Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vana'fest! It keeps going... and going... and going...

I don't know how I missed this, but a couple of days ago, SE stealth added even more content to the Vana'fest website. It isn't any amazingly earth-shattering information, but it is at least a better English translation of what we have heard so far. The first thing to check out are the video reviews of Vana'fest. The first two videos are of the NA Community Team doing a review of the event, and the rest of the videos are very high quality versions of the event itself. They are all definitely worth the view time.

The second thing that has been added is a listing of the potential changes that are coming to all 20 jobs in the next year. These are insanely vague, as SE hates making promises before they can deliver, like they did with the whole new Summons debacle. You can't point to anything in the discussion that makes you say, "Oh, we are getting that new ability". In fact, I don't know if any of this is going to equate into specific job abilities themselves. It is more of an explanation of the design philosophy for all of the jobs moving forward.

Honestly, I am at a loss as to how SE is going to handle the level cap increase for everyone. Are we going to get more JA's and spells as the levels rise? I don't think there are any jobs that truly get new JA's at level cap. For the most part JA's are pretty much finished by level 60. So while, I, and probably everyone else, is hoping that we end up getting a huge number of new JA's, I just don't see it happening. That said, if they are going to give us some new JA's, then level 80 would be a nice round number to give us those new abilities. Spells on the other hand are going to need to come more often just because that is how they are designed. Most spell casters get at least one new spell every level, and raising the level cap without more spells just doesn't seem to do very much. At the very least, healers are going to need a new tier of spells because as levels rise so will HP pools, and so will damage from higher level mobs. To deal with this with the current tier of spells would quickly drain almost all healers. But then again, maybe that is why all healers are going to have access to Refresh and Convert.

I don't know if this is how SE is going to feed us information regarding the announcements made at Vana'fest but I will keep an eye out and see if anything new pops up!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yours truely on LBR? More likely than you might think!

Yesterday, I made a guest appearance on Limit Break Radio. Well, I was on the recording of the show, but the show isn't available yet. You should see it as soon as Aniero gets done with the editing. Be sure to check it out on the Limit Break Radio website. We covered a wide array of topics dealing with Vana'fest and the March update. Sadly, Kallo was not able to make the show, and I think that is probably because is he is huge pussy. He was scared of me coming on the show and crushing his hopes, his dream and his soul. That's right, I am the Kallo Soul Crusher. In reality, he had some personal issues to deal with so he could not make it. Excuses, excuses, excuses. We even discussed the fact that all he is doing right now is having his life controlled by his girlfriend, forcing him to play WoW during one of WoW's most boring content cycles, and during one of FFXI's most exciting content cycles. Talk about whipped.

Aniero even promised to no bleep out Izman's name because Kallo was not on the show. That's what you get Kallo!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Beginning of All Things to Come.

I have had mixed feelings about update day over the last year. While you can not help but get hyped up about the coming of anything new, for the most part, the past year of updates has been a great let down.

And while there are many things left to discover about this update, the initial indications are that this update may not be a let down at all. In fact, it may be the beginning of a shift in a new direction.

The gear .dat lists are already out. Missions titles and descriptions are posted. The Trial of the Moogles™ information is becoming more clear. Things are looking pretty damn good at this point.

New (H)NMs are available from a new guy in Ru'Lude Gardens. It's hard to tell what they might drop but there are titles for a number of new NMs, so I suppose by the most strict definition they have to be HNMs. Looks like the pop items are going to cost some gil, but we don't know how much so far.

Some of the goals for the Trial of the Moogles™ have been discovered but they so far there is not much information on what you can get out of them. They are likely already part of the augments listing so we probably can't see which are which until we get in the game. Though it should be noted that Occ. Atk. Twice, Occ. Atk. 2-3 times, and Occ. Atk. 2-4 times, has been added to the list of potential augments.

New NM and the Trials are the most interesting things to me so far, but there are still new missions, and the new Campaign Op for fighting the Shadow Lord.

The .dat mining looks like a good start, but I don't think we are going to get the full picture until we are able to get on the servers late tonight.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ready or not, here it comes.

