ffxivbook – How Final Fantasy XIV's New Raid Brings Final Fantasy Tactics To a New World

Last week’s “The Legend Returns” patch for Final Fantasy XIV gives players a taste of Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy XII in a special 24-person raid event called “The Royal City Of Rabanastre.” If you’re a fan of the Ivalice setting but not an MMO player, here’s what you’re missing.

The adventure, penned by Final Fantasy Tactics and XII writer Yasumi Matsuno, basically shoehorns Tactics’ “Zodiac Brave Story” into Final Fantasy XIV, with some characters and creatures from Final Fantasy XII thrown in for good measure.

In Final Fantasy XIV ’s world of Hydaelyn, the land of Ivalice is a legend (hence “The Legend Returns” patch title). It’s a story passed down through the generations, involving the rise of a king and a mysterious figure, possibly another hero, helping him from the shadows. It’s the story of Final Fantasy Tactics.

The Prima Vista is all sorts of pretty.

From the event’s official description:

Recently, residents of Kugane woke to find hovering above their city an airship unlike any ever seen. Yet while of Garlean design, the vessel distinctly lacked the bleak outfitting common in the Empire’s warmachina. No, this was the Prima Vista, private stage for the Majestic Imperial Theater Company─a troupe having won acclaim across Garlemald for their timeless work, The Zodiac Brave Story. Which begets the question…why are they here? The answer to that question and more lies in the selfsame legend of which they sing. The legend of Ivalice.

The Prima Vista is the name of the airship flown by the Tantalus Theater Group in Final Fantasy IX, but there are no odd little tailed rogues running about. Instead, as players discover upon embarking on the quest leading up to the raid even, this airship serves as the home for a pair of siblings searching for their adventurous father, lost while exploring the dangerous city of Rabanastre for proof that Ivalice is more than just a story.

The Zodiac Brave Story

The player character is contacted first by Alma bas Lexentale, a character that looks suspiciously like Alma Beoulve, sister of the protagonist of Final Fantasy Tactics. What was his name again?

That’s right, it’s Ramza! Or at least Ramza bas Lexentale. This Ramza’s main concern is finding his missing father, Jenomis cen Lexentale, and perhaps uncovering the true Zodiac Brave Story in the process.

Ramza is also a bit of a dick.

Whoever this Ramza and Alma are, they need the Warrior of Light’s aid to rescue their father, lost and possibly under the influence of Ivalice’s signature evil crystal, Auracite.

The Zodiac Age

While the main characters are from Final Fantasy Tactics, the setting for this first leg of the Ivalice saga is the capital of the Kingdom of Dalmasca from Final Fantasy XII. Rabanastre has seen better days, but it still looks pretty spectacular as the player and their compatriots approach from the sky.

And while the sinister figures who appear towards the end of the cutscene above aren’t fully revealed until after the raid proper, it’s pretty obvious they are Bangaa, the lizard-like race that first appeared in Final Fantasy XII.

The Raid

Once the lengthy opening cutscenes are over, it’s time to raid Rabanastre. This 24-player raid is a series of four difficult boss battles with some interesting trash mobs to clean up along the way.

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It all kicks off with a fight with Mateus the Corrupt, who some may remember as the ice-aligned Esper from Final Fantasy XII.

Image via Nova Crystallis’ run of the raid on Youtube.

Next up is Hashmal, Bringer of Order. Another Final Fantasy XII Esper, Hashmal represents the element of earth.

Image via Nova Crystallis’ run of the raid on Youtube.

Bucking the Esper trend, the raid’s third boss is Rofocale, who’s a bit of an odd duck in the Ivalice setting. Also known as Rophochehe, this enemy references one of the Zodiac-based Lucavi demons that did not appear in Final Fantasy Tactics, though its name was listed in the background of the game’s save screen. It’s a cool little callback to an unused idea.

Image via Nova Crystallis’ run of the raid on Youtube.

The fourth and final boss fight of The Royal City of Rabanastre is a real treat for Final Fantasy Tactics fans. Argath Thadalfus is one of the most unlikable characters in Final Fantasy, a whiny, entitled snob of a nobleman who looks upon those below his station with raw contempt. It’s really nice to get another chance to beat him down.

