Written by Chris Boots-Faubert for SuperCheats.com Introduction and Synopsis
Final Fantasy XIV (AKA FFXIV) is the fourteenth installment in the long-running Final Fantasy Series, and its second Massive Multi-Player Online Role playing Game (MMORPG) the first being Final Fantasy XI. Set for a 30th September 2010 Public Launch on the Microsoft Windows platform simultaneously in English, French, German, and Japanese, followed by a version for Sony's PlayStation 3 console some time in March 2011, the game is said to be a continuation and reinterpretation of the world as it was presented in FFXI, though there are many changes to the lore and canon.
Developed and published by JRPG Powerhouse Square Enix, its new world is called Hydaelyn, primarily on a continent called Eorzea, following the long-established tradition in the series of place-names that are very difficult to pronounce for most North American players. In place of the usual blend of Fantasy mixed with Swords and Sorcery, Square is introducing a swirl of Science Fiction as well, which will provide new skills and a new storyline to engross even the most advanced of players from the previous MMO in the series.
Fans of the series eager to jump in and play will be pleased to learn that while the regular Retail Version of the game for MS Windows will go on sale on launch day (30 September), the Collector's Edition will hit store shelves a full week earlier (22 September), and includes a full 8-days of early access. In addition to being able to play a week early, the CE includes a Behind-the-Scenes DVD, a Login Security Token to protect your account, a soft-bound Travel Journal in which players can record their discoveries, and a voucher for a personalized certificate. Pre-order of the Collector's Edition also includes a code that can be redeemed for an in-game item called The Onion Helm that will accelerate character recovery after falling in battle.
Development of the game began in 2005, and after years of confusing rumors, FFXIV was officially announced at the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). A public Beta was run from July through August 2010, with official word just prior to the Beta that the Microsoft Xbox 360 would not be a supported platform for the game. Synopsis --
After centuries of constant war the nation-states of Eorzea were united due to the threat posed to each by the Garlean Empire, a mysterious and powerful Eastern nation that possessed superior technology, magic, and adult beverages. The Garlean Empire constructed a City-State called Ala Mhigo central to the previously warring nations of Ul'Dah, Limsa Lominsa, and Girdania, that was widely viewed as the first stage in its planned invasion of the three nations, and this caused a working peace to be declared as they each prepared for an invasion that never came.
After fifteen years of no-invasion, while the threat still weighed heavy over the three kingdoms, their economy could not support a war-footing indefinitely, and each began to reduce the size of its military forces, putting soldiers, sailors, and mercenaries back into an economy that had no jobs to offer them. This resulted in the formation of Crafting and Adventuring Guilds, to which many of the jobless flocked.
There are five distinct playable races in the game: the human-like Hyur, the Elezen which is an Elf-like race, a cute but diminutive human-like race called the Lalafell, the large and beast-like Roegadyn who hail from the Northern Region, and a cat-like humanoid race called the Miqo'te, a matriarchal society of tailless cats that is very good at the arts of war.
The Class System in FFXIV is divided into four groups of Disciplines, which players can shift in and out of based upon the weapon or tool that they are wielding at the time:
- Disciples of Magic
- Disciples of the Hand
- Disciples of the Land
- Disciples of War
Pugilist Game Play
The structure of the game is very different than that of Final Fantasy XI, which used an XP and SP based system for level-based progression. In its place FFXIV uses a skill-based progression system that is very similar to that used in the single-player game Final Fantasy II. Another key difference in game play from FFXI is the re-emphasis of single-player play FFXI was focused upon group play and while there are group-play elements in the game, this has been balanced with solo-play to make all aspects of the game fully accessible. Early experience in the Beta suggests that players will be successful in smaller groups or teams, an element of play that has long been desired in the previous game.
Avatars in the game are very similar to those in FFXI, with certain cosmetic changes like the loss of the tail on the cat-like humanoid race, and rather than be forced to change jobs or utilize a sub-job system, the developers implemented an object-based job system in which the item, weapon, or tool currently equipped is what selects the skill being used and developed. When a player changes their job by equipping a held-item, their appearance can also change depending upon the job, giving a visual clue to the current job both for the player and for observers.
Perhaps the most marked change in the game is the elevation of crafting from a support-based sub-skill to a full-blown set of job classes in the game, which means all of those years spent crafting and honing your skill at collecting resources will now pay-off as you transition to the new game, where your skills are more than just a means for making money, but are also part of your character's identity! It may feel odd having Merchant be a playable class in any game, but the reality that has been recognized here is that the Crafter / Merchant is absolutely necessary to the maintenance of a strong virtual economy.
Many elements of play from FFXI will appear in FFXIV, including the Chocobo, though it will not be a part of the highly structured breeding and racing system that developed in the previous game. Also making a return is the Linkshell system of Player Guilds/Groups, though like most of the other elements in the game Linkshells have a different visual appearance, looking more like shields than pearls. Players from FFXI may be able to retain the name of their characters from the previous game, though no official word has yet been passed on the mechanism that will be used to accomplish this.
Player Housing will return in the game, though details about the topic from developers and about player item storage -- have been sparse. Sources close to development have commented privately that a system of property ownership is contemplated for later in the game's development, though this would be focused more upon group ownership than individual player ownership, with individual housing following the already established system.
Final Fantasy XIV is set for public release on September 30th, 2010, with pricing currently at $74.99 US / £49.99 UK for the Collector's Edition (Amazon), and a Retail Version MSRP of $49.99 US / £39.99 UK. After the initial 30-days play time included with purchase of the software, a monthly subscription fee of $12.99 will be required to play the game
The base subscription for the game includes one (1) playable character, and one (1) non-playable retainer character that provides additional item storage space and functions as a merchant character to sell items. Additional playable cahracters (up to a maximum of 8 per paid account) can be added for an additional $3 per playable character, per month, while additional non-playable retainer characters can be added to a paid account for an addition $1 per non-playable character per month.
Minimum System Requirements for the Microsoft Windows Version include:
OS: Windows XP SP3 / Windows Vista 32/64 / Windows 7 32/64
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz / AMD Athlon X2 2.0 GHz
Memory: 1.5GB Windows XP / 2GB Windows Vista/7
Storage: 15GB Install / 6GB Download
Video: GeForce 9600 w/ 512MB VRAM / ATI Radeon 2900 w/ 512MB VRAM or better.
Sound: Direct Sound Compatible supporting DirectX 9.0c
Resolution: 1280 x 720 32 bit
Requires Mouse and Keyboard
Broadband Internet Connection Required.
Note: Windows 64-bit OS's will install and play under the Windows-on-Windows 64 (WoW64) mode.