FFXI PvP News.

[Final Fantasy XI] In a move to placate, well, I have no idea who they are placating with this one, Square Enix is further revamping Ballista for Final Fantasy XI. This along with the rest of the news so far seems to indicate that there is alot coming in the next update. I am going to reserve comment on the update until all of the information is released (not because I am wholistic or anything, just basically because I am lazy).

Here is the info:

Upcoming Changes to Ballista Rules

In mid-July, Ballista will undergo a series of rule alterations and additions.

-If one side of an official match is low on members, entry into that force will be possible even if a match is already underway. In this case, experience may still be gained if certain conditions are met, just as if the player had entered the match from the start.

-In the past, special rules have been adapted for Ballista matches. These include a special rule that adjusts the location of the two camps when the number of participants in a match is less than 40, and reduces the number of Rooks to two when there is a significant difference in the number of players on each side. Another rule allows each player to receive experience points for participating in an official match. Following the version update, these two methods of play will lose their status as special rules and become the norm for Ballista matches.

-The current system of “Open Entry” for official matches, in which all adventurers are allowed to join the force with the smallest number of participants, will be done away with and replaced by a system called “Temporary Entry,” in which players may join a force regardless of allegiance. However, the player’s entry will be temporary, and similar to Diorama Abdhaljs-Ghelsba’s “Auto-Balance” feature, the players may be redistributed for balance when the match begins.

-In Ru’Lude Gardens, the player will be able to view Diorama Abdhaljs-Ghelsba’s reservation status.

-The player will no longer be able to adjust Petra selection settings in Diorama Abdhaljs-Ghelsba, but when in possession of the new key item “Ballista Band,” the player will be given the option of what to do with the first Petra quarried in Diorama Abdhaljs-Ghelsba and official Ballista matches. *The Ballista Band may not be used during Ballista Royale.

The FINAL FANTASY XI main page is frequently updated with news regarding mid-July’s version update. Please check often for more exciting information!

FINAL FANTASY XI Development Team (7/4/2005)

Illgottenly gained from the FINAL FANTASY XI Development Team webpage.

ringthree

Don’t know what to make of this…

[Final Fantasy XI] I don’t know what Square Enix’s plan is with doing this, but this appears to be an attempt to balance both Ninja and Ranger in the next update. The Ninja will now lose hate as they lose their blink shadows, and Ranger will now have its ranged attacks damage and accuracy vary with distance, also damage will be reduced when using ranged attacks against mobs of much higher level. The Ranger change makes sense, as they are very overpowered to begin with, and this brings ranged attacks in line with the way that melee damage is dealt. With Ninja, I am wondering if they are trying to reduce the use of Ninja as a tank. When Ninja was introduced as a class they were supposed to be a damage dealing class, but players started using their blink shadows to make the Ninja a tanking class. I am wondering how much the lose of hate will affect Ninja as a tanking class, if this is an attempt to kill them as a tanking class or to make paladin or even warrior or samurai as a viable tanking class.

We will see when the update is available.

Here is the information:

Changes to Utsusemi and Ranged Attacks

The next version update will make battle more strategic for players who use Utsusemi or ranged attacks.

*Changes to the ninjutsu “Utsusemi”
In the next update, the player’s enmity will decrease when a shadow image created by Utsusemi is absorbed by an attack.

*Changes to Ranged Attacks
Soon, the distance of the monster from the player will determine the damage and accuracy of ranged attacks. This determination will vary from weapon to weapon, as will the ideal distance for maximum damage. In addition, the higher the monster’s level is with regard to the player, the less damage will be dealt with a ranged attack. This system is similar to that of melee attacks, but the difference in damage will not be as great.

A score of new material and exciting new improvements awaits in the next version update in mid-July, so keep checking this site for details as the time approaches!

Appropriated from the FINAL FANTASY XI Development Team webpage.

Edit: Additional Thoughts:
After thinking about this for a little while I have come up with this:

Ninja – SE is attempting to make Ninja in line with Paladins when it comes to hate. Every time a character is hit buy a mob it loses a definite amount of hate, but before when a mob hit one of a ninja’s shadows the Ninja did not lose hate. This would advantage Ninjas over Paladins in maintaining hate just because of game programing. The effect will be that Ninjas will be required to use all of their ninjitsu to maintain hate on the mob. This will advantage good Ninja’s over those that just get Utsusemi and dont use any of the other Ninja spells. I am for anything that advantages good players over those that don’t take their job seriously.

