Square has released the last few tidbits of information regarding Final Fantasy XI, in anticipation for its Japanese release next month. Players will find a number of trades within various guilds spread throughout Vana'Diel, such as blacksmiths, fishing-holes, kitchens and thief-training. When players enter a guild, they will be able to talk to guild masters, craftsmen and shop-keepers from which they will be able to learn combinations for building the perfect weapons, or purchase items that will aid them on their quest.
Players will also be able to enjoy a number of culinary features in the game. Food can be found and bought throughout Final Fantasy XI's world; once it is found it can either be eaten raw for simple status changes or cooked for hidden advantages. For example, if you eat meat raw, you'll get a strength and attack power gain, but if you cook it, your poison damage will be cut in half.
Chocobos are returning in full force and will likely be more useful than they've ever been in the series' history. Once a player's character has achieved a certain experience level, they will be eligible for a Chocobo license. The Chocobo can be used to traverse the gigantic world of Vana'Diel, as well as for crossing terrain that would be impossible by foot, such as mountainous regions. Gamers will also be able to tell their Chocobos to dig for items hidden deep beneath the earth's surface.
Final Fantasy XI and Square's PlayOnline network will launch in Japan on May 16th. The software will cost 7800 yen ($59.13 USD) and the service will require a monthly fee of 1280 yen ($9.70 USD) after the initial free trial month. Patrons must purchase both the PS2 hard drive and Broad Band modem in order to play. In addition, if players wish to create a new character, they will be required to pay an extra 100 yen ($0.75 USD) per month. The game is expected to launch in North America later this year; no pricing details for the local release have been discussed yet.