April 2010

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Making my rounds of free trials and garbage FTP's landed me on LOTRO a few months back. I'm not going to claim to know a damn thing about the game later on as i only made it to level 14 playing sparingly, but it's a pretty damn solid game. I'm not sure why everyone that hates WoW and is looking for a great PVE game, isn't playing this. Sure the character models look a big plastic, but the game play seems rather fun.

So i'm kind of in the groove of playing ranger classes ever since Aion. I can't believe how terrible the ranger class was in FFXI and how much i hated it. I love being able to solo elite mobs and pretty much kite mobs forever while i blast them down. Since LOTRO is pretty much a solo game early on, i figured what the hell, lets ranger it up. It's kinda funny, i look like a red mage from XI with a bow.

The community seems rather adult and polite which I've missed since the early days of XI. Normally i'm not one to ask for help, but this one player went out of his way to help me with a quest and stuck around til i finished it. Totally shocked was I. I honestly believe that if i started playing this when it came out, that i'd have quit XI much sooner. If i could get everyone i know to go play together, i'd continue with the payment model. As it stands, everyone is pretty much waiting on FFXIV.

Character Creation
Famitsu boasts that the character creation system is so deep, you'll be nitpicking your avatar setting all day long trying to get it just right.  Even the alpha, while not complete, has a considerable amount of variations available such as face type, skin color, hair style and body size.  There are even smaller details, like putting highlights or streaks in your hair, that are customizable.  There will be brand new aspects of your character to select as well -- there will even be a number of different voice types.
The character creation process begins with selecting one's race and customizing the avatar.  Once your character is complete, you begin the game and set up your Class, birthday and Guardian Diety.  What effects one's Guardian Diety will have in game are unknown at this time.  Once all those steps are complete, you choose your name, which as we know consists of both a first and last name.

Seamless Fields and Instanced Areas
Leaving a town brings you into the Field Area where you have your adventures.  FFXIV will have a seamless transition between areas that requires no loading time.  From their experience with the game, Famitsu says this really gives Eorzea the feeling of a wide, expansive world.  In addition, the background music transitions naturally between the areas you traverse.
A new addition, familiar to many MMO players, is the Instanced Area.  This is where a private copy of an area is created, into which only you and your party can enter.  These will be used in FFXIV for special events, an example being when cut scenes take place in order to eliminate outside effects and noise, allowing the player to enjoy their cut scene in peace.

The Menu System
Status & Equip: Opens up the Status & Equip screen (pictured below)
Action: Unknown... may contain commands like Trade, Craft etc?
Physical Bonus: Unknown... a place to allocate points to stats?
Item: Displays your inventory
Journal: Opens up your Guildleve menus
Party: Opens up party-related lists/functions
Map: Displays the full area map
Teleport: Instantly move to any Aetheryte you have visited at least once
Warp: Instantly return to the last Aetheryte you visited
Logout: Leave Eorzea and return to the harsh banality of Earth

Guildleve and the Battle System
Guildleves are like "quests" that you can undertake by visiting an adventurer's guild in a city.  The contents of a Guildleve can vary player to player, and you can attempt them alone or with a group.  To begin your selected Guildleve, first you must seek out Aetheryte in a Field Area.  Players can move instantly to Aetheryte they have visited once before by selecting the "Teleport" command.
Many Guildleves involved combat, and the Famitsu team was kind enough to explain the flow of combat below:
1) Target your enemy - Find the enemy you wish to attack and select it.  Once selected, the L3 button will initiate Target Lock, keeping you facing the enemy's direction.
2) Ready your weapon - Move your cursor over your weapon of choice and press Circle.  Once selected, R1 will take out your weapon and ready your stance.  Now you are in "Active Mode" and able to engage the enemy.
3) Select your commands - A list of your commands is displayed at the bottom of the screen.  Underneath each icon is a guage showing how much time remains until they are ready for use.
4) Store up your Action Guage - Once your Action Guage is full, you can activate commands.  To boost their effect, store up the Effect Guage.
5) Using the Effect Guage - You can activate commands immediately, or you can enhance their effects by storing up your Effect Guage.  This guage is constantly building, so timing is important.