Ranger – Based on the assumption that optimal ranged distance will be outside of melee distance, I believe that we will now see two kinds of rangers.

1) Damage Rangers. These will be rangers that will switch their sub to /WAR and will stay outside of melee range and will just fire off endless numbers of arrows doing alot of damage.

2) TP Rangers. These will be rangers that will keep /NIN are their sub and will stay in melee range and time attacks and arrow shots, then move out to optimal range and fire off their WS.

I think it is great for all players while still giving Rangers lot of options.

ringthree

I am a Ninja!

[Final Fantasy XI] More update information from our friends at Square Enix. Its not really much, just more storage tweaks mainly. The most important information though is the fact that Ninja’s can now create quiver-like bundling for ninja tools in much the same way that rangers have quivers for arrows. This makes alot of sense given that both ninja tools and arrows stack to 99. This will mean that I can store alot more ninja tools in the Mog House or on my character. It also means that I can buy more stacks of ninja tools while they are cheap and have them for later without having to mule them away.

Other information from the update includes new items that can be held by the storage NPC and new warp/teleport rings that are available for purchase through the conquest point system.

Here is the information in toto:

Bundling ninja tools, an addition to the storable equipment list, and new items earned by conquest points!

All this and more are coming up in the next version update in mid-July.

*Bundling Stacks of Ninja Tools
Similar to quivers, players will soon be able to bundle multiple stacks of 99 ninja tools as one item. The player can accumulate 12 stacks of 99 ninja tools in one item slot. In short, players will be able to carry twelve times more ninja tools in each slot than before!

*Equipment Storage
There is an NPC that players can talk to in order to have special equipment stored as a Key Item. This frees up inventory space for more items. Soon, Mythril Plate Armor will be added to the list of storable equipment.

*New Items Earned by Conquest Points
The Return Ring and the Homing Ring will be added to the list of items that can be obtained through exchanging conquest points.

Keep checking this section for more exciting news regarding July’s version update!

Mugged from the FINAL FANTASY XI Development Team webpage.

ringthree

Mobs galore!

[Final Fantasy XI] In an attempt to keep all the level 75’s burning arrows and mana to get their merit points, Square Enix is changing around the mobbies in some of the Chains of Promathia areas. My guess this will be in the areas where people would run out of mobs to kill for experience point chains. Bibiki Bay has been mentioned as one of the possible areas.

Recently, FFXI’s incredible popularity has led to a population boom! The introduction of the Merit Point system and the rapid increase in the number of missions and quests have also increased the traffic in several select areas.

In order to allow everyone room to engage in battles to their heart’s content, the FFXI development team will be adjusting enemy locations in the next version update. The bulk of the changes will be to areas from the newest expansion pack, “Chains of Promathia.” These adjustments will give players more freedom when choosing where to battle.

The next version update is currently in the testing phase, so look forward to experiencing it soon!

They are probably just equalizing the mob distribution based upon player usage, while using this as an opportunity to toot there own horn.

Pilfered from the Final Fantasy XI webpage.

ringthree

Update of Irrelevancy

[Final Fantasy XI] As the resident Final Fantasy XI guy I figured it was my duty to bring you any and all updates for the game, but man, I wish they gave me something more that Chocobo rustlin’…

From the FFXI homepage:

Adventurers, take up your swords and staves! A plethora of action-packed quests is currently in the works for the upcoming FINAL FANTASY XI version update…

The following is a sample of the excitement that awaits:

*A quest requiring adventurers to deliver a lost chocobo to its home stables. Test your riding skills while competing for jaw-dropping prizes and the title of “Vana’diel’s Fastest”!

*Quests to obtain masks designed after your favorite beastmen. Only those who obtain the unique headwear will be able to unlock the equipment’s true power…

And that is only the beginning! Keep your eyes glued to this page for the latest in update information!

FINAL FANTASY XI Development Team (6/22/2005)

Woohoo… Chocobo racing and funny-looking hats.

