In the wee hours of the morning (for me, anyway) Phase 3 started of the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Beta. I had planned to stay up late and give it a play, writing this article up for you all to wake up to a nice surprise. However, with all of the translating, transcribing, write-ups, screenshotting, and late night trailer-waiting I’ve done in the last week I decided it was best to just crash out and do it in the morning.
Disclaimer: This is largely an editorial piece, meant to give some early looks at in-work systems of the game. Anything in these screenshots is subject to change prior to release, and the opinions here are just that: Opinions. The graphical quality of the screenshots does not represent the graphical quality of the game, and in fact the game looks startlingly better in motion. For those wondering, as of the start of Phase 3 I’m allowed to share Phase 3 screenshots, but not audio, video, music tracks, or anything from the first two phases.
The moment I woke up, I launched the ARR Beta client, and armed with a handy new screenshot tool I prepared to make my character. I immediately went for a Hyuran Male, Midlander, because I wanted to see if I could make something close to a fantasy me. The first thing I noticed was the new height slider, a much better way of going about it.
The only thing I think could have been improved about the option would be to have an “average” member of your race/clan standing next to your character so you can see where you fall. The muscle tone option is still very disappointing to me personally, as it’s just some shading/coloration rather than affecting the build of your body. I went for a more toned character, just for fun, since I plan to eventually go Dragoon (although Lancer is not the starting class I picked). Next I popped on down to skintone and was pleasantly surprised that gone were the tiny number of tepid options: In their place, a massive palette of subtly different skin tones that allowed allowed me to find something truly close to my own.
I moved on, eager to see what else there was to try.
Here, in hairstyles, I found myself happy with colors and feeling a little lukewarm on styles. Many of the Hyuran hairstyles have a very ethnicity-specific feel to them, as if they’re for a person that lives in a specific region of the in-game world. Very little of the hair appealed to me, although the hairstyle in the bottom row (of the first shot), third from the left looks pretty cool. I went with something shorter, and upon opening the color section was relieved to find a much more open set of shades than had been previously available. The highlights option is nice to have as a checkable box, and the colors in that section are all a bit more bright and vibrant (as they should be). I messed around with it for a bit, trying to recreate my somewhere-between-blond-and-brown burnished gold hair, and ended up with something satisfactory.
The face gave me some trouble, I won’t lie. My own nose is very round and wide, a little button-ish. Many of the face options seemed to be geared toward Japanese facial construction, or austere high-European looks. It’s all arrows and hook noses, as far as I could find, and the only face with a nose even remotely similar to mine looks, in my opinion, a little like a 14 year-olds. I did my best to mitigate this sense of youngness through height, lengthening the jaw, and giving him some slightly more severe eyebrows.
I thought the character creation couldn’t get more fun, honestly. I was wrong.
Being truthful, I had forgotten that this interface had already been partly revealed for eye colors. I’ve had so much else to focus on, that character customization teases just sort of fell off of my mental radar. I was worried that unlike hair color (and more like skin tone), eyes would be a set of drab, boring palettes based on realism. When I first saw the palette set pop up with all of those colors, I couldn’t restrain myself from saying “Hell yeah!” out loud. Then my eyes caught on a little check box down at the bottom. “Odd Eyes?” I asked myself, thinking it must create iris patterns or change the shape of your pupil. Clicking it, I made a sound that no person can ever hear escape my mouth and live to tell the tale. Fully colored, independently chosen, all-racial heterochromic eyes. I wasted no time in choosing a deep, cool violet and the brightest, harshest, most violent red I could get out of the palette as I’m sure you long since noticed. The other two options in this section, lip color and facial features, weren’t really of interest to me but they do provide some interesting possibilities.
Next up are just some finishing touches.
Tattoos appear to still be tied to the face you choose, which means that most likely every race/clan/gender combination has its own unique sets. Just to be clear, I did not check most of the other races/ect. for their options and differences at the time of writing. I chose a simple tattoo for my character and made it a dark green, and completely ignored the Face Paint options. Some of them are pretty cool, but they just don’t fit the character I was trying to make.
Wondering how characters will look in different locations and lighting?
There are a number of options for that. You an see yourself in a sort of ethereal nullspace (the default) or the inside of a Gridanian residence without options to change the lighting, and then each of the three main areas of the game at either day or night.
