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Final Fantasy XIV Pre-Launch Event Coverage

This was all made possible thanks to the crazy translation straff over at FFXIVCore.com.  Square Enix also much later posted their own translation, so it's worth to read both versions to ensure you didn't miss anything.

It's all taken from a live-stream and various other sources of information.

 

There are two parts to the event, the first part is for Japanese non-gaming media and will feature slightly different content. The 2nd half would be the part that the Japanese Alpha testers are invited and will host the usual Talk Session, some announcements, etc. Location of the event is Ebisu Garden Hall in Tokyo!

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Official Square Enix Translation (Source)

Quote

The Special Talk Session featured a panel of the following FINAL FANTASY XIV Development Team members: 
Producer, Hiromichi Tanaka 
Director, Nobuaki Komoto 
Battle Director, Atsushi Okada 
Main Scenario Writer, Yaeko Sato 
World Concept Planner, Kenichi Iwao 
Level Designer, Yusuke Kigoshi
The following topics were addressed: 
Battle System, World Concept, Economy, Guildleves
(Announced features are still under development, and may change before and after release)
The World of FINAL FANTASY XIV
FINAL FANTASY XIV takes place on the world of Hydaelyn, a planet much like another you all may be familiar with. Many of the people on Hydaelyn do not actually use the word ‘Hydaelyn,’ for to understand the concept of a planet, one must first know of other worlds, and most on Hydaelyn do not. 

FINAL FANTASY XIV takes place in a realm known as Eorzea. 
* Eorzea is one of three continents that make up a giant land mass. 
* Eorzea consists of Aldenard and its surrounding islands. 
* Aldenard is connected to the land mass containing the other two continents via a land bridge, 
* Eorzea contains several independently governed city-states, like those found in ancient Greece. 
* And just like those in Greece, the ones in Eorzea have a long history of war and alliances.
* The few that have lasted longest are the thalassocracy of Limsa Lominsa, the commercial sultanate of Ul’dah, and the forest city-state of Gridania, which some users have commented reminds them of an ancient Japanese polis.

* However, the powerful and aggressive Garlean Empire has begun their slow advance on the city-states, making the current situation in Eorzea similar to the months before the Persian Empire marched on Greece.
City-state Scenarios
[ Limsa Lominsa ]
Limsa Lominsa is a sprawling port city ruled by pirates and brigands. After the appearance of the legendary island “Swallowtail Roam,” a battle begins brewing over a treasure found there, and the player gets caught up in the action. Into whose hands will the treasure fall? 

Main NPCs
Y’shtola 
* Appears in the opening cutscene. 
* Her origins are unknown. 

Carvallain & Rhoswen 
* Carvallain is cunning and cool-headed. 
* Rhoswen is hot-blooded and ruthless. 
* Both are captains of powerful pirate crews, and both hate the other. 

Wawalago 
* Guildmaster of Wawalago’s Pullers─the Fishermen’s Guild. 
* An eccentric and lewd old man who uses the player to his advantage. 

[ Gridania ]
The player angers the forest and travels to Gridania to remove his woodsin. There the player gets caught up in the story of a boy named Khrimm who insists elementals─beings thought to rule the wood─and sets out to find the truth. Will his findings overturn the beliefs of all Gridanians? 

Main NPCs
Yda & Papalymo 
* Appear in the opening cutscene. 
* For some reason, Yda hides her face behind a mask. 
* Both Yda and Papalymo’s origins are unknown. 

E-Sumi-Yan 
* Appears in the opening cutscene 
* Is one of the most powerful conjurers in Gridania 
* Is of a strange race known as the Padjal 

Moogles 
* A race rare in Hydaelyn. 
* Assist the five races in their communication with the elementals 

Lewein 
* Leader of the Gods’ Quiver (the Archers’ Guild) 
* Through events in this guild, the player learns of the beast tribe known as the Ixal. 

[ Ul’dah ]
The player is caught up in a terrible accident during a city-wide parade. One of the people who perish in this accident was carrying a terrible warning to Ul’dah. To learn of this warning, there are those who would seek forbidden magicks to allow them to speak with the dead... 

