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Final Fantasy XI Fan Festival - Journal
03.16.2006

MIKEL TIDWELL
STAFF REPORTER

Welcome
"We have so much for you to see."
Square Enix invited me to attend their event in Santa Monica. Being an avid player of Final Fantasy XI, I couldn't turn it down. I flew down Thursday afternoon and arrived just in time for the start of registration. The line to register was longer than I expected. When I asked how many they were expecting, they said around 1200 people had signed up. I think over half of them were already in the line.

The next day, the event really started. I was expecting warm, sunny weather in California, so I was a bit shocked when it started sleeting on my way to the pier. It's a good thing everything for the event is in a huge tent. Inside, a large stage was set up with rows of chairs. Behind the chairs were round tables with two server names placed in the center of each one. I located the Midgardsormr table, but it was full of people from the other server it shared with, so I decided to check back later. I was never able to find the table again, though.

After the welcome message, I went around and took pictures. After I had taken pictures of most of the costumes I saw, I decided to try the "live quests", since that appeared to be the main entertainment of the event. In order to participate, I had to join a party. A party needed to have at least six people, but no more than 10. Since I came on my own, I had to find someone forming a party, or try and make my own. I asked a few people if they had a party, and the fourth person said he had three people, so I offered to join. Then one of the other members said he knew a couple people, and within 15 minutes we had a seven person party. Now that we had a party, we registered our party name, Eternal LFP, and were told that in order to complete the quests, everyone in the party had to be there. This meant I would be spending the rest of the event with these six strangers. What an interesting idea.

LFP I need a party!
The first quest we did was a quiz. The page was assorted questions about Vana'diel, including drawing a map of Windurst Walls. We spent almost an hour trying to answer everything, and earned the full five points. Next quest we decided on was trading the Tarutaru cards, like the quest in Jeuno. We didn't have time to get started on this before the first developers' panel started.

The developers' panel revealed lots of new information about the game's future. More of that is covered in another page, so I will skip it here. After the developers' panel, our party reformed and picked up a new quest to explore the event. In order to complete this quest we had to do two things in Final Fantasy XI. Our party had to take the demo tour of the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion and compete in the hero combat event. Most of us had already tried the tour, so we decided to try the Heroes Combat. The Heroes Combat challenges an NPC hero from Windurst, Bastok, and San d'Oria, or a combination of these three people. We decided to warm up by fighting a single hero, which we won in under five minutes.

Since we could only have six people in Heroes Combat, the seventh person worked on completing another quest: trading cards with other parties to obtain all four different cards. Amazingly, he had finished it by the time we were done with the battle. After collecting our marks for the card quest, those who needed to play the expansion managed to get in right before the next demo started. Since I wanted to see all three areas, I went with them.

Mithra Mmmm... Mithra~
The next quest was the artwork quest. Each member of the party had to draw a chocobo. Now I can't draw at all, but I tried my best. One of the party members took a picture of the image shown to us, and using that, I made a passable chocobo. To hopefully gain a couple points, I try an entire scene, and in the end was awarded 4 points. I was expecting three at best, so I was pretty happy.

The next quest was to tour the Santa Monica pier, and bring back proof. It was windy and quite chilly outside the tent, but the sunset was something to behold, so I had to get a picture. After a few more pictures, including some party shots, we split up for dinner and planned to meet up for the second developers' panel.

The second panel was exclusively about jobs and upcoming plans and changes. All the information can be found on another page on this site. Personally, I was a little disappointed that they announced nothing new for Dragoon, but I would definitely like more reasons to keep my avatars out longer when playing as a Summoner. I wonder what they will come up with to make that possible. I was also little worried about the decision to stop "manaburn" parties, because I feel it will make gaining experience as a Black Mage that much more difficult.

Sunset Yes, I went outside
After that, we tried the two enemy Heroes Combat battle, and lost twice. To pull it off, you have to have people who know the jobs and each other. Since we had a few people unfamiliar with their jobs, it was that much harder to win. Still, it was fun.

After that, we decided to call it a night. Tired from the day, someone who lived close by offered to give us a ride. Five of us went out to his car and find out it's a two door GTI. Somehow I managed to claim the front seat, sparing a lot of smashing of bodies. Lucky me. After the short trip to the hotel, without injuries, I stayed up until almost 3am typing up things for RPGamer. What a long day.

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