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Final Fantasy XI Fan Festival 2008
Final Fantasy XI Fan Festival 2008
by Patrick Gann - 12/23/08
Opening Ceremonies Hands-On: MMM, The Swarm Dev. Team Roundtable Interview Cosplay, Fan Art
The Latest and Greatest (Announcements) Special Task Force Concert: Kumi Tanioka From One Fan To Another
The Merch Table Meet the Press Overall Impressions Photo Gallery

Hands-On: MMM, The Swarm

Perhaps as a response to the popular "create your own dungeon" mechanism found in many new MMORPGs, FFXI will soon have a dungeon-making event of its own. The "Moblin Maze Mongers" are a group of avid tunnel-diggers who will help you dig through the nearly endless underground passages of Vana'diel. But to enter, players first need two items: a Maze Voucher Tabula, and at least one Maze Rune. The Tabula is a 5x5 grid that appears flat, 2D on your screen. There are different Tabula with different patterns; each has a variety of "holes" on them where you cannot place runes. You need to place at least one Maze Rune on the Tabula, but you are free to place as many as you can fit on the Tabula. Each rune has a designated effect, and there are at least 100 of them (though you have to collect them through quests and completion of other MMMs). Some examples of Maze Runes: 1) a rune that puts large enemies in your dungeon, 2) a rune that increases a particular stat (STR, DEX, etc) of the enemies on the field, 3) a rune that allows the monsters to use (and excel in) a particular type of magic. After you've created your customized, rune-decorated Tabula, you take your maze voucher to a portal (the one shown was at the Chocobo Stable in Lower Jeuno). Then, for a small fee of 200 gil, you and up to five other adventurers (for a full party of six) then enter your customized dungeon.

When entering, the mob's level are set in relation to the level of the person that traded the voucher to enter the group. Thus, low-level and high-level characters can play together, and a group of low-level characters can enjoy this event just as much as an endgame group. The goal of the event is, generally, to clear all monsters within a prescribed time limit (again, all of this can be customized with the runes). Then, you and your friends have at it and try your best to win. Should you be successful, a variety of awards can be presented, depending on the difficulty scale and type of dungeon created. It was proposed that some consumable items, synth materials, and gear may be made available in these dungeons. As of yet, little else is known.

My personal experience playing MMM led me to believe that this mode of play has a lot of potential, and will be enjoyable for a small group of players to repeat many times, or even to invite strangers to see the absurdly-difficult (or absurdly-fun) dungeon you created. But for a once-and-done experience, it provides little satisfaction. Thus, I look forward to playing MMM more once it is made available. Fujito-san's dungeon maker minigame for FFXI is something I never expected, but I am very excited about its potential.

The other event demonstrated is a surprisingly fun, and remarkably short, event called "The Swarm." The first thing I noticed when loading this up was that Square Enix saw fit to deck out their custom characters with some absurd endgame gear. As a White Mage (sub Ninja), I was dual-wielding with the Yagrush (Mythic / Nyzul weapon) in my main hand, and a Kraken Club as my offhand. On my waist, I wore the Ninurta's Sash (one of the seven items dropped by the undefeated "Absolute Virtue" mob), and the rest of my gear was equally impressive. With this setup, the event provided for even more fun. Unfortunately, returning to my own account on the Leviathan server, I will not be able to bask in the glory of a super-powered WHM/NIN.

When entering "The Swarm," you are immediately inundated with enemies dropping from the ceiling. They start small (a variety of bugs and bunnies), and larger, more difficult enemies start to fall after a certain amount of time. The largest enemy I saw was an adamantoise (Genbu, etc). The point of The Swarm is to compete (both among parties, and among individuals) to see who can kill the most. Points are awarded to individuals and teams as the killing continues. The enemies are not too difficult, and the only way you'd die is if you got in well over your head by provoking too many mobs. Of course, you'll want to be provoking massive amounts of mobs, because if you don't, they run to the edge of the room you're in and disappear once they reach the edge. Mages' "ga" spells are called for if you want to come out on top in this event.

Fun as this event is, I wasn't alone in asking "what's the point?" So far, it looks like the only purpose of this event is to see who's the more efficient individual or team. Competitive, but without being a direct PvP event, is the name of the game. I doubt there will be any rewards associated with the event, but again, it's some of the most fun I've ever had in such a short span of time in Final Fantasy XI.

© 2008 Square Enix. All rights reserved.

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