With Final Fantasy XIV being released on September 30th, it's about time that we know how it works. There's been a beta since July, but it's remarkably easy not to get any coverage on this game, as it's been flying a bit under the radar since announcement. However, there's been a lot of information about classes and gameplay released on the blogs, so it's not completely under wraps. XIV could be considered pure fan service, but without the gameplay from XI (the other MMO), it is actually trying to be a solid MMO, and not just fan service.
The gameplay in Final Fantasy XIV is similar to Final Fantasy II, in that the classes don't judge the weapons, but the weapons judge the classes. So depending on what weapon you are holding, your class will change accordingly. The character progression will be skill based, rather than leveling and experience points. The weapon use will also "alter character development", suggesting that there will be a system similar to weapon proficiencies in place. The game has been balanced for solo and group playing sessions as well. The core gameplay is said to have taken influence from World of Warcraft, Diablo, Age of Conan, and Warhammer Online, though the developers say player feedback is the biggest influence. Chocobos will go into the MMO world once more, though not in the same role as in Final Fantasy XI. No further information on Chocobos is available. There will be two forms of progression in the game. One is obtained by gaining experience points towards a "Physical Level", which increases you Health, Mana, and so on. Another level you acquire is "Rank Level", which is through skill points earned from Physical Levels, and is more specific in nature, raising specific "disciplines", or classes.
The classes in FFXIV all follow specific disciplines, of which there a four. Your character can be a Disciple of War, a damage dealer who specializes in a broad range of weapons; a Disciple of Magic, a healer and spell caster who collects artifacts and relics to boost their personal strength; a Disciple of the Land is used for many professions, and can be activated with tools; a Disciple of the Hand crafts and trades, making several items. Each Disciple has multiple specialized forms.
Disciple of War:
Disciple of Magic:
Disciple of the Land:
Disciple of the Hand:
Little has been revealed about Final Fantasy XIV's story, but there is some information, if a bit vague. It will be set in a "high fantasy" world, but it will be that of a more modern time. It will also have better technology than FFXI. The races will be "familiar" to FFXI players, but there will be name changes and other differences. The plot goes as so. Eorzea used to constantly be at war, but the Garlean Empire attacked the strongest city, Ala Mhigo. They destroyed it, and in fear, all the nations of Eorzea banded together. The Garlean Empire never showed up. There are lots of soldiers and mercenaries out of work from the sudden peace, so they've become adventurers. There are 5 races to play: The Hyur, which are fantasy humans, the Elezen who are the elves who originally populated Eorzea. There are the Lalafell, who are smaller people of high intelligence. Then there are the Roegadyn, who are large and musular. Finally there's the Miqo'te, cat like humanoids who are only playable as females.
So there's all the information on FFXIV in a nutshell. If you want a more detailed description of it's classes, you can go to http://www.final-fantasy-14.org/ff14-content/classes/ . The game is set to release for September 30th for standard buyers, and is already available for the Collector's Edition owners.
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