The History of Final Fantasy XI/2012
In 2012, Final Fantasy XI celebrated its 10th anniversary. A major Vana Fest was held in Japan to commemorate this special occasion.
Synthesis Skills saw their first level cap increase in 8 years. The coveted spell Meteor was given to players to use, along with the incredible new Raise spell Arise. New events included Nyzul Isle Uncharted, the difficult Legion content, Voidwatch’s conclusion with Provenance, and Salvage II.
|Jan. 1st, 2012|
Happy New Year 2012
|From the 1st to the 16th Wyrms and Wyverns appeared in Vana’diel. The names were Dragatama Wyrm of Light (Same model as a Memory Recepticle in Promyvion), Wassailer Whitby, Lucky Ladon, Delightful Drake, and Auspicious Ajattara|
In Grauberg (S), Ambitious Arnold a giant worm appeared with smaller worms around it. This NPC was unique, as past New Years events monsters always roamed around in a line, but Arnold did not move. There was no notification to players that Arnold was in Grauberg. It is likely that since it was the “Year of the Wyrm”, it was a play on words and the joke was that Arnold was an “Earthworm”.
|Jan. 26th, 2012|
Square Enix Accounts began accepting Credit/Debit Cards
|At last, the Square-Enix Account system could accept Credit Cards and Debit Cards instead of just Crysta (If your bank didn’t reject it as fraud) or Paypal (if you can get through UltimatePay first). Click and Buy also had a premium upcharge of $.30 per month to process your payment. Direct payments should have been the case from the very start of the Square-Enix Account system, as outside of Japan there were never any in-store prepay card options like other MMOs.
This new direct payment method was simply disguised as being processed by Square-Enix, but it was processed by a company called Global Collect. Some said that this is what Square Enix wanted the whole time, to point fingers at other companies rather accepting the responsibility of fixing payment problems. As long as it isn't on their end (the website having a glitch problem) then there is nothing they can do to help you, and instead refer to you these other payment processor companies. Many players still had issues with this new system at first, whether it was their cards being rejected or website errors.
For some bizarre reason, Security Tokens and additional game content could still only be purchased through Crysta or Click and Buy for a while after this change.
|Feb. 1st, 2012|
Valentione’s Day 2012
|Valentione’s Day ran from February 1st thru February 15th. The event did not change from the previous year, except that every player received items delivered to them from NPCs.
Rengedama fireworks as well as six total chocolates were received, of which depended on your nation of allegiance:
The Delivery Box and Sent Box slots were frequently used for extra inventory spaces by some players, leaving only one receive box open for Gil from the Auction House for sold items.
Getting these deliveries from NPCs was rather annoying until it was found that they gave short Movement Speed effects. While they were rather weak and only lasted a few minutes, it was neat to have such an effect from food. They also stacked with other forms of movement speed to get a rather fast effect.
|Feb. 14th, 2012|
Valentiones Day 2012 Screenshot Contest
|A Screenshot Contest was held for North American players via the official forum. The theme was Valentione’s Day. Ten winners were chosen, and the winning entries can be found here on the official forum.
The prize was a Love Chocolate in-game item with the signature of any community team member the player chose.
|Feb. 14th, 2012|
Nyzul Isle Uncharted Investigation introduced
|Nyzul Isle Uncharted
Nyzul Isle Uncharted was the center stage of this version update, but the rollout failed miserably for multiple reasons.
Any of the lower tier pieces were worthless compared to Empyrean equipment from Abyssea, especially because they were not used to upgrade them to the higher strength pieces. Because of this, there was no reason to fight any of the lower tier bosses. Practicality was seen on the +3 pieces from Floor 80, but it was exceedingly difficult to make it there due to the random warps. Equipment other than the Nares/Phorcys/Thaumas sets could also not be kept in storage, adding more of a burden if they are kept and not thrown away.
Japanese and English players both said that they could reach floor 80 with accumulated knowledge and experience, but they were lucky if they got to 60. Certain setups were required for every run to efficiently make progress in the time limit. Skilled Dark Knights and Scholars with 500+ Enhancing Magic skill were preferred. Powder Boots were also popular to use. In the end, luck played more of a factor than skill to reach Floor 100. Remember, back then all types of lamp floors were exceedingly difficult compared to what we are used to today.
Upon first release, there was no mechanism to choose your target floor. Because of this, if you warped to a random floor when you were in the 90s, you could completely miss Floor 100 and end up back at Floor 1! The width of the random floor warps was also narrower upon release and was only 2 to 9 floors instead of 2 to 11. Due to the difficulty, it was also required to buy temporary items to stand a chance. This left a huge token deficiency for players who could not afford temporary items.
As a measure against what Japanese players referred to as “Shush Online” due to the congestion immediately after the event’s introduction, a 30-minute reentry limit was imposed after leaving the Assault. However, this restriction was lifted on February 16th after the influx of players abandoned the content due to difficulty.
The term “Shush Online” refers to the process of rushing repeatedly to enter an instanced area before other players who are trying to do the same. The word “Shush” refers to the sound effects the game menus make when quickly trying to trigger entry into an instanced zone. The player base is excited to try new content, so everyone rushes to participate. Due to congestion, the message that entry failed is often displayed during the “Shush Online” periods. These often occur immediately after a version update where new battle content is implemented.
The change to Beaucedine Glacier was a welcome countermeasure for console players. They could finally have a chance at get the equipment they wanted from Kalasutrax. Freezing issues remained for console players even after the update, but the chances of it happening did decrease.
For unknown reasons, the “temporary” change of having Beaucedine as a Voidwatch area stayed even after PS2 service was discontinued.
A quote from an English player stuck close for this update – “Instead of giving us stronger stuff as we level up, they’re nerfing things to make new stuff look decent”. While this proves true to some changes, the Victory Smite and Ukko's Fury changes were long overdue. Some said it was left unchanged for too long, and it should have been done back at the level 85 cap (a year ago) before players got so invested into Warrior. Because of the strength of Ukko, many players already took their Ukonvasara to 95 with Heavy Metal. Seeing this weapon skill changed after dropping 150 million gil was quite disheartening. The 50% decrease across the board to Crits was significant. Monk had a little wiggle room as Smite’s decrease was not nearly as bad.
The change to cure and waltz spells basically made them the way they should have been to begin with. Suddenly, the Oneiros Earring saw much more value. At this time there was no way to hit the new Waltz cap anyway.
Shortening of ability timers and the changing of merits was the next step in quickening the pace of the game. This allowed the abilities to be used multiple times per fight, essentially, as many fights didn’t last long enough.
Following the Dev Post announcement about Level 99 Ultimate Weapons, players now knew there would be two versions of Level 99 weapons. Statistics were released for the “Level 99 I” version, but only the Afterglow was announced for the “Level 99 II” versions. After further clarification from the developers that “Level 99 II” versions were only for “Completionists”, It was soon found that the Afterglow stat was rather worthless. There were no other stat boosts like base damage for the weapons compared to their Level 99 counterparts.
The Japanese test server had the following requirements to upgrade from 95 to 99: 20 Marrows for Relics, 10 Scorcia for Mythics, and 60 Riftdross/cinder for Empyreans. The developers admitted these numbers were only temporary, without a doubt to obtain feedback on what they should be in the end. The developers admitted they should have used a number like 1 or 9999 to make it abundantly clear that they were placeholders. Admittedly, they also said the order of difficulty to obtain the weapons will be “Mythic > Relic > Empyrean”. This is the reason the Zeni per soul plate was increased to around 10x the old amount of zeni per plate than before.
The question also came up on why players cannot simply accrue kills on ADL/PW/Voidwatch NMs rather than the item requirement. The response was simply “for a number of reasons” including that they did not want an entire alliance of 18 people to get credit at the same time. At the time of release it still took a group of players time and effort to obtain these kills and it could not be done solo.
