I have in my posession two tablet PCs which will be used to gather information at the fan festival. I will be using one, and I have graciously agreed to allow TrueFeba the use of the other. Assuming a network connection can be found at the pier, this thread will be updated live as new information becomes available. If not, there must be a Starbucks close, I mean, come on, this is L.A.!
Wait, did he say live?
Yes, you heard that correct! So, stay tuned and try to contain the excitement (unless you have a box of tissues handy) and be the first to learn new secrets about ToAU and the rest!
There will also be pictures. Of Mithra. Oh yeah baby. Now might be a good time to find those tissues.
Edit: For anyone else who is going, I look something like this, except in jeans and some random t-shirt expressing my leet hackerness.
Update - 4:02 PST, 7:02 EST
I am hungry. No. Starving. I think my first step after I locate the pier is finding some grub. Incidentally, I got a free room upgrade at the hotel because of some mixup, kinda cool. Tonight is going to be long -- I should have gone to sleep earlier last night to help offset the jetlag...
After I get food, I will set up in the parking lot at the pier and see if I have network access. Wish me luck!
Update - 8:39 PST, 11:39 EST
I am not hungry anymore, now I am just tired. Six hours of plane flight, not to mention being on East Coast time... but I need to stay up to get adjusted to the new timezone. God I hate jet lag. On to the good stuff...
Not much happened tonight, which is good, because stupid me left my digital camera in my hotel room. We got to the pier and there was a big white tent set up for the event. There was a stage, a lot of computers, and some other stuff set up, but we were not really allowed to look in, I just snuck a peak. There was what seemed to be live music being played while we were in line, some tracks from the game. Assumably, this is the band that will be performing later on.
I arrived in line at about 5:00 local time (an hour early for those keeping track) and finally got registered a little after 8:00. They had playable characters on the XBox 360 version as a demo, but by then I was not in the mood to fight over a seat. Oh, by the way, I can now confirm that the reason there was a shortage of 360s was what appeared to be forty or so consoles set up. Yeah. That is a ton of 360s. All were hooked up to HD monitors that appeared fresh out of the packaging. God I would love to get my hands on one of those setups...
I did not have my camera with me, but I went ahead and took some snapshots of the goodies they gave us. They are rather large files, so be warned. I thought about compressing them, but then detail is lost and no one likes that.
Oh yeah -- I found several wireless networks in range, but all were encrypted. One had the SSID "FFFF (Press Only)" or something like that. I assume 'FFFF' is for 'Final Fantasy Fan Festival.' Maybe I can convince them I am press... :p
Gobbie Bag and Contents
Mini-map and schedule information
Adventurer's Coupon and Gil
Update - 3:19 PST, 6:19 EST
The first group just started playing the ToAU demo. Unfortunately, I was only here thirty minutes early and the line was hellishly long by then. They are allowing the players to do the Besieged event and (I think) Assault. It may not be Assault, just people exploring a new area.
Everyone is cheering this black mage. He just flared a new mob, but was saved. Now he is casting Firaga 2... splat...
Mamool Ja are overwhelming the defenders bigtime. Have Cockatrice pets, Dragoons, all sorts of tricks - chaos. People are dropping left & right.
Blm Stone IV a flesh, gets ass kicked, party saves him though. See some Lamia action, they look pretty awesome, animations are fluid and natural, considering it has a fish tail and is floating in mid-air...
Joined 'Team Minute Maid' for the Live Quest. We are going to kick ass. Oh yeah baby.
1:50 PM - Developer Panel #1 -Focused on Ant Urghan
They mention the two jobs that have been released "so far." Emphasis mine. There was much booing as they will not reveal any more jobs at this time. Team Minute Maid heard through the grape vine that a new job will be demod before each panel. TrueFeba covered the Blue Mage demo pretty well.
There will be about as many new areas in Aht Urghan as in Chains of Promathia. This means around forty new zones, sweet!
This is the conquest-type event for the new continent. They said "some of the towns will be open to attack." They only went into detail about the capital city, but they seemed to be hinting that there will definitely be more.
They needed a reason for the Beastmen to attack. This is the 'Astral Candescence,' a treasure the defenders must protect. If this item is captured by the Beastmen, the players will have to sack the Beastmen city to retrieve it.
