Get Your Avatar Drawn by Akihiko Yoshida

Japanese portal site, goo, is hosting a campaign for Final Fantasy XIV fans.  Answer four simple questions and win a chance to have artist Akihiko Yoshida personally draw your FFXIV character!  Other prizes include a signed copy of FFXIV for Windows (JP version) and Guildleve phone straps.

The contest uses a short quiz format, which gives you a 診断 (shin-dan) which is a diagnosis/analysis of what Discipline you should be.  It is essentially like those internet quizzes you see all the time (Which Simpson are you? What game character are you?) and they are just as irritatingly popular among Japanese net denizens.

However, fans may be shocked (shocked, I say!) to learn that this campaign is only available in Japanese.  While the rules do not exclude foreign players from participating, you do have to enter in personal information upon completion of the campaign.  The name field requires you use katakana, and the address field will only accept Japanese-based locations.

Still, if you happen to live in Japan, or have someone to help you out, I have put together a guide to completing your entry after the jump.

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PS3 Version 100% Complete

In this week's Famitsu, Final Fantasy XIV Producer Hiromichi Tanaka and Director Nobuaki Komoto spoke again on the current state of the game, and how they intend to improve it over the coming months.

However, they also finally shed some light on the PlayStation 3 version, which is now "100% complete" and going through adjustments to make it smoother and better for the eventual release.

The main limitations faced on the PS3 are its limited memory and CPU performance when compared with the PC, which can continue to be upgraded by the user.  While Tanaka admits there may be some minor differences such as texture resolution, the overall presentation will be almost identical between the two platforms.

Before announcing an official date, the developers will be hard at work bringing the quality of the PS3 as close to the PC as possible given the capabilities of the game system.  In addition, they will continue to stamp out all the issues PC players have raised so far, which includes softening the game's steep learning curve.  "We're planning to increase the amount of tutorials and beginner quests so players that start with the PS3 version won't have such a hard time," Tanaka stated.

PC users can look forward to a large version update, which will be implemented when the PS3 version goes live.  At that point, Komoto says they "aim to deliver a world into which PC players will be eager to invite their new friends."

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Bloggers Busted by Lodestone

A while back, I posted a translation of Square Enix's Stories of EORZEA page, and gave a look at the initial entries for six Japanese writers.  The idea was that these contributers would bring their adventures to life in blog form.  Ideally, their entires would show how a wide variety of people could all find something in Eorzea to enjoy.  Unfortunately, the Lodestone site recently activated a History and Achievements feature, and as FFXIVBlog.com reports, Japanese players quickly sensed something was amiss.

The content of the Stories of EORZEA blogs and the facts listed on the Lodestone did not add up, and thus, a new controversy was born.  A few of the contributers wrote about adventurers they never embarked upon or actions their characters lacked the levels to perform.  Square Enix even had to delete the fifth entry of Cocoan Cranberry's blog due to inaccuracies, and she has been deluged with angry comments from Japanese players.

So, was this a marketing plan gone wrong?  Or did a few writers just try to bluff their way through a game they had no interest in playing?  The majority of bloggers at Stories of EORZEA seem to be on the up and up, but regardless, controversy is the last thing Final Fantasy XIV needs at this point.

You can check out more details and some comparison pictures at FFXIVBlog.com

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A Look Back As We March Forward

Volume 13 of Dengeki Games has hit bookstores today, and it contains a sprawling, 30-page Starter Guide to Final Fantasy XIV, which also just came out this week.  While some criticism has arisen regarding the lack of in-game tutorials, Japanese players sure won't have to worry, as for 600 yen they have access to pages of details on character creation, navigating menus, classes and abilities and the battle system.  Included are also many colorful maps for each city-state and the surrounding areas.

Can you tell I'm a little jealous?

Anyway, the real point of this article is to deliver what I can for overseas players: which in this case is an interview with Producer Hiromichi Tanaka printed at the front of this magazine. It isn't the most epic of interviews, but it is long and at times insightful, and with mere days before Square Enix leads us into that new era of the Final Fantasy online experience, it provides an interesting examination of what Vana'diel has meant and what Eorzea strives to be.

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Kanji Create Atmosphere -- Of Controversy

Chocobos are called horse-birds now -- it's true.  Don't try to fight it; your character will be deleted if you even type "chocobo" into the chat bar.  Now, fly, my minions and spread these words across the Internet!

OK, now if there are any people left reading this -- people who don't have an axe to grind against Square Enix -- let's look at what is really going on here.

Stories of EORZEA

A new section of the official Japanese Final Fantasy XIV site has just opened up, called Stories of EORZEA.  Here, writers of various genres have official blogs provided by Square Enix where they can write about their in-game adventurers.  So far, six members have uploaded their first post, and you can read about them below.  These are not direct translations of their blog entries, but brief summaries of what they write about.

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Eorzea on PS3 2B in 3D

UPDATE: Final Fantasy XIV was part of a tech demo, showcasing Sony's 3D technology, but there are no solid plans to include 3D support for the title itself.

Here are some retina-destroying images of FFXIV 3D in action -- probably look much better with the 3D effect.

According to a live report by Engadget, Sony predicts that 20% of TVs sold next year will support 3D, and it looks like FFXIV will be poised and ready to take advantage of this growing market.  As for a release date, the final slide still shows FFXIV is set for "March 2011," though the press release distributed at Eorzea Prelive has at least narrowed this down to "early" March.

FFXIV Merchandise Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

When Square Enix simply stated they were bringing an old trailer to the Tokyo Game Show, they neglected to mention all this awesome merchandise as well.  4gamer.net has posted some pictures of what attendees can expect to find at the SE booth.  According to the article, these will be available for purchase in Square Enix's Online Shop, though regional availability is not clear at this time.

Click through the jump to check out the goods!

and

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FFXIV is 99% Complete!

Thanks to a post and a pic from @elemen_tweet, we can see the Tokyo Game Show brochure lists Final Fantasy XIV as being 99% complete.  The blurb reads:

"In the land of Eorzea, a grand adventure begins with players from all around the world!  Enjoy not only battles, but fishing and vending as well.  The possibilities are endless!"

So, there was 1% missing all along?  「完成」, my lil' Lalafell butt!  I feel so lied to...

Let's get to the bottom of this and discuss it in the ZAM Forums!

Eorzea Prelive - What We Experienced

Now that all those boring game facts are out of the way, we can discuss Eorzea Prelive -- the event!  Part 2 of our Eorzea Prelive coverage explores the journey, the set up and a behind-the-scenes look at the extravaganza itself.

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