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Level Cap Plans - Lodestone Forum (06-29-11)Follow

#1 Jun 28 2011 at 9:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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Originally Posted
-> http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/14832-New-Letter-from-the-Producer-XII?p=205563#post205563

Separate Lodestone thread on topic
-> http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/14989-Rank-cap-increase-every-1-2-years-discussion-thread

Bayohne wrote:

Got another (late night!) post from Yoshida that I wanted to share with you all. The thread that Yoshida was addressing had questions asking about whether or not leveling up will be necessary based on some comments he stated in a recent interview.

I suggest that if you want to discuss specific points in the below post, you may want to start a separate thread so that this thread doesn't become further off-topic (than I'm about to make it!)

Without further ado, here's the official translation...


Naoki Yoshida wrote:

Hi all, this is producer/director Yoshida.

First off, I’d just like to say that I am not by any means saying that characters shouldn’t have to level, or that we should get rid of leveling up itself, or that leveling is boring. If there was anyone that took it this way, I apologize. I myself am a huge role playing gamer, I love MMOs, and I’ve even worked on a recent Dragon Quest title, so I understand the pleasure and fun aspects of character growth. With that said, this does not mean that we are getting rid of it.

Of course, when you consider the unique characteristics of MMOs, planning to reach the level cap within a week isn’t entirely accurate. The ideal image is one where if you play every day for 2 hours or so, you will be able to reach the max cap on one class in about 3-4 months. Naturally, if you make detours or spend a whole day just chatting with friends, the distance and time to reach the cap will increase. One of the important things we would like players to think is “if I keep playing, I too can reach the highest rank.”

I was a hardcore EverQuest player and I know of the struggles involved in getting to that point. Truth be told, I really loved it. However, dying and losing 2 weeks’ worth of EXP, going insane trying to make EXP parties... I don’t think those features are important in the future of FFXIV.

While this is only concept phase right now, we are planning to increase the rank cap for growth once every 1-2 years, and will be implementing elements such as additional classes and jobs in the future.

However, I think what you’re all really concerned about is whether or not the end-game content and reasons for growing your character are going to be worthwhile or not. All I can say to that is that I will give it my utmost best!

Additionally, in the midst of the current battle adjustments, I think that rapidly inserting content (specifically battle-related content), when taking into account the overall situation, can be considered a pretty rash decision under normal circumstances. Since the foundation of game design is usually to first focus on finalizing the battle system, and then to implement content that utilizes the finished system, we are running a lot of risks launching the instanced raids and the Ifrit battle at this time. ^^;

I want to state just how much we appreciate all of you that are playing in these conditions, and let you know that we’ll continue with our best effort to implement content alongside the battle and foundational-related fixes.


Not sure if 1-2 years implies 1-2 years from now or 1-2 years from release. But either way leval cap increased won't be coming anythine soon.
#2 Jun 28 2011 at 9:43 PM Rating: Good
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I'd rather have the cap stabilize for a long period, like 75 was in XI, than have it upped every year or two. It gives you a nice reference point and allows you time to really get used to the way things are. I guess they don't agree, and will keep it in a more constant state of flux..
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#3 Jun 28 2011 at 9:59 PM Rating: Default
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lol @ planning for 2 years down the road. They're awfully confident in themselves and I can't figure out why they still are.
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#4 Jun 28 2011 at 10:07 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah, because NOT planning ahead is a great way to keep a company going.

Um what?
#5 Jun 28 2011 at 10:08 PM Rating: Good
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bsphil wrote:
lol @ planning for 2 years down the road. They're awfully confident in themselves and I can't figure out why they still are.

It's the right thing to do, regardless of the state of the game. It's not overconfidence, it's just good game design. Designing content purely for the immediate just because the game is doing badly is shortsighted and will only result in the game crashing in 1 year instead of 6 months. Designing an MMO is always a balancing act between short term development and long range development; without one, the other is doomed to failure.
#6 Jun 28 2011 at 10:20 PM Rating: Decent
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bsphil wrote:
lol @ planning for 2 years down the road. They're awfully confident in themselves and I can't figure out why they still are.


