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FFXIV: A Realm Reborn Birthing A Beta This Month

Ah, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, what manner of thing will you be? Many people, naturally, would prefer that you turn out, well, good, but you kind of had a hard time with that during your first go-'round. I did like your job system, story missions, and world, though. So I have some hope. Kinda. Maybe? Videos of quests that look musty and maggot-riddled out of the box have me second-guessing my vague optimism, but I'll reserve judgment until I can feel the winds of adventure and taste the scent of Chocobo stable manure for myself. Which are things I will apparently be able to do very soon - at least, in beta form. FFXIV: A Realm Reborn is set to take its first steps later this month. Details after the break.

For the time being, it's a closed beta, and the first round of acceptance letters should be hitting inboxes any moment now, if they haven't already. You can, however, still sign up if you missed this particular boat - which is probably also a crystal-powered airship and someone's dead dream father.

A letter from producer Naoki Yoshida, meanwhile, explains what phase one beta testers are in for:

"Just like the alpha test, phase 1 of the beta test will be limited to the areas around Gridania. Quests from the main scenario will be available, but because these require travel to other nations at level 15, they will be limited. Sidequests are designed to accompany the main scenario, so it may be a bit of a pain to level up after that point. This won’t be the case in the official release version, but until then we ask that you do your leveling through the variety of content that will be available."

Hmmm. I suppose I'll take his word for it. But, if nothing else, I'm really liking the sound of Full Active Time Events (or FATE, because Final Fantasy), which put a Guild-Wars-2-ish spin on the proceedings with auto-grouped random world objectives. "These events will take place in non-instanced areas and appear at random," Yoshida explained. "Players can participate by simply being within proximity of the event, and there's no need to form parties."

The beta kicks off on February 25th, which is basically tomorrow if you squint and don't ask what its name is. To tide you over until then, though, here's this absurdly lavish CG video of immaculately coifed hero types fighting a Death Star that transforms into a (that's no) moon-sized fire dragon. Because Final Fantasy.

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