April 30, 2008

Windurst Missions and SOB Quests

Being a “career mage”, I fell in love with Windurst and the mysterious aura of magic that enveloped the city and surrounding ancient ruins. What makes the Windurst missions unique among the nations is the way they tie in so well with other quests, as well as the RoTZ and CoP missions. In particular, the “Star Onion Brigade” (S.O.B.) quests are intricately linked with the events from the Windurst story line, so much so that I heavily debated whether I should make them their own video (about 30 minutes long), or integrate them with the already two-hour long Windurst mission video. I decided that in order to fully understand the sequence of events, the two could not be separated. I also found it important to include cutscenes from the Summoner Flag quest (I Can Hear a Rainbow) and the Fenrir Prime quest (The Moonlit Path). The result is the longest video I have produced to-date, even 20 minutes longer than CoP Chapter 5.

This story is as much about the Cardian named “Joker” as it is about the Star Sybil, Karuha-Baruha, Ajido-Marujido, and the history of Windurst. You also get background into the Kuluu and Zilart, and the origin of summoning magic. Only by combining the various sources described above does the viewer/player understand how Joker comes be resurrected, the rebirth of Fenrir, and the final outcome of his/their promise to the S.O.B.s.

As with the San d’Oria missions, I have omitted those cutscenes which deal specifically and exclusively with the Shadow Lord, as you can get that complete story in my Shadow Lord Missions video. I have also slightly altered the order of the scene from the “magicite” mission since placing it earlier actually explains events in 3-1 and 3-2. I inserted the SOB and Carbuncle/Fenrir quests in the positions I felt made the most sense to the story overall, trying to follow the grand sequence of events of the various characters’ interactions with each other, specifically the Ace Cardians, Nanaa Mihgo, and Semih Lafihna.

This video has been a long time in the making for me. While I completed the Windy missions right after the new year, I have held off completing the recording until beating Fenrir (which I finally did last weekend); I’m now glad I did, as the result is much more cohesive video than would have otherwise been possible.

Watch FFXI Windurst Missions

April 19, 2008

Mithra Trackers

Yet another set of side quests to CoP provide additional story related to the Mithra Trackers, which were sent to the middle lands to accomplish three things:

- subdue the wyrms that threaten the world with destruction (Shikaree X)
- learn more of the sleeping gods who supposedly hold the power to obliterate the emptiness (Shikaree Y)
- discover the location of Mildaurion, who knows the method to awaken the deities (Shikaree Z)

While the CoP missions themselves deal primarily with Shikaree Z, the quests "Tuning In" and "Tuning Out" give a great deal of information into Shikaree Y's investigation. Specifically, this video provides yet more background for the Dark Divinity (see the NPC Fellowship quests).

Watch TuningIn+Out

The other quest presented here ties in the Trackers with Goldmane, and gives a brief glimpse of Tiamat in her rage. This video is a compilation of the cutscenes from "One Good Deed".

Watch OneGoodDeed

A Timely Visit

This is a compilation of cutscenes from the quest “A Timely Visit”, which many players frequently site as one of the most memorable side quests in FFXI. This video tells the story of Vijartal Caphleux and gives a little history on an important San d’Orian artifact, the Scepter Rouyaulais.

Watch ATimelyVisit

Goldmane & Louverance

Several quests share the stories of various side characters from the CoP storyline. Two in particular share a very close relationship with each other

The first video presented here is the story of a young girl named Sanctia who sets out to find the legendary bounty hunter that captured Atarefaunet. This is a compilation of cutscenes from two quests - "Chasing Dreams" and "The Search for Goldmane".

Watch GoldmaneQuests

The second video is a compilation of cutscenes from the quests "Signed in Blood” and “Tea with a Tonberry”. These quests give additional background into the characters of Louverance and Atarefaunet.

Watch Louverance Side Quests

This story ties into the Goldmane quests, as well as CoP missions 3-3, 5-3, 7-2, and the epilogue. It is also somewhat related to the flashbacks in the 4-1 magicite missions. The identity of the two Louverances (one in red mask, one in purple) is one of the more confusing plot-lines in CoP. However, based on the information from these various sources, I pieced together the following:

The real Louverance (in the purple mask) is the grandson of Francmage Mistalle, who died mysteriously in Bostaunieux Oubliette after coming back from the northlands allied expedition. His family used to own Carpenter’s Landing but was stripped of its land and title after challenging another family to a duel, which is against San d’Orian law.

