Monday, May 14, 2007

In Awe.

First, if you haven't seen this, just go and watch it now. You probably have, because I don't know anyone that reads my blog that wouldn't have already checked the POL website. But if by some miracle you haven't seen it, check it out at theFinal Fantasy XI Official Web Site. Wings of the Goddess is apparently the semi-official title which can still change. Obvious bits of information from the video: Many references to time and fate and important historical events in the game. Many pictures of alternatives (obviously past) locales in the game, including Batallia Downs, Sauromugue Champaign, Sarutabaruta, Gustaberg, and perhaps one shot of Meriphataud Mountains or maybe even Castle Oztroja. There is actually very little new screenshots, but the ones that are there are quite impressive. So this is the obvious big news of the weekend, but there is actually a ton more, and of course SE announces this information on a weekend that I am home to actually do a lot of things making this entry for the blog already huge. So, I am going to split it up over two days. Today I will be going over news of the expansion, which luckily is very limited, because I did a lot in game this weekend that I would like to go over.

So, expansion news first, obvious first bit of information is the release date of Winter 2007, pretty much exactly on the release schedule for FFXI expansions. It is very interesting to watch the development of FFXI, because unlike many other MMO's it is not entering the decline phase of the MMO cycle, in fact my guess (and this is just a completely rough estimate from random /sea all so completely inaccurate) is that the game has stabilized without the initial loss of players. I think you can look a couple of different factors that may cause this for FFXI over other games. First, is that is appears on multiple platforms and his continued to be released for new platforms as they come on on-line. This means that new customers are always being added with the new platforms and SE gets new shelf space in retailers every time a new system comes out. Second, is the nature of FFXI itself, much more involved and complicated than many of the newer MMO's, this was once seen as a bad thing about MMO's, thus the rather easy nature of WoW and newer games, but ultimately it is something that ties people to the game, and even after some leave for greener pasture, a large number return, like my friend Forsaken, now playing Karumeth (I might have messed the spelling up). Third, it appears that FFXI actually attracts an older, and thus sometimes (though not always) more mature crowd. As older people tend to stay with one thing longer, rather than having a short attention span, they tend to stay with this one game longer than other people with say WoW or another game. Ahh, another digression.

Before I go further almost all of the information I have gathered is from translations of the presentations from the SE Party in Japan over the weekend, the translations are by Elmer the Pointy of the Blue Gartr forums. He did an awesome job, and I just wanted to state plainly that he was the one that was doing the translation and give him credit.

Now, as much as the promotional video sent chills through my body, I do have to express a certain amount of remorse. I think that many of us wanted to see an expansion surrounding the Far East and its conflict with the Near East and how it is dealing with the spread of the Emptiness. But this was expressly excluded from this expansion, "Director Ogawa said, 'This will not be about the East or the West,'" also "FFXI producer Tanaka Hiromichi, who gathered our questions. Concerning 'Wings of the Goddess,' he gleefully dashed speculation by stating, 'This title also will not involve the East.'" I don't know why he is so gleeful because I was very interested in the Far East, and I know Glacian was too. ^.^/ Anyway, Wings of the Goddess will focus on the time before FFXI was released, and the obvious point here is that it will be about the time before, leading up to and during the Crystal War. This gives me freaking chills, this was an epic time in the history of Vana'diel, and it will be awesome to go back and see all of this. So even though we did not get what we expected, we got something that is perhaps even more exciting!

Now more on Wings of the Goddess itself, here are some sweet quotes.

The Ancients were descendants of the gods who were destroyed, followed by the emergence of Altana, the Goddess of Dawn and Promathia, the God of Twilight who bore life into the world once again. In ancient times they quarreled, and from this was spawned hordes of beastmen who ravaged the earth. In recent times, the remaining three nations of people united together to fight against the mighty Shadow Lord during the "Crystal War." It is a long, long history.
The video only basically shows Crystal War era locales, but this seems to suggest that things could go very much further back in dealing with the history of Vana'diel. I just have the feeling this will add a plethora of story's and will breathe new life into many older quests and events that are lightly passed over now as mere unimportant back stories. Also the potential battlefields are just amazing. The siege of Garliage Citadel? The fall of the elvaan city that became Davoi? The rise of the Quadav's in Beadeux? The historic battle of Xarcabard? The mind recoils at all of the potential battles and scenarios.