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Check out the full battle below, courtesy of Hinkles on YouTube. Stay til the very end to hear a familiar victory theme.

Note that Argath is excited about fighting against “descendants of House Beoulve.” He’s not quite right.

The Aftermath

The raid is over and Ramza and Alma’s father is recovered, but not before a familiar scaly face makes an appearance. Ruthless Bangaa bounty hunter and arch-enemy of Final Fantasy XII’s Bathier, Ba’Gamnan and his brothers capture Jenomis before he can be rescued, offering to trade him for a piece of Auracite.

Basically “Blame yourself, or god.”

The trade is made and the Bangaa escape into the sky on an airship. The Warrior of Light and Ramza gather up Jenomis and return to the Prima Vista, where the ties to Final Fantasy Tactics are finally revealed.

Though evidence of Ramza and Alma Beoulve’s involvement in the story of Delita Hyral’s rise from peasant to king of Ivalice was stricken from the historical record, Jenomis found proof. In order to ensure he never lost sight of the truth, he named his children after the forgotten heroes.

As for how Jenomis came across this informati0n, get ready for the kicker. The story of Final Fantasy Tactics is framed as the research of scholar Arazlam Durai. He is the descendant of Orran Durai, who chronicled the true story of the War of the Lions in the “Durai Papers.” but was branded a heretic and burned at the stake before they could be published. Well, guess what?

Ramza and Alma’s father is Arazlam Durai, author of the “Zodiac Brave Story”.

As the adventure ends, Ramza and his father vow to continue their quest to bring the true story of Ivalice to the people of Final Fantasy XIV’s Hydaelyn.

But Is It Canon?

Not really, no. Final Fantasy XIV loves to take concepts, characters and places from other Final Fantasy titles and present them in the context of its massively multiplayer setting. It’s the legends of Ivalice as projected into FFXIV, and nothing more.

Inside The Brothels Of Final Fantasy XIV on ffxivbook

The madam Queen Tepe met me near a bustling harbor in Final Fantasy XIV. “Will you be coming to the mansion?” she asked me. “I’d appreciate an escort,” I responded. Moments later, I’d meet five of them.

Tepe runs a seaside brothel on the FFXIV server Hyperion. These 18+ love dens exist on the raunchy role-play server Balmung and the populous server Leviathan as well. In them, players offer erotic role-play in exchange for lofty fees. In private rooms, cat girls sprawl out on beds with elves, humans, blue-skinned giants and other fantastical races playing out fantasies ranging from lighter bondage fare to all things tentacles. Anything is possible in text chat, and what can’t be conveyed in words is conveyed through emotes like /hug and /doze.

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Tepe and I rode to her brothel, Tepe’s Treasures, on the back of a feathered, white bird. Dressed in sunglasses and a red and black patched military-style jacket, Tepe looks more the part of a general than a madam. On our way, she told me that the idea to run a literal cathouse in-game started as a joke, a sort of what-if scenario that she laughingly made manifest three years ago. Tepe’s old guild accommodated the best it could, charging a meager 15,000 gil for intimate play. The front quickly attracted a serious following. As time passed, Tepe realized she had to take it seriously, too. Diligently, Tepe began researching erotic role-play (ERP), fetishes and brothel-running protocols.

“I never half-ass anything,” she said.

Queen Tepe

Tepe led me into the mansion and as the doors opened, five courtesans perched on a table slowly revealed themselves, each wearing uniforms matching Tepe’s. “How may we help you?” one said. The brothel was in service. In that two-hour window, Tepe explained, “people can come in with scarcely a waiting period” to visit whichever of Tepe’s 40 courtesans were online. Clients staying for thirty minutes would pay half the 100,000 gil fee upfront. Downstairs, dozens of private rooms designed by those same courtesans, in the style of a wooded hot tub enclave or a luxury hotel room, were available for intimate affairs.

