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Video Game / Final Fantasy XI

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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. 20 years prior, the three nations united (with the aid of the neutral city-state of Jeuno) to fight an army 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 while issues from the nation's past begin to resurface.
  • Bastok: Racial tensions between the Humes and Galka are at an all-time high, with the latter growing discontent with their role as brute labour within the nation, while the succession of the Galkan Talekeeper is in question since the disappearance of the previous one.
  • Windurst: A prominent researcher has disappeared while investigating the slow decline of the earth, which may be linked to the mysterious structures around Windurst and the "Cardian" constructs acting as servants within the capital.
  • Final Fantasy XI: Rumors 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.

Expansion Packs:

  • Rise of the Zilart: The architects of the Shadow Lord plot are revealed to be survivors of the Zilart race once thought extinct. 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 Aradjiah ruled by the Empire of Aht Urghan, which is dealing with multiple simultaneous threats in its present, but perhaps none as serious as some related to the Empire's past.
  • Wings of the Goddess: The adventurers discover strange portals that transport them back through time to when the Crystal War was taking place, where they must ensure 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, as the nation of Adoulin struggles with its needs and the mysterious vows of non-interference with the Ulbukan wilderness left behind by its founder king.
  • Rhapsodies of Vana'diel: The grand finale. A young woman named Iroha appears before you, claiming to be your apprentice from a future where the destined end of Vana'diel is nigh. As a powerful void begins to seep into and corrode the world, portending the apocalypse Iroha spoke of, you must fight together against fate to secure a final future for Vana'diel.


  • 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: it all began 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 heroes failed to save 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.

Despite Rhapsodies of Vana'diel being announced as the games final major story content and released during 2015, another free storyline, The Voracious Resurgence was announced in 2020 which will start in August 2020. It will be added over many different expansions, presumably leading up to the game's 20th anniversary.

The game also allows a player to change their job class without having to make a new character, potentially allowing a single character to experience all 22 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, stat-boosters and experience bonuses 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 less "casual" than market leaders like World of Warcraft.

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 second most profitable Final Fantasy title ever made, and the third most profitable game overall in Square Enix's portfolio, behind Space Invaders and Final Fantasy XIV.

Speaking of, see also Final Fantasy XIV, the online successor to XI.

This game deals in the following tropes:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The normal level cap, after finishing all the Limit Break quests, is 99, and is pretty much requiered to undergo most endgame activities, but the game is structured in a way so you pretty much never stop accumulating some form of EXP to boost your character, such as gaining Merit Points and Job Points. If you manage to completely cap out a Job with Job Points, which can take a long time, you can even begin accumulating Master Levels that boost your character's stats beyond their level 99 max, and allow your subjob to go further than it normally would. This isn't even counting Item Level gear, which can boost the effective level of a character up to 119. To elaborate on this, to Master a single job you need to get 2100 Job Points, and each Job Point requires 30,000 Capacity Points, which means exactly 63 MILLION Capacity Points.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: One in San d'Oria, one in Tavnazia, one in Windurst and another in Adoulin; although the first is actually a dungeon and the others are aqueducts.
  • Abusive Precursors: The Zilart seem to fit the bill here, given that the 'Rise of the Zilart' expansion involves you trying to stop two of the surviving members from wiping out all life on Vana'diel.
  • 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. The Rhapsodies story also has a take on the concept, in the future Iroha describes which caused her to be sent back in time to prevent it.
  • A.I. Roulette
  • The Alliance: The Allied Forces of Altana during the Crystal War. The nations are still allied in the present, but they don't seem to have such a nice name anymore.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Trolls are big, bad, and on Moblin employ.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Besieged, Wings of the Goddess Mission "Nation on the Brink" has a direct reference from an NPC!
  • 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.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Even after the ending of the final main scenario, Rhapsodies of Vana'diel, the story of the adventurer and Vana'diel will continue on. As stated in the last past of the ending's lyrics:
    The journey of hope continues
    And it will do so, forevermore
  • Another Dimension: Many.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Warped somewhat by a heaping dose of theory vs. practice.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion, complete with an evil Grand Vizier who heads the mysterious, veiled Immortals.
