Two months after the launch of Treasures of Aht Urghan, Square Enix will begin introducing surprising new mini-game content for players of all stripes. The goal is not only to expand the types of content in the game, but also provide content that can be enjoyed in an hour or less. This addresses one of the biggest problems with MMOs: the time-sink factor.
Shortly after the release of Aht Urghan, players will be able to raise Chocobos and breed them with their friends' Chocobos. Caring for the Chocobo will be quick, and the birds resulting from your efforts will come in a variety of shapes and colors and develop various traits, such as speed and endurance. While Square Enix has been reticent to confirm this, it seems likely that players will someday be able to summon their Chocobos to ride in the field, finally fulfilling many players' long-held dreams.
As an extension of the Chocobo breeding, players will later be able to take the Chocobo they nurtured and race it in the Chocobo Circuits. Similar to the Chocobo Racing in Final Fantasy VII, the player won't be able to mount his Chocobo, but can influence its progress ... somehow. Players can wager on the Chocobo races to make some quick "gil," as well.
Towards the end of 2006, Square Enix will add Monster Coliseum battles. While little information is known now - noticing a trend? - players will be able to train monsters and battle them against each other, as in Pokémon or Dragon Quest VIII. Like the Chocobo racing, the battles will be automatic-but-influenceable.
Due in mid-April for PlayStation 2, PC and Xbox 360, Treasures of Aht Urghan looks poised to give Final Fantasy XI fans plenty to do for the foreseeable future. Who needs real life when you have Vana'diel?