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#1 Apr 15 2010 at 9:34 AM Rating: Excellent
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This information was posted this morning on FFXIVCore. Posting pics as links.

4Gamer.net – Focus on graphics, controls and music

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_86813.jpg

Sorry to have to bring this up each time, but we’d like you all to remember that this article is based on the alpha test version, a test version accessible to a select few to get user feedback at an early stage of development. For that reason, the game system and recommended specs are subject to change… a lot. Please keep that in mind while reading.

There are a lot of things that can’t be helped since it’s at such an early stage of development, but one thing we can say is we didn’t get a lot of test time. Though the servers are up for four hours and I stuck to my computer the entire time, the actual amount of time I was able to stay on the server totaled less than an hour and the things I was able to play through are about the same as my first play report.

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_114649.jpg
http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_85695.jpg
http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_176622.jpg

FFXIV is a hot topic right now, and there are a lot of people who want any scrap of information they can sink their teeth into. Luckily, as I mentioned in my last play-through, there was so much to talk about that I couldn’t fit it all into the last article, so here’s another report for you.

Comfortable mouse/ keyboard operation, not to mention with controllers

As for the operation system, FFXIV utilizes game controllers, keyboard and mouse. Since it started as a console game, the compatibility of game pad is great as in FFXI, and I hear that there were not so many problems at the first alpha test.

The notable change from FFXI is that you can target things with mouse as practical level. And by combining the movement with “WASD” keys, it is way easier to play for PC gamers, including those who have experience with other MMORPGs.

You can open each status and inventory screen by selecting them from the main menu. To open up the main menu, press the square button on the PlayStation 3 controller, or Home on the keyboard. Currently, you cannot open windows with short cut keys such as Ctrl +I, but those things will be improved as the test continues.

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_53330.jpg

Core windows you can open from the main menu are status and equipment, action bar customization, inventory, journal, teleportation and return, and log off. It is significant to note that all characters can use teleportation and return from the beginning, but this may only be for the alpha test.

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_15463.jpg
http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_140348.jpg

The function of teleportation/warp is slightly different from other FF series. Teleportation moves you to a selectable landmark of the area you are in, while warp takes you to the home points or Aetherite that you have set in advance. I got the impression that transfer has become very convenient in FFXIV.

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_127639.jpg
http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_27221.jpg
http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_33484.jpg

Growth system revealed through various windows

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271297692/gallery_1312_223_93671.jpg


There are many things you can tell from the windows you can open from main menu. To start with, Let’s focus on “rank” and “physical level” in the status and equipment windows.

In FFXIV, the “armory system,” with which you can change class by changing the items you have equipped, is very characteristic. You will earn experience points for your current class through activities and your class rank goes up.

You will learn various skills (abilities) as your class rank rises. There will be more actions you can take while adventuring by setting new skills you learned on the action menu.

The thing to note here is, you can use the skills you acquired in one class even when switched into other classes. For instance, you have pugilist’s skill called “whistle” that can attract enemies’ attention, and this would be very useful for other fighters like “provoke” in FFXI. However, not every skill can be used by all the classes and there are penalties as to the effect of the skill and time limits in certain cases.

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_29165.jpg

This system made it possible to have new abilities in the class in a different way from the support job system in FFXI. So, the essence of the armory system is not only about changing class occasionally, but customizing the class abilities as you like.

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_120284.jpg


Next, “physical level:” this is different from class rank and shows a character’s physical growth. You get “physical bonus,” which you can appoint into stats as you like as your physical level goes up. This is similar to the placement of stat points in many MMORPGs, and in FFXIV, you can put it to HP, MP, TP and other magical elements.

There will be more variation as to how characters grow by combining class rank and physical bonus. For example, a gladiator with skill rank 10/physical level 10 could be a tank build, damage-dealing build, or a balance build depending on the way points are distributed.

Moreover, there are also “luck,” ”hit”, and ”evasion” stats, so please take a close look at the screen shot on this page. (Strength, vitality, dexterity, agility, intelligence, wisdom, charisma, luck, fire, ice, wind, earth, thunder, water, HEART, GO, PLANET! …ok, everything after water I added myself. –Manly) There are equipment slots for upper- and lower-body underwear, but I wonder if this will be represented graphically, as well Maybe this is also something notable.

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_53789.jpg
http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_276967.jpg
http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_184302.jpg

Already seeing results: Alpha test schedule upped to three times a week

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_31785.jpg
http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271260665/gallery_1312_223_102420.jpg

There are two other things I’d like to mention.

