Monthly Archives: August 2013 - Page 2

2013 for Final Fantasy XI and XIV

I’d like to say that 2012 started out with a lot of promise, but it really didn’t. Looking back at my predictions for Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV a year ago, I see they weren’t perfectly accurate, but they certainly fit well within the margin of error. Very little happened over in Final Fantasy XI’s development, and Final Fantasy XIV managed to continue not wowing anyone, albeit partly because of the several delays to version 2.0 that now have it releasing around the middle of this year.

If you haven’t noticed a theme yet, here it is: I’m worried that by the time it does launch, no one will care any longer. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

While I’ve split things up between recaps and forecasts in the past, in this case it’s virtually impossible to do so. A lot of what has been done this year is banking entirely on the strength of what will be happening next, so Square was selling 2013 in the midst of 2012. So let’s look at the past year for both games and the year to come, with an extra helping of hope and speculation for 2013.
Final Fantasy XI expands, opens, ages

Good news, we've got new beastmen.2012 should have been a big year for a game hitting the decade mark, but maybe 2013 will serve instead for the decade in North America. Obviously Seekers of Adoulin is getting a release in late March, so that will do a great deal to help invigorate the game’s population, but what’s going to really write the story is what happens around that update, before, and after. And it might just wind up being something good after all.

Unfortunately, it needs to be said that 2012 didn’t really light anyone on fire. By all appearances, the game was knee-deep in maintenance mode, with some patches that trimmed things here and there but didn’t really change anything about the game’s core. This was a major issue, seeing as how the relevant endgame had shrunk dramatically with the level cap rising to 99. A lot of the missions and fights that had been well-suited for the level cap found themselves 24 levels out of date, and stopgap measures designed to revitalize the endgame were of mixed success.

In other words, it was a year when even die-hard FFXI players were getting a bit bored — understandably so, since the game has been around for a decade, but you could really blow through your to-do list in the past year, leaving you without much to do other than spin your wheels and wait. Not good times, obviously.

Will SoA mix things up? We’ve heard so, definitely. But hearing and seeing are two different things. After playing the game since its launch on these shores, I think there are far too many issues that I’m convinced will never get fixed or addressed, so being told that the next year’s development will focus on accessibility and improving the game’s foundations is a bit like being told that my father is alive and well as the CEO of a major company. If it turns out that my cynicism is misplaced, I’ll be quite happy.

The worst-case scenario is that SoA basically replicates the worst parts of previous expansions — stuff for players at the level cap and a few crumbs for earlier players to scrabble at weakly. But the best scenario is that there’s a whole breadth of stuff in the game that everyone can see, which would make up for a lot of mistakes over the long term.

Final Fantasy XIV finally returns, and…

Man, the elezen get the best fashions.I admit without shame that I cannot wait for beta to begin. It was a nice touch that all Legacy players got in right off the bat, especially seeing as I am a Legacy player (because of course I am). Whatever happens, I’ll be glad to try it at long last.

That having been said, a lot is going to depend on how that beta version tests out. While I’ve heard rumbles hither and yon from the alpha, what we see in beta is going to be as close to the actual game as we’ll get prior to launch.

Yes, there will be changes made as necessary, but we’re talking about the sort of changes that improve balance, not the ones that create an entirely different game. I fully expect that when I log in in February or whenever beta actually happens, I will be playing a stripped-down version of the actual game. And a lot is going to hang on how that game plays because this is not a game that will get a third shot at the big time.

FFXIV’s first shot was a miss. It’s been long enough that a lot of people still expect the second one to be a miss as well. But I think there’s a magical sweet spot that the game could realistically hit. If the beta goes well, then the game could easily start breaking into new markets. It’s not going to be a World of Warcraft killer (nothing ever is), but it could be a serious RIFT bruiser, especially as the relaunch is slated to have much of what RIFT has right now.

If the beta goes poorly… well, I don’t really want to consider that, but we’ll definitely not be hearing about another full shift of the development team and a version 3.0, that’s for sure.

