FFXIVCore.com sat down with the new Final Fantasy XIV Producer Naoki Yoshida for a face-to-face interview and here are the questions we asked and also the answers we were given!
If you take out the physical level system, do you plan on adding ability trees, sphere grid, licence grid, etc type systems (Final Fantasy spin on classic MMO character building) that will still allow us to build out our classes as we please? If so, what are your thoughts, if not, what are your thoughts on the whole physical leveling system in FFXIV?
- We're not looking to copy what other MMOs are doing. But we are looking to move in that direction, and right now the battle team has two options that they're thinking of. And basically, they're battling against which one they're going to choose. We're going to be moving in a similar direction, but it's not something that copies another game.
- And with that, we want to get back to the roots of the original Final Fantasyesque jobs like Dragoons and White Mages. So we're trying to figure out how to get that to that new type of system.
Once parties are limited to a max of 8 players, any thoughts on an alliance system that will allow multiple parties to join up together as one large party to take on really big mobs?
- In the past the communities that were playing each game were a lot bigger, and so you could have a lot of people there. And now that the community sizes are smaller, we want to concentrate a little bit more on smaller party sizes, and so starting off with regular content that you can do with 4 players--making that our base. Then making bigger type of battles that you need to think about, "Ok how are we going to defeat this," and make that the 8-player party.
- The 8-player party is currently what you would think of as an 'Alliance' with normal parties being 4. Then once we have enough content to support that, we'll start considering adding content that requires more players. Right now it's 4 and 8, that's what we're aiming for.
A mention of class specific armor were brought up, would something like this come from quests or an event akin to something like Dynamis from FFXI?
- The illustrations that we showed in the last letter, that's just one aspect. We've got more planned--that's just one taste of what we have. We hope to have more unique items, more class-specific items, and we hope to have ones that are for low-level players as well as high-level players. And the ones for low-level players will be easy to get through maybe simple quests, where high-level players you might have to do multiple quests before you get that final item.
- And there will be many places to get this armor--not just through the quests, the raids, places like Dynamis. We're planning on introducing some low-level NMs, and these NMs will drop stuff for the lower level players.
What exactly does "Optimization of enemy size for ease of play" mean? On one lodestone site it refers to monster scale while others can be interpreted as monster party size, can you go into further detail?
- First of all, you've noticed that the monsters are all very beautifully designed. It's taken a lot of time, a lot of detail has gone into them. But the models are really small--you get out there and it's this little tiny rat. Making the monsters bigger so the players can get a better look at these really good designs. So by scaling it up in size, it actually means the monsters bigger in size.
- And also, you're out there fighting stuff, and you're this great big warrior fighting this little tiny rat. It's not as epic as fighting something bigger. But also it will make the monsters easier to target. Right now you usually have to target their name due to how small they are.
In the latest letter from the producer, there's something marked as Instanced PvE content (Dungeon/raids). A lot of players are veterans of Final Fantasy XI so immediately thought of content like Dynamis, Limbus or Assault - Can you go into detail on what type of content we can look forward to in this regard?
- It would be tough to say which it will be closer to, but if you had to say one, it will probably be similar to dungeons in other MMOs. But right now because we're working on the changes to the battle system at the same time, we're going to make something that can follow the progression--the evolution--of the battle system. Those instances will change over time as well.
- Because a lot of this stuff is going to be high-level, end content, we want to make sure that the battles all have situations where you have to plan out the battle, have the tactics to defeat it--not only defeat it, but pop it as well. It's something that will be the high end, the hardcore content.
On the topic of monster attribute changes and possibly player attribute changes, can you go more into detail on this? A lot of players feel everything is still a bit out of whack when it comes to the current attributes like dex barely affecting Accuracy or Shell barely reducing an Imps Blizzard damage.
- Our Lead Battle Director, Matsui-san, is currently undergoing--they're basically going to change the equations for how stuff is calculated, all of these attributes. As they balance each of the classes with the new balance system, they're going to go through and check each action. And then see how that needs to be adjusted, and reassign each attribute as they go along.
- Since it's going to be such a huge undertaking, it's going to happen in steps--it's not all going to change in the next patch, but over the next few patches we hope to change it. But we want to reassess everything, so it's not like we're going to be looking at one broken thing, we're going to be changing pretty much everything.
