By Danny "Ralsu" Gourley

My last press tour
of Final Fantasy XI's Vana'diel
came as
an introduction to all of the new content packed in with the Wings
of the Goddess
expansion that was released in November 2007.
ONE PR's Tyrone Rodriguez emphasized how much Square-Enix has opened up
the game to more casual players. The new Campaign system allowed for
more episodic play that left players feeling rewarded even if they
could not devote hours to a single gaming session. I was impressed with
the intricate story, which involved players traveling back and forth
through time to change or preserve history.

This time, Rodriguez wanted to give me a peek into the continuation of
that story and to introduce me to the new battle system that allows
players to spawn notorious monsters (raid mobs) pretty much at will.

style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 148px; height: 185px;"

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 200px; height: 160px;" alt=""

everyone at ONE PR knows that Ralsu has the hots for half-Elvaan girls.

So, You Think You Can

Rodriguez gave me a capped monk to play with this time, and we
started our journey outside a theater. Apparently, my character wanted
to go see a famous dance troupe. The "bouncer" on duty deemed my ticket
a fake and was do his best job at being an ass about it when the
Reagelese--an esteemed guest at the event--came along and vouched for

After the cut scene, the Reagalese pulled me aside for a
little discussion since we really didn't know each other. He had spoken
for me because he had a hunch about my adventurous life style.

The performance featured href="">three pretty
female dancers twirling about the stage and striking poses.
At the finale, the game prompted me to select one of the three dancers.
I chose the middle one, href="">an Elvaan-Hume
crossbreed (she had slightly pointy ears). At this point, I
assumed the Square-Enix team had arranged the whole tour to learn about
my fetish for half-Elvaan girls, but I went with it.

After the show, I spotted href="">Cait Sith
slinking between nearby buildings. Cait Sith had told me I have special
powers to affect the world on my first trip through the Cavernous Maw,
So I was curious about what my little feline friend was doing at the
theater. Unfortunately, the little rascal ditched me in the alleys.

This first leg of the tour ended with another cut scene in
which the dancers were called in to bolster the local militia against
the encroaching enemy. It turned out there was more to these ladies
than dancing, and one dancer was assigned to go out on patrol

Then Do the Monster Mash

For the next part of our tour, Rodriguez took me to a town plaza to
meet a non-player character named href="">Sanraku Zeni.
Sanraku is a collector who seeks photos of rare creatures. Bring some
to him and he'll pay you in Zeni, his proprietary currency that you can
use to buy very special items from him. Sanraku's items will spawn one
of Final Fantasy XI's numerous href="">notorious
monsters, or NMs. Unlike other raid mobs in the game, these href="">new NMs
have no spawn timers, and the items that spawn them do not expire
(though they can't be traded).

style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 148px; height: 185px;"

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 200px; height: 160px;" alt=""

The new
notorious monsters have some unpredictable behaviors.

The new NM encounters cater to both the casual and hardcore
player groups. Casual players who work there way up and acquire the
correct spawn item are guaranteed to get href="">their mob.
Organized, hardcore guilds can farm the items to trade for the spawn
key and just camp the same NM for one encounter after another.

A great thing about the new NMs is that each one drops an item
Sanraku wants. So while the first new NMs you spawn might require a few
pictures of tough but common beasties, the next new NM you face might
require the drops and photos from three previous NMs. This tiered
approach allows for easy scaling of difficulty and empowers players to
decide how much work they want to put into it. Rodriguez said that just
collecting the pictures of creatures had become a pretty competitive
sub-game for players.

As a final note about the NM, Rodriguez cautioned me that they
do not exhibit the same linear behavior of many other monsters gamers
have faced. That is, many of the NMs have highly powerful or disruptive
skills that they may only use under certain conditions or randomly by

There's more to the tale. href="">Move on to
page two.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Final Fantasy XI Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016