Stolen from the FFXI developers page.

ringthree

What has WoW done for you lately… well besides Battlegrounds…

[Final Fantasy XI] The game that loves to be neglected is giving you more and more. And they do it without promising it 6 months before release and finally patching it in 6 months after. Looks like Final Fantasy XI is getting more named mobs, and all the yummy items that entails in the next update. These will be quested mobs (to prevent over camping) or instanced mobs that are available through the Chains of Promathia storyline.

From the official site:

The FFXI development team will soon add a slew of notorious monsters! These monsters may be challenged in several areas, and others may be discovered during all-new quests! As if that weren’t enough, brand-new battlefields await, including rematches with formidable opponents from Chains of Promathia! Keep your eyes peeled for this exciting new update!

One eager FFXI player that can’t wait for mid-July!

-ringthree

New update for Final Fantasy coming mid-July.

[Final Fantasy XI] Square Enix posted on the Final Fantasy XI main page that the new update will be available in mid-July. As usual, the update will include new quests, equipment and mobs. It will also include the conclusion to the Chains of Promathia storyline which, if it is handled the way the Rise of the Zilart storyline was handled, may indicate that the next expansion is around the corner. My guess? It will be released with the Xbox 360 version.

The development team is currently working on the next version update, which will include all the usual goodies–new quests, new Notorious Monsters, and various system additions and improvements–as well as the thrilling climax to the Promathia story. Watch this space for the latest announcements regarding update details.

The next version update is scheduled to take place in mid-July.

– ringthree

Wither World of Warcraft?

[Final Fantasy XI, World of Warcraft] So I actually spent some time playing World of Warcraft over the weekend. I play a human mage, starting a frost/arcane spec. I have gotten to level 16 so far. The question I keep asking myself, is why should I go any further.

I actually want to get to 20. 20 is the lowest acceptable level that I can do the Dead Mines instance. Instances are what really drew me to this game in the first place. In Final Fantasy XI, there are very few instances and they involve just one combat scenario. But the idea of an extended dungeon with goals that must be completed to accomplish the mission has so much intrigue for me. The problem that I am having is actually getting there.

I can’t comment on any more than what I have experienced so far, but so far I just don’t see the overall appeal of the questing system. The quests are generic, and when I say generic I mean, they are all one of three kinds. Thats it. In FFXI, let alone most other games, quest systems are far more advanced than this. The newness of WoW is also no excuse because many other new games have had far more engaging quests from the very beginning. I mean the quests get to the point of being so simple (but not easy) and dull that, at some point, I figure that the NPC’s will just walk me over to the mob that I need to kill and sit there with an “I’m waiting” expression on their face.

I love the idea of experience rewards for quests, because this is more along the line of the original pen and paper RPG’s of yore. You are also not left wanting for equipment or money. This is a good thing, for now, at least. We will see how the economy changes. I just don’t feel compelled to sit down and start playing. I did feel compelled the first few days that I played. It was interesting, learning the battle system, doing (at the time) interesting quests, and exploring new areas. Now that I have done the introduction to the game, I am having trouble finding out when the game is supposed to become intriguing.

I think there is one major thing that WoW is missing, and that is one of the things that is keeping me engaged in FFXI. There is a complete lack of cutscenes in WoW (besides the opening one, but I mean if that is the only cutscene for the entirity of the game, that is pathetic). There is a story to be found if you read the quest givers notes, but there is nothing to make me feel like I am the one that is doing this quest for a specific reason. With cutscenes, your character is inserted into the storyline supposedly as the story is taking place. This is engagement, this is intrigue, this is not “Kill Ten Rats.”

And so I genero-quest onward to 20 so I can try an instance. I have built up instances in WoW to a great level in my own mind, lets hope WoW doesn’t let me down.

Ringthree

The beauty and woe of multi-jobbing.

[Final Fantasy XI] In Final Fantasy XI players are afforded the opportunity to play as multiple jobs on the same character. The idea behind this is a great one, as players can play as any and all jobs that are available to them (some must be unlocked through quests after a certain level has been attained with one of the basic jobs). Players can become attached to one character, instead of playing a job for the life of the character, as is the case with almost all other currently available MMO’s. Another added benefit is that it prevents the game from getting “old.” Meaning that there will always be players that are leveling low level jobs, and since FFXI is almost exclusively based upon partying after level 10 (out of 75) there will always be players that can party in low level areas (well at least for a very long time).