The new count of Carpenter’s Landing was Teulomme. He had ties with Atarefaunet’s Band, but when the leader was captured by Goldmane (Vukki-Chebukki), Teulomme tried to poison Atarefaunet to prevent him from revealing secrets about his customers. Atarefaunet used this opportunity to fake his death and escape the San d’Orian prisons. Atarefaunet then stole Louverance’s identity and donned a red mask. Atarefaunet attempted to use this false identity to take revenge on Teulomme and steal his lands back from him.

The “Louverance” in the red mask that features prominently in the Chains of Promathia missions is therefore actually Atarefaunet. This explains why Honoi-Gomoi gives him the Mimeo Mirror (the taru admitted ties to Atarefaunet in Chapter 3-3), and it also explains the history between the red-masked “Louverance” and Vukki-Chebukki (Goldmane) in CoP Chapter 5-3, and why Vukki threatens to notify the San d’Orian authorities. However, when the real Louverance (purple mask) attempted to interfere and re-claim his identity, Atarefaunet tried to set a trap for him in Carpenter’s Landing (which you end up foiling in Chapter 7). In the end, Atarefaunet challenges Louverance to a duel so as to fake his death yet again and don a new identity as a San d’Orian priest, and perhaps restore the Remevel name.

Incidentally, I also found out that Atarefaunet’s Band plays a role in the THF AF quests (which I don’t plan on doing) and that Atarefaunet may have adopted the identity of Vauderame, who plays a role in the San d’Orian rank missions and the quest “A Timely Visit”. For some interesting discussion, visit:



April 15, 2008

NPC Fellowship Quests

While CoP and ToAU may at first seem unrelated, there is in fact a hidden link between the two. In the process of forming a bond with our Adventuring Fellows, we learn of two mirrors, two entities in conflict with another, and a revelation concerning the Divinity of Darkness.

This NPC Fellowship storyline directly relates to the Treasures of Aht Urhgan missions involving Odin and Alexander, as the mirrors are of near eastern origin and are tied to the "Age of Judgment" or "Ragnarok". It also ties into the Chains of Promathia missions pertaining to the "Dark Divinity" (specifically in Chapter 5, at the Bearclaw Pinnacle), and the Mithra Tracker quests "Tuning In" and "Tuning Out". Based on these various sources, I am convinced that Odin is indeed the Dark Divinity.

This video is a compilation of all cutscenes from the NPC Adventuring Fellow quests:
Unlisted Qualities
Girl in the Looking Glass
Mirror, Mirror
Past Reflections
Blighted Gloom
Blessed Radiance
Mirror Images

Watch Fellowship Quests

CoP Advanced Quests

In case you were fooled into thinking you had truly toppled the Keeper of the Apocalypse, additional quests after completion of both CoP and RoTZ reveal that the threat of Vana'diel's destruction was merely postponed. The video below presents all cutscenes from the additional quests Storms of Fate, Shadows of the Departed, and Apocalypse Nigh.

Is this story really the "Last Verse", or will Square Enix surprise us yet again at some later time down the road?

Watch CoP_QuestsAdvanced

April 7, 2008

For Forbin

If I had to choose a single friend I've met in this game who has had the most profound impact on my FFXI experience, it would be Forbin. Of course, I've had plenty of other friends who shaped my time in this game, but Forb has been my constant companion, confidante, and all-around pal. We've had plenty of ups and downs, though, and there have been periods where neither one of us much wanted to talk to the other.

Maybe it's because he has the same black-haired Hume model, and because he has actually leveled PLD and worn the Ducal Guard gear, but on some level, during these times of conflict between us, I've drawn similarities in our relationship with that of Wolfgang and Monberaux. That's not to say that I haven't been the one to act more like Wolfgang than Forbatron has on several occasions, but the truth is, we're both stubborn ass-holes who don't like to back down.

Because of this, in all of CoP, there is one scene that means the most to me. It's not a scene with a lot of fancy effects and explosions, or that reveals some deep mystery of Vana'diel's history. Instead, it is the story of two friends, who despite their disagreements, continue to believe in and rely on that friendship.

