Seems like there were a couple of news around Final Fantasy XIV while I wasn't looking. The first one is a preview about the class revisions that should be coming with patch 1.20. You can find it here. As usual for these kind of things, anything in that post can change before the actual patch hits the game and people can post feedback about it on the official forums.
The second bit of news is the second "Letter from the Producer Live" which is pretty much ye olde webcast from the developers but with a fancy title. You can find it here. The video itself is in japanese without any subtitles. However there is an english translation in the form of text in the same posting.
Both give some interesting preview of what should be coming to the game in the near and long term. A lot of it made me pretty excited too as there are some cool additions being added and more much-needed changes to the game. I won't be commenting on every and each item as it would take a gigantic post for it. I will just do so with the ones I found more interesting.
I will most likely do a hand-on post about all these topics as soon as the patches come. For now, my thoughts about what we know so far.
Let's start with the class revisions. Apparently the goal of it is to make each class more unique. How exactly they will do that I have no idea and they weren't very specific about it at this point either. This kind of confuses me as I do think the classes are already pretty unique as it is. For example, lancers can hit the enemy in front of them and a enemy behind that one with each attack. Conjurers can cast single or AOE spells. Pugilists are pretty good at dealing with one-on-one enemies, etc. So it remains to be seem what they mean exactly by that.
Class traits will be learned as characters level up just like skills and abilities. I honestly don't know how class traits are for adventurer classes and none of mine reached that level yet. Yeah, yeah, I know I level as slow as a slug. Anyway, if it is anything like the ones from craft they are sort of like a proc that gives a small benefit. Right now you need to do some guild leves to earn tokens and buy it from the respective class guild. With the change those guild tokens will be removed. Tokens already spent will be reimbursed and any token you have by then will be able to be traded. The team is still discussing the details about that though.
Again, to be honest I haven't gotten to the class guild token grind yet. So I don't know how bad it is on Final Fantasy XIV. I had experience with token grinding in another game tough (*cough*Everquest 2*cough*) and if I learned something about it is that tokens sucks. Yes, I understand there are valid reasons for a token system. However when it becomes so ubiquitous that every new expansion and event have their own token system it does make you wonder why there is even a currency in the game anymore. Since pretty much every time a new one comes you have to grind a new token from the scratch. Just so people have an idea, in EQ2 it came to the point where they had to add a currency tab to the character sheet just so all the different tokens wouldn't take space on your inventory/bank. Hmmm.... Now that I think about it there is a currency tab for Final Fantasy XIV too....
Anyway, all I can say about the guild tokens being removed is... I didn't get to know you but all my experiences with your kind has been terrible. So good riddance!
Apparently they are getting rid of t he shield skill too. Right now it is like the shield is its own class in that it has its own level, like a real class. However, for obvious reasons you can't just equip the shield and go fighting. Well, you could if they would allow us to fight like Captain America and throw the shield at the enemies but I digress. The only way to level up your shield skill is by using it with another class like... the gladiator. In fact the idea right now is to merge it with the gladiator class. Again, not a big loss here.
Then comes the class actions changes. For those who don't play Final Fantasy XIV, think of it as class abilities/spells in other MMORPGs. Right now the system is pretty open on which class actions you can have "equipped". It is kinda like this, each class action has a cost. You can equip any class action, be it from the your current class, or from any other of your classes, as long as the total cost isn't higher than the cost cap. The cost cap is determined by your current class level. For instance, let's say there is a Pugilist class action called "Jab" that costs 2 points and a Conjurer action called "Fireball" that costs 4 points. You are on your Pugilist class, that is level 4. The cost cap is 10. So you can easily equip the "Jab" and "Fireball" actions since both cost 6. You could even equip another action too if you want as long as the it doesn't cost more than 10. Now, let's say you switch to the Conjurer class. In that class you are only level 1. Your action cap then become 4 since you are only level 1 on that class. Then you can only equip the "Fireball" spell or the "Jab" action. Or any other action as long as it is equal or lower than 4. Just to be clear, these names and numbers have been made up for the sake of example.
As you can see it is a very flexible system and explaining it is actually more complicated than explaining it. What will be changing is that once you switch to a certain class, all of that class actions will be automatically equipped and won't be able to be removed. Then you get the option of equipping the action from another class if you wish to do so. How many actions from another class you can equip will depend on the level of your current class. There is chart on the post with the class revisions preview that shows it.