When the requirements for Afterglow were finally seen, many players scratched the idea of ever getting one. Instead, it was realized that it is more beneficial to build a new weapon with one’s time and effort instead of grind for Afterglow.
|Feb. 16th, 2012|
FFXI part of Theatrythm Final Fantasy
|Theatrythm Final Fantasy was released for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan on February 16th, and in North America on July 3rd later that year. Shantotto and Prishe were main characters in the game, and music arrangements such as “Vana’diel March”, “Vana’diel March #2” “Awakening”, “Ronfaure” and “FFXI Opening Theme” were in the game.
Some music such as “Fighters of the Crystal” were available at a premium price as DLC.
|Feb. 17th, 2012|
The Doll Festival 2012
|The Doll Festival ran from February 17th thru March 3rd. There were no changes to the event since the previous year.|
|Feb. 22nd, 2012|
Vana ♪ Con Anniversary 11/11/11 DVD Released
|A DVD containing the complete recording of the orchestra concert that took place on 11/11/11 was released.
Audio commentary by composers Naoshi Mizuta, Kumi Tanioka and others were recorded as an option to listen to as sub-audio on the DVD. A bonus track was included containing behind the scenes footage of the main production. As a first production limited run, a Campaign Code for the in-game item Maestro's Baton was included.
The price for the DVD was 4500 Yen.
|Mar. 22nd, 2012|
Most Interesting Moogle in Vana’diel Contest
|Unlike the previous Screenshot Campaigns, this was a much simpler campaign. All one had to do was post on the official forum in the entry thread about the various moogles in Vana’diel, and what made them the most interesting. Five winners were chosen, which can be found in the official thread. They each received a Nomad Moogle Rod.
Here are some examples provided:
|Mar. 27th, 2012|
Legion Introduced & Voidwatch Expanded
|Voidwatch, now with more Logs!
Provenance was supposed to be implemented in this update, but it was delayed for further adjustments.
The hardest part of the new Voidwatch branches were the large number of adds each NM could spawn. For the extra difficulty, a lot of the gear was underwhelming for the effort. This update added the Petrifact Key Items for Provenance as well as the Crystal Petrifact drop from Voidwatch battles. Players speculated right that these were for the delayed Provenance content. Additionally, new Abjurations and hexed armor was introduced. By this point players were getting sick of endless Voidwatch battles, so it was disappointing to learn that these items were indeed from Voidwatch. The NQ gear was pretty much worthless compared to the HQ, but at the same time the synthesis materials were very rare.
Before the content was implemented, there were live hands-on test events held on the Test Server. Community representative Camate joined the English event as Paladin. Players randomly grouped up and tried tackling Legion. The events were broadcast on Live Vana’diel on the official website. Based on the feedback from players who attended, a safe zone was added and a BGM selection tool was implemented for the event.
Firsthand reports from players who attended the event said it was a death/zombie fest. This was expected due to disorganization from playing with random people. While the event was fun, the group that got the furthest ended up timing out. Initial reactions were that the focus was more on having a zergfest than difficult fights requiring strategy and teamwork.
A lot of players enjoyed the difficulty of the new content. Some were reminiscing and comparing Legion to their first steps into Dynamis or into Einherjar 1.0 before their difficulty was eased. It was quite ironic though that Square Enix massacred end game linkshells with Abyssea then turns around and makes an exceedingly difficult event like Legion. An event without Atma effects or Temporary items finally returned. Besides the difficulty, the real challenge was finding a group of 18, yet alone 36 people to participate.
In a nutshell: the difficulty vs rewards vs drop rate in Legion made the event unenjoyable.
Like the month prior, the shortening of ability timers and the changing of merits was the next step in quickening the pace of the game. This allowed the abilities to be used multiple times per fight, essentially, as many fights did not last long enough.
Many changes that were made did not see their true usefulness until a couple years later. For instance, the change to Nightingale & Troubadour gave birth to the term “NiTro” we use today. With the 10-minute timers, this made it possible to full time the abilities. Maxing out both abilities was now normal for Bards, giving all of them instant cast paired with a multi-song Elemental Seal effects.
Meteor & Arise
Initially, rumors were spread from player to player that Meteor and Arise came from Zilart T3/Jeuno T6 Voidwatch NM fights, which of course was false. The only way of obtaining them the week before Provenance was released was from the Legion bosses. The initial Auction House price of these scrolls topped 40 million Gil. As with any expensive drop, it was hard to justify splitting 1-2 million gil per alliance member by selling a scroll vs giving it to a linkshell member.
Meteor itself was neat, but only practical in certain situations. The need for Elemental Seal as well as multiple Black Mages to make it deal effective damage was just too much to be worthwhile. It was more iconic than practical, as it was shown being cast in the opening cinematics by a group of black mages. Having it implemented in the game in pretty much the same manner was neat.
Quality of Life Changes
The limit break updates to testimonies and the Olde Rarab Tail were welcomed, but for the most part unnecessary. Some players felt that this was taking away from the challenge of the game and satisfaction of accomplishing a goal, while others thought that anything done to help newer and casual players enjoy the game further was a positive change.
Adding the scrolls to NPCs was really needed for new players too, as Invisible was topping 70k-100k on the Auction House. Regardless of adding these scrolls, however, laziness usually prevailed. Players would rather just buy the scroll on the Auction House rather than looking up the scroll on a wiki and walking to the NPC.
All the changes to Nyzul Isle Uncharted were very helpful, in particular the floor limit feature in order to easily target bosses. The question is - Which closet did they lock Tanaka inside in order to push through these changes?
Synthesis and Synergy Updates
The increase in skill caps to 110 coincided with the new Abjuration hexed gear recipes. Unfortunately, recipes were few and far between for a few updates. This often left crafters with only one recipe to skill up on, resulting in major market fluctuations with demand increase for ingredients.
Unlike leveling in the days of yesteryear, crafters now had access to +12 total in skill increase methods. Because of tier 1 synthesis being +11 over the cap, this allowed crafters to now have a legitimate chance of HQing during skillup. If you were synthesizing a hexed piece that caps at 105 and you are 104 skill, you would hit the Tier 1 threshold of 116. Instead of constantly losing money while skilling up like veteran crafters were used to, millions of Gil could be made if you hit a -1 Hexed item. This also effectively made the -1 pieces somewhat less rare than everyone expected them to be, as everyone would skill up on them due to lack of options.
|Mar. 27th, 2012|
The Egg Hunt 2012
|The Egg Hunt ran from March 27th thru April 10th. There were no changes to the event since the previous year, except one furnishing was added: the Prinseggstarta.|
|Mar. 30th, 2012|
Vana TV hosts the The Ultimate Damage Contest
|Vana TV hosted an event called The Ultimate Damage Contest. The announcement was made on March 19th, and the entry deadline was March 25th. This was pushed back to March 28th, however, because they received 0 applications.
Otsumaru, one of the main protagonists of the show, was targeted by five applicants in a Brenner type match. The area was unique and resembled Fort Karugo-Narugo (S). In the end, a Ranger took first place with Barrage followed by Coronach. The first-place prize was to have voice actress Maaya Uchida say any line they wished.
The contest was broadcast on Vana’diel Live on the official website. The video of the event is embedded to the right if you wish to watch.
The winner’s line is said by Maaya Uchida at the 38:40 timestamp in the video:
おつまるさん、いつも陰で支えてくれてありがとう♪ とか言うと思ったかーい？ Vさんに叩かれるのを見てスッキリしたーｗ
Otsumaru-san, thank you for always supporting me behind the scenes ♪ Did you think that? It was refreshing to see Mr. V hit me
(Mr V is short for the character’s name of the winner “Vanilra”)
|Mar. 30th, 2012|
FFXI reappears in FFTCG Chapter V
|Again, Final Fantasy XI was represented in the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game (FFTCG) Chapter V.
In total, 23 characters were added to Chapter V of the game. All the card art is very unique and fun to look at. The FFXI cards can be found on the official FF TCG website here.
Later on, even more Final Fantasy XI characters were added to Chapter VI of the TCG. Because the entire FFXI roster can be seen at the link above, I will not be mentioning anymore about the FFTCG after this entry.
More information on the game itself can be found on Wikipedia.
|Apr. 1st, 2012|
“Gymnast” Job Announcement
|On the Japanese Playonline Site, the new job “Gymnast” was announced as an April Fool’s Day joke.