First, to play this second wave of the alpha test, users needed to uninstall the last client and install a new version that had received some fixed. I think this is probably the reason that the graphics felt like they loaded much faster. There wasn’t a lot of time to play, so I couldn’t check specifics like frame rate, but many of the other testers felt that the program seemed to run a bit more smoothly.

That said, bearing in mind that this is still just the alpha test, I’m a bit uneasy about how sluggish the game moves. Honestly, I’ve been starting to wonder if I should get a PS3, but it also seems like they’re working quickly to get the game up and running at its best state, so I want PC gamers to rest assured.

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271297692/gallery_1312_223_89110.jpg

The next thing I want to mention is the battle BGM. Mr. Nobuo Uematsu has lovingly crafted the music for FFXIV, and though there are only a few songs available in the alpha test, all of them have the feel and sound of the Final Fantasy series.

One song stood apart from the others, though. The battle music had a rather long electric guitar solo.

Recently, Mr. Uematsu has been broadening his music style (from more than just keyboard-centric music –Manly) to, for example, the use of the vocals of Ian Gillan, formerly of Deep Purple, in the boss music for Xbox 360’s “Blue Dragon.” For those who know of Mr. Uematsu’s wide-ranged music works, the guitar is something they’ll most likely be able to accept. However, for those with the preconception that “Uematsu=Final Fantasy,” it may be a bit shocking. I’m interested to see what kind of feedback will appear on the testers’ site for this song, but as a loving fan of both Final Fantasy and 80’s~90’s hard rock, I’d love to see this song make the final cut.

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271297692/gallery_1312_223_105950.jpg

From the tester feedback, it seems that even in the second alpha test, there was a great deal of people who couldn’t even log in, so it seems like a detailed check of the game contents is still quite a ways down the road. However, it appears that Square Enix is keeping a limit on the contents and the number of people able to log in at once, so maybe this is to be expected.
However, the focus of the test is supposed to be “battle aspects, basic controls, and the user interface,” so I’m a bit worried if they’re getting the feedback they need.
Personally, I feel I may have come to understand (if even just a little bit) how difficult it is from a developer’s standpoint to build a game during an alpha test, a test not normally held. I’d like to work even harder to fulfill my role as a tester.

http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271297692/gallery_1312_223_72221.jpg

On the other hand, I’m also the leading FFXIV writer for 4Gamer.net, so my strong desire to try out the guildleve and armory system creates a bit of a dilemma for me. I’ll just have to wait patiently for the third test on the 15th.

Credit to FFXIVCore:
http://www.ffxivcore.com/
#2 Apr 15 2010 at 9:43 AM Rating: Default
I think at this point it might be worth getting admin clarification here as to whether or not 4gamer and/or FFXIVCore have been given permission from SE to post detailed reports of their alpha experiences. If I'm not mistaken, this isn't the first article from 4gamer and the last time someone posted one here it got nuked for breach of NDA.
#3 Apr 15 2010 at 9:48 AM Rating: Good
When ever I see screen shots with character name blurred out I'm sure they are breaking NDA and they don't want their account nuked by SE.
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#4 Apr 15 2010 at 9:48 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:
there are a lot of people who want any scrap of information they can sink their teeth into.


Thanks for the info, the graphics in those pics are looking great, check out the sky! With every piece of info i just get more and more excited :S not really a good thing since its release is still quite a bit away.

By the way have there been any system specs for it yet? i'm starting to worry my pc won't be able to handle it...
#5 Apr 15 2010 at 9:56 AM Rating: Good
Zelaos wrote:
Quote:
there are a lot of people who want any scrap of information they can sink their teeth into.


Thanks for the info, the graphics in those pics are looking great, check out the sky! With every piece of info i just get more and more excited :S not really a good thing since its release is still quite a bit away.

By the way have there been any system specs for it yet? i'm starting to worry my pc won't be able to handle it...


Nothing yet. The alpha version is running in forced windows mode with a resolution that would make modern PCs barf all over themselves in disgust. Alpha testers have been given access to minimum system specs for the alpha, but those are based on the reduced functionality of the graphics engine and won't necessarily reflect the final numbers.
#6 Apr 15 2010 at 10:31 AM Rating: Excellent
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If it came from 4gamer, we'll leave it. SE has been giving JP media permission to post stuff. cough
#7 Apr 15 2010 at 10:59 AM Rating: Excellent
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EklmForever wrote:
The notable change from FFXI is that you can target things with mouse as practical level. And by combining the movement with “WASD” keys, it is way easier to play for PC gamers, including those who have experience with other MMORPGs.