Only about 10% of the besieged content is shown in the ToAU demo. (!!!)
This is designed to be a more casual activity. Parties will generally be about three to six people, and they said the missions take about an hour to complete. There will be a number of different missions for different zones, party setups, and even levels.
They mentioned 'Assault Points' but the rewards are not finalized. Potential things include items, experience, etc. Some drops may be unidentified and must be appraised in town before they can be used.
As more Assault missions are taken, the player's Mercenary rank increases and new missions are opened up. Assumedly, more items will be available for purchase as well.
Aht Urhgan Missions
They did not say much here. There will be a mix of new and old characters. No zones will be level capped, but a few battlefields may be. They also mentioned that Mhaura is definitely the entry point to Aht Urghan, but that prerequisites will be required. Do not log out there, but possibly *near* there.
They emphasized that this will not be a very time consuming activity. It will be on par with gardening. However, you must care for, feed, and interact with your chocobo. They mentioned letting your Chocobos 'meet' your friends' Chocobos and see what happens... They also hinted at Chocobo Racing as a future activity.
This is bought in Aht Urghan and starts out at thirty slots. It can initially be upgraded to fifty slots, but future updates may increase the size limit. Incidentally, they verified the PS2 memory limitations as the reason for the current inventory/safe size. I guess we can put that argument to rest now...
There will be a recurring fee to keep the locker, but no details on this are available yet. It could be gil, items, or even a repeatable quest. If you do not pay, your items are safe, but you must pay before you can access them again.
The basics are monsters will fight monsters, and it will be independant of player level. In other words, anyone, regardless of level, can participate. No more information was available.
Timeline of updates
June to August
Sept to Nov
Tonight's developer panel will be focused on jobs, so no questions will be answered regarding those. I will get an update out as soon as possible after it.
Q: Mithran Homeland in expansion?
A: Not planned as of yet
Q: Characters split to 2 accounts?
Q: Breed different colored Chocoboss
A: Can only say: not limited to yellow
Q: Is Besieged triggered?
A: Besieged will just happen, not triggered
A: New areas made specifically for PvP,
Q: Abjuration drops increased?
A: Drop rates only increased if economy not impacted
Q: Level restriction for Chocobos?
A: Anyone can raise a Chocobo, but wait and see about riding
Q: Galka Female or Mithra male?
A: No such thing as Galka female, except on net
Mithran Males "some day"
Q: price caps on items?
A: third panel addresses economy specifically
Q: Does 'Besieged' automatically ally you?
A: no XP loss
everyone in town is simply put in the fight.
Q: Quivers and Bolt cases for all bolts arrows??
A: Potentially More items, but not all
Q: Besieged experience gain, since none loss?
A: Still under consideration
Other types of points given
Q: Speed belt in BCNM?
A: everyone wants one, right?
will take idea back & consider it
Q: Hinted at raising and racing Chocobos, riding?
A: good question
Q: Other job requirements
A: first buy expansion, clear quest, have it
Q: Bahamut whisper purpose, maybe an avatar?
A: Can't say anything about Bahamut as an avatar
Q: Player look customization?
A: Playstation 2 restrictions dictate no
he did apologize
Q: Can we 'bling' our Chocobos?
A: No gear for them
Shape of Chocobo may change depending how it's raised
Q: Can we sell more items on AH?
A: Would put a big load on servers
AH is already biggest server load
Q: What happens if you neglect your Chocobo?
A: It will probably run away
Q: Class specific solo quests?
A: Solo quests, yes
likes idea for race specific quests
Q: Character server migration?
A: 'technically' possible
Q: New Nation missions past Rank 10?
A: keep asking!
I will get pictures uploaded and posted tonight. I got a lot from my team members in Team Minute Maid, in addition to all of my own.
Update: 10:44 PST, 1:44 EST
I appologize for this coming so late. I tried to conserve battery power where I could, but by the time the night was over, I ran out while I was re-organizing my notes for the evenings. Anyway, here they all are, and I will get pictures posted as soon as I can upload them.
Openning up before the second developer panel was a demo of Corsair in action. He ran up to a pair of Qutrub and started using some new abilities on them. He was using some fort of random thing involving card numbers. Occassionally there was a 'Bust,' but no indication of what was happen.
