Plenty of trinkets, and even some functional items, were being sold for good prices at the Fan Fest. Some items were exclusive to the event, and there were even some freebies that attendees received. Let's take a look.
Ladies and gentlemen: the most expensive item for sale.
Retailing for 230 US dollars, this polyresin sculpture of the original plot arc's final boss, "The Shadow Lord," was on display at the Fan Fest. Put in a big class case, people gawked, but I'm not sure if anyone put the money down to purchase it at the event. This one is for hardcore collectors (and wealthy people) only.
Solid gold! Well, solid metal anyway...
Two monster-centric keyrings were made available, both of which I carry with pride as a Final Fantasy XI fanboy. The Mandragora keyring, as well as the Goblin variant, aren't too pricy, and they're built to last. They're also really cute. Talk about some sweet swag!
National pride in Vana'diel? Stranger things have come to pass.
An old staple in the Square Enix merchandise catalog, the three nations of Vana'diel have emblems. And these emblems come on keyrings. And you know you want one! I got a free one, but it was Bastok (boo!), so I traded with another person at the Fan Fest to get one of Windurst (yea!). All three are available on the Square Enix Merchandise store, of course.
Nothing says "I'm a professional businessman" like a videogame-themed business card case!
This was probably my favorite of all the items, though I'm sure most people find it the least interesting. Before now, the best thing I had to store business cards was my wallet. But now, I can keep my own, or others', business cards in this handy-dandy case. Thanks so much, Square Enix!
Forget about buying a class ring your senior year; get a San d'Orian ring instead.
Though on the expensive side (over $100 each), the three nation rings are beautiful, well-crafted, and come in a range of sizes. This is something I'd wear with pride, not just at a Fan Fest, but whenever I'm traveling through Vana'diel. The three nations' rings each have very different styles, though all are made of silver. These pricey little trinkets are the most ornate items up for sale, but dedicated fans might want to consider purchasing it.
You'd have to be at the Fan Festival to get a signed copy, but the album is worth owning regardless.
I'll never forget how embarrassed I felt after making a huge faux pas in front of some Square Enix staff. They presented me with gifts, and I looked the gifthorse in the mouth, so to speak. The problem was, however, that I didn't look closely enough. I pulled out the Final Fantasy XI Piano Collections CD from my bag of goodies and said in a snide tone, "gee, I already have this." They said "open it!" I said, "no guys, I already know what's inside. I get a promotion code for a harpsichord in the game. It's in my Mog House right now." "No, just open it!" And that's when I saw it, signed by the dev. team. What a great gift! Anyway, you'll have to go to next year's Fan Fest if you want a signed copy, but you can prepare by picking up the album directly from Square Enix. As I said in my review, it's one of the finest piano arrangements in all VGM-dom.
Tarut cards: not for sale! (yet)
This is a special item that I really hope Square Enix Merchandise starts marketing. Based on an in-game quest where you have to trade cards to get a full set, Fan Fest attendees each received a pack of five "Tarut" cards (it's a pun... Tarutaru, Tarot, get it?). The trick was, of course, in your pack you got five of the same type (just like in-game). There are four different cards, and fans got to trade with each other to get a full set. Like most attendees, I had mine traded in short order, and I'm a happy owner of this set. Unlike the in-game version, which is represented by a tiny pixelated icon, these Tarut cards feature beautiful, detailed illustrations that make Tarus seem far more serious than they actually are. I love it!
Free posters for Square Enix Members!
This item was actually a freebie, but you did have to give away your contact information. Attendees who signed up to join the "Square Enix Members" club received this poster, free of charge, on the spot. Illustrated by Ryosuke Aiba, this poster depicts members of all the races in FFXI standing together, even enjoying each others' company (Tarus sitting on the Galka's arm? Instant classic!). My poster, unfortunately, got wrinkled at the LAX airport while checking in my luggage. Hopefully this item will come up through promotional events again in the future.