday, the wind elemental summon is green, her constellation has a green star in it, air elementals are green, the wind element is associated with green rocks...
You No Take Candle: The beastmen races speak mostly this to the players when understandable, although Lamia and Goblins have no problems speaking to the player. It's also messed around with in Wings of The Goddess. Badly.
Though the Lamia make sense when you find out they were created by the empire as biological weapons. They'd need to understand their orders.
Zerg Rush: Actually done by the players, in most cases. There are a fair number of quests and missions where massive numbers of mobs will attack players.
Two missions in Windurst's Wings of the Goddess plot have the beastmen doing a zerg rush. The second one has you defending the gates of the city from it. The first one has a hundred level 30ish enemies running down a tunnel to their target, and your party of 75+ players coming from behind to stop them.
Zettai Ryouiki: Most of the female race's job related Artifact Armors, but the Mithra ones especially.
Zombie Apocalypse: The Qutrub are a nasty bunch, actually turning themselves into zombies willingly.
Also, Fomors are undead versions of player character races, although they look less like zombies and more like shadowy versions of players with orange glowy eyes.