- One of the reasons that you have some of the things not affecting something at all--like Shell not working on a lot of spells--is because right now a lot of the calculations for that stuff is too complex. Because it's so complex, it's difficult to balance. They want to make it simpler, not just so the players know what's going on--having to have some super program going on in the background to understand the calculations--but also so when the devs do balancing, it's easier for them to balance.
In your letter, the blurb (Examination and implementation of changes to claiming and engaging enemies) was mentioned as well as in the players poll about possibly rewarding multiple parties for bringing a monster down - Players are worried this means the world will become "free-for-all", can you explain these in detail?
- We're going to make a lot of bigger battles, where lots of players will be involved in these large-scale battles. In these large-scale battles there will be multiple parties on the field. If you have a system where only one party can claim something, then other parties won't even be able to come in and help. Or to get them to come in and help, you have to have another special system to allow them to come in and help, and it just becomes to complex. So we want to have a system where it's easy to have another team to come in and help someone that's maybe in trouble.
- In the future there's going to be more instanced type stuff. With the more instanced type stuff there is, the less need you have for the claim system. Because you're going to have your hardcore players who have a lot, and you're going to have your players who don't play a lot as well, to give everybody equal chances to get into battles and do what they want to do. Having that claim system there preventing it is not something that we like. We'd rather for it to be more open.
There was a blurb about Addition of icons to make quest NPCs easily recognizable - What about the NPC Linkpearl system? Would this be used for getting quests or will this system be scrapped?
- We're not going to be getting rid of the NPC linkpearl system. That will be used in a different way. The new quests that we're going to be introducing in upcoming patches are more focused on the other NPCs--the other people living in Eorzea--not just the ones that you've seen in the class quests or the main scenario.
- While doing these quests you'll get to learn about the people living, their daily life in the city, the danger that is approaching in the coming months. And learn about the monsters, more about the lore in the game. These are completely different from the main story NPCs, and not linked pretty much in any way. Think of them as separate.
- While the NPC linkpearl system is used by those NPCs, these are more on a lighter level.
A majority of players would like to see the player search system redone, because currently unless you're almost standing on top of someone you can't form a party, but in Final Fantasy XI for example you can type "/sea all player name" and if they have a party flag up and are within the same region you can invite them to a party, send a tell add to friendlist etc. Will we get a better searching system in this regard?
- We recognize this as a very important problem that needs to be solved. It's just that currently we're trying to overcome some of the server issues, how to get the search feature to work. But we know that as we're creating more party-based content, the player is going to want an easy way to make a party--to limit the stress of making that party. So this is one of the things that's high up on our list, it just might take a little bit of time. There's going to need to be a lot of restructuring of what we have now to make it work.
What were the lessons you've learned from the release of Final Fantasy XIV that you've applied to planning the release on PlayStation 3, and future updates to the game?
- Making an MMO is so much more difficult than making a regular, offline game. Because the players are different, and the players are even different from how they were 10 years ago when the first EverQuest came out, or when FF11 came out. Players now expect something--they're not new to this, they're veterans--and so we want to give them something that from the get-go, there's no stress. It's easy to enter. You don't have to go "Well what do I do? Where do I go?"
- And from the get-go that Eorzea is going to be a fun place, and there's all this stuff waiting for you when you get in. Not "What am I going to do next?" and you can see all the stuff.
- Then once you get past that first step of getting into the world, you realize that there is just so much to do. There's a lot of content, it's not ending, there's all this stuff do to. And also, it's a real Final Fantasy game--it's not just some game--it has that Final Fantasy Flavor.
Sage: And then one thing that we weren't able to do last time is have that open beta. That open beta where we're able to go in and polish while listening to users. And we didn't do that as well as we wanted the first time. But this time we want to make sure that when we have our open beta, that we hear the voice of the users--we hear what they want--and then we actually implement that in the game before going forward.
- When you get in, you'll see that it's a Final Fantasy world. There are Chocobos. There are guys like on the package, with the great armor that Yoshida-san designed. When you get in there you can see that this is Final Fantasy.
Edited, Mar 9th 2011 2:10am by dodokins