This week there are more pages than usual in Weekly Famitsu. Monster Hunter 3 is on the cover with the main Weekly Famitsu mascot getting ready for battle. There is also a 100 page mini guide! Wish I had known that before buying the Rookie’s Guide last night. Let’s take a look into this exciting new game packed with giant weapons and even bigger monsters. What? You don’t want to hear about Monster Hunter? You want to hear more about the other game listed on the cover? Oh, I suppose…
New pictures were released this week by Square Enix from their upcoming Final Fantasy XIV. Last week, a few magazines said that they would be carrying the latest new information for XIV soon but we had no idea it would be this soon! Weekly Famitsu also got an exclusive interview with Producer Hiromichi Tanaka and Director Nobuaki Komoto. Let’s take a look at the latest information out of Japan.
By the way, while the interview ran in Weekly Famitsu, the official Japanese website doesn’t really contain much information at this time forcing people in Japan to buy the magazines. However, as many people saw today, the NA official site contains a lot of pictures and information in English. Here, you get the best of both worlds combining what we know from the website as well as from the Japanese interview.
1) The Land Loved by the Gods
As announced back at E3, the starting setting for Final Fantasy XIV is a region called Eorzea. This is located in the world of Hydaelyn. Eorzea is the name used to describe the smallest continent of Hydaelyn, Aldenard, and the surrounding islands. In the region are various city-states. So far, the names of 4 of these cities have been released in Japanese as well as concept art for 3 of them.
|City in the Sea, Limsa Lominsa (リムサ・ロミンサ)|
|City in the Sand, Ul’dah (ウルダハ)|
|City in the Forest, Gridania (グリダニア)|
The mountain city Ishgard (イシュガルド) was also announced but no pictures have been released yet.
The land of Eorzea is not kind to people, who must deal with fierce natural surroundings. The weather changes suddenly in the north and south, there are vast desolate lands, and there are giant monsters who roam the mountain ranges. The people of Eorzea must also deal with savage tribes who have a thirst for blood, mysterious foreign enemies, and the city-states who contend for supremacy. The pages of the history of Eorzea are covered with blood. Even still, it is known as the Land Loved by the Gods and people flock to the region. The answer to why might be found in the existence of Crystals, the crystallized form of aether.
When describing the city-states of Eorzea, Komoto says they were aiming for something smaller in scale than a full country. Thus, we have city-state where they rule over different areas with the city as the base. The people in each city-state will have their own story to tell. The game story will be an important part of the game. Komoto says that the story will be pretty intense right from the beginning and that might surprise some people. It is definitely something we can look forward to!
Weekly Famitsu’s article only gives additional detail about Limsa Lominsa so we will have to wait for the Dengeki PlayStation article to get more information about the other regions. Limsa Lominsa is located in the southern portion of the island of Vylbrand (ヴィルブランド) which is located in an inlet known as the Rhotano Sea (ロータノ海). The city-nation is watched over by the sailor’s goddess, Llymlaen (ルムレーン). The beautiful streets of the city are known as Navigator’s Veil (*Llymlaen’s Veil in the Japanese version).
It is said that there once was a great fleet of boats that was trying to escape from hardships in their home country. They were guided by Llymlaen and the area they settled in became the start of Limsa Lominsa. The nearby seas are kept safe mostly by a strong navy known as the Knights of the Barracuda (バラクーダ騎士団). They are funded with the help of other nations as well. However, there are also pirates that operate in the Rhotano Sea and the people of some nations think perhaps that the knights are looking the other way sometimes on purpose.
The other pictures released of the field areas are said to be in-game screenshots.
There will be weather effects in FFXIV. They specifically mention wind and rain. Some areas will have certain weather effects more often than other regions. Time will also pass day into night. Final decisions have not been made yet but in general one day in Eorzea will be around 1 real-world hour. The idea is that even if you can only login at the same time each day, you can still experience Eorzea in a different way.