What’s left? Non-visual stuff like birthday and patron god or goddess.
There appears to still be a glitch in the game where the 7th and 8th of the Fifth Astral Moon (September, for those not keeping track) are both considered the 7th. So, while I chose my birthday to be the 22nd Sun of the Astral Moon, you’ll notice that at the bottom it says “(9/21)”. I also apologize for the Skype pop-up during that screenshot, I did not notice it until well after character creation was finished.
After this I picked my Patron deity, which seems to have a slightly different effect this time around. There are Twelve gods, split into six groups of two that have a particular elemental affinity. Choosing a deity aligns you with them in a sense, causing your elemental affinities to shift and match theirs. You end up with one Primary Element (54), a Secondary Element (53), three neutral Elements (52), and one Opposing Element (50) no matter which deity you pick. I don’t know if there is a way to change these relationships in-game or if it affects stat growth but to be safe I chose Rhalgr, a Lightning-aligned god who is basically the god of Black Mages.
Next up are classes.
I chose Thaumaturge, for the record, but I decided to go over each class and see what my guy looks like in the Job Outfits. Doing this revealed that your starting class does indeed seem to choose where you start the game for you, and it’s sounding like more and more of a sure thing that you won’t be able to choose crafting or gathering classes as your “default” profession. I kinda hope I’m wrong about that, although it doesn’t really take much effort to go to a guild and make the switch. For Phase 3 (remember, this could all change), three classes land you in Gridania, three put you in Ul’dah, and only one sees you arrive in Limsa Lominsa.
Next I chose my world** (server), which are divided into Japan and NA/EU currently. There are no restrictions as far as I can tell on which server center you can create your characters on, but the game does suggest using the datacenter that is closest to the region you live in, in order to maintain the best possible connection. After you choose your world and the game starts, you get to see a very cool scene in which your character floats in ethereal space, where the voice from the previous version (Hear… Feel… Think…) seems to be trying to make contact. As you make toward a distant, sunny light the bad guy picture above shows up and tries to attack you. The golden light flies toward and merges with you, causing you to suddenly be in your chosen class’ Job Outfit and preparing to use some kind of super attack against him.
Then you wake up.
I was in a cart, on the way to Ul’dah, with a fairly chatty Merchant who gave me a few dialogue choices (which was nice), and was apparently smuggling an illegal herb called “Somnus” into the city. The guards who discovered this, at a checkpoint outside of town, let him off with a warning when the Amal’jaa (Lizardfolk) suddenly attacked. As we proceeded to town the Merchant said the two Elezen in the cart with us (Who for some reason make me think of Palom and Porum from FFIV) didn’t really like to talk. Within minutes we had arrived, and I promptly logged out to write about what I’d seen.
**As part of a personal initiative to promote a sense of community within the Nova Crystallis readership, I’m going to be doing a few things. For starters, if you have a favorite Final Fantasy character you’d like to see in the style of XIV, comment below and tell me who it is! I’ll use the character creator to create the closest I can get to them, and post the screenshots either in the next XIV article I write, or in an article all their own. Please no more than two characters per commenter, and make sure to read other’s comments to find out if the character you want has already been said. You can use the upvoting feature to make the character you want (or ones you agree with) more likely to be chosen, and the two most popular will remain on my personal Final Fantasy XIV account as permanent characters.
This leads directly into something else I want to try out. Depending on how busy I am this summer, I would like to take a weekend every month during the Open Beta and after the launch of A Realm Reborn to provide free crafting services to Nova Crystallis readers. Characters Level 15 and below would be eligible, although there’s a chance I could be convinced to craft for higher-tier characters. The details still need to be worked out, but I’m thinking I’ll include a sort of code word within my playthrough articles (which are going to be seeing a big change soon), which you can Whisper to my character in-game to receive services (within reason).
For all of the beta, I will also be available to party up with you guys and am willing to switch my character’s class to provide that extra oomph to your adventuring group. My “me” character who is pictured above will be in the Midgardsormr World, whereas the two Final Fantasy characters would go in two separate worlds of the community’s choice.
So let me know what Final Fantasy characters you’d like to see done, and make sure to say something if you’re interested in that second bit. If there’s interest, I’ll do my best to make it happen. Cheers!