I’ve already loosely commented what is coming to the game and for the occasion I’ve reactivated my subscription (and my character was still there after these six months). As already noted not all the features are enabled right away (like the chocobo breeding and circuit) but will be added with the next updates as Enix always did with every expansion (the storyline progresses along the months with new missions, till the cycle is complete and the new exp pack arrives).
The patch notes have some interesting tidbits like NPCs taken as prisoners during the mobs raids and that you have to rescue if you want to have their services back (“Besieged” is the new gameplay mode that creates a conquest system between the characters and beastmen. If the beasmen become too strong they leave their zone and go to charge directly the city, and the players have the duty, all together, to defend it):
(from “Besieged” detailed description)
After Besieged is over, some NPCs in Al Zahbi are taken to the enemy base as prisoners. These NPCs are chosen randomly, and will disappear from town when they are captured. Depending on the NPCs captured, you may lose the ability to purchase goods at certain shops or use the auction house. You can free a captive by acquiring and using the key to their prison.
Plus some sort of communal “party room” that you can rent for obscure purposes:
A new feature called the “Kokba Hostel” has been added. You can reserve the facility for a certain amount of time to use for private functions. Players are provided with a variety of temporary party items and food upon entering the hostel. Attendants and a special hostel chat channel also come with the reservation.
Beside these there are also three fancy diagrams explaning changes to some sort of aggro code. Since I’ve digged the details I think I can somewhat explain what the fuss is about:
FFXI seems to have issues with claiming mobs. If you are fighting a mob noone around you can attack it if he is not in your party or if you don’t break the encounter and call for help. At the same time FFXI is fond of EverQuest and I think you can train the mobs and drag them around to grief noobs. If I remember correctly there was a patch around december to address this problem and this last change was made to address an exploit.
Before this change you could aggro a mob without claiming it (so without locking the encounter), for example with AOE spells. Another party could then claim that mob, locking it, but without aggroing it directly. This would lead to a situation where the guy who initially aggroed the mob couldn’t attack it anymore because the other party claimed/locked it but still without getting the aggro. So this guy would finish in a situation where he has a mob pounding on him without any possibility to defend himself since the encounter is locked to the other group.
With the new change this situation cannot happen anymore and the other party can lock/claim the encounter only if it does enough damage to also get aggroed. Basically: before you could lock an encounter without aggroing, now you the “aggro” and “claim/lock” happen together and cannot be separated.
Note for ALL game companies: you should always *explain* the design thoughts and reasons behind the changes, not just objectively *describe* the change.
By looking at the auto-translate new places names and the new region map already in the game for the expansion (which is separated from the standard one) I’m guessing the number of new zones added between 20 and 30 (and not “forty” as some previews claim), which is still rather good if you consider all the efforts in the storylines, cutscenes, (fantastic) soundtracks and brand new gameplay modes. When it comes to “content” and artistic dedication noone is on par with Squaresoft.
To reach the new region you have to take a boat. But to take this boat you need to finish some sort of quest:
A new ship route has been added from Mhaura to Al Zahbi. You must fulfill certain requirements before you can board the ship to Al Zahbi.
Along the same line the three new classes aren’t available right away, but they need to be unblocked through quests. Still no clue at which level they are doable and whether they are complicated or not:
The advanced jobs “blue mage,” “corsair,” and “puppetmaster” are now available. You must clear certain quests in order to acquire the new jobs.
As I can find more details about it, I’ll make a post. The total number of classes in the game is now 18.
On the footsteps of “we are all noobs” declarations I have to confess that I’ve been subscribed for a long time to FFXI. Now try to guess at which level is my character… Well… Level 10. I’m so utterly, hopelessly pathetic.
Now let me say this. I have a new goal in life. Before I’ll unsubscribe again my character must reach at least level 15. UBER I SAY! I have to try hard!
And I want one these sooooo much! I really want to see how they are animated in the game:
The windower is still broken.