Final Fantasy XI: Rise of the Zilart Media Tour
Final Fantasy XI: Rise of the Zilart Media Tour
by Stephen Harris - 10/13/03
A Brave New World Tour Gallery

A Brave New World
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Kazhan: Trouble in Paradise
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The world of Vana’diel has always been a place of wonder, from the grassy plateaus of Sarutabaruta to the rocky crags of Gustaberg, even the most rooted homebody can be overcome with a sense of wanderlust. As players work together to solve the mystery of the evil that threatens to overcome the kingdoms of the mainland, several large islands off the coast lay amid a cloak of mystery. With Rise of the Zilart, newcomers to the world of Final Fantasy XI will be able to venture out from the relatively safe confines of the nations of Bastok, San D’Oria, Windurst and Jeuno into a brave new world and a bold new challenge.

Our tour begins in Kazhan, a peaceful village on Elshimo Island, due south of the Mindartia continent on the contemporary Vana’diel world map. The numerous brightly colored tropical flowers that crowned many a straw-topped home lent a sense of simple serenity to the village. As the home of the feline Mithra, Kazhan has maintained a position of neutrality, much like the towns of Mhaura and Selbina on the continent. This peaceful tropical town lay somewhat isolated from the more advanced settlements of Vana’diel. Accessible only by airship, Kahzan hasn’t changed much since its founding 400 years ago, still relying on an economy based on fishing. While many of the Mithra emigrated to Mindartia and founded the nation of Windurst alongside the mystical Tarutaru, those who stayed behind live peacefully under the benevolent rule of Patriarch Jakoh. Only the most prestigious of Vana’diel’s adventurers will ever reach this island, and only the strongest will survive, for this tropical paradise lies beneath an impending shadow of doom.

From the Tropics to the Plank: Pirates of Vana'diel
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After our local sightseeing, we headed out into Yuhtunga Jungle on Chocobo to take in more of the tropical scenery. As we rode beneath a canopy of palm trees into the jungle, I noticed that the local wildlife were cousins of many of the creatures I’d seen on the mainland, sporting different colored coats and scales; some looking far less benign than their less exotic kith and kin. As we went deeper into the jungle, the roots of great trees, not unlike the ancient trees of Windurst, lay gnarled above the earth, making navigation a challenge. The colors were more vibrant than anything we’d ever seen on our previous expeditions in Vana’diel. Sadly, our romp through the jungle was short lived as we had much to see and little time to work with. With a little magic, we were whisked off to our next location, a cave town of brigands.

Nestled on the shore in a vast underground cavern, lay the settlement of Norg. Dealing in suspicious goods, particularly weapons that were banned from the mainland markets, the town had every reason to maintain such a clandestine location. A pirate’s cove of sorts, Norg has become a bastion for the suspicious and the shady. Those hardy enough to follow the path of the Ninja or Samurai would come to find good friends in the merchants brave enough to sell their forbidden blades. As we entered the town, we encountered Lion, one of the brave souls we frequently encountered in our journey to stop the Shadowlord on the continent. Our meeting stirred memories of our previous adventures together, some of them nightmarish.

Out of the Shadows & into the Sand: Korroloka Tunnel & The Altape Desert
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From Norg, we continued deeper underground into the Sea Serpent Grotto, a vast network of tunnels overrun with oceanic terrors and a horde of undead. Needless to say, our visit was quite brief. After a draining battle with the indigenous and unholy inhabitants, we were sped on our way into the Korroloka Tunnel. A hideous passage filled with enormous spiders and jellies, the journey came to a halt when we crossed path with a Gigas, one of a race of malicious giants that we had first encountered in the frozen plateaus of Qufim Island. The battle was fierce, as the boulder-throwing fiend shirked off most physical blows with ease. Thankfully we had a brimstone-backup and had managed to fell the beast without any casualties. With victory at hand, we were transported to Sevwell Island, the large island southwest of the coast of the Quon continent.

Sevwell Island was a desolate place, home to the Altape Desert, this was once the home of the mighty Galka. Driven from their ancient home by the enormous ant-like Anticas, the Galkas made their home alongside the Humes in the industrial city of Bastok. The trudge through the desert was long and harsh, but the view was breathtaking. With crests of dunes as far as the eye could see, the view was hypnotic. Our trek through these ancient sands was not without event, as we encountered a Sabotender who felt that his desert had no need of strange visitors. Fans of Final Fantasy will easily recognize the beast as one of the Cactaur race, along with their trademark attack skill 1,000 Needles. After a protracted engagement, we took a moment to take in the sunset while we picked cactus needles from our backsides, swearing to never again suffer the fury of an irate desert plant.

Into the Burning Circle
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Our last stop on our journey was to visit a "Burning Circle" to fight a Notorious Monster and raid its treasure cache. Brave adventurers may sometimes come across objects known as a "Beastmen’s Seal," which may be traded to a merchant in the Grand Duchy of Jeuno for orbs that are used to gain access to Burning Circles across Vana’diel. The battle was fierce, but my contribution was short-lived, having been slain within seconds of engaging the enemy. Finding myself back at the home-point in Kazhan, I decided to go window shopping for a pocket white-mage.

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©2001-2003 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.
Title Design by Yoshitaka Amano.
FINAL FANTASY and Vana'diel are registered trademarks of Square Enix Co., Ltd.

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