Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Getting Your Learn On: Abyssea Weapons.

Visions of Abyssea has been announced and is available for pre-order. The version update is coming June 21st (Rob won that bet too), and we got a much needed update to the rewards from Abyssea.

I love the nomenclature that SE uses for naming their weapons, especially in FFXI. They don't just create random ass names like WoW (e.g. this or this), SE actually does some research and invests some time in coming up with names for their weapons that have some historical background. Not all of them are historically accurate, but many of them do have some historical underpinnings. Hell, the Nanatsusayanotachi is an actual sword that is currently on display in Korea. The names of the weapons that have been released with the Visions of Abyssea announcement are actually quite amazing. They also have a lot of historical and mythical importance and their stories may give some clue as to their strengths or weaknesses in FFXI.

Sword: Almace
This sword looks simply amazing. It is also freaking huge. Historically, the Almace was a sword given to Charlemagne along with the Durendal and Curtana (other familiar weapons from FFXI and other Final Fantasy games). It is described mostly in Norse mythology though it is mentioned much less than the other two. It is later given to Turpin, the Archbishop of Reims. It might also be confused with or replaced by Joyeuse in some historical records. It was described as an incredibly well-designed and strong sword. In the Song of Roland, Turpin wielded it in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass were he died. Yeah, that is ill portent for those that might get this weapon, but it definitely looks cool enough to use it anyway. Alternative names for the Almace are Almice and Almacia. There is no previous mention of a weapon by this name in the Final Fantasy series.

Marksmanship: Armageddon
Armageddon is a name that is actually more in line with SE's own naming system for guns than it is with some historical or mythical weapon. Names already in FFXI that spring to mind include Annihilator and Death Penalty. The relic and mythic weapons have names in a similar vein if not in historical continuity. SE has preferred the WoW-style naming convention for guns in a lot of Final Fantasy games. The name appears in all sorts of Final Fantasy games but usually as part of an ability or special attack name. Armageddon itself is the Judeo-Christian notion of the end of days. More specifically it is the site of the epic battle at the end of the world. This is your traditional Revelations story with Jesus fighting Satan and fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Great Sword: Caladbolg
Poor Great Sword got completely skipped over in the last round of epic weapons, but SE brought it back this time in impressive fashion. Originally, Caladbolg just generally meant "great sword" and it's original translation was something like "hard sheath" or "hard cleft". In Irish mythology, Caladbolg is the sword of Fergus mac RĂ³ich. The sword itself is said to create a rainbow arc when swung and is able to chop the tops of hills. The name of the great sword could be the source of the name of King Arthur's sword, Excalibur. Caladbolg is also a Celestial Weapon from Final Fantasy X belonging to Tidus in the US version, but that could just be a weird translation error.

Axe: Farsha
Found in Hindu mythology, the Farsha is translated to mean "battle axe" and was the favorite weapon of Parashurama, with his own Farsha known as the Parashu. A Farsha was generally double bladed or had a blade and a spike and could be made out of wootz steel (which I just found out isn't just something that SE made up but is a historical-mythical type of steel). The blade itself was as big or bigger than the haft (the part you hold). That means that SE followed the design pretty closely when they designed this new weapon. No prior Final Fantasy references this weapon.

Club: Gambanteinn
Another Norse myth, this club literally translates into "magic wand". This in itself is very interesting because it implies there is a magical component to the item itself and not just another worthless melee club. This is a more generic term than some of the previous weapons and it doesn't refer to a specific magic wand. That said the wands that are mentioned in Norse myth appear to have cursing or charming aspects to them. Interestingly, in the Norse mythos it sounds like you actually have to hit someone with the club to bewitch them. So maybe SE does want you to use it to melee. This club has not be used in any other Final Fantasy games.

Archery: Gandiva
Created by Brahman, the supreme Hindu god, the Gandiva was passed down through Hindu mythology by some pretty big names like Shiva and Indra before making it into the hands of Arjuna. Arjuna then used the bow to kick a major amount of Hindu ass. The bow was covered in gold and the tips of the bow glowed, this might be the tie in for the new Archery WS "Refulgent Arrow". It is also said to sound like a thunderclap when an arrow is shot from it. It has a very nice model compared to all other bows in the game and I hope that SE improves the design of bows like this in the future. With the advent of the Occasionally Attack Twice bow though, SE is going to have to do something really special to make this bow worth it. While a bad ass weapon, it is a name that has not be used before in Final Fantasy history.

Staff: Hvergelmir
SE just loves using unpronounceable names for a lot of there weapons and this is no exception. Like the Armageddon, this weapons name doesn't come from a weapon from the historical record. In Norse mythology, it is actually in reference to a spring that is near the world tree, Yggdrasil. Above Hvergelmir, Nidhogg is chewing away at the roots of Yggdrasil. I have to wonder if this is finally going to be the "Rainbow Staff" that SE mentioned they are thinking about adding to replace the Elemental staffs. The Hvergelmir itself means "bubbling boiling spring" in Norse, and is the source of all cold rivers to the Norse. I don't know if this means it will have any relation to Blizzard or other ice related spells though. As this is not really a specific weapon but more of a reference this name has not appeared in a Final Fantasy game.

