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The Classless Class SystemFollow

#1 Oct 07 2009 at 7:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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Just this week, Famitsu revealed some more information regarding the Armoury System in Final Fantasy XIV. Specifically, they elaborated on a few of the classes that will be available to players. Following the pattern set by Square Enix so far, the names are somewhat different than what players have come to expect from the Final Fantasy series. While classes such as Lancer and Archer have made appearances, Pugilist and Thaumaturge are newcomers that are causing some debate.

Why is Square Enix opting for these strange class names? What ever happened to Warriors, Mages and Monks? Is this a Final Fantasy game, or what?

To get a better idea of what is going on here, I thought it may be interesting to take a look at the Japanese side of development, where the pattern is a little more clear. Perhaps we can get some better insight into the developers' reasoning behind these changes, and some hints at what Final Fantasy XIV is aiming to become.

Read the article and discuss your own opinions below!
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#2 Oct 07 2009 at 8:05 PM Rating: Good
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Good article, Elmer.

I had myself had suspected that the new names were SE actively trying to prevent labeling and the temptation of trying to morph the old XI classes into XIV.

But really, it's:

Quote:
And what trends might emerge from a "classless class system." I imagine players might start labeling themselves. For example, a Gladiator who prefers a sword and shield and who has attached a number of healing skills might call their character a Paladin. A Disciple of Magic who gathers a myriad of spells from several different classes might call their character a Red Mage. Perhaps even new player-created jobs could take shape.


that excites me to no end.

Edited, Oct 7th 2009 9:05pm by Kirbster
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#3 Oct 07 2009 at 8:20 PM Rating: Good
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This article was great, Elmer. Thanks so much for trying to clarify all of that. While at first I was very taken aback by the decision to not use the traditional FF names in XIV, your writing has helped me to understand some of the logic behind it with some great evidence. With each new piece of information that comes out, it seems like XIV is becoming more and more of its own game, rather than just the "XI sequel" that so many people fear. This article is proof of just that, thanks again.
#4 Oct 07 2009 at 9:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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I was wondering about that.

Thank you Elmer, another fantastic article. :)
#5 Oct 07 2009 at 9:12 PM Rating: Default
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I hope your suppositions about gameplay customization are correct. I've been raising **** about these things for a few years, so I'd be more than a little pleased if they actually used my suggestions, whether they got them from me or not.
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#6 Oct 07 2009 at 9:24 PM Rating: Excellent
If ZAM had an admin of the month award, you'd have my vote.

I didn't like the fact that weapons have a durability, but the more I think about it, the more it makes me want to skill a weapon and a craft that will allow me to repair said weapon. I can see it now...

<Renowaik> Oh no! Sword is broked!
(switch to staff)
<Renowaik> Sleep!
{Switch to hammer)
<Renowaik> Must repair sword before mob wakes up!
*ting ting*
(Switch to sword)
<Renowaik> RAWR!
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#7 Oct 07 2009 at 9:52 PM Rating: Decent
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Well, hate to crush your dreams there, but I think they're pretty set on preventing us from switching mid battle.
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Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#8 Oct 07 2009 at 9:54 PM Rating: Good
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All I know is the name of the classes doesn't matter. Pugilist is clearly a MNK, claws and all. Thaumaturge is in FFXI and describes some BLM type mobs. Lancer and DRG are one of the same class. Both use a pole arm and have jumps. Gladiator is an old school FF class already, but it's not used very often. It seems to be a mix of WAR and PLD classes.

What really interested me is how SE plans to keep the classes equal. Is their a limit to the customization of your character? Imagine in FFXI if you could max all your merit categories with no limits. Evasion, Parry, Shield, and Guard all maxed 4/4. If a MNK chooses to use en-spells on their fists, a MNK that chose not to do so would find himself behind you would think. I can't wait til SE releases more info on this.
#9 Oct 07 2009 at 10:20 PM Rating: Good
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No matter what some builds will be more efficient that others and people will expect you to use those over less efficient ones.
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I thought of it first:

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=130073657654872218#20
#10 Oct 07 2009 at 11:29 PM Rating: Good
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Lobivopis wrote:
No matter what some builds will be more efficient that others and people will expect you to use those over less efficient ones.


Oh, I agree especially in FFXI. However, I think what's interesting to read is that SE is trying to avoid this. I think the odds are against them personally, yet that doesn't mean I'm not crossing my fingers anyway. The sad truth is SE failed to predict gung-ho RNG's, NIN tanking, RDM soloing Gods and other impossible mobs. And then to make matters worse, attempted to balance the game to compensate. Hopefully the new system will work out better than expected.

On a side note, I truly hope we have no need for Studio Gobi and the extensive testing this time around. No XP points means it's silly to grab a few BRD's, a single healer and bunch of DD's and go grind. That might be the only thing checking in balance though.
#11 Oct 07 2009 at 11:32 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
No matter what some builds will be more efficient that others and people will expect you to use those over less efficient ones.