  • Arc Words: Memoria de la S^tona. "It all began with a stone".
  • 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.
  • The Artifact: Largely averted in the game proper, but played straight with the PlayOnline Viewer, a program that served as a digital social media hub for FFXI and other online multiplayer games from Square. While the program supported many games in its hayday, by 2013, FFXI was the only game that still used it. With its social media functionality either removed or unused, it now essentially serves as a glorified launcher.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Trusts, NPC party members that the players can summon in place of real players, are not the brightest bunch: the most evident part is that they will not attack enemies by themselves...even if, say, an aggro'd monster is currently bashing the player, or even they themselves. The only way to get them to attack enemies is to target an enemy and initiate an autoattack, even casting spells or using weaponskills won't do it. While this is likely intentional to avoid AFK farming in which the Trusts go on to slaughter any enemy around the player by themselves, it can make fights with multiple enemies frustrating since they will only attack the enemy the player is targetting, and any other surrounding enemy will only get hit by incidental AoE spells and weaponskills.
  • Ascended Extra: A huge amount of the time in The Voracious Resurgence is spent spending time with a lot of minor characters and side characters from throughout the game. Uran-Mafran goes from a villain in a side quest to one of the central characters in its plot and Zhuu Buxu and Incantrix were a random NM and a battle system NPC respectively but both are given their own arcs as well.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The nation storyline missions will have you fighting alongside Captain Volker, Prince Trion, and Minister Ajido-Marujido. Also, generals in Campaign were much more powerful than entire groups of players, and generals in Besieged would easily reach Game-Breaker status if they fought normal enemies.
    • Averted somewhat by the fact that the actual leaders of those countries (President Karst, King Destin, Star Sybil) are generally pacifist non-combattants.
      • 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 and is seen wearing a suit of armor at all times.
    • 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:
    • 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.
    • Blood Weapon, one of Dark Knight's SP abilities, and a few other SPs to a lesser degree. When combined with certain equipment and other abilities, it results in flatly obscene amounts of damage... but only once every hour.
    • The Dragoon's old SP, 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 two 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.
  • Back Stab: A trademark ability of Thieves.
  • Bandaged Face: Robel-Akbel.
  • Barbarian Tribe: Orcs, being nothing but Always Chaotic Evil Proud Warrior Race Guys (with a scant few exceptions to "evil"), qualify for this.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Sort of averted by the Monk job. They usually 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). You may not be able to afford a weapon for a few levels, but the Records of Eminence system allows you to acquire with the Sparks of Eminence currency you can accumulate by setting objectives aligned with how you're playing the game.
      • 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.
  • The Beastmaster: Trope Namer, this game has four different pet job types, ranging from rabbits to Robots.
  • 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.
  • Bladder of Steel: Pandemonium Warden in particular, before being nerfed.
  • Blade on a Stick: Polearms are used by Dragoons, obviously. Sometimes also used by Samurai and Warriors.
  • Bonus Boss: Notorious Monsters are this, if they aren't related to a storyline.
  • Book Ends: "It all began with a stone..." and it ends in one too as the final story, Rhapsodies of Vana'diel, reaches its conclusion.
  • Boring, but Practical: Many items that are extremely useful to a player are actually extremely common.
    • 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.
  • Brawler Lock: Two Gigantic Shantottos do this in A Shantotto Ascension.
  • Breakout Character: Shantotto, and to a lesser degree Prishe, thanks to their exposure in Dissidia Final Fantasy and other spin-offs.
  • Breast Plate: While actual breastplates seem to avoid this, it is almost uncommon 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.
  • 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.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": The "raptors".
  • Camp Gay: Oh my dear Altana, Mayakov!
  • Capture the Flag: Brenner fits this, but like all PvP here, it's not really used much.
  • 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 Wings of the Goddess expansion. There's a hilarious cutscene of whole units of the Mithran Mercenaries swooning over him.
  • Character Blog: [GM]Dave.
    • Also Goblin Smithy, a blog by the same person as [GM]Dave written from the perspective of an enemy NPC.
  • Choice of Two Weapons:
  • Chunky Updraft: BOOOOOOOST!.
