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Let the games begin! The latest update for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has gone live and, amidst the usual assortment of tweaks, added missions and new content is the highly anticipated inclusion of the Manderville Gold Saucer.

Whether you’re looking to play cards, race chocobo or take part in other games of skill and chance, the Manderville Gold Saucer is the place for you. The team at Square Enix unveiled the new locale in recent developer diaries but, now that Final Fantasy XIV patch 2.51 has gone live, you can check out the sights and sounds for yourself.

The latest patch update gives all of the details for those of you with much more time on your hand but, if you happen to be one of the game’s many players, chances are pretty good that the Gold Saucer will be your first stop the next time you boot up the game.

“Patch 2.51 offers all the chance to relax in the Manderville Gold Saucer, an exciting new attraction now open to the masses,” Reads the announcement. “And those more martially-minded may wish to tap the true potential of their Zodiac Weapons! Whether you seek the arms of legend, the thrills of chocobo racing and Triple Triad, or the light-hearted fun of mini-games and group events, there’s something for everyone in this latest update to Eorzea!”

This is basically exactly what A Realm Reborn needed, really. The game is already a great MMO with a big open world, loads of missions, fun characters and all of the questing, looting and crafting you could hope for. The Gold Saucer will allow players to make an escape from the usual grind in order to enjoy some lighthearted fun with friends and strangers, and Triple Triad is a huge helping of icing on the cake. That game was good enough that a spin-off title wouldn’t have been surprising, so it’s nice to see yet another classic piece of Final Fantasy lore make it into the world of Eorzea.

One of the coolest parts of this update, the chocobo racing, will actually be player controlled, to, so you’ll get a chance to try your skills at guiding your own mount while other’s place their bets. It looks like three courses are available at the moment, including Sagolii Road, Costa del Sol and Tranquil Paths. Like a kart racer, and actually similar to the recently announced racing update coming to World of Warcraft, you’ll also be able to run across panels throughout the race, which may speed you up, slow you down, or grant you a boost or usable weapon.

That original post on the FFXIV blog features loads of details on Chocobo racing and how to play Triple Triad, though I’m sure tutorials will also be provided in-game.
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