Last night in Japan, Square Enix announced the Final Fantasy XIV tester website is going live on March 11, with more details coming March 1. All Vanafest attendees were granted access to the closed alpha test of FFXIV. Square Enix announced that invitations for a closed alpha test will be exclusive to Final Fantasy XI users. However, they added, "Those who were not selected in this drawing, fear not, for there will be other opportunities to come. Be sure to stay tuned!"
Also announced at Vanafest, a level cap increase in FFXI from 75 to a new max of 99. The increase will take place in three stages beginning in the June update, and ending in December. The Official Vanafest site reports, "An increase in maximum upgrades is being considered for existing merit point skills and attributes. Preparations are also under way for the introduction of a new type of merit point for players who have reached the new level 99 summit."
Three new FFXI battle-oriented add-ons have also been unveiled: Vision of Abyssea, Heroes of Abyssea, and Scars of Abyssea. The first one is slated to come out this Summer. Abyssea is a parallel world to Vana'diel with all new monsters, notorious monsters, and high notorious monsters.
To accompany the new level cap in FFXI, new areas, gear, job abilities and subjob abilities will be added. Walk of Echoes and Trials of the Magians are both high level areas to come in the March and June updates. Trial of the Magians will include quests designed specifically for level 75 players, including weapon and armor enhancement quests.
Nation mission storylines will conclude this Summer, along with the conclusion of the Wings of the Goddess storyline. In the upcoming FFXI March update, servers will decrease from 32 to 24, with the merging of low-population servers.
Square Enix says, "Up until now, most job adjustments have been implemented with ease of party-forming in mind. From this point onwards, we plan to shift the focus towards ease of participation in endgame content. The role of each job will also come under review." The last of the updates this year will include Job-specific emotes "that will allow them to role-play their chosen profession with greater expressiveness than ever before!"