Players waiting in eager anticpation for Final Fantasy XIV news got their wish this week! Famitsu and Dengeki Playstation both released massive spreads with plenty of juicy details on the story, areas, races, jobs, Guildleve and more! Now that we have our hands on actual, full-page scans, we are ready to take the massive influx of information and break it down for you.
Once you are done, keep scrolling for a chance to win a piece of Eorzean history! Readers who click on over to the ZAM forums will be entered to secure their own copy of Famitsu, complete with 9 colorful pages of Final Fantasy XIV goodness. Details are below, so be sure to check that out!
When you're ready, discuss this on the ZAM forums!
The Land of Eorzea
Eorzea is a region within the world of Hydaelyn, which includes the continent of Aldenard and its neighboring islands. The region has great diversity in flora, fauna and climate. According to Director Nobuaki Komoto, the game will reflect this diversity. Rains will fall, winds will blow and there will be transitions between day and night. They are planning to have different regions exhibit their own specific weather patterns. In Eorzea, one day will equal one hour in Earth time. Currency will remain consistent with Final Fanatasy XI, as Producer Hiromichi Tanaka has confirmed residents will use gil.
The game will be set within Eorzea, as it appears a great migration has focused the people of Hydaelyn in the mysterious region. The reason is stated to be the presence of magical Crystals - another Final Fantasy mainstay. One use of Crystals that has been revealed is facilitating teleportation. This is accomplished using Aetheryte, which are crystalline constructs shaped from solidified aetheric mist. Aetheryte will be located in each city-state, and allow players to teleport to destinations throughout the world. This sounds like a most welcome change, and a common complaint amongst players of Final Fantasy XI was the unnecessarily long travel time between events. However, there will be limitation imposed, as the developers indicate excessive teleportation can have harmful effects on characters.
Along with the abundance of crystals, the world of Final Fantasy XIV will also be filled with stories big and small. As a Final Fantasy title, Komoto wanted to create an epic tale worthy of the current generation of gaming. However, one overarching tale is not enough for an MMO, and players can expect smaller, yet no less impressive, stories within every town and city. The people who live within Eorzea will each have their own story to tell in Final Fantasy XIV. For adventurers, they will build their own tale by first choosing a city-state to call home. There will also be organizations within each city-state where players can further classify themselves. Here are the three main city-states of Eorzea:
砂の都 ウルダハ - The Desert City, Ul'dah
A city "rich with mineral wealth," surrounded by massive walls and a desert spanning into the distance.
森の都 グリダニア - City of the Ancient Wood, Gridania
Enclosed by dense forest, Gridania is a city that appears to hold many secrets.
海の都 リムサ・ロミンサ - Bustling Port City, Limsa Lominsa
An expansive city on the sea, blessed with the divine protection of the Goddess Llymlaen.
山の都 イシュガルド - City on the Mountains, Ishgard
A settlement tucked away in the mountains. No pictures are available yet
The Races of Eorzea
There will be five selectable, player races in the land of Eorzea:
Elezen, the Elvaan of FFXIV
Lalafell, the TaruTaru of FFXIV
Hyur, the Hume of FFXIV
Roegadyn, the Galka of FFXIV
Miqo'te, the Mithra of FFXIV
Character creation will afford the player much more variety than they have seen in the land of Vana'diel. Skin color, hair color, eye color and hair style will all be selectable. You may even be able to find your favorite do from Final Fantasy XI and make a character that matches his or her Vana'dielian ancestor. The developers have stated they wanted to create an air of familiarity for players transferring over from Final Fantasy XI. They realize long-time players identify with the avatar they have created and adventured with over the past seven years. However, the races will be receiving a couple alterations. Beyond the cosmetic differences, there will be differences in ability, although not as great as in Final Fantasy XI. One key difference is the addition of clans within the races. The developers also revealed that your choice of clan could affect your starting stats. Here is what we will have avaiable (quotes taken from the official site):
エレゼン - Elezen
"The Elezen are a traditionally nomadic people who in former times claimed sole dominion over Eorzea, their presence predating that of the other races. Believing this prominence to be ordained by the gods, they came to develop an esteemed sense of honor and pride.
Their characteristically tall, slim physiques and elongated limbs are part of a successful adaptation to the land's various environments. Indeed, it is said that their highly sensitive ears can discern the squeak of a field mouse at a distance of up to several malms.
The Elezen perceived the immigration of the Hyur as tantamount to invasion, and as a result the two share a past plagued by warfare. At present, however, they can be seen coexisting peacefully, the exception being the reclusive Duskwight Elezen."
ララフェル - Lalafell
"The Lalafell were originally a group of agriculturalists inhabiting the fertile islands of the south seas. With the introduction of transmarine commerce, they soon found their way to Eorzea via trade routes. They are now one of the more populous races and are well established throughout the region, though they remain averse to cold climates.
