Final Fantasy XI is one of the longest running, officially supported MMORPGs on the planet, but March marks the end of two platforms that it can be enjoyed on. Both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 versions will be given the ax on March 31 at 6am PST.

Those who are still not ready to wrap up their time in Vana’diel will be able to transfer their character data over to the Windows version of the game. Square Enix has made no mention of this closing down, and its continued existence seems safe for the foreseeable future. A new mobile version is also in the works, but it only represents Final Fantasy XI in name.

Final Fantasy XI has long enduring a mixed legacy. It took a beloved franchise online long before that became a fashionable thing to do, and many older fans have not forgiven the subscription fees to this very day. That attitude sadly carries over into he excellent Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which I believe is a much more satisfying game. Those who also played it in the early days, like myself, endured a torturous grind through the levels back before the game was patched to be enjoyable.

I have many memories as first generation member of Final Fantasy XI, and most of them are far too brutal to share with you.

And yet, Final Fantasy XI has plenty of positives. Great music, a wonderful setting, and one of the deepest stories in the franchise… once your character gains enough levels to actually experience them. It’s always been a game I’ve wanted to go back to but sadly have never had the time to do so. With its availability limited to the PC now, it might be a bit easier to jump back in without having to fumble through the PlayStation 2’s optional modem.

Still, who wants to hassle their way through PlayOnline again? I shudder at the thought.

And Final Fantasy XI‘s CG intro is still one of the best in the history of video games. It blew me away back then, and it still does today. I can remember when the idea of an online RPG was a novelty, making character creation, interaction, and free-roaming exploration seem so much more special. This trailer reminds me of that, when all we really had to compare Final Fantasy XI to were Everquest and Phantasy Star Online.