Found this over at ffxivcore . http://www.ffxivcore.com/topic/6321-dengeki-interview-with-planner-iwao-the-world/
Dengeki Interview Part 2: Planner Kenichi Iwao
It’s the little things that make a big world
DP: What are you in charge of for FFXIV?
KI: I have kind of a grab bag of responsibilities. (Iwao laughs.) I make the drafts for the characters, equipment, areas and setting and come up with names. I am in charge of items, guildleves, and other things and their circulation in the game, along with crafting and shops and a lot of other things… quite a wider range than in FFXI.
DP: As far as the world setting, what exactly are adventurers to the world of FFXIV?
KI: In FFXI, right from the beginning you’re sucked into belonging to a starting nation. “From this day forward, you work for us. Good luck.” In FFXIV, you choose which guild you want to belong to, so your freedom to choose your place in society is much broader this time around.
DP: Will these be guilds based on weapons?
KI: There are many guilds, like pugilist guilds and blacksmith guilds, all focused on bringing together the artisans of their trade like the true meaning of a guild, but the guilds for adventurers acts more like a support group, so it’s a bit unique.
DP: What exactly are crystals in the FFXIV world?
KI: In Hydaelyn, everything in the world is made of different balances and imbalances of the six elemental ethers. Crystals, however, are pure physical manifestations of one element. They are a unique existence in this world.
DP: Is aetherite natural or artificial?
KI: The aetherite everyone uses is processed from aetherite that occurs naturally in nature.
DP: What is the “sixth astral era?”
KI: The world’s history is split up into alternating eras of stability and turmoil. The eras of stability are called astral eras, and the eras of turmoil are called spirit disaster eras (Localization will probably call is something different/catchier –Manly). The current era is the sixth of these, called the Sixth Astral Era.
DP: What exactly are “The Twelve,” the guardian deities of the city-states and players?
KI: The Twelve in the Eorzean mythology act like those in Greek mythology and have their own personalities. Some of them are easily angered, some of them are caring and nurturing. The people of Eorzea are living in a polytheistic society in which many different values exist.
DP: Each deity has its own characteristics, but how is this reflected in the game?
KI: It appears in many different ways. Each of the twelve is related to an element, and that will most likely come into play. Whether or not you’ll be able to meet these deities is still under wraps (Iwao laughs).
DP: Does all of Hydaelyn believe in the Twelve?
KI: At the very least, the Garlean Empire does not. It is, after all, a faith that originated in Eorzea.
DP: You can choose your guardian deity during character creation, but can you switch during the course of the game?
KI: We’ll probably make it possible, since there are some SERIOUS revelations about the deities during the game (Iwao laughs). There will most likely be a penalty, though.
Eorzea’s map and the world
DP: This is the map of Eorzea, and not the complete world map, correct?
KI: Yes, this is not a map of Hydaelyn.
DP: Is FFXIV set solely in Eorzea, or will there be ways to communicate or travel to the world outside of Eorzea?
KI: For the moment, FFXIV is only in Eorzea, but like FFXI, other lands and worlds may be made available later.
DP: Will the war with the Garlean Empire, as seen in the opening movie and trailers, be appearing in FFXIV?
KI: Who knows? Anyway you look at it, this war affects a lot of things in the story (Iwao laughs).
DP: In the war with the Garlean Empire, will there be player versus player contents like the “Campaign” contents in Wings of the Goddess, where the Beastman Confederate and Allied Forces of Altana fought against each other?
KI: It’s definitely possible.
DP: Will this be a three-way battle including the adventurers, or will the adventurers be able to align themselves with the Empire?
KI: I wonder (Iwao laughs). Personally, I really think the concept of adventurers being able to choose their place in society is an interesting one… In FFXI, there was no guessing who the enemy was, but in FFXIV, there is a lot of chaos going on right before the beginning of the Crystal War.
KI: There’s a lot going on under the surface that a lot of people aren’t aware of.
DP: Are the flags on the map the city-state flags?
KI: It’s probably best to imagine Eorzea as ancient Greece or medieval Italy, where many large, independent cities grew and thrived. Many cities in Eorzea have had problems with each other in the past, and their relationships now aren’t that great, either. The citizens get along with each other and handle intercity exchange well, though, and there are organizations that exist outside of city-state relations, such as the guilds.
DP: On the bottom left of the map, there are two flags slightly separated from the rest. Does this have something to do with the story?
KI: That’s still a secret (Iwao laughs). But there are a few city-states that have fallen since the map was made, as well as new city-states that have come about. This map still shows the old city-states.
DP: Will city-state territories change over the course of the game?
KI: We’d like to be able to do that, but there are a lot of complications involved. For example, if Ul’dah and Limsa Lominsa get into a territorial war, players who join later in the game won’t be able to enjoy the era of peace the other players could. We’d like to play around with social changes at some point, though.
DP: In the data included with the Eorzean map, the name Roddard Ironheart appears. Was there a reason for using this name? A lot of FFXI players are probably curious about it.
