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Letter from the Producer, XXXII (07/23/2012) Follow

#1 Jul 23 2012 at 10:44 AM Rating: Good
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http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/50143

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Hello again, all you XIVers out there! Yoshi-P here, back with my 32nd missive.

First up, I just have to say, bloody hells it’s hot! The whole of Tokyo is like a blacksmith’s forge this time of year, and I couldn’t survive without AC. I’m about to fly over to Shanghai, which is even hotter than Tokyo. While there, though, I can sweat it out in style with some fiery Szechuan cuisine! In case you’re wondering, I’ll be going for official version 2.0 business.

As I mentioned via press releases a while back, Square Enix has entered into a strategic partnership with SNDA, a major Chinese video game developer. With their cooperation, we’ll be bringing FFXIV version 2.0 to China, which boasts the largest online gaming community in the world. This is one market that no global online operation can ignore, ours included.

Official service in China is scheduled to commence a while after version 2.0’s global launch, and so I thought it’d be good to check out ChinaJoy, the nation’s largest video game expo. We’re not necessarily timing it with the event, but the new promo site will be unveiled very soon. Between the site’s kickoff, gamescom 2012 in August, and the FINAL FANTASY 25th anniversary event, we’ll be releasing a flood of info.

In order to convey FFXIV’s allure from a fresh perspective, we plan to release the info in stages—from lore, scenario, and characters, to the game system itself. Some things are bound to stir criticism, and I’ll be watching fan reaction with great interest.

As for my keywords, I’d like to tentatively go with rebirth, challenge, reform, and—last but not least—FINAL FANTASY.

Many considerations went into deciding our publicity policy, and all materials were picked for a reason. In the letters to come, though, I hope to be able to reveal more things to you—things I normally keep my mouth sealed about.

Patch 1.23, which marks the final stage of the current version, is scheduled to go live on July 26. With the events of the Seventh Umbral Era coming to a head, the team spared no effort on delivering a battle that has “FINAL FANTASY” written all over it. The greatest trial of the age awaits all you adventurers out there!

But wait, there’s more! In addition to the above, we’ll also be bringing you Skirmish, which is designed to be fuss-free battle content you can jump right into. I hope you all look forward to that as well.

Oh, and there’s the much-awaited summer festival. As I’ve already mentioned in a forum post, yukata will be up for grabs this year!

[Insert Yukata pictures here]


Um...right. As you can see, in keeping with Japanese fashion, the yukata are kinda...short. I must apologize in advance to those who prefer traditional full-length types. You see, some people on the team have certain...inclinations. /lol

To recap, the 1.23 series of patches is about to land, bringing with it the grand finale for the Seventh Umbral Era. On top of this, we’ll be releasing a slew of information as promotional activities commence for version 2.0. You won’t be able to keep your eyes off of FFXIV this summer!

Aaand that’s a wrap for today’s letter. See you next time and/or on the forums!



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#2 Jul 23 2012 at 11:56 AM Rating: Decent
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I'm calling it now... Free to play upon release of 2.0.

Edit: ok link removed since it was from 2006, but here is their Wikipedia page which shows a trend to free to play games in their products.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanda


Edited, Jul 23rd 2012 2:16pm by reptiletim
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#3 Jul 23 2012 at 12:23 PM Rating: Excellent
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reptiletim wrote:
I'm calling it now... Free to play upon release of 2.0.

Edit: ok link removed since it was from 2006, but here is their Wikipedia page which shows a trend to free to play games in their products.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanda


Edited, Jul 23rd 2012 2:16pm by reptiletim


That seems.... unlikely. On topic, some pretty decent information on here. I'm not expecting much in the way of concrete info until after most of the 7th Umbral Era events are over. Yoshi-P has his hands tied if he doesn't want to spoil too much (as he seems to be inclined not to). Generally nice to hear that 1.23 is coming shortly, and a few tidbits about SE's international policy are always interesting.

Edited, Jul 23rd 2012 2:25pm by Hulan
#4 Jul 23 2012 at 12:45 PM Rating: Default
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Hulan wrote:
reptiletim wrote:
I'm calling it now... Free to play upon release of 2.0.

Edit: ok link removed since it was from 2006, but here is their Wikipedia page which shows a trend to free to play games in their products.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanda


Edited, Jul 23rd 2012 2:16pm by reptiletim


That seems.... unlikely. On topic, some pretty decent information on here. I'm not expecting much in the way of concrete info until after most of the 7th Umbral Era events are over. Yoshi-P has his hands tied if he doesn't want to spoil too much (as he seems to be inclined not to). Generally nice to hear that 1.23 is coming shortly, and a few tidbits about SE's international policy are always interesting.