For a weapon, the Corsair was only using a dagger. He never showed a new gun being used.
One special ability temporarily disarmed the monster.
A random roll of nine appeared to cure the Corsair.
Looks like Corsair has a hate shedding or transferring ability. A second player was operating a camera, and the Qutrub would go after the cameraman.
Corsair used some sort of an item and the monster fell over dead.
7:01 Dev Panel # 2 - Jobs of FF XI !!!
The main point of this panel was announcing changes for the current jobs followed by an explanation of the new jobs. A Q&A session followed. The Job Planner was stuck in Japan doing work on the new expansion so the Monster Planner was here giving the information.
They notice that most warriors only use a few of the available weapons. They want to add in more ways to use the existing weapons so there is an actual benefit to it. They also want to add benefits to using subjobs other than Ninja. Finally, they announced a potential new job ability allowing the Warrior to throw his Axe.
Currently, Monk is strictly an engage and beat on the mob kind of job. They want to add more skills so there are other uses for the job in a party. One potential idea is allowing the Monk to transfer some of his massive HP to party members.
They want to make White Mages more specialized so there is more reason to invite a White Mage instead of a Summoner, Red Mage, or even Black Mage as a healer. They want to give more options than just cure botting. They gave two ideas for ability modifications. First, adding an ability to transfer HP and MP to party members. The other was enhancing Benediction so it cures status effects as well as healing HP.
They started out by recognizing how ungodly powerful Black Mages are. There are plans to make Manaburns less powerful. They want to make it so having more than one Black Mage in a party makes them less effective, or redundant maybe. There will be new spells, but they will not be announced. They did mention that we will definitely know when they are put in.
They also mentioned this is a pretty powerful job. They did not, however, say anything about reducing the power of this job. They mentioned new Red Mage only spells, but will not mention what they are.
They made mention of how technical this job is, in terms of positioning. I did not get the idea that this would be change, but they *did* mention making abilities distributed among the party. They mentioned altering steal so it steals things other than items. (dot dot dot) Also, they mentioned improving the two-hour so it is useful for more than just running away. One possibility is making so when the two-hour is active, the thief does more damage from behind the mob.
They made mention of how Paladin has been taking a distinct second seat to Ninja lately. They definitely want this to be changed, so they are on more even footing. Some possibile new abilities are Auto-Refresh, enhancing uses for shields, and gaining TP when the Paladin makes a succesful Shield Block.
They notice that Dark Knights seem to forgo their Scythes to use mainly Great Sword. They want to make Scythe more effective so it is more desirable. They also mentioned adding more reasons to use absorb spells by adding effects to them.
They have definitely heard the complaints about how the MPK change affected Beastmaster. They feel this change is fine as Beastmaster still has the potential to be incredibly powerful. They will not change it back, but they are looking into adding new abilities to the job to help it out.
They made mention that they know Bards tend to use the same few songs over and over again. They want to make it so there is more variety to the songs. They also mentioned a lower level spell to "increase player speed." This is most likely a Mazurka as there is already a low level Haste song.
They are trying to make more people pleased with the current distance requirements for ranged attacks. One potential modification is sharpshot removes the accuracy adjustment with range. They also mentioned adding more quiverable arrows.
Since the main thing about Samurai is building TP, they want to add more ways for Samurai to use their TP. They also mentioned adding a trait so Samurai attacks lower the monster's TP.
"The Ninja is very strong." This is an exact quote from the Monster Planner. They did make it very clear that they will not make the job weaker. This is one of their biggest problems in front of them and they are still trying to figure out what to do about it.
They are still examining the effects of current changes, so nothing is planned in the near future for this job.
They do not like that Avatars are summoned only for BPs. They want there to be more incentive to keep Avatars out during battle. They also said there are changes planned to make the strength and duration of BPs affected by summoning skill. They are looking into adding more avatars, but they made it very clear that Bahamut is not one of them. The main reason is he is very powerful and they would have to make him less powerful to preserve game balance.
Acquisition of Spells
All Blue Magic depends on monster types. If you learn a Bird Spell, you use it on monsters weak to Birds. Some abilities will be skillchainable and burst-able. Not all monster abilities will be available, but many will. More will be added with future patches.
Q: How does Treasure Hunter work?
A: Can't say too mach, but it has nothing to do with damage or the last blow. You simply must have it in the party.