  • Class Change Level Reset: Played with, each class is leveled independently. So if you have a level 40 Warrior and never level any other class, then changing that class later would drop back to one. However, if you've already unlocked the ability to use a subjob and set the already-leveled class as your sub, you get the benefit of some stat boost and possibly skills and spells, depening on the job and level.
  • Comet of Doom: Figures prominently in Wings of the Goddess. Actually, it's a manifestation of Atomos.
  • Combat Tentacles: Many Krakenesque monsters are in the game, one of the most infamous being the Sea Horror. Morbols have tentacle-like roots.
  • Compilation Rerelease: Several, each collecting everything published up to the most recent expansions of their time of release.
  • Completion Mockery: Among the quests that you can work on is one that has you fish for ten thousand carp. Do this and you are awarded with a new fishing rod and a certificate of mockery.
    "This certifies that you have gathered no less than ten thousand carp. Please spend your time in a manner more beneficial to society. Your achievement is noteworthy for its utter lack of meaning." With heartfelt disapproval, Gallijaux & Joulet
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Bosses like Maat, mammets, Diabolos, Absolute Virtue, Pandemonium Warden had these, although the raised level cap and the ability to bring NPC party members to a battle has made many of these much easier to deal with.
  • Connected All Along: In a series of seemingly unrelated sidequests, a character who is most often seen next to the Scouts' Coalition is revealed in a flashback to be the daughter of the elderly couple, who are most often seen enjoying lunch at the cafe right across the plaza. All three of them have lost their memories of this connection due to a Deal with the Devil. Worse, the elderly couple are aware they have a daughter—the unborn baby the woman was carrying back then whom the devil stole—and wish that child well, but they have no idea they have two daughters.
  • Counter-Attack: Used by Monks (completely avoiding a physical attack sometimes), Warriors (retaliating after being attacked), and Blue Mages (like monks, if they set specific 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.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Again, Mithra, overlapping with Cat Girl. Arguably the Lamia too.
  • Dark World: Four areas fit this trope: The Crystal War era, Dynamis, Promyvion, and Abyssea.
  • 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. Also a major part of the underlying story of Treasures of Aht Urghan ("Hast thou sated thy rage?").
  • Death Equals Redemption: Lady Lilith, once she realises that she's done for, gives to Lilisette a solution to save both futures.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In order for a Summoner to be able to summon one of the Celestial Avatars, they have to beat that avatar. Usually with the help of other players, but you can even choose to do a version of the battle that makes you face said Avatar solo, with only a radioactive squirrel for help.
    • 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  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.
    • The final moments of the Rhapsodies of Vana'diel lead up to one of the major forces of the Final Fantasy multiverse gaining physical shape, allowing the players to try and solve its particular problem the way they know best.
  • Downer Ending: The extension Wings of the Goddess, which ends with your future saved, but at the cost of Lilisette...
    • 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.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Rhapsodies of Vana'diel, the Grand Finale for Final Fantasy XI. With the Cloud of Darkness defeated, Vana'diel has returned to its proper course in the timeline. Iroha, having completed her mission, returns to her time. Despite her departure, the Hero of Vana'diel will meet his pupil once again in the future.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Atomos, full stop.
  • Elemental Crafting: Fantasy metals do exist, but precious metals like gold are used in alloys if the end result is anything but jewelery.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: SP abilities are always saved for boss fights, as they could only be used every two hours. This was reduced to one hour after 2014, and can be reduced to 45 minutes with maximum job points.
  • Elite Mooks: Ever go to Dynamis? Filled with the suckers.
  • The Empire: Shantotto claims to have one of her own in her 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 Good 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.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Preventing this is the goal in every expansion thus far.
  • Enough to Go Around: A few hundred thousand wyvern eggs does not equal rare. Let's not even get started on Delkfutt Keys. Or certain job-specific items.
  • Expy: Lady Lilith is a horned sorceress wearing a dress with a very deep V-cut who manipulates the flow of time. Sound familiar?. Balamor's laugh and theatrical language might also bring a couple of characters to mind.
  • Eye of Newt: A Ninjas ninjutsu requires tools to use.