I personally think it’s going to do all right. I think this is going to be another year with a lot of changes for the game even after the release, of course, because I don’t think it’s going to be sunshine and roses on the first go. But I think the game has a good staff and a solid foundation. How accurate that is will be proven in about a year.Ready to join, click here FFXIV Gil to learn more.

 

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Crafting and gathering in FFXIV’s relaunch

Work that armor.  Work it good.

When I was playing Final Fantasy XIV’s pre-launch beta, it was gathering that made me realize I was in real trouble with this game. Normally I consider gathering to be a necessary evil, a part of the game that exists and only occasionally overlaps with what I like to do. But the first time I started chopping away as a Botanist, I knew that something special was going on here.

Of course, gathering and crafting also needed an overhaul. The former was a frequently luck-based minigame that could be intensely frustrating to decipher with few skills that seemed to do much, and the latter was obtuse even if you ignore the fact that you didn’t have a recipe book. So the relaunch had the unenviable task of reworking both systems while at the same time retaining what made them such a breath of fresh air.

If you liked Final Fantasy XIV’s crafting or gathering before, I’m happy to say you still will — and odds are good you’ll like both even more because the new systems in place are solid improvements of what came before.
Gather your belongings

Gathering jealous looks from others is not a gathering profession, but it could be considered an minigame.After I had finished playing around with high-level combat, I thought that gathering would be a great thing to try. So I swapped over to Botanist gear, set up my gathering abilities on my bar, and found a harvesting spot to start in with. Knowing that the gathering had been changed from its previous incarnation, I wasn’t sure how the new version would work in practice, but I was hopeful.

The short version? Quite well. But let’s start with the basics.

Harvesting a node is much easier now. You see all harvestable items tracked on your minimap, and right-clicking one will start the harvesting process. Once you do that, you see a small list open up with a picture of an item (or a question mark) on the left as well as a percentage to the right. Initially, outside of a basic item or two (such as Earth Shards from tall grass), almost everything will be a question mark with a very low harvest percentage.

You pick your item and you swing. Let’s assume you start with the high-percentage shard. You harvest one successfully, then you harvest another one successfully. Each time you harvest something successfully, you build a chain, and your various gathering abilities are restricted to use after a chain. For example, you can use something to increase your gathering chance at chain #2, or you can increase your chance at getting a high-quality item at chain #3. Gathering abilities cost gathering points (GP), which are refilled after you finish gathering but don’t regenerate during an attempt.

So you’re at chain #2 and you trigger an ability to increase your chance of harvesting the next resource. This brings the unknown items on the list up significantly, so you try to harvest one… and you succeed. Suddenly the former question mark is replaced by the item you harvest, along with a much higher percentage chance to harvest it. And perhaps most importantly, it goes into your gathering log.

Yes, gatherers have a log tracking resources acquired similar to the hunting log. The gathering log tracks locations and chances to harvest everything you successfully gather, and it tracks across nodes. So if you manage to extract an Ash Log from a tree, every subsequent tree in the region that can harbor Ash Logs will show it on your list immediately. At first you have to explore nodes extensively before you can harvest everything, but once you’ve made a few successful attempts, you will know where to get what you need and what your odds are off the bat.

I realize the system as a whole sounds a bit inelegant, but in practice, everything flows beautifully. Your first attempts in a new region will be touch-and-go, but your later attempts will see you start in on a patch with a clear picture of where things are. It also keeps you from just harvesting all of the most valuable items automatically, and it introduces new strategies. Do you take your chances with the hard items right off? Do you harvest a small chain of easy items and then increase your chance at high-quality results, or do you then move on to a rarer item and boost your odds of a harvest?

Unfortunately, the character I was playing had only Botanist unlocked, which meant I couldn’t play with any of the other gathering abilities. But the fact that your abilities are far more useful now alone makes the new system worthwhile.

Crafty sort

Sadly, advertising your wares on the city streets does not yet have an associated class.  Emphasis on yet.While FFXIV’s gathering deviates far from its predecessor, FFXIV’s crafting is still similar in a lot of ways. It’s mostly different in the ways that count, however, and it shares the same emphasis on making abilities more relevant and interesting. Like gathering, it features a resource (crafting points, aka CP) that is depleted as you craft and restored after the fact, and as in the classic crafting system, the basic mechanics are straightforward: advance progress and raise quality while avoiding a loss of all durability.

