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Final Fantasy XIV - What can one expect from this Square-Enix's next-gen MMO?

In this blog I talk about SE's new upcoming MMO 'Final Fantasy XIV (Online)'.

Author: Hyanmen

 

Now that the release of the game is getting closer and closer and we actually have received enough official information to know what this game is all about, I think now would be a good time to analyze how this title will stand out from the rest of the bunch (if at all). There have been quite some misconceptions about some things on the different forums and news sites, so I think it would be good to clear some things up. So, let's get to it:
 
 
 
Audiovisuals:
 
The first thing people may have noticed when looking at the game is the fact that the races are quite identical to the ones from it's predecessor, FFXI. 
And aside from few subtle differences, this is the case. Roegadyn have lost their tails, Miqo'te have become more human-like and Lalafell have grown up a bit. 
 
Aside from that, the character customization has been upped by a notch. Each race has two clans, with their own skin colors, among other features.
The biggest difference being with Hyur Highlanders, which are a new addition to the variety of races to choose from.
 
'Sup, Drizzt?
 
The art style also resembles FFXI more than just a bit. You can see that the art director has changed, but he has only added his own flavor to the already established realistic, yet cartoonish style,. 
The area design is simplistic, and does not present the viewer with too many mindblowing visuals to look at like cities in the sky or other extreme fantasy elements.
 
The monster design keeps the quality of FFXI and even takes it to the next level. It's nothing really different art-style wise, and there are quite a few monsters identical to their FFXI counterparts. 
 
While the visuals have remained pretty similar to FFXI, the musical score is another case entirely. 
The soundtrack has changed considerably from the predecessor and is very unique to the MMORPG's in general. 
So much even that one may start to wonder if these kind of tracks really fit an MMO at all. 
There is an 80's feeling to the music and it is very nostalgic in many ways. It resembles the earlier works of Nobuo Uematsu a lot. 
I wish I could give you all an example but at this time I can not do that because of the NDA policy in place.
 
When it comes to UI, several significant changes have been made. There are less menus and you can access several features directly from your screen, like combat abilities. The UI resembles WoW a lot with the hotbar around. You can move the different features around on the screen, and make them larger or smaller depending on your preferences.  
 
One large difference to other MMO's is that you have to choose two names for your character. 
 
Audiovisuals in general are quite different from World of Warcraft or even other Asian games, but not that different (music aside) from FFXI.
 
Character Progression System:
 
The character progression in this game happens in two ways: by leveling up your Physical Level and Weapon Rank. 
 
Compared to WoW the system has few major differences: There is no such thing as talent tree or anything of the sort. 
All the skills and spells are gained automatically as you level your Weapon rank. 
 
Leveling your stats and acquiring skills have also been separated, and not linked. 
 
You can also choose where to put your stat points as your Physical level goes up, and they're not predetermined. 
This means that you can put points on Intelligence even while being a Gladiator, or not focusing on a stat that does nothing for your class.
 
The biggest difference is that you can change your class on the fly, and you're not stuck to the class you started the game with. 
There are also no class/race limitations.
 
Compared to FFXI, the biggest change is that your Physical Level does not change even when you switch classes. 
While FFXI also had combat skills along with normal levels, combat skills (weapon ranks) have been given much more emphasis in this game than the predecessor. 
While in FFXI you learned abilities, spells and stats by leveling up your main job and weapon skills by leveling your combat skill, in FFXIV abilities, spells and weapon skills are all learned through skilling up your weapon rank.
 
Changing classes has also been made easier, and you no longer have to visit your Mog House to switch. 
 
Some of your abilities also get stronger as you level up. Just like in FFXI There was Cure I, Cure II, Cure III and so on, in FFXIV some abilities level up
like this as well.
 
When it comes to subclasses, XIV takes this feature even further than in XI (and to completely new heights when compared to WoW). Almost every skill and spell
can be equipped by most of the classes (excluding the crafting and gathering ones), while retaining most of their strength. While in XI you could only 
use skills from one subclass at time, in XIV you can mix and match abilities and spells from all the classes available as you wish. 
 
There is also a limitation present, however. Like with XI's Blue Mage, classes in XIV can only equip certain amount of skills and spells at time. Each skill
has it's own cost and the better the skill is, the more it action points it costs. Thus you have to decide whether to use most of the skills of your main class
or to take some skills from other classes to make you more versatile. 
 
The skills are also different in nature from the ones used in XI. There's a lot more additional effects, situationality, shorter cooldowns and they're more complicated than XI's "Berserk: +25% attack, -25% defense" style more straightforward abilities. In this respect the skills are more like the ones found in WoW.
 