Convenience and Travel Time
Aetheryte provides the foundation for adventure for all players.  It exists out in Field Areas as well as inside cities.  Aetheryte serves as a the launching point for a Guildleve and the destination for Teleport.  All players are able to use Teleport right from the start.  In addition, once a quest is complete, an Aethereal Node will appear, allowing players to easily warp back to the original Aetheryte they came from.  Everything is designed to allow players to move around and enjoy the game with ease.

Freedom of Growth
In FFXIV, what most MMO players know as "levels" will be the character's "Physical Level."  Points you accumulate in battle can be freely spent on HP/MP, physical strength, intelligence or a variety of other parameters.  In other words, you can focus on one aspect of your character, or aim for balance between all stats.  The ultimate decision regarding the direction of the character is completely up to the player. 

Alpha Test Hands-On Report
The team from Famitsu were able to create characters and try out the Alpha Version of FFXIV.  They put their experiences into two write-ups -- one for Disciples of War and one for Disciples of Magic.  Here are the key points of what they had to say.

Kikuo Saji: Roegadyn, Disciple of War, Pugilist
- The Character Creation system is so deep, you'll spend all day tweaking your avatar
- Don't fret too much over Class, you can change at anytime by changing your weapon
- The size difference between Roegadyn and Lalafell is quite massive
- You'll love the variety of new emotes -- Lalefell are especially adorable
- Aetheryte warps you right to where you need to go for Guildleves
- Guildleve difficulty is split into 5 levels, 1 star (easy) 5 stars (hard)
- The locations of target monsters for Guildleve are clearly displayed on your map
- There is a "weakened state" after dying -- HP/MP are lowered and it lasts for 5 minutes
- The game feels incredibly expansive, and it feels like you could walk on forever
- Crabs are back!  Apparently Kikuo Saji found a giant one outside town that killed him in one strike!

Opone Kikuchi: Lalafell, Disciple of Magic, Thaumaturge
- There is so much more to do in the alpha compared with the Gamescom version 7 months ago
- Again, feels character creation is like a day's work in and of itself
- Once your MP is spent, you cannot recover it through resting
- Disciples of Magic have a basic magical ranged attack that does not consume MP
- It is possible to move while casting magic, but still important to be aware of the area of effect your spell will cover when cast
- Sheathing your weapon puts you into Passive Mode, which begins to recover HP, making it possible for even magic users to solo effectively

The Synthesis Process
 1. Having equipped the proper tool, select yourself to display the action bar and choose the Synthesize option.
2. Select from among the available slots and set the desired ingredients from your inventory to be used in the synthesis.
3. Choose the Begin command corresponding to the tool you wish to use—either main hand or off hand—to commence crafting.
4. Observe the status of your crafting and select commands as it progresses until it reaches completion.
5. Obtain the item you crafted, together with an award of skill points.

Synthesis Properties
Each synthesis attempt is governed by three distinct factors. These are listed below with a brief description of each.
Progress, which begins at 0% and ends at 100%, denotes how close the current synthesis is to completion.
Durability will diminish each time a command is executed during the crafting process. Should the durability reach zero, the synthesis will fail and the
ingredients will be lost.
Higher degrees of focus allow for a greater chance of creating highquality
items, while at the same time increasing difficulty. Such crafting results
will yield higher rewards from synthesisoriented
local levequests.
Viewing the graphic results of a command can help to determine whether the command produced positive or negative results. Through such careful
observation, players can increase not only their overall chances of success, but the likelihood of highquality
yields as well.

Basic Commands
The four commands listed below make up the basic commands of synthesis.
Executing this command will lower durability to a certain extent, but at the same time increase the overall likelihood of success while reducing any
negative impact on synthesis ingredients.
This command is capable of yielding dramatic results. With luck, it will advance progress with little impact on durability. However, it does place
significant strain on synthesis materials. It is perhaps best employed to attempt to turn a failing synthesis into a surprising success.
This command increases a player’s focus with the specific intent of creating a highquality
item. Due to the fact that it greatly reduces durability, it
is essential that it be used in conjunction with certain synthesisrelated
abilities, as described below.
Waiting means that a player simply stands by and waits for the synthesis to perhaps stabilize or take a turn for the better. Observing to excess,
however, will result in a decline in durability.

