Now that we have all digested the new information released by Square Enix on Wednesday, it is about time we took a look at exactly what information was released – both explicitly and implicitly. While some implications are obviously, some might be better labeled as speculation. Remember, while SE loves lore, they are very strict on what information they release and what they don’t. So we can assume (right?) that the information they chose to release was intended to serve a purpose. Either way, let’s jump right in.
Now let’s start with where SE started – the Beastiary. Square has unveiled 10 families – some new and some old – but has provided some in-depth information about certain of these families. The mob families identified are: Ahriman, Aldgoats, Antelopes, Cactuar, Mammet, Morbol, Ogres, Opo-Opo, Puks and Raptors. For whatever reason, SE did not list some other mobs we’ve seen – such as the Dodo.
The Beastiary overview is pretty straightforward. We learn that we will fight beasts in order to farm crafting ingredients. SE implicitly separates the concept of fighting the Eorzean wildlife from fighting battles (“taking up a blade against the realm’s wildlife can be no less dangerous than standing in a shield wall on the frontlines of battle, or defending a fortress against a bloody siege”). While this is again not surprising, it suggests that the larger scale fights between sentient humanoid mobs (i.e. beastmen) will of course play a part in FFXIV.
We learn from both the Aldgoat and Antelope information that there are male and female varieties of these mobs. While FFXI had rams and sheep – so this is not entirely new – it is intriguing that SE chose to highlight this distinction in two of the three summaries we were given.
We learn from Aldgoats that they can be “domesticated and raised as livestock.” This just background information or are we getting hints about another Disciple of the Land – the Farmer? Rancher? Breeder? (See below speculation on Disciples).
We glean a bit more from the Antelope and Raptors about the way mobs will travel in groups and link. Male antelope are “ne’er alone” and will travel with a herd of females – and “the entire herd will attack should any of their members come to harm or danger.” Similarly, raptors travel and hunt in pair, with one acting as a decoy. This is consistent with what SE has previously said about being forced at times to engage groups of mobs (or at least having to be more precise with pulls and engagement) and with an significantly increased mob AI which will have to be learned and accounted for by the playerbase.
Most notably from all three descriptions we learn that – surprise – mobs will drop crafting items. Sure we all knew this would be the case – but now it is confirmed with 2 drops from each family. We see the standard fare – skins, furs, horns, meat and claws. We are expressly told of uses of raptor fangs (did they mean claws?) in alchemy, but we can pretty much be assured that meats will be used by Culinarians and hides and skins by Tanners.
Next on SE’s update were the Disciplines. As with the beastiary, we are provided with a ton of new information. Obviously the most significant news is that Square Enix has confirmed five Disciples of War and five Disciples of the Hand. Disciples of War are – Archer, Lancer, Gladiator, Marauder, Pugilist and the Disciples of the Hand are – Alchemist, Blacksmith, Culinarian, Tanner, Weaver.
So the first bit of speculation is that we’ll get five Disciples of Magic and five Disciples of the Land. There have been reports of Shaman, Druids and Illusionists for additional Magic disciplines, but only Thurmaturge is listed. Botanist is revealed as a Disciple of the Land (formerly speculated to be
called “Horticulturist”) and previously SE has confirmed a Fisherman class (although the name has yet to be confirmed).
We learn that Archers are skilled with not only bows (including short-bows) and arrows, but with rocks from range. There is language about battle tactics of “sharpshooting and high-angle fire” – likely references to weapon skills or battle stances from which players must choose when setting their abilities. Lancers are also ranged attackers, using various kinds of lances and polearms (“myriad other polearms designed for slashing or bludgeoning”), but also using throwing javelins from longer range.
While no information was provided for Gladiators, Marauders or Pugalists, the focus on the attack range for Archers and Lancers, as compared to the presumptive semi-close range needed for a Gladiator (sword) and Marauder (Axe) and extremely close range needed for the Pugalist (hand-to-hand), suggests again that battle strategy will be more pronounced in FFXIV than in FFXI.
On the Disciples of the Hand side we gain a lot of valuable (and new) insight. Like the Disciples of War and their weapons of choice, each Disciples of the Hand has an associated with a particular tool.
We also learn a few more interesting, and not so interesting things:
- The Alchemist deals in both “curative concoctions” and “potent potables” – perhaps not so surprising.
