Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Getting Your Learn Off: Abyssea Monsters.

Yesterdays column took some time to research both for the historical and mythical stories behind the weapons and for the Final Fantasy aspects behind them too. This column will be a little bit less informative than that. While some monsters in FFXI have a deep and storied history, most of them do not. And that is where I come in. I believe that several of these new mobs have in-joke back stories, and if they don't then I will just create them.

The very first thing that should probably be noted is that all of the monsters in this first expansion look like they have gone through the laundry with your brand new purple sheets. While this is going to make Omoi as giddy as the first time that she saw Titinia in campaign, I don't know what most people are going to think of the purplization of all of these mobs. Some of them are new of course, but some of them are not and some are just funny.

Limule

Being an airborne crustacean endemic to Abyssea, endowed with a robust carapace and elongated forelimbs wherefrom razor-sharp pincer reach rapaciously for prey. Bereft of a counterpart in Vana'diel, biologists theorize that these shelled hoverers have undergone evolution in dimensional isolation. They have emerged as a pervasive species following the great cataclysm that befell the land.
This floating Horseshoe Crab is probably the least purple of the new monsters, and the most obvious in naming convention. Limule is French for Horseshoe Crab, and the Latin form is Limulus. The name is not too creative on SE's party, but the mob looks pretty interesting. It also has a shocking familiarity to it. While the description provided by SE indicates that there are no counterparts for this monster in Vana'diel, I believe a deeper look at the evolutionary tree can provide something analogous. What else in Vana'diel has a shell and pincers? That's right, you basic generic crab. The on going joke about crabs is that they were one of the only mobs you ever fought in XP parties back in the day. So much so that people joke that the game could be called Crab Fantasy XI. SE can deliver a good joke sometimes, and we are going to need some new leveling mobs. My prediction: You are going to be seeing quite a few of these things on your way to 99. Oh, there is something else that is a bit familiar about this mob. It is a "sea" creature and the beginning of it's name is reminiscent of the mobs that are found in Sea. Is there some relation between Abys"sea" and Sea? Mobs in sea also have bright but weird colors in general.

Clionid
Being a mollusc of mischievous bearing and ghostly aspect, much given to rollicking in the air in a dance at once graceful and deadly. Alongside the Limule, they have grown to prominence in the wake of the great cataclysm, spreading as a plague across Abyssea. Of the little that is known of these invertebrates, their proclivity for aggression towards mankind is well-documented.
I don't know how anything that has never been seen before can be "well-documented" but apparent we have been out of the loop. I give SE an A on the background research for this mob. A Clionid is basically a sea slug that is called sea angels. These shouldn't be confused with the sponge of a similar name though. They are in fact mollusks, so the description is quite accurate. It is also another sea-related creature, and it has that vaguely Limunian appearance, so maybe there is something to that Sea connection. It also looks vaguely like a ghost but that might not mean anything.

Sibilus
Being and uncommonly large saurian possessed of virulent temperament, it's distinct coloration is a dread warning of lethal venom to all would-be predators. Biologists have called attention to a likely relation in the now-extinct variety of lizards that inhabited the marshlands of Quon in vast numbers until the outbreak of the Great War.
Meet the purple people eater. Obviously a purple reskin of the Peiste, and most likely very venomous. Remember to bring your Antidotes. Again, SE has done their homework with the name for this mob. Sibil- is a latin root meaning "to hiss", and sibilus as a noun is a hissing noise. Quite appropriate for this mob. I don't see much else that that unique about this mob besides the fact that SE's new favorite color is purple. If they still have Grim Glower then people are just going to avoid them, but if they actually have decent attacks, they could be interesting.

Elasmoth
Being a subspecies as that hulking beast known as the Behemoth, albeit of such gargantuan proportions as to render the moniker given its Vanadielian cousin. Warlike markings emblazon their muscular frame, needlessly intensifying their fearsome mien. Claims that their mighty roar can fell stars from the heavens are received with skepticism, though none disputes that it can stop a man's heart in his chest.
Ok, this is the grandpappy of all Behemoth, not just because of the description but also because of it's snowy white beard. Maybe it is just the Santa Claus of the Behemoth world, giving the little Behemoth boys and girls huge spikes and asteroids to fling at people. More purple in this design, but at least it has some cooler markings. This might be the Behemoth that stole the nerd Behemoth's lunch money. Hey, all the chick Behemoth love tattoos. I do find the description interesting because of the reference to Comet and Meteor. The only reference I could find to Elasmoth is in the video game Fossil Fighter... it was probably just a coincidence.

Purbol
Being a mutant strain of that odious breed of carnivorous frond known as the Morbol that has adapted to thrive in the aberrant ecosystem of Abyssea. Fouler of both breath and temperament than its Vanadialian counterpart-if that can be believed-it has been observed gnarling with perverse pleasure as its grossly distended feelers suck clean the lifeblood of its hapless victims.
Seriously SE? Seriously? Purbol? As if the color wasn't enough, you are now naming the mobs after purple? I get the pun, but man, you didn't have to make it that obvious. All this purple is going to make Omoi very happy though so I am OK with it. Sounds like it is going to have all the basic Morbol attacks but a bit beefed up. Even Worse Breath? Worst Breath? Really Stinky Breath? Dog Fart Breath? You already gave one Morbol Death Breath, what are you going to make this one do? Maybe it will inflict Zombie (ST20). It also sounds like it is going to use that draining roots move too.

Adenium
Being a bipedal, sentient vegetable that resembles a Mandragora in every aspect save for its prodigious size and ruddy complexion. Does this curious pigmentation derive from the selfsame phenomenon that has crimsoned the Abyssean sky? Is it merely abashed at having grown to proportions unseemly for one of its species? Further observation is required to unravel these vital questions.
An ashamed Mandy that has turned red in embarrassment? Ok, that was a little bit clever SE. This is like the second mob that they have mentioned as being of huge size, but the other one is that new Behemoth. That said, all of the new tier 3 VNM's are huge versions of standard mobs already. Who wouldn't love fighting a ginormous Mandy? Also, another place where SE has actually spent some time naming the mob, the Adenium is a kind of flower, more commonly called the Desert Rose. I don't know what it's flower move is going to be, but I expect more pain than sleeping powder for some reason.

Iratham
Being of the Caturae, a family of most unnatural lifeforms of utterly indeterminate composition and origin. Said to have been sighted across the realm shortly after the first tremors sundered the Abyssean landscape, their true nature remains shrouded in mystery to this day. Fringe researchers have posited a relationship to a recreational activity of a long-lost civilization, but this theory has yet to draw much support.
That "recreational activity of a long-lost civilization" is Chess. You see Caturanga, Catur for short, is the Indian name for the game that is the basis of modern day Chess. Caturae would be creatures of Catur or more simply living Chess pieces. The game originate on the Indian sub-continent and spread across the world. The mob itself is very unique looking, and the hands and the feet look so familiar but I don't remember where I have seen that design before. It might not even be FFXI, it might be another SE game, which would be an interesting cross-over in design. Iratham is the name of the chariot piece in Caturanga and it behaves exactly the way the modern Rook does. It is also an anagram for "A Mithra" but that is probably just coincidence. In the future, expect to see Kutharei ("Horse" in English) it is the equivalent of the Knight piece and Yaanei ("Elephant") which is a close amalgamation of the modern Bishop. We will see when the next expansions drop.

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