Although the post was only online for one day, there was a video posted using motion capture of the SP ability “Natural Gymnastics”. This video seems to have been lost to time, and the original was made private on the Final Fantasy XI Youtube channel.
|These other Job Abilities were released below:
|Apr. 3rd, 2012|
The area itself is incredibly unique and quite beautiful. It is unlike any other area in Final Fantasy XI. Unique BGM was added to the zone and final boss fight. In the lore of the game, its described as the place of creation and destruction where Vana'diel was born and will end. The crystal off in the distance in Provenance is indeed the Seed Crystal and the stone/crystal referenced in the game's opening cutscene. In fact, the Caits specifically reference the line "it all began with a stone" in their dialogue. Provenance Watcher is made from crystal, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch to assume that it is just an extension of the Mother Crystal manifest as a dragon to protect itself from destruction. The names of some of its TP moves also reference creation and destruction explicitly. The word “Provenance” means the place of origin or earliest known history of all things.
|Provenance & Voidwatch Conclusion
As with the previous Voidwatch storyline quests, confusion ensued on exactly what the requirements are to access Provenance. It took a while to understand the spaghetti of a mess of steps and game day waits to progress the quests. Additionally, many players did not bother getting this far yet and stopped at Tier 3 Jeuno to fight only Pil/Kaggen/Akvan.
The content was not released on the Test Server prior to the update, leaving players completely surprised. Equipment was added to the DAT files the week prior, so stats were already known. Many players called Provenance Watcher quite the beautiful monster design, especially how its wings appear in the stance below 50%. Even the weapons and armor that dropped from Provenance Watcher had incredible models, unlike anything else in the game.
Provenance Watcher is the first fight that Fetters were actually called “Fetters”. Because of the constant runs that players did for Provenance Watcher, “Fetter” was the nickname that stuck with us forever for any type of “Gyve” enemy added to the game afterwards.
The fight itself was not too difficult, especially if the group went full zerg before fetters spawned. Pairing this with the vast amount of Temporary items available to players as well as Atmacite, wins were not hard to achieve. Drops other than the sword and staff were rare, though.
|Apr. 4th, 2012|
Treasure Hunt – White Eggs
|The community team held the first event on the official forum for Japanese players.
An egg hunt held each day across April 4th, 5th, and 6th. Players had to search in-game for a white egg, interact with it, and take a screenshot with instructions on the egg. The eggs instructed players to use different emotes and take a screenshot with their characters and names being shown. Three areas per day were featured, with one egg per area. Hints were posted on the forum when the event started, but after seeing other players entries it was easy to tell where the eggs were at.
The first person per world to correctly post a screenshot was the winner. With 16 worlds and one event per day across 3 days, this meant there were 48 total winners.
Winners on the first day were awarded a stack of 12 Pickled Rarab Tails.
Winners on the second and third day were awarded with the Chocobo Beret.
|Even if this event was just for a cometic item and only for fun, English players were salty that Japanese players got an actual in-game event which obviously needed developer support to implement.
It could have been a very real possibility that English players were totally ignored, but community team members did their best to equally support them within their means.
|Apr. 4th, 2012|
Creative Egg Contest
|A second event for Japanese players was held starting on April 4th. Players had until April 16th to decorate an egg shell in real life and submit it to the official forum.
Instructions were posted on how to empty a non-hard boiled egg on the forum. Players did not like the idea of submitting images on the forum because they thought others may get better ideas based on the entries for their own work.
Three winners shown here were awarded with the Chocobo Beret.
All entries can be found on the official forum thread here.
|Apr. 26th, 2012|
Feast of Swords 2012
|The Feast of Swords returned from April 26th until May 10th.
There were no changes to the event from the previous year.
|May 9th, 2012|
10th Anniversary Fan Art & Fan Video Contest
|Again this year an Art contest was held, but this time Fan videos were also accepted. Entries were accepted from May 9th until June 5th. Staff members picked finalists, and those finalist entries were displayed at Vana Fest 2012 for attendees to pick the winners.
Winning entries can be seen here.
|All other submissions for this contest can be viewed here.
Be sure to click the “Next” button on the bottom of the page to see the other pages of entries.
|May 16th, 2012|
Legion & Voidwatch Adjustments
Again, more job adjustments to Merit Point abilities were implemented. These adjustments were assumed, as other jobs already had this done. It was simply the developer’s way of “speeding up the game”. Corsair’s adjustments were by far the best of the bunch for the lowered timers alone. This allowed them to get two rolls up more easily without as much downtime.
With the HP adjustment to Legion, some players did not even know an 18-man version existed. Even with this enlightenment and the adjustment, there just was not any kind of a reward worth the effort that it took to do Legion. Pick up groups were almost guaranteed to be a disaster. It took very precise coordination to stand a chance at succeeding. If they did not spend the last two years destroying large scale organized linkshells, Legion might have been a different story...
The increased drop rate was significant – an additional drop slot was added so two items could drop directly from Provenance Watcher rather than one. Even though Staff and Sword were still the most common drops, the other items were now seen more frequently.
Guild Point NPCs
Before the change, there was about a 5 second wait between making a purchase of items. It is unclear when this change was added in the first place. This could have been snuck in during the RMT heydays where bots would constantly empty NPC inventory. This limitation was probably added to give multiple players a chance at purchasing the limited-stock items. Stacks of ingots, cloth, and other supplies on the Auction House have always been more expensive than the guilds.
The Chigoe change was in direct response to Summoners leaving their pet out while AFK. This would allow Chigoes that aggroed being attacked by Summoner pets automatically. Players did not think this was that big of a deal. The act was quickly compared to AFK bazaaring or summoner burn parties. Nevertheless, developers considered this an exploit, so it was fixed.
The change in displaying the macro bars was always the way it worked while using a controller. It really is a mystery why they never had it the same for keyboard users.
Map Viewing Adjustments
Discussion began on the official forum about changing the interface of maps by allowing players to view maps of zones other than the current one you are in. This was Square-Enix’s solution to new players not knowing how to access certain areas, such as Valkurm Dunes, without wandering the world or looking up maps online.
While the feature was pushed back but implemented later on, it did help new players navigate better – as long as they could navigate the clunky interface menus and region names properly. Veteran players found this a waste of time of development resources and questioned why they would not also make certain maps such as Yhoator Jungle easier to navigate while they are at it.
Finally, developers also replied saying they have been looking into map markers for quests for quite some time. This never came to fruition, and instead we later on received Home Point and Survival Guide markers instead.
|May 16th, 2012'|
10th Adventurer Appreciation Campaign
|Final Fantasy XI celebrated its 10th anniversary since service began in Japan on May 16th, 2002.
This year, the Decennial Ring was given to players who spoke to the stat moogle. Additionally, the Decennial outfits were added this year. Males and Females both had different versions, as well as +1 versions of each.
For the event this year, players participated in collecting “Stamps”. To do this, you had to perform tasks that were asked of you by NPC called Aspiring Adventurers. Some had questions about FFXI, such as where to buy certain scrolls or details about quests. On the other hand, some NPCs had to fetch “Vana’diel Tribune” temporary key items from ??? locations.
There were 30 total “stamps” to collect. Once you obtained all 30, you would have all Decennial NQ and HQ pieces, as well as the new Memorial Cake, materials to make the Banquet Table, and finally the Mogratuity.
|May 18th, 2012|
Where in Vana'diel is the Community Team?
|Another English community event that ran in 2012 was the “Where in Vana'diel is the Community Team?”. The event was held on May 18th as well as May 25th. The name of the event was a play on the name of the early 1990s game show ‘Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego?’.
To participate, players had to log into the Test Server and look for community team members. Hints of their whereabouts were given out on the official forum as well as a linkshell handed to players in-game. A couple of examples of hints were:
The prize distributed was the Chocobo Beret. Five rounds per day with three caps per location were awarded, resulting in a total of 30 Berets. The community team members were GMs, so they could not be found in search results. This made the event much more fun having to hunt them out.
|Like other Square-Enix decisions, this event had some controversy surrounding it. The biggest complaint Playstation 2 players were unable to participate as the Test Server was only available on PC. Not having a PC in 2012 was rare, however, PS2 players suddenly learning how to play on PC was a much bigger hurdle.