  • 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.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Oh dear Altana, have mercy of your children...
    • 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.
  • Flaming Sword: Red Mages, Summoners and Rune Fencers can imbue weapons with magic, while some weapons have a lesser effect on their own.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Professor Clavauert B Chanoix, esteemed biologist, believes in his theory of the speciation of rabbits from a common ancestor and the evolution from toad to walking poroggo, but his ideas are as controversial as they are wrong, as everyone knows all life was created by Altana.
  • Floating Continent: The Tu'Lia region. Don't expect it to fall.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Played straight for the players and enemies, but some enemy attacks either hit you and your party... or absolutely every player near.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: "Grape juice" made by decaying grapes. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge, say no more.
  • 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.
  • Game Mod: DAT mods... and, uh, Windower.
  • Gangplank Galleon: The ninja-pirate and samurai-pirate town of Norg. Explained during the Samurai AF quests as Norg being the remnants of a kingdom that was wiped out, minus a few hundred people, mostly the fishermen.
  • Geo Effects: Magic can be affected by the weather. And the day of the week.
    • Scholars can manipulate the weather at higher levels, granting party members favorable weather conditions.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: There are a few beasties in this game that pop up in storylines, one of which is the Snoll Tzar.
  • Glass Cannon: Dark Knights. They can actually kill themselves with Souleater.
  • The Good 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. The sacred city of Adoulin used to be this, as it often mentions its founder kind, but has long transitioned to a system of government mediated by multiple factions.
  • 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 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".
    • This has, however, changed in recent years, especially since the Adoulin expansion, where a quest NPC even mocks the concept of sending you on a task to an area with no coordinates, and then provides them to you. Some Records of Eminence objectives also provide some concrete information about landmark progress quests.
  • 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. Or that one quest where you carry a cardian, which is about as big as a player character, as a key item, meaning it takes no inventory space at all.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Subverted by the fact that any challenge you beat is often 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.
  • Helpful Mook: Pixies, if you don't attack them.
  • Heroic Mime: Your Player Character.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Lion, at the end of Rise of Zilart. It doesn't stick.
    • Lilisette at the end of Wings of the Goddess.
    • Iroha also leans toward this in Rhapsodies of Vana'diel, seeing it as preferable to her future where her and her island are all that's left.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Goblins are pretty much entirely like this.
    • "Us goblins, we don't like you, but we'll like you for a price."
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The infamous Absolute Virtue was intended to be this, and originally had no loot drops. However, this was only revealed in an interview many years after its introduction to the game. In the meantime, the devs had strung along the player base with implications that it was supposed to be beatable, including releasing an incomprehensible video that supposedly gave hints to beating it. note 
  • 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.
  • 100% Heroism Rating
  • Idiot Ball: Your Player Character carries this in the Treasures of Aht Urghan plot. The developers apparently did not consider the implications of this.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Lady Lilith does this to Lilisette, with her arm.
  • In a Single Bound: One of the key abilities for a Dragoon is a set of Jump commands, one of which sheds all hate from an enemy.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Elemental staves and Magian-specific weapons.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • Relic, Mythic, Empyrean and Aeonic weapons.
    • 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.
  • "Instant Death" Radius:
    • 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. There's even that one Galka (whose species is mono-gender) in the Windurst fishing guild who mentions a wife.
  • Invisibility Flicker: Opening a door is far too awesome for an Invisible spell.
  • 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!. Also applicable to some of the Trust alter egos which don't fight, instead provided bonuses around their general vicinity.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Delkfutt's Tower.
  • Joke Item: A bunch of crafted clothing and fireworks. There's was also an Ecalipoor sword available through a login campaign.
    • Don't forget the Cheese Sandwich added because a fan asked during a Q&A at FFXI Fan Fest one year..