So... they should just give up now, instead? o_O

Not sure what the "obvious" other choice would be here...
#7 Jun 28 2011 at 10:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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They're awfully confident in themselves and I can't figure out why they still are.


I've thought long and hard about this, and I've come up with three possible explanations:

1. Maybe they know something we don't.

2. Perhaps they've conducted careful focus group studies and have reached a conclusion that enough of their target audience will play after their improvements are made, thus rationalizing the need to plan ahead by guaranteeing a worthwhile profit two years down the road?

3. They've spent too much time on the game to just drop it.


My guess is Option 2. Global businesses like Square Enix typically don't make decisions like this unless there is good reason to.

All in or go home. How can you plan an MMO if you're not looking at least two years down the road?
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#8 Jun 28 2011 at 10:57 PM Rating: Good
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I hope we get atleast 1 full year from now until level cap is raised. Why add end game in the next 6 months if you are gonna make it obsolite a few months down the line.
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#9 Jun 28 2011 at 11:07 PM Rating: Decent
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Thayos wrote:
Quote:
They're awfully confident in themselves and I can't figure out why they still are.


I've thought long and hard about this, and I've come up with three possible explanations:

1. Maybe they know something we don't.

2. Perhaps they've conducted careful focus group studies and have reached a conclusion that enough of their target audience will play after their improvements are made, thus rationalizing the need to plan ahead by guaranteeing a worthwhile profit two years down the road?

3. They've spent too much time on the game to just drop it.


My guess is Option 2. Global businesses like Square Enix typically don't make decisions like this unless there is good reason to.

All in or go home. How can you plan an MMO if you're not looking at least two years down the road?


Too bad they didn't go with Option 2 before they released FFXIV in the first place. XD
#10 Jun 28 2011 at 11:23 PM Rating: Good
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Magnesium02 wrote:


Not sure if 1-2 years implies 1-2 years from now or 1-2 years from release. But either way leval cap increased won't be coming anythine soon.


So if it was 1 year from release that wouldnt be anytime soon?

I don't think it will be anytime soon but not because of the 1-2 year timespan but because expansion of character development will come with a new raft of jobs. Cap raise will come later.
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#11 Jun 28 2011 at 11:28 PM Rating: Good
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bsphil wrote:
lol @ planning for 2 years down the road. They're awfully confident in themselves and I can't figure out why they still are.


Because Yoshida's one bad-*** motherf*cker, that's why.

*puts on sunglasses and folds arms*
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#12 Jun 28 2011 at 11:39 PM Rating: Excellent
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Too bad they didn't go with Option 2 before they released FFXIV in the first place. XD


Unfortunately, I think the FFXI playerbase was the focus group... and this is the playerbase that continued playing while SE took no less than three years to release the WoTG storyline in its entirety. Yikes.

Edited, Jul 1st 2011 10:02pm by Thayos
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#13 Jun 29 2011 at 12:14 AM Rating: Good
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Honestly I'm glad they are looking 2 years down the line. That tells me they aren't willing to let the game just fade away and die. If I remember correctly they mentioned somewhere that they are betting on the PS3 release before deciding to scrap the game or not and I for one am going to stick with it until that time comes, so long as they show they are still trying.
#14 Jun 29 2011 at 12:24 AM Rating: Decent
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Sorry to bring up WoW, but this is one thing I really hated about WoW. They raised the level cap there every expansion. Sure you could level again on your character, but all the gear you worked so hard to get became instantly worthless. You're really left with a feeling of emptiness.
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#15 Jun 29 2011 at 12:32 AM Rating: Excellent
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RedGalka wrote:
Sorry to bring up WoW, but this is one thing I really hated about WoW. They raised the level cap there every expansion. Sure you could level again on your character, but all the gear you worked so hard to get became instantly worthless. You're really left with a feeling of emptiness.

Actually, if they're clever enough to spot it (not saying they are, but it would be nice), they're already implementing a way to make the best gear at each stage constantly worth something even after the upgrade. It all hinges on the Materia system. Namely, they have already said that there will be some gear that will not be convertible into Materia. Similarly, you can only equip one Materia to each piece of gear.

