Final Fantasy XI On PS3: Extra 9 Gigabytes of Space

Bad news, Playstation 3 users: You’re going to have to make more space on that hard drive for Final Fantasy XI. Square Enix has announced that in February, a patch will be added to Final Fantasy XI that will require more hard drive space on the Playstation 3, but only on specific models. The models are the 60gigabyte and 20gigabyte which are backward compatible with Playstation 2 games (otherwise this doesn’t apply to you, because you can’t play it anyway). Unfortunately, for users with 20 gigabyte hard drives, this means you won’t be able to play Final Fantasy anymore until you upgrade.

The new space will be 21 gigabytes, reportedly for the purpose of preventing fragmentation on the hard drive. The actual game itself takes up around 12 gigabytes. Playstation 2 and PC users will not be affected by this at all.

(Source: Gamer Escape)

Final Fantasy XIV Server Mergers Coming After Billing Begins

Now that I can shut up about services being hacked…I think it goes without saying that Final Fantasy XIV is long due for a server merge, and that the sparse population on many servers is only going to get worse when the billing starts and only those willing to remain monthly remain. FFXIV 2.0 is a long way away, and for now Square needs to focus on their current customers. Naoki Yoshida has posted that the server merger will be discussed in more detail once Square has a better idea of how many are sticking around once billing begins.

We will first analyze the number of players in the game after the billing service begins.
Based on that analysis, we will be running a simulation where the maximum concurrent access during the peak hours will become somewhere around 1500 to 2000 per World.
* The above number is provisional and not a finalized number.

More information is expected around mid to late January.

Most Aggressive Developer of 2011: Square Enix

When Final Fantasy XIV launched in September 2010, it drew a backlash from its userbase the likes of which haven’t been seen since Sony Online Entertainment implemented the Combat Upgrade and New Game Enhancements in Star Wars Galaxies back in 2005. For an MMO, it was one of the most disappointing releases of 2010. The development team was “reshuffled” and a fair amount of people were fired. Naoki Yoshida was put in charge and Square Enix would later come out to state that Final Fantasy XIV had done a fair amount of damage to the brand name.

But despite this, Square Enix refused to give up. Rather than shut the game down, Square threw years of precedent into the garbage and did what none of us could have seen coming: They opened up and started listening to their players. Instead of laying off staff, Square expanded the Final Fantasy XIV team to accommodate the larger work load. Instead of expecting players to pay each month for a broken game, they suspended subscriptions for over a year, and even delayed the Playstation 3 release until (estimated) a 2012 release. Since September 2010, Final Fantasy XIV has gone under update after update to implement what players were asking for, and remove what they had never wanted.

Final Fantasy XIV 2.0 is set to release at some point in late 2012/early 2013, and until then players will be asked to start paying a reduced subscription rate in January 2012. 2.0 is said to be a major overhaul of the game, so much so that Square feels confident in basing the release of the Playstation 3 version around it. If Square can find success in the years and millions of dollars they spent reviving this game from the ground up, well it puts them above certain other developers who simply hit the kill switch when accounting didn’t report the numbers they were hoping for.

Runner Up: Trion, Rift

If anyone needs to be commended for the most aggressive marketing campaign of the year, it is Trion with Rift. I hate to use the phrase “shoving it down our throats,” but since Rift got past the initial “our servers are crippled because we didn’t expect this much success,” the company has gone on to throw everything but the kitchen sink at potential customers, only prior to throwing the actual kitchen sink. For the fact that Rift has been with us less than a year, the game has gone on sale more often than most multi-year MMOs. Rift ads can be seen anywhere an MMO website can be found, and for a while potential and past players were invited on a regular basis to come back for a few days and play for free.

In the end, however, I had to give the award to Square Enix. An aggressive marketing plan is great, but even if you hate Square Enix, Final Fantasy, MMOs, or any combination of the three, you can’t ignore the sheer dedication it takes to spend the time and money that Square is to fix what they wholly admit was a result of their arrogance. You can argue that the game should have never shipped as it did in the first place, but it did. It happened, and this is how Square is fixing it.

Stay tuned for a new award every day throughout the end of December.

Square Enix Members Hacked:

[Update] Square Enix has confirmed that no member information was stolen.

 As a result of our continuing investigation, we have now confirmed that the database in which we store personal information was NOT accessed during the recent server intrusion. Therefore, your personal information was NOT compromised by an unknown third party.

Square-Enix is planning to restart the Square Enix Members service by the end of December. Details of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

We deeply regret any inconvenience this may have caused our customers and fans, and appreciate your patience.

Square Enix has taken down its Members service while it investigates a security breach, in order to assess just what may have been taken and what damage has been done. In a message posted on the website, Square confirms that while usernames and passwords may have been taken, “there is no possibility of any credit card leak from this incident, since the server in question stores no credit card information.”

We have reason to believe that unknown parties may have gained unauthorized access to a particular Square Enix server related to the free SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS service offered in North America and Japan. In response, Square Enix, Inc. has temporarily suspended operation of the SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS service starting at 10PM (PST) on December 12, 2011.

There is no information at this time that Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV players have anything to worry about, although I would still recommend changing your passwords on your respective games.

Final Fantasy XIV Billing Starts January 6th

We all knew this time would come eventually, when Square Enix would shake off the training wheels and Final Fantasy XIV would transition back to its intended subscription system. Last month, Square announced that billing would start around the time the much anticipated 2.0 update released, around November or December of this year. Today, in an article on Gamasutra, Square is ready to announce a final date: January 6th. According to Gamasutra, the 2.0 update, billed as a remade version of the game, is set to launch sometime in late 2012.

