Following this week's revelation that Square Enix's MMO Final Fantasy XIV won't use experience points or a levelling system, more detail on its character advancement and classes has come to light.
A feature in Famitsu, ably summarised by 1UP reveals that the game will use an "armory system" with multiple sub-classes split into four broad jobs which, as with FFXI, can be combined on a single character: Fighter, Sorcerer, Gatherer and Crafter.
Example classes for each job, listed at Kotaku, are: swordsman and archer for the Fighter job, enchanter and warlock for the Sorcerer job, blacksmith and cook for the Crafter job, gardener and fisherman for the Gatherer job. It seems crafting professions, usually a separate advancement track in MMOs, are being integrated with the main combat system.
Changing your class is a simple matter of changing your weapon and armour, and you advance a class just by using the associated equipment. You can concentrate on one class, or create your own hybrid.
"The way I see it, the player can define how his own job works," said director Nobuaki Komoto. "For example, if you have the Swordsman skill, that's enough to let you play by yourself, but if you've also raised your Sorcerer skill enough to unlock that skill's healing magic, that'll make solo play a lot easier for you. You can carry enough equipment around at any given time to change your style freely, and the system makes this easy by letting you change sets of equipment all at once."
Questing involves visiting a guild and receiving work passes from a guildmaster. A single quest should take about half an hour, and there's a flexible system for determining how many players take a quest on. "You don't need a set number of people for each quest," Komoto said. "That you can work out by yourself with the other players in the guild, since they're all there for the same goal."
The Famitsu article also confirms the new names of old Final Fantasy XI races: Hume becomes Hyuran, the catlike Mithra become Miqo'te, the little Tarutaru are now called Lalafell, Elvaan are Elezen and the huge Galka go by the name Roegadyn.
Final Fantasy XIV is set, initially at any rate, on a small continent surrounded by islands called Eorzea. There'll be changing weather and a short day-night cycle, because "I want FFXIV to be enjoyed even by those who can play only a short time out of the day," says Komoto.
This is fast becoming one of the most exciting MMOs in development. Final Fantasy XIV is due for release on PC and PS3 next year. Square Enix will be discussing it further at this month's gamescom convention in Germany, and we'll bring you a fresh report then.