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Dorothy Haze, a courtesan who dutifully followed us on our tour of the mansion, had only two weeks working for Tepe under her belt, but said she’d made 4.4 million gil in clients—granted, that’s only about $12 if purchased from a gil-farming site, but a large in-game sum by many players’ standards. Players who aren’t available to actively ERP will undress their avatars and program them to dance on stage for a couple of hours while they’re away from their computers, receiving as much as 10,000 gil an hour for it. The money these courtesans make, many told me, goes right back into decorating their rooms or is transformed into gifts, like weapons or clothes, for their online friends. Tepe is upfront about what she does with her cut of the take. “I spend it all on my girls.”

Queen Tepe and Dorothy

I asked two FFXIV courtesans on another server to show me how a for-money ERP session would typically begin. Here’s what they wrote.

Inside The Brothels Of Final Fantasy XIV on ffxivbook

He would slowly turn his gaze toward Vel, a soft smile forming across his lips. His arm nearest her would slowly rise up to run his palm along the center of her back as he eased in closer to place a small kiss upon her cheek.

Mr. M

Inside The Brothels Of Final Fantasy XIV on ffxivbook

Her ears fold back gently as she tries to hid the blush forming on her cheeks, tail swishing slowly behind her as she leans her head to him, a small smirk growing on her glossed lips.

Ms. k

Despite appearances, FFXIV courtesans don’t turn tricks on wordplay alone. Never had I met an avatar as expressive as Tepe. Her mastery of the game’s emote system was clear. There were no noticeable pauses between her avatar’s brash, confident writing and motions of “struts like a songbird,” “beams with delight,” or “does the Ranger Red pose.” Moment-to-moment, her avatar felt more like a live-action anime character, as opposed to anything that had ever gone on a quest or leveled up.

Rooster Lollipops

I was awed by the lengths to which these online courtesans had gone to create this illusion. My only lingering question was: Who does this?

When I asked around, the courtesan Johbi’ya Jhosre said he got into for-money ERP through his IRL partner of ten years. Jhorse’s partner, he told me, plays “a female courtesan that is married to the female miqo’te over there,” she said, gesturing to a player portraying one of the game’s cat-like race of avatars. “We’ve always maintained that in-game is not IRL,” he said.

Jhosre says that ERP gives him a chance to shed inhibitions he has and make a few friends along the way. Ms. K told me that she’s actually trained as an IRL dominatrix and has picked up a few extra bucks flogging and spanking people after her day job. Since she already has an outlet for her sexuality, she says, her sex work in FFXIV provides an outlet for her writing.

Tepe’s Treasures

On the Leviathan server, a blond madam in a red coat with tails by the name of Mistress led me on a tour of her brothel’s library, showroom and private chambers. The mansion had a burgundy hue, embellished with gold and furs. In most rooms, sparkling cakes and treats were laid out. She referred to her courtesans as “the entertainment.” Up front, johns approach Mistress’s call girls and boys with specific requests and fetishes. The madam accommodates, matching customers to courtesans who might share their interests.

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The brothel is the flip side of the Leviathan server’s mafia, a group of players who role-play gangsters. Behind the basement stage, where a dancing cat girl in a black bikini churned through her routine, was the mafia’s “sweatshop.” There, players crafted “bootleg” items that, because it’s a game, actually work. When I was introduced to the brothel’s godfather, he sat alone in an oxblood-colored room, contemplating a fire. I asked whether I could talk to him about the sex industry in FFXIV. All he said was, “We just provide entertainment.”

Mr. M and Ms. K

The courtesans don’t disclose their real-life genders, even when asked. “If you’re a guy playing a female character, that’s your character. It shouldn’t matter to the client what your actual gender is,” Mistress explained. “That’s our main rule.” Mistress, who said she is a stay-at-home mom with a 14-month old, said she had “no reservations” about starting the brothel and spends her days kicking back with a glass of wine and enjoying her empire.

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Sex workers on FFXIV tend to be open about what’s off the table for them. It isn’t much: often, dismemberment, mutilation, necrophilia and what’s referred to as “age-play,” or sex between avatars of wildly different ages. Would-be customers playing as the FFXIV race Lalafell, who resemble toddlers, are rarely serviced. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen. Ms. K said that, once, when somebody asked for an age-play session, “I looked at the screen, I smirked and I played straight through it.”