The class names have changed and are now much more neutral, which is because of the system explained above. Because no class only has a "strict role" to them,
it would be wrong to call them by names that would pretty much define the classes, like "Paladin" = Tank, "White Mage" = Healer. In this aspect FFXIV steps
away from FFXI considerably.
 
Some classes have been fused together to allow for more customization within the class itself. Pugilist shares abilities of Monk and Thief classes, and Conjurer has Black and White magic spells available to it.
 
Pugilist, a combination of "Thief" and "Monk" classes from Final Fantasy XI.
 
Crafting and Gathering are now real classes instead of being inferior to combat classes like in XI or WoW. You can "finish" the game by only using these classes if you wish.
 
During the character creation, you can also choose a Guardian Deity and your birth date which gives you different bonuses depending on what you choose.
 
That's all for today, since I have to break the comparison down to different sections to not make it too long. The verdict so far:
 
 
-Visuals resemble FFXI, but not other MMO's.
-The music is unlike anything we've heard before in an MMO.
-The UI resembles WoW, and is a lot more flexible than in XI.
-You have to choose two names for your character.
-Character progression system is different from WoW:
   -Stat points allocation.
   -No talent trees.
   -Skills acquired separately from stats.
   -Ability to switch classes on the fly.
   -Ability to use skills from other classes on your main.
-Compared to XI, the progression has new features and reshaped old features:
   -Your physical level does not change when you switch classes
   -Using sub skills is much more flexible this time around.
   -You can only equip set amount of spells and skills at time.
   -The classes have less defined roles, the names have changed to more neutral
    ones.
   -Many classes now have multiple functions instead of only focusing on one single       aspect of gameplay
   -Changing classes has been made much faster and easier.
   -You can choose your own Guardian Deity.   
   -Crafting and Gathering classes matter much more this time around, and you can
     "finish" the game with them.
   -Skills resemble that of WoW, but are quite different from XI. The way some skills
     work is different from WoW as well (more of that explained in later posts).
 
 
So, so far there have been some significant changes. Next time I'll talk about the combat and grouping mechanics. See you then!
 
(If you want to criticize, have something to add, want to know more about some feature and so on, feel free to comment!)

FFXI => FFXIV Endgame: Part 2

Posted by Hyanmen Thursday July 2 2009 at 4:11AM
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Today I'll talk about world spawns and how they have (d)evolved in the years in FFXI. I apologize that I can not make a really in-depth explanation about the system due to my lack of experience in this area of the endgame, but I'll still explain the basics.
Like before, after looking at the different stages the world spawns have gone through we can predict in what way this particular system will be presented in FFXIV, and how big part it could play in endgame structure.

I wasn't there to see when the first world spawn monsters were implemented (from now on called HNM's, Hyper/high/etc. Notorious Monsters), but I remember the level cap being around 55 at the time. While the monsters must have been quite
challenging for level 55 players, as the level cap was raised up to 75 the monsters got significantly easier. They popped in a small area, and 21-24h after being killed. They dropped decent equipment for their level range and synthesis materials, that are still quite good for the level range.

A while after that came the 3 'King' HNM's, called Behemoth, Fafnir and Adamantoise. They popped in a similar way as the other lesser HNM's, in a small area every 21-24h after being killed. One of these 3 monsters would prove to be unexpectedly popular among players, especially Warriors, but more on that in a bit.

When the level cap was set to 75, SE expanded the 'Kings' system to include a High quality version of the same type of monster. Thus were born the King Behemoth, Nidhogg and Aspidochelone. They would have a chance to pop after 3 days had passed from their last kill. It could take up to 11 days for them to appear again, though. When a HQ version pops, no Normal quality version of the monster will pop that day.

These HQ versions would drop the best equipment for some jobs in the game at the time when they were implemented. This created problems SE couldn't predict. The equipment couldn't be traded, so you had to get the claim on the monster to be able to even get a chance at obtaining these popular pieces.

At that time players who wanted to be the 'best' started to get to level cap at a fairly fast rate. They made linkshells (guilds) designed to slay these fearsome monsters. At first they were fairly difficult to defeat, but as time went on they became easier and easier, until the small zone they could pop in was full of linkshells looking to claim the monster and get the loot. There could have been several hundred people in one zone at time, and only one linkshell would get to kill the monster per day. The days of many endgame players were filled of waiting for the monster to pop; there was a 3 hour timeframe for all 3 monsters, so if you wanted to try to claim all of them you had to camp quite a bit
in a single day. Many players still refer to this experience when talking about FFXI endgame, and how they hated it; for a good reason, too.

