Dengeki Alpha Report, Developer Q&A

A lot of news came out at Gamescom last week, and several Japanese media sites had everything covered.  This week, magazines are playing catch up, so there is not a lot of new information to be had.  However, this week's Dengeki had a couple interesting tidbits tucked inside its pages.

Final Fantasy XIV was given a single page in the back of the magazine to review some information presented at Gamescom.  Also, one of the editors wrote up a full report of their hands-on experience with the demo that may reveal new clues about the game system.

Let's check it out then click here to discuss on the ZAM forums.

I expected a lot more from Dengeki this week, considering the magazine focuses on Playstation games.  I also think they should be more careful about their typos, considering how excitable Final Fantasy fans can get.

First, let's read how they enjoyed the demo.  Osho, from the Dengeki Travel Squad reports.

Characters began at near the Aetheryte where they could select their desired Guildleve.  Once Guildleve began, HP and MP were healed to full and a timer counting down from 30 minutes was displayed.  Osho decided upon the quest where the player must defeat a certain number of Dodos and Puks.  This is the same quest we saw Hiromichi Tanaka demonstrate on video.

During his search, he checked out the map and found it to be much more detailed than Final Fantasy XI, allowing him to clearly see geographical features.  From the map, he got the impression that field areas are also much more expansive.  As we also know, during Guildleve this map will also display the locations of enemies the player must defeat.  However, Tanaka has stated the alpha does not support this yet, so there is no mention in this play report.

One thing that was included in the alpha, though, was the ability to customize your user interface.  This feature is a long time coming, and fans should be thrilled to see how flexible the Final Fantasy XIV UI is.  Players can drag-and-drop every status bar and window.  As Tanaka demostrated, the chat box is also expandable, allowing users to freely select size, shape and amount of lines.

Upon finding their desired prey, Osho was a little confused to find auto-attack was not working as normal.  Instead of simply targeting and attacking, the player now has to unsheathe their weapon and chose attack and defense actions from the Action Menu along the bottom of the screen.  However, Osho notes that you can also set abilities to different number keys to make the process quicker.

Certain abilities (such as Red Lotus Blade for the sword) use up stored TP, however it does not drop your TP gauge completely to 0.  A full Action Gauge is required to activate some abilities, but if you keep a full Action Gauge without using it, the Power Gauage will begin to build.  Patient players who store up a full Action Gauge and full Power Gauge will be able to unleash a technique at maximum power. 

The new battle system really revitalizes the play-style of front line classes, requiring the player to keep active and constantly consider their options in battle.

格闘士(kaku-tou-shi):Pugilist , 弓術士(kyuu-jutsu-shi):Archer , 裁縫師(sai-hou-shi):Weaver , 斧術士(ono-jutsu-shi):Marauder

Dengeki magazine also managed to get in some of their own questions.  As Tanaka has stated before, Guildleve will be central to the game play of Final Fantasy XIV.  They plan to include an immense amount of variety for the quests available to players.  Also, rewards will vary greatly, with quests granting the player with gil, items or even skill points. 

When asked if crafting-based jobs like Weaver will have Guildleve quests designed for them, Tanaka answers that they will, and in fact, you can increase your skill without entering a single battle.  Sundi reinforces this by saying players can easily choose to adventure through Eorzea as a Tailor or Blacksmith and simply focus on raising their crafting skills.  One of the concepts behind Final Fantasy XIV, is that players do not have to slaughter monsters to reach a "high level," and can lead a quiet life as a crafter.

However, the developers do admit that sewing feathers into caps will not have you venturing into the deepest, darkest recesses of a dungeon.  There are times when you will need strong front line classes to back you up.  Still, Tanaka states there will be just as many times when those burly bruisers need to make use of your crafting skills.  Final Fantasy XIV will add weapon durability to the battle system - if you use a single weapon too much, it will need to be repaired.

It seems like Final Fantasy XIV is set to make crafting classes actual jobs on par with choosing to be a Warrior or Sorcerer.  Both active, battle-ready classes and skilled, crafting classes will find themselves needing each other in order to survive.  An interesting concept that could alleviate some of the concerns players have with the often maligned weapon durability system.


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