At the end my tour of Tepe’s Treasures on Hyperion, Tepe confided that she had never had an interest in ERP before she’d started the brothel.

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“I used to think this was just ‘Smut for losers who can’t get a real girl,’ like most people,” she said. Now, she said, she gets it. It’s not about getting off, at least not entirely. It’s an expert mode challenge not entirely unlike finishing a high-level raid, though in this case, it’s solving a writing puzzle that the game empowers even if it doesn’t explicitly endorse.

“Half the times a client comes in here, I have no sexual interest in their fetishes,” she said. “I do it anyways, I learn their fetishes, figure out what makes them tick, and try to write it so well that nobody would know it wasn’t my fetish.”

The Final Fantasy XIV Emote That's Pretty Much For Cybersex – ffxivbook.com

There was a lot of winking and nudging when the MMO Final Fantasy XIV introduced three new poses for dozing a year ago. And behind the closed doors of virtual houses and apartments, much more went on after that.

If you’re a connoisseur of online role-playing games, you know that icky feeling when you stumble upon a crowd of scantily-dressed, silent avatars standing a little too close to each other somewhere public. In /whispers and /tells, probably, they’re having cybersex. Online erotic role-playing, often abbreviated to ERP, has existed as long as online games have, and well before that in chatrooms. Avatar bodies gave voice to the less vocal parts of it, but simply standing together and talking isn’t totally evocative for more visually-minded gamers. With increasingly vivid emotes for avatars to express themselves, cybersex in turn has become increasingly vivid.

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A FFXIV player by the handle of Asami Hanasaki met me on a bench in the virtual city of Ul’Dah to tell me how she gets it on in the game. If I walked over to the nearby Quicksand Tavern, she said, I’d see a few scantily-clad cat girls leaning against a banister. (When I swung by, I did find this, and words like “daddy” hung above their heads). At the tavern, players type nasty things to each other in private messages. Hanasaki said that what goes on at the Quicksand is just half of the FFXIV ERP experience. To bring an extra something to the encounter, players will take each other home to their in-game residences to act things out.

Interviewing Hanasaki

“/Doze is probably the most common,” Hanasaki told me when I asked which emotes are used for sex more often. It’s an emote for sleeping that, curiously, is mostly limited to private quarters on private furniture. To use it, an avatar types /doze into their chat box while they are near a piece of furniture, like a bed, on which the character will then lie down. There was no /doze emote available until FFXIV’s relaunch in 2013, but shortly after, when publisher Square Enix introduced private housing and furniture like beds, developers tweaked /doze so players could sleep on the furniture. Until last July, /doze looked like a character literally dozing off, sighing a little and groggily leaning over until they woke themselves up. Now, it’s a little more horizontal.

/Doze in FFXIV

For sex, a player “usually has someone sitting on top of the other, whether it be on the other character’s face, or near their naughty area,” Hanasaki said. “Sometimes they’ll use the stretch emote to push their ass against the other person.” When /doze was released, Square Enix didn’t exactly play dumb about what its fans would do with the new emote. In 2013, a Square Enix community manager said that its use was limited to more private settings to “prevent the taking of not especially appropriate screenshots.” And yet, with /doze, players can change their poses from laying on their side to their stomach to on their back, maybe with a knee or two up.

/Doze in FFXIV

“People were ERPing long before /doze existed,” Das, another player who ERPs in FFXIV told me. Das says that /doze wasn’t a watershed moment for him and that most of the emotes he uses are relatively conservative (“If you’re gonna be there for 3 hours, you’re not going to want to keep typing in the same 2-second long emote”). “Before /doze, people would just /sit on the edge of beds instead,” he said. That way, another avatar could simply stand above them to evoke oral sex. With similarly old emotes like /pray, which has a character get down in their knees, FFXIV players have simulated oral sex for years. The same goes for /hug, although, since it’s already a motion toward intimacy, it tends to come off pretty innocent.

