Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest 2023: Day 1 Wrap-Up
First off: This looks like an actual convention. It wasn’t in a hotel conference room, it was in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. This made for a larger and more elaborate experience for Fanfest goers, which makes sense because it is the 10th anniversary of the game since A Realm Reborn. It was a lot of fun to be in with the crowd watching the Keynote, which was discussed at length in this article.
As Naoki Yoshida expressed in today’s Letter from the Producer, the crowd was most excited about the two dyes on equipment update. It garnered more applause than the new expansion, or even the announcement of two new jobs. Players really love their outfits – myself included.
However, there is a lot of talk about what the new jobs could be. We know one is melee DPS and one is magic DPS. Talking with a lot of fans and players about this, I’ve come up with a consensus. A lot are thinking about one being a Beastmaster. The other group is thinking it’s a Druid. These are both fantastic guesses and I really hope at least one of them comes to fruition as I would love to play both.
I do really appreciate the Pusheen quiet room for those who just need a little nap or to get away from the crowds. People were generally very considerate in there by keeping the chatter pretty quiet.
When I came into the main hall, to the right was Pandæmonium, which was like the in-game dungeon. At first you had to get through the riff raff by hitting the blinking lights as fast as possible within 30 seconds. Then we all queued for the boss fight where we had to throw bean bags at the holes to kill the beast. There were three different colors – red, blue and green for tank, DPS, and healer – although we just chucked them all so it didn’t really matter but happy they added that little detail in there.
Like in the 2016 Fanfest that I attended, there were on-site quests to be done. However, this time they had an app to use to complete them. Once you finished a dungeon — aka Pandæmonium — a staff member would have you scan the QR code on the app to complete the quest and get a badge. Once you have completed three badges they would provide you a free poster. There are also gleaners around the hall with a task that requires your assistance. Parts of the quests required to take photos of certain things and then bringing them to the redemption table. So as a completionist, you know I’m going to try and get ALL the things done this weekend. We’ll see if that happens.
The autograph wall is back for the 10th anniversary! It quickly filled up but I was able to sneak a location towards the bottom of the wall. This also happened to be the place where the fan-organized sticker trade took place soon after the opening ceremonies. I was surprised how many fans were there to trade, and everyone was so excited to swap stickers. I am unbelievably impressed with the talent, creativity, and the lengths people went to to give things away for free! There were so many awesome stickers of drawn characters, cute pictures of NPCs, buttons, keychains, chocobo eggs with a surprise inside (I got a tiny fuzzy chocobo) — you name it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I must’ve been doing it for an hour with so many people. That was a really fun time and it made me feel so good to have people like my artwork on my own stickers since I do have an imposter complex. I was extremely impressed with the talent of everyone there giving things away.
I honestly was expecting a lot more cosplayers at fanfest, but a lot of people seem to just be wearing FFXIV-related shirts or only ears, pretty minimal cosplaying. However, I did run into some really awesome cosplays. Whoever was cosplaying as Emet Selch did a fantastic job, both outfit wise and personality wise. He definitely had that carefree, uncaring attitude down, especially with his facial expressions. The most cosplays I saw were of G’raha Tia, and all of them were fantastic. There were also a few Thancreds and some Y’shtolas. Saw an Allasaie and a Alphinaud, though not together, funnily enough. I was real excited to see someone cosplay Dulia Chai — the wife of Chai Nuzz from Eulmore.
Probably the most elaborate and my personal favorite cosplay I saw on Day 1 was the Gold Saucer Cactuar – which was seen on the Glamoured to Life Cosplay Walk FFXIV Livestream towards the end of the day. This nice lady played the part of the cactuar and I was able to catch up with her post cosplay walk to check out her outfit. It was the most ingenious cosplay I’ve ever actually seen. Inside the Cactuar head, there is a video screen to help her see where she’s going. So no eyeball holes or see-through nets. The tiny camera was attached to the bowtie but not easily seen because of the other adornments. She used ice-skater material — lycra — and the batting is the same stuff they use for futons in Japan. She keeps cool by moving around as the air flows from her feet up. She says she stays pretty cool throughout the day, but preparing for the Cosplay Walk she overheated and her camera went out so she did the whole stage walk and dance blind! Who would’ve guessed? We couldn’t tell from the audience. Fantastic work!
After the cosplay walk we had the piano concert that was, unfortunately for those watching at home, not livestreamed. It was very well done, like I was at the Symphony. The pianist, Keiko Osaki, was beautiful and talented. The music was so moving and you could really feel the passion. Amanda Achen was the guest singer and sang with Keiko for a few of the songs. She later told the crowd that this was the largest audience she had ever performed for. We could hardly tell, they performed like they had been doing this for years. There were a lot of tears in the crowd, but being a white mage, I had a pack of kleenex on hand to give to people around me. I was okay until the last song. The tears got me. Luckily, composer Masayoshi Soken came out in the middle of the concert to add to the piano with his very own otamatone. He even tried to get some vibrato going, and people loved it. We really saw the fun, silly side of Soken and it was so refreshing to see him back to his old self.
I wandered back upstairs for the media press conference, which you can read about here. I was lucky enough to get a photo with Naoki Yoshida himself, and asked the all important question: Do you know La-hee? He smiled, said yes, and then said he was going to tell Soken about my shirt. Please insert a “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.. your ultimate fangirl moment reaction” here. I also spoke with Aimi for a bit afterwords, as she is always one of the best translators for Yoshida and also one of the hardest working. We all appreciate her wonderfully quick and accurate translations!
My closing remarks is that it is death outside, and ice inside.