Additionally, the test server was not quite the same as the live servers in terms of the version. If a player had the new Memorial Cake or other new items in their Mog House from the recent update, they would crash on the Test Server upon attempting to zone in because they were not implemented there. This prevented those players from getting super buffs from their Moogles on the Test Server to help find Community Team members.
|June 16th, 2012|
The Mystery of ROM9
|Spira, a popular FFXI DAT miner at this time, posted a blog post on the BG Forums on this day titled “The Mystery of ROM9”. I have outlined his entire post and thoughts here.
The reason for this is because ROM folders are usually used to house files from different expansions separately. Chain of Promathia occupies ROM3, Treasure of Aht Urhgan in ROM4, and so on. The previous folder ROM8, was used for the add-on A Shantotto's Ascension. (all Abyssea data is stored in the main ROM folder).
ROM9 remained largely unnoticed when it was created, and a single file added to it in Feb this year. In March, another test server update added several files to ROM9 and this caught my attention, but we didn't really find anything about it. Fast forward to late May, even more files were added to ROM9 but this slipped right under our noses.
They were actually zone files.
After Septimus pointed this out, Kaisha did some quick sleuthing, finding them to be newly designed areas, even though the texture effects are mostly re-used, likely because new ones have not been applied yet.
I could not resist but investigate further into this matter to find out more about these zones in ROM9, and so here I present to you... the ROM9 zones.
See the pictures on Spira’s blog.
Looking at this really builds a strong case for a new expansion being announced next weekend at Vanafest.. I mean, its 9 entirely new zones, which to me is huge. In terms of zone design I think there's actually more original thought put into this here than the whole of Wings of the Goddess.
My next question really would be.. where?
Based on the zones shown above, I think I'd put a strong vote in favor of Olzhirya, the Mithran continent to the south. I somewhat envision it to be a tropical paradise - lush and green, and the presence of beaches seems to support the idea that its the southern islands. The towns being as majestic as it is seems like it'll be Yhoh, the capital of the Gha Naboh Matriarchate. I'd bet the stairs town is where their seat of power lies. That said, the design and architectural style of the towns are not what I'd expect from Mithran civilization, but maybe I'm biased because of evidence from Kazham and Windurst Woods.
edit: just to add 2 other popular opinions on where this might be.. - some say it could be Tavnazia, based on the geography.. the terrain and the slope of the town seem to line up with the image from the opening FMV. - others think it’s a foray into the far west, to either Ulbuka or Adoulin Isle, where the exorcists of the Dark Lilies and Achtelle hail from.
What do you think? Does Final Fantasy XI look set to have a new expansion, or at least new areas to explore to you? Where do you suppose it’s going to be? And do you think this will breathe much-needed life into the 10-year-old MMORPG?
The answers to some of these could come in less than 7 days. The week to Vanafest is going to be a long one.
|Jun. 14th, 2012|
Limbus Level 99 & Einherjar Level 99 Released
Interesting problems fixed
|Limbus II & Einherjar II
The content itself for these events was very recycled from the Level 75 versions, and not much changed. Only one new floor per area was added. Players did wonder why Odin Lv.99 dropped old abjurations and not the new abjurations for Hexed gear, or even Arise or Meteor. They all remained exclusive to Voidwatch and Legion for the time being.
The equipment from these revamped events was underwhelming, and mostly considered side-grades and not upgrades. Even then, a few pieces stuck out, and are still useful years later. Notably the Shedir Seraweels became the best Stoneskin macro piece even at the Item Level 119 cap.
Before the change, there was only one key item that was needed to enter regardless the number of people entering. The cost ended up being the same regardless of the amount of participants entering. Now, there were two different key items, thus allowing the price to be adjusted for different size groups. Nobody cared about the BGM in the zone. It was yet another way developer’s time was seen to be wasted.
Phase Displacers & Pulse Cells
To help with the main Voidwatch drop complaint about not being able to give party members rare armor you do not want or need, Pulse Cells were introduced in this update. Speculation when the “ticket” (cell) system was announced included that you might need to already own the piece of armor or weapon before getting a ticket. Luckily, this was not the case. Some players thought 5 cells was too many, though.
Phase Displacers were incredible. Regardless of the steep initial cost, they proved incredibly useful for those troublesome monsters as well as the ones who you wanted to spam for more chances of drops. Additionally, this allowed for smaller groups to tackle monsters rather than need multiple parties.
Shortly after this update went live, the /fume trick to reset Proc alignment was widely discovered. It is unclear when this was added to Voidwatch, but during the discussion on the bg forums a screenshot was linked showing the alignment message appear in the chat log. From the post date of that screenshot, the feature was in the game as early as February 8th, 2012. Rumor had it, some linkshells knew about the trick for quite a while. To keep it a secret, they used the command “/fume motion” to prevent an emote from appearing in the log. Additionally, because they were engaged, no animation happened either. This would simply cause the alignment message to appear out of nowhere to the unknowing player. In addition to this rumor, another one spread alleging that Tanaka was disclosing this information to players at VanaFest 2012. Camate made this post on the official forum saying that during the on-stage quiz portion of the live event the /fume feature was announced while he was out of earshot. He also disclosed two more details that were said including Murasamemaru’s hidden effect with weapon skills turning into non-elemental damage as well as using Camouflage after Decoy Shot will remove the enmity cap on Decoy Shot.
New Synthesis Sets
The sets were Chelona Blazer Set/+1 and Dux Scale Mail Set/+1. The stats on a lot of the armor pieces were good, so they were used for quite a awhile and sold well. The Dux recipes used the Dragon Scales as a synthesis material. The only other use for this item was the laughable Dragon Mail. The item went from worthless to highly desired instantly. Some players had stacks upon stacks sitting on mules from the Fafnir camping days in hopes that “one day they would be useful”. Today was that day!
Ease of Access
Rather than time gated content, Final Fantasy XI featured HARD STOP content. The Banishing Gates in Garlaige Citadel were a notorious way to halt Artifact-seeking adventurers in their tracks. These gates created impossible odds to overcome in order to pass them. If you were lucky, there was sometimes an EXP party at Gate #1, but Banishing Gate #3 was almost an impossible task. You would probably be in an alliance, at least two or three people would die (most likely the ones who had to go to the far switches). Someone would definitely aggro the slimes in front of the door and pull them through the gate, then die on the other side. Banishing Gates, ye olde bat trains before the monster disappearing change, as well as the run down state of the zone had adventurers nicknaming the area the Garbage Shitadel.
After the Pouch of weighted stones was added, it felt incredibly strange to walk into the zone without sneak and open the door yourself. Square Enix tried addressing this gate issue with Wings of the Goddess Maw combined with the Sparkling Light / Lycopodium (NPC) system, but unless adventurers had specific instructions it was difficult for them to understand how to bypass the gates.
It was unclear where the request for the /displayhead command came from. Some say it came the developers copying FFXIV’s lead, since it was recently implemented there. Others think that the whole idea was hilarious, thinking that the developers hated their own armor designs so much that they wanted to allow players to hide them. Players would have rather had hooded cloaks have the option to have their hoods up or down, rather than this silly new command. Keep in mind that this was before lockstyle was a thing.
|Jun. 24th, 2012|
VANA ★ FEST 2012
|This was the largest Final Fantasy XI festival since service began, and it would keep that title forever. The event was hosted at the Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall B, allowing for the most attendees ever in an event venue for FFXI. Events up to this date had between 1,000 and 2,000 attendees, so it is assumed this event surpassed 2,000.
Tickets were 1500 Yen per day, roughly 20 USD at the time, for advance purchase. At the door admission was 2000 Yen per ticket. If you wanted to attend both days, you needed two tickets.
Giveaways at the event included 10th Anniversary ballpoint pens, 10th Anniversary neck strap with admission pass, an Event Venue pamphlet with a Stamp Rally Sheet for the stamp collection event discussed below, and a Campaign Code for the Athena Orb allowing players to enter the new Heroines' Holdfast Battlefield. Below is a picture of these freebies.