Moving on to the next monsters in the serie, the 3 wyrms released in the second expansion: Jormungand, Tiamat, and Vrtra.

It took quite long time from players to down these three dragons, they're no joke if you're not prepared. Vrtra especially is difficult, because the room she resides in has several undead monsters in it. Vrtra itself also summons undead at quite the fast rate, so there must be one team killing the undead as fast as possible while other team faces the wyrm itself. If you can't keep up with the spawns or people start dying, the wipe is almost inevitable. The undead like to spam different Area of effect abilities which makes things difficult to handle, since with many melees taking them down there'll be a lot of AoE damage taken, too.

Timmy & Jimmy.

One difference between these 3 wyrms and the earlier Kings is that the time it takes for them to spawn is 24-72h instead of 21-24h. This was done to prevent people from camping and crowding the area like what happened with the 3 Kings, but that didn't quite work out either: players would still camp them (well, Tiamat only most of the time, she has the best loot pool). The drops weren't as good as before, which might have been SE's attempt to reduce the desire to camp the HNM's and give more importance to things you don't have to camp, like instances. This time the gear could be traded too, thus selling the item was made possible. But the core problem was still there; too many players camped the HNMs,
especially after they became easier for groups to kill. These days many linkshells even complain that they're a bit too easy, and that an incompetent linkshell can still kill them with relative ease, making competition even fiercer than before.

No major improvements happened when SE implemented the HNM's of the third expansion either. Rewards for killing the Cerberus, Hydra and Khimaira were mostly worse than before though- SE might have realized that the system as it is can't allow for 'too good' loot to drop- botting and camping might get out of hand otherwise. Other than for few decent weapons these monsters and the 3 'extra' beastmen HNM's only really offer a fun fight you can do if your linkshell has enough competent players. They weren't as difficult as the wyrms were at the time of their implementation, either. Respawn time was changed from 24-72h to 48-72h, but that hasn't really helped in solving the overcrowdedness issue.
The HNM's still pop in a small area.

In the fourth and most recent expansion Square decided to take a different approach however. Currently 2 HNM's (out of 3) have been implemented to the expansion areas, and the system has been improved in several ways. For one, the monsters no longer pop in a small area, but can pop almost anywhere in the expansion areas. To claim one of the HNM's, Dark Ixion, player has to throw a special ash at it that, when hit, will claim the monster to him and his group. This is necessary to prevent botting (the ash has to actually hit the monster, missing doesn't count). The other HNM, Sandworm, works differently than the other released HNM's as well: it will use a skill called 'Doomvoid' which teleports the players to an instanced area with another monster inside, and the Sandworm itself doesn't drop anything of value.

Three of these 4 possible monsters you can encounter are the same as the ones implemented in the first expansion and when the level cap was still 55. Unlike their normal world counterparts these HNM's are a lot tougher and thus drop extra loot along with their normal drops. They have some special characteristics as well. Guivre, a wyvern, runs away from the battle after every 10% of damage has been dealt to it. King Arhtro, a crab, summons helpers that cure it by casting Water spells on the King. A high quality version of Sandworm can also pop instead of the 3 normal HNM's. In an instanced area the group doesn't have to worry about other groups 'stealing' the HNM if they happen to wipe to it.

So, now that we know how the world spawns have evolved in the game, we can take a guess at what could happen to them in FFXIV. What might be a possibility, is that while SE may not completely forget about the world spawn system they  could heavily modify it. I guess that they're working on trying to take away the whole 'camping' issue, but how they can accomplish this remains a question. They've tried raising the time it takes for the HNM to pop, and widen the area it can pop in, as well as make the loot less important compared to other events. If these steps are good enough remains to be seen, but one thing we can be quite sure about: it will most likely be similar to how Sandworm and Dark Ixion
work rather than the HNM's before them. As long as the dev team doesn't go back to their old ways that is, but the chance of that happening should be next to none fortunately!

Next time I'll talk about FFXI's answer to 'instances' or 'raids' in endgame, which happens to be my favorite part of the many endgame system SE has created in FFXI. I'll be able to make a more in-depth explanation about it, too, so look forward to it!

FFXI=>FFXIV Endgame: Part 1

Posted by Hyanmen Friday June 26 2009 at 6:49AM
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 The subject today is the endgame structure found in FFXI and later, perhaps in FFXIV as well. There are many types of events in FFXI, so I'll go through them in order; by looking at the more current events we can also find out what the FFXIV endgame might consist of later. 