Using Abilities During Synthesis
In addition to the basic commands outlined above, there are also a number of abilities which can only be used during synthesis. These are learned by
characters as their crafting skill increases.
There are, however, some important differences. First, synthesis abilities cannot be used twice in succession, meaning that the most frequently
they may be executed is every other command. Second, there are no ability costs for using synthesis abilities, such as MP or TP consumption, and
no recast timers. The probability of such abilities becoming available for use during synthesis instead depends upon factors such as skill rank and
player attributes.
* In the Alpha Test, the abilities with which a player begins the game cannot be removed from the action bar.

Differences Among Tools
Tools employed by the Disciples of the Hand are split into two categories: primary tools (main hand) and secondary tools (off hand). When beginning
a synthesis, players must choose the tool with which they wish to craft. Though the synthesis may be conducted with either, the results may differ
based on the nature of the recipe or pattern being followed.
* For the Alpha Test, the only differences taken into account will be between item attributes.

Guildleves are special passes that allow their bearers to participate in a plethora of different tasks known as levequests. They are issued by the
Adventurers’ Guild in each citystate,
and can be obtained at the Drowning Wench in Limsa Lominsa.
In general, there are two different types of guildleves: regional and local. Regional levequests most often involve tasks that take place outside the
protective walls of the citystates,
such as felling fearsome beasts or locating mineral veins. Local levequests, on the other hand, usually involve
some sort of synthesis, and can sometimes be completed without even venturing out into the perilous wilds.
There are countless variations of guildleves and the quests that they represent—each with different objectives and rewards. Players can possess up
to eight leves at any one time.
During the Alpha Test, the list of guildleves made available by the Adventurers’ Guild will change once every two hours (Earth time). Until that list is
updated, players may not accept the same levequest twice, nor may they return an incomplete levequest having accepted it.

Regional Guildleves
Speak with Piralnaut in the Drowning Wench to browse the various regional guildleves available in Limsa Lominsa. After selecting a guildleve, travel to
the aetheryte indicated in the levequest objectives to start the quest. Any players in your party at this time will also be able to participate in the
levequest. Party members who possess the same guildleve will not only be able to participate, but also receive any rewards indicated in the
levequest objectives.
The objectives for completing a levequest will be readily visible in a window throughout the quest’s duration. Main map and minimap markers will also
appear, and can be used to help navigate. Targets will also always have a special icon next to their names, making them easy to recognize.
Finally, levequest targets can only be seen by members participating in the quest, so players will never have to worry about their quarry being
snatched up by the occasional passerby.
At the successful completion of a regional levequest, an aetherial node will appear. Players can (but are not required to) use this temporary portal to
return to the aetheryte where they triggered the quest. It is at this time that they will receive any rewards specified on the guildleve. If a levequest
is failed, a node will not appear.
Players who are KO’d during a levequest can continue participating in the quest upon returning to their home point.
* Moving to a different area or logging out during a levequest will result in quest failure for that participant. All other party members can continue
with the quest.
* Levequest participants include all party members (who are not already participating in another levequest) at the time the guildleve is activated.
Changing party makeup after activating a guildleve will not affect a player’s participation status.
* Only those participating in a levequest can attack the targets indicated in the quest objectives.