If attendees collected enough stamps in their booklet from around the event, they got a Campaign Code for the Moogle Suit and Moogle Masque. This real-life event was a spoof of the in-game quest Stamp Hunt.
The current President of Square Enix at this time Yoichi Wada held opening remarks for the event. This is where he announced that Final Fantasy XI was, at that time, the most profitable Final Fantasy game for Square Enix. See this article for a write up from Famitsu and more event photos.
A costume contest roll call was announced months before the event on the official website. With this much time to prepare, many good costumes turned out. See below for a video of the Costume Contest.
Tanaka Retirement Announcement
In a complete surprise to the crowd, Hiromichi Tanaka announced at the end of day two that he would be retiring from Square-Enix at the end of July 2012. When he made this announcement, the crowd all gasped. Up to this point, nobody knew Final Fantasy XI without Tanaka at the helm.
Tanaka then announced that Akihiko Matsui would take over as Producer, which was met with cheers from the audience. Matsui would remain as Producer for years to come.
The venue and a picture of the crowd at the entrance are above.
No Square-Enix event is complete without a merchandise booth. Also at the booth was a mockup image of an auction house bid being mistakenly entered.
Food served at the event all resembled in-game food, and the café was called The Rarab Tail Hostely, which is a copycat of the café in Windurst Waters. Above on the left represents the Nebimonite Bake on top of a bed of Seafood Paella. A Goblin Chocolate is in the glass. Of course we need our dose of Mithra cosplay. Above on the right they are holding the “Vana’diel Lunchbox” that could be purchased at the event with edible food and Rice Balls inside. For those interested, pictures of more menu items and information from the developers can be found in this thread on the official forums.
Pictured below are four unique prizes for the Mog-Bonanza event:
Shikishi Board drawing autographed by Yoshitaka Amano, Top-Right: Shikishi Board drawing autographed by Yusuke Naora,
Shikishi Board drawing autographed by Tetsuya Nomura,
Shikishi Board drawing autographed by Kazushi Hagiwara
The next expansion, Seekers of Adoulin was announced at the event and that it was currently under development. It was announced that the area would be to the Far West. This was done to start a completely fresh story rather than visit the expected Far East or South. There were too many strings attached to these locations so it would have limited creative freedom. The inspiration for Adoulin’s architecture was said to derive from areas of Europe, particularly Spain, to give a sense of a land with a rich culture and deep history that spans the ages.
Below is the announcement trailer. Interestingly, the Japanese version’s voiceover for the video was also in English, but the subtitles and text were Japanese.
The Colonization system and Coalitions were hinted at during interviews at Vanafest. Geomancer was announced on day one, and Rune Fencer was announced on day two. Both jobs Artifact armor was revealed. Many new monsters and concept art were shown after the announcement. Skirmish was discussed as a “customizable dungeon based on your party”. Mog Gardens were discussed as well as Monstrosity. The new SP abilities were also talked about here.
An announcement that never came to fruition was a new Monk belt that required Black Belt to obtain. The new graphical UI revamp was talked about again, but it was previously announced for the 2012 roadmap earlier in the year. Rumors around a PS Vita version of the game were debunked during an interview.
|Jun. 26th, 2012|
Final Fantasy XI 10th Anniversary Official Memorial Book – A Decade in Vana'diel Released!
|Square-Enix published this official book for the cost of 3,000 Yen. It is a hardcover book with the cover featuring the same artwork as the first OST special edition CD case back in 2002. It was able to be preordered during VANA★FEST 2012.
It is not a strategy guide, rather, it is a 10-year preservation of the history of the game up to the 10th anniversary. This documented history inspired me to write these very pages you are reading. The book is written entirely in Japanese, despite the cover and sleeve being in English. It was never released outside of Japan. Inside is various artwork that any fan can appreciate. Additionally, an expanded version of the 11th Vana'diel Census is recorded within the book.
A Campaign Code for the Mandraguard can be obtained from the book, which works in all regions. This is one of the only Campaign Codes that has not expired shortly after release and they worked as of early 2021. The book can be purchased on Amazon, but most likely needs to be imported. If you are after the code, be sure to purchase it in new condition!
Below is a video of a book owner flipping through every page.
|Jun. 26th, 2012|
PS2 version of Seekers of Adoulin
|When players watched the Seekers of Adoulin debut trailers during VanaFest 2012, it was noticed that the Japanese version of the trailer had a PS2 logo at the end. The North American version had only a Windows and Xbox 360 logo. Remember, Europe never had a PS2 version of the game at all.
A developer post was created on June 26th which clarified what players assumed – Seekers of Adoulin was only going to be released in Japan on Playstation 2.
|While many players rejoiced saying that it was “About Damn Time”, there were still many North American PS2 players who would be forced to adapt to Xbox 360 or PC.
Were they dropping support due to the “PS2 limitations” excuse? The actual reason for this decision was it was due to manufacturing/logistics/marketing. At this point in time, major retailers stopped carrying new PS2 games in their stores. They were not going to use retail space to carry one PS2 game that might not even sell. PS2 also had no Playstation Store like the PS3, so there was no way to digitally (and efficiently) sell the expansion to the dwindling PS2 owners still out there.
|Jun. 27th, 2012|
Many pieces of Merchandise posted for Pre-Order
|Various goods that were available for Pre-Order were offered to the remaining playerbase via pre-order links posted on the official website. These items were all available at VanaFest 2012 to patrons of the event. All the items that had in-game item Campaign Codes at VanaFest also had the same codes distributed with these orders.
The only downside is that some of these items were region-specific. North America had less items available than Japan, and European regions had even less than North America.
Writing Pen Set. A goblin was mounted on the brown pen, and a crab was on top of the blue pen. The in-game bonus was the Gobbie Gavel and the Shell Scepter. Both clubs resembled their real-life pen counterpart. When swung, the Gobbie Gavel displays a gil effect, and the Shell Scepter displays a bubble effect. See their pages for a picture of the effect. Price: ¥1800/$22.99/€19.49. Note that a minimum order of $23 was required, so one could not just buy the pen set due to the one penny requirement.
The three nations keychains from 2007 were re-printed for a limited run. Like in 2007, these keychains came with the Moogle Cap code. Price: ¥1500/$14.99/€12.49
Pillows. Price: ¥3500/$39.99/Not Offered in EU.
Hanging Wall Scroll. Price: ¥2300
10th Anniversary Shirt. Price: ¥3500
10th Anniversary Clear File. Price: ¥400
“Sword Songs” OST. Price: ¥2100
|Jun. 29th, 2012|
Celestial Nights 2012
|The event was the same as the previous year.|
|Jul. 4th, 2012|
11th Vana'diel Census
|The results of the 11th Vana’diel Census were released on July 4th. A more expanded version of the census was printed in the 10th Anniversary memorial book mentioned before. Data for the census was taken on May 16th, 2012.||The entire Census can be found here.|
|Jul. 6th, 2012|
VanaFest Golden Gobbiebag Giveaway
Because the Nomad Mog Bonanza II was restricted to Japanese players only, a new event called the VanaFest Golden Gobbiebag Giveaway was prepared for North American and European players. The Participation Period was Friday, July 6, 2012 to Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 11:59pm (PDT).
Like the Nomad Mog Bonanzas in 2010 and 2012, this competition had players login the official Playonline website to enter. Unlike that version, however, numbers were not selected. Instead, players had to answer a simple survey in order to enter the Giveaway. Winners were drawn at random.
|In early 2012 the Japanese government was discussing the need to soon regulate social games that make use of a popular mechanic known as "compugacha" (short for "complete gacha"). Under this system, players pay a small fee to purchase a random, mystery in-game item (similar to real-world gashapon machines), in an effort to collect complete sets of similar items that unlock a rare "grand prize" item. This system was essentially the “Loot Box” of the time. Because Square-Enix did not want to risk any type of eyes from Big Brother, the decision was made have the Mog Bonanza at the VanaFest to be the final Bonanza ever.