Q: Utsasemi: San & other tier 3 ninjutsu?
A: It's on the table, but still in planning stages.
Q: Addressing other burn types, such as Monks in KRT?
A: Currently there are no plans concerning it, the want to leave players options in how to party.
Q: Throwing WSs?
A: This will be taken to the dev team as a suggestion.
Q: Paladin reliant on Warrior Subjob?
A: They actually want to give more jobs more options for subjobs, including Paladins.
Q: Will Wyverns get armor?
A: Hadn't even thought about it, getting pen!
Q: A0E attacks for more jobs?
A: Blue Mage has a ton of AOE attacks, though Corsair has none. The idea will be brought up for Drg, Sam, and Nin with the development team.
Q: Lose Outpost Warps when nation change, remove?
A: The idea is it encourages participation in conquest so you can get the warps for your new nation. If enough people ask it to be changed, however, it would be considered.
Q: Enmity on Hp/MP transfer for the potential Whm ability?
A: It will definitely add some enmity to the White Mage, but not a lot.
Q: Does charisma affect Provoke at all?
A: A big, fat, resounding NO.
Q: Smn get AOE Refresh BP?
A: He likes idea, and was picking up his pen, but the crowd was booing it...
Q: Option to change your nation to Jeuno?
A: There are no current plans for this... However! Surprises await in Aht Urghan related to this question.
Q: Why is an "Invincible" Paladin still susceptible to Magic?
A: It is specifically meant to be against physical only.
Q: Whm spell to drain a monter's HP and give it to the party?
I was slowed down by battery life and was unable to make a post until I got back to my hotel room. As everyone knows already, the announcement was the third job, Puppetmaster, which looks really interesting. Unfortunately, there was no information given except the name of the job.
Samurai vs. Goblin Cosplayers
Two Samurai and Corsair Cosplayers
All the above pictures are courtesy of Cadell. I have more, but I am going to sleep, you will just have to wait. :p
Update – 11:17 pm PST, 2:17 am EST
12:46 PM Saturday
A video was shown of Blue Mage and Puppetmaster going up against Trion, Volker, and Ajido-morido. Interestingly, the puppet was standing back and appeared to be using some sort of ranged attack. A member of Team Minute Maid mentioned it looked like the same attack Ajido-morido was using against the puppetmaster. This is purely conjecture, but we are thinking the puppet may mimic the current target of the master. Also, the Puppetmaster was using hand-to-hand and used the weaponskill Combo a few times.
The puppet died fairly early, but then the Blue Mage started using different spells. The ones I noticed included the eye beam attack that million-eyes types use, Blood Saber, Goblin Bomb (to much cheering), 1000 Needles, and what looked like the sand-whatever attack Anticans use.
1:00 PM Saturday - Developer Panel #3
The first part of this panel was a summary of information covered yesterday. Presumably this was for people who were unable to attend. After this, they moved on to…
They (the developers) are definitely paying attention to inflation, as well as how much money is being used. In addition, they are watching the current deflation, and they are preparing countermeasures now in case deflation becomes a massive problem. They mentioned the lowered Chocobo prices as one of the ways they are trying to keep deflation in check.
At this point, they made some comments from the GM perspective. They made very clear that, though they only announced the 700 bans, that is certainly not all they are doing. They are constantly watching for problems and trying to ban players who are abusing the system.
In regards to the changes to the delivery system, they targeted that as that was the main avenue sellers used to get gil to their customers. Interestingly, they mentioned they are looking for ways to mitigate the effects of this for legitimate players.
XBox 360 Beta
They reported that over 100,000 users across the globe have participated in it. The end date of the beta is set for the release date of ToAU. At this time, characters may be transferred to a normal server and information will be released at the appropriate time detailing how this is done.
They also took this chance to report that full French and German versions are currently in the works. Additionally, these versions will be made available for download by French and German speaking players free of charge assuming they already have the current version of the game.
Q - Notorious gilseller groups are still monopolizing (H)NMs on some servers, are there plans to counter this?
A – They are aware of the issue and a solution is in the works, slated for April, or June at the latest.
Q – Can you confirm or deny that, when certain items are in a player’s inventory, or eaten, the drop rates of items are increased?
A - "lf you believe, your dreams will come true."