Forbo… thank you for all that you've done to make FFXI more than just a game.

Watch ForForbin

April 6, 2008

Chains of Promathia

I personally love the Chains of Promathia expansion and think it has one of the best plots of any RPG I've ever played. Like many other players, I owe a debt of gratitude to Erecia's "For Glory" guide, without which I'd probably still be trying to figure out how access Tavnazian Safehold. Additionally, I am excited about Erecia's new project to compile the written transcript of the CoP story. It's still in development, but I urge people to check it out: Memoria de la S'tona

These videos have been divided up by Chapter, with a separate video for the Epilogue. Also, as those who have completed CoP know, the final cutscene is actually a full FMV, the only one in all of FFXI. The song “Distant Worlds” (lyrics below) will for many remain the ultimate memory of this wonderful experience.

Chapter 1: Ancient Flames Beckon

Watch CoP_Chapter 1

Chapter 2: The Isle of Forgotten Saints

Watch CoP_Chapter 2

Chapter 3: A Transient Dream

Watch CoP_Chapter 3

Chapter 4: The Cradles of Children Lost

Watch CoP_Chapter 4

Chapter 5: The Return Home

Watch CoP_Chapter 5

Chapter 6 - Echoes of Time

Watch CoP_Chapter 6

Chapter 7 - In the Light of the Crystal

Watch CoP_Chapter 7

Chapter 8 - Emptiness Bleeds

Watch CoP_Chapter 8

Epilogue – The Chains Fall Free

Watch CoP_Epilogue


Seas invite in the evening sun
To light the somber abyss
Clouds dance up with the heavens' stars
Chanting an air of joyous bliss

Water fades back from blue to jade
Guiding young rainbows high
Flowers bloom into red and whites
Quenching our hearts when they run dry

Angels chained by a beast locked in slumber
Sin washed away by the swift flow of time

I may know the answers
Journeys over snow and sand
What twist in fate has brought us
To tread upon this land?

Blessed by light and the burden of shadow
Souls abide to an endless desire

I may know the answers
Though one question I still hear
What twist in fate has brought us
To roads that run so near?

Distant worlds together
Miracles from realms beyond
The lifelight burns inside me
To sing to you this song
To sing with you this song
To sing to you your song

April 5, 2008

Flying Furry Squirrels

Chains of Promathia tends to be one of those things you either totally love or totally hate. For some, the difficulty of the missions, coupled with few players wanting to help out or repeat the dreaded experience of CoP battles, left them with a bitter taste in their mouths over this expansion. For others, particularly those with a static group, the challenge and enormity of the adventure brought them closer together than ever before with their friends. I myself am part of that group which considers CoP one of the most memorable experiences in all of FFXI, and also my proudest accomplishment (at least before the missions were nerfed). It is thanks to my linkshell companions that I owe my ability to bring you the CoP mission videos.

Our static was unusual. We had all done the Promies separately, and our LS put together a big 2-3 Aqueducts run before we broke into our final group for 2-5 and beyond. When we started, none of us had any level 75 jobs, and our setup of PLD, WAR, RDM, RDM, WHM, BLM was definitely unorthodox (but it was what we had available). We did remarkably well, considering our lack of damage dealers. Many battles we went 1/1 (Ouryu, Promy-Vahzl, Bugbear, Zdei) or 1/2 (Diabolos, Snoll Tzar), while some proved more difficult and took several tries (Airship in particular, but also Mithra Trackers, Tenzen, and Promathia). What was most poignant to me about our group was how we ended up reverting to our 2-5 setup to finally defeat Promathia – PLD, PLD, RDM, RDM, WHM, BLM.

At some point (probably our 6th or 7th attempt at the airship) we grew so frustrated with our failed attempts that someone from the group exclaimed "FFS!" Noob that I was, I asked what that meant, and everyone started giving various non-sensical meanings to the acronym to keep me from finding out what it really stood for. For no real reason, the name "Flying Furry Squirrels" somehow stuck with us, and we adoped that as the name for the static.

To Jakaal, Morbo, Tigerlily, Yukonjack, and Sophus: my CoP videos are all dedicated to you. While we have mostly gone our separate ways, the hardships we endured and the camaraderie we shared will never be forgotten.