You know it's coming but are you doing anything about it?

SE is going to massively inject life into the leveling aspect of the game as soon as they raise the level cap. There will be tons of people crowding camps everywhere so they can get to level 80 (the assumption for the new level cap after the June update). Since most people already have several jobs at the current level cap they will need to do this several times so there should be quite a few people to make parties with.

The real question is if there will be a large number of people leveling up their sub jobs. Most people hate leveling sub jobs (basically everyone except for Omoi), so some people may delay it until it is an absolute necessity. Some people may do it ahead of time but only on a limited basis, 40 at first, 45 after the first update, and then finally 49 before the last update. Some people (like me and a few friends) have just decided to get in a few levels here and a few levels there to make sure we are ready before it's too late. Right now, my DRK, the first sub I am leveling, is already level 40. I picked DRK first because even though I don't use NIN that much anymore, I figure that one of the most needed jobs after the level cap rise will be a tank so I want to have that ready just in case Iz is the only other person with a tank job that has an appropriate subjob.

What sub jobs are you going to level? Are you going to do it ahead of time?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Eggs for Breakfast, FFXI for bed.

The time for the March maintenance has been announced and woah is it long. My guess is that it is largely because of the server mergers which will probably require a huge amount of copied data to the new servers. The down time is going to be from 11AM to 11PM EST, and that is the longest planned downtime I have ever seen for FFXI. One of two things is going to happen. Either SE planned for the fact that this is going to take a long time, and the servers are going to be up way early, or SE has way underestimated how long this is going to take and we wont see FFXI until Tuesday sometime.

Here is the official announcement:

At the following time, we will be performing FINAL FANTASY XI maintenance on all worlds to accompany the version update and implementation of a World Merge. Along with this maintenance, we will also be performing maintenance on the FINAL FANTASY XI Linkshell Community beta version.

During this period, both FINAL FANTASY XI and the FINAL FANTASY XI Linkshell Community beta version will be unavailable.

Thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.

* This maintenance will be accompanied by a version update. After maintenance is complete, the update will automatically begin after you press the "Play" button. After that, please follow the instructions on the screen.

* You may receive errors such as "POL-1160" or "POL-0010" during the download process due to heavy server traffic. If you are unable to access the update, we ask that you please wait a while and then try again.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in making this a smooth version update.

* During this maintenance, a World Merge will be implemented.

Source World Destination World

Fairy -> Sylph
Kujata -> Valefor
Remora -> Leviathan
Midgardsormr -> Quetzarcoatl
Hades -> Cerberus
Seraph -> Bismarck
Garuda -> Lakshmi
Pandemonium -> Asura

We ask that all players on any source world retrieve all items stored in the Delivery Box or Auction House.

For more details regarding the World Merge, please refer to "Announcing the World Merge" in the Information section.

* the World Transfer Service, which is currently suspended, will reinstate service after the completion of registration server maintenance, which is scheduled to take place following the FINAL FANTASY XI maintenance. For more details, please refer to "Registration Server Maintenance (Mar. 22)."

* The schedule for the reinstatement of the Character Reactivation Service, which is currently suspended, will be announced at another time.

* Update details will be available on Mar. 22, 2010.

[Date & Time]
Mar. 22, 2010 from 8:00 to 20:00 (PDT)
* Maintenance completion time may be subject to change.

[Affected Services]

Monday, March 15, 2010

FFXIV Alpha News: Dates are Released! Or are they?

EDIT: It has been noted that this might be a fake message, so take it with a grain of salt until I can get some other confirmation.

SE has finally announced the dates of their Alpha trials for FFXIV, at least in Japanese.

Semi-translation stolen from BG, below.

Alpha tests (assuming this is Japanese time) will be from 19:00 to 24:00 (7PM to Midnight) on March 19 and 20th (this coming Friday and Saturday) and from 18:00 to 22:00 (6PM to 10PM) on March 21st and 25th. Beta tests start on April 1. All characters will be deleted between the Alpha and the Beta.