Without a doubt. This goes for any set of rules or mechanics in which a player can min/max. But there's certainly different levels of expectations, and I think this system will at least allow more freedom than XI did.
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#12 Oct 07 2009 at 11:45 PM Rating: Decent
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Eh, that's not necessarily true. It's a historic problem, but many games manage to at least strike a rock-scissors-paper balance. The more archtypical elements you attempt to create, the more difficult it becomes to strike that balance, but particularly in something as relatively simple to modify as an MMO, it is well within the realm of theoretical possibility. It also tends to be easier to distinguish balance needs in the context of PvP rather than PvE, but it does allow developers to adjust the balance of a job without making significant changes to the job.

XI had a lot of problems with this, starting with poorly fleshed-out jobs, and then frequently releasing content without enough regard to how it would influence job balance. But most of the problems stem fundamentally from battle predictability.
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Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#13 Oct 08 2009 at 4:16 AM Rating: Good
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Elmer wrote:
Why is Square Enix opting for these strange class names? What ever happened to Warriors, Mages and Monks? Is this a Final Fantasy game, or what?
You know, "a rose by any other name" and all that jazz. They're giving the same jobs new names because it gives an outward appearance that they're doing something new with them. Its the same strategy they used for the races.
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#14 Oct 08 2009 at 4:55 AM Rating: Decent
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Hey, great article. I like the idea of being able to make our own sort of classes. Not saying this is 100% official, but it seems like a great idea.
Seriously can't wait for this game to come out, that article makes me want the game a million times more.
#15 Oct 08 2009 at 5:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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Great job Elmer. You're good at picking out things others might have missed. Reading your articles has made the wait a lot more bearable to say the least.
#16 Oct 08 2009 at 7:53 AM Rating: Good
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When interviewers ask the devs about changing classes, they reply that there is no such thing as classes anymore. But that's a clear disconnect from what's in promotional material like the website, which gives specific class names.

I wonder how much these new class titles will actually be used. Will they show up in the game at all? Will NPCs refer to you as a "Thaumaturge" and will that pop up at the top of your status menu when you equip a staff? Or are they only going to be used in the promotional material as a way to label these concepts we're unfamiliar with? The whole "class system" we've been looking at for the past couple months could be an illusion conjured up by the marketing and localization team.

I think I'd like it that way. Give us the freedom to call our classes whatever we want, because we're going to want to do that anyway. The level of freedom Elmer hypothesizes will require some pretty deep customization options though, so let's hope those are in place.

#17 Oct 08 2009 at 9:27 AM Rating: Decent
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Elmer, great read as always! I wonder if they are considering branching out even further. Like you mentioned where a player with certain skills and armor might call themselves a paladin, perhaps the game itself will as well. On the new site it's clear that the armor will change for the class, perhaps an Archer that has particular skills in tracking might become a Ranger and get a whole different set of gear along with it.
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#18 Oct 08 2009 at 12:29 PM Rating: Excellent
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The idea of coming up with our own psuedo-job names based on what we do sounds cool, but I worry about the disconnect between languages that might occur. We might call a particular playing style "Paladin", but Japanese players aren't going to know what we're talking about unless they're previously familiar with FFXI's PLD. Auto-translate won't help with stuff like that. Also keep in mind that French and German will be in the game from the start, unlike in FFXI where they came in and just had to use whatever terms we were already using. They can come up with their own terminology and slang, too.

On second thought, whatever player-made terms gain widespread adoption will gradually fill every regional lexicon just like what happened with FFXI, but of course that will take a year or two before it becomes reliable.

Though not all of us are multilingual, I think the article helps point out the very careful language considerations that go on behind the scenes, and we should really try to keep things like that in mind when we discuss any aspect of FFXIV.
#19 Oct 08 2009 at 1:26 PM Rating: Decent
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They've said before that there are no "jobs" but there are "classes" and the weapons you equip determine your "class". You can also change your class by changing your weapon.

Then there is also the idea that there are no classes at all,just skills and attributes. You shape your character the way you want and you can create your own class.

On the XIV website they do list named classes though. And as others have said, that it could just be for marketing or serve as inspiration when you get started.

There was some new info added that I thought was interesting and havent heard discussed much. That is the throwing skills for Archer and Lancer. They say that if an archer runs out of arrows,he is skilled at throwing and can also do alot of damage with just rocks. Lancer can attack from a safe distance with their long lance or throw javelins.

We previously thought shooting a bow would make you an "archer" and equiping lance = "lancer" But now it seems you can equip more than one type of weapon or skill without changing your class. This makes the class system sound even more like the job system in XI.

#20 Oct 08 2009 at 1:53 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
For example, a Gladiator who prefers a sword and shield and who has attached a number of healing skills might call their character a Paladin.


I'm pretty sure the Warrior forums have a better player-created name for that class...
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#21 Oct 08 2009 at 2:57 PM Rating: Decent
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On surface it might seem like it allows a certain level or customization (being able to have a "player created" job class sounds really awesome) but in practice I fear the inherent nature of MMORPGs and the people who play them.