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock: A variation happens in Windurst Mission 3-2 (Written in the Stars), which is why it's so problematic to solo. The thing you need to do is inspect the Gate of Light, which is located behind Three Mage Gate in Inner Horutoto Ruins. The Three Mage Gate is locked and you need either a White Mage/Black Mage/Red Mage team (hence the name), or a friend with a Portal Charm which would allow them to open the gate by themself. There is a way to bypass the Three Mage Gate and do the mission solo, but it requires completing a relatively long and somewhat expensive chain of sidequests in Windurst, which would open a backdoor in a different area, allowing one to approach the Gate of Light from the opposite direction. The item you get for completing the mission? A Portal Charm. Thank Altana that the mission can be skipped and done later.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Last Stand: Raogrimm holds off the Ark Angels after you defeat him as the Shadowlord to let the party escape. Aphmau's Blue Mage bodyguard protects the party from an oncoming wave of Mamool Ja, likely casting Self Destruct. Lehko Habhoka in Wings of the Goddess does the same, having hidden his mortal wound from the previous fight. And in Rhapsodies of Vana'diel you see the biggest gathering of FFXI characters ever as the Cloud of Darkness attacks the last remaining place in Vana'diel, the far eastern island of Reisenjima.
  • 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.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The King of Hearts intends to sneak into Aht Urhgan by mimicking the terminology of players.
    King of Hearts: ObSerVe: NeED☆taNk? PLeaSe sENd☆teLL!
  • Legacy Character: Iroha to the player character and arguably all of Vana'diel, as in her timeline she's the only person left - not to mention she carries that particular torch when she appears in Final Fantasy XIV and is unable to return.
  • Level Grinding: Used to have quite a lot.
    • 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 worked on averting this for higher level characters (which is a good thing, considering the increased cap with each Abyssea addon), as one could earn massive amounts of experience in a relatively short amount of time. Nowadays there are even more methods to enhance EXP gain, like Records of Eminence objectives, Fields/Grounds of Valor training regimes and progress in Rhapsodies of Vana'diel missions.
  • Limit Break: Called Weaponskills in-game.
    • There are quests actually called limit breaks in the game; they raise your character's maximum level and make them subsequently much more powerful.
  • Little People: The Tarutaru fit the cute factor to a T, perhaps a teeny-tiny, itty-bitty too much.
  • Long Runner: The game first launched in 2002, and was still active to celebrate its 20-year anniversary. Not bad considering it was originally designed to last 5 years to match the expected lifespan of the PS2. It outlived a vast (and many would say depressing) number of its contemporaries.
  • Lord British Postulate: Absolute Virtue. Square used to intentionally try to make the boss even more unbeatable if someone actually did beat it, then sometimes banned the players for exploiting glitches to do so.
  • 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.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Blue Mage is a very nightmarish combination of Powers as Programs, Victor Gains Loser's Powers and, if you look at the lore right, The Assimilator or Cannibalism Superpower.
  • Magic Dance: Dancers can debuff, drain HP or MP, and even heal.
  • Magic Knight: Five job classes fit this trope: Paladins, Red Mages, Blue Mages, Dark Knights and Rune Fencers, although Dark Knights normally forget they qualify for this.
  • Marathon Boss: Pandemonium Warden used to fit this trope. A whole party fought it for 18 hours straight and it was still standing.note  There was such a huge backlash that Square was forced to change things so that the Warden gets bored and leaves if you take too long to kill it.
  • The Medic: Many job classes fit this, primarily White Mages, but Red Mages were preferred for a while while the level cap was 75, much to the dismay of quite a few of them (And all of the other jobs that normally heal.) White Mages received some generous updates since to make them more effective at the role.
  • Mega Manning: Blue Mages. In order to learn a summon, the Summoner must defeat the creature before he or she may summon it.
  • Meaningful Name: The names of several expansions are specific references to things or people and are explained. The Chains of Promathia, the name of the second expansion, are the five curses inflicted on the playable races by the God Promathia: The Humes with apathy, Tarutaru with cowardice, Mithra with envy, Elvaan with arrogance, and Galka with rage. The Treasures of Aht Urhgan, the name of the third expansion, are references to both the Empress Nashmeira and to the Mythic Weapons, one for each of the 20 Pre-Seekers of Adoulin Expansion jobs, which are supposed to be the best possible weapons for each job. The Wings of the Goddess, the name of the fourth expansion, are the player and Lilisette, the heroine of the expansion, who are chosen by the Goddess Altana as her champions.
  • 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.
