We recently spoke to Director Mizuki Ito about the new FINAL FANTASY XI expansion Seekers of Adoulin. We put forward some questions from the community to shed some light on what we can expect in the new expansion pack.
Can you please explain a bit more about the title, “Seekers of Adoulin”?
ITO: (I will reveal some details about the game itself in the later questions) but the following should shed some light on the meaning behind the title. The Adoulin part refers to the Sacred City of Adoulin Alliance which is on the East Coast of the Ulbuka continent which is to the far west of the Quon continent. For reasons unknown, the East Coast of Ulbuka is thriving with countless trees and the land has transformed into a vast jungle that has become so overrun it prevents anyone from entering. It is a jungle rich with hidden secrets and history and, in this expansion pack, the Adventurers have been asked to set out and explore the mysteries that lie within its depths.
Why did you decide to implement these particular jobs?
ITO: Actually, the idea of having a Geomancer had been raised many times before. We sincerely wanted to make this a reality and then finally got the chance to do this and incorporate a new play style. With the Rune Fencer, we wanted to increase the number of options for ‘tank’ jobs that are needed for creating a rounded party and also to increase the number of tactics players can adopt to withstand elemental attacks from monsters.
Are you planning to introduce new type of weapons in the game that will complement the new jobs?
ITO: The new jobs will gain access to two-handed swords and one-handed staffs as their specialist weapons when the expansion pack is released. We will also be adding some more versatile weapons and plan to gradually implement a number of extra specialist weapons over time. Although we do not intend to add any new types of weapons, we will add “Bell” instruments for Geomancers.
When previous expansion packs were released, not all areas were available at launch. Will it be the same situation with “Seekers of Adoulin” and, if so, can we expect to see its game world expand in the future instead?
ITO: Adoulin will follow the same pattern as previous expansions and the areas will gradually open up over time. In this expansion, the hinterland will get deeper and deeper, allowing players to undertake expeditions that go increasingly inward. Future additions will also include ruins that have never been seen before.
The main city where all players used to be was Jeuno, then it switched to Aht Urhgan Whitegate / Al Zahbi in 2006 and we are now back to Jeuno since the release of Abyssea. Are we expecting Adoulin to be the new “main city”? What kind of city is it going to be?
ITO: We plan to split the popularity between Adoulin and Jeuno, both of which will act as main cities. Adoulin will inherit all the functions previous cities had and provide easy access to and from Jeuno. Both cities will also share the same ‘Shout’ channel. Adoulin will encompass an area with several old, preserved stone buildings like those in San d’Oria and, to create a mix of old and new, there will be another section with new wooden buildings and extensions built on old stone structures. We have gone for a design that gives it a sense of history but also conveys a rough city that has been invigorated by trade. We have also introduced waterways to give it a nice touch and imagine it could be known as the ‘City of Water’.
Is there a direct connection between the main storyline of “Seekers of Adoulin” and any of the storylines players have experienced so far?
ITO: They are not directly connected, but we will capitalise on the details of Adoulin’s background that have been mentioned before. There is no direct link to the main story, but the quests will have some sort of connection.
What kind of adventure can players experience in “Seekers of Adoulin”? Will the content be mainly focused on the high level players or does the design also take new players into account?
ITO: As far as battling monsters goes, we recommend that you try to reach level 99 first. You do not need to be at that level for the quests and hunts issued by the guilds, but low level players who do not have any means of evading trouble will find it tough going (basically if you have started a new game it could be a struggle to get to Adoulin if you have only spent an hour levelling). Even though I say 99 is the recommended level, it is less about difficult battles than deep exploration, which becomes more advantageous for the higher level players.
Where does this upcoming expansion pack take its inspiration from?
ITO: I suppose most of the inspiration probably came from FFXI’s background. We looked for new situations that had yet to be explored in FFXI and the idea of introducing a jungle came to mind. Since we were building this into a MMO structure, the theme of exploring alongside other players came about naturally. We allowed our imaginations to give the project greater scope that evolved from when we first started work on the original plan, writing down everything as we went along. Perhaps, then, this is a natural culmination of everything we have tried to accomplish so far with FFXI.
Can we expect to fight entirely new and powerful notorious monsters?
ITO: Yes indeed. There will be large imposing monsters that are linked to the deep pioneering and exploration system and even the main story will feature some fierce battles.
Do you have a message for all the players looking forward to the adventure waiting for them in Adoulin?
ITO: “Seekers of Adoulin” allows for various styles of play. Our hope is that everyone takes part and develops their own play styles, therefore helping to contribute to the world in ways that everyone can benefit from. This will be a great MMO and community experience too, so I hope you all enjoy getting involved!