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This article will guide you through installing Final Fantasy XI (FFXI), patching it to play on Era, and configuring the launchers Windower and Ashita.

Before Beginning

If you have recently played on retail in the last month or two, you should be able to skip to this section of the install guide and continue from there.

If you have recently played on another private server before joining ERA, it is recommended that you completely uninstall before continuing, as issues have been reported joining ERA after using other server’s installers, like Eden or Nasomi's custom installer. Please see the Extra Notes section towards the bottom if you need further instructions on uninstalling.

Please follow all instructions in order as they are all necessary, until you reach the Game Launcher section.

Installing Final Fantasy XI

Download FFXI Setup Files

FFXI can be downloaded straight from Playonline's site . Download The Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition Parts 1-5. Don't worry, this is a lot faster since SE updated their installer in 2019.

Download the ultimate collection seekers edition

Installing FFXI & PlayOnline

  • When all 5 files are downloaded, follow all instructions on the same Playonlline download page , starting from “Unzip the downloaded files.” 
    • Ignore the very bottom instructions, under "Please also note the following", regarding your FFXI service account, etc.
  • The first step will have you double click FFXIFullSetup_US.part1
    • Allow the installer to create desktop shortcuts to make future steps easier.
FFXI setup files

When you have followed all instructions, and have FFXI and Playonline installed, continue on.

Download a patch to allow FFXI to update

Download this small file. It is required to allow PlayOnline to run the file check required. This step is not optional. The file originally came from DSP itself and is mirrored at GitHub due to their recent announcement to stop development.

Extracting Patch Files

  • Open the "FFXI-UpdatePatch.zip" zip folder you just downloaded.
    • Windows 10 you will be able to just double click this zip folder. Otherwise you will first need to right click and “Extract all.
  • Select and copy all files in this folder.
  • You will now need to browse to your FFXI install folder and paste the files you copied.
  • You should be prompted to “Replace the files in the destination” to allow the patch files to overwrite original files.
  • Default FFXI install location is “C:\Program Files (x86)\PlayOnline\SquareEnix\FINAL FANTASY XI”
FFXI folder

Updating Playonline

  • You will now launch PlayOnline_Viewer, which should be located on your desktop. It will ask you to Update to the Latest Version, click “Next”, and then click “Update”. 
    • If you see any pop-ups from Windows, just close these pop-ups and the PoL updates should continue.
  • When it finishes, click “Next” and allow it to restart.
  • Click “For PlayOnline Members!”
  • Fill in any info on the first two fields, and click “Register.”
    • "Member Name, RRRR3"
    • "PlayOnline ID, RRRR3"
  • Click “Yes”, and “Ok”
  • Then click “Exit” or close the Playonline window.
POL add member

File Check

Start Playonline again, and you will see a new screen.

POL screen
  • Click “Check Files”
  • Change the drop down to “FINAL FANTASY XI”
FFXI File check
  • Click “Check Files”
  • After a short time it will tell you there were problems, and you will click “File Repair”
    • This may take 10-30 minutes to update and do file repair. Feel free to continue to the next step while this file check runs. (When it completes, close Playonline)

Final Patching for Era Compatibility

While you can do many things in game just fine without this patch, it is recommended for smoothing over mission and quest issues. It also restores the original Group 2 Merits, MP Costs, and Spell casting times.

You can download the patch here. Open the archive and extract the Retail Patch for Era folder contents over top your PlayOnline\SquareEnix\FINAL FANTASY XI\ directory. You should be prompted with a window asking if you want to overwrite the files if done correctly.

Install is Finished

You are now finished installing and patching the game itself. Reward yourself with a beer or candy, or a beer with candy. Alternatively, there's always carrots.

Download & Configure Your Game Launchers

Ashita

Ashita is a 3rd party launcher that allows the game to be windowed and loaded with addons and plugins. You will most likely want to use either Ashita or Windower to play FFXI. Ashita's setup is a lot simpler.

