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Final Fantasy XI

The Mog Log: Final Fantasy and the case of the missing alts

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Culture, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log

I guess I'm sticking with this header until I get something better.
As I've mentioned before, my first MMO was Final Fantasy XI, and I think I'd be remiss not to observe that a lot of my MMO habits came about as a direct reaction to that game. My love of soloing comes in no small part as a result of the misery of trying to get anything accomplished by myself in Vana'diel, for example. Alts appear to be more or less the same thing.

Saying that having an alt in Final Fantasy XI was counterproductive is like saying that arsenic is unhealthy. This was one of the many traits that Final Fantasy XIV carried over from its predecessor, but it removed any real option of having a second character serving as your bag space expansion because there wasn't a proper mail system to facilitate it. So there was even less reason to pay for an extra character slot there. Alts were just as absent in Final Fantasy XIV's original incarnation.

But this might be changing on both sides of the equation. FFXIV's Legacy players get extra slots for free, after all. Might there be some hope for alts in the future?

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Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin site details Geomancer abilities, Naakual bosses

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Classes, Expansions, Lore, News Items

Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin's Naakuals
Some new updates have hit the Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin official website, shining a light on the abilities of the new Geomancer job and on the Naakuals, seven of the fiercest creatures in Adoulin. The Geomancer will be bringing a number of nifty new mechanics to the table, though perhaps the most interesting of these is the job's use of luopans. Luopans are described as "geomantic catalysts" that "act as the epicenter for special spherical fields termed 'colures.'" The Geomancer can place a luopan anywhere on the ground and activate it to cast a geocolure spell, which can provide buffs to nearby allies or debuff nearby enemies.

And from the looks of things, players will need all the help they can get in order to take down the dreaded Naakuals, described as "the seven most bloodthirsty hellions that reign over the wilds surrounding Adoulin." Three of these Naakuals have been revealed on the expansion's site. The first is Tchakka, the Riptide Naakual, which takes the form of a nasty shark-like rockfin. There's also Achuka, the Firebrand Naakual, representing the dinosaur-esque gabbrath family, and Colkhab, the Matriarch Naakual, the most dangerous of the bee-like bztavian family. To have a look at these ferocious foes for yourself, head on over to the FFXI: Seekers of Adoulin official site.

[Thanks to zengarzombolt for the tip!]

The Mog Log: Final Fantasy and sexism

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Culture, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log

Seriously, I have no idea if this header is any good.  Feedback is welcome.
Passive sexism is a big deal to me. If it isn't a big one for you, it should be, because at some point high heels and metal bikinis became something passively accepted in games as a whole and that's not all right. MMORPGs on a whole do better than single-player titles, but you still have games like TERA that stick every female character into gravity-defying heels and the legal minimum required for clothing, or Scarlet Blade and its outfits made entirely out of electrical tape and fishnet.

Some games are better or worse about this than others. The Secret World allows you to dress up either gender to be as sexy or as casual as you like, and Guild Wars made a point of keeping skimpy armor as skimpy armor for both genders in most cases. (Although not hardly all.) But the question that's actually relevant to this column is how Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV stack up, and the answer is that they acquit themselves remarkably well. So much so that they're among the most even-handed games I've seen, if not at the top of the list.

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Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin announces official soundtrack release

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Expansions, News Items, Consoles, Music

If you're listening to the town music while wandering around your hometown, the Matrix has officially won.
Final Fantasy XI has always had wonderful soundtracks, and the upcoming of Seekers of Adoulin promises to be no different. We've heard a few of the tracks from the expansion that's due out at the end of March, but if you can't get enough of the songs from the game even before it launches, then we have good news. The official soundtrack album will be released on March 27th, complete with cover art by Yoshitaka Amano.

At this point, the album is confirmed for release only in Japan, meaning that game music lovers will have to jump through a few importing hoops to acquire it. All of the tracks on the album are composed by Naoshi Mizuta, who is also responsible for the arrangement and production on the final release. It's unlikely that this will see a full American release, but if you're willing to make the effort, you can have the in-game music follow you around as you like.

The Mog Log: A year of columns in review

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Culture, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log

Still playing around with new logo ideas.  This is the one I had out of a dozen that I thought came out the best, but I'm still not sure if I like it.
Three years is not a lot of time to do anything. I'm continually surprised by the fact that I've been writing about video games professionally for three years of my life, which is admittedly only 10% of my life to date but still seems astonishing. This also marks the start of the third year of The Mog Log, which means that I've been talking about moogles and cat-women professionally for a tenth of my life.

I use thoughts like that to keep me warm at night.