When I say that I refer to the fact that a certain combination is always going to be better than everything else. And of course it's human nature to gravitate towards said combination (not saying there's anything necessarily wrong with that, but it merits noting).

So while on paper it seems like it opens up this whole new world of possibilities, when it comes to actual in game play I think we'll see that if you want to be what people find as effective you'll have to shoehorn into a certain set of skills. And if that's the case we may see even less customization then FFXI.

I'm not completely half-empty on this though, it gives me a tiny sliver of hope that I might see a form of summoner in this new frontier, maybe even one that isn't relegated to last resort healer.
#22 Oct 08 2009 at 3:05 PM Rating: Good
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Redyoshi wrote:
On surface it might seem like it allows a certain level or customization (being able to have a "player created" job class sounds really awesome) but in practice I fear the inherent nature of MMORPGs and the people who play them.

When I say that I refer to the fact that a certain combination is always going to be better than everything else. And of course it's human nature to gravitate towards said combination (not saying there's anything necessarily wrong with that, but it merits noting).

So while on paper it seems like it opens up this whole new world of possibilities, when it comes to actual in game play I think we'll see that if you want to be what people find as effective you'll have to shoehorn into a certain set of skills. And if that's the case we may see even less customization then FFXI.

I'm not completely half-empty on this though, it gives me a tiny sliver of hope that I might see a form of summoner in this new frontier, maybe even one that isn't relegated to last resort healer.


This is inevitable in endgame of any MMO.

But I think the system has great potential in the rest of the game, in terms of customization, simply because I don't think people will expect as much from you.
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#23 Oct 08 2009 at 3:27 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
So while on paper it seems like it opens up this whole new world of possibilities, when it comes to actual in game play I think we'll see that if you want to be what people find as effective you'll have to shoehorn into a certain set of skills. And if that's the case we may see even less customization then FFXI.

Well, at the very least, having more options makes it likely that there will be more viable setups. And if you can tweak each ability you want to equip, then you'll have more freedom to customize the minor stuff to your liking while still keeping the essentials. Sort of like Blue Mage.

But the main difference from XI is the greater number of solo opportunities. Of course when you get into a group you'll still be expected to use one of the more efficient setups (as you should), but when you're on your own you can do whatever the **** you want. And it sounds like you'll be able to play just about the whole game that way if you choose.
#24 Oct 08 2009 at 4:50 PM Rating: Excellent
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The idea of coming up with our own psuedo-job names based on what we do sounds cool, but I worry about the disconnect between languages that might occur. We might call a particular playing style "Paladin", but Japanese players aren't going to know what we're talking about unless they're previously familiar with FFXI's PLD.


There would be a disconnect between the communities, but there already is with FFXI. Since jobs are clearly defined, it's our tactics that get labeled by each community separately. For example, what we call "kiting" the Japanese call "marathon." There is some stuff that crosses over like "fuidama" and "yokodama." As different setups emerge based upon the classes, each community might start giving them unofficial names to refer to them. Either that, or individual people might just call themselves what they want to be in their search comments, on their blogs, etc.

Edited, Oct 9th 2009 12:51am by Elmer
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#25 Oct 08 2009 at 5:48 PM Rating: Good
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In that case, I wonder which will prevail as the official unofficial name, Knight or Paladin. It will be interesting to see how the various builds are named and recognized internationally.
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#26 Oct 08 2009 at 6:12 PM Rating: Decent
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@Kirbster & Redyoshi: Did you read my last post?

Unbalance and optimal setups are not inevitable, particularly as the technology has improved.

Otherwise, man, I'm wondering where some of you people were years ago when I was arguing for customizable ability sets. One of the first things people would bring up was "how will we know what job someone is?" This was my idea and I still like it:

Let us unlock keywords to create our own titles. For example, when someone unlocks fire magic (or for some, maybe reaches a certain competency, or fulfills other requirements), they can add a surtitle of flame, fire, blaze, burning-- break out the thesaurus and give the full gamut of options. Basically, the abilities and equipment you have equipped will determine what keywords you have access to. Aqua Lancer, Holy Swordsman, Master Magician, Solid Shield, etc. You get the idea. You can call yourself what you want within some reasonable limits. You have plenty of freedom but you'll still be conveying some idea of what it is that you do.
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Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#27 Oct 08 2009 at 8:48 PM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
@Kirbster & Redyoshi: Did you read my last post?

Unbalance and optimal setups are not inevitable, particularly as the technology has improved.

Otherwise, man, I'm wondering where some of you people were years ago when I was arguing for customizable ability sets. One of the first things people would bring up was "how will we know what job someone is?" This was my idea and I still like it:

Let us unlock keywords to create our own titles. For example, when someone unlocks fire magic (or for some, maybe reaches a certain competency, or fulfills other requirements), they can add a surtitle of flame, fire, blaze, burning-- break out the thesaurus and give the full gamut of options. Basically, the abilities and equipment you have equipped will determine what keywords you have access to. Aqua Lancer, Holy Swordsman, Master Magician, Solid Shield, etc. You get the idea. You can call yourself what you want within some reasonable limits. You have plenty of freedom but you'll still be conveying some idea of what it is that you do.


