In the latest Famitsu, magazine writers were able to get a up close and personal look at the Final Fantasy XIV Alpha Test! They wrote all about what players can expect, and provided some very juicy information and pictures for us to enjoy.
Discuss this in the ZAM Forums!Character Creation
Famitsu boasts that the character creation system is so deep, you'll be nitpicking your avatar setting all day long trying to get it just right. Even the alpha, while not complete, has a considerable amount of variations available such as face type, skin color, hair style and body size. There are even smaller details, like putting highlights or streaks in your hair, that are customizable. There will be brand new aspects of your character to select as well -- there will even be a number of different voice types.
The character creation process begins with selecting one's race and customizing the avatar. Once your character is complete, you begin the game and set up your Class, birthday and Guardian Diety. What effects one's Guardian Diety will have in game are unknown at this time. Once all those steps are complete, you choose your name, which as we know consists of both a first and last name.Seamless Fields and Instanced Areas
Leaving a town brings you into the Field Area where you have your adventures. FFXIV will have a seamless transition between areas that requires no loading time. From their experience with the game, Famitsu says this really gives Eorzea the feeling of a wide, expansive world. In addition, the background music transitions naturally between the areas you traverse.
A new addition, familiar to many MMO players, is the Instanced Area. This is where a private copy of an area is created, into which only you and your party can enter. These will be used in FFXIV for special events, an example being when cut scenes take place in order to eliminate outside effects and noise, allowing the player to enjoy their cut scene in peace.
The Menu System
Guildleve and the Battle System
- Status & Equip: Opens up the Status & Equip screen (pictured below)
- Action: Unknown... may contain commands like Trade, Craft etc?
- Physical Bonus: Unknown... a place to allocate points to stats?
- Item: Displays your inventory
- Journal: Opens up your Guildleve menus
- Party: Opens up party-related lists/functions
- Map: Displays the full area map
- Teleport: Instantly move to any Aetheryte you have visited at least once
- Warp: Instantly return to the last Aetheryte you visited
- Logout: Leave Eorzea and return to the harsh banality of Earth
Guildleves are like "quests" that you can undertake by visiting an adventurer's guild in a city. The contents of a Guildleve can vary player to player, and you can attempt them alone or with a group. To begin your selected Guildleve, first you must seek out Aetheryte in a Field Area. Players can move instantly to Aetheryte they have visited once before by selecting the "Teleport" command.
The difficulty of a Guildleve changes based on your selected party size. However, the party sizes are not selected directly, but rather through 5 different categories.
Now, as a big kanji nut, something that I found interesting that I'm going to bore you with here is: Judging from what is revealed in Famitsu, the party sizes are described through 四字熟語 (yo-ji-juku-go) or four-characteridioms. These are terms constructed of four kanji that together hold a profound meaning. Many of these terms cannot be translated directly, or take entire sentences just to explain -- they are tough for even native Japanese to remember! Often times, you will see them translated as clever puns or a play on words that keeps it snappy while attempting to capture the original meaning.
Here are the party sizes and difficulty levels from ☆(easy) to ☆☆☆☆☆(hard) Party sizes are approximated based on what we know, i.e. recommended parties are 6-8 members, and the max is 15 members.
- ☆ - 孤軍奮闘 (ko-gun-fun-tou) - A Lone Fighting Force , (solo)
- ☆☆ - 少数精鋭 (shou-suu-sei-ei) - An Elite Few , (below 6 members)
- ☆☆☆ - 推奨人数 (sui-shou-nin-zuu) - Recommened Party Size, (6-8 party)
- ☆☆☆☆ - 千軍万馬 (sen-gun-ban-ba) - A Great Army *lit. 1,000 Units & 10,000 Horses* , (9+ members)
- ☆☆☆☆☆ - 人海戦術 (jin-kai-sen-jutsu) - A Vertiable Ocean of People *similarin meaning to swarm/zerg* , (~ 15 members)
Many Guildleves involved combat, and the Famitsu team was kind enough to explain the flow of combat below:
1) Target your enemy -
Find the enemy you wish to attack and select it. Once selected, the L3 button will initiate Target Lock, keeping you facing the enemy's direction.
2) Ready your weapon
- Move your cursor over your weapon of choice and press Circle. Once selected, R1 will take out your weapon and ready your stance. Now you are in "Active Mode" and able to engage the enemy.
3) Select your commands -
A list of your commands is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Underneath each icon is a guage showing how much time remains until they are ready for use.
4) Store up your Action Guage -
Once your Action Guage is full, you can activate commands. To boost their effect, store up the Effect Guage.
5) Using the Effect Guage -
You can activate commands immediately, or you can enhance their effects by storing up your Effect Guage. This guage is constantly building, so timing is important.Convenience and Travel Time
Aetheryte provides the foundation for adventure for all players. It exists out in Field Areas as well as inside cities. Aetheryte serves as a the launching point for a Guildleve and the destination for Teleport. All players are able to use Teleport right from the start. In addition, once a quest is complete, an Aethereal Node will appear, allowing players to easily warp back to the original Aetheryte they came from. Everything is designed to allow players to move around and enjoy the game with ease.Freedom of Growth
In FFXIV, what most MMO players know as "levels" will be the character's "Physical Level." Points you
accumulate in battle can be freely spent on HP/MP, physical strength, intelligence or a variety of other parameters. In other words, you can focus on one aspect of your character, or aim for balance between all stats. The ultimate decision regarding the direction of the character is completely up to the player.