The difference, however, is all in the details, starting with the fact that you’re no longer limited to menu options; instead, you’re treated to an action bar interface. Each ability has a cost in CP and durability plus a percentage chance of success. Each one also has a variable effect on progress, which depends, in part, on your level in relation to the craft. So if you’re crafting low-level stuff to serve as a stepping stone, just hammering on the basic crafting ability will generally bring you to completion with a single step.

The revamped abilities portray a much more streamlined crafting experience in which the hard part is creating with high-quality items frequently rather than simply successfully crafting parts. Standard synth actions have an 80% success rate, and most simple items need only an application or two to reach completion. Quality improvements no longer increase progress, however, and they still reduce durability substantially. There are ways to boost durability once more, of course, but you wind up in a dance of trying to get that quality up while still having enough juice left for a complete craft.

Helpfully, all of your crafting information is in your crafting log, which functions exactly as you would expect from previous descriptions. Every 10-level band has its recipes displayed, and you can fine-tune how many materials you use — if you’ve got a hundred Maple Logs and want to lumberize them all at once, the interface lets you put that into a single synth to save time. You’ll get more experience that way, but not as much as if you individually crafted each set of lumber, so it’s meant as a time-saving measure more than anything.

Ultimately, crafting retains the features of the first version while trimming down the fine details that made the original version sometimes obnoxious. You have fewer decisions during a standard craft, but each individual one has a bigger overall impact, and craft abilities feel far more substantial in their impacts.

Overall

The parts that made both crafting and gathering obnoxious in FFXIV’s launch incarnation have been stripped away, and the parts that made them fun have been refined and improved. Far from feeling that something has been stripped out, I feel that both versions have had some extra strategy and complexity layered in where they were previously lacking.

If there’s anything to complain about, it’s the fact that both of these systems are no longer valid ways to start the game, as all characters now start as one of the combat-focused classes. Still, it doesn’t take much to start in on the crafting side of the game, and if you want to abandon your spear as soon as you can take up a saw, the game will reward you with plenty of things to craft.

Be sure to check FFXIV Gil out our other coverage from this event!

 

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FFXIV’s Yoshida on PvP, chocobos, and mobile apps

I find it really ironic that this was one of the header photos the community team used.

The recent Final Fantasy XIV press event in San Francisco didn’t just mean a chance to sit down and play the game amidst a lushly decorated room, although that was certainly on the agenda. It also meant a chance to ask director and producer Naoki Yoshida some questions about the game going forward and the plans for development down the line, diving beyond what we see and into more fine details about the game’s mechanics.

While players will have access to a sizable chunk of the revamped game when the beta goes live on February 25th, there’s still a lot that’s hidden behind a veil of secrecy. Yoshida’s answers help illuminate more details about what’s going on in Final Fantasy XIV that might not be playable right now but will be in the near future. And even beyond the foundation that’s visible from the beta, the promise of more expansion only adds to the game’s overall quality.

No details were offered for how you can avoid playing a Roedagyn woman.  This is a plight that we all must deal with.Some of we’ve learned, of course, is merely a matter of filling in details that players might have expected anyway. Vanity pets are in the game already, for example, and the development team is planning on making a surfeit of them in the game available through a variety of methods. The game will also feature a more streamlined title display on a character’s nameplate, as compared to the first version, which showed titles only when you were inspected.

Somewhat less expected is the game’s inclusion of a reputation system akin to Final Fantasy XI’s. Performing quests for a given region improves your reputation and gives you access to new quests, which seems baffling considering the sheer number of quests available even to a new character. No need to worry about the various NPC checks from FFXIV’s predecessor, though, as your reputation will be viewable directly from your user interface.

Legacy players will still have to build their reputations from the ground up, of course, but they’ll be starting at a slightly different point compared to new players. Yoshida impishly hinted that the full cinematic trailer offers a clue as to what Legacy characters will experience. He also told me that Legacy characters will have their home nations determined by their Grand Company affiliations, but this can be changed during the course of the main scenario (going into further details would be spoiling the plot).

