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Information on SquareEnix’s next big MMORPG is scarce: even after looking forward to the big reveal for years, the most fans ended up with post-E3 was a cinematic trailer and some generalized interview answers.

Love it or loathe it, this means one thing and one thing alone for the fan community at large:

Loads and loads of speculation.

We already know Final Fantasy XIV has races returning from XI, and it’s fair to assume those won’t be the only similarities; the development team behind the new game is the same one from XI, and even in the brief trailer we have in our hands it’s clear things are already looking rather similar.  To this effect, discussions on what will and won’t be returning are seemingly highly relevant.

Of Manthras and Girlkas

One of the hot topics burning up message boards is on playable races new and old.  The old, in particular, being Mithra and Galka in this case:  It’s already been revealed that races from Final Fantasy XI will be returning, just for familiarity’s sake, but there’s some rumbling from players that these races should be due for a change.

The reason being that in Final Fantasy XI these races were gender limited: the path of the graceful cat was reserved for women, and the way of the bulky, bull-like Galka was solely for the men in the crowd.  While this provided personality for the game, many players also felt like they’d been robbed of choices.  Where were the man-cats?  Where were the strong women?

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One of the things I was most looking forward to at E3 was SquareEnix’s new MMO baby (as seen in a previous post about wishes that now, in retrospect, leaves me crying into my ice cream).  They dropped the initial bombshell at Sony’s press conference, and it looked … okay, but it reminded me an awful lot of an existing game.

The trailer was mostly pre-rendered bits with a sprinkle of in-game footage, and though it looked awfully good, it can’t be denied it seemed awfully familiar.  One of my largest preexisting fears was that the game, sharing a large amount of it’s development team with Final Fantasy XI, would be too similar to Square’s original MMORPG.  Unfortunately, the only news to come out of E3 about the game after that was a lackluster Q&A session and an interview on IGN that only added one or two new pieces to the puzzle.

So far we know that the game takes place in a brand new world, with similar races to FFXI to keep fans of that game comfortable.  Here’s hoping there’s new choices, as well.  The game will have a larger focus on pleasing a large variety of players, whether you prefer to solo, party, play for 30 minutes, or play all day.  There will be a number of “new systems” in place to make the game more accessible, and the job system will supposedly work very differently, to boot.  IGN’s interview also revealed that weapons will play a much larger part in the game, and that advancement will not be handled via experience.

What I’m keeping my fingers crossed for is that at least a few things on my beautiful wishlist for the game will be addressed:

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The Other Castle is a blog by video games, for video games. Wait, let me try that again. The Other Castle is a blog by a few nerd friends, about video games. As long as we're entertaining ourselves, there's a good chance somewhere out there, you might be getting a little kick out of reading this, too!

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