I'll believe it when I see it. Even if it's possible it still has to be implemented correctly. I'd like nothing more then to truly have a customizable experience, but it just seems to me that any gains in that direction will inevitably be at odds with human nature. Something has to be better then the others, unless the differences are purely aesthetic, and that would get boring pretty fast.

As someone mentioned earlier, yeah, you can solo and do whatever you want, but it feels like in order to get that level of individuality you miss out on a very large part of the experience. I enjoy soloing more then most but eventually you want to play with other people, and it's rare when you can be both unique and useful.
#28 Oct 08 2009 at 9:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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It's definitely a valid concern.

If it helps any, the more a system leans on the player's skill the less it leans on the dreaded class-check that breeds homogeneity. They seem to be pushing that more strategic battle experiences angle, and the the functionality of the shield during the gamescon alpha build has me at least curious.

If they can invent a battle system that makes a parser a completely worthless tool, the problem might end up solving itself.

#29 Oct 08 2009 at 9:51 PM Rating: Decent
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Zemzelette wrote:



If they can invent a battle system that makes a parser a completely worthless tool, the problem might end up solving itself.



I think that's the purpose behind their new system. No XP/levels, no jobs, and hordes of mobs to combat. It's almost as if SE themselves is tired of the cookie-cutter parties that plague FFXI. If X job isn't as efficient as Y job, X job is left without a purpose. By the information we have so far, it appears that all classes will be equal.

I rely on my parser a great deal for improving my character in FFXI. I'll happily give it up if the balance is right. Too many jobs in FFXI have an unfair edge on a parse. For example, take single-hit WS's vs multi-hit. A single-hit WS like Tachi Gekko is clearly superior over Blade Jin if for no other reason, all the hits might not land thus negating some of the damage and TP return. It's not a huge deal breaker, but it does skew things. Pets jobs have never been balanced either. SMN, BST, and PUP sadly all fall behind other DD classes. That oversight has to be corrected should those jobs make a return in XIV.

However, it appears that SE isn't trying to create jobs, only classes. Your class is based on your weapon of choice and somehow your armor and misc gear is effected by it as well. They claim by picking certain abilities, any class can wear gear not typically suitable by them. IE... WAR's with a mage cloth armor or mages(besides RDM and BLU) that wear more heavy based armor. I'm excited to see how SE adapts this system and look forward to the Beta.
#30 Oct 08 2009 at 10:00 PM Rating: Decent
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I'll believe it when I see it. Even if it's possible it still has to be implemented correctly. I'd like nothing more then to truly have a customizable experience, but it just seems to me that any gains in that direction will inevitably be at odds with human nature. Something has to be better then the others, unless the differences are purely aesthetic, and that would get boring pretty fast.

As someone mentioned earlier, yeah, you can solo and do whatever you want, but it feels like in order to get that level of individuality you miss out on a very large part of the experience. I enjoy soloing more then most but eventually you want to play with other people, and it's rare when you can be both unique and useful.


Well human nature is going to enter the equation there regardless. Yes, people will always have perceptions about which classes are the best, and the players who are concerned with being the best will flock to those types of jobs. And this does occur in every game, and no game can be expected to change the fact that people often have inaccurate perceptions, and some people will want to be the best. But if people played all jobs in a game like FFXI, you can expect to see plenty more diversity in a game with more customization. At the very least you'll see several key roles defined.

Conceptually it's very easy to make it so that any number of roles are similarly effective. I've already elaborated on it in the past, but the key is in not making all battles tactically similar and predictable. Most mobs in XI require one of very few strategies, and within those mobs they nearly all require the same strategy when the mob is the same.

If you stop doing that, particularly if you have a good balance of optimal/situational scenarios, the problem is gone. At best you have people flocking towards the combination that has slightly more broad appeal or application, but that just leaves plenty of demand for all the other roles.

And it's generally easier in an MMO because adjustments can be patched.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#31 Oct 08 2009 at 11:06 PM Rating: Good
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ShadowedgeFFXI wrote:
Zemzelette wrote:



If they can invent a battle system that makes a parser a completely worthless tool, the problem might end up solving itself.

For example, take single-hit WS's vs multi-hit. A single-hit WS like Tachi Gekko is clearly superior over Blade Jin if for no other reason, all the hits might not land thus negating some of the damage and TP return. It's not a huge deal breaker, but it does skew things.
Eh, sorry to nitpick but multi-hit WS's are usually the preferred WS. Look at DRK for a perfect example. With low buffs/target has high defense, Spinning Slash is going to produce consistent, and accurate hits when compared to Guillotine. However, the more ATT you have, and the weaker the target is, the more Guillotine pulls ahead because it has 4 potential hits. SAM is great and all but look at penta-thrust. On weak mobs, even without piercing weakness, my Tomoe can pump out higher Penta's than my Hagun's tachi-WS.