Of course, unless you’re starting as a Legacy player with everything at maximum level, you’re going to run into the problem of having several classes to level and potentially not enough quests to see them through. That’s not to say that the game doesn’t already have many forms of content for leveling characters, but the development team is looking into making things even easier via a system allowing you to split your experience gains using the Armoury system. The last thing the developers want is for players to be forced into the same content every time they’re leveling a new class.

Not every new system is up for discussion. When asked about Materia, Yoshida confirmed that it will be implemented for testing in phase 3 and will be very different from the previous system, but he would not comment further. Jobs are also coming in the future, although they will retain much of their prior functionality.

Now if only our characters could get mobile apps.  And smartphones.  In the game.Fishing, however, will not be retaining its previous functionality. I asked Yoshida whether fishing will have more tradeskills using its harvested items in the revamp, and he replied that the team actually went in the opposite direction by making fishing focus on the experience of fishing. If you like to fish, you can enjoy it as a hobby with its own merits rather than simply feeling it’s necessary for a crafting class.

Unfortunately, this does mean that we can give up on the idea of fist weapons made from live sharks.

Of course, the in-game gathering log will provide players with a wealth of information about where to get what they need from the two gathering professions that still focus around crafting classes. Some items will be obtained through other means. And then there’s the Lodestone site and the game’s upcoming mobile app…

What, you didn’t know about the mobile app? Nobody did, so that’s understandable. At launch, it’ll serve as a database more than anything, but there’s the possibility of additional features in the future, including some paid features such as access to auctions and the like. It will also be available for both Apple and Android devices, good news for anyone accustomed to being the also-ran in the mobile device market.

Chocobos are also receiving improved functionality, serving as player companions whenever you need a second person to complete some difficult task. Your personal chocobo takes on a role similar to the companions of Star Wars: The Old Republic — you can customize the bird’s role as well as a basic AI script based off of the Final Fantasy XII Gambit system. Chocobos also take up a party slot, so you could conceivably try to take on a four-person dungeon with two players and two chocobos.

Dragobo.Some of the chocobo’s abilities will be influenced by your choice of chocobo costume, which will be available in several styles right from launch (about 15 to start with). There are also plans for a chocobo vs. chocobo system, so you can pit your stalwart companion and mount against those of another player.

Not that bird fights are all that the revamp will have in terms of PvP. As it stands now, there will be two types of PvP areas. The first is the Coliseum, a structure built by all three Grand Companies to serve as a training ground for their soldiers. Players will join teams and be matched against similarly skilled teams in a classic arena format. The other option is zones designated as free PvP areas, warzones that carry increased risk for players and will make that clear when you’re entering them.

Hoping for more open-world stuff? You’ll be slightly disappointed. Yoshida and the other developers don’t feel that open-world ganking fits the feel of FFXIV, so there will not be free-for-all rules in general.

Needless to say, there will be special armor awarded to players skilled at PvP. But if that’s not your thing, you can also earn yourself rewards through the FATE system, including company seals from most events and special rewards from endgame events. Some of these special rewards could include new mounts for players to enjoy.

Once you’ve gotten all of these rewards, you’ll probably want to put some of them in your house, but you will need to wait a little. Housing will be tested during the beta, but it’s on the schedule to be implemented about three months after the launch. Part of that is simply a matter of figuring out the right price and giving players a chance to save up the money necessary to buy property; having a house is not an automatic thing.

It’s not meant to be ruinous, either. Initial offerings will be expensive, but one of the ideas the developers are toying with is having higher prices for first-run buyers, with the cost of property starting high and shrinking with every 12-hour interval. So if there’s a piece of land you must have, you’ll pay dearly for it… but if you’re less picky, there’s more opportunity to snag something on the cheap.

We also briefly discussed the Arcanist, the newest class being added to the game in the revamp. Arcanists will fulfill the role that Yoshida felt was most sorely missed from the original version: a buff and debuffing role with added crowd control. As the class also makes use of summoned pets, some elements of the role will change based on which pet is active. Veteran players needn’t worry, however, as the designers are trying to ensure that every class needs to be raised to only about 30 for you to have all the important abilities for cross-class skills.