KI: It’s probably just a coincidence (Iwao laughs).
DP: Can you tell us the different special characteristics of the city-states?
KI: Limsa Lominsa is the marine capital like Venice. Ul’dah is a hub city like an oasis, like Palmyra. Gridania is a city surrounded by forests and is like a Mayan city.
DP: So the economy and culture of each city-state will have been cultivated and be unique to its city?
KI: Well, to an extent. There won’t be any drastic differences, since they’re all part of the same cultural sphere.
DP: Will the same guild be available in all city-states, or will the available guilds differ based on the city?
KI: Each guild has a certain city that houses its base of operations, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a presence in each of the cities. There will be things like branch offices. If you want to enjoy fishing in the streams of Gridania, it would be convenient if there were a fishing guild branch there, wouldn’t it? We’re working on addressing this.
DP: Will players be able to play in the gambling areas and fighting arenas of Ul’dah?
KI: It’s something we’re aiming for.
DP: Other than Aetherite, will there be other modes of transportation, like airships and chocobo?
KI: Of course.
DP: Will adventurers be able to use them?
KI: Yes. For how long and how much experience is needed to use them is still a secret. Chocobo, horse-drawn carriages, ships, and airships will all be in the game.
Monsters and Tribes in the World
DP: Are there NPC like male Miqo’te and female highlanders that you can’t choose as a player?
KI: Yeah, there are. They might appear in certain forms. At this point, I can’t declare that players can’t play as them forever.
DP: Do monsters like Puk and Dodo from FFXI appear in FFXIV? Is it because the familiarity to users is taken into consideration?
KI: Yes. There will be more monsters which have something to do with FFXI, I think, especially those from after Treasures of Aht Urhgan.
DP: I saw Qiqirn mutual-aid in Limsa Lominsa. Are there monsters that you can communicate with, like Goblins in FFXI?
KI: Oh, yeah, I was thinking about mentioning Qiqirn’s name, but you have already figured it out (Iwao laughs). By the way, there are Apkallus, too. I’d like to have those kinds of communication as much as possible.
DP: Do they appear as NPCs in town?
KI: Maybe in towns, or in fields, too. Moreover, this time, the beast tribes have their own skills, and I think there are things you can learn from them. They have their own opinions, and I’d like to treat them as humans with individuality, not just as humanoid enemies. It’d be fun if players can make and equip weapons which are influenced by their culture.
DP: So there would be more communication with humans/humanoids than in FFXI.
KI: You could say so. There could be some characters that seem to be enemies when they appear but are actually cooperative with humans. I’d like to be flexible about it. On the other hand, there may be humans (the same type of humans as adventurers) that are villanous, and you may have to fight them sometime.
DP: Are there any points you focus on when designing monsters’ appearances?
KI: In many cases, each monster has a concept, and it influences the design. For instance, Spriggans look like children with stones, right? That is the motif for its motions and the reason behind its name.
DP: From the point of view of Eorzeans, do they perceive the fields as dangerous?
KI: Not really. There are requests like seeking lost cattle. In the beginning of the game, there are very peaceful requests and guildleves. There are even monsters that make you wonder why you’d have to fight them.
DP: Are there Guildleves in which you would have to kill that kind of monsters?
KI: Yes, I think so. If you think that they are too cute to kill, don’t take that Guildleve (Iwao laughs).
Establishing a world to enchant adventurers
DP: Are there any points that you are careful about when working on the graphics or functions of equipment?
KI: This time, the aim is to have outfits which are a bit deviant from the style of games. Sorcerers in heavy armors, for instance. I can’t guarantee it would be useful though… The emphasis is put on customization, so that you can coordinate many types of equipment to a certain extent. For example, you can choose the color of your equipment.
DP: Seems like there are NPC with hats made of leather and suede. Can we customize fabrics and stuff?
KI: I am happy that you noticed! (Iwao laughs) This world is designed based on numerous material lists, and each thing is made of certain thing. If you are a crafting artisan, you should be able to tell what percentage of a piece of a person’s equipment is made up of what materials just by looking at it.
DP: Can you show others that you made them by yourself like inscriptions in FFXI?
KI: I’d like it to be so. I think it is also very important to show your contribution to the society.
DP: Why there are NPC without names like “exhausted adventurer?”
KI: Because of the intention to show the direct impression, not the name. That case would happen more often to NPCs which don’t really do anything.
DP: Were there any main points you focused on when you created the world view?
KI: The theme is to create the basis that users can spread their imagination freely. My final goal is to make worlds which can accept all the dramas and back-stories that users have created for themselves and are not described in the game itself.
DP: Are there any points that you want users to keep an eye out for or hear about?
KI: Opinions are welcome all the time. Severe, strict opinions are especially welcome. Well, they do bring me down, though… (Iwao laughs) However, games won’t get better without harsh opinions. So, I am waiting for your strict opinions!