So it turns out quite a lot of big news was saved for the last day of Vanafest. But let's start out with the biggest news with regards to Seekers of Adoulin. The second and final job that was announced was...
New Job: Rune Fencer! (aka Rune Knight, Mystic Knight, Magic Fencer etc.)
Quick with a blade as well as an incantation, these versatile duelists employ the power of arcane runes to sway the tide of battle both offensively and defensively.
- Their exceptional magic defense and elemental resistance put them squarely in the tank category, along with paladins and ninjas.
- Two broad categories round out their runic arsenal:
- Element-based runes add elemental damage to attacks and increase resistance to certain elements.
- Enchantment-based runes increase either the fencer's attacking prowess or their ability to defend.
- Rune fencers will possess versatile abilities like one that cuts the duration of the next enhancing magic spell cast on them by half, but in turn amplifies the spell's effect 1.5 times, and another that erects a barrier that reduces magic damage.
Various job adjustments scheduled to be implemented in 2012 were also announced.
Those seekers who are able to reconstruct statues from assorted fragments scattered throughout the Ulbukan wilds may just find that they affect the fearsomeness of their foes, the size of the environs, the amount of reapable rewards and other aspects of these perilous dungeons.
Back at the Ranch
Each adventurer will have their own plot of land on which to fish, grow crops, mine for minerals, raise and shear sheep, and indulge in other pastoral pursuits after a hard day of fighting fiends in primeval forests.
Another very interesting announcement, was that there are going to be tweaks made to the User Interface in FFXI, allowing for a much finer degree of customization and with moveable windows. Quite a bizarre development after 10 years, but hey! It's all good.
Here's a sneak peak at their plans.
That's quite a difference! One of the unique features of FFXI from a PC perspective, was that you could play the game entirely without the need for using the mouse (which will presumably still be possible). But still, I am quite a fan of an MMO evolving with modern standards, instead of being resigned to its initial state. It feels like that is what an MMO should do, for me. You build a community, and then you keep it, for as long as it keeps you.
The most profitable Final Fantasy ever?
Apparently so! According to CEO Yoichi Wada during his speech given yesterday, he reported that with regards to Final Fantasy XI, "looking at profitability, it is the top of all past FF games, and if you were to add up the total play time of all currently active FFXI players, you'll reach a figure of over 200,000 years."
So in actual fact it's a lot longer than that, because back in its hayday, the servers were doubled, along with the amount of people that resided within them.
Some will say the profitability is not that surprising, after all it is an MMO, with an entirely different business model designed for the long term. But it is also an MMO that had very strong competitors in the same market, and that many decided to overlook as a result. So I'd say this is a big testament to the success of the game as a whole.
Here's a shameful fact I'll divulge seen as we're on the topic. During my 7 year stint in Vana'diel, I amassed a shameful 3 of those 200,000 years of in-game time (probably half of which was spent afk in my mog house!)
For those of you who were wanting a peek at some of the cosplay that has been happening over the past few days, fear not! Here's an assortment of pics to feast your eyes on.
Hiromichi Tanaka leaves Square-Enix
One of the biggest, and saddest announcements was left right until the end of the event. Hiromichi Tanaka is to leave Square-Enix due to health concerns.
He was an integral part in the founding of Square during the early 80's, and is pictured above (centred), alongside his peers Hironobu Sakaguchi and Kazuhiko Aoki.
After initially working on game design for the first 3 Final Fantasy titles, he then went on to work on an assortment of games such as Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3, Xenogears, Chrono Cross, and eventually FFXI and XIV, fulfilling his roles as both Producer or Director in some of gamings most beloved titles.
There are ever increasing reports lately of stiff competition at the higher end of video-game companies causing its employees serious health concerns. Be it for unrealistic deadlines imposed by shareholders and producers, or simply companies that are failing to meet quality standards of care for its developers. Whilst I'm not directly implying the two are connected in this particular case, it is clear that he has come under increasing pressure over the last year or two. I hope this practice soon becomes a thing of the past, and that those who make the games can have just as enjoyable and relaxing an experience, as we have playing them. I truly hope the industry heads this way.
I think everyone at ScrewAttack wishes him a speedy recovery, but more importantly a well earned rest after nearly 30 years of service to us, the gamers. Take a bow, Tanaka-san.