Main NPCs
Thancred. 
* Appears in the opening cutscene 
* Is a talented bard of unknown origin 

Niellefresne 
* Appears in the opening cutscene. 
* Is a goldsmith from Esthaime’s Aesthetics (Goldsmiths’ Guild) 

Titinin 
* Helps run the Platinum Mirage casino 
* Is polite, yet stern. 
* Appears in the Pugilist class quests 

Nenekko 
* Lovable daughter of the owner of Amajina & Sons Minreal Concern 
* Is smothered in affection by her family 

[ Ishgard ] 
The Knights of Ishgard are fighting a holy war with an ancient race of dragons, and are currently refusing contact with those they call ‘unbelievers.’ These defenders of the mountain realm appear in several different quest lines. 

[ Guilds ] 
* Not all guilds are found in each city-state. 
* Class Quests can be performed by joining guilds and fulfilling certain prerequisites. 
* Class quests will not only earn players rewards, but through their stories, players can also learn more about each individual city-state.
* In addition to regular rewards, completing these quests will earn players guild marks which can be used to purchase special items from that guild.
* More items will be made available for exchange in the near future. 

[ Other ]
* Unlike the starting rings in FINAL FANTASY XI, there will not be any equipment that is received by choosing a certain race in a certain city-state.
* The scenarios have been designed so that most can be completed by solo players or, at the most, by small groups.
Battle
Enmity in Party Battles 
For Open Beta we adjusted the amount of enmity received when using magic and abilities. However, we are not yet done, and will continue making adjustments up through and after the game’s release. We realize adding new quests, equipment, abilities, monsters, etc will directly affect the current balance, and therefore will continue making adjustments throughout the course of the game’s lifespan. 

Recovering MP 
Our original plan was to make MP management an important factor in the game, and we designed the game so players would have to carefully consider when and where to use MP. Rather than having weak spells that can be used over and over for minimal damage, we wanted to make magic powerful─something that delivers a single strike of massive damage and can instantly change the tide of a battle. 
While maintaining this concept we will not only be conducting adjustments on existing methods to refresh MP (such as Aetheryte, abilities, and magic spells), but also plan on adding new methods. 

Battle Regimens 
Battle regimens work to broaden battle strategies for parties, as well as make it easier to form parties. Unlike the skillchains of FINAL FANTASY XIV, battle regimens are not only for dealing damage, but also can be used to produce the following effects:
* Lowers a target’s physical defense (normal attack -> normal attack) 
* Lowers a target’s magic defense (normal attack -> magic attack) 
* Increases a target’s casting time/raises MP costs (normal attack -> magic spell) 
* Lowers a target’s TP progression/raises TP costs (normal attack -> weaponskill)
* Maintains the effectiveness of class abilities when used by different classes 
(magic spell -> magic spell (both from same class)) 
(weaponskill -> weaponskill (both from same class))
* Increases player damage 
(weaponskill -> weaponskill -> magic spell (weaponskills from different classes, finishing spell is optional)) 
(magic spell -> magic spell -> weaponskill (spells from different classes, finishing weaponskill is optional))
For example, when fighting a monster that has high physical defense, a regimen which will lower that defense is effective. On the other hand, when fighting a monster that uses magic attacks, a regimen that slows casting time and increases MP cost is recommended. 

Part Damage 
On some monsters, players will be able to damage individual parts such as arms and legs. For example, vines can be cut from morbols, and horns and tails can be struck from monsters that have them Parts can be damaged by using certain weaponskills while standing in certain positions.
The effect will not only be visual, but will accomplish the following:
* Weaken the monster 
* Prevent the monster from using its special attacks 
* Allow the player to obtain the damaged part 

Notorious Monsters 
* Soon Notorious Monsters will make their appearance in FFXIV. 
* Most will appear different from regular monsters. 
* Some are so large they will make regular morbols seem small. 

Post-Release 
In addition to what was announced here today, we are also planning massively multiplayer battles. 
There currently exist several class abilities which may have players scratching their heads as to how they are to be used. Many of these were designed with PVP in mind. While we cannot reveal much regarding PvP now, we have some exciting announcements planned for the near future.
Crafting and the World Economy
Concept 
In MMOs, we realize that crafting and the world economy are both extremely important gameplay aspects. This is why we went out of our way to make independent crafting classes rather than simply have crafting skills attached to other classes. We have designed a system that will allow players to feel like their actions (crafting, gathering, buying & selling through bazaars) are directly affecting the economy. 