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Things are only getting crazier as time goes on. Another ERPer who goes by Bryte Darklyt told me that /doze didn’t actually affect her in-game sex as much as the /playdead emote, which was introduced earlier this year. The /pushup emote, which was added into FFXIV just one month ago, has also been a big game-changer in the ERP scene, something I confirmed after stumbling upon a couple mid-cunnilingus on the public steps of Ul’Dah this morning:

Emotes in online role-playing games are like symbols in a still unstudied language. They change meaning depending on context and whichever other emotes proximate avatars are using. Sex in MMOs is what’s advanced the language of emotes beyond what developers may have intended, but a lot of it goes on in private—that’s what makes it intimate.

After our interview, I thanked Hanasaki for her time. “No problem!” she effused. “And that Miqo’te that just ran passed us was an ERPer,” she added. “ERP” was in their search info. Also, Hanasaki said,“They were in their underwear.”

This Week's Final Fantasy XIV Patch Is Pretty Exciting – ffxivbook.com

Final Fantasy XIV gets its biggest update since the Stormblood expansion tomorrow, with the launch of patch 4.1, “The Legend Returns.” Not only are players getting new player housing, NPC dungeons and a continuation of the main storyline, they’re also taking a trip to Final Fantasy XII’s Rabenastre, courtesy of guest creator Yasumi Matsuno.

When we last left our stalwart warriors of light, they’d just finished performing some pretty amazing feats during the end of Stormblood’s main storyline. My character, the Red Mage Clan Destine, has basically been sitting still since she completed the liberation of Ala Mhigo, with the occasional break to mingle with some Yokai.

But that all changes tomorrow. With the 4.1 patch it’s time to figure out what the citizens and leaders of the newly-liberated city state are going to do next. The best thing about Final Fantasy XIV’s ongoing story is that it goes on long after a non-MMO’s credits would have rolled. I’m looking forward to seeing where the plot takes my godlike conquerer next.

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Even more exciting than that, however, is the “Return to Ivalice” alliance raid event. It’s penned by Yasumi Matsuno, writer of games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy XII. Matsuno’s adventure takes players to the legendary land of Ivalice, where the aforementioned games are set, where they’ll do battle with creatures designed by prolific Japanese designer Keita Amemiya.

I’m also looking forward to finally being able to bring my Adventure Squadron into battle. Players have spent the past several months sending groups of recruited non-player character adventurers out on timed missions. With patch 4.1, players can now take their team out into select dungeons, fighting by their side while issuing commands.

And for those who enjoy spending virtual currency on things that ultimately do not matter, the new housing area opens tomorrow, offering players and free companies the opportunity to desperately attempt to secure one of a limited number of real estate plots.

There’s also new raid encounters, revamped combat mechanics, treasure hunting, the return of fan-favorite inspector Hildibrand Manderville, new minions, hairstyles, emotes and much, much more. Check out the official “The Legend Returns” website for a full accounting of the new stuff.

I guess I will see some of you in Eorzea (and beyond) tomorrow, as my free company leader hunted me down on Twitter to drag me back.

Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood: The ffxivbook Review

I haven’t completed the final battle in the Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood expansions’ main story line. The titular quest has been sitting in the top left corner of my screen for a week, and I’ve been doing everything I can to ignore it. I don’t want it to end.

Being a highly successful massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Final Fantasy XIV isn’t going to end any time soon. The story of Stormblood, in which the forces of good in the world of Hydaelyn attempt to liberate two city-states from the oppressive grip of the Garlean Empire, will continue in some form or another until the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion arrives.

I just fear that once the final boss falls and the credits roll it’ll be all over. No more late nights spent tackling a seemingly endless string of “one last” quests. No more shuffling off in the middle of the workday to play a little more “for review purposes.” Hours played per day will become hours played per week.

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Stormblood’s fast-paced story doesn’t help. After a failed attempt at rebellion against the Garleans in the city-state of Ala Mhigo, the Warrior of Light (the player) and their contingent of non-player character allies hatch a plan. They travel to the other side of the planet, to the Asian-inspired lands of Doma, and help that city-state liberate itself from decades of Garlean rule. Then, with the Empire’s resources stretched thin, the Eorzean alliance returns to Ala Mhigo to finish the job.

