Dengeki Games Vol. 7: Keep Your Name?!

Surprise!  While Weekly Famitsu and Dengeki PlayStation are the two biggest sources of information we have for FFXIV when it comes to magazines, there are a few other publications out there that cover FFXIV as well.  It is rare to see additional articles so close to some major announcements, but Dengeki Games decided to give everybody a little treat.

Dengeki Games is a relatively new monthly publication that started up last fall.  It runs gaming information for all platforms whether its handheld, console, arcade, or even your cell phone.  The 7th volume just came out with a 4-page summary of the information we’ve recently seen.  However, there are a few extra tidbits to enjoy that weren’t part of the other write-ups.  In this article, we’ll look at what Dengeki Games found out about the current user interface, different classes, and some interesting plans for transitioning from the beta to the official release.

What do all those little icons mean?

The latest screenshot of the alpha build is filled with different icons.  Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

In this closeup, we can see the selected command “Seismic Shock”, one of the Pugilist’s weapon skills.  Under that is the target information.  Destiny was attacking a rather large Peiste.  You can see the enemy’s HP gauge underneath the name.  Next to the name though is a small red icon.  What does it mean?

Question: What does that red mark next to the target name mean?

Answer: It tells you the strength of the enemy party.  In FFXI, you would “Check” an enemy to learn its relative strength and the results would appear in your log.  However, in FFXIV, party versus party battles are more frequent, so the icon tells you the relative strength of the entire party.

That’s a handy feature!  In FFXI, the results of a “Check” would vary from person to person depending on their armor, weapon, the food they had eaten, etc.  This time, we see once again how the game design is focused on party versus party battles looking at the strength of your party as a whole when you go out into battle.

The new battle log has received a bunch of attention since we first saw it at Gamescom.  We’ve heard it would be customizable and that you would be able to move it around.  While FFXI had tabs for different chat modes, the FFXIV version divides logs into different customizable types.  In the screenshot we see General and Battle, but there will be more options for players who want more control over what they see.

Question: What is the difference between the General and Battle tabs above the log box?

Answer: The General log shows everything.  The Battle log is just for things related to battle.  So the tabs are like a filtering system.  For the official release, you’ll be able to add additional tabs and filter the log to your liking.  We are also thinking about making it where you can have 2 different log windows on your screen at the same time.

Question: How much of the layout will you be able to change?

Answer: The things that are a necessary part of the UI, like the HP and MP gauges, the mini map, and the log, can be moved around freely.

While having multiple windows might cut down on how much of the action you could see, there are definitely people out there that would like to be able to keep chat and battle logs separate but still be able to follow both.

The bottom icon bar layout might be old news to some people but let’s take a look at it anyways.  There are a lot of icons that weren’t a part of FFXI so it will be interesting to see how they are used in real practice.

In the middle are your various commands and your TP gauge bar.  Notice the little 1 to the side?  It isn’t mentioned in the article but perhaps this will be used to change command sets much like macro book pages in FFXI.  What we do know is the following.  The first icon on the left, the little sword, is the mode selection icon.  You click this to switch between Active and Passive Mode.  Next to that is the battle regiment button.  It describes this mode as the one you use if you want to pull off a move that requires multiple people.  They compare it to skillchains in FFXI.  Skip over to the right-hand side.  The dark brown bag icon is used to pull up your item menu.  Next to that is the icon that pulls up a list of different motions your character can do like wave goodbye or cheer.  Finally, the last icon pulls up your main menu.

Class Q&A Recap

Most of the following questions and answers were already published in Dengeki PlayStation.

Question: So far in the classes and weapon information, we haven’t seen anything about dual wielding weapons like you see in FFXI.  Will we eventually see dual wielding in FFXIV too?  Also, if that is the case, what classes will they match up with?

Answer: I can’t answer your question as to when but I think it is safe to say we will see it at some point.  As for which classes will be able to dual wield, all I can say is, please look forward to future announcements.

Question: We know you will be able to change your class at any time but will there be any restrictions as to the classes you can change into?

Answer: There aren’t any restrictions right now but that isn’t to say there won’t be in the future.

Question: Can you change your class in the midst of battle?

Answer: In FFXIV, there are two modes: Passive and Active.  In Passive Mode, your HP restores while you move around.  Active Mode is when you have drawn your weapon and are ready for battle.  You can only change your class when you are in Passive Mode.

Question: Can you freely change between these modes?

Answer: Yes, you can change modes anywhere.

Beta Testers Can Keep Their Names?!

One of the most stunning pieces of information to come out of this article is about the beta test.  It is common practice that everyone starts from scratch with the official release of a game regardless of their progress during the beta.  However, it looks like the FFXIV team is thinking about doing things a little bit differently.

Question: Do you plan on letting beta testers carry over their character names or anything else into the final release?

Answer: Yes, that’s the plan.  However, since the number of servers (Worlds) will be different from the beta, there might be a chance that somebody creates a character with the same name as you on the World you want to play on before you do your character transfer.  We’ll need to come up with some rules on how to handle those situations.

Question: Will PS3 beta testers and PC beta testers play on the same Worlds during the beta?

Answer: We have no particular plans to separate by version.  However, as the testing periods will be different, some Worlds might have more people playing on one particular platform than another.  We do plan on making things like FFXI where you can log in with the same account from any platform.

Question: Will the beta servers be separated by language?  Also, will some sort of auto-translator feature be present in the beta?

Answer: We haven’t decided anything yet about when to add the auto-translator function or if there will be language-separated servers during the beta.  However, for alpha testing, the testing time windows are separated for Japan, North America, and Europe.

So that’s the information we have at this time.  How do you feel about the answers?  In particular, how do you feel about the possibility of beta testers being able to keep their names into the final release?  We might be talking about this in the next episode of Aetheryte Radio so please leave your comments in the forums or send a message to the hosts at [email protected].