Not much about the new expansion is known except from what appears in this trailer on the official website:
(Link may have what some people consider spoilers)http://www.playonline.com/ff11us/altana/index.html
Information provided by Xhero.What is Final Fantasy XI:
For those of you who don't know Final Fantasy XI is Square-Enix's MMO based on the Final Fantasy series. It is the first cross platform(PC,PS2,360) MMO where all platforms play on the same servers. Your character in FFXI can switch between 18 jobs from previous games (with the exception of the puppetmaster). There are also 5 races to choose from ranging in their natural stats and 3 starting nations.
The best way to describe FFXI is a standard MMO with a JRPG twist. Races
As stated previously there are five races in FFXI. While all races can play each job effectivly, some races are better at some jobs than others. Bellow is a list brought to you courtesy of FFXIclopedia. Humes
Originating from the Bastok region, Humes are the most common race and have spread to the farthest reaches of Vana'diel. They are characterized by their equally balanced abilities, moderate intelligence, and high level of skill in numerous areas. This combination of traits has played a large role in Bastok's growth into a prosperous nation of technology and industry. Galka
The Galka are the second most physically powerful out of the playable races of Vanadiel, but are the most physically durable. They originated from the Altepa Desert of Zepwell Island, but their capital was destroyed by a race of ant-like beastmen six hundred years ago. What remained of the Galka were forced to take refuge in other parts of Vanadiel, with the majority moving to Bastok. Unfortunately for the Galka who moved to Bastok, the Humes that lived there decided to take advantage of their new neighbors' great strength. Many of the Bastokan Galka are now members of the Bastokan Military, or its mining force.
Although technically genderless, Galka are generally regarded as males. They reproduce through a form of reincarnation where an elderly Galka, feeling at the end of its lifespan, goes out into the wilderness and a young Galka returns.
It is not widely known what method, if any, the Galkan race has for dealing with decreases in number due to violent death or illness.Elvaan
A race of proud warriors, The Elvaan are the founders of two legendary orders of knights in the nation of San d'Oria. Physically, they are characterized by their tall, slender bodies and pointed ears. Their unshakable pride and faith in their beliefs is visible in each of their determined faces. Both males and females of the race excel in swordsmanship. Most Elvaan seem to eschew the business world, preferring an austere lifestyle as skilled swordfighters.
The Elvaan are the founders of three of Vanadiel's greatest Knightly Orders: the Royal Knights, which spawned the adventuring job of paladin; the Temple Knights, and their adventuring parallel, red mages; and finally the now-extinct Dragon Knights, still seen today in the faces of dragoons. The three orders were tasked with protecting San d'Oria, but adventurers have long since taken the tactics and abilities of the branches and made them their own.
This Race has excellent hearing, second only to that of the Mithra. Elvaan are physically the most powerful of the 5 races and the second most physically durable. They are extremely skilled with swords. Last, but not least, they are uncanny business men/women. Mithra
The Mithra are a predominantly female race of hunters who live alongside the Tarutaru in Windurst. They are easily identified by their characteristic ears, which give them spectacular hearing ability, and their long tails, which result in an unparalleled sense of balance. They are known for their energy, curiosity, and their penchant for causing playful mischief. The Mithra enjoy a friendly relationship with the Tarutaru, and this attitude of mutual cooperation has made Windurst a nation of peace and prosperity.