By allowing players to build up Materia points (or whatever name they decide to give it) even on gear that cannot be converted, then unlocking the gear at each incremental levelcap change, old best gear will turn into new best Materia. This means that if you went to the work to get and use the best gear at each level, you will start out with a massive leg up on each increment.
#16 Jun 29 2011 at 7:51 AM Rating: Decent
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Hulan wrote:
RedGalka wrote:
Sorry to bring up WoW, but this is one thing I really hated about WoW. They raised the level cap there every expansion. Sure you could level again on your character, but all the gear you worked so hard to get became instantly worthless. You're really left with a feeling of emptiness.

Actually, if they're clever enough to spot it (not saying they are, but it would be nice), they're already implementing a way to make the best gear at each stage constantly worth something even after the upgrade. It all hinges on the Materia system. Namely, they have already said that there will be some gear that will not be convertible into Materia. Similarly, you can only equip one Materia to each piece of gear.

By allowing players to build up Materia points (or whatever name they decide to give it) even on gear that cannot be converted, then unlocking the gear at each incremental levelcap change, old best gear will turn into new best Materia. This means that if you went to the work to get and use the best gear at each level, you will start out with a massive leg up on each increment.


I kind of hope that you are right here, and that there is also some form of eqiupment growth, like if they raise the cap add in a few new pieces of gear but also make quests to upgrade some of the old gear. Kind of like the trials from ffxi. I just don't like the idea that you spend all that time on gear and then poof, its useless. Making the gear upgradeable makes the whole game feel more dynamic in my opinion.
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#17 Jun 29 2011 at 6:51 PM Rating: Decent
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The idea of turning the equipment I have into materia intrigues me. Seems to make the collecting of all HQ items worthwhile, since apparently the stats currently don't much matter.

On the topic of level caps, I think XI was pretty ideal. I'd like to see them raised to 75, and then have a 5 level raise every 1-2 years. Keep in mind, XI actually started as 70 (I think, didn't it?).
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#18 Jun 29 2011 at 7:05 PM Rating: Good
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WolfOak wrote:
The idea of turning the equipment I have into materia intrigues me. Seems to make the collecting of all HQ items worthwhile, since apparently the stats currently don't much matter.

On the topic of level caps, I think XI was pretty ideal. I'd like to see them raised to 75, and then have a 5 level raise every 1-2 years. Keep in mind, XI actually started as 70 (I think, didn't it?).

Actually, I'm fairly certain that at one point it was 50, but for a fairly short time (like half a year I think?). Someone will likely correct me, since I don't really remember all that well.
#19 Jun 29 2011 at 7:17 PM Rating: Decent
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I believe it started as 50 and rose to 75 @ NA release.

I wish this game would have a similar progress route.
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#20 Jun 29 2011 at 7:57 PM Rating: Good
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The level cap when FFXI was first introduced was indeed 50. Read here for some interesting tidbits on the update road from its introduction. A lot of the comments kind of sound familiar to the current state of FFXIV (at 50 cap all there was to do was level, etc etc)
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#21FilthMcNasty, Posted: Jun 29 2011 at 8:37 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Does gear have some sort of sentimental value to you? You know you can put it in your safe right?
#22 Jun 29 2011 at 9:27 PM Rating: Decent
Edited by bsphil
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FilthMcNasty wrote:
It took XI longer than that and that game didn't suffer a catastrophic launch. They also started charging soon after release and spent less money on development. You also have to consider the money SE is still pouring in now with no subs to balance the outgoing flow of money.

It's possible, but it would probably require them to pick up 5 million subs from somewhere...
Have any sources for any of those claims? I've never really seen much talking about it.
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#23 Jun 29 2011 at 10:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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It took XI longer than that and that game didn't suffer a catastrophic launch. They also started charging soon after release and spent less money on development. You also have to consider the money SE is still pouring in now with no subs to balance the outgoing flow of money.


I don't get how people can claim SE to be losing a river of money each day this game remains live, while on the other hand, those same people claim SE has a skeleton crew keeping the game going. Yes, I know there are certain overhead costs that must be paid, but a lot of those costs are significantly mitigated by SE running this game in-house. SE may have lost money on the development of the game, but I don't think they're losing money hand over fist during this extended beta period we're in now.

