Final Fantasy XI Online: Treasures of Aht Urhgan
Reviewed: 08/30/2006

The most recent expansion to Final Fantasy XI Online, Treasures of Aht Urhgan is an answer to much of what fans of the game have been asking for. New areas that don’t require a significant amount of time to unlock: check. New jobs: check. New storylines and quests: and how. This game is a great addition to the world of Vana’diel; however, it’s an expansion to a game that’s over three years old and is meant for a cliental willing to give unswerving dedication and has serious time to burn. Treasures of Aht Urhgan brings to light the Empire of Aht Urhgan and the Aradjiah Continent, both of which are heavily influenced by Indian and Middle Eastern themes. The Empire is governed by The Divine Empress, who holds absolute religious and secular authority over the region. The continent is constantly attacked by Beastmen and plagued by internal strife.

The storylines are generally interesting, if one can unlock them. From something as simple as helping a little mithra girl acquire ink and paper to the excitement of planning on busting a child’s brother out of prison only to discover he’s in league with Corsair (the luck-driven pirates of the game) there’s certainly a lot to unlock. Thing is, these stories need to be discovered, and many of the better works require a fair amount of fame to unlock. Fame is gained by completing quests in their respective areas. This is a serious issue, as quests in FFXI generally do not give experience points on completion, and rewards from quests only range from mediocre to par, making this repitition a hefty chore.

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The chocobo stares over the ocean and considers making a break for it…but somewhere in those deep blue waters, lies an invisible wall.

This expansion has three new advanced jobs to unlock. The Corsair decends from pirates long ago, and utilizes luck-based abilities to help his party while wielding guns and brandishing swords against his enemy. The Blue Mage has a chance to learn mystical arts from the very enemies he faces, and the Puppetmaster utilizes a custom-equipped automaton to do his bidding as he uses martial arts himself. These classes bring about a new sense of play, and the Corsair is a welcome addition to any party. Puppetmaster is primarily a soloing class, and Blue Mage is only as useful as the skills he has learned, and damn if those skills are not a pain in the ass to obtain. Sadly, these classes cannot be unlocked until level 30, and even then a player may need high-level help to unlock them, although this may be for the best as the advanced nature of these classes would overwhelm a new player.

Players also have access to chocobo breeding, racing, and raising, and can now choose to ride their own personal chocobo. Players with access to The Empire can rent an additional amount of storage space in their Mog Houses. There are also waves of attacks against the Aht Urhgan continent which allow players to fight in truly epic battles a la Lord of the Rings. The new areas are lush and do provide a slight boost in graphics department. All this is made even sweeter in that unlike Chains of Promethia, players can unlock this new continent and find something new to do at practically any level.

The new music is often fitting, and much of it is well composed. Regrettably, there are very few of these songs, and with the exception of town music, they are far between. Sub-par sound effects and overused grunts found within battle are left unchanged; while these effects are not necessarily irritating, they quickly become old and players can expect to hear them frequently within their numerous battles.

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Microtransaction to enter next area?! WTF!!

Owners of FFXI may well be advised to pick Aht Urhgan up, not because it is necessary, but because it truly adds a new level of fun for higher-level players, although this expansion will undeniably not bring any new players to the game. While the game’s graphics looked sharp for three years ago and the art direction shows in every area, newer games like Lineage II or World of Warcraft offer more environment interactivity (and much less of a grind). This game still does not lend itself very well to short playtime, as solo play is nearly non-existant, and the expansion does little to make these issues more pallatable.

In short, most long-time players of Final fantasy XI will be watering at the mouth waiting to pick up Treasures of Aht Urhgan, while those who have never cared for the title won’t have much reason to rethink their stance.

-Tim Olsen

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Very Good
Story Very Good
Graphics Average
Sound/Music Good
Replay Value Great
The Verdict: 6