I will try to get this information in English and other languages as soon as it's available.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Morning in Vana'diel: Dead Game -->

Morning in Vana'diel is your daily dose of FFXI and all things Vana'diel. Give us your thoughts on the interesting topics of the day! Is FFXI dead? Yeah, didn't you know? This game died 3 years ago! We are just playing with it's rotting zombie corpse.

Let’s take the worst case scenario: SE has decided that they really are done with FFXI and they are going to shut down the servers as soon as this year is over. This scenario is completely remote, people are still going to play FFXI, and SE is still going to make money off of the game, but just go with me here for a minute.

Say all the quitters and whiners are right, does it even matter? I say no, because even if this is SE’s last hurrah for FFXI it’s a great last hurrah and one that I am going to enjoy.

Even the most ardent FFXI defenders will admit that the last three updates have been pretty poor overall. The storylines in the expansions were great, but they were far from challenging and did not have the epic feel that many other parts of the game have felt. The other content in those updates was of generally casual appeal, and not for the end-gamer. The problem is that end-gamers are what drives a game that is 7+ years old.

While it has taken SE far too many years to realize that this is the case, it doesn’t mean that the coming updates are any less earthshaking in their effect. The raising of the level cap is for end-gamers. It is for the long time fan FFXI that even if they were not experiencing burnout were at least understanding that the current content had gone stale.

Even if SE was shutting down the servers, they are doing it with style. The coming year is a FFXI player’s wet dream. Almost all new end-game content, multiple new advancement paths, new gear, new everything. This is what we have been hoping for. This is what this game needed over the past year. I would say that it is probably a year late, and with SE’s iterative over radical design decisions I can understand the delay.

Finally, the evidence that this game is not going to die anytime soon can actually be found in the “proof” that the nay-sayers provide as evidence of its demise. It is true that the number of players has been gradually dropping off over the past year, to combat this SE took some rather radical steps to please the player base and keep them happy and playing. If, as so many of the negative Nancys claim, SE really wanted to kill off the game, they could have just continued that status quo and let FFXI peter out into nothing. This coming year is an attempt to keep people happy, and to bring back old players. Is it good for new players? Probably not, but after 7+ years I don’t think that is SE’s main concern. To be profitable all they need to do is keep those that like to play happy. And that is exactly what they have done.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

YANYOK's FFXIV Beta test NDA policy.

We at YANYOK needed to clear up our NDA policy in regards to FFXIV's Alpha/Beta.

We will be providing 100% coverage of all things FFXIV Alpha and Beta related. We already have "foreign correspondents" in the field ready, willing and able to provide all of the information that you want to hear about. We will be delivering all of this information to you as soon as we can wipe the drool off of the screenshots.

To be clear, no one at YANYOK have alpha or beta invites, all of the information will be passed along second hand, but you will be getting the information without a filter and without someone trying to ban your forum posts for talking about it.

I actually read on a forum that we shouldn't violate the NDA or SE won't want to communicate with us anymore. I laughed so hard that milk shot out of my nose.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Breakdown -- Part 1: Missions and Quests.

I have been thinking about how to approach everything that was announced Sunday and I have decided it's going to take at least a week to cover everything in detail. I have been scouring the Interverse™ to find all of the details I could on everything that is being discussed about everything that was released.

As a general reference for the coming weeks worth of posts here is SE's plan for the next year of FFXI.

The first section that SE talked about was Missions and Quests. Normally for the update notes this would be one of the most boring section. Not because the missions and quests are boring but because there isn't much to talk about the update notes for them. The coming update will give us the second to last set of missions, so things should be ramping up to a good conclusion.

Here is what SE has to say about the missions:

The Story Continues!
New Wings of the Goddess missions will be coming to you in the March version update!

