Hello again to all of you eagerly awaiting FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn. Yoshi-P here, and I survived my flight, allowing me to bring you the forty-third Letter from the Producer from San Francisco! (I don't know why I have to fly everywhere. )

I'm sorry for taking so long to put up this letter, but the news you've all been waiting for is finally here. Assuming no dastardly bugs or server errors slow us down, phase 1 of the beta test will begin on February 25!

The roadmap we released has the schedule set for mid-February, so the start is about a week late. However, the extra time has allowed us to prepare more system features and character options for testing. While you all enjoy the game, I hope you also provide us with tons of feedback like you did during the alpha test.

I've been on a roll with screenshots lately, so here are a few from our own phase 1 testing that I found tucked away on my hard drive.

The following screenshots are of a new system that will be ready for testing from phase 1: Full Active Time Events, or FATE for short. These events will take place in non-instanced areas and appear at random. Players can participate by simply being within proximity of the event, and there's no need to form parties. Rewards are automatically distributed when it's over, making it easy to jump in and have fun.

If you happen to come across one while you're out questing, give it a try. There will be several kinds, including some that are triggered by NPCs, so stay sharp!

In addition to FATE, another feature you can look forward to is the new guildhest system. This was originally the behest system in Version 1.0, but after tweaking it so much, we thought it deserved a new name. lol!

Even now, we're still making adjustments, so I can't promise it'll be ready in time for the start of phase 1. We may be forced to implement it later with a patch, but rest assured we'll try our best to stay on schedule.

Also, just like the alpha test, phase 1 of the beta test will be limited to the areas around Gridania. Quests from the main scenario will be available, but because these require travel to other nations at level 15, they will be limited. Sidequests are designed to accompany the main scenario, so it may be a bit of a pain to level up after that point. This won’t be the case in the official release version, but until then we ask that you do your leveling through the variety of content that will be available.

If you're up to the challenge, an instanced dungeon designed with level 30 players in mind will also be ready for testing. The boss has a few tricks up its sleeve that are sure to give you a run for your money.

Well, I had better get going. I’m going to fortify myself with a dinner of steak and red wine, then it’s on to the media tour!

I hope to see you all in my fifth LIVE letter when all this is over!