  • Download the Ashita installer here.
  • Run the installer according to the installation instructions here on the Ashita site.
  • Open Ashita and Click the big + button to create a new profile.
  • In the File box, enter the follow text

.\ffxi-bootmod\pol.exe

  • In the Command box, enter the following text

--server ffera.com

  • A picture of what it should look like is below
Ashita settings
  • Click the icon at the bottom of the Ashita window to save your profile. You can customize it further after you Create an Account and make sure you can play the game first.
  • Now click on the play arrow next to the profile you just created to launch into the game!
  • Later, once you create your account and confirm you can login, you can save time by setting Ashita up to autologin for you. You do this by editing the Command box to:

--server ffera.com --username yourlogin --password yourpassword

Windower

Windower is another launcher like Ashita that enables addons & plugins. Again, you only have to use one.

Installing XiLoader

This step is not necessary if you're going to use the Ashita launcher, as they have a built in version. XiLoader is a 3rd party, open source utility that allows FFXI to be loaded without interacting with the PlayOnline software. It's essential for connecting to private servers if using Windower.

  • Download the latest XiLoader.exe version here.
  • Put the XiLoader.exe program in your Playonline/SquareEnix/PlayOnlineViewer/ folder.
    • Default PlayonlineViewer install location is “C:\Program Files (x86)\PlayOnline\SquareEnix\PlayOnlineViewer\”

Installing & Configuring Windower

  • Download the Windower installer here
    • Choose “Stable Release”
  • Wherever you double click Windower.exe, Windower will create the files it needs to run.
    • If you click this in downloads, it will install into your downloads. This is perfectly fine. However, I prefer to create a new folder titled Windower inside the SquareEnix folder, and then copy and paste Windower.exe in here before running Windower.
  • When Windower finishes installing, double click Windower again. After it opens, close it.
  • ​​Navigate to the Windower folder and right click the "setings" file and open it with a text editor like Notepad, Notepad ++, etc.
  • Change/add the text of the file to the following.
    • If you had Windower installed already to play on Retail, just copy the <profile> section. The <executable> location is the location of your XiLoader.exe file you copied earlier.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <settings> <profile name="Era">

    <region>US</region>
    <consolekey>Grave</consolekey>
    <windowmode>Window</windowmode>
    <mipmaplevel>1</mipmaplevel>
    <uiscale>1.2</uiscale>
    <bumpmapping>true</bumpmapping>
    <sound>false</sound>
    <alwaysenablegamepad>false</alwaysenablegamepad>
    <args>--server ffera.com --username</args>
   <executable>C:\Program Files (x86)\PlayOnline\SquareEnix\PlayOnlineViewer\xiloader.exe</executable>
  </profile>
 </settings>

  • Save the settings file and exit out of the text editor.
  • Launch Windower and choose your Era profile in the list. Create an Account and login to play!
  • To autologin once your account has been created, change the <args> line in your settings file to the following:

<args>--server ffera.com --username yourlogin --password yourpassword</args>

  • Note that Windower is super lame and overwrites your settings above if you change your settings within it later. So if it stops working suddenly, check your settings file again in case you made changes within Windower.

If you have issues with the Windower client, check the official FAQ here or ask for help in the FFXI Era Discord server.

Welcome to ERA!

You do not need to continue any further if you followed all the steps above.

If you choose to install differently, or need help setting up your controller, these can be found lower in "Extra Notes"

Extra Notes

Controller Setup:

  • Controller setup can be found in the Final Fantasy XI install folder.
    • Default location: “C:\Program Files (x86)\PlayOnline\SquareEnix\FINAL FANTASY XI\ToolsUS\FFXiPadconfig”

Macro Backup:

  • Backup your macros by copying the USER folder inside of your Final Fantasy XI install folder.
    • Default location: “C:\Program Files (x86)\PlayOnline\SquareEnix\FINAL FANTASY XI\USER

Extra Uninstall Info:

  • Trouble launching FFXI on ERA has been reported from users migrating from other private server, due to leftover files from previous server’s installers.
    • I have had easy success using Revo uninstaller to clean up leftover files after failed private server changes. The free portable version works just fine for this. (Always be careful when uninstalling, downloading, and using 3rd party tools.)
    • You will need to uninstall Final Fantasy XI, Playonline Viewer, and anything else listed from the previous private server install in your programs. For example, anyone who played on Nosami will need to also uninstall Nosami listed under “Uninstall a program” in windows, or by using Revo Uninstaller.
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