So personally I'd like to see these kind of differences show up - and I mean that you can customise your 'class' to either focus on slaughtering weak things, or pumping out the damage on tough things - or, since we now have horde-fights, make a dedicated "horde-killer". As long as each weapon basically has the potential for all three, with some giving some advantages/disadvantages. Like, a Pugilist might be 'expected' to be great at destroying weaker-targets - but then somebody will combine it with a certain set of abilities - and come up with a really strong "HNM"(large target) killer and be a bit of a surprise. Think footwork - but without being gimp.

Like Kachi said, a paper/rock/scissors system. You gain in one thing, lose in another. Not the FFXI system where a job like SAM has no disadvantages in combat. They are pretty much always awesome if played/geared well.

Also Elmer I love you for putting this idea into my head:
OP Article wrote:
Several Final Fantasy titles have had some hidden master blacksmith who requests the hero retrieve some "Adamantite" in order to create the ultimate sword. In FFXIV, a player could very well work their way up and be that blacksmith.
I now want to be the high level crafter in town who is commissioning actual players to go and bring me materials, and using them to craft up a fortune >:D

This is a completely worthless idea with an AH system however, and I can see an AH killing the spirit of crafting - it levels everything out to the point where buying things off the AH (such as an animal hide) and crafting it results in only a moderate profit. And farming it yourself, you'd be better off simply selling it to AH and not leveling a crafter. I'd hate to see that. I think somewhere they said they were more aiming towards shop bazaars than a universal AH?

No AH, but a marketplace please! I think if you go crafter you deserve to experience the whole thing - selling your goods for ludicrous profits in the marketplaces >:D

/tangent
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#32 Oct 09 2009 at 2:08 AM Rating: Decent
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The only thing I want to know is... which one is thief <.<;
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#33 Oct 09 2009 at 4:37 AM Rating: Good
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LordFaramir wrote:
No AH, but a marketplace please! I think if you go crafter you deserve to experience the whole thing - selling your goods for ludicrous profits in the marketplaces >:D


I can see this being fun, but there would have to be a system where you could, say, leave a moogle attendant for your shop. Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE Online has a system like this, where there are stalls/booths scattered around towns, and you pay a nominal fee to have an NPC bazaar attendant show off your wares for a fixed amount of time; booths near the main hangouts only last an hour, but ones off the main drag go up to two hours. Of course, there is a tax taken out on your items, so you frequently receive tells asking for direct trades (since you would naturally mark up your prices). There is no AH system in SMT Online, though there is a global trade window where people can freely list buy/sell requests.

I think that could be expanded pretty well into FFXIV, and there are ways to include automated attendants without worrying about everyone leaving attendants and completely taking the player interaction out of something like a marketplace.
#34 Oct 09 2009 at 7:48 AM Rating: Decent
Redyoshi wrote:

I'll believe it when I see it. Even if it's possible it still has to be implemented correctly. I'd like nothing more then to truly have a customizable experience, but it just seems to me that any gains in that direction will inevitably be at odds with human nature. Something has to be better then the others, unless the differences are purely aesthetic, and that would get boring pretty fast.

As someone mentioned earlier, yeah, you can solo and do whatever you want, but it feels like in order to get that level of individuality you miss out on a very large part of the experience. I enjoy soloing more then most but eventually you want to play with other people, and it's rare when you can be both unique and useful.


There's nothing a developer can do to eliminate the tendency within the community to demand optimal setups. I would imagine that in FFXIV, a reasonable approach to progressing our character will include serious thought about what it is you might bring to a group that will allow you to make a solid contribution, but at the end of the day you'll always be sharing server space with people who will seek to determine what is the "best of the best" for a given scenario and people who will only want the "best of the best" in their parties.

That, as you have said, is human nature and short of creating a game with only one class/build, there's nothing a developer can do to get around it.
#35 Oct 09 2009 at 10:22 AM Rating: Decent
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When I first played FFXI, I wanted to be Mnk/Rdm for double en- fists.

#36 Oct 09 2009 at 12:45 PM Rating: Good
Filian wrote:
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For example, a Gladiator who prefers a sword and shield and who has attached a number of healing skills might call their character a Paladin.


I'm pretty sure the Warrior forums have a better player-created name for that class...

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#37 Oct 09 2009 at 4:31 PM Rating: Excellent
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at the end of the day you'll always be sharing server space with people who will seek to determine what is the "best of the best" for a given scenario


I agree.
But I don't think that necessarily means we're doomed to homogeneity.
Optimal just needs to stop being quantifiable.



Edited, Oct 9th 2009 8:33pm by Zemzelette
#38 Oct 09 2009 at 4:55 PM Rating: Good
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AureliusSir the Irrelevant wrote:
Redyoshi wrote:

I'll believe it when I see it. Even if it's possible it still has to be implemented correctly. I'd like nothing more then to truly have a customizable experience, but it just seems to me that any gains in that direction will inevitably be at odds with human nature. Something has to be better then the others, unless the differences are purely aesthetic, and that would get boring pretty fast.

