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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's big fanfest reveals

Eliot Lefebvre
12.22.14
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Christmas came early for the forward-looking Final Fantasy XIV player this year. I know some people are upset at the fact that there were more revelations in the Japanese fan festival than in the ones in Vegas or London, but the timing is different. (I'd also point out that the expansion was announced in Las Vegas.) We've gone from having only a dim view of what's coming to having a pretty clear picture of what awaits through the next few month.

One of the things that awaits is, of course, endless yelling about Machinist. Because boy.

So let's start unpacking the stuff we learned from Tokyo. I say "start" because there is no way to get everything in one column, certainly not with deadlines and other considerations to take center stage. It's going to be a few months, but there's a lot to chew on just about 2.5, even if we ignore all of the expansion stuff, which I have no intention of doing.

Gallery: FFXIV Heavensward | 22 Photos

Come on, guys, you can do better than this.The Au Ra

The biggest negative for the Au Ra at the moment, honestly, is that they look far more dimorphic than any other race in the game at the moment. I say "look" because we just don't know about character creation. The preview models we've seen may well have been tuned just right to have the ladies look as humanesque as possible, and it's very possible that the men had their height sliders maxed while the women were at the bottom of the height scale. How dimorphic they actually are remains to be seen; there's no denying that most of the camera angles for the ladies downplayed their tails and horns.

I am, however, excited for the Au Ra. For one thing, it's the first race that the game has added wholesale since 1.0, and thus it's the first chance for Final Fantasy XIV to actively distinguish itself from Final Fantasy XI's race lineup beyond slight visual touches. For another, it's a race that brings Ishgard's whole dragon thing to the forefront, since they're dragon-people in much the same way that miqo'te are cat people. More information about this race is needed, including animations, muscle sliders, and so forth; I know I'll be playing one somewhere along the line.

Oh, and we'll see Yugiri's face, so that's confirmation of something we all figured out already.

She blinded me with magic and hit me with astrology.Astrologian & Machinist

First and foremost, I'd really like to know what's being done with classes, as the expansion is now undeniably flinging them under a bus. We have three new jobs that are all without classes, and we don't yet know how this is going to work, but we haven't heard anything on how the whole system will play out. It does mean almost certainly that the ability matrix currently in play won't look any different, and I for one would like to know how the whole cross-class system is going to play out come Heavensward.

I'm also a bit upset that I'm going to have to main two DPS classes on my character for roleplaying purposes, but these are the breaks.

Astrologian looks like a combination of trying to find a way to make Time Mage work in the game as well as combining in mechanics; I'm pleased with what we've seen thus far for the results, sort of a Ninja with a heal spell. My hope is that it winds up beating out Scholar as an offense-oriented healing class, similar to some of the more debuff-heavy Defender sets in City of Heroes. After all, how much do you need to heal if your enemies can't attack more than once every minute?

Machinist, on the other hand seems as if it's going to be all about that bass careful positioning and deploying your turrets. I'm hoping this is more like dropping static fields than pet micromanagement. Some people are speculating that the technology on display looks more goblin than Ishgard or Garlemald, which would be an interesting twist; I think it's going to be more of an Ironworks thing, but I would not exactly weep bitter tears at the idea of handlending for gobbiegears.

Seeing Dark Knight in action was also keen. I have high hopes for it, and I look forward to seeing what it can do, even though my theories regarding its overall place in the schematics of things have been thoroughly torpedoed by the two additional jobs.

This is the Final Fantasy equivalent of that movie with the tiny doctors in the submarine.  What movie was that again?  Something something voyage?Alexander!

There are a few clever things on display here, first and foremost being the fact that Alexander is going to be both the core antagonist and the dungeon itself. This is entirely appropriate based on the design of the game and honestly makes a bit more sense than what I had originally derived from half-translated versions.

As it stands, the path through will have a normal and hard mode, with the latter having a difficulty more pegged toward Coil after Echo buffs are taken into account. This is good in theory but will require some actual in-action shots first; like Titan (Hard) back in the day, Coil holds people back with instant death mechanics, not the content. That being said, if the progress is in place so that you can be more casual and still see this content, I'll be more than on board for it.

We obviously haven't heard anything yet about the endgame model for gearing and such, but I imagine it's not going to be all that different from how it is now. The easier modes will probably drop a bit less often and offer fewer not-tomestones-but-work-like-they-do, but I would honestly expect at this point that it'll otherwise look very similar to the present endgame. Run dungeons, get tomestones, pick up gear from Alexander at level X or turn in tomestones from dungeons and the like for gear at level X-10 that you can then upgrade -- something that'll work like Crystal Tower, perhaps the Floating Continent. We'll see what develops, obviously.

Of course, all of this scarcely scratches the surface of what we saw at the fan festival. I haven't even touched on 2.5 yet, and I have lots of feelings vis-a-vis "Battle of Ishgard." So feel free to share and speculate in the comments below, or send stuff along to eliot@massively.com. Next time around... yeah, more fanfest stuff.

Chocobo Dash!

Nel and I are taking a break for the holidays, but we'll be back early next year! Meanwhile, over in the Final Fantasy Project I finished Final Fantasy IV's sequel prequel and moved on to the actual sequel.

From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every other Monday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.

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