ffxit.jpg 1UP's James Mielke is a _serious_ fan of Square's Xbox 360/PS2/PC MMO Final Fantasy XI, and thus, his regular 'My Life in Vana'diel' column has by far the peppiest write-up on last weekend's Final Fantasy XI Fan Festival in Santa Monica.

The big deal, of course was the FFXI expansion The Treasures Of Aht Urhgan, which Mielke previews in pretty spectacular detail elsewhere on 1UP, but it's in Mielke's naked delight for the expansion that the most joy can be extracted from the piece: "Treasures, as evidenced by all the new features the development team unveiled, just looks like it's going to be cool as hell. I mean that sincerely. Chocobo breeding and raising? Hell yeah. Mog Lockers? Yeahhhhh! Besieged and Assault? Oh Hells Yeah!!!! Job balance changes to every job? About time, my friends!"

Mind you, in some ways, the article also shows how spectacularly complex MMOs are, and how the vernacular becomes solely intelligible to players after a certain point: "Even though I'm a NIN70, I will be the first to admit that PLDs have way better hate control. It's hard not to when you've got Provoke, Warcry (at 70-plus), Sentinel, Shield Bash, Flash, Cures, Cover. As a NIN, I've got Provoke, Warcry (finally, at 70) and the meager damage from the elemental wheel and enfeebling ninjutsu, like Kurayami." Yes, two of those, please! But its delight is, nonetheless, infectious.