There’s a lot to explore even in the game’s current beta build, but the fact that there’s still more on the near horizon should keep players excited. The original launch left a bad taste in players’ mouths by promising more to come and not delivering, but the new game seems to promise more and then deliver even more than expected.

Be sure to check FFXIV Gil  our other coverage from this event!

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Checking out the 44th FFXIV producer’s letter

A Final Fantasy XIV guildhest screenshot

Final Fantasy XIV has been ramping up to A Realm Reborn, the massive reboot that has fans excited and nervous at the same time. In the hopes of whetting fan appetites even further, Naoki Yoshida is letting players know just what’s cooking via a new producer’s letter. It turns out that gamepad users have reason to be excited for phase two beta testing.

It might be standing room only, though, as 100,000 testers have joined up so far. It’s caused some issues on the servers but a weekend of tweaks to FATE-related performance issues might help loosen things up a bit. That is until phase two kicks in and even more testers are welcomed. After all, how else can you stress test a server? Phase two testing should begin in early April, so grab your controller and jump in if you can.

There’s also news about phase three testing! Guildhests, which are based on behests from version 1.0, will welcome groups of players even from early levels. They are supposed to be a great way to party with friends before going out and tackling the big stuff.Now you can click FFXIV Gil to learn more about the content and the game support.

 

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PAX East wasn’t for us

Last week I promised to bring you all of the hard-hitting coverage of Square-Enix’s presence at PAX East 2013 as it pertained to Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV. So here’s that coverage: Both games still exist.

We good? Great. I’ll spend the next nine hundred words or so discussing cats, then. Seriously, if you’ve been following this site or this column, you know everything from PAX East already.

Of course, all of this underscores what I see as a simple fact: PAX was not meant for fans of Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV. If you scan fansites and this site for coverage, you would not be blown away by any of this information, and that’s fine. It’s not actually for you, and I’m going to go ahead and say that it really shouldn’t be for you because it would just be preaching to the converted.

Seriously, this game doesn't look bad now, period.MMO gamers live in an isolated little world. I can name about two dozen MMOs that shaped the design of future titles in significant ways, and I can speak at length about the design space that MMOs make. But to the rest of the world, there’s one MMO (and you know full well what it is) and the other ones are just things that launched and never went anywhere, right?

The Final Fantasy MMOs, meanwhile, live in a little bubble inside of that little bubble. FFXI is an enormously popular and successful game, but the vast majority of people I encounter outside of it have never played it. And these are not people unfamiliar with the genre. For whatever reason, for a very long time there was a wall around these games, and so the only thing people outside of FFXIV knew about the game was that it launched to extraordinarily poor reviews.

Heck, on staff I’m one of maybe two people who actually knows what the deal is with FFXIV. Everyone else asks me when he or she has a question.

I’ve discussed this sort of ivory tower syndrome before, specifically in the context of how it’s been amazingly harmful. This little bubble creates an uncomfortable feedback loop, and it’s something that the game needs to break out of. More to the point, considering Square’s recent woes, FFXIV needs to reach a wider audience than the converted. Marketing to me and people like me — which has been traditionally been the strategy — is simply not going to work.

One gets the sense that the new wave of management agrees. Naoki Yoshida took the time to record a short video for PAX attendees, the community team was out in force, and the presentation on FFXIV covered a lot of ground from a quick high-level point of view. It showed off stuff that’s old hat to you and me, but it’s novel if you heard about the game only from its less-than-stellar launch.

The talk of FFXI had a similar feel. If you’d never played it, some of the resonance was lost, but it highlighted the neat stuff in the expansion and how good the game still looks after a decade of operation. It’s the sort of thing to make you sit up and say, “Wait, that’s the game? That’s older than World of Warcraft? Man, I should try that out.”

It’s not for us. It’s for the people who don’t know the first thing about these games.

