Final Fantasy XIV Alpha Build started!

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Remember last year when I promised to keep you updated about all major things surrounding FFXIV? Today is one of those days! Final Fantasy XIV fans are going crazy right now and I’m sure FNC fans will love to hear that the Alpha versions of FFXIV kicked of today!

A handful of people, probably those with experience in other MMORPGs/FFXI, were selected for this Alpha version so don’t expect a massive amount of screens or impressions. An Alpha version is by no means feature-complete and is not representative for the final product. Square Enix earlier confirmed that the Alpha version of the game would only include 10% of the final product.

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Famitsu shared some of their impressions (alongside with some new screens) and thanks to Andriasang we have a translation of their article:

Your FFXIV play experience begins as you might expect from an MMORPG: by creating your character. In its current state, the alpha build lets you choose to be four of the five Eorzean races: Hyur, Lalafell, Elezen and Roegadyn. The fifth, Miqo’te, is not selectable at present.

When creating your character, you can set face pattern, body size, voice type and other physical appearance areas, and also set such things as birth date and "guardian deity." After selecting your disciple, you’ll be automatically equipped with a default set of equipment for that disciple.

Following character creation, you’re able to select the city-state you’d first like to visit. At present, the alpha version has just one city-state: the marine city-state of Limsa Lominsa.

Before the game proper begins, you view an opening movie, then take part in a series of events where you’re taught the control basics.

The Famitsu.com report has some basic battle details based off the tutorial. Once you target an enemy, an action list appears on the screen. You select the command you want to execute. A gauge starts to build up, and when it reaches capacity you press a button to unleash the attack. The strength and precision of your attack appear to be determined by your timing.

The battle system also has a system called "Battle Regiment." This appears to be similar to a chain system. By chaining together certain attacks in succession, you can gain special effects.

After finishing off the enemies in the tutorial, you end up in Limsa Lominsa. The site managed to try out some additional gameplay systems around the city and its surroundings.

First up, the Guildleve system. FFXIV’s equivalent of the "quests" you find in other MMORPGs are "Leve Quests." These ask you to do such things as kill X number of a certain type of enemy or collect X number of a certain item. Fulfill the request, and you end up with rewards.

The site first tried a battle-type Leve Quest. The quest was taken up at a counter somewhere in town. It seems that you’re able to select the difficulty of your mission from five levels. The monster difficulty changes as a result.

To start the quest, you head to the specified Aetheryte, which is the name given to special giant crystals that are placed around town and the world. These are like save points in other RPGs. They serve at the starting point for your Leve Quests, can cure your HP and MP when you return to them, and also serve as your restart point should you die in battle.

Once you’ve cleared a quest, you earn your reward on the spot and a column of light known as a "Aetheryl Node" appears nearby. Touch this, and you’re transported instantly back to the Aetheryte from where you started the quest.

The site was also able to dig into the game’s character growth system. As you earn experience, you get a "Physical Bonus," which can be freely distributed to your various statuses, making your character grow however you like. Statuses include 8 areas: strength, vitality, dexterity, agility, intellect, spirit, charm, and fate. You can also ration out your Physical Bonuses to HP and MP, as well as to your character’s elemental properties — fire, water, wind, earth, lightning and ice.

In addition to experience, you can also build up a value known as your Training Value. As this builds up, your skill rank rises, and you’ll be able to learn new skills. Once you’ve learned a skill, you can record it with your action list to use it on the battle field.

Famitsu promises to post continued reports based off its alpha tests. It looks like those who weren’t accepted into the alpha will still be able to get an idea of how FFXIV is progressing.

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If you can’t get enough of FFXIV you can check out some more (translated) screenshots and impressions from the latest Famitsu magazine thanks to ZAM and GameInformer.

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A PC and PS3 closed beta version will start at a later date in different phases. With each new phase adding new features and more players. You can register for the beta here and with a bit of luck, you might get chosen! Final Fantasy XIV will have a worldwide simultaneous release later this year.

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