Until version 2.0 is released, players who opt to continue playing will enjoy reduced subscription rates, starting at $6.99 per month with the cost decreasing for 90 and 180 day subscriptions. The Playstation 3 version is expected in early 2013.

Final Fantasy XI Is Crazy On XI-XI-XI: 14-Day Trial?

Do not adjust your monitors, the title of this article has been transmitted as intended: Final Fantasy XI has released a 14 day trial. Still surprised? So am I, but apparently the folks at Square Enix decided to pull down one barrier for entry into the aging-yet-enormous-to-an-almost-intimidating-degree MMO. If you were holding off on trying Final Fantasy XI due to whispers of Play Online and its less than stellar service, you’ll be happy to know that Square Enix patched out PO some time ago.

All you need to sign up is your first name, last name, captcha code, and an email address. And if you do decide to buy the game at the end of your trial period (or any time before), you can enjoy 50% off of the complete package.

Important: Final Fantasy XIV Subscriptions Start Soon

It’s been ten long months since someone at Square Enix restructured the Final Fantasy XIV team with the human resources equivalent of a carpet bomb, and since then the game has arguably come a long way, both in the huge number of updates bringing in new content, much needed content, fixing the old, purging the bad (physical levels?) and a new way of thinking for the FFXIV team. Unfortunately for us, the time we all knew was coming has shown is ugly head: The free period of Final Fantasy XIV will be coming to a close.

In a new lodestone, President Yoichi Wada announced that the transition will come in late November or early December of this year 2012. But hey, anyone who has been with FFXIV since the beginning has had a full year to play for free. Unless you are me, who adopted early and thanks to my already slow leveling process managed to get three skills above level ten. More importantly, as any person who bought the game should question, what about the subscriptions we still had to sign up to when the game started?

Anyone who has played FINAL FANTASY XIV at any time since its release is already in possession of a FINAL FANTASY XIV service account. These accounts are set to renew their subscriptions automatically, barring deactivation by the account holder. Therefore, if we were to begin regular subscription billings for all existing contracts, players who will not see this announcement or who may not currently wish to pay subscription fees would automatically begin to be charged for their accounts. To avoid this, we have decided to first suspend all automated renewals for service accounts. Only account holders who have agreed to reactivate the automated renewal system will be billed.

That’s generous of them. Final Fantasy has had a year of player dropoff, making for a lot of people who stopped playing and probably don’t follow the game anymore. You can read the entire announcement, as well as download a few documents outlining the team’s plans for the future.

Final Fantasy XIV Patch Notes Are A Novel

Final Fantasy’s slightly delayed 1.19 (not to be confused with Minecraft 1.9) patch doesn’t come for another few days, but you can read the patch notes and list of planned changes right now, and a long read it is. The update is enormous and covers so many things that I couldn’t possibly go into each and every aspect in this blog post (but I’ll try anyway). Square Enix is implementing a wide variety of updates, from abolishing physical levels, attribute points, and elemental points. The update also introduces a massive change to the crafting system, with some new recipes, a lot of altered recipes, and a couple abolished recipes. Players will also be able to rent/buy chocobo, travel in air ships, and take part in new guild leves, grand company quests, and more.

Again there is far too much for me to fully explain here. It’s good to see the Final Fantasy XIV team is still trucking along, even hiring new people to expand the team, especially after Square Enix boss Yaochi Wada stated a few days ago at a press conference that “the Final Fantasy brand has been greatly damaged,” placing much of the blame on Square’s most recent MMO.

More on Final Fantasy XIV as it appears.

Square Enix Expanding Final Fantasy XIV Development Team

As I’ve said before, Square Enix has a long history of going away from the norm on a design level and a corporate level. If you’re one of the unbelieving heathens who looked at Final Fantasy XIV and thought “well this will just continue diminishing until there’s nothing left of the development team,” I’m going to hit you on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. Not only are you wrong, you couldn’t be any more off-base unless Square Enix turned out to have never existed and the Final Fantasy series was an M Night Shyamalan film.

Dual Shockers has an article noting that Square Enix is not only not downsizing the Final Fantasy XIV team, they’re hiring more people to work on the resurfacing MMO. Eleven new positions have been created, with another confirmation that the PS3 version is still in development.

As part of this new initiative, I will be shipping Yoshi-P a new t-shirt to wear around the office that says “troll-proof.”

Final Fantasy XIV: PS3 Coming "At All Costs"

I’m such an egg-head. Without regards to a certain outfit publishing a review of Final Fantasy XIV just before a major game-altering patch, hopeful fans of Square Enix’s baby may be giving up hope of ever seeing the game hit Playstation 3, which Square’s Yoshida has promised will only come as the defining moment where Square can release the game as a finished product. There is no timetable for release.

In an interview over at the Final Fantasy XIV boards, Yoshida and crew want to be very clear: Playstation 3 users will not be given the same indefinite delay shtick as 360 users were given last year. Rather, Yoshida says very clearly:

It’s not canceled. Development is underway, don’t worry! The PS3 version will be released at all costs.

There is a massive list of updates being planned and currently set for release in Final Fantasy XIV, everything from the major combat system changes in patch 1.18 to player owned housing, jumping (yes this is a notable addition, given Square), the scrapping of the fatigue system, the possible removal of physical levels, and more.

You can get a look at what is in development here. The page has had a facelift since we last posted it.

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