Katana: Kannagi
These weapons get more and more interesting. Though I thought for sure that this weapon would be related to Japanese mythology because of the root word "nagi" it actually has nothing to do with that, and it is actually a vengeful woman (shocker) from Tamil (Indian) mythology. Basically, her husband is stupid but tries to make up for it up, gets falsely accused of stealing from the Queen and is beheaded on the spot. Kannagi gets pissed and proves her husband didn't steal, and the King and Queen are so upset that they die. Kannagi is still pissed though, so she tears off one of her own freaking boobs and chucks it at the city of the King and Queen which causes it to burn down. I could be wrong in this, but I searched for a while and couldn't find a direct reference to this as a weapon. It is also an anime and I have no idea about it so it might have the same historical roots that are unknown to me. There is a lot of cross over of Hinduism/Buddhism into Japanese culture over time, so there might be some correlation between this story and the weapon, but I don't know of any better connection. Kannagi has not be used as the name of any weapon in the Final Fantasy series.

Great Katana: Masamune
Ah, Masamune, one of the traditional katanas from SE games. Masamune is actually not a sword in historical context but actually a swordsmith, though the katanas that he made were often called "Masamune Swords". Masamune was revered as the best swordsmith in Japanese history and his blades were considered to represent zen-like aspects in the warrior. Several of Masamune's swords are already in FFXI in the form of the Fudo and the Hocho. As I mentioned above the Masamune has appeared in Final Fantasy games before, and in fact, it has appeared in every Final Fantasy game except FFXI until now. It is also Sephiroth's weapon, which means that it is game-on for fan boys. It has had a Haste effect associated with it in past Final Fantasy games.

Scythe: Redemption
Though this again does not represent a specific weapon in real life or mythology, it does have a very interesting name for a weapon that is used almost exclusively by Dark Knights. Redemption is part of the overall story lines for several DRK related characters within FFXI, Zeid for example. The notion of redemption itself is based around the idea of being absolved or forgiven of sin or evil acts. DRKs aren't really considered to be the most pious people in the game, so giving them a weapon with the name Redemption may indicate that there is some kind of deliverance from their own evil through the weapon. Or it could just be a bad ass name for a weapon because it means that the DRK is going to redeem those that he uses the weapon on by introducing them to their maker, a bit prematurely. It is not used in any other Final Fantasy game.

Polearm: Rhongomiant
This one is pretty simple. Rhongomiant is King Arthur's spear that he used to run-through Sir Thomas of Wolford in rather dubious fashion. King Arthur challenged Sir Thomas to a duel and Sir Thomas accepted. As King Arthur advanced, Sir Thomas tripped and fell stabbing himself through the back of his head with Rhongomiant. It sounds more like a Brittney Spears song than an Arthurian legend. Some say that this weapon just resembles a Cermet Lance that were popular back before even CoP, but there are obvious differences in design and style, and essentially everything in the game is a reskin by now. There is no reference to this weapon in any other Final Fantasy game.

Dagger: Twashtar
I don't like this design at all even though it slightly resembles the Vajra, likely because of their similar origins. Twashtar is wielded by the Hindu god Twashtri, who is known as the "heavenly builder". The Twashtar is an Astra, a weapon that is imbued with the power of the god affiliated with the weapon and only unlocked with a specific spell granted by that god. The Vajra is another Astra weapon. The Twashtar's specific Astra ability was to cause confusion in a group of enemies and cause them to fight each other. This could have some application for FFXI as an additional unlockable effect. The Twashtar doesn't appear in any other Final Fantasy games.

Great Axe: Ukonvasara
This Great Axe may be the most historically accurate representation of a weapon in the entire group. The Ukonvasara is a magical weapon of the Ukko in Finnish mythology. The name of the Great Axe is likely a derivation of the name of the god. Across cultures, this weapon could be equated to Thor's hammer, Mjollnir. Another very interesting aspect of this weapon is that the exact translation is actually "Ukko's Hammer", and the model for the Great Axe actually looks more like a great hammer than it does an axe as it is basically lacking a blade. Clubber suggested something to me; if this is actually a great hammer, and SE recognizes that fact, does that mean that this weapon will do blunt damage? It's a very interesting question, indeed. In Finnish mythos Ukko created lightning by using the Ukonvasara. As with most of these weapons, this name has not yet be used in a Final Fantasy game.

Hand-to-hand: Verethragna
Our final selection actually is the reason that I started looking into all of the names of these weapons. Verethragna is the divine embodiment of victory in Zoroastrianism and it literally translates to "smiting of resistance". Now that is pretty bad ass. Huge horns form the punchy part of these weapons, and have a shocking similarity to Behemoth's horns. Even more interesting, Verethragna is a constant companion of Mithra (the Persian god, not the guy pretending to be a girl). These are probably one of the coolest looking new weapons. This is their first appearance in a Final Fantasy related game.


JESS said...

Awesome Blog Post. Adds more depth to the FFXI Game that we are all enjoying. ~BAM

Evilpaul said...

"the Persian god, not the guy pretending to be a girl" Haha, so true.

omniyoji said...

Jeebus these weapons are all fugly looking or rather "out of place" looking. The bow's nice but still looks like it's from something else.