Content? Yes, please. The statements were extremely vague but certainly exciting. First, "Battle Director Matsui only confirmed 'new magic will be added.'" Very interesting, we already have White, Black and Blue magic so far. Historically, I believe that the only other form of magic that isn't included in the game that has been included in other Final Fantasy is Green Magic, which although my history here isn't very good, is involved with geologically/environmental based. Now, to me, that sounds far to close to the current BLM spells, so I am thinking that it could just be a new form of magic that isn't based on the colored magic system, like how songs and ninjutsu is considered magic, but not in the colored magic system. They have said there will be more fun things like Chocobo Raising/Racing and Assault. Assault good, Chocobo Raising, meh, don't care either way. But small/solo events for the masses is never a bad thing. I wish the Assault system was more conducive to doing multiple events like Salvage, Nyzul and Assaults. I hope they fix this soon. The developers avoided discussion of new jobs, which I think is a good sign for new jobs while others think it is a bad sign. I do have to say, when a developer leaves something open like this, I usually take a positive look at it, because it would be much easier to say just that there would be no new jobs, but in reality not saying something is just not saying anything. LOL Meaning, it could mean anything and I am probably reading to much into it. They did mention that new content will have a huge influence on how the game is played, so even if there are not new jobs, there could be something else major. Level cap rise? New tiers for jobs? Specialization? Could be anything.

That is basically it about the expansion as straight information goes. I have already gone into my own speculations, so that will be all I am covering for today. I am sure my mind will run rampant with new ideas and gleaning every little bit of information I can find to post here. Tomorrow I will focus on the June update which has some very heavy hitting information, but it would be too much to go over that AND the expansion in one day. I would never get any work done here. LOL

So, now that the expansion is covered, it is time for my very busy weekend. Lets start with XPing. I got my WAR to level 66. Which I believe is quite the accomplishment because it is just hard to find time to level it for more than an hour or two at a time. Kira and I have been xping with a plethora of people, including Glacian, Hellz and Thazienne, and we also would like to pick up Izman too for a party. Now, mid-levels for WAR are not very exciting. >.< I just hit my Rampage macro over and over LOL. Not much in the way of gear upgrades. At 67, I get Rutter Sabatons for Rampage. At 68, I get Acha d'Armas, so at least the dual beast style axes will be gone. LOL Then, its a slow progression to 70 where I actually get a bunch of gear to 70. I have a decent haste set up to start, with a Wahlara Turban, Byakko's Haidate and Swift Belt. I will need to consider Dusk Gloves and Unicorn or Dusk Feet, but before that I will need to get a Maneater and a Woodsville's Axe. I am going dual axes obviously, no Joyeuse and no Ridill with no intention of getting either of them so no need to worry about anything else in that set-up, it lets me not have to focus so much on Accuracy because of the lower sword skill and with the new merit update... oops, getting ahead of myself. ^.^/ I will be doing a WAR update soon, so I get to obsess over gear some more. While I was leveling my WAR I got my highest Rampage, I believe so far, if not highest, then the best in a long time. I didn't even notice it, another person in the party mentioned it, so I screenshot it after that.

On Saturday Versus did 4 successful Rostrum Pump runs. Alastor Antlion is an incredibly annoying NM, lots of spawns, lots of links and annoying to kite, but we got some Rostrum Pumps for people that needed them. Not one of the more fun fights I have done, because people are everywhere and its not very well coordinated. Looks like we are going to do Shen next which should be a lot more fun, and we really need to be coordinated for that to work.

I had a very long meeting at work and wasn't able to finish this today, I will have more of a weekend review, June update information and more, tomorrow.


ice said...

First of all! solid blog entry wished it was longer lol

As for the expansion.. thank god it didnt involve the Far East that woulda been lame (sorry glacian) This time warp thing is so much cooler^^ not only does it mean that we will be able to warp to crystal war era zones(obvious) but it also leaves SE the option of taking us even further back in time OR furthur in the future..

I personally dont care either way if new jobs are added. ToAU gave us 3 and none of them really get a lot of play. Id like to think ive grown as a player to a point where i can look at this expansion as storyline content only and still get super excited (OMG that meteor in the backround of the video looks sweet)

Ringthree said...

Wow, Ice just had a geekgasm all over my blog. But thats ok, so did I! LOL

I would have to definitely agree about what you are saying at the end of your comment, that as a mature player the new bells and whistles are great but its really the content and the storyline that makes the difference, the reason I love CoP. :)