I'm surprised we didn't see a few more explosions.At first I was surprised that there wasn’t a playable demo on the floor, but the more I think about it, the more I can see where that strategy came from as well. Those who attended the panel got some suitable swag, enough to pique the interest of attendees and the interest of any friends who didn’t attend. That means forcing people to go out and look, and you tend to get more involved with anything that you seek out yourself rather than game demos you’re led to. I don’t know if I’d say it was the best choice, but it’s an understandable choice.

Of course, from my perspective this meant that the most novel moment was learning a bit more about Final Fantasy X’s remake, which also contains Final Fantasy X-2. If only we could get a decent redo of Final Fantasy VI now. We’ve seen sequels to Final Fantasy IV, for crying out loud.

But that’s all right. It doesn’t have to all be about us; in fact, it has to not be all about us. People need to see these games as something other than just another MMO with a weak launch.

The one new thing that was on display was equipment concept art. Saying it looked gorgeous is a foregone conclusion, but it was also discussed as if some of these other suits were replacement to more standard artifact gear. I’m not even sure where to start speculating on that. Obviously artifact gear wound up sinking in the gear rankings in FFXI fairly quickly, but that was with the benefit of several more levels and expansions and several sets that were arguably lateral moves.

Not that this means much, since we don’t know anything about what things will look like in the relaunch. For all we know, artifact armor pieces are as rare as air molecules. Time will tell.Now you can click the FFXIV Gil see more game information and support.

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Get a first look at FFXIV’s magitek armor

Get a first look at Final Fantasy XIV's magitek armor

As part of a concerted effort to connect Final Fantasy XIV to past entries in the franchise, Square-Enix is introducing magitek armor to A Realm Reborn. The armor hails from Final Fantasy VI and takes the form of large bipedal mechanized mounts in the online game.

We’ve got a brief look at the magitek armor in motion after the break, so suit up and don’t forget to bring a can of oil for the journey!
Really happy to see the perception this game is getting. I think it’s a great game, could use some work but what game couldn’t? At the end of the day I know for sure come launch I’ll be there and maybe even with the PS3 edition to boot.Here are the more games you want information and services:FFXIV Gil.

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Final Fantasy XIV’s magitek disassembled

I’ve done a couple of articles on reoccurring concepts in Final Fantasy games before, but this is an unusual one because it seems to barely qualify at times. Final Fantasy XIV has magitek, as did Final Fantasy VI, but those are the only games to refer to it as such. Sure, other games flirt with similar concepts (Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy VII most prominently), but none of them is outright called magitek.

Bit there’s still some interesting stuff to unpack when it comes to magitek, even if you don’t consider the corner cases as you ought to. At a glance it might look like this is a simple manichean split between two factions, but there’s a lot more going on and a lot of importance tied up with the term that can hint as to Final Fantasy XIV’s future — beyond the fact that we’ll get to ride some magitek armor.

I get metaphorical because I can't just type yes a thousand times.Let’s start with the basics: What makes something magitek? In both FFVI and FFXIV, some standard rules apply. The device is neither wholly magical nor wholly technological; it’s mostly a mechanical device powered by magic. The devices acquire their power through draining sources of magic through invasive means. Last but not least, they’re used almost exclusively by the larger and all-consuming empire, making these devices the tools of the enemy.

It seems simple enough. Magitek represents technology, technology is bad and evil, we should live in accordance with nature, and so forth. Except that both of the games using the term counter that assumption.

Technology is not solely the province of the Garlean Empire or of the Gestahlian Empire in FFVI. The latter had Figaro Castle, airships, Narshe’s mining equipment, trains, and points related. The former doesn’t quite have any mechanical playgrounds, but 1.0 made it clear through story scenes that Cid Garlond and the Garlond Ironworks were all about cutting-edge technology. And here it’s worth bringing in an obvious corner case in the matter of Final Fantasy VII.

Mako technology in FFVII is not called magitek, but it bears the same hallmarks. This is the same game that adds a man with a gun-arm and an animatronic carnival mascot to your party. What Shinra is doing to the planet is clearly a bad thing, but the simple use of technology isn’t problematic. You can write it off as an inconsistency, but I think there’s more to it than that. And I think the heart of it lies in another game that doesn’t use magitek but clearly has callbacks to it.

