Put on your chocobo riding pants (chaps?) because this weekend marks the open beta phase of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn before its public outing later this month. As with each of the phases of this beta, this one (Phase 4) brings in quite a few updates.

There is a whole host of changes between Phase 4 and Phase 3, so let’s go through some of the more interesting ones.

  • The level cap has been set to 20 (just for this phase).
  • New areas have been added (that won’t mean anything to you just reading this text):
    • Mist
    • Wolves’ Den Pier (PVP area)
    • Coerthas Central Highlands
    • Mor Dhona
  • More sidequests and class quests have been added
  • Some voice acting has been added to certain cutscenes.
  • You can now change the name of your chocobo. Hooray! Additionally, you can change the armor of your chocobo.
  • Free Companies (guilds) have had a few updates that include shared item storage and the ability to put your Company’s crest on your gear. Free Company “actions” can be purchased that will allow for bonus XP or other buffs when doing certain actions (fighting, crafting, etc.).
  • The Arcanist class is now available to play.
  • The Fishing class is now available to play.

Many more changes or updates have been made, but they are too many to list; mostly they are interface changes. What you do need to know are the dates for this beta.

When it was spoken of a few weeks ago, everyone assumed that Phase 4 would last a week or so up until the release of the main game, but that has changed. The open beta will only last through the weekend. Weak! BUT, those who were lucky enough to get in to the closed beta can start playing a day early! Huzzah!

Phase 4 beta starts on the 16th (tomorrow) at 2 a.m. for those who were in the closed beta. The “open” portion of the beta for everyone else begins on the 17th, but everyone is forced out on the 19th at 2 a.m.

For more information about Final Fantasy XIV, check out the official site. Or you can read our impressions of the closed beta here.