Edited, Jul 23rd 2012 2:25pm by Hulan


Yea I might have rushed to judgment too quickly, but I just have this nagging feeling there's going to be a cash shop in there somewhere.

I always thought SE had pushed off some development to the Chinese and this doesn't do a whole lot to stem those fears. We don't know how much though. I don't think this partnership is recent though, even though Yoshi makes it sound like it is.

To me, this doesn't bode well for 2.0.
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#5 Jul 23 2012 at 1:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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"Legacy Members get a free 1,000 CrystalBucks as soon as the shop goes live!"
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"... he called to himself a wizard, named Gallery, hoping by this means to escape the paying of the fifteen hundred crowns..." (Machen 15)

"Thus opium is pleasing... on account of the agreeable delirium it produces." (Burke para.6)

"I could only read so much for this paper and the syphilis poem had to go."
#6 Jul 23 2012 at 1:18 PM Rating: Good
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KaneKitty wrote:


"Legacy Members get a free 1,000 CrystalBucks as soon as the shop goes live!"

Sorry, perhaps I should not have been so indirect, I was specifically pointing out the already updated and established payment methods, as well as support systems. Now, such things do change, but that was a relatively recent announcement (in the grand scheme of things), so it does seem extremely unlikely that they would go free-to-play at 2.0 launch. Though I'm not taking post-launch off the table (after all, free-to-play models are proving to be extremely cost effective, and may be too tempting for SE to resist in the years to come).
#7 Jul 23 2012 at 1:46 PM Rating: Good
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F2P is wishful thinking for some.

Personally I hate F2P and much prefer a subscription, knowing that my sub gets me access t oeverything, not nickled and dimed.
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#8 Jul 23 2012 at 3:33 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
On topic, some pretty decent information on here.

Like... what?
#9 Jul 23 2012 at 4:09 PM Rating: Good
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If it's released in China will it be like other games where there is multi-cultrual participation, except China has to have it's own servers so we don't corrupt the Chinese with free thinking? If so it could go F2P there and remain sub here, I know a few games use that approach.
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#10 Jul 23 2012 at 4:48 PM Rating: Excellent
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They're not offshooting some of the development to China because they're down on staff/funding.

They're off-shooting development to China for localization and optimization with Chinese servers.

If anything, this was the nail in the coffin for me for any worries about SE's total subscription numbers. Tapping China is a huge boost in subscriptions no matter how you write it.

Not taping China was one of the mistakes FFXI made that kept it's numbers low. Breaking that barrier might just be what FFXIV needs to match or beat FFXI's active subscription numbers, especially given that audiance will receive 2.0 as a first impression, rather than as a remake.

It's a damned intelligent move.

Now, this brings up the issue of Region Locking. Will FFXIV have region locked servers for China? If so will that be mandatory or optional? And if optional, will other regions also be getting optional Region Locked servers as well?

This blip of info is huge, and is a door-opener for many good possibilities for the game.


Though, it also opens the door for some issues like a larger RMT surge than what we have now and another cross-culture shock like the one we had in FFXI's NA release.

We'll have to see. But I can't pit this as a bad decision by SE by a long shot. They just opened up a HUGE potential player pool, and one less scared by 1.0 to boot. That's a nice hidden ace to play this late in the cycle.

Edited, Jul 23rd 2012 6:49pm by Hyrist
#11 Jul 23 2012 at 4:56 PM Rating: Good
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Hyrist wrote:
They're not offshooting some of the development to China because they're down on staff/funding.

They're off-shooting development to China for localization and optimization with Chinese servers.

If anything, this was the nail in the coffin for me for any worries about SE's total subscription numbers. Tapping China is a huge boost in subscriptions no matter how you write it.

Not taping China was one of the mistakes FFXI made that kept it's numbers low. Breaking that barrier might just be what FFXIV needs to match or beat FFXI's active subscription numbers, especially given that audiance will receive 2.0 as a first impression, rather than as a remake.

It's a damned intelligent move.

Now, this brings up the issue of Region Locking. Will FFXIV have region locked servers for China? If so will that be mandatory or optional? And if optional, will other regions also be getting optional Region Locked servers as well?

This blip of info is huge, and is a door-opener for many good possibilities for the game.


Though, it also opens the door for some issues like a larger RMT surge than what we have now and another cross-culture shock like the one we had in FFXI's NA release.