The Effect of Player Status on Crafting & Gathering 
A player’s physical and elemental statuses greatly affect crafting and gathering. There are many hints within the game that reveal which statuses affect which aspects. 

[ Crafting ] 
Attributes: Works in conjunction with the type of tool used to affect synthesis quality 
Elemental: Affects the occurrence rate of “god sends,” as well as synthesis stability 

[ Gathering ] 
Physical: Affects the number of items harvested, as well as the drop rate 
Elemental: Affects the type of crystals that can be obtained during gathering 

Parley 
Parley is a method other than battle in which players can obtain items. Players choose ‘topics’ and then play a game using painted tiles. If you defeat your NPC opponent, you earn the right to exchange the items you have for those you need. If you do especially well, you can obtain even greater rewards. 

Market Wards 
We do not want the extent of a Disciple of the Hand/Land’s stay in Eorzea to be about simply putting the items he creates/gathers up for auction, which is why we have envisioned a bazaar-driven economy in which players can be creative in the methods they use to sell their wares. To better achieve this, we are currently working on ways to increase a players’ ease of using the markets by adding additional features, as well as tweaking existing ones. 

Retainers 
We are aware of the amount of time it took to buy items from retainers, and so we have been working diligently to make this system quicker and smoother by the time of release. Also, we are looking into ways to make it easier for players to buy and sell items through retainers.

Inventory Response Time 
We are fully aware that inventory interface response speed needs to be improved. 
At the time of release, we hope to have made significant improvement, and plan to continue our work after release as well.
Guildleves
Open Beta GLs 
First, we would like to apologize to all of the Open Beta testers for the frequent client side errors that occurred during levequests. We are working hard to make sure all the problems are solved by the time the game is officially released. 

Retrying Levequests 
Levequest targets give players many times more EXP and skill points than normal monsters (even if not using guardian aspect). To prevent some players from taking advantage of this system by completing most of a levequest, failing on purpose, and then trying the quest again immediately, we have made it impossible to retry a levequest immediately after failing it. However, this does not mean players are not allowed to retry levequests. By returning and talking to the NPC who issued the quest, players can gain the opportunity to retry the quest objectives. 

Guildleve Issuing 
Currently, players must wait 2 earth days before being reissued a leve. However, we planning a significant reduction in this wait. 
In conjunction with this change, we will also be shortening the amount of time anima takes to recharge.
Guildleves have been designed with several different features that allow for players to cooperate with others to complete the corresponding quests. For example, ‘leve linking’ allows two players with the same leve to join their guildleves to receive a reward bonus. ‘Leve sharing’ allows people without a leve to participate in a party with a person who does.
The level recommendations on guildleves are a loose guideline for solo players. We encourage players looking for a challenge to join up with other adventurers and try their hands at more difficult leves. 

The Future of Guildleves 
We are planning the implementation of many different types of guildleves in the near future.
First, several high-level leves will be introduced. Among those will be leves with not only new rules, but new monsters and new operation locations. Also, to answer the demand from our players, we will be introducing guildleve-based NM battles shortly. 
We also ask that our players try out the Faction Leves that were introduced in Open Beta and are only accessible by special means. These leves are different from regular ones, and often involve exciting battles and interactions with NPCs. The rewards are also much better.
In addition, we are currently working on several new ideas such as leves in which Disciples of the Land and Hand must cooperate with Disciples of War and Magic to complete certain tasks.
The following is a list of some of the things we have planned for the upcoming release:
* Implementation of a hardware mouse feature
* Introduction of discounted monthly fee payment plans (3-month plan in Japan/ 3 and 6 month plans in North America and Europe)
* Raising of the level cap to 50 
* Adjustment of the Armoury System UI so player abilities will not reset when changing classes.


Influx of Final Fantasy XIV Information, FFXIVCore Style

Translations by okuRaku, Keii, spidii88 and SteveManly.

