Writing for Gamastura, freelance writer Emily Balistrieri has a lengthy run-down on the biggest party of the year for Final Fantasy XI fans: Fan Fest. She offers up two features for the price of one. The first is an interview with some folks from the development team, including Hiromichi Tanaka, and Global Online Producer Sage Sundi. The second is a breakdown of the events of the Fest itself, from the introductory speech to the obligatory game music concert.
Another very popular event returning from last year was held Friday at 3:00 PM: The Tarutaru Marathon. Registered players were each assigned one tiny, adorable, level one Tarutaru character to send hurtling through a perilous dungeon. Monsters there could smite these wimpy Tarutaru into dust with just one hit, so stealth -- well, more so just running like hell -- played a big part in advancing the furthest. No one actually managed to cure the goal Galka character before the 20 minutes was over, but the closest three were awarded pretty sweet tech prizes. In fact, the top prize for many of the contests was a new PC.
One additional element not covered in her writeup, but touched on in an update to the official site: the prospect of player-created dungeons! This idea is so out there that the language on the site sounds especially cautious:
The development team hinted at the possibility of a function that would allow players to design their own dungeons. These adventurer-created dungeons could then be attempted by and traded between friends. However,this idea is still in the early planning stages, and there is a chance it may not come to fruition.
If this was of interest, don't forget to check out our own Jason Dobson's gallery of photos from the event, and his own chat with the dev team.