Special thanks to Jak for recording our Promathia battle and preserving the experience (even if it isn't quite up to my quality standards :-p ).

Watch Promathia_Battle

I also want to thank him for the excellent action portraits he put together of me and our static:

April 4, 2008

Treasures of Aht Urhgan

While perhaps not as epic in scope as CoP, the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion presented a significant amount of story. There was definitely something to be desired as far as challenge goes – most of the "missions" were just cutscenes, and of the relatively small number of actual battles, only the last few really presented any difficulty. Still, ToAU gave us many memorable characters. Who will ever forget Naja and her "spiky friend"? Hey, at least she eventually gives back the glory crown.

My thanks go to both of the two statics I was a part of who through twists of fate completed the final mission on the same night:
Forbin, Kaimoria, Nolispe, Jonin, and Deyan
Aresfury, Jakaal, Nuclearmayhem, Zaephyr, and Koe
also to both Sophus and Yukonjack for stepping in to fill open spots in the 2nd group when Koe left
Here is a synopsis of how the missions are broken down for these videos:

ToAU01 - Land of Sacred Serpents
ToAU02 - Immortal Sentries
ToAU03 - President Salaheem
ToAU04 - Knight of Gold
ToAU05 - Confessions of Royalty
ToAU06 - Easterly Winds
ToAU07 - Westerly Winds
ToAU08 - A Mercenary Life
ToAU09 - Undersea Scouting
ToAU10 - Astral Waves
ToAU11 - Imperial Schemes

Watch ToAU_Part1

ToAU12 - Royal Puppeteer
ToAU13 - Lost Kingdom
ToAU14 - The Dolphin Crest
ToAU15 - The Black Coffin
ToAU16 - Ghosts of the Past
ToAU17 - Guests of the Empire
ToAU18 - Passing Glory
ToAU19 - Sweets for the Soul
ToAU20 - Teahouse Tumult
ToAU21 - Finders Keepers
ToAU22 - Shield of Diplomacy
ToAU23 - Social Graces
ToAU24 - Foiled Ambition
ToAU25 - Playing the Part

Watch ToAU_Part2

ToAU26 - Seal of the Serpent
ToAU27 - Misplaced Nobility
ToAU28 - Bastion of Knowledge
ToAU29 - Puppet in Peril
ToAU30 - Prevalence of Pirates
ToAU31 - Shades of Vengeance
ToAU32 - In the Blood

Watch ToAU_Part 3

ToAU33 - Sentinels' Honor
ToAU34 - Testing the Waters
ToAU35 - Legacy of the Lost
ToAU36 - Gaze of the Saboteur
ToAU37 - Path of Blood
ToAU38 - Stirrings of War
ToAU39 - Allied Rumblings
ToAU40 - Unraveling Reason

Watch ToAU_Part 4

ToAU41 - Light of Judgment
ToAU42 - Path of Darkness
ToAU43 - Fangs of the Lion
ToAU44 - Nashmeira's Plea
ToAU45 - Ragnarok
ToAU46 - Imperial Coronation
ToAU47 - The Empress Crowned
ToAU48 - Eternal Mercenary

Watch ToAU_Part 5

April 3, 2008

Rise of the Zilart

As the first expansion to the original FFXI game, RoTZ added so much new content it's hard to imagine the game without it. Aside from introducing the region we all know as "SKY", the Zilart Missions gave us a relatively compact story which greatly expanded and explained the FFXI mythos. This video, which is a compilation of all ZM cutscenes, reveals the origin of the Crags, explains the significance of the mothercrystals, delves into the ancient civilizations of the Zilart and Kuluu, and introduces the Dawn Maidens and the Crystal Warriors.