I actually like the current class system as it is. But this streamlining isn't a bad thing either and it will probably be less confusing for new players. So I'd say it is another good change.
Lastly, for the class revisions, there is the, tentatively named, Individual Combos. Apparently it is a way to chain class actions to get some benefit. Like doing more damage to the mob or giving it a debuff. This one should be an interesting addition and make combat more dynamic.
Now on to the Letter from the Producer Live II. This one is more of a hodge-podge of topics considering it was pretty much a question and answer session. It also covers more stuff in the far future.
The thing that excited me the most was the talk about housing. Yes, I know this sounds a weird thing to be excited about in a MMORPG but I have my reasons. I may or may not go over it in a future post. :p
Anyhoo, seems like housing was something promised to be added at some point of Final Fantasy XIV life back when it was still in development. Until now there has been pretty much no talk about it but someone (thank you whoever you are!) asked what kind of features they are planning for it. So far they have been discussing the idea of a garden where you can raise plants, a chocobo stable and even free companies crests and trophies for defeating hard enemies . They didn't go into the specifics of how the system will work just yet however. Specially because it seems it is planned to be coming after patch 2.0 and that is still months away.
My only hope is that the housing system is as flexible and robust as Everquest2's house system right now. Although with Everquest 2 going fully free to play soon I don't feel so much of a obsession of finding another game with an equivalent or better housing system. So I might just enjoy both housing systems for what they are by then. 🙂
Seems like there will be chocobos equipment. If they will just be fluffy or give any real benefit, they didn't say. But they did hint on how it will be acquired (apparently, same way we acquire the chocobos) and showed the finalized design. It is hard to see the details of the pictures but I do like their armored look.
An achievement system will be coming with patch 1.20. My stance on achievements is the same as with every game. If it isn't too much of a bother I will try to get them. If not, I will ignore them. Apparently there will be some rewards for completing achievements like a crown that your character can wear. They even showed pictures of it. Also, some achievements will be tied to one-time quests. So once those are gone, the way to acquire those achievements will also be gone.
There should be new mounts for Final Fantasy XIV in the future. They showed a video of some of those. One of them will be a exclusive reward for people who subscribe from now until patch 2.0. The others I have no idea how they will be acquired. Most of them are... pretty weird, to tell the truth. Though the dragon-like one was cool. Still none of them beat the chocobos for its placement in my heart! The chocobo will always be my main mount (whenever I can get a permanent one /sigh) but I will probably try to get the others. What can I say? I am a sucker for mounts....
They gave more details about the elements of the new UI that should be coming with patch 2.0. There are even screenshots with translated text on the post. All I can say is, I can't wait it to come.
Right now the biggest problem with Final Fantasy XIV UI is that it was clearly designed for a console and they didn't bother making a proper port of it to the PC. The biggest irony being that the Playstation 3 version of the game release have been cancelled after the PC launch fiasco and then being postponed for some time after patch 2.0. The new UI will not only fix that but be another huge sanity step for the game.
Oh, and before someone get the wrong impression, I have nothing against consoles, never had and never will. The whole PC vs. Consoles thing was not something I was even aware of until recently and it is still something that boggles my mind. The only thing I have against is bad ports.
Apparently the current main scenario won't be going away with the new storyline, the Seventh Umbral Era. If I am getting it right it means all the main quests I did so far, with the cutscenes and all that jazz, won't be going away. This makes me relieved because I really don't want to rush through the levels just to see how it ends. Of course, I am assuming I am understanding it right. Final Fantasy XIV does things its own way and has its own set of terminology after all....
There will be Magitek Armor! For those that don't know what it is, Magitek Armor is something from Final Fantasy VI (did it appear in any other Final Fantasy game?) It is kinda like a giant robot without the head part. The part above the shoulders is open so the pilot can see what he/she is doing. They showed a concept art of it for Final Fantasy XIV and it looks cool!
I said earlier that chocobos will always be my mount but... uh... if Magitek Armor is coming I might just switch. Sorry, chocobos. The problem isn't you, it is me.
And that is it for now.... There is a bunch of other stuff that was touched on the Letter from Producer Live II. Like I said, though, it would take forever to comment on every item. These are the ones that picked my interest. More on the rest as they get closer to be in the game.