That was a fun weekend! To those of you who just joined us and took the extra step of checking out the website – Welcome! & Thank you!

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For our Company to achieve any measure of success we are going to need people; people for parties; people for raids; people for crafting; people for [please please please] PvP sieges! Our strategy for recruiting in FFXIV will be different from our previous MMOs experiences since we are recruiting early during a Test Phase Schedule – which means that there is a lot of down time between interactions with the player base.

Recruiting through the game itself is rather simple, but with the excessive down time between test phases we will need to start recruiting proactively out side of the game. We will use the normal channels for recruiting, such as the official forums and snooping around for other community sites, but there is also a new tool we can try to reach out with via The Lodestone.

On The Lodestone you can send messages to people on your in game friends list and to fellow linkshell/company members. There is also a Company page which has a built in forum as well. We’ve been provided some potentially useful tools so it would be best if all of you logged on The Lodestone and make some attempts to reach out.

The rest is the usual run down:

During our recruiting campaign members should pay extra attention to possible opportunities both in and outside of the game. PUG often, meet and assist new players when you can, recruit at your own discretion. Its always interesting meeting new people, and its great when we can make new friends.

When you recruit don’t take it personally if you get turned down. Also persistence might not be a trait that is always found endearing.

Making posts and watching the forums for responses, as well as posting new information and walk-throughs on the blog should be a priority while the game is down.

A big change is that getting new people on our Teamspeak will not be a top priority, since some people may find it invasive if we request installation of new voice chat software right away.

Recruits have no obligation to stick with us, the only thing that usually keeps new recruits around is if they find their surroundings appealing or beneficial. While we cannot make any promises as to how Across will perform in Final Fantasy XIV we will do our best to be worthwhile.

Next Beta weekend will be a Holiday weekend for those of us in the States, so turn out might be a bit erratic. Lets do our best!

Letter from producer Live VII

The letter from producer LIVE VII was this morning and offered up a surplus of information. If you wish to read all of the translated questions/answers then you can go here

Short Summary;
Though I do not speak Japanese I was able to find a live stream that did a decent enough job of giving a rough translation, below is some key notes of what I see as being important:

1) Scholar was confirmed to be the 8th JOB in the game (the starting class has not been announced however people believe it will be Arcanist {meaning that class could branch off into Summoner or Scholar}) – More on Scholar will be announced at E3, where Square is planning to have live streams.

2) Phase 3 beta is projected to start June 14th if all goes well, it was stated in the live letter that the start of the beta phase will be set to weekends like previous tests however they plan to make them run for longer later on in Phase 3

3) They showed off some footage of the “duty finder” aka dungeon finder, however most of this was difficult for the translator to translate. From what I got out of it you are able to select the role you wish to play and queue for an instance/quest/fate – you are also able to filter by language if you so choose to and when using the duty finder you will have a level sync to [I believe] the lowest member of the part.

4) Worlds from the 1.0 version will remain as “Legacy servers” where all the Legacy people can go to play, this will also be indicated by a tag next to the server name. It was stated that legacy members can not play on a new server for fear of ruining the economy. As for new servers, they stated to keep an eye out for more information in the developers blog.

5) Chocobo “buddies” will be available for Phase 3, it was noted that if you play as a summoner and have a summon like Carbuncle out then you will still be able to summon the chocobo. To summon the chocobo to fight you use the typical Gyashl Greens.

6) Musketeer is still getting the shaft, no new info on that class

7) For melding materia to your gear (gives bonus stats) the only class that can meld them are classes that can repair the gear type i.e weaver for your cloth gear ect.

At the end of the live letter they displayed the newly released skills video which can be found below:

Archeblade Open Beta!

Archeblade Wallpaper

Codebrush Games has released Archeblade Open Beta on Steam for free! This game is reminiscent of Rakion. Pick a fighter and beat the snot out of all your friends in free for all or death match! This game uses combos based off of the mouse and keyboard in order to execute moves that devastate opponents. The game is fairly rough right now but updates are coming in fast! I definitely recommend giving this one a try. A few regular Across members have been playing it together and it’s been a really great experience. Join in on the teamspeak and play it today!

This game can be found under the free to play games section of Steam.

Final Fantasy XIV’s Yoshida on PvP, chocobos, and mobile apps

by Eliot Lefebvre

The recent Final Fantasy XIV press event in San Francisco didn’t just mean a chance to sit down and play the game amidst a lushly decorated room, although that was certainly on the agenda. It also meant a chance to ask director and producer Naoki Yoshida some questions about the game going forward and the plans for development down the line, diving beyond what we see and into more fine details about the game’s mechanics.

While players will have access to a sizable chunk of the revamped game when the beta goes live on February 25th, there’s still a lot that’s hidden behind a veil of secrecy. Yoshida’s answers help illuminate more details about what’s going on in Final Fantasy XIV that might not be playable right now but will be in the near future. And even beyond the foundation that’s visible from the beta, the promise of more expansion only adds to the game’s overall quality.

No details were offered for how you can avoid playing a Roedagyn woman. This is a plight that we all must deal with.Some of we’ve learned, of course, is merely a matter of filling in details that players might have expected anyway. Vanity pets are in the game already, for example, and the development team is planning on making a surfeit of them in the game available through a variety of methods. The game will also feature a more streamlined title display on a character’s nameplate, as compared to the first version, which showed titles only when you were inspected.

