FINAL FANTASY XI has been designed based on creating communities among players, and gamers can create an alter ego that will exist in the world of "Vana'diel" customizing their characters by race, sex, nation of origin, and numerous other physical traits. In FINAL FANTASY XI, gamers will become immersed in an expansive, original storyline as they go on missions and build their character's skills and attributes, either alone or with other members of the community, ultimately creating the history of Vana'diel.
- The world of Vana'diel is made up of vast, never-ending environments with more than 100 areas to explore including mountains, forests, ice plains, deserts, oceans, rivers, castles and dungeons.
- Incorporating time and climate changes, Vana'diel is a truly persistent world, composed of three unique nations: the Republic of Bastok, known for Industry and Might; The Kingdom of San d'Oria, called "A City Within A Fortress"; and the Federation of Windurst, founded on "The Fruits of Knowledge." These nations enjoyed a friendly relationship on the surface; however, the territorial expansion is a constant desire for all of the nations leaders, and players must choose one of these nations as their home. Once players start their adventure in a rather civilized capital city, they may congregate, chat and do battle with the forces of evil, creating Vana'diel's history through various interactions.
- With the ability to create unique characters, choosing from a variety of races, facial features, size, hair-styles and attributes, users will be able to play at their own pace and form parties with other players while embarking on multiple adventures. They can also acquire skills in trades such as leatherworking, fishing, jewel crafting, and many more, that help them on their quests.
- Various communication tools have been incorporated into FINAL FANTASY XI to assist in interaction between players, including easy-to-use chat and messaging systems.
- FINAL FANTASY XI for PlayStation 2 will include the expansion pack "Rise of the Zilart."