As someone mentioned earlier, yeah, you can solo and do whatever you want, but it feels like in order to get that level of individuality you miss out on a very large part of the experience. I enjoy soloing more then most but eventually you want to play with other people, and it's rare when you can be both unique and useful.


There's nothing a developer can do to eliminate the tendency within the community to demand optimal setups. I would imagine that in FFXIV, a reasonable approach to progressing our character will include serious thought about what it is you might bring to a group that will allow you to make a solid contribution, but at the end of the day you'll always be sharing server space with people who will seek to determine what is the "best of the best" for a given scenario and people who will only want the "best of the best" in their parties.

That, as you have said, is human nature and short of creating a game with only one class/build, there's nothing a developer can do to get around it.


I'm not sure that there is nothing that can done. The basic problem is that a developer will never get the balance right on things such that they are all equally useful. So players figure out what works best and spam it.

What if, instead, the developers put in a system to automatically self balance things. For instance, maybe every ability has a base specification put in by the developer like there is today, but there is also an adjustable part that can make the ability stronger/weaker. Like Provoke give 900+100X hate and Berserk adds 5%+1%*X attack. Then you need a feedback component. Suppose that abilities equipped are selectable with points (like Blue Mage spells in FFXI). The more people that select an ability, the weaker it gets (X decreases). Unpopular abilities get strengthened (X increases). Eventually people will decide some other ability is now better than the standard ability.
#39 Oct 09 2009 at 5:08 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm curious to know if there will be some type of pet system in place. Always loved the class with pets, but I realize this is a classless game. With regards to the set template of the classes SE has made. Guess I'll have to wait for more information to arise to find out.
#40 Oct 09 2009 at 6:40 PM Rating: Decent
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No AH, but a marketplace please! I think if you go crafter you deserve to experience the whole thing - selling your goods for ludicrous profits in the marketplaces >:D


There was an allusion to us being able to set up a stand. I'd like it if we could actually work on upgrading a "booth."


What some people seem to be forgetting is that even as many players as there are who only care about being the best, there's not going to be one best. There might be a few bests, but you're still probably at least going to end up with "best tank" "best damage dealer" "best healer" and "best support." And those will only be the best for a particular fight, not every fight, so it's not going to play out that way if you don't make character configuration that easy to alter.

But again, add some randomness to the enemies and there will be almost no way for people to cherry pick what is optimal.
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#41 Oct 09 2009 at 6:50 PM Rating: Good
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DecendentMonk wrote:
I'm curious to know if there will be some type of pet system in place. Always loved the class with pets, but I realize this is a classless game. With regards to the set template of the classes SE has made. Guess I'll have to wait for more information to arise to find out.


SE has stated that there won't be any pet-based disciplines or skillsets in the initial launch of the game, sadly.
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#42 Oct 09 2009 at 10:30 PM Rating: Good
RedHobbit wrote:
I'm not sure that there is nothing that can done. The basic problem is that a developer will never get the balance right on things such that they are all equally useful. So players figure out what works best and spam it.


The idea isn't to try to balance the abilities based entirely on the merits of the abilities. The idea is to balance the abilities in the context of the environment as well as the merits of the abilities themselves.

Quote:
What if, instead, the developers put in a system to automatically self balance things. For instance, maybe every ability has a base specification put in by the developer like there is today, but there is also an adjustable part that can make the ability stronger/weaker. Like Provoke give 900+100X hate and Berserk adds 5%+1%*X attack. Then you need a feedback component. Suppose that abilities equipped are selectable with points (like Blue Mage spells in FFXI). The more people that select an ability, the weaker it gets (X decreases). Unpopular abilities get strengthened (X increases). Eventually people will decide some other ability is now better than the standard ability.


Think that through...an automated nerfing system.

Really?

What happens if everyone who prefers to use a sword is activating Red Lotus Blade not because it's zomfg powerful, but because it's better than anything else they've got despite the fact that it may be fully mediocre relative to what people using other weapons are able to do. With your system, a crappy ability gets nerfed, an especially crappy ability gets buffed, and people who use swords are left with across-the-board mediocrity.

And SE is the last company I ever want to hear about using automated anything for anything ever again. They're paid good money by hundreds of thousands (potentially millions) of people every month to hire intelligent, competent people who are dedicated to staying not only on top of the mechanics of every facet of the game but also staying in touch with what the players are doing with those mechanics as well as what those players are saying about the game and making adjustments based on that. The hamfisted "balancing" we saw in FFXI has absolutely no place in FFXIV. None. You don't balance a class by nerfing it into the ground to drive all but the most dedicated fans of the class to something else.
#43 Oct 10 2009 at 5:34 AM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
What some people seem to be forgetting is that even as many players as there are who only care about being the best, there's not going to be one best. There might be a few bests, but you're still probably at least going to end up with "best tank" "best damage dealer" "best healer" and "best support." And those will only be the best for a particular fight, not every fight, so it's not going to play out that way if you don't make character configuration that easy to alter.