As always, the anniversary mark is about the time when I look back at the column thus far and see how well it's done as a whole. Last year I wanted to really switch up what I did with my coverage for Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy XI, and I think that by and large it worked pretty well. So let's do the usual thing wherein I look back, you take a trip down memory lane with me, and we all walk away feeling smarter. Or, if that doesn't sound interesting, you could just go look at some cat pictures.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy nostalgia

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons

The Mog Log header by A. Fienemann
There's nothing quite like Final Fantasy XI. Nor is there anything quite like Final Fantasy XIV. The two are similar enough that you can use one as a substitute for the other in a pinch, but both possess a certain feel that just isn't found in any other game. That's neither good nor bad; it just is.

Watching the trailer for Seekers of Adoulin gave me a powerful blast of Final Fantasy XI nostalgia, and while I could wax poetic about how the game I remember isn't the game that exists any longer, that's not really the point. The point is that for all the frustrations of the games, there's a lot of joy in both. So today I just plucked my top five memories from both FFXI and Final Fantasy XIV to share with you, since I bet that some of you have the same sort of glowing nostalgia. Even if you don't want the good old days to come back (I sure don't), you can still remember them with a smile.

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The Mog Log: 2013 for Final Fantasy XI and XIV

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Expansions, Patches, Previews, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log

The Mog Log header by A. Fienemann
I'd like to say that 2012 started out with a lot of promise, but it really didn't. Looking back at my predictions for Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV a year ago, I see they weren't perfectly accurate, but they certainly fit well within the margin of error. Very little happened over in Final Fantasy XI's development, and Final Fantasy XIV managed to continue not wowing anyone, albeit partly because of the several delays to version 2.0 that now have it releasing around the middle of this year.

If you haven't noticed a theme yet, here it is: I'm worried that by the time it does launch, no one will care any longer. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

While I've split things up between recaps and forecasts in the past, in this case it's virtually impossible to do so. A lot of what has been done this year is banking entirely on the strength of what will be happening next, so Square was selling 2013 in the midst of 2012. So let's look at the past year for both games and the year to come, with an extra helping of hope and speculation for 2013.

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The Game Archaeologist's top MMO stories of 2012

World of Warcraft, Anarchy Online, Asheron's Call, City of Heroes, EverQuest, Final Fantasy XI, Meridian 59, Culture, MMO Industry, Ultima Online, Vanguard, Shadowbane, Everquest Online Adventures, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous

The Game Archaeologist seals up 2012
As another gaming year spins to a close, we here at the Institute for Digital Interactive Entertainment have been holding our archaeological department hostage with a trained buffy-tufted marmoset until it delivered a final report. After hours of begging and infected monkey bites, the head of that department, Prof. Justin Olivetti, Ph.D., handed us a scrap of urine-soaked paper with the following article inscribed.

While the Institute strongly suggests that you ignore this report and instead work on your button-mashing exercises, the board of directors stated that all such papers must be posted for the public to see.

This report is presented in the Yetbari typeface and contains a sequential series of items that number between 11 and 13.

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Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin releasing in late March

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Final Fantasy XI, Expansions

Final Fantasy XI Seekers of Adoulin releasing late March
The long silence over Final Fantasy XI's newest expansion has been broken, as Square Enix has finally announced that Seekers of Adoulin will be coming out in late March of next year. The game's fifth expansion will go live on March 26th for North American players and on March 27th for European fans.

In addition to the release date news, the studio unveiled an updated website full of Seekers of Adoulin information. The expansion will include a virgin continent, additional enemy types, and two new classes: the Rune Fencer and Geomancer.

Seekers of Adoulin will be sold on both PC and XBox 360. Fans will pay $29.99 for Seekers of Adoulin alone or $39.99 for the core game and every expansion and content pack to date. There's also a two-minute trailer for the expansion; consume it after the jump!

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Jukebox Heroes: Christmas music

Final Fantasy XI, MapleStory, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Miscellaneous, League of Legends, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Jukebox Heroes Christmas music
Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the staff at Jukebox Heroes! When it comes to the season, I have to admit that I'm a bit of a Christmas music junkie. Not nearly as bad as some I know, and I'm totally for a ban of hearing such music in public spaces before Thanksgiving and after New Year's Eve. I just love how it's so cheery and makes me feel warm in my tummy.

A couple of months ago when I realized that this column would fall on Christmas day, I entertained the notion of just featuring MMO Christmas music. That seemed a bit silly to me; there's no way that there could be more than a scarce handful of tunes, right?

It turns out that there's quite a bit, actually.

So whether you're celebrating, taking some time just to game, or bored out of your gourd, why not hit the jump and see how MMOs have contributed to the enormous library of Christmas music?