I'm actually disappointed by this. I prefered FFXI's numpad movement as it allowed me to move with my right hand and fire off macros with my left. Now that the left hand moves via WASD, I have to stop moving to hit alt/ctrl macros. As they've already stated that you can cast some spells while moving (and likely melee classes will have move-friendly skills), this really hampers game play.

Here's hoping we unlimited key re-mapping options.



Edited, Apr 15th 2010 12:02pm by Hydragyrum
#8 Apr 15 2010 at 11:09 AM Rating: Default
Hydragyrum wrote:
EklmForever wrote:
The notable change from FFXI is that you can target things with mouse as practical level. And by combining the movement with “WASD” keys, it is way easier to play for PC gamers, including those who have experience with other MMORPGs.


I'm actually disappointed by this. I prefered FFXI's numpad movement as it allowed me to move with my right hand and fire off macros with my left. Now that the left hand moves via WASD, I have to stop moving to hit alt/ctrl macros. As they've already stated that you can cast some spells while moving (and likely melee classes will have move-friendly skills), this really hampers game play.

Here's hoping we unlimited key re-mapping options.


Most people can move with WASD and still manage 1-5, Alt + 1-5, Shift + 1-5, and Ctrl + 1-5 without having to stop moving. I agree, fully customizable keybinds would be good. In fact, I'd be sorely disappointed if they were excluded as they're pretty much a standard feature in most game UIs these days, but you never know.
#9 Apr 15 2010 at 11:39 AM Rating: Good
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The One and Only AureliusSir wrote:
I think at this point it might be worth getting admin clarification here as to whether or not 4gamer and/or FFXIVCore have been given permission from SE to post detailed reports of their alpha experiences. If I'm not mistaken, this isn't the first article from 4gamer and the last time someone posted one here it got nuked for breach of NDA.


FFXIVCore has a policy against any NDA protected information, so I wouldn't worry about NDA problems in this case.
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#10 Apr 15 2010 at 11:46 AM Rating: Excellent
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Any reason why they can't let the users assign their own keys? I don't like the WASD movement key also...I always reassgin my movement keys in FPS to ASDX instead.
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#11 Apr 15 2010 at 11:54 AM Rating: Good
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I'm so happy the Alpha has started. It seems that the flow of information, even if it is slow, is steady. I'm fine with logging onto the boards here and having new things about the game to read about each day. It makes the wait just a bit more bearable.
Thanks for the info!

That said, the game looks very very nice, and the class system seems to be shaping up to a theory a few of us had guessed at. It seems almost blue mage-ish. Something that seems pretty fun to customize and easy to work with.
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#12 Apr 15 2010 at 11:58 AM Rating: Excellent
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I seriously like XIV's version of Elvaans and Mithras.
I'm almost considering switching race because of this. Just look at the expressions!
#13 Apr 15 2010 at 6:40 PM Rating: Good
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I can't wait to play FFXIV. The game looks amazing. The only thing I so far don't like is not being able to assign keys, I thinking we will be able to in the retail version. Thanks for the info!
#14 Apr 15 2010 at 7:39 PM Rating: Decent
Ruam wrote:
The only thing I so far don't like is not being able to assign keys, I thinking we will be able to in the retail version. Thanks for the info!


Have we seen confirmation anywhere that you won't be able to assign keys?
#15 Apr 15 2010 at 8:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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Was looking at the inventory slots and noticed a few things missing
http://www.ffxivcore.com/gallery/1271297692/gallery_1312_223_93671.jpg

For example i do not see any ring, neck, or back slots. This is probably due to it still being in alpha and not all functionality has been enabled. It just made me go "huh" Also any guesses on what the large pouch and small pouch slots may be for?
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#16 Apr 15 2010 at 10:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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The One and Only AureliusSir wrote:
Have we seen confirmation anywhere that you won't be able to assign keys?


I don't know if they are SE's words or 4Gamers' words, but they said things like ctrl+I for inventory will be improved in later aplpha/beta builds. So I'd assume custom keybinds would logically follow with modern gaming. Assuming with SE can be bad though. :(
#17 Apr 16 2010 at 6:17 AM Rating: Excellent
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nice cleavage! :D
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