The VanaFest Golden Gobbiebag Giveaway was Square-Enix’s response. Rank prizes were very similar to the Japanese version of the event, but for some reason this event was only distributing “Level 90” variants of the REMA weapons while the Japanese version distributed the coveted “Level 99 II” Afterglow versions. Every prize came with the new Moogle Suit Set (head and body) given away to Vanafest attendees, an Athena Orb, and choice of either a Ark Saber or Ark Scythe. Rank 1 and 2 prizes also came with a Nomad Moogle Rod.
Rank 1 winner
The winner of the Rank 1 prize for this event posted on a screenshot on the now-debunked Guildwork.com showing they won with a Yoichinoyumi sitting in their delivery box. Players quickly found this picture due to the social aspect of the website. The winner quickly got mocked and made fun of for picking that choice. This was not only due to it being a Relic which was far easier to make than a Mythic, but it was also one of the worse performing weapons that could have been chosen.
|Jul. 24th, 2012|
Enfeebling Magic Overhaul
Interesting fixed issues
|Introduction of the Iridal/Chatoyant Staff
Inventory +7. The downside is that effects such as the Physical Damage Taken -20% from Earth Staff was not on these staffs. Magian Trial staves were still better for raw damage, but these staves were a wonderful side grade. Not to mention the time saved from doing trials to make the Magian options.
Naturally, prices of all NQ/HQ staves spiked after this update due to the demand of these new staves. Accordingly, beads also spiked, and Chocobo Diggers had a great month or two. Synergy also quickly became a major interest to players who wanted nothing to do with it before.
Surprisingly, the HQ variant did not require an HQ Synergy result as players expected. It simply needed one of each HQ staff.
These skills were altered so instead of having a chance to gain skill only when the abilities proc, now players could gain skill when getting hit. This made the skills identical to how Evasion skilled up. The change was long overdue. It used to be exceedingly rare to find a player who was not a career Monk or Paladin who had capped Guard or Parry.
Pre-update, it seems that the developers essentially forgot about Requiem. The spell would NEVER land on monsters, NMs or a normal monster alike. Post-adjustment, it would land on practically everything. The strength of the spell was still negligible, but at least we could now land it.
Because the developers must have examined all offensive enfeebling magic to perform the changes in this update, one cannot help but wonder if Requiem did not work on monsters due to it being overlooked for years. If the enfeebling changes were not done, would Requiem still not land on anything today?
This item was the first ever way to increase the rate of Synthesis skill ups. It was a mystery why they tie obtaining it to chance from Inside the Belly AND have it be from Matsya. At the time it was the hardest fish to catch in the game.
Before implementation, the community team members held a Heroines' Holdfast play event on the Test Server. This gave NA and EU players the opportunity to play the event without having the required entry item the Athena Orb. Players could login on July 20th or July 27th at 6PM Pacific time to obtain an entry item from a Community Team member.
The only rewards from this event were two titles, so not many players cared about it at all.
|Jul. 31st, 2012|
Hiromichi Tanaka Retires
|As previously announced at Vana Fest the month before, Tanaka’s last day at Square-Enix was July 31st, 2012. Akihiko Matsui took over as Producer.
Tanaka announced that he was retiring due to health concerns, but one cannot help but ponder if it was more of a “forced retirement” with a severance package due to the horrible launch of Final Fantasy XIV. FFXIV 1.0 was still in service at this time, and the “final battle” didn’t take place until November 11th, 2012.
This theory was further backed up due to the fact that Tanaka moved on as an advisor to the company GungHo Entertainment as early as September 2012. He did not join the company at this point, but as of December 2013 he was confirmed to be involved in the company’s game development at their headquarters as a general manager.
Even after his retirement, the Tanaka meme continued to this day. The meme is always referenced during job or content balance changes. It is also referred to when speaking of content or items drops in FFXI that were incredibly difficult or time consuming to obtain.
Regardless of his eternal meme, Tanaka had an incredible vision for Final Fantasy XI when development first began years ago. That vision is what caused us old school players to fall in love with the game. That vision is also “Classic FFXI” that so many players want to see return, and the itch they are trying to scratch on todays “Private Servers”.
|Thank You Package
Starting the first week of July 2012, Japanese fans arranged to send Tanaka a farewell package to the Square-Enix headquarters. Coordination was done via Twitter. The organizer received 38 inquiries the first day alone. In the end, the package contained at least 100 handwritten notes to Tanaka thanking him for his hard work on Final Fantasy XI, how much the game meant to them this last 10 years, and notes of encouragement and luck for his future.
More details on the process of putting together this fan package can be found at FinalFantasy7110.com. Below is a picture he posted on the official forum the day he received the package.
|Jul. 31st, 2012|
Fantastic Fraulein Mumor – Songstress Supreme
|Mumor returns for the 2012 version of the Sunbreeze Festival. For the most part, the Mumor NPC minigame was the same with a few minor changes. Mumor shows up this time as a npc to cheer on alongside Uka, and she had an HP bar.
|Sep. 1st, 2012|
Final Fantasy Franchise 25th Anniversary
|To commemorate Final Fantasy’s 25th Anniversary, Square Enix held an exhibition at the Hikarie Convention Center in Shibuya, Japan on September 1st and 2nd. This convention celebrated the past 25 years of Final Fantasy and had many different lifelike props and even a vast array of fan art provided by exhibition guests.
The event itself was free, but you had to buy an exhibition “pamphlet” for 2,000 yen to gain entry. The pamphlet itself was a 49-page full color bound book full of mini art versions of sketches and concept art from the games. Representing Final Fantasy XI, Altana is portrayed on the cover on the top center of the book.
Kumi Tanioka and “Nanaa Mihgo's Live Stage” performed Final Fantasy XI songs on a live stage at this event. The concert was similar to Vana Fest’s performance. It was broadcast on NicoNico live. Due to the nature of the hall equalizing sound, some songs were extremely hard to hear. This was especially true for Nanaa Mihgos portion. Mizuta remastered the source and a recorded version was played again on September 26th on Niconico.
At around this time, Square Enix announced the preorder of the “Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Box”. This box set included a version of every major Final Fantasy game ever released. More on that is discussed in a later entry on this page.
Fans could hang up fan art in a section of the hall where attendees exited the event. The pieces on display here that were professionally created were displayed at the Square-Enix booth at Tokyo Game Show 2012 later in the month. The works below were two of the professional pieces shown at the exhibition hall. Click the link above to see more professional works.
|Sep. 10th, 2012|
The First Mog House Decorating Contest
|Held consecutively across all regions was the first Mog House Decorating Contest. Each region (JP/NA/EU) had their own separate contest with identical prizes. The overall premise and rules were the same. This event was very well received. Many players enjoyed decorating their Mog House and did not have anyone to show it off to. This event was a way to do that!
Users had to decorate their mog house with the theme of “Staying cool in the summer heat”, and the rules said that one of the following furnishings needed to be seen in the submitted entry: Goldfish Bowl/Fighting Fish Tank/Butterfly Cage/Cricket Cage/Glowfly Cage/Freshwater Aquarium/Saltwater Aquarium/River Aquarium/Reef Aquarium/Bay Aquarium/Carillon Vermeil/Aeolsglocke/Leafbell/R. Bamboo Grass/B. Bamboo Grass/G. Bamboo Grass.
This event was the first “modern” screenshot campaign, not counting the weird caption contests they ran in 2011 or the ones from 2004. These types of screenshot campaigns would continue to return due to their popularity, and players liked the concept of them offering unique furnishings.
Rarest item in the game?
The prizes for this campaign are considered as rare as the Judgment Day Mog Bonanza furnishing. For this campaign and the follow-up campaign in 2013, only a handful of players won. In today’s version of the Screenshot Campaign a set number of items are given away, and usually everyone wins because there are not enough entries to hit the limit.
For this event, each region (JP/NA/EU) had one grand prize winner who received the Opus Shelf as well as one “Case” item. Three runner-up entries per nation received one Case. This distribution resulted in only 3 Opus Shelfs existing, and 27~30 of each “Case” type across the entire player base (depending on which nation the grand prize winner received).
The following Screenshot Campaign in February 2013 doubled that. As of the writing of this article in mid-2021, only 6 Opus Shelves have ever exist in the game. This is followed closely by 57~63 total of the three possible “Cases”. Hopefully Square Enix brings these back!