The missions included in this video are:
ZM1 - The New Frontier
ZM2 - Welcome t'Norg
ZM3 - Kazham's Chieftainess
ZM4 - The Temple of Uggalepih
ZM5 - Headstone Pilgrimage
ZM6 - Through the Quicksand Caves
ZM7 - The Chamber of Oracles
ZM8 - Return to Delkfutt's Tower
ZM9 - Ro'Maeve
ZM10 - The Temple of Desolation
ZM11 - The Hall of the Gods
ZM12 - The Mithra and the Crystal
ZM13 - The Gate of the Gods
ZM14 - Ark Angels / Divine Might
ZM15 - The Sealed Shrine
ZM16 - The Celestial Nexus
ZM17 - Awakening

Watch FFXI Zilart Missions

San d'Oria Rank Missions

I still can't believe that of all the nation ranks I finished San d'Oria first. I originally started out as Bastok and then pretty early on switched to Windurst after getting to rank 4. I stayed as Windy for a long, long time, getting up to rank 8, and then stalled out. Honestly, I never even thought I'd do Sandy missions at all, and I was somewhat reluctant to give up my complete set of outpost warps. But once a friend decided to pick up with his Bastok missions, I switched back, caught up to him at Rank 6, and then got to Rank 7 before the plan got disrupted and the holiday season struck. I then decided to get a head start on the "basic" Sandy missions through Rank 5, and then encountered another friend that pushed me through the rest of them to get my first Rank 10.

This video is a compilation of the cutscenes from the San d’Oria rank missions, excluding those that only deal with the Shadow Lord and aren’t integral to understanding the primary story. For the rest of the pre-Rank5 scenes, see the Shadow Lord missions video. As before, I had to be a little creative with piecing together some of these scenes, as not all scenes are available for replay from bards and goblin footprints. Accordingly, the sequence of events may be slightly different from the order it is actually experienced, but I tried to put everything together in a way that made the most sense based on the scenes I was able to record.

The Sandy missions provide background into the legendary sword Lightbringer and the fall of Tavnazia. While I am a big fan of the Windurst storyline, Sandy probably has the best "capstone" final scene of all the nations.

Watch FFXI San d'Oria Missions

Shadow Lord Missions

Who can forget fighting their first real BCNM against a dragon? Or for finally defeating the re-incarnated menace from the Crystal War? While the story is simple, these missions form the backbone of the FFXI universe, uniting players from all nations against a common cause.

This video is a compilation of cutscenes from the rank missions common to all nations, which follows the main storyline of the return of the Shadow Lord. While this video tells that story primarily from the Windurst perspective, Bastok and San d’Oria present the same scenes with some minor differences. Scenes that are specific to each nation that are not critical to understanding the main Shadow Lord plot are not included here.

I had to be a little creative with piecing together some of these scenes. Since certain scenes are not actually available for replay from bards and goblin footprints, the sequence of events from mission 2-3 and rank 4 (magicite) is slightly different from the way it is actually experienced, but I thought the way I pieced it together made the most sense based on the scenes I was able to record.

Watch FFXI Shadow Lord Missions

April 1, 2008

FFXI Opening Movie / Memoria de la Ŝtona

Anyone who has ever played FFXI has seen the opening movie, so this video is nothing new. Still I present it here for completeness' sake, and also to go a bit into the various versions of the song known as "Memoria de la Ŝtona".

Watch FFXI Opening Movie

The version of the song in the opening movie was written in the constructed language of Esperanto. The original lyrics are as follows:
Fluas nun sango senkulpa
Sur Vana’diel, vasta ter’
Tremas la tuta mond’
Pro l’ plago en desper’

Preventas ĝin
Nenia sort’
Haltigas ĝin
Nenia fort’

Sed tra la nokto tempesta
Brilas jen stelo de glor’!
Kontrau brutala kri’
Fontas jen kant-sonor’!

Stelo brilanta, kanto sonanta:
Revo kaj preĝo por ni!

Vana'diel! Vana'diel!

Mano kaj man’ kunpremitaj
Trans la eterno sen lim’
Ne dismetiĝos plu
Ne disligiĝos plu!
Here is the English translation of the above:
Now flows innocent blood
On Vana'diel, a vast land
The entire world trembles
In despair from the scourge

By no fate
By no strength

But through the stormy night
Behold: a star of glory shines!
Against a brutal outcry
Behold: a hymn springs forth!

A shining star, a ringing song:
Dream and pray for us!

Vana'diel! Vana'diel!