But again, add some randomness to the enemies and there will be almost no way for people to cherry pick what is optimal.


In FFXI, the central mechanic of combat revolves around having those roles filled in a party, and being able to forgo one of those roles is highly circumstantial. In general, it's a one-way approach to almost any situtation, because the efficiency of your party is mostly determined by how many roles you can fill in that party.

There's no reason a new system can't be developed that emphasizes player skill, adaptability, and strategy without the need for static roles. Example: BCNMs. Most of them can be approached with all sorts of different party setups, and though a handful of people would swear by sticking to a tried-and-true setup, you have an honest chance to experiment with different setups. Imagine this sort of mechanic applied to all general combat in FFXIV, where you can bring just about any combination of players to take care of a task, and there is no "best healer" or "best tank" for the situation. Of course some combinations will work better than others, but remember that FFXIV is going to change the situation frequently.

Remember, we'll be fighting more than one mob at a time now, and as we saw in the gameplay demo, that includes multiple families. The reason people demand the "best setup" in FFXI is because you always know what you're going up against; for a leveling party, you know specifically what you're going to fight, and you usually stick to that single mob. God forbid you get a link, game over. But take a look at Besieged and Campaign; they're almost perfect scenarios where anyone can contribute just by doing what their job does, and your success depends on the skill and strategy of the players involved rather than their job choices. The only reason they work in FFXI, though, is because of how wide-scale they are. I think FFXIV will be able to take that same idea and boil it down to its essence, keeping close to the same everyone-can-contribute style of play, but for everyday parties and quests instead of large-scale events. Some people might argue about how chaotic that sounds, but frankly, Besieged and Campaign are more fun to me than exp/merit parties simply because of the freedom.
#44 Oct 10 2009 at 3:03 PM Rating: Decent
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There's nothing a developer can do to eliminate the tendency within the community to demand optimal setups.


Optimization stem from restrictions.

It is not viable due to exp penalties to make groups larger than 6, so you try and squeeze the best things into that small group. Remove exp penalties and you'd see groups of 18, and I'm fairly sure people wouldn't be as picky as to demand 3 BRDs and a horde of WARs for their alliance.

Killing faster is better. If this wasn't true, then the need for BRDs and WARs would lower. To change this you could implement time based zones that sort of send waves of enemies at you, and every hour you stay alive, you get a set exp bonus. (This would of course on the other hand put more focus on healers and sleepers). You could also have an activity (besieged) that lasts a set time (1 hour) and always gives a decent amount of exp for participating in it (15k exp). You could have quests that set you out as a choco scout and for the 15 min the choco lasts you get 5k exp if you have at least reached another region.

The red string here is guaranteed high progress for things that do not just require brute strength.

You could have gimmicky HNM behavior, like a HNM afraid of pets, but have to be nuked down. So you have to have BSTs, PUPs, SMNs near the BLMs and assault it when it runs for BLMs, but retreat it so that the HNM doesn't run out of nuke range.

Anything goes, as long as you emphasize the strengths of different jobs so they actually are needed. Another example could be to have undead, that are immune to damage unless a WHM has cast raise 3 on it the last 3 min. Nobody but a WHM can un-weaken it so a WHM becomes vital for it.

Again, the point is to make the game dynamic, and not just "Max damage in shortest time wins". And this is entirely up to the developers, because we players can't effect what is good and what isn't.
#45 Oct 10 2009 at 3:07 PM Rating: Decent
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I wouldn't really like that some job(s) would be 'vital' for a fight and that if you didn't have any member with those jobs available you'd be screwed. At least when it comes to dealing damage the game is more forgiving, just about anyone can do the job.
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#46 Oct 10 2009 at 5:54 PM Rating: Decent
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It's not necessary to make certain abilities/roles vital, just advantageous.

@TraumaFox: I agree-- ****, I was one of the first to argue against rigidly defined roles, but most people don't seem to be grasping conceptual explanations. I'm just trying to keep things in terms that people can relate to, one step at a time.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#47 Oct 30 2009 at 8:55 AM Rating: Decent
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Am I reading this too late? Did the article get deleted? The link brings me to a page that says "Story not found."
#48 Oct 30 2009 at 9:59 AM Rating: Decent
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double post >.<

Edited, Oct 30th 2009 11:07am by baltz
#49 Oct 30 2009 at 10:01 AM Rating: Decent
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#50 Oct 30 2009 at 6:37 PM Rating: Excellent
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The link still works for me, not sure what happened. I'll check on it.
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#51 Nov 02 2009 at 10:43 AM Rating: Decent
Mellowy wrote:
Quote:
There's nothing a developer can do to eliminate the tendency within the community to demand optimal setups.


Optimization stem from restrictions.

It is not viable due to exp penalties to make groups larger than 6, so you try and squeeze the best things into that small group. Remove exp penalties and you'd see groups of 18, and I'm fairly sure people wouldn't be as picky as to demand 3 BRDs and a horde of WARs for their alliance.


Won't happen. It would be too much work for the developers to create dynamically tuned content suited to groups so vastly varied in size.