Local Guildleves
Local guildleves are available from T’mokkri, stationed next to Piralnaut in the Drowning Wench. Unlike regional levequests, local ones do not need to
be activated at an aetheryte crystal and do not have any time limits. A local levequest is started by pressing the Synthesize button located near
the action menu. From the new window, select Requested Items to bring up a list of available quests. While normal synthesis involves procuring the
proper items and crystals to craft an item, the clients of local levequests will usually provide those they hire with the necessary materials; however,
this involves finding the client and speaking with him or her.
* The materials provided for local levequests are not added to a player’s regular inventory, and are only available for use in completing the
requested items indicated on the guildleve.
* After speaking with the client and receiving the materials, the items will appear automatically in the synthesis window after selecting a levequest
from the Requested Items menu (see above). Proceed with synthesis (as described in the Synthesis section below) to craft the items.
* Completed items will not be placed in a player’s inventory. Levequest progress can be followed by viewing the guildleve.
* Items made with materials provided by a levequest client cannot be used, sold, or traded.
* Speak with the client after using up all the materials to receive payment. Payment will vary based on overall performance.

Mining and Quarrying
Members of the Miners’ Guild will find that they are able to engage in either of two activities—mining, made possible through use of a miner’s primary
tools, and quarrying, made possible by secondary tools. Please be aware that even with miner as the active class, a player will not be able to quarry
without the proper secondary tool equipped.
* For the Alpha Test, even characters who cannot mine may still undertake guildleves which require them to do so. Please exercise caution when
making your selections.
** In the current version, Prospect and Lithoscan results are erroneously displayed in malms (roughly equivalent to miles) rather than yalms (roughly
equivalent to yards). This is a known issue and will be rectified in the near future.

How to Mine
1. Use the Prospect ability to search for nearby mining points.
2. Follow the Prospect results to approach a mining point and select the Excavate option when it appears.
3. The mining process will now begin, and is split into two phases:
a. Searching for minable veins.
b. Extracting items from discovered veins.
4. Excessive mining will result in a player becoming temporarily unable to mine the same point.
5. Once a mining point is exhausted, another must be found before mining can continue.

How to Quarry
In many ways, quarrying is much like mining, although somewhat simpler.
1. Use the Lithoscan ability to search for nearby quarrying points.
2. Follow the Lithoscan results to approach a quarrying point and select the Excavate option when it appears.
3. The quarrying process will now begin. Should an item be extracted from the quarrying point, the point will collapse. Be sure to search again, as
there is very likely to be another quarrying point nearby. If a player is unable to procure an item, the point will remain and may be quarried again.
4. Excessive quarrying will result in a player becoming temporarily unable to quarry in the immediate vicinity.
5. Once a quarrying point is exhausted, another must be found before quarrying can continue.

are several types of regional guildleves available to miners. Select Fieldcraft Leves when speaking with Piralnaut to bring up a list of
guildleves specially tailored for Disciples of the Land.
the levequest “Quarrying Bearded Rock” has a recommended skill rank of 5 and above. Though the quest can be initiated as early as
rank 1, successful completion of the quest requires tools that may only be equipped at rank 5. Please consider this before activating the quest.
participating in a mining levequest, the Lithoscan and Prospect commands will only produce results for mining or quarrying points related to
the quest. However, players who happen to find regular points can access them if they please (though the results will not count toward the

Rifts along the surface of Hydaelyn can cause “leaks” from which the planet’s lifeblood, aether, can escape. By harnessing the power from concentrated deposits known as “aetheryte,” the residents of Eorzea have seen a marked improvement in everyday life. Below is a list of the three most common types of aetheryte, and their benefits.

Aetheryte Crystals
Located in towns and camps, these giant crystalline objects are most often used as the starting places of levequests, due to their accessibility.
Upon approaching an aetheryte crystal, an Aetheryte option will appear. Selecting this will automatically do four things:
1. Restore all HP and MP.
2. Set the aetheryte as your home point (to where you will return when warping).
3. Register the location to your teleport list (first visit only), thereby allowing you to teleport to that aetheryte whenever you choose.
4. Give you the option to begin any levequests in your possession originating from that location.

Aetherial Gates
Aetherial gates are permanent discharges of aether located in various places around Eorzea. While not as concentrated as aetheryte crystals, the gates can still be used to instantly restore HP and MP, and set your home point.

Aetherial Nodes
Aetherial nodes are temporary phenomena which usually appear only after completing a levequest. They can be used to teleport instantly back to the aetheryte crystal at which a player began that quest. Only players who took part in the levequest can access the nodes, which will fade if not used promptly.