A race of humanoid cats. These cat-like people live alongside the Tarutaru in Windurst and in a small town of Kazham in the Outlands. Their home is somewhere far to the south (according to the Vana'diel Tribune and the Sin Hunters). Only females are allowed to hold positions of power and the freedom of travel. As such, only women are available as playable characters. Mithra men are only found on the mainland, it is speculated their freedom is limited either due to capitvity or slavery. Or it could be just that mithra men are pacifists unlike their adventurous women or they are just plain lazy. Mithra men cannot be found anywhere neither on the nation of Windurst nor on Kazham. The tails of the mithra give them an excellent sense of balance that no other race seems to be able to compare with. This gives them the highest dexterity and agility among the races of Vana'diel, however, due to their tribal hunter culture, their lack of social grace found in other races results in a penalty in their Charisma. Like all cats they have unbelievable energy, and sad to say curiosity. Being cats, Mithra are the only race able to eat raw-fish. Thanks to the friendly relationship with the Tarutaru (who many Mithra view as little brothers and sisters), Windurst enjoys a peace and prosperity that is only threatened by the Yagudo, with whom Windurst shares an uneasy truce. Tarutaru
The Tarutaru are a race of skilled magic users who call Windurst their home. Although the Tarutaru physically resemble children, their size does not reflect their age. Masters of the magical arts, the Tarutaru have honed their abilities through dutiful study of the world around them.
Their dedication and hard work fueled the rapid reconstruction of Windurst after its destruction in the Crystal War. The Tarutaru enjoy a friendly relationship with the Mithra, who call Windurst their home as well.
The Tarutaru are the most skilled race when it comes to the use of magic. They originated from the Windurst Region, and are the creators of the magical automations known as Cardians. Unlike most races, the size of a Tarutaru does not reflect its age. They are among the most dedicated, yet childish races of Vanadiel. They welcomed the Mithra into their home of Windurst at some point in history, and the two races have lived together in peace and harmony ever since. The only thing threatening that peace is a race of Beastmen that call themselves the Yagudo.
Tarutaru are unique in using a network of skilled mages for teleportation around their sprawling home, Windurst. Two brothers provide a similar service for the residents of Al Zahbi and Aht Urghan Whitegate.
A Tarutaru in Lower Jeuno, Parike-Poranke uses a unique form of "Brown Magic" to remove food effects. The Nations
As stated above there are 3 starting nations to choose from. In addition, there are also 2 “hub” nations linking everyone together. While any race can start in any city, players can get a ring to boost their stats by a wee little bit if they choose the nation their race is native to.
This steampunk city is home to humes, galkas, and Cid. The navigation is pretty easy and houses the smithing guild headquarters. It is also one of two nations that is closest to valkurm dunes(a starting area where people first start to party). Many people consider the gritty, industrial setting to be too ugly for their tastes, but as a fan of steampunk I am a citizen of Bastok.
Typical fantasy setting with no shortage of elves. This city has the most guilds, somewhat close to the dunes and easiest to navigate. IMO the starting area also has the best music.
A natural, druid like setting full of trees is home to the Tarutaru and the Mithra. It's the hardest to navigate and it's furthest away from the dunes. However, with these strikes against it, Windurst can be the best starting city for one reason: necklace quest
Kill a bunch of yagudos when leveling up your first two jobs and do this quest about 50 times then thank me for the time I saved you. I'll talk about this more in a guide I'll write... Jobs
You know what, I'm just going to post a link for now Myths about FFXI
First of all there are few people who disagree that FFXI two years ago sucked. The game had an economy ruined by gilsellers who caused hyper inflation on “standard” and otkau who set the standard to gear dropped by mobs which spawned once in 3 hours or so and might not drop the sought gear. This situation still leaves a poor taste in FFXI vets. Let me state right now that the economy is fixed. SE has spent the past year or so banning gilsellers and fixing many exploits these guys would use. They also made these items harder to obtain thus lowering the standard. No one really gives a shit anymore that you spent an extra 500k gil for that +1 charisma (yes, a bard in an old linkshell actually spent this ridiculous amount of money then berated me for being a ninja without an emperors pin). Instead, people will just be thankful that you're playing the job they want. Now most elitism is based on the jobs (“loldrg, lolpup,lolthf”) while all of these jobs are fairly balanced.
Now I'm not saying that FFXI is for everyone. If you do not like JRPGs you will see this game as a “grind fest.” Sure, the grinding has been eased in recent years, but the game is focused on socializing and dungeon crawling. FFXI is an acquired taste.