In FFXII, one of the major elements of the plot is magicite. Magicite itself is valuable but plentiful, but nethicite is the real prize. Nethicite is magicite that can absorb magical energy and then discharge it before refilling. The important distinction is that only three pieces of real nethicite exist; most of it is manufacted nethicite from the Archadian Empire. This manufacted nethicite is used to empower airships to behave in ways that should not be possible, and it can even directly empower an individual to be more than simply human.

You know, much as magitek is used in FFVI and FFXIV.

The parallels run even a bit closer than that. The word magicite first shows up in Final Fantasy II, but it becomes majorly important in FFVI as the remains of a dead Esper. Espers are also the source of power for magitek devices; the difference is that magicite shards are the more powerful form, whereas the Empire’s draining techniques are inefficient.

Given enough time and few enough scruples, even inanimate things may learn to cry for war.There’s a common thread here in all of this. Magitek isn’t technology; magitek is technology that should not work. Magitek devices are those that outright break the rules of the world, tearing away energy without care for the cost. Magitek isn’t a parallel for mechanics or themes or anything similar — it’s a metaphor for overreaching ambition.

FFXIV has a countering influence in place: the beastmen. 1.0 made it very clear that unlike Final Fantasy XI’s victims, FFXIV’s beastmen would very happily bust everyone back down to the most basic tribal level. The Primals are manifestations of that same energy that powers magitek in raw unchained form. Ifrit doesn’t care what burns, only that something does. Bahamut is wanting revenge not just on any target in the End of an Era trailer but on everything within range of his destruction. Tear everything down and let nothing survive.

Magitek is the opposite number. Magitek is about building so quickly that you don’t care how unsteady your foundation is. It’s about having a gun that will explode in your hand and kill you the moment you pull the trigger, but that’s fine as long as it kills your target. There’s nothing coincidental about the fact that both empires wielding it will happily brainwash others or even take control of a mind as necessary. They rush in a direction with no concern for the consequences.

Between these two extremes stand players. And therein lies a last point of comparison: In FFVI as in FFXIV, a maniac found a path to great power that allowed for the destruction of the world. Kefka and Van Darnus both brought destruction to their respective worlds. We know what happens afterward in FFVI, and it frequently wasn’t pretty.

It remains to be seen how ruined the world will be when we can return to FFXIV. But there will need to be a balance, and the player characters will be a very small middle between two massive extremes.If you need to learn more about the game content click FFXIV Gil.

 

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New FFXIV job action trailer sighted in the wild

New Final Fantasy XIV job action trailer released

Square has released a brand-spanking new trailer for its Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn reboot. The three-minute clip centers on job actions, which is another way of saying three minutes of various classes standing in place showing off various attacks.

Let’s see, there’s the Paladin, the Warrior, the Monk, the White Mage, the Dragoon, and the Bard. Oh, and there’s the Black Mage. Never forget the Black Mage. Also, don’t forget that this is beta footage, according to the big disclaimer on the front-end of the video which you can see after the cut.Click here FFXIV Gil to learn more.

 

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The dark night of the Final Fantasy XIV fansite

I was going to wrap up my beta thoughts this week, but there’s a subject that needs to be discussed earlier as part of the Final Fantasy XIV community as a whole. Specifically, the fact that our fansites are dying off.

Some of that was inevitable after the game’s launch, but two of the biggest gathering points for the community have been hit hard recently. FFXIVCore closed its doors, and Gamer Escape is now asking for subscriptions and donations to help keep the site running. (GE covers general gaming as well, but the focus has always been on Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV.) At a point when fansites should be getting more vibrant in preparation for launch, they’re dwindling.

So what happened? And for that matter, why is it so important for us to have fansites for the community? The answer to the former is pretty obvious, but the answer to the latter is a bit more involved, and it’s worth discussing because I’m firmly of the mind that we need fansites, several of them.
It's kind of like this.I don’t feel the need to talk about FFXIV’s launch again, and to be honest, I don’t think it’s relevant. When that happened, some sites dropped off the radar, and that was inevitable. Other sites kept going, like FFXIVCore and Eorzeapedia (which would go on to form the basis for Gamer Escape). Except now those sites are increasingly floundering, and part of the reason is that Square-Enix started getting its act together.