We'll have to see. But I can't pit this as a bad decision by SE by a long shot. They just opened up a HUGE potential player pool, and one less scared by 1.0 to boot. That's a nice hidden ace to play this late in the cycle.

Edited, Jul 23rd 2012 6:49pm by Hyrist


You betcha! Horsebirds for everyone!
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#12 Jul 23 2012 at 5:15 PM Rating: Good
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Pssht. Don't me hatin on my Dragon Knight riding a horse-bird!
#13 Jul 23 2012 at 6:05 PM Rating: Good
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On another note, the yukata are adorable~.

Edited, Jul 23rd 2012 8:05pm by Docent42
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#14 Jul 23 2012 at 6:50 PM Rating: Decent
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Hyrist wrote:
If anything, this was the nail in the coffin for me for any worries about SE's total subscription numbers. Tapping China is a huge boost in subscriptions no matter how you write it.


I agree that it will bolster the sub numbers, but the language barrier will still remain. Technically it does matter how you write it unless you can read Chinese Smiley: sly

Hyrist wrote:
Pssht. Don't me hatin on my Dragon Knight riding a horse-bird!


Dude, I can totally see you taking one of these into battle.
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Rinsui wrote:
Only hips + boobs all day and hips + boobs all over my icecream

HaibaneRenmei wrote:
30 bucks is almost free

cocodojo wrote:
Its personal preference and all, but yes we need to educate WoW players that this is OUR game, these are Characters and not Toons. Time to beat that into them one at a time.
#15 Jul 23 2012 at 8:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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Louiscool wrote:
F2P is wishful thinking for some.


It is, but what these people need to realize is that "free" to play games are, of course, designed to take into account their revenue model. It's not controversial to point that out: every product or service tends to be designed with that in mind. But what must be considered is that, suddenly, when dealing with a microtransaction architecture, things in a game tend to revolve around getting you to spend money as frequently as possible. Vanity shops get updated more than the game itself (or just have cooler items) and in-game services or events that would have been interesting to pursue become stripped out and offered to you piecemeal.

In effect, it makes for a very different game.

Maybe potions don't stack unless you buy them for real cash; maybe the grind is horrible until you pay; maybe dungeons lock you out unless you pay a fee - whatever it is, and it's always something, a "free" to play game takes into consideration its precarious money-making situation, and so consequently forces more of that aspect into the functionality of the game overall. You're no longer getting the kind of game you were when you were subscribing monthly, and people need to consider this closely before they tout the superiority of free to play / pay to enjoy / pay to win models.


Edited, Jul 23rd 2012 10:36pm by KaneKitty
____________________________
"... he called to himself a wizard, named Gallery, hoping by this means to escape the paying of the fifteen hundred crowns..." (Machen 15)

"Thus opium is pleasing... on account of the agreeable delirium it produces." (Burke para.6)

"I could only read so much for this paper and the syphilis poem had to go."
#16 Jul 23 2012 at 9:14 PM Rating: Good
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KaneKitty wrote:
Louiscool wrote:
F2P is wishful thinking for some.
Maybe potions don't stack unless you buy them for real cash; maybe the grind is horrible until you pay; maybe dungeons lock you out unless you pay a fee - whatever it is, and it's always something, a "free" to play game takes into consideration its precarious money-making situation, and so consequently forces more of that aspect into the functionality of the game overall. You're no longer getting the kind of game you were when you were subscribing monthly, and people need to consider this closely before they tout the superiority of free to play / pay to enjoy / pay to win models.

I think what he meant was buy to play. I can see the scenarios you listed above being part of a game that had no cost associated with the client, but I don't think people would shell out for a box when they aren't guaranteed access to most of, if not all of it's contents.

It would be much harder to pull off F2P then it would B2P. They've already charged for the box and the game is supposedly still coming to PS3. I suppose they could issue refunds or at least credit service accounts with crysta, but it sounds like a logistical nightmare. Maybe they could offer the client free through PSN, but it doesn't sound likely.


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Rinsui wrote:
Only hips + boobs all day and hips + boobs all over my icecream

HaibaneRenmei wrote:
30 bucks is almost free

cocodojo wrote:
Its personal preference and all, but yes we need to educate WoW players that this is OUR game, these are Characters and not Toons. Time to beat that into them one at a time.
#17 Jul 23 2012 at 10:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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I know China is real big on censorship, does that mean Chinese servers would he separate from the others then? Will we see the rise of gilsellers in a way that rivals their height in FFXI? I mean these guys were the ones running a gold selling operation in WoW from a state prison.