 From Sky Gods to Zeni Notorious Monsters

The 'sky' system was one of the first endgame events in FFXI. It consisted of tiers of strong monsters you needed to kill to progress. For the first tier the monsters had to be camped, since they would repop only after several hours had passed since they were last killed. Each of them would drop an item needed to pop the next tier, the four sky gods. These four gods would, when killed, drop a seal needed to pop the final monster in the system, Kirin, as well as fairly good equipment and synthesis items. At first, to beat these monsters you needed at least 18 people, and for Kirin having at least 25 people was almost mandatory.

The 'sea' system was the second tier-based system implemented in FFXI. In this system, too, you had to kill harder and harder monsters to progress to the next tier. The system is considered to be inferior to 'sky' in many aspects however. Monsters did no longer drop synthesis materials, and while the equipment was fairly good still, the monsters could only drop one to two of them compared to 'sky' gods' several pieces. The drop rate is quite low for the first tier, but got better as you progressed further. 

However, there is one very significant difference compared to the sky system. 

Absolute Virtue.

Absolute Virtue (AV) is the Kirin of sea: the final tier monster in the system. Unlike Kirin, AV has never been killed the 'right' way. As it is right now (even after several adjustments), no group can survive against his attacks while dealing enough damage. The development team has said that there is a trick to killing it, but nobody has found it as of today (even after several hints were given, and a video made by the dev team was released). 

Al'taieu, or often called the 'sea'.

The two systems have some similarities though. Both events require you to progress through the story to unlock the main area where the monsters are fought. The way monsters are popped requires camping in both events, which can be very time consuming.

In these aspects the third tiered system differs quite a bit from it's predecessors. Zeni Notorious Monsters (ZNM) are popped using different items you get by trading pictures of normal monsters to an NPC. The NPC will then give you 'zeni' points based on the quality of the picture (level/hp/type of monster, and from which angle the picture was taken). Every monster gives some amount of points, but the NPC has a preferred monster type that changes every few hours. That monster type usually gives the most points. Usually for about ~15 pictures you get enough zeni to pop a tier 1 monster. You can only trade 10 pictures per a RL hour to the NPC though.

The system requires no camping whatsoever, and once you get the required item to pop the monster using zeni, you can go to the designated pop area and start fighting as soon as everyone is ready. The first tiers don't require many people to clear them; most of the time less than 6 players are enough to kill the monster, and in some cases even one player can succeed with relative ease.

Unlike sea monsters, ZNM's drop equipment like their sky counterparts, and the higher tier ones some synthesis materials as well. However, the pop items required to proceed to final tier do not have 100% drop rate like the sky gods do. The drop rate is about 10%~, and it can take a long time to get all 3 pop items. 

Unlike sky and sea monsters, ZNM's are scattered around the expansion areas and there is no mission requirement to be able to do it. It is linked to a minigame released earlier though, the Pankration, which you may have to do a bit first before you can start gathering the points.

The final tier monster in the system, called Pandemonium Warden, has similarities to AV.  At first, SE thought that both monsters should take around 18 hours to kill. However the negative reaction from the playerbase made SE change the monsters to have a 2 hour time limit in which you have to kill them. Unlike AV, PW has been able to be killed by many groups, but it is still quite a challenge to most of the playerbase.

Pandemonium Warden, the final monster in the ZNM system.

So, what conclusions can we draw from this?

If FFXIV endgame will have a tier system, it will most likely become a mix of sea and ZNM. Popping monsters might be point based instead of time, the lower tier monsters could be killed with only few players or solo, and there will most likely be a monster similar to AV or PW; let's hope for the latter. SE might create an artifical limitation as to how often you can kill the monster (be it time or limitations to how many points you can get in a day, or something else). We can never be sure when it's SE  we're talking about though. They might not go back to this system and try something completely new, but right now anything is possible.

 

Next time I'll talk about the world spawn system that many current and ex-FFXI players might remember as the weakest link of the endgame systems. 

Nobuaki Komoto - the director of FFXIV

Posted by Hyanmen Wednesday June 24 2009 at 5:55AM
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 Today I'm going to talk about Nobuaki Komoto, the director of FFXIV and his last work Chains of Promathia expansion (and a little bit of FFIX too- the first Final Fantasy he worked on!).