Q – Are there plans for FF XI on the PS3?
A – They still do not have final specs for the system, so they are holding off on the decision.
Q – Do the Green teleporters in Ru’Ann Gardens do anything?
A- Often times the development team adds in things that have no purpose in case they get an idea later. This is one of them.
Q - Did dev team beat Absolute Virtue with current gear and jobs?
A - "We’re going to go back and try again.”
Q - Are Mithra Tan or Furry?
A - We'll leave that to your imagination.
Q – From the demo of Besieged, it appears lower level characters will get destroyed. What is the actual level range target for it?
A – The power of the attackers is dynamic based on player actions. If the players assault Beastman strongholds a lot, the attackers in Besieged will be weaker, and vice-versa.
Q – With the planning of new versions, is the auto-translator slated for improvement?
A – The French and German versiona will definitely have the auto-translator function. They are working on the grammar differences now.
Q – Will there be new Bard instruments or tunes?
A – He was pretty sure more instruments are in the works, and definitely more songs. He will take the idea for new sounds back to the sound team.
Q – Are there plans to take action against sites promoting gilsellers?
A - This is actually not allowed by either premium or community FF XI sites. They suggested avoiding sites that promote RMT companies, and also contacting SE and reporting these websites.
Q – Many PS2 players do not have CoP, are there plans to re-release it?
A – They will continue to support the PS2, but there are no current plans to re-release CoP.
Q – Will Dynamis currency drop rates ever be increased?
A – There are no plans for increasing drop rates, they want Relic to stay rare.
Q – How do Galka reproduce?
A – Do the Bastok missions.
Q – Will it be made easier for Ninja to level from 1 to 37?
A – No.
Q – Does the direction you face matter when crafting?
A – "Just face where your heart tells you to face."
Q – Will there ever be rental equipment for Ballista to help with the level capped battles?
A – They have been thinking about it but are having technical problems.
Q – Can Xbox 360 characters be played on PS2 and PC versions, and can PC and PS2 characters be played on Xbox 360?
A – Yes.
Q – Samurai was presumably meant to be a tank, but Ninja ended up overshadowing it. Are there plans to make Samurai more of a tank?
A – Samurai was never intended as tank. They are actually looking at ways to make jobs better at what they currently do. For example, make Samurai a better Damage Dealer, and make Paladin a better tank.
Q – Are there any plans to re-adjust the TP gain on multi-hit WSs?
A – They could not give details, but did mention that the next update will adjust TP gains on these weaponskills.
There were many very good cosplayers present. Third place went to a Goblin, second to a Yagudo, and first to a Dragoon. I have pictures, but you will have to wait until I get home to see them. Uploading them from my hotel is painful.
Third Place: Goblin
Second Place: Yagudo
First Place: Dragoon
I will get all the other Cosplay pictures I have uploaded once I get back, but I wanted to get something up for y'all!
Ballista Royale Championship
I have to admit that I have never played in a single Ballista match. Watching the two top North American teams go at it was quite exciting however. Team Channel Five News won a hard earned victory. Immediately following their win was a surprise exhibition match versus the top Japanese ballista team. Even though the match was unfortunately one sided, it was very interesting seeing the differences in tactics used by each team.
The Star Onions
Wow. Just… wow! This was absolutely amazing. They opened with the Yuhtunga/Yhoator music. After that, they performed three pieces: Rolanberry Fields followed by a beautiful piano solo of the Tavnazian Stronghold, and wrapped up with a surprising rendition of the Mog House. They ‘wrapped up’ with the Shadow Lord theme which was definitely my favorite piece of the night. The drummer from the Black Mages made an appearance and performed in this piece.
After they left, they came back for two more encore pieces. First was another piano solo that one of my party members said was Ru’Lude Gardens (I was unable to identify it but it was very well performed) followed by Selbina.
The entire concert was incredible, and a good conclusion to the festivities.
I hope you all had as much fun reading my updates as I have had writing them. The festival was awesome, and I only wish more of my fellow players could have experienced it with me. Keep an eye out for me to post a slew of pictures from the event!
All my pictures and those of Team Minute Maid will eventually be hosted at my xs.to account. Here is a link to my photo album.
Edited, Tue Mar 14 11:49:27 2006 by Sarlos