If there’s a place you got to go, he’s the one you need to know, he’s the map.

Reading over it now, it doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that can be accomplished in the span of a few weeks, even with the ridiculously powerful (when the plot calls for it at least) Warrior of Light on the good guys’ team. Alliances are formed, tribes are united and massive battles are pitched with a speed that would make a Game of Thrones fan’s head spin.

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It’s not all epic battles and monumental feats of diplomacy. Between story quests the Warrior of Light, champion of Eorzea, killer of gods, spends time fetching people’s food, weeding their gardens, handing out flyers—you know, side quest stuff. Square Enix does its best this time around to keep the menial labor somewhat exciting, with longer, more story-rich quest lines trumping one-off “kill X of Y” types.

This time side quests aren’t limited to the land. The expansion introduces swimming to Final Fantasy XIV, allowing players to dive into select areas to explore the briny deep. It’s an impressive means of travel with some very cool special effects. It’s also woefully underutilized. With no underwater combat, the watery depths of Eorzea are home to simple fetch quests. Of the handful I encountered, two involved fetching a dropped fishing pole. Epic adventure, right there.

The side quests are mainly a chance to explore the expansion’s beautiful new environments and outstanding soundtrack between rapid-fire rebellions and revolutions. Shit goes down fast in Stormblood. It’s silly, but it’s a welcome change of pace from the meandering side story that was Final Fantasy XIV’s previous expansion, Heavensward. The narrative that began when the game relaunched in 2013 as A Realm Reborn kicks into high gear here, setting the stage for the updates to come and, according to game director Naoki Yoshida in a recent interview with Kotaku, at least two more expansions.

In my quest to avoid the ending of Stormblood, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the streamlined job progression system introduced in the expansion. Previously a player who wanted to be a Paladin, for example, would have to level two lower-tier jobs, Marauder and Conjurer, to 30 and 15 respectively. That job-juggling’s been done away with, and now all one has to do to become a Paladin is level the Gladiator job to 30 and undertake a simple quest.

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Rather than have players level up extraneous jobs in order to unlock borrow-able skills for their main, each job role now gets a pool of role-specific abilities that unlock as they level. Again it’s less job-juggling, plus the role-specific abilities help give newer players a sense of what their place is an a party.

Coupled with experience percentage bonuses introduced for the expansion’s launch, these changes make leveling up new job classes a joy. I started my new character, Clan Destine, as a level 60 Black Mage (thanks to a job potion purchased for $25 from Square Enix’s Mog Station store). Now I am a level 53 Bard, level 30 White Mage, level 30 Summoner, level 30 Astrologian, level 20 Gladiator and level 8 Lancer. On top of that I’ve also dabbled in the game’s two new jobs, Red Mage and Samurai.

I’m also a level 51 Fisher. I fish all the fish.

In a game with essentially three roles—damage, healing and tanking—adding two more damage jobs to the mix was an odd choice. The addition of Red Mage and Saurai bring the total damage jobs in Final Fantasy XIV to nine, compared to three each healer and tank.

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The new additions are a blast to play with some very cool mechanics. The Red Mage, which I’ve leveled all the way up to the new cap of 70, has a mechanic where the player builds up a balance of white and black magic and then unleashes them in a flurry of powerful sword strokes. It’s so satisfying. Not as satisfying as it must be for a healer or a tank to hop into the “duty finder” and get matched with a team immediately while damage jobs wait in half-hour queues, but pretty good.

With two new job classes to master and more enjoyable ways to level up the previous thirteen, there’s plenty for me to enjoy in Stormblood without having to pull the trigger on that final battle. Now that the initial new and returning player rush, server issues and frequent DDOS attacks have subsided, I’ve got all the time in the world to fish, forage, craft and fight my way around the liberation of Ala Mhigo. They’ve been oppressed for a while. A few more weeks won’t kill many of them.