- Smithing seems to encompass both the creation of new items or ingredients (“smelting an ingot”) to repairing armor (and presumably weapons) out in the field (“hammering the dents from an adventurer’s breastplate”) – perhaps already known.
- Culinarians “help adventurers maintain their strength on the battlefield.” Not much information here, coupled with the interview report that food plays a different role in XIV than in XI, we can speculate that the word “maintaining” and “strength” were intentionally chosen. Perhaps food is more for restoring health in between battles than increasing stats during battles.
- Tanners deal with pelts (fur) and skins as “armourer and clothier”. So Tanners appear to be – again not surprisingly – crafting (and repairing) leather armor. Notably however, tanners also are known to “dabble in hunting and trapping” – suggesting a possible additional Disciple of the Land class.
- Weavers are the crafters of cloth. Not much of note here, there is a lot of talk about fashion and trends. Could it be that there will be more to one’s clothes than simple battle utility?
So while not a whole lot here, we get a glimpse at two possible Disciple of the Land classes (the rancher/breeder and the hunter/trapper). Presumably there will need to be someone able to gather fiber for the weaver (i.e. harvester – unless it the announced Botanist) and ores for the blacksmith (i.e. miner). Notably, there is no suggestion of a woodworking class yet.
The final updated section is called “Lifestyle” and focuses on the story of Aeleyora the Culinarian. This is a worthwhile read for the story itself, but let’s focus on what’s revealed and speculate a little about its meaning – there are five parts to the story – broadly speaking – ingredients, location, kitchenware, improvement and sale. The story focuses on cooking, but I think we can safely assume that the other Disciple of the Hand classes will work in a similar fashion.
Aeleyora goes to a market to purchase raw materials to cook. That’s a good start. We have another reference to harvesting of materials, a reference to a “stand” and to a sale. Well while we’d expect gathering places and NPC vendors, the suggestion of a sale is curious (although prices vary in FFXI as well). But even more curious is the next line which indicates that she bargained for an even lower price or an inferior cut of meat. Might all this be simple story? Sure. But if you accept the premise that Square Enix reveals information for a reason – we are left to wonder why they would add this otherwise totally unnecessary piece of information unless it was at least somewhat meaningful. Can we bargain with NPCs? Will there be quality grades on goods – including not just a +1 type of product, but a -1 counterpart? The ability to haggle and bargain with NPCs suggests an elaborate and sophisticated market mechanism whereby the prices for raw goods (and hence finished products) can vary greatly. This is a find balancing point for SE – who knows full well that even small variations in prices can lead to unintended consequences and allow for RMT activity.
The location tab reveals that cooking in a city guild will require the payment of a surcharge, but will improve the chances of cooking higher quality, or quantity, goods. The story reveals that in addition to cooking in the guild, cooking can be done anywhere in the field.
The kitchenware tab reveals something interesting – there will be multiple skillets that a culinarian can use and which is used will affect the outcome. This is inline with the statements made by SE that these crafting classes will play a more prominent role than similar crafts in FFXI. There could be the same number of Bows to obtain by the Archer as their are skillets for the Culinarian. Also of note is that despite the skillet being the “tool of the trade,” it also talks about her use of a knives (again plural), suggesting again that the system will be decidedly more complex than anything we’ve seen.
There is some standard information revealed about skilling up, insofar as a recipe that produced 3 kabobs will produce 12 after you’ve mastered the recipe. We are told that, like XI, a crystal will be needed to cook. There is some suggestion that such increased skill is on a per-recipe basis, as the text talks about making “these kabobs countless times”. There is also a reference to “her recipe compendium”. It could be that recipes are more difficult to come by this time around – and the knowledge of a particular recipe is one factor that can set apart one culinarian from another.
The final page speaks of the economy, but provides little useful information. Aeleyora sells the kabobs back to the same Lancer from whom she bought the aldgoat meat (nb. so they tell us we can make Aldgoat kabobs). The economy is obviously something that takes time to develop, but SE knows that a fully functional and realistic economy is a necessity. What is perhaps most interesting is what was not mentioned in this whole story – an auction house. She bought from NPC vendors and sold directly to players. SE has stated that there will be some sort of auction house, but has thus far provided no details.
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That’s it. Hope we fleshed out some of the shinny new digs provided by Square Enix. Did we miss anything? Did we simply report the obvious? Was there something you had missed when you looked at the official site? Drop us a line and let us know!