  • Murderous Mannequin: A few of these turned up as bosses eventually.
  • Mystical City Planning: Seekers of Andoulin introduced one: The Rala Waterways, the underground aqueducts, form a geomantic glyph of protection for the city. They have been sabotaged so that the water flows the wrong way, so instead of banishing demons it is now summoning them.
  • 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. Or a certain scene with Cait Sith in Wings of the Goddess...
  • 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, Puppetmaster got 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. For a while the nerfs seem more towards easy ways to make money to discourage RMTs, but which often made things harder for more casual players.
    • 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  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.
  • Ninja Looting: Being an MMORPG, there's always a chance for this. Linkshells normally deal with this quickly, however. Newer events have implemented individual loot pools to help combat this.
  • Nintendo Hard: Let's just say that this game isn't as "casual-friendly" as other MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. And while the game has gotten easier somewhat, for some it doesn't feel as if it had.
  • 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.
  • One-Gender Race: The Mithra are a playable race of catgirls. Word of God says that male Mithra do exist, but only one has been seen in the game, so far.note  The Galka fully play this straight, being an all male race that reproduce through a form of reincarnation.note 
  • One-Hit Kill: Some monsters have Death spells, as well as Doom, not to mention horribly broken based-on-HP area attacks.
    • In Wings of the Goddess, done by Lady Lilith to Lilisette, while she was pretending to be defeated.
  • One Size Fits All: How can a 7-foot Galka wear gear from a 2-and-a-half-foot Tarutaru? The world may never know.
    • Vana'diel is also one size fits all, in a manner of speaking. For instance, no "river" in the world is deeper than a few inches, because otherwise Tarutarus would be walking totally submerged.
      • Not true. There are many places a tarutaru can go where their entire body will be underwater. Which means, obviously, that tarus are amphibious.
  • One-Winged Angel: Well, we are talking about a Final Fantasy game. It's pretty much expected.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Dark Kindred that serve the Shadowlord are of the summon-and-serve variety.
    • There are classic summon and kill everything demons.
  • Our Elves Are Different: 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.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The Fomors are restless spirits of the dead, some of which can be appeased.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Cute actually. There're goblin plushies!
  • Our Liches Are Different: They are called Corses.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: The game's Orcs are of the Tolkienian variety.
    • They are fat and have tails. And no noses or ears.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Do you really think most players would care about this?
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The game lives and breathes this trope. 'EXP Camping' (or Merit Camping, or Job Point camping, or Master Level camping...) is a core part of the game, finding spots in which particular mobs spawn to camp them one by one to get as much XP as you can, usually by grouping up and killing enemies of significantly higher level than yours due to the extra EXP. The earliest and most popular example of a zone that was dedicated to EXP camping is Valkurm Dunes.
  • 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.
  • Pick-Up Group: It's possible to create or join a group of other random players.
  • The Player Is the Most Important Resource: In the conclusion of Rhapsodies of Vana'diel, Iroha thanks you for "your service these past fourteen years." The credits list you in the Special Thanks, and the ending chorus is sung by actual players.
  • Playing Possum: In Wings of the Goddess, just when you and Lilisette think they defeated Lady Lilith, Lilisette kneels in front of Lilith, showing compassion... Too bad Lilith literally ''pierces'' her with her ''arm'' and goes One-Winged Angel. Oh, Crap!.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Yes, they exist, but having a 1 HP every 3 seconds lost status effect from a melee attack, that doesn't always proc, let alone stay on long enough? Not so useful.
  • Portal to the Past: The original nine Cavernous Maws, from Wings Of The Goddess.
  • 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 Mythril and 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. In Adoulin there's also the Peacekeepers' Coalition.
  • Primal Stance: With Orcs being evil and whatnot, this was inevitable.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: While Orcs are less honorable and more crazy, and still fit the trope, a better example would be every other beastman in existance, who just as frequently are Warrior Poets. Even the demonic-seeming Kindred are an extremely honorable race who really would be just as fine living in peace. Tenzen also counts, from the heroes' side.
  • Punctuation Shaker: Everything related to the Zilart has an apostrophe thrown in somewhere: Zi'Tah, Ru'Avitau, Al'Taieu, Archduke Kam'lanaut, Archduke Vicarious Esha'ntarl, etc.
