Things have been pretty quiet on the “published things” front lately. Uncharacteristic quietness on my part usually means that I’ve receded into a Matoya-like cave with thousands of loose sheets of parchment in an attempt to forge order from some great chaos or another. I’ll re-emerge when I’ve come up with something worth sharing or just give up and set the stack of papers ablaze while dancing around it ritualisti—That part’s not important.
Anyroad… This time? Not an exception.
Final Fantasy XIV and the concept of a bestiary appearing in the same place usually means one of two things; either Yoshida-san is confirming that it’s still pretty low on their priority list (but still totally something he’d like to do), or someone on the Official Forums or Reddit has just asked for one and was told that it was impossible. After all, there’s roughly 1,500 unique display models that apply to roughly 5,000 in-game entities. To a point, it is impossible. And that point is about three yalms away from where we’re now standing.
Let’s talk history for a moment.
We got our first hints about in-world taxonomy from Fernehalwes in 2011 via the Localization forum, because, at the time, a Lore Forum wasn’t really thought of as a thing that should … be a thing. Immediately, I started trying to apply this to the wiki here at Gamer Escape (which Gahoo went pretty far out of his way to accommodate, more than once).
The out-of-world understanding of Final Fantasy XIV’s enemies mirrors the in-game Raimdelle Codex, a naturalists’ guide to life on Hydaelyn, penned by Frandelont Raimdelle centuries ago. Raimdelle, however, was not perfect. The man tried to categorize ducks as Spoken. Eorzeans are quick to classify as voidsent anything stranger than would merit a “Y’aint from around here are ya”. And how do you even begin to attempt applying naturalism to the creations of Allag? However, the Lore Team itself works organically around Raimdelle, for the most part, so I was determined to follow.
To aid in classifying the thousands of enemies in the game, I envisioned an easy-to-follow chart of names and identifications. I got a decent chunk of work done on a prototype, but quickly realized that, “It’s impossible!” isn’t so bad of an analysis when you can’t even guarantee you even have a complete pool of potential species to start whittling things down.
The rise of various database websites (including Square Enix’s own website and app) also gave rise to complete checklists and a new way of looking at classification. I won’t bore you with the nitty-gritty ambiguously-legitty details, but “impossible” ever-so-gradually turned into “okay, maybe possible, but who would do that much work”? Who, indeed.
The biological classification guide that I’m releasing today (and will continue to update) will not perfectly match the one hidden behind World Lore Creator Banri Oda-san’s false bookshelf. I’ve made (and will continue to make) judgment calls. It is not the official taxonomy, but hopefully it’s not too far off. For these reasons, I’m simply calling this project The Raimdelle Codex Alces—a different version of the same guide you might find in the Stillglade Fane’s Green Athenaeum.
The big challenge, of course, is using this guide to classify all of the individual mobs in the game, but even if I can’t get that down, the Codex itself nears completion after … more time than I’d care to admit. This is one of the few times, “Moose, share your notes!” is something I can actually accommodate, however, so that’s what I’m doing. Please feel free to make use of it while I go about trying to build mob lists and lore background for all of these. I’ll be keeping an open thread in the forums to discuss new revelations and ways to improve it.
But if you’ll excuse me, I’m pretty sure there’s a patch in a week and a Story So Far… in need of an update…