Final Fantasy XIV will be keeping some aspects from its predecessor Final Fantasy XI like the Job System (sort of), but ditching others - the game apparently won't feature traditional levels or experience points.
The September issue of Famitsu Wave DVD is fresh off the presses, and with the DVD comes an 8-minute-long feature about Square-Enix's upcoming MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, recently unveiled at this year's E3. The game's producer Hiromichi Tanaka and director Nobuaki Komoto speak at length about their plans for the game - it might all be in Japanese, but don't worry, there are handy English subtitles!
Here's the skinny: Eorzea (or as I like to call it, Azero ... e) the land where the game will take place, is not a complete world like FF11's Vana'diel. Rather, it's a region within a larger world called Hai-de-rin. Meaning, that there will be plenty of opportunities for later expansion packs. According to Tanaka, the developers were looking to differentiate the look and feel of the high-fantasy FF14 from that of FF11.
The races from FF11 will be coming back, only... different, apparently. Whether that means they'll just start calling Humes and Elvaans Humans and Elves, or that they'll make some more changes beyond "a Galka by any other name" remains to be seen.
More interestingly is what Tanaka says about the planned method for character growth: "There will be no experience points or level system." Komoto mentions that the team is looking to bring back some version of the popular Job System found in FFXI (as well as FFV and FFX-2), though, well... different. The idea is that your character's growth will be tied to what weapon you use, which seems interesting enough. A dagger user might grow steadily more agile, a staff user might develop mage-y abilities, so on and so forth.
It's the comment about FF14 lacking levels or experience points that gives me pause. Unless they want character growth to be completely static from the beginning, there has to be some kind of "points accrued" system, even if they don't call it experience. Though perhaps they'd sidestep this by having your progression and stats tied directly to your experience, and not your character?
Actually, the first thing that comes to mind is FFX's Sphere Grid, which isn't entirely a bad idea, because the Sphere Grid was awesome. I certainly wouldn't say no to that.
Oh, and fans of the series should be happy to hear that musical legend Nobuo Uematsu is doing all of the songs for the game. Yes, the entire soundtrack. So it'll have pretty music, at least.