Hand and hand together
Across the limitless eternity
We will no longer be put asunder
We will no longer be bound!
The song known as "Memoria de la Ŝtono" plays a central role in the Chains of Promathia storyline as well, but the lyrics presented therein are entirely different. Known to some as the "Lay of the Immortals", the full import of the song is revealed as the story progresses We get our first glimpse of the song in Chapter 2 (verses 1 and 2), Chapter 4 (verse 3), Chapter 5 (verse 4), and Chapter 6 (verse 5 – although this is never entirely revealed).
It all began with a stone, or so the legend says
In ages past, a sentient jewel, enormous and beautiful, banished the darkness.
Its many-colored light filled the world with life and brought forth mighty gods.
Bathed in that light, the world entered an age of bliss until, after a time, the gods fell into slumber.
That world was called Vana'diel.
Our world, Vana'diel.

However, this age will not last. The great bane will devour the fair land of Vana'diel.
The ancient seal will be broken, awakening nightmares of ages past.
A tragic age of darkness will reign.
And yet, the gods will not wake from their slumber…
That world was called Vana'diel.

Innocent blood spills forth onto the plains of Vana'diel.
The world shudders as she is thrust into chaos and despair.
Neither power nor destiny can bring an end to what has already begun.
However, through the storm of the night, a star of glory shines bright.
Through the howling of the beasts, the song rings clear.
Shining star, echoing song
You are our dreams and prayers

That star is you, and the song is yours.
And someday, that hope will become our dreams… our prayers…
Shine forth, star of hope! Let your song ring out across all of Vana'diel!
And what was split asunder will once more become whole,
Complete and inseparable for all eternity.

And so the legend ends…
CoP is not the first time adventurers hear lines similar to this. Our first encounter was in the nation rank mission 5-1 (in Fei'Yin). Zeid starts out remembering the first line, but Lion completes the "old song" which she says is called "The Warriors of the Crystal"
The great bane will devour the fair land of Vana'diel
The ancient seal will be broken, awakening nightmares of ages past.
The blood of innocents will soak the earth, and the world will fall into fear and despair.
But as one bright star shines through the clouds at night…
And as one song rings clear above the roar of beasts…
We hold to one hope in these darkest of times.
That they will come, with the wisdom of ages and the strength of thousands,
to deliver us from our plight.
We await the awakening of the Warriors of the Crystal.
The mention in the Shadow Lord / rank missions is a precursor to the story that is told in the Rise of the Zilart missions. While the first three lines start out the same and is repeated throughout the missions, we do not find out the rest until after completing them all. The ZM ending is as follows:
It all began with a stone, or so the legend says
In ages past, a sentient jewel, enormous and beautiful, banished the darkness.
Its many-colored light filled the world with life and brought forth mighty gods.
Bathed in that light, the world entered an age of bliss until, after a time, the gods fell into slumber.
However, this age will not last. The great bane will devour the fair land of Vana'diel
The ancient seal will be broken, awakening nightmares of ages past.
The blood of innocents will soak the earth, and the world will fall into fear and despair.
But as one bright star shines through the clouds at night…
And as one song rings clear above the roar of beasts…
We hold to one hope in these darkest of times.
That star is you, and the song is yours.
And someday, that hope will become our dreams… our prayers…
Sine forth, star of hope! Let your song ring out across all of Vana'diel!
And what was split asunder will once more become whole,
Complete and inseparable for all eternity.
Finally, while not exactly a recitation of the song, the ending of CoP does give us one final version of this legend, brought to light after all the secrets of Promathia's origin are revealed:
In ages past, a sentient jewel, enormous and beautiful, banished the darkness.
Its many-colored light filled the world with life and brought forth mighty gods.
However, the arrival of death implacable brought an end to the God of Twilight.
Aglow with the essence of love eternal, the Dawn Goddess sought to restore the lost divinity.
Upon the fallen deity, Altana bestowed the light of the true crystal.
In the bodies of mortals uncounted was the Twilight God reborn.
Paradise was no longer.
Thus was born the world of Vana'diel.
There are plenty of different theories as to why these lyrics are so various, but the one most plausible to me is that SE wanted it to mimic what happens in real life. Like any folk song, different versions of Memoria de la Ŝtono were passed down from generation to generation, and race to race; accordingly, while the themes remain the same, the song changed in the same way that the numerous residents of Vana'diel have adapted and evolved over time.