Vanadiel embraces The Crystalline Prophecy

April 22, 2009

Vana’diel embraces The
Crystalline Prophecy
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.