Final Fantasy XI has been growing. In 2005, Square Enix boasted 1.5 million active accounts, but times have been tough since then. Blizzard's success with World of Warcraft showed a more casual approach to MMORPG gameplay is what people are looking for.
Square Enix watched and learned. Many changes have occurred in the last year, allowing more players to solo or duo levels at a faster pace. Experience points were increased for easier monsters. The Fields of Valor allows a player to finish a monster-slaying quest once an hour for bonus experience and "tabs." Once one of these quests have been completed, the tabs can be turned in for additional enhancements, such as Reraise, Auto-Regen, or Auto-Refresh, or even free food to make battles easier.
These changes have brought the game's first growth in almost four years. As the Return to Vana'diel campaign winds down this month, Square Enix now reports that there are over two million active accounts for the first time in the game's history.
For those looking to try out the world for Vana'diel, the Vana'diel Collection 2008 contains the original game and all four expansions for the low price of $19.99. Final Fantasy XI can be played on Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and PC.