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FF XI: Seekers of Adoulin – Our Developer-Interview

Five years after its last expansion, Square Enix have announced the new forthcoming expansion pack „Seekers of Adoulin“ at this year’s VanaFest. As we have been at Vanafest 2012, we had the pleasure of talking to the developers of Final Fantasy XI. Unfortunately, the time we spent there did not suffice to answer all of our questions; that is why we had the honour of sending some other questions to the development team. Below you’ll find what answers we got for you reading pleasure!

JPGAMES.DE: You said Rune Fencer will be a tank job. Will it have its own ability to keep enmity or will you need Warrior as a subjob to use Provoke?

Answer: We don’t have any plans to add Provoke to Rune Fencers. However the job will need some abilities so that it can be played as a tank, so we’ll implement something which will allow Run Fencers to keep enmity to some extent.

JPGAMES.DE: As a spell casting swordsman, will the Rune Fencer be any threat to the Red Mage job? Would it make it obsolete in any way?

Answer: Since both jobs have different concepts and the Rune Fencer is not a Tank + Red Mage hybrid, we don’t think users will stop using Red Mages. It is not the case that Rune Fencers have exactly the same status and abilities that Red Mage does. The new job handles some enhancing magic though the availability will be limited like Paladins.

Rune Fencer

JPGAMES.DE: Will Rune Fencers use tools or abilities to cast spells like Ninjas and Corsairs do? Or will it be like Paladins which will depend on consuming MP? Also what type of runes will players be able to use?

Answer: Runes are used by abilities. Rune Fencers can use enhancing spells so they will consume MP in the same way as Paladins do. As we mentioned at VanaFest 2012, Runes have 2 different types, ones for attack and others for defence. Attack-based runes will add elemental damage when fighting against enemies. Defence-based runes will increase resistance to certain elements of your character and your party members.

JPGAMES.DE: Will the two new jobs play an integral part of the story of Adoulin, much like the Blue Mage, the Corsair and the Puppet Master in Treasures of Aht Urhgan?

Answer: There will be NPCs that are relevant to the new jobs. They will each have their own different mind sets so they will conflict with each other from time to time. However their integration into the story and cities are not as deep as the ones in Aht Urhgan.

JPGAMES.DE: Will we see new technology on the continent of Ulbuka, maybe primal technology in touch with nature, which we have not seen before?

Answer: Players can’t live in the primitive environment but they need to learn how to survive by reading geographic features and cutting through the jungle and making new paths. So there will be some special adventures and the reclaiming/pioneer system implemented for you to enjoy.

JPGAMES.DE: Players can now turn into monsters and level them up to gain new monster skins for themselves. Can you explain the system a little bit? Do you need to take an image of the monster like the Monster Battle Arena in Aht Urhgan Whitegate? Can you transform into a monster anytime?

Answer: Players can change into a monster wherever you are without using any items, and you can return your character back to normal anytime you want. However it is not so much that you turn into a monster, but it is more like you boot up monster mode. So you’ll have a different life as a monster, and when switching into a monster, you’ll warp to a place where you logged out last time.

JPGAMES.DE: Who will be composing the music for the new expansion?

Answer: The music is composed by Naoshi Mizuta.

JPGAMES.DE: You will be changing the User Interface. Why do you do this now, after 10 years? It seems to have worked well for this long time. Why change it?

Answer: We didn’t intend to change the UI to mark the 10th anniversary; it was just that the timing was a coincidence. As for the UI revamping, we have always kept playing with a gamepad in mind. However as I am sure you are aware, there are few MMORPGs that focus on playing with a gamepad. Therefore, those who have had experience in playing other MMO titles and then try out FFXI for the first time will need to play the game with the UI that was designed 10 years ago and with a gamepad.

If this happens to users who have lots of gaming experience, they would just stop playing the game before they can make a real impression because they won’t be used to the game controls and would feel that the game is outdated. So we are currently working on revamping the UI to lessen the chances of losing users and to allow the game to have ‘modern’ controls.