More details have emerged about Final Fantasy XIV from a recent Japanese interview with producers of the game. As a fan of the last MMO from Square-Enix, I have to say these new details sound very promising.
Before I begin, let me give you a brief overview of the last MMO from Square. Final Fantasy XI was the first Massively online RPG to be developed by the infamous Square-Enix. It featured a vast fantasy world full of famous creatures from the Final Fantasy universe along with some new ones. The game managed to separate itself from the pack by placing an emphasis on team play and party battles. Where most MMOs were built mostly around solo play, and really only certain quests required a party, Final Fantasy XI encouraged team play by basically making it a necessity to party up if you wanted to advance past level 10.
This was both highly criticized and highly praised. Some people appreciated this new take on the MMO, since it did in fact treat you more like a player in an actual RPG and you felt like a member of the in game society. The devs treated it like the classic Final Fantasy games, making you have to think and work together in order to overcome your enemies. While not everyone appreciated it or had the patience, for those who did there were often nice payoffs including highly specialized equipment, different jobs and an overall complete experience.
Now that you know a bit about the old game, lets talk about the new one. Square announced Final Fantasy XIV at the latest E3. Being developed for the PC and PS3 exclusively (a term Square uses VERY loosely these days) the new game will feature an all-new world, new races, and new gameplay. The emphasis on team play has been shifted to appeal to a more casual crowd, and it’s been said that even if someone can only spare an hour a day they can still enjoy themselves and get things done.
So you’re probably thinking that sounds great, a more casual pick up and play MMO similar to World of Warcraft, the most popular MMO on the market. For the most part, I agree. My biggest reason for having to give up FFXI was time. I would log on and spend countless hours either waiting to party or waiting for a rare pop (a pop being a monster that only appears in a specific area once every few days.) The game took a lot of time and a lot of patience, and for someone with limited time, it just wasn’t possible to play it and really get anything accomplished. Eventually I gave up my Final Fantasy XI account and moved on.
Now XIV is on the horizon and set to release sometime next year. The gameplay has been overhauled and here are some of the details Square-Enix released.
First of all, there will no longer be a leveling system. This means that players will no longer go out into the field and fight monsters to level up their characters. Instead, the emphasis has been placed on weapons and equipment. Depending on the weapon you carry and it stats, will determine exactly who you are.
Now don’t get confused, there will still be jobs in the game just as before. The jobs are as listed.
Fighter (standard classes: fencer, archer)
Sorcerer (standard classes: magus, evoker)
Crafter (standard classes: blacksmith, cook)
Gatherer (standard classes: gardener, fisherman)
As you can see, this moves away from the traditional Final Fantasy jobs like Black Mage or Warrior.
The character races have also been changed slightly. While the looks of each race are similar to those from FFXI, the names have all be changed and these new races will have some differences from the old ones. The new races are as follows.
Humans are called = Hyuran: 2 clans – midlanders and highlanders
Tarutaru = Lalafell: based in the south, agricultural, high intelligence, not many females
Galkan = Roegadyn: more human looking than Galkans, their base is in the north and there are a lot of fishermen
Elvaan = Elezen: the original race of Eorzea, oppose the Hyurans, developed hearing
Mithra = Miqo’te: 2 clans – the Sun Seekers who live regular daytime lives and the Moon Keepers who are nocturnal.
The other interesting change is the armory system. As I touched on before, weapons and equipment will determine a characters level. You must work on upgrading your equipment in order to keep up.
One of the biggest changes coming from this new system is being able to switch jobs on the fly. Let’s say you are carrying a sword and losing to a monster. In Final Fantasy XI, if you didn’t have a healer in your party or weren’t subbing as a WHM, you were pretty much screwed, Not so in FFXIV. In this game if you are in battle and losing, you can quickly change to a different weapon that allows you to heal yourself. This makes soloing a lot easier as well as getting into parties quicker. One of the biggest flaws with FFXI was over saturation. If you played a warrior, and were in an area full of them, your chances of being invited to a party were severely reduced especially without a subjob. However in FFXIV, you can easily change your weapon and take on new abilities and traits, reducing the saturation of the same jobs in specific areas.
Finally I want to talk about guild leaves. This is the new “quest” system for FFXIV. In the last game, completing a quest or mission or whatever you may be doing could sometimes prove difficult. Unless you had a group of friends or a linkshell completing certain ones was pretty much impossible. FFXI’s party heavy system was most apparent in it’s quests and missions and some quests could take hours to complete. Not so with FFXIV. Square-Enix introduced its new system called the “Guild Leave” system. Here’s how it works
First off, the word quest is no longer used; these are now “leaves.” You obtain these from the various guilds spread out amongst the world. Leaves are cards, so they are like any other item you can carry in your inventory. This means you can carry multiple leaves at a time. It’s said that no leave will take more than 30 minutes to complete, adding into the more casual aspect of the game.
The player can set the number of members needed to complete a leave, think of it like selecting a difficulty for each leave. A nice feature, is that only one person in the party needs to be holding the leave card, so if you party up with a few friends to complete one, you won’t have to wait around while they all go get the same card. However, depending on your skills you may not be able to get certain leaves.
There are a few other small details to mention. The party system will be real -time but not action based, so most likely something very similar if not the same as FFXI. The difference between playing as a male and playing as a female is more significant this time around. Despite being so closely tied to character growth, your weapons will degrade over time. It’s not clear yet how this system will work and if there will be ways of repairing a weapon. Seeing as weapons and equipment are tied to character growth, I would imagine some way of fixing weapons will be available. There is going to be a desert city, an ocean city and a forest city, these will be the starting points.
Well that about does it, there wasn’t much more in the interview to report on. More details are sure to be revealed at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show and maybe we’ll get an answer to some more of our questions. There is still no word on a beta, but Square has said they plan on having a longer beta period than they did for FFXI.