2) Methods of Transportation
With vast wastelands, forests, and many islands to explore, transportation is something people are curious about. In the interview with Tanaka and Komoto, they really stress how they want to make the game accessible to people who can only play a short amount of time each day. One way they can do this is by cutting down the amount of time it takes to travel from region to region. The interviewer asked if different methods of transportation will be available. Komoto replied that they want people to look forward to the possibility of this but was avoiding saying exactly what and when it would be made available.
One method of transportation we do have information about is aetheryte (エーテライト). Aetheryte will be very important as Tanaka and Komoto envision that players will gather for quests by going to different aetheryte rather than waiting around in the cities. The picture of three adventurers in the field next to something that looks like an outpost and a giant crystal structure is indeed the picture provided by Square Enix to show off the aetheryte.
The aetheryte are managed by the various city-states and have been inserted into the ground. By paying the manager next to the crystal you can be transported to where other aetheryte are. What will you pay with? Chances are very high it will be gil. They had tossed around the idea of using other currencies in addition to gil but it is such a standard that Komoto laughs and says it might not be possible to get away from that. In addition to moving to other aetherytes, there is also the possibility of going to an aethereal gate (エーテリア ルゲート) that you have set before. Specific details are not given but it almost sounds like aethereal gates are similar to the home points used in FFXI.
There is a little bit of back story provided on the Aetheryte as well. When someone is transported using this system, their body, armor, items, etc, are broken down into pieces of ether. These pieces are then transported through veins below the surface and are reassembled at their final destination. There are side effects to using the system however so adventurers have to wait before they are able to travel via aetheryte again. In the future, it is expected that Square Enix will release information on how you can expand the number of aetherytes you can transport to.
3) Why Are We Adventurers?
In Final Fantasy XI, we learned that the adventurer system started after the Crystal War. Square Enix has released information about the general setting of Eorzea to explain why there are adventurers in XIV.
We begin with 12 Gods. Each of the city-states has a guardian god or goddess that protects it. They made alliances with each other, changing them based on the land they ruled, their own personal gain, or new ways of telling the stories of the gods and goddesses. This has led to a long history of fighting.
However, 15 years ago, a turning point came when the strongest of the 6 cities, Ala Mhigo (アラミゴ) fell to the eastern country of Garlean (ガレマール). There were flying battleships and soldiers began using guns that could fire shot after shot without reloading. The cities of Eorzea began to unite their armies to fight off a common threat.
This invited peace to the land and was called the Age of Calm (凪の時代). The nations created their own official armies so the mercenaries that had once fought for them were no longer needed. Instead, they gave them other jobs. Prior mercenary leaders began to form organizations where the former mercenaries could join up to help one another. They now assist with solving different problems and are called “adventurers”.
The interviewer asked how adventurers interact with the city-states. Adventurers will join up with an organization. There will be many different organizations from players to choose from. However, this is just a starting point and not a huge decision for players to make so Komoto says people should freely choose one without worrying about it too much.
4) The Guildleves System
In yesterday’s post, we talked about some of the sample cards available and how they can be used to start quests. Think of it as a help-wanted system. You inquire at one of the various guilds for adventurers looking for work. You’ll be able to take on different jobs (represented by cards you can carry around with you) based on your skill level in certain classes. For example, perhaps there will be a card that only highly skilled blacksmiths (鍛冶師) can use. Komoto says it is also possible to combine different requirements. He gives the example of a job a horticulturalist (園芸師 English name not yet confirmed) can undertake but perhaps it will require that you be protected by a gladiator.
It will be possible to take on multiple jobs at one time. This is another way that they are trying to make FFXIV friendlier to people who cannot play for long periods at one time. By being able to carry multiple job cards, it cuts down on the number of trips you might need to make back to a city, etc. Sometimes a job might take around 30 minutes to complete. There might be ones that are even shorter. Sometimes you might need other people to assist you but they are trying to avoid setting a fixed number of people to increase freedom and flexibility in play style.
It sounds as if the leves available to you will be shown on a calendar and you can make your choices from there. The jobs available might change from time to time, perhaps on a weekly basis or even change mid-week. They would like to make that change occur when players have days off, for example, during a weekend most likely. The timing is still being worked on by the development staff.