The “Honorable Mentions” received the pitiful Banquet Set. This item could be easily synthesized and was not special at all.
|Sep. 20th, 2012|
Blazing Buffalos 2012
|The Blazing Buffaloes event ran from September 20th until October 4th.
The event remained unchanged, except that the level limit was raised from 75 cap to 99.
|Sep. 20th, 2012|
|Japanese players had an event on Twitter, but rules were posted on the Official Forum. The event was called “チゴーでGO!” or “Go in Chigoe!”
Coinciding with the Blazing Buffalo 2012 event, players were instructed to transform into a Chigoe costume and post a screenshot on Twitter and tag the @FFXI_JP account with the hastags #FF11 #Chigoe. They had to and include their world name and character name.
It is noteworthy to mention that a specific prize was not disclosed in the event post. They simply said a “small gift” would be sent to a random 10 players per day for 10 days.
There are reports that the gift was Lesser Chigoe x10.
Japanese players did not like exposing their character name and world name in such a public manner, especially since it would then be connected to their real-life Twitter accounts exposing their pictures and other real-life aspects.
Many would create dummy accounts that would only be used to enter these contests, because they became quite consistent. Japanese players wondered why North American players could simply post on the Official Forum, but they needed to use Twitter. This was especially true when the Mog House Decorating Contest that was just run took place on the Official Forums for all regions.
|Sep. 22nd, 2012|
Final Fantasy XI 10th Anniversary Concert
|Originally announced on June 1st, a Final Fantasy XI live concert was held on this day to commemorate Final Fantasy XI’s 10th Anniversary. This concert was for North American fans, and the venue was the Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, California.
1,865 seats were available at the venue. Ticket prices varied from $50-$85 each depending on the location of the seat. VIP tickets were also available for $150 each, which included a Meet & Greet opportunity with the event’s special guests.
Performers included Arnie Roth as Conductor and Producer along with Kumi Tanioka & Naoshi Mizuta as Composers/Special Guests.
The video below is the Distant Worlds performance at this concert.
Surprisingly, the set list was released a month prior to the concert on the official website:
|Sep. 25th, 2012|
Meeble Burrows Released
Interesting fixed issues
Upon the content announcement, players were calling the event “MMM 2.0” due to the similarities. After more specifics were announced in early August, the biggest concern became the 20-hour cooldown for a 15-minute event. With such a low time allotment, players assumed it would be zerg content.
Thanks to the test server, 90% of the content and gear was already figured out before the update. The system turned out to be more Assault-esque content with more practical advancement. Due to all the useful gear and the minor time requirement per day, many players would create static groups for the content.
Dynamis Currency Icons
The developers had the best intentions in mind when this icon change was implemented. The idea was to at least prevent SOME mistakes from happening, but they knew it would not prevent all mistakes. Byne Bills were to blame more than the other pieces. The colors of each of the byne denominations are remarkably similar. To make matters worse the numbering in the item names was also easily mixed up when in a rush or not paying attention.
Some players said that it was that it was the purchasers idiotic mistake for not paying attention in the first place, and it was not the bazaaring mule’s fault. On the other hand, other players said if people did not fall for it, there would not be any intentionally overpriced currency in the first place. Changing the icons did not stop the scam bazaars from continuing to sell singles for 700k and hundred pieces for 7 million, but if it at least saved one player from making a mistake then it served its purpose.
Player Collision Change
Initially, this change was supposed to be in the July version update. It was pushed back for further player feedback and consideration. The developers thought that this change might “ruin the atmosphere” of the game. They said that it was implemented in the first place to amplify the existence of other players, instead of players simply melding into the background.
It was a very overdue change. As an example, players constantly idled at Mog House entrances and Home Points. This caused a huge burden to bypass the “mob”, sometimes causing players to stop running many times on their way through. Not to mention the Galka seemed to have a naturally larger “hitbox” than Tarutaru. Tarutaru players claimed to have a… “larger”… issue to deal with than other races.
|Sep. 29th, 2012|
Termination of FFXI/FFXIV Simultaneous Subscription Bonuses
|With the transition from the original version of Final Fantasy XIV to A Realm Reborn, the simultaneous subscription bonuses were terminated effective this day.
The bonuses included the in-game FFXIV item Hermes’ Sandals, as well as character name transfers. As a reminder, joint subscribers received a billing discount for Final Fantasy XI from $12.95 down to $7/mo from September 2010 (it’s initial release) thru March 2012.
|Oct. 12th, 2012|
North American Twitter Contest
|The community team held the first Twitter contest for North American players on this day. For some reason, this contest was not announced on the official forum like every other contest. It was only announced on the official website. The contest ran from October 15th thru October 19th. It was only advertised on the North American official website, not the European site.
Like the other Twitter contests, players had to follow @FFXI_EN but no hashtags were needed. To enter, players needed to tweet a screenshot while equipped with Anniversary attire from any year and send an anniversary related message while tagging the account in the tweet.
|Two players won on each day the contest was run, each receiving a Nomad Moogle Rod.
|Oct. 18th, 2012|
The Harvest Festival 2012
|The Harvest Festival ran from October 18th thru November 1st.
New this year were the Ahriman Cap and Pyracmon Cap. These were added to the bat portion of the event where players needed to level sync. 25+ bats were required to obtain the NQ cap. Obtaining the HQ required players to have the NQ version as well as defeat 30 bats.
|Oct. 18th, 2012|
Trick or Tweet!
|Like the previous Japanese player Twitter event, another was run for Halloween called “Trick or Tweet”. Entry conditions were similar but with a different theme.
Players were instructed to wear the newly implemented Ahriman Cap and post a screenshot on Twitter. They needed to follow and tag the @FFXI_JP account and to use the hastags #FF11 & #Trick_or_Tweet while posting their screenshot. They also needed to include their world name and character name in the tweet.
|The event ran from October 18th until October 25th. 10 random participants per day were given a Nomad Moogle Rod, while another 10 were given “Something related to Halloween and Ahriman”. It is unknown what the item was. Based on the previous event it was probably an Ahriman Wing or something similar.
|Oct. 18th, 2012|
0.5th Halloween Sweets Contest
|Due to the popularity of the Easter Egg Decorating Contest, another real-life cooking contest was held for Japanese players. It is unknown why it was not called “1st”, and instead it was named “0.5th”. This might have been done so there was no pressure to have it an annual event, so the name was mocked.
Entries were accepted on the official forum from October 18th until November 1st.
|Unfortunately, many of the entries to this contest were lost as the links are now broken or the images were taken down. If you wish to peruse the entrants still visible, view the applicant thread on the official forum here.
|Oct. 22nd, 2012|
Infamous Emergency Maintenance
|Emergency Maintenance was conducted to fix several issued pertaining to Meeble Burrows, but with it they included alterations to many items that could be purchased with Cruor. Some item NPC sale values were drastically lowered, while others no longer we able to be sold to NPCs. This is when the Aurore/Teal/Perle armor pieces were changed to no longer be sellable to NPCs.
This maintenance was infamous for killing the Chocobo Blinkers Gil creation machine. The item used to sell to the NPC at the Tenshodo for 531 Gil each, but the maintenance reduced the price down to 68 Gil each. Each blinker cost only 200 Cruor. Before the update, 1 million Cruor converted into 2.655 million Gil. This maintenance caused the same amount of Cruor to only be worth 340k.
|This nerf was a long time coming, and players knew it was inevitable. Everyone kept a “We don’t talk about Fight Club” poker face when discussion about NPCing Blinkers was discussed on any social message board. This was reminiscent of “We don’t talk about Alexandrite” before the great Salvage bans.
Players mostly blamed RMT for causing this nerf. They were not the entire problem, however. Many actual players and linkshells used Blinkers as their sole income source. Since there was not much else that required Cruor anymore, selling items was the only use for it.
