There's a new version update out on the Vana'dielian streets, and that means we've journeyed to Jeuno to meet up with our super-seekret contacts at Square-Enix and talk shop on what's new in Final Fantasy XI.

This latest expansion pack, A Shantotto Ascension, comes bundled with the November version update, as is customary for the past few updates to the title. So, in addition to being able to pay 10 bucks to attempt to foil Professor Shantotto's aspirations of having her own empire, the game has been updated with a brand new crafting system called synergy, the new ability to add "slots" onto your items and upgrade them with evolith modifications, more job updates, and an improvement to the existing wedding system!

As you can see, it's a busy time in Vana'diel, and we got to jaunt around the world and find out more. So come along, follow in our adventurous footsteps, and find out what all the fuss is about!
The Legend Torn, Her Empire Born

The tour opened up with a long journey (and by long, I mean a magical teleport that took two whole seconds) to the bustling town of Windurst, where I was introduced to a cutscene featuring the magical experiments of the great Professor Shantotto.

For those of you not in the know, Shantotto is one of the game's foremost black mages and makes appearances in many of the Windust questlines and even the world event questlines. She's a curious little woman as she speaks entirely in rhyme, usually showing up as some sort of powerful figure or weasling her way into adventures. In short (but not shorter than her), she's a little full of herself. Then again, if you could bend space and time, you'd be full of yourself too.

In any case, the opening trailer showcases a rare accident in the Professor's experiments, creating a large warp rift that pulls her in and triggers a gigantic explosion (shown above.) The Professor disappears from Windurst from some time, only to later reappear with an army of odd, Tarutaru-like solders. However, the Shantotto that reappears is nothing like the old Shantotto -- this one is fixated on creating her own empire and conquering all of Vana'diel to showcase her might.

The adventure pack is sure to take twists and turns while it showcases Shantotto's inner-mind and explores one of Final Fantasy XI's title characters in the depth she's deserved for years. While it comes with the update, the Shantotto Ascension adventure pack is an additional 10 dollars to actually unlock the content. Complete all of the quests, and be rewarded with some awesome new leg armor to complete the set you've been building with the first two adventure packs.

The Hunt is On

After previewing the expansion pack and the cutscene, off we went to try our hand at the combat portion of the game's new crafting system -- the hunt.

Hunts are very much like the game's Fields of Valor system, where players accept quests to kill specific notorious monsters throughout the world. Now, these are the same notorious monsters that have been in the game since launch, so expect to see some people camping Leaping Lizzy all over again. These hunts can literally be hunts as you try to track down the game's tricky rare spawns, plus some brand new ones added just for the system.

Once you successfully take down the monster you've been after and return to a Hunt Registry book to confirm your kill, you'll be rewarded with an evolith unique to the monster and the hunt currency of scylds. Scylds are marks given by hunts once you complete them. While the lower level hunts require no scylds to start, the higher level ones do. So, if you're looking for those powerful evoliths and difficult hunts, you have go jump through some hoops and do lower level ones first before taking on big game.

Speaking of evoliths... that leads me right into the next segment...

This article was originally published on Massively.
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