A simple timeline to consider:
-January 21st - 1st Letter From the Producer with 1st Players' Poll results.
* Battle, Combat, and Overhaul to Fundamental Gameplay Aspects were voted top priority.
I believe that significant changes to the battle system are necessary to create a style of combat that lends itself to the enjoyment of quests and miniquests. Following that logic one step further, it is equally necessary to bring about significant changes to the user interface to create a UI that lends itself to the enjoyment of the battle system.
* Story based quests/Mini-quests voted what players want implemented first.
The issue that players would first like to see addressed is a general lack of game content, followed by changes to the battle system. Looking further, it seems that the type of content most strongly desired is quests and miniquests, accounting for about 40% of the responses.
In line with the above results, we will be bringing quests and miniquests to Eorzea sometime after the beginning of February. Along with this, all of the changes being worked on during the end of last year and the beginning of this year to improve the games playability and user-friendliness will also be released around the same time.
* 85% of players polled voted in favor of change that would drastically alter the rules already set in Eorzea
This is something that will be in the forefront of my mind when making decisions concerning future updates to the game.
What I gather from this is that they acknowledge that players want more content worked on first. However, the players desire to overhaul the battle system is also being taken into account. They seem to want to have the changes to the battle system in place first, so as to lend themselves to the upcoming quests/side quests/etc. Keep in mind this letter from Yoshi-P was released just a hair over 1 month ago. Sweeping changes of the magnitude SE knows the players want simply cannot occur in a months time.
We've seen some nice improvements to the SP system, and more incentive to engage in party play. This seems to be the groundwork for further battle changes they have planned.
- February 1st: 2nd Letter from the Producer
* Bigger outline of current/planned/future tasks
My next post will be dealing specifically with the battle system, and I am planning to conduct another players’ poll on the subject. I would very like much to hear all of your opinions again.
- February 2nd: 1.15a goes live
- February 17th: 1.15b goes live as well as the 3rd Letter from the Producer and 2nd Players' Poll.
* Observations on 1.15a
Patch 1.15a went live with all of the intended content (resulting in a bit of behest-induced fever on some forums, hehe), and the dev team is now on the next step in improving the game.
Of course, we're still on the fence a bit about balancing the degree of difficulty for fifteen-member parties, but I personally am of the opinion that everyone playing together is what makes the game fun. And so that is the direction in which I would like to take the game, and take it as quickly as possible. It was for that reason that I opted to balance the skill and experience points rewards first, with the intention of later tackling the difficulty level, rather than vice versa.
Therefore, in the coming days we'll be looking into further improvements to bonuses awarded when participating in groups of nine or more. For now, I'd be happy to think that we've already taken care of some balancing issues that relate directly to future content.
* New/Updated game improvement schedule
We've also completed our examination of the balancing and placement of freely roaming enemies, and are in the midst of holding meetings now to begin implementing the planned changes. Also, the routes players take when traveling through areas must also be adjusted so as not to have a negative influence on quest balance. All told, we'll be making changes of this sort up until the onset of spring.
We are also in the process of putting together a new workflow to handle the development of new quests and sidequests. Though we will begin releasing these in the next patch, it will be difficult to release a large number of them at once
The tasks laid out for the overhaul of the battle system are being divided up and divvied out, and the office is a maelstrom as we try to settle upon the final specs for the system itself.
Hopefully, we'll be able to get all of our ducks in a row, hammer out an engaging battle system, and bring a slew of new and exciting challenges to all of you soon!
Again, it looks as if their primary focus is on the battle system and getting it prepared for future content, which is simultaneously being worked on. These two things being what the players have voiced as being most important.
Today is the last day for the Battle System poll. They will, of course, review the feedback, hold meetings, make plans etc etc and adjust the game accordingly. This will not happen overnight. Again, it sounds like they really want their new battle system in place for the majority of the upcoming content.
The game is in dire need of change. The current popularity of the game is enough to make this plainly obvious. These changes will not please everyone (as the saying goes...) Yoshida is trying to steer the game in the direction that will make it a larger over-all success, and more of a fun, Final Fantasy experience. Again, a little over a month has passed from his first letter.
Keep giving SE your feedback, guys. We've got the Feedback Forum here on ZAM for that, and there's also a direct feedback option to voice your opinions to SE.
Edited, Feb 23rd 2011 2:02pm by Osarion