One would think that this Cruor farming was only done on trash mobs during RMT EXP shout parties. Empyrean weapons were also greatly affected. As an example, players would farm Heavy Metal from Morta while earning 22.5k Cruor each kill per character. They could kill around 12 Mortas per hour at that time. With players moving back to Dynamis this change caused Heavy Metal/Riftdross/Riftcinder to become rarer, thus driving up the price.
|Nov. 11th, 2012|
|To celebrate “11/11”, a concert cruise was held called “Voyager”. This is a direct reference to the Selbina/Mhaura ferry, as that OST is also called Voyager. As with the other concerts recently, the performers were Kumi Tanikoa and Naoshi Mizuta/Nanaa Mihgo’s band. Two cruises were held on the same day, and they both departed from Yokohama at the Osanbashi Pier. Both cruises were two hours long.
The first trip was an afternoon cruise that had 110 tickets available. The tickets were 7,000 yen each, and the cruise was a live style event. The second trip was a premium night cruise with only 55 tickets. This one was a dinner cruise and tickets sold for a premium of 11,000 yen each. Passengers were required to purchase at least one drink upon boarding.
As with other limited seating events, a lottery was held to determine who would be able to purchase tickets. Lottery entry ran from October 15th until October 28th, and winners were notified on October 30th.
|Nov. 12th, 2012|
“Vana’diel Senryu” Contest
|Another event for Japanese players was held. This time, players needed to simply reply to a contest entry thread posting a senryu about Vana’diel and Final Fantasy XI.
A Senryu is a simple a 3-lined unrhymed poem. It is structured similarly to a haiku, but the contents are generally more ironic or satiric.
The development team selected five winners who received a Nomad Cap.
|Here are the winning entries, translated from Japanese:
|Nov. 21st, 2012|
A Beast for the Feast
|The community team held another contest on the Official Forums that was limited to North American players. This was kind of a screenshot contest, but they allowed five entries per post.
Players needed to screenshot and caption a picture of a monster in game they would slay and serve for Thanksgiving dinner.
|Three winners received a Rolanberry Delightaru, which was a follow up to offering it to Japanese players the month before.
This prize was not available for European players to win until the Mog House Decorating Contest in February 2013.
|Dec. 13th, 2012|
Salvage II Released!
|Nerf to Superimposed Buffs
Before this update a player that had any buff active could speak to an NPC or interactive point to stop their buff timers. This tactic was known as “Time Stop” or “Superimposed Buffs”. This was noteworthy for keeping shorter buffs active while allowing other players in the party to continue to buff if theirs took longer to perform.
The buff stop exploit spans back to the Chi Blast + Boost days of Monk in 2004. Some players recognized that it was a violation to extend the effect time of abilities because it was a gap in the system. Cheaters were sometimes punished for using this tactic at the time. To prevent players being KO’d during cutscenes, the timer count stops were left as an exploit in the system.
Until the days of Abyssea and Primeval Brew, there were no fights that could really take advantage of the time stop exploit. In Abyssea there were many easy ways to use the time stop exploit such as Martello and Sturdy Pyxis. It was easy to slaughter multiple HNMs solo and collect Magian materials under the effect of a single Primeval Brew. Some players would contact GMs, but there was no punishment or announcement from Square-Enix. The behavior was virtually tolerated.
After the Abyssea era, battles with the strongest bosses in the game such as Arch Dynamis Lord and Provenance Watcher were popular events. With strong buffs such as Embrava, Soul Voice and Perfect Defense being popular strategies, it was important to keep time loss to a minimum until all buffs were applied. In response to the situation, it was announced that this system behavior would be abolished as “it was being used differently than its original purpose”.
With this modification not only do buff timers continue to tick... but Refresh, Regain, Regen, and DoT damage now continue in cutscenes.
Meeble Burrows Adjustments
New expeditions were scheduled to be released, but they were delayed for further testing. The rewards were still added in this update, and the very unusual statistics for the weapons took players aback. Specifically, the “Occasionally prevents Weakened status” on the Himthige was a wut? moment.
A great decision was made to grant more points for groups larger than three players. This was a minor change, but it promoted teaming up for a common goal. As players knew it at the time, it was generally a stark trend to low man content so that the rewards were more profitable for the party members. It was a nice change to see a positive incentive for going through the trouble of inviting more people – regardless of how generally unsubstantial the boost was. Allowing for more sacks to be stored at once also let players make more progress in one sitting instead of spanning the event across every day.
Unlike other events, Salvage II was not added to the Test Server and players needed to wait for the version update to see how the event worked and armor rewards. For unknown reasons, Dancer was added to the +1 version of Skadi and Scholar was added to the +1 version of Morrigan, but not to the NQs.
Previously it was announced that there would be “Upgrade Paths” to pick what type of armor you wanted. This turned out to be either the +1 armor variant or the new Level 99 sets with altered stats. Because these stats were so different, some pieces appealed to players situationally while other pieces were complete junk. Some of the new +1 pieces became best in slot. They were not as bad as Limbus II, but overall, not as good as Nyzul Uncharted. The Morrigan's set stood out above the rest.
From implementation of Salvage II, Embrava was nerfed in the zones. Matsui discussed changing Perfect Defense and Embrava since September. Most players knew that these abilities and their effectiveness needed to be decreased. It was a “necessary evil” because they were overpowered. Matsui acknowledged the need to gradually reduce these abilities, and players should not have to rely on them to win content. The first step was only Embrava, and only in Salvage II. The NMs in the content were created without Embrava in mind. With this change in place combined with superimposed buffs being removed, the offramp of Embrava and Perfect Defense was in place.
This update introduced the Proto-Waypoint transportation system to the pre-Adoulin areas. This was the first transportation addition after Voidwatch warps. The locations of the waypoints did not overlap the Voidwatch zones, so all of them had unique uses.
After unlocking access to Outposts, Abyssea, Voidwatch teleport methods followed by these waypoints... there were now a lot of options for getting around Vana'diel. [http:// http://www.playonline.com/pcd/topics/ff11us/detail/9730/detail.html A lore post was made] later in December that discussed the upcoming Ulbuka continent and highly implied that Waypoints will be a staple part of the transportation system in the upcoming Seekers of Adoulin expansion.
Etudes used to be AoE songs when they were first implemented. Shortly after they were changed to single target. As of this update they were switched back to being AoE. Understandably, they did not increase the potency. Potency would not even be increased after Item Level implementation. Post update etudes were still not used much at this time. In the rare instance Etudes were used it was usually for one party member. Making them AoE was more work to cast due to the need to pop Pianissimo first.
2HR abilities are now 1HR abilities!
Earlier in 2012 along with the discussion of the Embrava and Perfect Defense nerfs, there was talk about the new SP abilities. At first, the abilities would have a shared timer with the old SPs. This was scratched, but before implementation of the new abilities they lowered the timer to existing abilities from 2 hours to 1. Moving forward, many old school players still referred to their SP abilities as “2HRs” since it was so engraved in their minds.
|Dec. 18th, 2012|
Starlight Celebration 2012
|The Starlight Celebration ran from December 18th thru December 31st.
The final piece of the Dream set, the Dream Mittens/+1, was added to the event. Additionally, the Orchestrion was implemented, which was featured on the art of the event announcement. Only three sheet tunes were initially implemented, which were the three main nation’s themes.
The mittens and orchestrion synthesis materials were added to the new mini games portion of the event.
The Orchestrion was Square-Enix’s solution to the “Jukebox” feature that they tried implementing for Legion that was horribly received. This time they got it right, even though players were annoyed of the placement of the dial to change their Mog House music, as it was right next to the door. Pushing the Tab key now targets the Symphonic Curator. This caused annoyances when exiting Mog Houses.
|Dec. 18th, 2012|
Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box
|This ultimate box cost 35,000 Yen, and it was released through Square-Enix’s e-store. For Final Fantasy XI, this edition came with the Vana’diel Collection 2 version of the game for the PS2.|
|Dec. 26th, 2012|
Seekers of Adoulin Trailer & Release Date Announcement
|The official Seekers of Adoulin website was updated. This update added lore details, a new trailer, as well as announced the release date of the expansion to be March 26th, 2013. Content would not be playable until March 27th.
Players were impressed with the environments that were shown off as well as the new monsters. Particularly, the Heartwing was discussed in regards to how cute it was.