Nerves run high as the embattled Allied Forces march on the enemy's heartland, Valdeaunia, to execute a daring operation to strike down the Shadow Lord. Charged to stand at the helm of this desperate campaign is the celebrated San d'Orian hero, Sir Ragelise B Baloumat of the Knights of the Ironcrest Hawk…

Dauntless soldiers who would dare follow Castle Zvahl's perilous passageways to their end will find themselves standing before the Throne Room. There, they will learn the true identity of the imposing dark figure whose entrance is heralded by a garrulous imp…

The repercussions of Atomos' mindless devouring of memories and time have extended even to the present. The ominous comet has again appeared, this time above the skies of San d'Oria and far closer now than ever before. What could this possibly portend for the future of Vana'diel…?

What will become of the heroes and heroines of the Allied Forces? All will be revealed upon the release of the March version update!

The Wings of the Goddess mission storyline draws ever nearer to its epic finale, with but one more set of episodes to follow those of the March version update.
There is one big difference though between the normal missions and quest update and this one. That is the Trial of the Magians, which I am now official declaring the Trial of the Moogles™. And the Moogles are doing a good job of getting me excited about the update.

In all of SE's normal vagueness, we are left wondering what exactly it is that we are getting out of this new system. Here is what they have said so far:
“Trial of the Magians” is the title given to a new quest series designed especially for level 75 characters.

Quest Structure
The quests will be divided into a number of categories, and progression in each will allow players to earn different rewards. The following quest branches and more are being considered:

- Weapon enhancement.
- Armor enhancement.

Trial of the Magians will be introduced to the game in multiple stages, with the initial set of weapon enhancement quests slated for addition in the March version update.
Enhancing a Weapon

A Trial of the Magians weapon enhancement quest can be initiated by first trading a suitable weapon to a Magian Moogle NPC, at which point a list of corresponding quests will be displayed. Players may choose a quest based on difficulty level and the enhancement they would like added to their weapon, which will be granted upon the fulfillment of the quest objective.

A single weapon can undergo numerous upgrades. By trading an already-enhanced weapon to a Magian Moogle, players can undertake successive quests to have it further improved. Multiple quests can be undertaken simultaneously.

By repeating the quests, up to 80 different features can be added to a single weapon. With figures such as Damage and Delay added to the equation, there exist 500 possible attribute patterns for a single quest branch!

There are also plans to make it possible to enhance Relic and Mythic weapons through Trial of the Magians. While players can expect quest difficulty to far exceed similar quests released thus far, we are confident the rewards will make it more than worth the while!
So what do we know so far?
  • You can only get the quest(s) at level 75. So this is an end-game thing, not a FoV type thing.
  • So far we know that you can do Weapon and Equipment Enhancement, but this coming update looks like it will only have Weapon Enhancements available.
  • You have to trade the weapon to get the quest, which means that the enhancements will likely be based and limited by weapon type. E.g. you won't be able to get the same damage bonuses for a dagger as you do for a Great Katana.
  • You will be able to pick your difficulty and/or your enhancement before you do the quests.
  • You can do multiple enhancements, and you can do them simultaneously.
  • Up to 80 different enhancements can be added and you can effect delay and damage too. By SE's math, this means you can make up to 500 different configurations for a single weapon.
These are the knowns so far, but I want to emphasize those aspects that I believe make this especially noteworthy. First, you can have multiple enhancements and you can get those enhancements at the same time. No pre-farming FoV, no selling off items that get crappy enhancements. Second, you get to pick the enhancements before you do the quests. While I have no hatred of the Random Number Generator (I do still play this game, which is a RNG nightmare) but I do like this very much. You get to plan out what you want and then work for it. Work/Reward ratio? Yes, please! Third, it sounds like this is end-game and difficult. I just hope that challenging means instanced/spawned fights like Fey weapons or something like that. I hope it is not gil-based like Salvage. I want to fight things, not farm crap.

That is it for Missions and Quests. What do you think of the Trials of the Moogles™?

Monday, March 01, 2010

3... 2... 1... BOOM!

There is too much old context thinking about this whole thing. So much is going to change that you can't even guess at what is going to be the same or different.

To use an analogy: SE just dropped an orbital nuke on your neighborhood, and you are looking for your local McDonalds.

Everything is going to change. This is a whole new game.

The God Emperor of Dune is dead. This is the Golden Path.

I will go over everything soon. Just busy at work today.