Guildleves will most likely have limits on the number of players in a specific instance at one time. I don't expect to see people standing around in major cities spamming for open air progression parties if guildleves are where the bulk of the character progression is done. Other developers have pondered the idea of removing penalties and/or restrictions on group sizes for non-instanced content and realized that it would be impossible to tune. If you have content tuned to be suitable for smaller groups...say 2-3 players...and then make it so that you can be in a group of 18 and do the same content without penalty, the standard will be to arrive in a given zone, join one of the in-progress alliances, blast through the content and then turn around and ***** at the developer that there's not enough to do.

If you make it so that everything can be done in a full alliance without penalty, you'll have to put up with the headache of a full alliance for virtually everything. Maybe FFXI changed over the years, but when I played anything involving 18 people was almost guaranteed to add at least an hour of pointless thumb twiddling to the process while so-and-so warps back to get <item they forgot> prompting so-and-so to get bored and go afk for 10 minutes starting the perpetual leapfrogging of afks resulting in a great deal of anxiety and frustration over nothing.

The only way around all that was through organized shells and/or weekly scheduled events, and even then I was part of more than one scheduled event by an organized group that was scheduled for one time and started 60-90 minutes late because there were just too many unreliable people.

Quote:
Killing faster is better. If this wasn't true, then the need for BRDs and WARs would lower. To change this you could implement time based zones that sort of send waves of enemies at you, and every hour you stay alive, you get a set exp bonus. (This would of course on the other hand put more focus on healers and sleepers). You could also have an activity (besieged) that lasts a set time (1 hour) and always gives a decent amount of exp for participating in it (15k exp). You could have quests that set you out as a choco scout and for the 15 min the choco lasts you get 5k exp if you have at least reached another region.


That's an FFXI mindset, and my hope will be that SE is doing more than just looking at what was going on in FFXI and trying to tweak. My hope is that they'll be looking at the gameplay experience overall and trying to tune it in such a way that players don't feel compelled to run with only optimal setups because the game is too tedious and painful to play any other way. My hope is that they won't be tuning encounters so that any one specific build is required at any time. I'm not opposed to variety that gives various different builds an opportunity to shine here and there, but not in such a way that players adopt the global impression that if you don't have <x> archetype with <y> build, it's not worth attempting.

Quote:
You could have gimmicky HNM behavior, like a HNM afraid of pets, but have to be nuked down. So you have to have BSTs, PUPs, SMNs near the BLMs and assault it when it runs for BLMs, but retreat it so that the HNM doesn't run out of nuke range.


And then what happens to the BST, PUP, and SMNs when the encounter is over? When you tune encounters such that they are unmanageable without specific builds, you create barriers to the content. It's not ideal. It fosters resentment in the community. Part of that resentment is directed at other players, and part of it is directed at the developer. What happens if your particular group doesn't have a pet class? Do they recruit to fill a spot for that particular encounter and find themselves with a roster bloated to account for gimmicks, or do they focus on building a group of people that can work well together, get along, and share common goals and then head out to play and enjoy the game?

Quote:
Anything goes, as long as you emphasize the strengths of different jobs so they actually are needed. Another example could be to have undead, that are immune to damage unless a WHM has cast raise 3 on it the last 3 min. Nobody but a WHM can un-weaken it so a WHM becomes vital for it.


Using your example, again, in an attempt to ensure that every class is viable you encourage gimmicks that force players to have that particular build in their group. And if they can't find someone of that particular build, that encounter is inaccessible. Why not just tune each particular build so that if they progress their character intelligently, the game mechanics will allow them to contribute to any encounter in a way that people are happy to have them along?

It helps if you can make up your mind and decide: do you want to have encounters that require specific "classes" or do you not? You say you don't want to see things like BRD and WAR dominance in groups, yet in the same post you just shift that mandatory component to specific encounters with other classes. That's just bad design.

Make all archetypes viable with the only limitations being the way in which a player chooses to develop them. If you play with consideration to what you bring to groups and direct your progression efforts based on that, you'll be viable. That's it. That's all you need. You don't need developers reaching down with the hamfisted hand of dog and saying, "Ya, we made it so that the build that resembles WHM actually sucks compared to other healing/support classes, so rather than retune that build we're just going to throw in encounters that force you to bring that build that sucks and that way everyone is happy. Except the ones who play the class that sucks, because all they ever get invited to do are the encounters that we tuned so that they were required. At least, they used to get invites until people realized they could just progress their own characters that aren't classes that suck to get access to the key abilities of the class that sucks and add it into their rotation for that particular fight and all of a sudden the class that sucks but was needed is back to the class that sucks and isn't needed when all we really needed to do was not be moronic developers and fix problems with balance instead of trying to ram the imbalance down the players' throats."

SE has no excuses this time around. They can't play the novice developer card and expect any sympathy. They need to get it right, and that will start by making sure the game mechanics are inclusive and all archetypes are viable for all encounters.


Edited, Nov 2nd 2009 8:56am by AureliusSir
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