The short, rotund builds of the Lalafell belie an incredible agility, and their seemingly feeble legs are capable of carrying them long distances over any terrain. Many among them are also known for possessing highly developed and cunning intellects.
The Lalafell place a great deal of significance on familial bonds, but are by no means unfriendly to outsiders. This is evidenced by the fact that they continue to share prosperous relations with all of the other races of Eorzea."
ヒューラン - Hyur
"Boasting the largest population in Eorzea, the Hyur came from neighboring continents and islands in three great migratory waves. With them they brought a sophisticated technology and complex ethos tempered by the breadth of the outside world. They rapidly became a driving force behind cultural progress, and are now widely attributed with spearheading advances in Eorzean civilization.
One of the Hyur's strengths is the staggering variety of languages and social institutions they exhibit. This is said to account for their firm conviction in individual freedoms, though it also results in a relative lack of solidarity and group cohesion.
Two distinct groups now exist among the Hyur - Highlanders, denizens of mountainous areas, and Midlanders, who reside in lower elevations."
ルガディン - Roegadyn
"The Roegadyn are a maritime people whose largest concentrations are found in the northern seas, by way of which they came to Eorzea.
They possess enormous, muscular builds and are known for the cultural emphasis they place on competition and unflinching courage, though tender, introspective individuals can also be found.
Roegadyn in and around the Limsa Lominsa area are typically seamen putting in at port, but many have also settled permanently, becoming mercenaries, bodyguards, or even pirates by trade. Far away, deep in the mountains of Ul'dah, live mountain clans of reclusive Roegadyn known as the Hellsguard, said to have mastered the magical arts."
ミコッテ - Miqo'te
"During the Age of Endless Frost, as the seas turned to ice and passage over them became possible, Eorzea saw an influx of foreign fauna to her shores. This in turn brought the hunting tribes which subsisted upon them, the modern descendants of whom are today known as the Miqo'te.
Since then, the Miqo'te have diverged into two physically distinguishable groups--the diurnal Seekers of the Sun and the nocturnal Keepers of the Moon. Both groups share a superb olfactory sense and powerful leg musculature, results of a long evolution geared towards hunting and predation.
Comparatively few in number, they maintain an insular group mentality, tending to avoid contact with the other races. Many individuals lead isolated lifestyles, even when residing in the more populous cities."
The Armoury System
In Final Fantasy XIV, players will be able to change between jobs utilizing the Armoury System, wherein equipping different weapons and tools will instantly change your class. Classes will be organized into several "Disciplines," broader categories that contain multiple classes that appropriately represent your chosen path. There will be four disciplines, each with a number of classes, and a variety of skills for each class. The developers are still unsure whether players will be able to master every class, of if they will impose a "see-saw" effect, similar to crafting in Final Fantasy XI.
Instead of levels, a player's "main job" will be comprised of their highest level skills. The idea was for players to naturally define their own job, instead of the game locking them into a label. Even though there are named classes, anyone can change by swapping weapons, so there will be much more variety amongst players through the sets of skills they wish to focus upon.
The official site gives an example using a fictional character named "Leeroy." Leeroy begins as a Gladiator, but upon receiving an invitation to party with his friends, he realizes they already have enough melee power in their party. Therefore, Leeroy equips his staff, changing his class to Thaumaturge, a class under the Discipline of Magic. It does not seem like there has been any official confirmation of class names outside of that description, so the Japanese translations below are approximations based on previous Final Fantasy titles and are subject to change:
ファイター - Fighters, Disciples of War
Fighters are weapon-masters who live for battle. In English, they will be called "Disciples of War" and have open to them various classes that excel at physical damage. Disciples of War will be able to equip a broad range of weapons, such as swords, spears, axes, katana, daggers, bows and more.
Classes include: 剣術士(Gladiator), 弓術士(Archer)
ソーサラー - Sorcerers, Disciples of Magic
Sorcerers wield vessels of magic imbued with great power and harness sorcery to harm and heal. These "Disciples of Magic" will be adept at striking foes with destructive spells and assisting their allies with soothing cantrips. One vessel of magical power that has been revealed is the Staff, with others expected to follow. The way the articles refer to these "weapons" makes it seem that magical weapons will play much less of a physically offensive role, and rather boost the user's powers.
Classes include: 呪術士(Thaumaturge), 幻術士(Illusionist)
ギャザラー - Gatherers, Disciples of the Land
Gatherers will cover most of the HELM activities of Final Fantasy XI. These include, but may not be limited to, Hunting, Excavating, Lumbering, Mining and Fishing. By taking a tool in hand, players can improve their skills in a variety of professions.