Also, I wouldn't call XI's launch catastrophic. Those were different times back then... expectations were not sky high and competition for our attention wasn't as fierce. FFXI may have had many issues as well, but those issues back then wouldn't have the impact they have today.

Anyway, overall, the game may not be a profitable enterprise in two years from now, but there's a good chance the game could be turning a monthly profit by then en route to an overall profit later on down the road. It all depends on the gaming public's reaction to the game's PS3 release.
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#24 Jun 30 2011 at 1:33 PM Rating: Decent
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Thayos wrote:
Quote:
They're awfully confident in themselves and I can't figure out why they still are.


I've thought long and hard about this, and I've come up with three possible explanations:

1. Maybe they know something we don't.

2. Perhaps they've conducted careful focus group studies and have reached a conclusion that enough of their target audience will play after their improvements are made, thus rationalizing the need to plan ahead by guaranteeing a worthwhile profit two years down the road?

3. They've spent too much time on the game to just drop it.


My guess is Option 2. Global businesses like Square Enix typically don't make decisions like this unless there is good reason to.

All in or go home. How can you plan an MMO if you're not looking at least two years down the road?


However unartfully stated, bsphil is 100% correct. While it's important for MMOs generally to plan for the future, FFXIV is on life support and needs to be implementing a tripartite strategy that focuses on 1)ui redesign and server upgrades to reduce menu lag, 2)a complete revamping of the battle system and redundant, mindless crafting system and 3)content updates that involve completely new zones and content other than mindless leves and grind fests that cater to OC/drone players such as DoctorMog, Thevedis, and Hydragyrum, white knights who relentlessly defended the game while it crashed into the ground and nearly burned to death, but few else.

Moreover, each prong of this tripartite strategy must be worked on simultaneously and progress should have been evident at the 3-6 month mark after release. It's simply not enough for them to fix the broken tedious battle system over a 1 year period, then add desperately needed content over the next period, ad infinitum until these basic systems are reformed or improved. These things must happen concomitantly. This is why it's crucially important that the numbers of developers increase and the budget increase, and why I've constantly asked if anyone has facts and figures related to the current size of the development team and current development budgets. In absolutely no way, shape, or form does SE have 1-2 years from now to make this happen, unless they're willing to bleed money on server costs and development costs without seeing any income over the duration. Judging from the quarterly earnings reports, I doubt SE's investors are going to have that kind of patience and perseverance, particularly if SE isn't making a dedicated effort in concrete terms to improve this catastrophic failure of a game.

#25 Jun 30 2011 at 3:03 PM Rating: Good
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HardHotThrobbingAetherite wrote:
However unartfully stated, bsphil is 100% correct. While it's important for MMOs generally to plan for the future, FFXIV is on life support and needs to be implementing a tripartite strategy that focuses on 1)ui redesign and server upgrades to reduce menu lag, 2)a complete revamping of the battle system and redundant, mindless crafting system and 3)content updates that involve completely new zones and content other than mindless leves and grind fests that cater to OC/drone players such as DoctorMog, Thevedis, and Hydragyrum, white knights who relentlessly defended the game while it crashed into the ground and nearly burned to death, but few else.


However artfully stated, I do believe this is a poor approach.

The game needs long term strategies in addition to short. You simply can't cater to immediacy and expect a coherent result that will keep players interested in the long term. This isn't supposed to be a game that you play 3 months and quit for good; the idea is to hook you in for several years.

Yes, the playability needs addressing; no one is denying that. But without envisioning where you see the game developing in a few years, especially when you consider this level of planning is meant for game expansions (which are the lifeblood that keeps MMOs alive), you're just treading water.