    • Quadav names (Gu'Dha, Za'Dha, Di'Dha, De'Vyu, etc.) and some Elvaan family names (such as d'Oraguille), too.
    • With Lumorians, this actually serves some purpose. Ul prefaces the weakest in a family (such as Ul'Phuabo), Om the next tier up, and so on.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Again, most beastmen fit this trope, but Goblins and Trolls especially.
  • The Punishment: The five playable races are each cursed with a specific flaw: Humes with apathy, Tarutaru with cowardice, Mithra with envy, Elvaan with arrogance, and Galka with rage.They're not even the ones who screwed up. The Zilart destroyed virtually their entire race (and almost the entire world) by the entire race being able to focus everything on a single task. The playable races were created afterwards by the Goddess Altana, and then immediately were cursed by the God Promathia, but out of good intentions; if they annoyed each other too much to work together well, they couldn't do the same stupid things the Zilart did. Oh, and he also made all the monsters, too, just to make sure they were too busy fighting monsters when they weren't fighting and annoying each other.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: While FFXI is somewhat less prone to this than many MMOs, the page illustration used to be from it.
  • Random Drop: expected, knowing the series.
  • Real After All: A quest in Wings of The Goddess results in The Reveal of a ghost.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Square Enix decided that the game will get no further major expansions, which hinders the game's further development and ability to keep its players and get new ones - therefore the final expansion, Rhapsodies of Vana'diel, serves as an extended metaphor to this issue.
  • 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".
  • The Red Mage: Guess which class qualifies?
  • Repeatable Quest: There are numerous repeatable quests, ranging from the simple Fetch Quest for fame grinding to redoing major battles in Missions for a different end reward, as well as repeatable Records of Eminence objectives which you can keep set forever to recurrently reward you with EXP for regular gameplay.
  • Ret-Gone: Lilisette, since only you remember her at the end of Wings of the Goddess.
  • The Republic: The Republic of Bastok.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Professor Shantotto.
    • And far, far too many other Tarutaru.
      • She also only rhymes in the English 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.
  • Rings of Death: Chakrams are standard throwing weapons.
  • 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, plus the catgirls, you end up with a disturbingly large amount of it floating around.
  • Sad Battle Music: The final battle in Rhapsodies of Vana'diel, considering what it means in-universe if lost, and for the game as a whole for existing.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Having male gods Shiva and Garuda be female.
  • San Dimas Time: Applies only to Campaign Battles and in-game day of the week..
  • Series Mascot: The mandragora. Even used as a symbol by much third party content.
  • Scratch Damage: Using Status Buff Stoneskin or Phalanx allows a full aversion of this trope.
  • 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. Also heavily averted during the Rhapsodies of Vana'diel missions, which involve character from several older mission lines, and cannot advance unless some of those characters are available in their own narratives.
  • 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.
  • Secret Test of Character: In the "Serpent General" sidequests, imperial mercenary Zazarg is given one of these, once it comes to light that he was once a commander of a military unit of Bastok. He is asked whose side he would be on if the Empire of Aht Urhgan were to go to war with his homeland of Bastok. Zazarg passes the test by taking a third option and saying that he would resign his post, as he would be unwilling to fight either side. The asker commends his answer, saying that soldiers who would betray their own country could not be trusted to begin with.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Often seen in dialogue with more formal speakers, especially Elvaan.
  • 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.
  • Shoulder-Sized Dragon: Wyverns. Dragoons get them as pets.
  • Shout-Out:
    Rongelouts N Distaud: You'd suggest that one of my battle-hardened soldiers requires the protection of an unweaned brat? The very notion offends me!
    Lilisette: Unweaned!? W-well, how appropriate, you fight like a cow!
    • In one of the Scholar quests:
    • In one of the later limit-breaking quests:
    Atori-Tutori: Are you ready to sign a contractaru with me and become a magical g—er, a mightier, more majestic adventurer?
    Arciela: What am I supposed to call you if I don't even know your name? "The Girl Who Leapt To Adoulin?"