1. Nobuaki Komoto and FFXI

Before starting to direct the 14th installment to the Final Fantasy franchise, Nobuaki worked on as an event planner and scenario writer for FFIX and parts of FFXI- mainly the missions and quests for the Bastok city storyline. Later he was chosen to be the director of the second expansion to the FFXI, Chains or Promathia. One can clearly see his influence in how the expansion turned out, however unfortunately the lack of experience he had in directing games as well.

The emphasis in Chains of Promathia (from now on CoP) is clearly put to story and missions. Huge part of the development time was put to mission and story content- actually one could say that the whole expansion is centered around it. This is no surprise, seeing what his earlier role was in the making of games he was a part of.

Nobuaki Komoto at E3 2009

One interesting thing to note in CoP is that almost every area in it has been developed for the storyline purposes, and has quite few interactive elements included: In one mission for example the player has to climb up a mountain in a way that resembles more the gameplay of Crash Bandicoot rather than an MMO. Later the player has to also slide down an icy slope. 

The whole expansion, at times, feels like a single player RPG with multiplayer elements rather than an "MMO". I think that this is what mr. Komoto was aiming for when making the expansion, too. 

However, unfortunately that was also the downfall of the expansion- it focused too much on a sector which wasn't really a part of the core of the game. While missions and quests were a something that made FFXI unique to other MMORPG's,  one does not need to complete them to progress their character. When the main way of progressing character was fighting monsters for experience and doing events for good rewards, the missions weren't as important to most of the players. Pair this with the insane difficulty for some missions, and you have lots of players not bothering with the missions at all, the main part of the whole expansion! 

Chains of Promathia, the second expansion for Final Fantasy XI.

Later on, after the dev team had finished implementing the missions they could focus on actual content that has something to do with the "core" gameplay of the game, which saved the expansion from being a total failure for many. That is what I think Komoto forgot when directing the expansion, and focused too much on what he knows best: event planning and scenario writing.

So, why did SE decide to make the director of FFXIV the same guy who made the not-so-popular CoP expansion? It can't be because it was successful, because it wasn't.. so what could they possibly have in mind?

2. FFXIV - A story driven MMO!?

I can only assume that the higherups in SE HQ liked what they saw in CoP, but realized that the core of the game was too far from one that could allow this kind of expansion to be made- missions and quests weren't really a part of the everyday things players did in FFXI, like leveling.

So, what if the whole game was designed in a way that it would allow missions to be linked to the character progression and maybe things like endgame and crafting? It'd interesting to see how it would work out at least..!

What did the dev team say in the Q&A session at E3? "We wanted to make the best FF game first, and decided on making it an MMO after that." 

Many theories can be made from that comment, but when looking at CoP- that almost felt like a co-op single player FF at times- one could come to a conclusion that they're trying to implement the missions into the game in a way like never seen before in an MMO.

IGN also interviewed mr. Komoto at E3, and one comment he said might actually reveal more about the direction of the game than we originally thought:

"In FFXIV we hope to expand the system from FFXI and have your character develop- through the story"

Sounds exactly like what he would say!

Well, there are still things we don't have answers for- like how does one implement grind to that kind of MMO, or if there will be that at all. No matter what though, there has to be some time consuming process included or we'd clear the content way too fast- be it grind or something else. Only time can tell.

Also, while this has nothing to do with the story, didn't FFIX put some kind of emphasis to weapons developing your character? That was the first Final Fantasy Komoto worked on, so.. we might be seeing similar system return? Who knows...~

 

That's all about Nobuaki Komoto- next time I'll talk more specifically about the endgame (and low and midgame) of FFXI and what we could expect from FFXIV endgame- camping monsters for hours with 100 other players in a small zone, or diverse instanced events that do not include camping at all?!

An early comparison between the popular MMORPG's and FFXIV

Posted by Hyanmen Tuesday June 23 2009 at 4:38AM
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 First I'll look at how other MMORPG's handle the progressing of the character- these days often called leveling.

1. The difference between soloing for experience

Most of the time you can solo all the way to the level cap with ease. The difference between grouping and soloing isn't massive. Soloing is done in the same manner as grouping: killing monsters alone most of the time, and doing simple quests.

It is very possible that FFXIV might break from this trend, and try something quite different instead. Where do I base my assumption? For the answer to that we need to look at FFXI and how it has developed from a 99% grouping game to a more solo friendly one.

For one, FFXI has implemented the so called Fields of Valor system- basically a renamed event for "questing" in other MMORPG's; you kill a few mobs and get extra experience. There isn't much difference between this system and other MMO's questing systems.