Somewhat less expected is the game’s inclusion of a reputation system akin to Final Fantasy XI’s. Performing quests for a given region improves your reputation and gives you access to new quests, which seems baffling considering the sheer number of quests available even to a new character. No need to worry about the various NPC checks from FFXIV’s predecessor, though, as your reputation will be viewable directly from your user interface.

Legacy players will still have to build their reputations from the ground up, of course, but they’ll be starting at a slightly different point compared to new players. Yoshida impishly hinted that the full cinematic trailer offers a clue as to what Legacy characters will experience. He also told me that Legacy characters will have their home nations determined by their Grand Company affiliations, but this can be changed during the course of the main scenario (going into further details would be spoiling the plot).

Of course, unless you’re starting as a Legacy player with everything at maximum level, you’re going to run into the problem of having several classes to level and potentially not enough quests to see them through. That’s not to say that the game doesn’t already have many forms of content for leveling characters, but the development team is looking into making things even easier via a system allowing you to split your experience gains using the Armoury system. The last thing the developers want is for players to be forced into the same content every time they’re leveling a new class.

Not every new system is up for discussion. When asked about Materia, Yoshida confirmed that it will be implemented for testing in phase 3 and will be very different from the previous system, but he would not comment further. Jobs are also coming in the future, although they will retain much of their prior functionality.

Now if only our characters could get mobile apps. And smartphones. In the game.Fishing, however, will not be retaining its previous functionality. I asked Yoshida whether fishing will have more tradeskills using its harvested items in the revamp, and he replied that the team actually went in the opposite direction by making fishing focus on the experience of fishing. If you like to fish, you can enjoy it as a hobby with its own merits rather than simply feeling it’s necessary for a crafting class.

Unfortunately, this does mean that we can give up on the idea of fist weapons made from live sharks.

Of course, the in-game gathering log will provide players with a wealth of information about where to get what they need from the two gathering professions that still focus around crafting classes. Some items will be obtained through other means. And then there’s the Lodestone site and the game’s upcoming mobile app…

What, you didn’t know about the mobile app? Nobody did, so that’s understandable. At launch, it’ll serve as a database more than anything, but there’s the possibility of additional features in the future, including some paid features such as access to auctions and the like. It will also be available for both Apple and Android devices, good news for anyone accustomed to being the also-ran in the mobile device market.

Chocobos are also receiving improved functionality, serving as player companions whenever you need a second person to complete some difficult task. Your personal chocobo takes on a role similar to the companions of Star Wars: The Old Republic — you can customize the bird’s role as well as a basic AI script based off of the Final Fantasy XII Gambit system. Chocobos also take up a party slot, so you could conceivably try to take on a four-person dungeon with two players and two chocobos.

Dragobo.Some of the chocobo’s abilities will be influenced by your choice of chocobo costume, which will be available in several styles right from launch (about 15 to start with). There are also plans for a chocobo vs. chocobo system, so you can pit your stalwart companion and mount against those of another player.

Not that bird fights are all that the revamp will have in terms of PvP. As it stands now, there will be two types of PvP areas. The first is the Coliseum, a structure built by all three Grand Companies to serve as a training ground for their soldiers. Players will join teams and be matched against similarly skilled teams in a classic arena format. The other option is zones designated as free PvP areas, warzones that carry increased risk for players and will make that clear when you’re entering them.

Hoping for more open-world stuff? You’ll be slightly disappointed. Yoshida and the other developers don’t feel that open-world ganking fits the feel of FFXIV, so there will not be free-for-all rules in general.

Needless to say, there will be special armor awarded to players skilled at PvP. But if that’s not your thing, you can also earn yourself rewards through the FATE system, including company seals from most events and special rewards from endgame events. Some of these special rewards could include new mounts for players to enjoy.

Once you’ve gotten all of these rewards, you’ll probably want to put some of them in your house, but you will need to wait a little. Housing will be tested during the beta, but it’s on the schedule to be implemented about three months after the launch. Part of that is simply a matter of figuring out the right price and giving players a chance to save up the money necessary to buy property; having a house is not an automatic thing.

It’s not meant to be ruinous, either. Initial offerings will be expensive, but one of the ideas the developers are toying with is having higher prices for first-run buyers, with the cost of property starting high and shrinking with every 12-hour interval. So if there’s a piece of land you must have, you’ll pay dearly for it… but if you’re less picky, there’s more opportunity to snag something on the cheap.

We also briefly discussed the Arcanist, the newest class being added to the game in the revamp. Arcanists will fulfill the role that Yoshida felt was most sorely missed from the original version: a buff and debuffing role with added crowd control. As the class also makes use of summoned pets, some elements of the role will change based on which pet is active. Veteran players needn’t worry, however, as the designers are trying to ensure that every class needs to be raised to only about 30 for you to have all the important abilities for cross-class skills.

There’s a lot to explore even in the game’s current beta build, but the fact that there’s still more on the near horizon should keep players excited. The original launch left a bad taste in players’ mouths by promising more to come and not delivering, but the new game seems to promise more and then deliver even more than expected.