Quote

  • Guildleve availability/cooldown
    Right now, there is a 2 day cooldown for guildleves. This is not enough for a single person, but the aim was that people would share guildleves to extend this time. This is why we have the leve-link and the bonus rewards for higher difficulty selection, to make it more rewarding and better exp/skill gains to play in a party. However, the time was just too long, and we heard many complaints of this nature, so we will shorten it. With that, we can see the problem with having to travel via teleport more frequently, so we are currently tweaking an anima regen increase.
  • Upcoming guildleve introduction
    We will be adding not just normal guildleves, but a wide variety of types of guildleves. First, there will be higher level guildleves. Among those, many will have more variance in the rules/goals as well as being able to fight with more varied monsters in many more target areas. In particular, we heard many comments of "I want to fight more and more NMs!" so we want to respond to that quickly. Also, the faction leves that were in the Open Beta are designed to be a somewhat "different taste" from regular leves, with hidden starting conditions or npcs. The rewards for these are fairly good, so please try them out! Finally, we are going to be steadily adding more and more leves that encourage coordination between all the classes including gathering/crafting/magic/war. Please look forward to it! 
  • Notorious Monsters
    Soon, there will be NM's even in the world of FFXIV. These will look very different from most of the other normal monsters. We're planning to introduce NM's that are so huge they make a Malboro look small. The tranquil era is about to end! We're going to torment adventurers with these powered up, aesthetically varied NM's which we've prepared "episodes" for. 
  • Damaging monster body parts:
    There are monsters which have different body parts that can be damaged. Using a specific weapon skill while standing in a specified position can lead to cutting a monster's body part off. For example, you can cut Malboro's vines or a horn/tail if the enemy has one. In addition to changing the monster's appearance, those actions can have the following effects:
    - Weakening the monster
    - Preventing monsters from using specific skills
    - Acquiring materials from cut/damaged body parts
  • Other: By combining a particular race's equipment etc with city-state it's unavoidable that a certain degree of being tied down will occur, so this time we are not thinking of doing that. [I'm a little unclear here but I think this means they want to avoid certain races being tied to certain city-states]
    Scenario's are balanced, basically, completely soloable or depending on the situation doable with a small number of people. "For the most part, soloable" 
  • City-states' Guilds: Not all guilds are in every city-state
    By passing a certain condition, "class quests" will become available at guilds. Class quests are of course related directly to the class itself, but at the same time are a way to truly learn the details of each city-state. Please enjoy the story revealed in these quests, in addition to the quest rewards themselves.
    When you complete a quest, you will receive Guild Tokens [marks?]. We are planning to add more and more things to exchange tokens for.
  • Balances to enmity in party battle: In beta, they made adjustments to enmity based on magic and abilities, but they have plans for more. These changes, however, will probably take a while to implement. They plan on adjusting the enmity according to contents, equipment, abilities, monsters, and so on. These changes will be made continuously after service begins based on how things are going.
  • Mana Regeneration: In FFXIV, management of your MP use is supposed to be an important part of strategy. They’d also like magic to have explosive power in fewer hits, and not just be used to spam enemies with light damage attacks. To promote this, they’d like to continue to balance the recovery methods used for MP, including the abilities and aetherite, as well as adding new methods later on.
  • Usefulness of Battle Regimen
    Battle regimen serve a double purpose: to expand the strategy of party play, and to reduce the difficulty/rigidness in forming parties. They are not just for doing extra damage, there are lots of various effects. For example:
  • - Phys Resistance Debuff
  • Normal melee attack -> Normal melee attack (ex. slash -> punch [these are basic DoW abilities])
  • - Magic Resistance Debuff
  • Normal melee attack -> Normal magical attack (ex. slash -> spirit dart)
  • - Cast speed down + MP consumption up
  • Normal melee attack -> Magic (ex. slash -> Fire)
  • - TP gain reduction + TP consumption up
  • Normal melee attack -> Weapon skill (ex. Slash -> Red Lotus)
  • - Action aptitude up (Using a different class ability on the current class grants the same effect as when used on the other class)
  • Same class magic -> Magic
  • Same class Weapon skill -> Weapon skill (ex. Trunksplitter -> Brandish)
  • - Damage up
  • Various class WS -> WS -> Magic
  • Various class magic -> Magic -> WS (ex. Blizzard -> Scourge -> Puncture)