  • 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.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Courtesy of Dissidia Final Fantasy and similar spin-offs featuring characters from past games, Shantotto is the Final Fantasy XI character every fan will immediately recognize and associate with the game. After her you'll hear Prishe and Kam'lanaut as the other Dissidia representatives for the game besides Shantotto, and thanks to Record Keeper and Opera Omnia, a few players might be able to name Lilisette, Lion, the Shadow Lord, and Eald'narche.
  • 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.
  • Steampunk: Bastok and Movalpolos.
  • Sticks to the Back: Played iconically straight.
  • Strange Salute: Windurstians have a rather odd salute, and people in Aht Urghan seem to draw moons with their hands a lot. Crescent moons, at least.
  • Stripperiffic: Sadly, Subligar can do this for everyone, even the big musclebound Galka and especially Mithra.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: During the scholar quest "Downward Helix", you are sent with other scholars to investigate who is picking them off one-by-one, with Erlene (the quest-giver) strongly suggesting the students not go off alone. The sinister Most Definitely Not a Villain leader of the group sends them off one at a time to search for the culprit, and you have no option to interrupt or countermand him. Naturally, the others all end up dead at his hand.
  • Shipper on Deck: The Troupe Mayakov dancers towards Lilisette and the Player Character, at least if he's male. Also, pretty much everyone else who sees "Future Fabulous" together.
  • Smash Mook: Acroliths. They tend to fall apart a bit, but they do nothing but smack things.
  • Temporary Online Content: Some items from limited time events or obsolete content are no longer available and cannot be traded.
  • Thematic Sequel Logo Change: Being an MMORPG, the title logo shows an army with five characters in the center, each one representing the five playable classes in the game.
  • Theme Table: There is an elemental association for just about everything.
  • Third-Person Seductress: Most female player models fit here. Of course, opinions vary on the other races (not EVERYONE has a catgirl fetish, for instance).
  • Trippy Finale Syndrome: Chains of Promathia goes all the way to another dimension.
  • Time Travel: How else are we supposed to go back to the Crystal War in Wings of the Goddess?
  • Timed Mission: Assault, Salvage, Dynamis, BCNMs, escort quests, and several Campaign Ops are timed.
  • Tomato Surprise: Let's just say there's more to Promathia than meets the eye.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Again, SP abilities. Even when its use would be justified, some people save them anyways.
  • 20 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.
  • Underground Level: This game has a lot of underground tunnels.
  • 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.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Being an MMO with actual storylines, the game actually has several of these.
    • The vanilla Nation storylines have Castle Zvahl: a dark ominous castle that is the home/tomb of the Shadow Lord, placed in the forbidden snow-covered land of Xarcabard.
    • Rise of the Zilart has Tu'Lia, a floating island created by the Zilart to act as the "gate to Paradise". In total contrast with the dark and dreary Castle Zvahl, Tu'Lia is mostly serene, with Ru'Aun Gardens in particular bringing to mind the concept of the garden of Eden.
  • 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.
    • Revisited with the Warders in Escha - Ru'Aun. In addition to updated versions of the seven Jailers, the Warders' ranks include three Empty NMs representing Dignity, Loyalty, and Mercy, and Absolute Virtue returns as the Warder of Courage.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: This goes for all beastmen, but especially Quadav, Goblins, Sahagin, and Qiqirn.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Arguably, Lady Lilith. Well, it's either her world or yours. Take a guess of which one she wants to save. However, in the end, thanks to Atomos' Critical Existence Failure and the fact that she's going to die soon, she's the one who offers to Lilisette the way to save both futures.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Mayakov.
  • 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...
  • World of Action Girls: Whether it was intentional or not, the main NPC protagonist of every major expansion has been female. Lion in launch and Rise of the Zilart, Prishe in Chains of Promathia, Aphmau in Treasures of Aht Urhgan, Lilisette in Wings of the Goddess, Arciela in Seekers of Adoulin, and Iroha in Rhapsodies of Vana'diel. Let alone other fan favorite characters like Shantotto, Curilla, and Ayame.
  • 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.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: Certain boss monsters, as well as the inevitable Chest Monster.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Final Fantasy 11