Classes include: 園芸士(Gardener), 漁師(Fisherman)
クラフター - Crafters, Disciples of the Hand
Crafters drive the manufacturing and production side of Eorzea. By equipping various tools, one can enter a number of trades. So far, only two have been revealed, but it is expected they will include many more. Final Fantasy XI, for example, allowed players to practice woodworking, blacksmithing, goldsmithing, clothcrafting, leathercrafting, boneworking, alchemy and cooking.
Classes include: 鍛冶師(Blacksmith), 調理師(Chef)
Flow of Battle
The developers have stated that battles will occur in realtime, but will not focus on fast-paced action and timing. Instead, strategy will play a much larger role. It seems the Armoury system will play into this, allowing players to actively change jobs on the fly, and adapt to many different situations. Unlike Final Fantasy XI, players will not be stuck in an infinite loop of pulling and fighting. This time, the developers have put more thought into creating battle situations with more variety.
The Mithra casting a barrier is an example of how the flow of battle could change. Instead of simply pulling and provoking, placement of characters and using abilities to assist each other could have much more impact. Developers have confirmed there will be battles where you face groups of monsters at a time, and the opportunities to effectively employ strategy will increase as well.
ギルドリーヴ - Guildleve
Director Komoto has expressed on mutiple occassions his desire to promote natural growth through freedom and variety. The quest system - Guildleve - is the realization of this dream. The system will serve as a way for players to customize their own quests, much like the Moblin Maze Monger event in Final Fantasy XI. Adventurers seeking to improve their skills can visit a Guild and choose from a number of jobs that are currently available.
Guildleve uses a set of cards, called Leves, that are combined to define mission parameters. These can include goals, locations and required jobs. A Garderner may have a task to complete, but require the protection of a Gladiator. There will be consideration paid to variety of jobs, so that many people can undertake quests together. Also, players within a single party can be using different Leves, helping each other to complete their various duties while each reaping their own individual rewards.
Quests accepted through Guildleve will not be demanding with some taking 30 minutes or less to complete. Players can carry multiple Leves and blow through a number of objectives in one run. Again, it is up to what the player wishes to do within the time they have available. Guildleve is literally a way for users to customize the gaming experience to their liking.
Komoto has talked about "growth" beind the key-word of Final Fantasy XIV, but in reality, it is "customization." Eorzea has the feel of a "sand-box MMO," where the life of your character is open to your own interpretation. The limitations have been removed from the job system and the quest system, and as Komoto stated, even people with but a single hour to spare a day can fully enjoy what Final Fantasy XIV has to offer. Tanaka made a bold statement at E3, proclaiming they would make significant innovations and revolutionize the MMO. So far, it appears they are on track to do just that.
Also, with the speed they updated the English site, things are looking good for foreign gamers. In fact, the Japanese site is lacking a lot of the information that has been provided on its North American equivalent. However, we do have the magazines here in Japan, so it all balances out in the end.
Japanese players did receive an interesting little token through e-mail: A Final Fantasy XIV 残暑見舞い (zan-sho mi-mai), which is a late-summer greeting card. It's a courtesy one extends to people they know to wish for their good health during the hot summer season. The card politely asks how users are coping with the blazing heat, and points them towards the update Final Fantasy XIV site. On the left is the date, and underneath it is stamped with a FFXIV "hanko," which is a stamp that Japanese use to produce their signature.
Perhaps Final Fantasy XIV will continue Square Enix's tradition of incorporating aspects of Japanese culture into their MMO. A lot of people enjoy the diverse events held throughout Vana'diel and find themselves learning about Japan simply by playing and participating in these holidays. As one of the most endearing aspects of Final Fantasy XI, one would expect seasonal events to find their way into the culture of Eorzea as well.
Now, if you made it this far, it is time to give something back to you, the player. We sincerely appreciate the support of every reader and contributer as we work hard to build a community for Final Fantasy XIV. This week was perhaps the first milestone in the development of the next-generation MMO, the first great influx of news that had the Internet lighting up with pictures and articles.
So, here is the deal. Considering what you know about Final Fantasy XIV thus far, head on over to this thread in the ZAM forums, and introduce us to your future character.
What race will you be? With what characteristics will you customize your character? Where will you live? What discipline will you follow and within which of its classes will you start?
Post your future character's background in this thread, and you will be entered to win one of 10 copies of this week's Famitsu magazine. It contains a special 9-page spread on Final Fantasy XIV. Also, for those interested in practicing their Japanese reading comprehension, it comes with beginner-friendly furigana, which indicates the readings of kanji.
Oh! Yes, and for more chances to win, head on over to Order of the Blue Gartr, (UPDATE: here is the thread) where they will be running a giveaway as well that I totally didn't rip off or anything. (Sonomaa may have been the brains, but I have the mags!) Anyway, you are welcome to enter on both sites to increase your chances and participate in both of our ever-growing Final Fantasy XIV communities. There are about 20 copies to win in all, so good luck!