Opinion: Final Fantasy XIV European fan festival
The Final Fantasy XIV European Fan Festival is the latest festival for fans of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV. The Fan Festivals bring together fans of the MMORPG and allows the game’s developers to reveal new information and simply have fun with their fans. As the European Fan Festival was the last in a series of festivals, which included North America and Japan, it was wildly expected that the European Fan Festival would deliver some juicy details regarding the upcoming expansion, Stormblood, and well the Final Fantasy XIV development team didn’t disappoint as the game’s director Naoki Yoshida revealed wave after wave of new information to the delight of every fan.
Dawning a samurai outfit, Naoki Yoshida revealed that Samurai would be the second and final new job in the Stormblood (the first being Red Mage), and to a bit of a surprise, the Samurai was revealed to be a melee DPS class. Naoki Yoshida also revealed how the Samurai would have three arts called Setsu, Getsu and Ka, these three arts are a type of stance. It was also revealed that Samurai can store energy in their Katana (main weapon) and use it to unleash a special attack.
Apart from the Samurai job announcement, the main jaw dropping moment was that the expansion is far more than just going to Ala Mhigo and freeing it from the Garlean Empire, as it was revealed that players would be heading east away from the continent of Eorzea to Othard. In the new far-eastern continent players will help free Doma from the Garlean Empire, and for those unaware, Doma is where the refugees and Yugiri escaped from in patch 2.2. Further east from Othard there is the new player city of Kugane, a port town on the island chain of Hingashi – a nation with a strict isolationist policy. Following Kugane it was revealed that the new housing area would be called Shirogane and that it would have a Far Eastern design like Kugane, and speaking of housing the furnishing capacity of each housing type will be doubled. Three new zones were also revealed: The Ruby Sea, Yanxia and the Azim Steepe. The Kojin beast tribe and their primal, Lord of the revel – Susano were also revealed. The title of the expansion’s main theme was revealed to be named Revolutions.
Now enough about the announcements, what about the fan festival? The festival was a way to bring online friends together and play the various fun out-of-game activities that dotted the hall, some of which included a hammer game called Crystal Tower Striker and a ring toss game called Put a ring on it. There were also in-game challenges, which included PVP, dungeon speed running, trial roulette where you spun two wheels to choose the primal you fight and what handicap you had to endure, and finally there was the battle challenge, which was a 24-man alliance raid against Proto Ultima.
Outside of what I mentioned there was the Cactpot prize draws, a piece of Magitek armour to climb up, live artwork by lead concept artist Yusuke Mogi, and two concerts.
For me, the activities made the event, because it offered a way for those who may have only interacted online to get have fun together, as people experienced the joy of downing a powerful enemy together in person or seeing a friend hilariously fail at the Crystal Tower striker. The organisers also helped reinforce the idea to undertake tasks by rewarding participants with stamps, which could have been turned in for rewards such as stickers and a fat Chocobo keyring.
Now about the concerts. There were two concerts, the piano concert and The Primals concert. The piano concert, which took place on Saturday was relaxing, but The Primals concert on Sunday was anything but relaxing with a live rendition of many Primal songs, including Oblivion from the Shiva Primal encounter. The Primals concert was also the final activity of the festival and so the game’s director, Naoki Yoshida, enjoyed the concert with the fans as he was in the front row headbanging and chugging a beer, and as person who was also in the front row, it was a sight to behold.
During the festival, Square Enix was awarded three Guinness World Records with Final Fantasy XIV receiving the “Longest end credits in an MMO Video game” (1 hour 38 minutes) award, and “The most original pieces of music in a video game” (384 songs) award. The third and final record was for the Final Fantasy franchise as it received the “most prolific RPG series” award.
In the end, the Final Fantasy XIV European Fan Festival was a convention that I will never forget. It wasn’t just the great announcements that made it special, but the fact that it allowed distant friends come together to celebrate the game that brought them together.
If there was a negative about the Fan Festival, I would say it was leaving, as it meant tear-filled goodbyes to friends who I may never see in real life again.
For more information regarding the Final Fantasy XIV European Fan Festival, visit http://ffxiv-fanfest.com/eu.