  • For example, if it's difficult to continue dealing physical damage, use Phys resistance debuff. If it's a casting monster, use cast time debuff + MP consumption increase etc.
  • Negotiations are another way of obtaining loot (other than battles). By choosing the right conversation subject with a NPC, player can engage in negotiations and receive items in exchange for items wanted by the NPC. If player does exceptionally well, it's possible to get some free stuff as an extra.
  • Ishgard: Ishgard's people have long been at war with man-eating dragons, and thus have not taken on Adventurers. In this city, there are already several quests appearing for the "Dragon Slayers" [faction?] who are at war with the dragons. 
  • Guildleves in the Beta: We sincerely apologize to our open beta testers for the client errors that would occur more frequently during guildleves in the beta. In the release version, we are dealing with these diligently. 
  • Retainer: Right now, when you buy something from a retainer, there is an unnecessarily long delay. On release, we plan to make this a lot more smooth. We would like to make improvements to make commerce even easier for everyone. 
  • Relationship Crafting/Gathering & PC Status: PC's physical level & attributes will have an effect on crafting and gathering. There are hints in the game as to what does what, so please search for it.
  • Crafting
  • Physical: Closely related to the tool being used and will particularly affect quality
  • Attributes: related to "Godsend" [I think these are the extra result/HQ result] probability & "attribute stability" [?]
  • Gathering
  • Physical: Affects difficulty in obtaining items in the "gather" phase as well as the number of items obtained
  • [translator note].. this is a literal translation of "physical" and "attribute" I wasn't sure here if they're talking about skill level or what, but judging from the use of katakana for Physical, I must assume it means physical level, even though that sounds odd to have an effect here.
  • Market: We don't want crafters and gatherers to simply "put up" their items on the market and that's it. We want them to also act as salesmen and learn to play the market intelligently. For this purpose, we will begin with focus on the Bazaar market system. On that note, in order to be able to tell "What's for sale?" etc, we are planning to adjust policy and add functionality to improve the user friendliness. 
  • Retrying guildleves: The best way to level is with guildleves, that is, even without the guardian's favor, you will earn way more exp and skill points per each kill. For this reason, we wanted to prevent abusive use of leves by killing all the monsters but failing right at the end and then retrying on the spot. However, if you visit the NPC that gave you the leve, you can retry it.
  • There will be hardware mouse support!
  • We believe that the item selection interface should be very responsive, and by release we will have introduced a MUCH improved version. After release we will continue improving this. 
  • The FFXIV development team acknowledged that there's issues with the mouse and user interface and apologized about it. Hardware Mouse + UI improvements will be a major focus for them.
  • There will be package discount pricing on the subscription (Japan-3months, NA/EU 3/6 months)
  • Due to game balance consideration, the level cap on release will be 50
  • We will change it so you do not lose disabled abilities when changing class any more. [assume this means they won't leave the ability bar, they will probably just gray]
  • Physical stat distribution will affect both crafting and gathering classes as much as it does everyone else.
  • New hairstyles will be added, as well as the ability to change hairstyle in game after you make your character.
  • Crafters will be able to cooperate in large-scale projects (boats, cannons, wedding cakes! YUM) so more fun for you and your company!
  • There will be guildleves where crafters and adventurers have to cooperate. 
  • The guildleve issue will be fixed so they cooldown will be significantly decreased from 48 hours.
  • Anima regeneration will have to be raised since you'll have to travel more for more frequent guildleves.
  • The faction leves have you fight different beastman tribes and such. 


Updates from Square Enix in English (Event now over!):

Quote

  • The FFXIV prerelease party has come to an end, and the game's official release is just around the corner!
  • The official release's opening cinematic!
  • The event is over! Wait! The producer, Mr. Tanaka, has a video to show us. A Lalafell's head! It's...an acorn! An onion! An-an onion helm!
  • There's a lot more to talk about! Battles, synthesis, gathering, guildleves! The MC fields questions and requests from fans to the dev team!
  • And now an introduction of some of the game's new equipment!
  • Take a look at some of Eorzea's upcoming Notorious Monsters!
  • Introducing FFXIV's world and the stories of each city-state! The MC fields feedback from the beta testers to the dev team!
  • A special talk session with five members of the development team is starting!
  • The opening talks have started! Hiromichi Tanaka and Nobuo Uematsu take the stage!
  • FFXIV's music is being performed by a string quartet!

 

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