If they just focus making what they currently have as playable as possible, everyone will have quit out of sheer boredom (and they are, even the die-hards are bored). They also need new content, new goals, new activities and that's not stuff you can just pull out of your ***. It takes time to develop, something that would require a two year plan.
#26 Jun 30 2011 at 3:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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Put simply, planning is cheap. There is no valid reason why the big movers and shakers in the Dev team like YoshiP and Matsui-san should not be putting their heads together once a week for half an hour and thinking about where the game should be a year or two down the road. Implementation takes up a lot of time and effort, but good planning can be done any time.
#27 Jun 30 2011 at 4:31 PM Rating: Decent
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bsphil wrote:
FilthMcNasty wrote:
It took XI longer than that and that game didn't suffer a catastrophic launch. They also started charging soon after release and spent less money on development. You also have to consider the money SE is still pouring in now with no subs to balance the outgoing flow of money.

It's possible, but it would probably require them to pick up 5 million subs from somewhere...
Have any sources for any of those claims? I've never really seen much talking about it.

There was a statement by Wada where he estimated that they'd have to hold over 200k subs for ~4 years if I'm not mistaken. They exceeded the 200k mark before then and iirc they broke even in 2006 but I'll have to dig for the article. I'm certain I posted it before.

The 5 million subs number was just an exaggeration, but it's about as likely to happen as SE profiting on XIV in two years.

Thayos wrote:
I don't get how people can claim SE to be losing a river of money each day this game remains live, while on the other hand, those same people claim SE has a skeleton crew keeping the game going. SE may have lost money on the development of the game, but I don't think they're losing money hand over fist during this extended beta period we're in now

I don't recall saying anything about skeleton crew. I believe they have a large crew broken into many smaller teams. This team is getting paid. That is money out the door. Running and maintaining servers, more money. Hand over fist? Who knows, but loss is loss and we know the budget for this game is in the tens of millions already.

Thayos wrote:
Also, I wouldn't call XI's launch catastrophic.

I think you misunderstood. It was a contrast between XI and XIV. I meant that XI took longer than two years to break into profit, but it didn't suffer the same launch issues that XIV has. I don't have a lot of faith at this point, but I agree that it's a possibility for SE to turn this game into a game that makes monthly gains. Just saying that there should be no question that those gains won't bring them out of the red in two years.

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#28 Jun 30 2011 at 5:12 PM Rating: Good
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Hulan wrote:
Put simply, planning is cheap. There is no valid reason why the big movers and shakers in the Dev team like YoshiP and Matsui-san should not be putting their heads together once a week for half an hour and thinking about where the game should be a year or two down the road. Implementation takes up a lot of time and effort, but good planning can be done any time.

this cannot be argued.
well, i think a half hour wouldnt be long enough, at least an hour-2 hours a week to discuss whats happened recently so they can plan on how things could effect the future.
i hope their doing stuff like that.
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#29 Jul 01 2011 at 5:53 AM Rating: Decent
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Coyohma wrote:
I'd rather have the cap stabilize for a long period, like 75 was in XI, than have it upped every year or two.


That's all well and good, sure, but FFXI had a terrible problem of having a million side-grades as far as gear was concerned, and I personally wouldn't want to see that happen again, Especially since we're on a fixed inventory. I think that upgrades should be incremental, and to do that, you'd have to effectively stagger the content that's released in your patches. Assuming that the cap was at 50 for say... 2 years, inevitably an increase would have to occur just because gear would become much stronger than the stats that players could ultimately achieve themselves. As far as increasing every year or two, I agree mostly. I would say that the best point to do that is once content is released that can justify it. Unlike "Well, abyssea is out, 5 level caps before the year ends."
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#30 Jul 01 2011 at 6:16 AM Rating: Good
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I believe Lv 75 lasted from late 2003 until mid 2010? Would you have rather had.. 2005, Lv 80. 2006, Lv 85.. 2008, Lv 90.. 2010, Lv 95..? To each their own.

Edited, Jul 1st 2011 8:19am by Coyohma
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#31 Jul 01 2011 at 8:48 AM Rating: Good
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Roughly what would be appealing to me:

2012 - LVL cap 70 (with PS3 release)
2013 - LVL cap 75 (first or second major expansion)
2016 - Lvl cap 80
2018 - Lvl cap 85
2019 - Lvl cap 90
2020 - Lvl cap 99

I think this is a reasonable 9 year life.
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