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Final Fantasy XIV is one of the best massively multiplayer online role-playing games going, one of the few able to maintain a monthly subscription model in a day when even an Elder Scrolls MMO has to go free-to-play. Stormblood’s epic narrative, gorgeous new locales, spectacular battles and some fresh gameplay mechanics make a great game even better.

Nope.

I am never going to finish it and no one can make me.

ffxivbook – Final Fantasy XIV’s free trial drops 14-day restriction

Square Enix is removing the 14-day restriction on Final Fantasy XIV‘s trial version in preparation for the upcoming release of Stormblood – the game’s next expansion due out June 20. That means you can now play through the game – up to level 35 – for as long as you like.

This promotion extends to existing and expired free trial accounts as well. Free trial players can access all content up to level 35, create up to eight playable characters (one per World), join parties or linkshell groups with fellow players, and even battle their way to Floor 10 in the Deep Dungeon.

This news comes hot on the heels of today’s Patch 3.56, which sees the conclusion of Heavensward‘s main scenario content. For more on Patch 3.56 be sure to check out the official patch notes here.

Final Fantasy XIV's 3.5 Patch Adds A Ton Of New Party Options – ffxivbook.com

A substantial patch for Final Fantasy XIV just went live, changing up the MMORPG’s party system in a big way. Players had complained that it was a little sterile, with minimal options for customization. Now, players can recruit each other for cross-server parties, form password-protected private parties and keep their Chocobo companions summoned when they’ve registered for duties.

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Patch 3.5 added a cross-server party finder to the game. So not only can cross-server parties register for the duty-finder and raid-finder, but the pool for potential parties (and friends!) is now much, much larger. But FFXIV players may be disappointed by the new feature’s limitations: They can’t form alliances or do FATEs, quest battles, treasure hunts or deep dungeons with cross-world parties. A more obvious limitation is that players can’t recruit each other from across data centers—just servers.

To start a cross-world party, hit the “Recruit Members Across Data Center” option under the “Recruitment Criteria” menu. It’s now a default option.

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FFXIV also added an option to form a private party. These are password-protected, so you can hit the Binding Coil of Bahamut with your exclusive A-team.

With Patch 3.5, players can also use several filters and a new search feature to find the exact type of party they’re looking for, filtering by the level of privacy, objective type, recruiter name, etc. And, if you’re like me and you’re too shy to ask a good player you’ve partied with to be friends, you can now look them up with the “Contact List” feature, which names the last 50 people you’ve partied with via the duty or raid finders. The reverse is also true—if you’ve been griefed or harassed by a random player from a party, you can hold them accountable even if you forget their name.

Some other fun updates: Players with the Summoner job can change the appearance of their Egi (although the quest to unlock that is for level 50 players) and a few new mounts, hairstyles and emotes have been added.

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The hefty patch anticipates FFXIV’s second major expansion, Stormblood, coming June 20th. You can view the full 3.5 patch notes here.

Prepare to play as Ariana Grande; a message from the producers of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius on ffxivbook

Square Enix has unveiled a chunk of information on its collaboration between Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and American actress and singer Ariana Grande including a message from the producers of the game, a promotional music video and some screenshots of the celebrity’s in-game character.

From February 2 onward, all players will be able to obtain the “Dangerous Ariana” character by successfully completing the “Dangerous Woman Tour” event stage on the ‘Easy Mode’ difficulty. Various pieces of equipment specifically for the Ariana Grande-inspired character are also available through the stage to obtain, equip and use in battle.

Message from the producers

Promotional music video

Gallery

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is available to download for iOS and Android devices on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store respectively.

ffxivbook – Yes, Final Fantasy XIV Really Was This Bad The First Time Around

The Black Shroud was a nightmare in 1.0.

Since its 2013 relaunch as A Realm Reborn, Final Fantasy XIV is one of the best massively multiplayer role-playing games going, but let’s not forget the poor performance, shoddy lighting effects and nightmarish copy-pasted landscapes from the original 2010 release that made the relaunch necessary in the first place.

