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 1UP Preview and mini-interview!

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Khalus Akuhei
Furtively Altruistic


Joined : 2008-05-21
Posts : 4384

PostSubject: 1UP Preview and mini-interview!   Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:45 am

Lots of interesting 'new' info in this one...I've bolded the most important parts! Verily Interesting...


Quote :
I stopped by Square's booth for a quick look at Final Fantasy XIV, currently approaching its beta release. And while the MMO genre is hard to gauge accurately at an E3 demo station, what I saw today showed promise.

I started off by experimenting with character creation, which according to my tour guide had been completely revamped since the alpha release. The character creation allowed me to quickly piece together a character from an impressive variety of pieces, often previewing them side-by-side at each junction. I was told that there were many more customization options than in the alpha, and that more should be added by the time the final game is released.

After playing around with the nuanced character customization, I was given pre-made characters and dropped into the vast world of Eorzea, specifically the Cedarwood region of La Noscea, outside the port city of Limsa-Lominsa. The world seemed as enormous as it was beautiful, with rolling hills, caves and bridged crevasses and an ominous-looking mountain looming in the distance.



Playing as a Rank 40 female Elezen Lancer, I familiarized myself with the basics of battle: drawing my weapon, targeting enemies, and poking them to death. Adorable Wharf Rats, vacant-eyed Dodos, winged Puks and a twisted spider-like monster (whose name I quickly blocked out) all fell quickly, no doubt thanks to the grossly over-leveled character I was provided.

In addition to running them through with my spear, the Lancer had a number of other abilities on the Action Bar on the interface to play with. One allowed my attacks to drain health from foes, while other
techniques more elaborately perforated my enemies or temporarily boosted my stats. Similar to the recent Final Fantasy XIII, every action used a portion of a constantly-building stamina bar, and as long as I had stamina to spare I was free to attack or use abilities.

According to our tour guide, the battle system has been completely remade in the months since the alpha test started, all as a response to player feedback, making it faster and more fun than it was in the alpha. In addition to the battle system, the game's UI was also given a complete overhaul, with a cleaner look and location-sensitive commands.

Following the brief tour, I sat down to interview Final Fantasy XIV Producer, Hiromichi Tanaka and North American Producer, Yasu Kurosawa. Through their answers to my questions, it became clear that Square Enix is working hard to ensure that Final Fantasy XIV is more accessible than its forbear.

While party play will of course be encouraged, the game is designed with more of a solo play focus in mind. Additionally, quests called "Guildleves" will help players level up, improve their skills and earn a living, all at the same time. These quests are designed with short play sessions in mind, usually 30 minutes or less. Transport around Eorzea is also promised to be quick and convenient, and players can change jobs in the field simply by changing their equipment, making it faster and easier to assemble groups and get fighting.

For those new to MMOs and interested in an experience closer to a traditional Final Fantasy game, they promised that the player would not feel like a number, thanks to a strong story focus that would make them feel like the hero of Eorzea. Mr. Tanaka noted that content updates would be released to players every 3 months or so, similar to the current [url=http://www.1up.com/do/search?term=Final Fantasy XI]Final Fantasy XI[/url] update schedule, despite the voices and increased production values in the game's cinematics and presentation.



Beyond these broad statements, some news was made: Mr. Tanaka mentioned that players would be able to create and join groups called "Companies." Similar to player guilds in other games, Companies can themselves "level up," presumably offering additional benefits to the members therein. When asked if Companies would have shared housing or other group-owned assets, they smiled and said that players would have real-estate to call their own, but "weren't ready to announce anything more at this time" - sounds like a "yes" to me!

Unfortunately for many, another piece of news was not made: when asked, Tanaka reiterated that they currently have no plans to release the game on the Xbox 360, and have not even begun porting it. They're "still investigating it," but it's puzzling they'd drop the Xbox 360 after releasing Final Fantasies XI and XIII on Microsoft's system.

Series fans across the 'net frequently discount Final Fantasy XIV as little more than "Final Fantasy XI-2," and having played it now, I'm inclined to disagree. While the art and feel are certainly reminiscent of XI, the gameplay itself is completely different, and seems to be on the right track. Look for it in late 2010 on PC and PlayStation 3.
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