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Vanadiel embraces The Crystalline Prophecy

April 22, 2009

Vana’diel embraces The Crystalline Prophecy
By Michael Lafferty

New FFXI content gives players new adventures and new rewards

Lower Jeuno is bathed in the clear light of a sun-lit day when suddenly the world seems to stop and all eyes cast upwards. A void opens and through it comes a giant crystal, hovering in the sky, emitting a soft song. There is wonder on the faces of the people below, but that wonder soon evolves into blissful forgetfulness.

Loch, a red mage, seems to step beyond the constraints of time, moving while everyone else seems frozen in place. What is happening? There is movement behind him and a young Aldo (familiar to those who remember the opening cut scenes of Final Fantasy XI) addresses Loch directly. There is indeed something more here than gods waking from slumber and blessing the world, and it befalls Loch to begin the initial quests in the April content update for FFXI that go under the collective name of the The Crystalline Prophecy.

FFXI is one of the older massively multiplayer online games on the market. The game launched on Microsoft Windows-based computers in November of 2002 and in April of 2006 it migrated to the Xbox 360 platform, becoming the first cross-platform MMO. This is not an MMO that follows the path of so many current MMOs; it has a control scheme that takes time to get used to, and while the graphics may appear a bit dated when it comes to resolution output of the latest video cards and monitors, what the game does have is strong storylines and content. This is a very deep game that allows players to dual class and create completely different kinds of playable characters all within one customized character model.

April is the beginning of The Crystalline Prophecy and the good folks at Square-Enix gave a tour of some of the new content (Loch was a character created by S-E for the tour and was controlled, albeit sporadically, by the writer). While The Crystalline Prophecy can be started by players at level 30, the main content involves amazing battles against hosts of tough mobs, requiring a group of level 75 (the level cap is 75) characters to survive the tests.  As with most content expansions, in addition to the new quests, there are also new monsters (named notorious monsters) that are linked to the quest zones, as well as new skills for upper-level characters to acquire

The April update features three new add-on adventures, and players can earn high-level rewards, like one of the three new sets of armor, that can be customized with buffs to suit the gamers’ character’s play style.

The Crystalline Prophecy is a wondrous journey that ties storylines that occurred in Vana’diel’s past to the next phase the world is entering. It has a fair amount of cut scenes, but players who relish storylines will most assuredly find a few poignant moments contained in these cut scenes.

The content upgrade is just one element that Square-Enix is introducing. The other targets account security. Square-Enix is only too aware that players have had a problem with accounts being hacked into – an occurrence that, unfortunately, has hit a lot of MMOs – and has come up with a solution that will address this. The company is selling dongles that generate a code each time you turn it on. This code is part of the log-in process for the game and without generating a new code on the Security Token, and entering it, players will not be able to log into an account. The Security Token will make accounts much safer, but players will have to remember to have the token at hand each time they log into their account (once they have linked the Security Token to their PlayOnline account.

All in all, April is a very good month where Vana’diel is concerned, and FFXI players are in for some exciting new adventures.

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