Players can return to their previously set home points at any time by selecting the Return option from the main menu. However, if a player is participating in a levequest, selecting this option at that time will result in teleportation back to the aetheryte crystal or aetherial gate used to activate the quest. The Return command can also be used while KO’d to revive your character.

By selecting Teleport from the main menu, a player can teleport their entire party to any aetheryte crystal location they have already visited. When one party member uses the Teleport option, a confirmation button will be sent to all other members, allowing them to decide whether or not they also wish to be teleported.

*Please note, both the Return and Teleport options can only be used when in passive mode.

To log out of FINAL FANTASY XIV and exit the game, select Logout from the main menu. The logout process requires 30 seconds to complete and can be cancelled at any time by inputting another command.

*Please note, players cannot log out while in active mode.

1. Region: The name of the region currently being displayed.

2. Area: The name of the area currently being displayed within the above-mentioned region.

3. Camp: The name of the aetheryte camp presiding over the current area.

4. Aetheryte camp location.

5. Player’s current position and directional bearing.

6. Aetherial gate location.
7. Map Menu Button: Select Change Map to view other acquired maps.
Players can keep track of the quests they have accepted by viewing the Journal found in the main menu. Clicking on the header will bring up the following options: Levequests (Regional and Local) and Quests (Class Quests). Select the corresponding category to view all related journal entries.
* Please observe general online manners and etiquette when communicating with others.

Chat Modes
Any message input in the say chat mode can be seen by any and all players in the immediate vicinity. It is the default chat mode, and messages displayed in this manner will appear in white. This chat mode is activated by prefacing a message with either /say or simply /s. In addition, the active chat mode may be set to say mode by entering the command /say without a message following.

Any message input in the party chat mode can be seen by any and all party members. Messages displayed in this manner appear in blue. This chat mode is activated by prefacing a message with /party or simply /p. In addition, the active chat mode may be set to party mode by entering the command /party without a following message.

Any message input in the tell chat mode can be seen only by a single designated player. Messages displayed in this manner appear in pink. This chat mode is activated by prefacing a message with /tell or simply /t . The active chat mode cannot be set to tell mode. During the Alpha Test phase, PC names must be entered in their entirety (first and last names).

Shout chat mode is much like say chat mode, with the sole difference being that messages can be seen by players in a much wider area. Messages displayed in this manner appear in light pink. This chat mode is activated by prefacing a message with either /shout or simply /sh. The active chat mode cannot be set to shout mode.

* All commands must begin with a / (forward slash) and contain only half-width characters.
Emotes are a collection of expressions and gestures that can be used to convey the emotional state of your character. The emote menu is bound to the E key in the default keyboard setup, and can also be accessed by selecting the second icon from the right on the action bar.
By forming a party with others, players will be able to defeat monsters and complete guildleves of a difficulty unthinkable to the solo adventurer. A single party may contain up to 15 characters.

Forming a Party
To form a party, simply target and select the player that you wish to invite, and then select the Invite option that appears. If your invitation is accepted, the party will be formed automatically, with the person who sent the initial invitation becoming the party leader. The leader is the only member of the party who can invite additional members.
* Players who are already in a party cannot be invited.

Accepting a Party Invite
If another player invites you to a party, a Join party? button will appear on your screen. Select this to bring up a prompt displaying the options of Yes, No, and Cancel. Choose Yes to accept the invitation.

Party Commands
- Promote
The Promote command allows players to change the party leader. It may only be carried out by the current party leader.

- Oust
The Oust command allows players to remove members from a party. It may only be carried out by the current party leader.

- Leave
The Leave command allows players to disband from a party.

Once a Party is Formed
Following the formation of a party, the unit frames of all party members will be displayed together in the lower right portion of the screen. The party leader will be designated by the presence of a yellow diamond to the immediate left of the leader’s name.

The Trade command allows you to exchange items and gil with other players.

