To the left of the large stage there is a massive collection of computers, all loaded with Final Fantasy XI's upcoming expansion, Treasures of Aht Urhgan. Those hoping to be the first to try out the new jobs are disappointed, as the only jobs available are the basic ones: Warrior, Thief, Monk, White Mage, Red Mage, and Black Mage. All characters are level 70 with appropriate support jobs of the same selection, dressed in their job's Artifact Armor. No other items or equipment options were available for this setup.
There are three areas being shown off at this event. Each alliance was teleported to one of them at random. During the 30 minute round, there is only time to visit two of the areas, but there are plenty of chances to have a second round. None of the areas had maps, so it was fairly easy to become separated from the party, or even the alliance.
The first area I had a chance to explore was a jungle. True to form, while I was casting some defensive spells, over half the alliance went off to attack the closest monster. As I went to join them, the other half of the alliance disappeared somewhere. Once our target was dead, I went ahead, following the White Mage. He ran off the small bridge and down to the valley below. In the valley were mostly raptors and lizards, as well as a new enemy named Puk. Unfortunately for all of us, they weren't happy to see us dropping down into their area, and all the monsters attacked the confused alliance. To add to the confusion, some of the monsters were claimed by a second alliance, and newer players didn't get why some of the monsters couldn't be targeted. An alliance of 11 players struggled with four or five level 70 monsters, but eventually did prevail. However, the time in that area expired just as we had just begin to explore.
"... a small taste of what's new in Treasures of Aht Urhgan."
The second area was a town, one obviously from the expansion. Since it was a town, it was clear we were about to attend a session of Besieged. Again, with no guide, the alliance splits up as quickly as possible. Once a player passes through one of the two gateways, they turned solid and the player couldn't pass through the door again. I walked into an area with multiple NPCs ready for battle. Oddly enough, no monsters appeared in this area, but other players in the alliance were taking damage, so I looked for a way to get to them. Using the paths above the separated areas are thin paths criss-crossing them. Once in the right area, just drop down and join in the battle. The enemies come fast in large numbers, and people fall left and right. The atmosphere is clearly the same as Dynamis, where sleeping and pulling are a key to survival. Too bad the Black Mages were playing like the Firaga spells were their best friends. No magic was wasted in raising fallen comrades, as weakness would only kill them again, and home pointing was almost as quick, since the demo was set to warp you right back into the area. New monsters in this area included more Puks, lizards and the new beastmen race of Mamool Ja, wearing different attire based on their jobs.
The third area of the event was a dark coastline, with a ship barely visible in the background. In this alliance, I was a White Mage, and tried to play out my job, curing the party as needed. After running out of magic, and the melee attacking anothing that moved, none of which was new, I decided to break the mold and explore. Using Sneak and Invisible spells, I ran straight toward the ship, where I found it full of ghosts and skeletons, including a Dragoon class skeleton with a black wyvern. At the stern, one of the new monsters, Lamia, the bluish mermaid-like race, was hiding out. As I left the boat, while pausing to cast Invisible again, I was attacked by an Ice Elemental, cutting my exploration short. Time in this area expired shortly after.
Overall, the lack of trying out the new jobs, or even using the entire set of the currently available jobs made the experience a bit limited. There were no surprises, but it was still a good time. Some of the later groups had more cohesion, as the parties were played by people who knew each other and their jobs. Also, as more people played the game, more macros were built for each job, making them a bit more efficient. It gave a small taste of what's new in Treasures of Aht Urhgan.