However, what I think SE will use later instead of the oh so popular quest system is something they implemented in their 3rd expansion pack, Treasures of Aht Urhgan and continued in the 4th expansion: Large scale battles that are always available and where one doesn't need to group up to get decent experience.

In FFXI the event could be better; Ps2 limitations are holding it back from being something mindblowing. However, that's where FFXIV comes in: with the PS3 capabilities it could become something really epic. Especially if the game is actually designed around it, instead of trying to implement it into a system not designed for that kind of encounters.

There is one more reason for me to assume this; the development team has always been a fan of grouping up. It might not be unreasonable to say that they want to keep the grouping aspect as strong as possible, while making it possible for players to get experience (or whatever it is called in XIV) by themselves, although they'd still be a part of something bigger. 

2. The different emphasis to grouping and soloing

As mentioned above, the FFXI (and XIV) development team likes players to team up and play together. That's why the grouping aspect in FFXIV might be given more emphasis than in other MMORPG's.

It won't mean that the grouping will be 'forced' like it is in FFXI. It is very likely that it will play a bigger role in XIV than in other MMO's however. How big the role will be is unknown, but expect to see a clear difference.

3. PvP

The biggest difference will most likely be in the amount and type of PvP you are going to see in XIV compared to titles like WAR and WoW. 

As the development team has said in the Q&A session few weeks ago, PvP in FFXIV will most likely shape up to be similar to what it was in FFXI. Let me explain how it was done there:

There wasn't any open PvP, and the event was very friendly at heart. Grouping was important, and soloing wasn't nearly as effective. The main purpose wasn't to kill the opposing team, but it was more like a "Capture the flag" type encounter.

It was a fun minigame to do and not really a big part of the game itself. That is how it will probably be in FFXIV too, although it could be  a part of the main game this time.

4. The world, the graphics and the classes

The graphical style in FFXIV seems to continue in the same trend as in FFXI: realistic 'anime' look. More similar to the korean MMO Aion rather than western MMO's like WAR.  

Nobody knows if the world will shape up to be zone-based like FFXI or an open world area like WoW. Knowing SE's track record, I'd probably say that they will keep zones around, however make the loading times smaller and the zones bigger in size, as well as more open.

A significant difference between other MMO's and FFXIV will be that you can change classes with the same character, and that there won't be race/class limitations like there often are in MMO's these days.

5. Endgame and gear progression

One big difference in the endgame structure will be that there will be less events released, but they all add up because nothing gets replaced. The drop rates will be lower than usually, but because there's so many events you can do after a while it won't be much of a problem. The events will vary and there won't be just one type of event to do. Gear progression at level cap will be horizontal, and full of sidegrades.

6. Communicating

The dev team doesn't communicate with the players as much as the western developers do. They like to hide things as long as possible, and answer to questions with "We cannot tell you at this time." They do take feedback from the players, but often implement their suggestions in a way nobody would have expected: they're still developers after all, just copying ideas isn't good enough!

 

That is all about the differences between the MMO's for today. Next time I'll talk about the director of FFXIV - Nobuaki Komoto and his last work, the "Chains of Promathia" expansion for FFXI. 

Direction of the blog

Posted by Hyanmen Monday June 22 2009 at 6:37AM
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 Hello everyone, my name is "Hyanmen" and I am the writer of this FFXIV blog which will give insight as to what can one expect to see in this upcoming Square-Enix MMORPG. The blog will consist of mainly speculation and analysis based on the changes seen in Square-Enix's (from now on SE) first MMORPG Final Fantasy XI, as well as the news and interviews about the subject. If you haven't played FFXI past level 10, here you can find out what kind of game it really is- and if it will affect FFXIV and how.

Since the development team has said in the Q&A session of E3 that FFXIV will differ significantly from it's predecessor, there is not much sense to try to speculate in much detail about the things such as crafting or leveling, since those will probably see the biggest changes compared to eleventh Final Fantasy (even then I'll take a brief look at them, if just to give insight how they work in FFXI to give a general idea).  There is still lot to talk about however, such as the endgame structure and the possible similarities between the 2 titles, so I'll put my focus on talking about those subjects until more info is released in September.

The blog will be quite biased to the FFXI direction- I'm basing most of the things I say to 2 assumptions:

1) While the game will be different from FFXI, the general direction seen in the MMO will stay as it is or change slightly.

2) The development team will use ideas implemented in FFXI someway or the other in XIV.

Tomorrow I'll start the blog by talking about what differences one could expect in FFXIV compared to other popular MMO's such as WoW, WAR and Aion- if there even are any.