SE’s new MMO FFXIV Online: Rapture details released

Well wow. I’m sure there will be a thousand blog posts today and over the next few days as more details come out about the new game in the Final Fantasy series.

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) they announced more details about the game which SE previously codenamed ‘Rapture’. It turns out it is going to be released as FFXIV and it’s going to be another MMORPG.

FFXIV

FFXIV

So for all us FFXI addicts, what does that mean? Realistically I think it means the end of much development work on FFXI.  I think after this year we’ll be lucky to see anything much being released for XI. I think the last two expansion scenarios will come out and then all focus will be switched away from XI to XIV.

I can’t see XI stopping for a few years yet, just because it has a pretty dedicated player base and some people dislike change. And I suspect it will continue to be financially viable for quite a while. I imagine SE will do a lot to encourage people to jump to XIV though.

There’s so much talk about the trailer, later today there will be a Square Enix conference and so I guess there will be more information then. But if they’re serious about releasing it in the next 18 months (this is SE though, not famous for sticking to timetables) then a lot more information is going to be coming our way soon.

I’m not sure whether I want to jump.

Part of me is super excited at a new, fresh environment and part of me thinks maybe this is time for me to ‘step away from the MMORPG’.

It’s going to be interesting to see how they intend to implement it. Will there be international or region specific servers? Or maybe language-specific servers… Will they continue to allow you to change job on the same character (major win)? Have they learnt enough from XI (which I have said for a while is where they’re demoing certain event types) not to build content that takes hours for 64 people?

6-18 man content is realistic. 36 man content is pretty tough but if they made it so you could come and go as part of larger content (like Besieged or Campaign) then it would work.

I have said that when XI came to an end, I probably wouldn’t go to anything new. WoW still doesn’t excite me, the only thing that interests me is more FFXI. But I think it will depend on how my life is at the time.  I don’t know if I could ever consider myself to be a casual player of anything, it’s not really me. If things have moved on and I can see myself committing less time to something like this, then great – otherwise I think I might have to turn my back on it for my sanity. We’ll see.

What’s interesting for me is the feeling of relief about FFXI. I don’t feel nearly as pressured now to go and do things in game.  I’m sure when the original euphoria about a new shiny wears off and people realise that 2010 is a way off and its release may be delayed that play might pick up again but I don’t  think there will ever be quite the same ‘OMGDOEEETNAO!’ feeling again.

One thing I hope, is that SE do make their game distinct from XI. The trailer has already shown characters of the same sort of race as we see in XI, that’s a nice touch but some variation (male mithra?) and maybe something new would be nice. Don’t make it a rehash – do as you’ve always done and take the things we love, but leave the past behind.

I’m surprised by the strength of the reaction from people around me. Some devastated, some saying they don’t want to move on, some excited.  I feel interested and excited but also relieved and confused about my future with MMORPGs. My life has changed a lot since I started XI, and not all of it good. I can’t blame XI for that but I know when things have been bad,  it’s been a haven. Being about to make a lot of changes to my career etc, I think I have a year to come to a decision. It may take that long, how crazy is that?

I know that people will drift off, move on and disappear completely. I know that if I want to there will probably be a group of players who would move together to the new thing.  I have met so many great people through XI and learnt one hell of a lot about human nature. I went to New York because of people I met online, I’ve met new peeps across the UK. I have a friends network which whilst virtual, has significance.

It’s the people who have made the gaming environment one to stick around in, but they’ve also caused a lot of stress. I think I know if I ever went on, I wouldn’t lead again. I mean I might contribute and be bossy but I think the commitment is too much. I hope I’m not reading this in two years and laughing at myself.

The thing that makes me sad, is the notion that the group of friends I’ve played with for the last few years will inevitably drift apart.

Anyway, such is the nature of things. Does look very shiny, and perhaps we’ll hear more today at the SE conference. So that’s XIII, XIV and a new one for the Wii all out soon.

[Edit] Zam forum set up already

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