For a long time, the Final Fantasy XI community had taken up the task of filling in the blanks left by Square’s design. The game offered players no access to a central forum, so forums sprang up. There are no useful in-game timers, so timers are brought up. The most egregious example is the windowing programs that forced FFXI to allow players to change windows without crashing the game altogether, which is a can of worms I’m not going to examine in depth today.

The point is that FFXIV’s community largely banded together and got started doing the same thing. And when the game’s launch went poorly, the sites stuck it out. But things got dicey once Square got the message and started lining up with the times.

FFXIV will be using an all-new version of the Lodestone that promises to have greatly expanded functionality. There are official forums with a great community team. There’s a direct feed between developers and players, and efforts are being made to bridge the language gap as much as possible. There’s stuff in place to fix almost every issue that fansites were originally created to address. This leaves the fansites to stare and mumble.

It’s not a case of Square being nasty, really; bringing the community together under one roof is a reasonable thing to do, a way to grow the game, a smart idea, all of that. But it does put fansites in an odd position, one not helped by the sheer difficulty of covering a game that’s been in testing for the past several months, something I’ve wrestled with myself.

The difference, of course, is that I do a lot of things at Massively not related to FFXIV. Fansites do not have the same privilege, and they just wind up losing viewership and necessary funding in the process.

Some of you, I’m sure, see this as more of a result of how the times they are a-changin’. But I think there are certain things that fansites provide that you just can’t get anywhere else. That includes within this column, and the core comes down to this: Fansites are not a labor of money; they’re labors of love.

Symbolism!I am absolutely thrilled at how many people read my articles. I love seeing the comments, even if I don’t respond to all of them, and it’s a pleasure for me to write the best articles on FFXIV I can. That having been said, I am not going to learn Japanese to translate bits of information from Famitsu. But fansites can have people who do that, who love the game so much that the effort is almost incidental.

Fansites can also cover every aspect of a game, however minute. There are things that just don’t make for a news story or a weekly column that still deserve a mention, which fansites excel at. They can provide a steady stream of updates and go silent when needed.

Perhaps most importantly, they give games and communities a way to spread outward. The fact is that there’s one overall community in FFXIV, but there are a lot of smaller sub-communities. There’s the roleplaying community, the high-end dungeon community, the crafting community, the PvP community in the future. These communities need places to congregate just as surely as the overall community needs a place to be heard.

In other words, fansites are the voice of small parts of the community, parts that might have different wishes from the aggregate. I don’t pretend to be the voice of the community as a whole; longtime readers know my preferences, which do not match those of everyone in the community. Part of why I try to keep up on fansites is to remind myself of what other people think of the game, what elements I might not like that are considered important by others.

We need fansites to exist. And the fact that this is a rough time for them means that we, as fans, need to give them some love. Whitelist the ads on your favorite fansites. Support them through donations if you can. Do whatever is within your power to support the fan communities of FFXIV, lest the relaunch come out to an empty field.Here is more information and services FFXIV Gil.

 

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FFXIV:A Realm Reborn screenshot video montage shows

FFXIV A Realm Reborn screenshot video montage shows off beta

Although sharing sound, music, and video from the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn beta is still prohibited, testers’ thoughts and screenshots from phase three are now allowed. Taking advantage of that partial NDA lift, one creative beta participant has put together a montage of stills in video form to show off the upcoming reboot of the game. Wondering if you can glean what’s going on from the screenshots alone? Don’t worry — he also added commentary to explain each shot.

The nearly 33-minute montage includes character creation (all races have two genders to select from), the public quests (Fates), menus and the UI, combat, and a look at the updated graphics. Get a glimpse of the game for yourself in the video after the break.Ready to begin the battle, please click here FFXIV Gil.

The combat system may not be for everyone but I didn’t mind it too much especially now that it got sped up from how it used to be. I do like a lot of the smaller details in the game though and like seeing a game that (for the most part) has females wear heavy armor that’s not outlining the breasts and more ‘realistic’ (as in not deflecting a sword right into your chest).

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