SquareEnix, FFXIV's open beta test(OBT) starts in early september.
Ul'dah, Gridania, Rank 40(referring to level), large scale battles to be implemented!
Square-Enix has announced that the beta phase for FFXIV will commence in early september. For this, they will implement several new contents to the public beta. It is expected that the details of the OBT will be announced in a few days.
This time, not only will players be able to start in Limsa Lominsa, but also the two remaining city-states, Gridania and Ul'dah, in addition to new Guildleves. It is expected that the plans will debut in the Gamescom exhibition. Definitely, from the OBT, it will be allowed to choose the two other City-states.
SE has allowed the media to experience the two new cities and thier opening events. Also, in order to experience large scale battles, we were able to access Rank 40 Guildleves. While it is content for those hard to construct parties, issues such as balance have yet to be modified. Because of this, we were able to create a high level character.
OBT: Gridania and Ul'dah
All the starting city-states will be available. In the current beta test(CBT), only Limsa Lominsa is available. Although the two remaining city-states have still been shrouded in mystery, it has been decided that they will be implemented in early september, along with a lot of information to be made public.
We are able to play in each respective city-state, along with the opening tutorial. The class quest associated with Limsa Lominsa is called "The Treasure of the Blue Ocean". From the start, there is a fully-voiced cutscene, and then a basic combat tutorial, receiving a linkpearl for exploring the town. This is common among all starting towns.
As for the respective city's storyline, it will be separate from the start, and will converge from the middle of the storyline, so everyone can enjoy it together. There are differences in the prologue, battle and field BGM that makes up each city's personality. Combat and crafting guilds were different in each city, we were not able to confirm the differences in goods for sale.
From the OBT, it will be possible to save character-making data. For example, you will be able to make another character with the same appearance but a different starting location.
The city in the spirit forest, Gridania.
Gridania is concealed in a deep, dark forest. While in the nighttime it is creepy and gloomy with an eerie atmosphere, during the day, the beautiful sunlight filters through the trees, and the forest's greenery is illuminated. In the city and forest, numerous long and narrow roads intersect with each other, making it similar to a maze, and it takes a little time to navigate through.
In the city, there is a Woodworking and leathercrafting guild. There also seems to be some freshwater rivers available for fishing. The Conjurer's guild is also located here, and it may be because of the typical characteristic mysticism that the ambiance possesses, and the forest dweller's ability to sense the spirits of the forest.
The "Diving Dolphin Cafe" is located in Limsa Lominsa, but the Carine Cafe in Gridania is the host to beautiful stained glass. An Elezen woman "Myune" is the guide for the tutorial in Gridania.
The story starts in the deep in the woods, with large dark trees. As the player is walking through the forest, he hears a strange voice and then witnesses a glowing mass of fire falling from the sky. Immediately after, the player sees the smoke coming from the airship in the sky. The player heads to the scene to find 2 collapsed people. An event starts by initiating a conversation with one of them.
A female Hyuran "Iida" and a male Lalafell "Paparimo" seems to have jumped off the airship. After a weird conversation, it seems they have business to take care of in Gridania.
The player, along with the two NPCs, have to deal with a wolf monster that appears. This is the combat tutorial. After defeating several monsters, a treant appears.(I noticed this scene is in the E3 2010 trailer) As they are running, they are saved by 2 youths using a moogle parade to calm the treant's anger, and then they repair a barrier meant to imprison the treant.
The youths are called "Noble Bishops". They are respected because they are able to communicate with the spirits, and their speech style and manners in some respects seem holy. After visiting the leathercrafting guild, the player is advised to go the the holy stone tree temple in the northwest part of the city. Here it is decided that the player will participate in the harvest festival.
The bustling city shrouded in unrest, Ul'dah
With a desert climate, the lively Ul'dah is a big change from Gridania. But because of the fall of the city Ala'Mihgo, behind the liveliness of Ul'dah is the unrest from the rumors of war.
The city is built as a round stronghold, using earthen materials. Compared to the other two cities, it is small, making it easy to navigate and travel in.
Outside the city, the wasteland is spreading. Although the wasteland makes for clear skies, vision is sometimes obstructed when a sandstorm occurs. The area's names are middle-eastern sounding, and the people's fashion and the market matches the overall atmosphere.
The goldsmithing guild is located here. There is also an "arena" which might be used for future content. The cheerful atmosphere is contradicted by the uneasiness of the people about the war.
The adventurer's guild "Quicksand Lounge" is managed by a female lalafell "Momodi". It is a crowded and thriving establishment with a thick atmosphere.
The opening scene begins with a parade of colorful festivals. In the parade there is a Mi'qote songstress called "Furamin". The player is sightseeing at the parade when suddenly, the Goobbue in the exhibition begins to act violently. This is the battle tutorial. In the other two nation's battle tutorial, you fight against many small enemies, but in Ul'dah, you will face one enormous enemy.
After defeating the monster, the player is guided into "Quicksand Lounge". Momodi advises the player to visit the goldsmithing guild. In the guild is the elezen man "Neilfrene'" that assisted in fighting the goobbue earlier. The player converses about the war that is stirring up.
Gradually, the problems within Ul'dah become apparent. At the arena, a roegadyn asks the player to join a bout where he eventually loses. The match was fixed, and the player is caught up in a dispute.
Rank 40 Guildleve: Large scale battle
After the experience of the two city-states, large scale battle with a rank 40 character was up next. This type of guildleve can only be done once every 2 earth days. To clear for this special guildleve called "Factionleve", players must use "Faction Credits".
Broken blade company's commanding officer gives a briefing called "Dragoon Tactic". The orders are to intercept an attack on Ul'dah by the Amalgeia tribe. This feature of FFXIV lets players experience large scale battles.
Normal guildleves are dispatched at aetherytes and involves going to the designated area to defeat enemies, in the case of Factionleve, conversing with an NPC dispatched the monsters. The Amalgeia are a lizard-like race featuring reptilian skin and a tail, they looked so strong! The monsters came in waves of 3-3-5. Although it is possible to defeat each monster one on one, the enemies came simultaneously. FFXIV's goal is to make these many vs. many battles.
Because you can't fight only one monster at a time, cooperation amongst members is very important. Using a level 50 character, I was able to win against the lowest difficulty level. Higher difficulty Factionleves give out rarer rewards, so parties will be much needed. This system will be implemented from the OBT, so lets do our best to raise our weapon rank and experience this content.
Edited, Aug 17th 2010 8:31am by Lumokai