There is a deep beauty in this formula. If one becomes disinterested in the job they are currently playing, they would only need to return to their Mog house and select a new job. This combined with the sub-job system allows players to create combinations that are useful for leveling, farming, soloing, etc. Many people start off playing MMO’s as a job/class because of the external appeal of the job and are unable to switch when they find that they don’t actually enjoy playing that particular job. Instead of the forced choice of pursuing a profession they don’t enjoy or creating a disconnect by having to produce a new character from the beginning, this system creates a level of immersion in the world that they play and creates the attachment that is necessary to keep players within the MMO.

But with the beauty also comes the woe. I currently play a character who’s main job is Dragoon. This is a job that many people are proud to play because it has one of the deepest storylines in the quest to open it. It is a popular class but it also has some weaknesses as the game progresses to the higher levels. This is not a problem for most people that play it, and there is no real deficit in those that play as Dragoons. But for me, the problem of envy arose. I wished to play a job that was much needed and always wanted. This came in two forms, Ranger and Ninja. Respectively, these are the highest damaging job and most sort after (well, equally with Paladin) tanks in the game. The problem with these jobs is that they cost gil. Lots and lots of gil. Playing these two jobs costs twice the lots and lots of gil. I enjoy them both so I have to pay through the nose to maintain them. This is not a problem, per se, with a system that allows players to have multiple jobs, but it does illustrate the harder work that is necessary to maintain them.

I believe that more and more MMO’s will pursue this multi-job tract. The attachment I feel to my FFXI character is definitely deeper than the attachment I have to my World of Warcraft characters. I suppose this may also be because of the “casual gamer” friendliness of WoW, but others have discussed the potential lack of sustainability of “casual gamer” friendly MMO’s. Attachment to MMO’s come from, I believe, attachment to the player’s role in the game. The friends they make, the level of there character, etc. The ability to sustain the same character while not being locked into the same job helps to cement the commitment of players to a particular MMO.

ringthree

FFXI goes 360.

[Final Fantasy XI] E3 is a well-spring of information of just about anything related to gaming. Final Fantasy XI is just as lucky as any other. After the annoucement of Xbox 360, you would expect the floodgates to open for all the developers to announce their games. The interesting one for FFXI players is that FFXI will be ported over to Xbox 360. This news item was profound enough for Forbes to pick up the Microsft/Square Enix annoucement. Words like “key victory” were even used. I don’t really see how this can be touted as a “key victory” when Microsoft is including a four-year-old MMO on a console that isn’t exactly percieved as RPG/MMO-friendly, but when you’re Microsoft (and engaged in a console war with gaming powerhouse Sony), you take your victories however you can get them

What does this mean for FFXI? More players, first and foremost. The lifeblood of any MMO, especially one the size of FFXI, is players. The more the better. This will mean that FFXI will be the only MMO that operates across three different platforms (PC, PS2, now Xbox 360). This allows SE to continue to develop content knowing that they will not be losing subscribers anytime soon. Second, this makes one wonder if the PS3 version of the game is far off. SE has plainly stated that they are a multi-platform company and Sony has supported SE greatly in their endeavor to bring FFXI to their console. I would be shocked to hear that there wasn’t going to be a PS3 version.

Conjecture around the Xbox 360 version is rampant, but most of the speculated improvements are likely to be overblown. SE has said they have no intentions of locking players out of graphical upgrades and as the PS2 is the limiting factor here, we are likely to see resolutional upgrades for Xbox 360 but not much else. Play Online (SE’s proprietary network) will likely still be the portal to reach FFXI, and if the rumors about how the next generation Xbox Live pricing structure will work are true, then it will not cost new players anything more than the normal cost of the content ID’s to play.

The other likely outcome from this will be a new expansion. Although, a new expansion was likely to emerge soon anyway, this annoucement will likely set a firm date for when it will be available. There is precedence for an expansion to be made available when this MMO hits a new platform, as the Rise of the Zilart was made available when the PS2 version of FFXI was released in the US.

ringthree