Taking on jobs through the Guildleve system will also be very important for skill development. While only the person with a particular card can reap the benefits of completing that card, anyone who is assisting during the quest will be able to hone their skills faster than they could during regular battles. Also, because it is possible to combine multiple cards, people could bring in different cards and be working on different goals but all be assisting each other in general.
5) The Armoury System
Wanted to be a White Mage again in FFXIV? Perhaps a great and powerful Paladin like you were in FFXI? Tough luck. You won’t find any of those old series favorites in FFXIV. This is one of the ways FFXIV is really pulling away from other games in the series and it was done on purpose. Komoto says that if they used those familiar jobs in FFXIV, people would feel bound to use certain skill sets and that goes against the free play style they are aiming for in FFXIV. In parties you might want a more defined role and this is something they have said in previous interviews that will be important. However, when you solo, you might want to use abilities and skills from multiple classes so you have the power to fight and heal yourself. It is this ability to mix and match skills and abilities where people will be able to show off their personality and way of doing things. Then again, those people that want to focus solely on one particular class also have that option as well.
There are 4 large categories of disciplines (called 職能 in Japanese which literally means occupational ability). These disciplines are broken down into various classes. Each class has their own special feature. Leveling up different classes builds your character’s overall abilities. Specific details are not yet available about how this system will work. Currently 8 different classes have been released but many more exist. Each class has its own abilities and skills. It is thought that perhaps the higher your skill, the more potent your abilities become.
What you hold in your hand determines which class you fall into, allowing you to change your job on the fly. Your armor will also have some effect on your character’s growth. Specific details are not available but Tanaka hints that if you want certain abilities, you might have to coordinate your weapon and armor. There will be sometimes where you can reuse the same armor but he expects that there will be armor and weapons that don’t mesh well together either. This means the amount of armor and weapons you will need to walk around with is something the developers are taking into consideration. They don’t want that to be a limiting factor and are looking into ways to deal with the issue. They are also thinking of a system where you can change all of your equipment at one time.
For information on the names of the various disciplines and an idea of some of the classes to be released, please check out the official FFXIV website.
6) Playable Races
Now we know a little more about where we will be and what we can do there. One final detail is what we will look like when we are exploring Eorzea. We knew that the races of FFXI would pop up once again, although somewhat changed from before. Here is what we know so far:
- Humes -> Hyurs (written in English as Hyuran on the Japanese site)
- Elvaans -> Elezens
- Tarutarus -> Lalafells
- Galkas -> Roegadyns
- Mithras -> Miqo’tes
When asked if there are other playable races, Komoto dodges the question by saying of course there will be enemies and people should look forward to that. In FFXI, there were major differences between the races that affected their stats heavily. For example, Tarutaru had a lot of MP and INT making them great magic users. Galka had a lot of HP but little MP. While some people didn’t care about the differences, other people put a lot of weight into the race of a character when looking for party members. To avoid that, they don’t plan on making the differences as pronounced in FFXIV. They would like people to choose their characters more freely and make one they think they’d like to play as.
In addition to the race, there might be other selections players can make during character creation that will affect their starting stats. One of these selections that people have been curious about is if people will be able to choose to be in one of the various clans or families that have been mentioned in the race descriptions. For example, being a Seeker of the Sun versus a Keeper of the Moon or a Highlander versus a Midlander. Komoto says this is a secret for now but Tanaka wants people to think that there just might be something behind these clans.
At this time, I’d also like to dispel a rumor I’ve been seeing floating around the forums. Nothing in the interview or article says that character stats will be affected by the gender of the character.
Also, the character you see during character creation will be near identical to what you can play with in-game. This is one of the things that people complained about with FFXI because the character models were so different.
Some aspects of character creation will be customizable. Specific details are not available yet. However, things like skin color, face model, eye color, and hair style are being offered as possible things people will be able to customize.
For additional information on each race, please visit the official Final Fantasy XIV site. Each race has a description, which is a translated version of the description provided by Square Enix to the Japanese magazines.