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Square Enix confirms layoff rumors, denies any impact on MMO operation

Final Fantasy XI, MMO Industry, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

In hard times, the vendor NPCs are the first to go.
It's an unfortunate reality that layoffs are somewhat common in the gaming industry, and more often than not that means that games get cancelled or shut down. This weekend, Massively has been inundated with rumors that Square Enix has become the latest studio to suffer that reality. Tipsters suggested the company had laid off several people from its office in LA, people whose termination might impact the game's online offerings such as Wakfu and the upcoming relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV.

Only part of these rumors appears to be true. Senior Director of Public Relations Riley Brennan has told Massively that the layoffs did occur for restructuring purposes but that the workforce reduction will have no impact on the company's online titles, though we don't still don't know which titles or departments were affected.
In order to ensure it is operating effectively, the Square Enix Los Angeles office has reduced its workforce. This was a difficult decision and we wish the best for those affected by these changes. The decision will not have any impact on the operations of MMO titles. Customers can expect those services to continue, including the upcoming launch of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
While we're certainly happy to hear that our games will continue to operate without incident, our best wishes go out to those affected by this round of layoffs.

[Thanks as always to our anonymous tipsters!]

The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XI's future might just be bright

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, The Mog Log

The Mog Log header by A. Fienemann
We might not have another roadmap for Final Fantasy XI just yet, but we have the next best thing: a letter from producer Akihiko Matsui talking about what's at least being gingerly planned for the next year. More accurately, it's about delays in the existing roadmap, the state of the game, and what Matsui plans to do about it in the near future.

While the letter itself is a little old at the moment, I'm going to be honest and say that I keep re-reading it amidst a mixture of disbelief and hope. I've been getting up on the same soapbox for almost three years regarding Final Fantasy XI's biggest problems, and Matsui's dispatch by and large seems to indicate that the team in charge of the game right now is aware of exactly these issues and actively wants to correct them.

This is kind of staggering. It's the good sort of staggering, but it's the sort of thing you don't expect to see, especially not from a game with a lot invested in gleefully ignoring the rest of the world. But this could mean that despite FFXI's age, next year could be the best one for the game in a long while.

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The Mog Log: Consoles and the online Final Fantasy

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log

The Mog Log header by A. Fienemann
You could be forgiven for losing faith in the prospect of Final Fantasy XIV ever coming out for the PlayStation 3. Yes, it had been a promised platform, but it wouldn't be the first MMO to abandon console promises. Heck, the development team is still working on fulfilling some of the promises made by the original team; it could be forgiven for putting that one on the back burner.

But it's a real thing. We've seen the screenshots, and we know that two years after the game's initial launch, we will finally get to play around in Eorzea on our televisions. (The "we" in this case refers to fellow PS3 owners.) This is sort of a mixed blessing.

This isn't a column about console gaming compared to PC gaming; I really don't care which platform you prefer, and it's also not the point. This is a column about the fact that Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV are both going to be console games as well as computer games, and that introduces some interesting wrinkles.

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The Mog Log: Where in the world is Seekers of Adoulin?

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Expansions, Opinion, Consoles, The Mog Log

The Mog Log header by A. Fienemann
Square-Enix has long had a very different approach to MMOs compared to the rest of the world. In some ways, this is understandable; I know that every company operates in its own way. But where American and European companies are playing the electric guitar and Korean companies are playing keytar/acoustic duets, Square seems to be bringing out the xylophone to do a heartfelt rendition of Long Distance Runaround. (For those of you not willing to click the link, that song is not normally played with a xylophone.)

As a result, on one level I'm not surprised that we know virtually nothing about Final Fantasy XI's next expansion beyond the upcoming jobs and the fact that it's not going to be released for the PlayStation 2 here in America. I am also completely baffled that in the time since the expansion's announcement we have heard nothing about it. We first found out that the expansion existed in any form back in June, and we've learned pretty much nothing new since... and that's not a good sign.

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The Perfect Ten: Worst expansion names of all time

Anarchy Online, City of Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Lineage 2, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Humor, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

The Perfect Ten Worst expansion names of all time
When SOE announced that EverQuest's 19th expansion would be titled Rain of Fear, I instantly found myself tripping over the name. I shouldn't have -- it's a few simple words that are first round picks for spelling contests -- but it defied the traditional naming conventions for MMO expansions. Many people I talked to kept wanting to write "reign" instead because "rain" seemed like a deliberate misspelling by some intern in Smedley's empire.

Homophones aside, Rain of Fear is hardly the worst expansion title I've ever seen. The industry has had its share of bad names, from the confusing to the downright unpronounceable. Sure, we get used to these titles, and perhaps it's nit-picky to lug them out at such a late point in many of their lifespans, but petty is my middle name. My first name is Tom. And these are 10 poorly named expansions. Deal with it.

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