So Sunday SE drops the mother of all bombshells on the FFXI Community by stating they will raise the level cap to Level 99 and then they said a bunch of other stuff. I have quite a bit to say about Level 99 (as does just about anyone with a blog who plays FFXI, and rightfully so), but like I said, SE said a bunch of other stuff and most of that was good stuff. So let's get to it and review the other interesting things that are coming up.
Wings of the Goddess
WotG is set to be concluded in the September update, which I won't go so far as to say, "about time" but it has been a long time coming. The last update left the fates of Windurst and Bastok hanging in the balance, and those damn kids are still alive in San d'Oria. Many questions remain, with the largest (imo) being is there a connection between the Walk of Echoes and Tavnazia? This has been an exciting, though frustrating, expansion and I can't wait to see how it ends.
Walk of Echoes
Speaking of the Walk of Echoes, SE has teased us with a new endgame event and all signs point to this being that event. Yet, I find myself puzzled as it is coming to us in two parts in the June and September updates. Why would an endgame event come in two parts? Just what the hell do the have planned here? Will it be like Dynamis or will it be like Einjerhar? And finally, will Gawayne be ready to adjust the website so Obsidian can be on the front lines exploring this new content? Aside from the .DAT screenshots, no one quite knows what to expect here. I'm excited, that much I can confirm.
SE has been keeping the most intriguing piece of Campaign under wraps as no one was prepared for Castle Zvahl (S) being added to the action. Even better, the Shadowlord himself will get involved from time to time! They are also completing the medals in the March update, something that has been long, long overdue, why they dragged their feet so long here is anyone's guess. In addition there will be new Allied Notes rewards (woot!) and we will somehow be able to access the weaponskills the NPC Generals use. How that last part is implemented is a good question, but it will most likely involve obtaining the highest medal and spending an absurd amount of Allied Notes. All in all, the updates to Campaign sound like all kinds of win.
So far they have announced adjustments specifically for BST, SMN and PUP, with the promise to make tweaks and changes to all the jobs. Does this mean NIN will finally get the Ni tier of spells completed, or that San spells are forthcoming? How about BLM getting Tier V nukes and Tier IV -ga nukes? With 24 additional levels there's a lot SE could add to the jobs, I can't wait to see what they come up with.
BST - I'm not sure how this is a job adjustment, but they are adding new synergy recipes for what sounds like new kinds of jugs. Personally I think this is just SE forcing Synergy on the population, but in the end it's lolBST getting the ugly end of the stick, the rest of us can continue to ignore the madness that is Synergy.
SMN - Summoners rejoiced at the news of getting two new avatars (Odin and Alexander) for about five seconds, then SE announced the catch. These Summons can only be called during Astral Flow. While I don't care much about what happens to summoners, even I have to ask if that's all the Summons are going to do, then what took so fucking long to add them?
PUP - A job that actually gets a useful update! People will really need to consider what a PUP can bring to a party with an A in Hand-To-Hand AND an automaton. Definitely a good update for an oft ostracized job.
Trial of Magians
If I've understood this correctly we will be able to upgrade our gear WITH the upgrades we want through quests. Finally, they fucking get it, let us choose what upgrades we want and people will actually bother with it. For over a year now we've received one shitty Augment system after another and almost everyone has lost interest within a week of implementation. I have a feeling this will tie in nicely with the Level 99 developments by letting us keep our current gear and pimp it out.
New Abyssea Expansion/Add-Ons
To me this feels more like an expansion as opposed to an add-on. They are adding new zones, new gear and new monsters, not much else is known, but the screenshots look very promising, I'm sold.
New NMs and HNMs
I've had a lot of fun with the new NMs, buggers are everywhere and it's always nice to challenge them despite the awful drop-rates. I expect more of the same here, but obviously the NMs will be harder for the level cap and the HNMs are bound to have some awesome gear that most of us will never see! :D
Removal of CoP Area Level Caps
Fucking win! They can keep the caps on the battles, but it'll be nice to finally explore these zones (and finish getting the maps I need) without fear of instant death. Plus there are a few NMs that I wouldn't mind getting some payback on.
Kind of depends on the actual emotes I guess, but I like where they are going with this. In truth it's not something we need, but unlike the damn bells, it's something everyone can have fun with.
Merging Servers and Opening Odin and Bahamut
Another one of those things that has been a long time coming. I reside on Odin, and while the JP side of the house has hardly dwindled, the EU and NA communities have taken massive hits and it's been depressing. Now with the server reopened, all the people who got conned into leaving can come back, yay! Another benefit is we can create mules again, I don't have any mules I want to create at the moment, but I never liked the idea that I was stuck with what I had. The drawback to reopening the server is the damn RMT will be back (and my guess, in force), and who knows what kind of bullshit and mayhem will follow.
As for the servers merging, I feel bad for those folks. 16 server worlds are going to be turned upside down overnight, their economies will change, all the shells from the lesser server will have to be recreated, people's character names will get changed, it all sucks. I feel for these people, but it was bound to happen eventually, doesn't take away from the sucktatude though.
And now for the biggest game changer of all (by far), Level 99. There's a lot to be excited about here and a lot to be concerned about. The first thing that jumps out at me is everything that was hard is now easy. Everything. If they don't implement zone or battlefield level caps, virtually every current monster in the game becomes Easy Prey. Need Kitty Pants? Well you can get the pop item and solo Kirin. Want Nashira? Then grab a friend or two and smack Proto-Ultima around. The problem with this is that all the end-game content just became soloable or low-manable, which means linkshells for those events are going to die. Even Dynamis will see a big hit, now a solid group of six can clear pretty much everything, which means even MORE scheduling conflicts. I'm not opposed to those events becoming easier, but with less people needed to do them, I fear our sense of community will dwindle away. I hope whatever Walk of Echoes turns out to be that it is so hard and the rewards so awesome that everyone is forced to go in massive groups.
On a individual (i.e. my character) level this is a real drag because now I have to level all my subs again and my main two jobs. I'm still working on merits for crying out loud, 24 more levels will just gimp me for that much longer. As I've said before, I hate leveling and this is going to be one hell of a grind (thankfully I only have 2 75s to worry about, I would hate to have a dozen or more to level). I just want to complain and whine, but we're all in the same boat so me and everyone else are just going to have to accept it and move on.
That said, I'm seeing a lot of people scream bloody murder over the level raise and I just don't get the rage and the threats to quit. Sure, you'll have to level more stuff but you get to continue playing the game. At least this way SE is giving us progression and not five more years of the same thing. To me, a lot of the people upset by this are looking for an excuse to quit and it's a very convenient thing to latch onto. I wish them luck, I may piss and moan about the grind, but I still want to keep playing.
All in all, I welcome the changes and am excited to see what FFXI-2 will turn out to be like. I think SE has breathed at least a few more years into the game and bitch all you like, that's a very good thing.