Larger Groups Temporarily in Heroes' Ascent

Continuing their policy of including public discourse in their decision making process, the Priests of Balthazar plan to increase the number of combatants a team may take into Heroes' Ascent from six to eight during a trial period. As many of you may recall, the party size was reduced some months back after positive response from the citizenry at the time. However, considering recent modifications made over the past few weeks, and the numerous pleas for the return of larger teams, the priests feel the time may be ripe to reevaluate group size.

The change to eight party members will likely persist a few days—perhaps even a week—so the Priests of Balthazar can gather as much feedback as possible and accurately gauge public response. I encourage you to battle in Heroes' Ascent during this time and see for yourself how eight-member teams work, especially in light of the other recent changes. This is your opportunity to voice your opinions on the matter before the priests make their final decision. Just remember that passion and belligerence do not need to go hand-in-hand. In other words, speak your mind, share your thoughts, but maintain a civil tone. While they are priests of the powerful god, Balthazar, the priests are still mortals, mere men like you or I. Keep that in mind as you ponder your comments.

I will once again participate in these trials, protecting comrades with my advanced Monk training, and I hope to meet you on the battlefield!

Open Access to the Deep and Urgoz's Warren

To celebrate the coming of the Canthan New Year, both Kurzicks and Luxons will allow free and open access to their respective elite areas. While the New Year's festivities do not begin for another week, both warring factions have already begun celebrating by allowing all Canthans, and even visitors from afar, the opportunity to test their might in the most dangerous regions of the Canthan realms.

The creatures, beasts, and armies in these areas may have noticed the influx of new prey within their lairs, as some have reported improvements to their arsenal, perhaps in an attempt to repel those who dare disturb their homes. For those who survive, this has resulted in a boon of riches, as the likelihood of acquiring rare items from fallen foes in these elite locales has greatly increased of late. This is, no doubt, music to the ears of treasure hunters, who already frequent these areas in search of powerful artifacts.

Whether you wish to enter the cavernous labyrinth of Urgoz's Warren or test your reflexes by attempting the foolhardy act of "kissing the leviathan" in the Deep, you may now do so, regardless of your loyalties and status within the two factions. Many treasure hunters, thrill seekers, and explorers are expected to take advantage of this opportunity, and we hope to see you among them!

Random Acts of Kindness

Another satisfying week of travel through our beautiful lands has sped by, affording me the opportunity to recognize more kind souls.

While discussing the upcoming Canthan New Year's festivities with Luxon supporters in Cavalon, Wor Machien sent a newcomer to the city to Elder Rhea for further instructions. Also, Lord Malthius explained how to gain Luxon faction and suggested that those who wished to earn more of this reward should battle on the frontlines against the Kurzicks.

A brave soldier named Divine Chocobo, on his way to stamp out evil at Bloodstone Fen, took time to direct an armor-seeking citizen to Ventari's Refuge. Travelers need all the protection they can muster to survive the dangers of the Maguuma Jungle, so providing directions to Hanita's armory was quite a service indeed.

Over in Moddok Crevice, Zour Power spread word about treasure chests scattered across Elona. Giving such detailed information, including directions to likely locations, surely deserves recognition.

Finally, while in Venta Cemetery seeking a vessel going from mainland Elona to Istan, I overheard Chaotic Twitch offering to guide groups past the dangerous Kournan watchtowers. His help ensured that those who accepted his kind offer arrived safely on the coast.

Please honor these fine citizens should you meet them in your travels.