1. To initiate a trade, simply target and select a player, and then select the Trade option that appears.
* The recipient of a trade request will be see an Accept Trade? button. Selecting this will present the player with the options of Yes, No, and Cancel. Choose Yes to accept the request.

2. Accepting a trade request will automatically open the trade window.

3. Both players set the items and/or gil they wish to exchange in the trade slots provided.

4. Select Accept to complete the trade process.
* Selecting Cancel will abort the trade entirely.

Bazaars afford players the ability to sell and purchase items to and from one another. A player who has a bazaar set up will have the bazaar icon displayed next to that player’s name.

Operating Your Bazaar
A player’s bazaar can be set up to contain the items that player wishes to sell to others.

1. From the main menu, open the Item List and then select the Bazaar option. Highlight the item that you wish to sell, and then press Bazaar again.

2. In the window that follows, set the unit price at which you wish to sell your item(s).
* Note that 5% of the designated unit price will be taken as tax when the item sells. For example, an item being sold in a bazaar for 100 gil will require the purchasing player to pay 100 gil, but the player selling the item will receive only 95 gil from the transaction.

3. Having items in your bazaar purchased by other players will result in the gil being automatically added to your inventory.

Browsing Bazaars
By browsing the bazaars of others, players can purchase items.

1. Target and select a player with a bazaar and press the Browse button that appears. Then select the Selling option to view the items that player has up for sale.

2. Select the item you wish to purchase to complete the transaction.
Q: Can I undo attribute points already allocated?
A: With great power comes great responsibility. The Twelve have deemed you unworthy of that responsibility (at this time).

Q: I’ve arrived in Limsa Lominsa and watched the event scene with Baderon, the potty-mouthed proprietor of the Drowning Wench. What do I do next?
A: Access your Journal from the main menu. Select Class Quests to view a log of all that has transpired, as well as what lies immediately ahead on your path to adventure.

Q: My weapon is drawn, why isn’t that plague rat DEAD!?
A: Just as Van Ghoh could have never painted a single sunflower without clicking the Paint button in his action menu, an adventurer cannot thrust, swing, or throw her weapon until the corresponding button is clicked.

Q: Do blacksmiths and miners have any battle options other than throwing stones?
A: Not during the Alpha/Beta tests. Though perhaps through prayer will the Twelve one day grant the Disciples of the Land and the Hand with new ways to fell Eorzea’s nasty beasties.

Q: Why can’t I fight barehanded?
A: Because the Twelve do not wish it. Eorzean adventurers must have a weapon or tool equipped at all times.

Q: Where can I learn synthesis recipes? I tried copying the recipes introduced in certain levequests, but was told I do not have the crystal required for starting the synthesis.
A: Synthesis recipes are as elusive as the answers to questions such as the meaning of life and our purpose here on Hydaelyn. They must be sought for, and only the diligent shall be rewarded.

While normal synthesis requires the correct combination of crystal type and amount, levequest synthesis is often simplified, with the quest clients providing adventurers with crystals, thus their absence from the levequest recipes.

Q: How do I obtain crystals?
A: Crystalline manifestations of the planet’s aether are rare, but under special circumstances will form within the bodies of certain creatures. It is up to you to get those crystals out...

Q: Where can I synthesize items?
A: If your current class is one of the Disciples of the Hand, you can perform synthesis anywhere your heart desires.

Q: Where can I mine/quarry?
A: All miners have the ability to uncover the rough locations of mining and quarry points via their Prospect and Lithoscan abilities.

Q: I’ve found a Quarry Point, but I can’t quarry!
A: Ah, but do you have a knapping hammer equipped as a secondary arm?

Q: I cannot synthesize with my secondary tool!
A: Ah, but do you have a file equipped as a secondary arm?

Q: I’ve fallen into a rift in the planet’s surface and cannot escape! Whatever should I do?
A: The Land is a treacherous place, littered hither and yon with crevices, chasms, and bottomless pits, all waiting to consume the unsuspecting passerby. If you find yourself stuck in one of these not-so-proverbial ruts, simply open up your main menu and select Return to warp back to your home point.

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