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YouTube’s Speakers Network has launched the first in its “The Fall and Rise Of Final Fantasy XIV” video series, detailing the various problems that led to Final Fantasy XIV’s original release being scrapped completely and reworked into something players didn’t actively hate. Warning: If you played version 1.0, prepare to be triggered.

Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 wasn’t an unattractive game, but much of the attraction was superficial. Map assets were pretty and filled with nifty touches on higher end machines (I loved the swirling leaves effect), but upon closer inspection many of those intriguing elements were the same intriguing elements used over and over again. No area was a worse offender than the original Black Shroud, pictured atop this post, which was just a maze of utter bullshit.

Using the Crystal Tools engine from Final Fantasy XIII proved a bad idea, as the requirements for a static game world and a persistent world with realistic day and night cycles are quite different. Nighttime was daytime with a blue tint applied. Indoor lighting maps were the same as the outdoor ones, with shadows unaffected by light sources that weren’t the sun.

Great!

The best part of the first video here is it goes into several issues I was barely aware of in the initial release, and there are so many more to get to, like over-complicated systems, chocobos we couldn’t ride and much, much more. Really looking forward to the nightmares the rest of this series will bring.

There are so many moral lessons and real life comparisons

Wow, just wow! That was quite the enjoyable read, and I’m so amazed at the intricacies of this language for dragons. So many faux pas could be made even attempting to try to communicate with a dragon in dragon speak! It’s so intriguing and yet so baffling! Kudos all around! I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of this honestly, but you seem to be happy with that thought I’m sure of lol.

This is absolutely fascinating. Makes me wish Square-Enix would consider publishing a full-fledged lore compendium for FFXIV, in English and other languages for international audiences. There’s already quite a fair bit available to allow for independent tabletop RPG campaigns, old-school style.

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But in an article like this, I can’t help but succumb to the hazards of my profession, and point out that English is an S-V-O language, not S-O-V. Even the example you used above (“The wombat [subject] ate [verb] the Lalafell [object]”) is in SVO, not SOV. You may have been thinking about Japanese instead.

To be able to write these (or approximations) using Word you can use the Equation Editor. In 2013 go to Insert -> Equation -> Matrices -> and select empty 3×1 matrix (typing the actual letter in the middle box). You can then approximate your notation with a large number of different symbols instead of writing them by hand, placing them in the top or bottom box. It might not be as easy when an accent covers multiple characters though.

You never cease to amaze me, Ferne. I just love reading (or hearing, when you’re doing panels) about all the little details and the intricate thought process that goes into all the things that makes my favourite game so wonderful.

We’re lucky the FFXIV team has you on board. Not only are you working hard to prepare quality content for the game, but you’re also taking a lot of your time to share your experience with us and give us a glimpse of how things happen behind the scenes.

Nice to see that you captured that concept of people using other languages (albeit most times incorrectly) and incorporating it to their own everyday life. Don’t we all do that. English words that sometimes doesn’t make sense but sounds cool as hell in japanese anime songs, tattoos with Japanese or Chinese words, or even random french in restaurant menus that doesn’t always make sense. Guess being “different” makes people look cool, but since everyone wants to be different in the same way they end up being similar again.. like how you pictured the Allagans.

There are so many moral lessons and real life comparisons made in the storyline that makes you feel the lore team is very wise.. I always imagined the life of someone who lived through it all and know which are lies from truths, much like Hraesvelgr. Politics and religion doesn’t mean crap to him, he lived through it and how truth is twisted and history rewritten by momentary victors, and how there’s no real “right” or “wrong” in life, only different actions and values in different time and circumstance.

I love the idea that the First Brood have lived so long, they’ve pared language down to its bare essentials and communication involves a great deal more than words. It makes a lot of sense. It’s very different from the direction Tolkien went in for Entish – he made that interminably slow, verbose and very frustrating for anyone else to listen to – but it works.

I’m a little worried that I was so excited to see that you’d posted on the Lore forum; I think I may be getting too obsessed with lore stoof! Also you made me loathe the Allaghans even more than I already did, although I’m glad their intellectual hubris came back to bite them on the ass big-time.