Yoshi says there's a big announcement that he's eager to see the fans reaction to that could be controversial. That is a worrisome statement.
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#18 Jul 23 2012 at 10:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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FilthMcNasty wrote:
It would be much harder to pull off F2P then it would B2P. They've already charged for the box and the game is supposedly still coming to PS3. I suppose they could issue refunds or at least credit service accounts with crysta, but it sounds like a logistical nightmare. Maybe they could offer the client free through PSN, but it doesn't sound likely.


That's a good point. I wasn't necessarily saying XIV would be F2P, though; I doubt it will be for at least a year or two. Posts like yours and like Hulan's do a fine job of making that perspective clear, and rightly so.
____________________________
"... he called to himself a wizard, named Gallery, hoping by this means to escape the paying of the fifteen hundred crowns..." (Machen 15)

"Thus opium is pleasing... on account of the agreeable delirium it produces." (Burke para.6)

"I could only read so much for this paper and the syphilis poem had to go."
#19 Jul 23 2012 at 11:09 PM Rating: Good
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KaneKitty wrote:
FilthMcNasty wrote:
It would be much harder to pull off F2P then it would B2P. They've already charged for the box and the game is supposedly still coming to PS3. I suppose they could issue refunds or at least credit service accounts with crysta, but it sounds like a logistical nightmare. Maybe they could offer the client free through PSN, but it doesn't sound likely.


That's a good point. I wasn't necessarily saying XIV would be F2P, though; I doubt it will be for at least a year or two. Posts like yours and like Hulan's do a fine job of making that perspective clear, and rightly so.


Sorry, I wasn't trying to pin you to either model. Just pointing out that SE sorta backed themselves into a corner with PS3 and the legacy campaign. I personally wouldn't mind either model as long as the game is enjoyable.
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Rinsui wrote:
Only hips + boobs all day and hips + boobs all over my icecream

HaibaneRenmei wrote:
30 bucks is almost free

cocodojo wrote:
Its personal preference and all, but yes we need to educate WoW players that this is OUR game, these are Characters and not Toons. Time to beat that into them one at a time.
#20 Jul 24 2012 at 6:55 AM Rating: Decent
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Yes of course they'll have separate servers for China. The Japanese player base would never coexist with the Chinese players.
#21 Jul 24 2012 at 10:00 AM Rating: Good
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reptiletim wrote:
Yoshi says there's a big announcement that he's eager to see the fans reaction to that could be controversial. That is a worrisome statement.


I was wondering about that myself. And I do find it kind of funny that one of the things that kept the game going was the near free-reign that the PR team gave Yoshi during the conversion process, but now they are pulling back. I hope that this is just temporary to allow for "Maximum Hype" at the time the PR goes live. If not, their PR team needs to join the previous management in the FFXIV exile. Yoshi has done a great job of keeping the information at a level of excitement for what was coming (go find any Golden Patch thread), while still avoiding going into too much detail (check any of the posts after the patch release:P).

Either way, I personally have to say, my anticipation for the game dropped off after 1.21, and I have been in a holding pattern waiting for the 2.0 news. The recent updates have been good, and fun, but, after 1.21, the only real meat to the game we will see will be in 2.0 (IMHO).

And now all of the "Wait until 2.0" will begin to have meaning.

It will be fun to see what is there, and what people will freak out over being delayed (who is taking dibs on the AH getting delayed at launch:P).

As for the controversial announcement my money is on either or all of the following:

  • Limited number of people allowed in the Beta will be announced along with the selection policy (limiting existing users to allow for new users to participate).
  • The date for the destruction of outdated items in inventory
  • The reduction of inventory on character and retainer to original slot count
  • The shutdown date for the active servers will be announced, and the duration of the shutdown
  • New Classes or Jobs


Ok, taking the shotgun approach to it, but those are the biggest unknowns that can cause concern/regret/ or down right anger.
#22 Jul 24 2012 at 8:37 PM Rating: Good
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rfolkker wrote:


It will be fun to see what is there, and what people will freak out over being delayed (who is taking dibs on the AH getting delayed at launch:P).

As for the controversial announcement my money is on either or all of the following:

  • Limited number of people allowed in the Beta will be announced along with the selection policy (limiting existing users to allow for new users to participate).
  • The date for the destruction of outdated items in inventory
  • The reduction of inventory on character and retainer to original slot count
  • The shutdown date for the active servers will be announced, and the duration of the shutdown
  • New Classes or Jobs


Ok, taking the shotgun approach to it, but those are the biggest unknowns that can cause concern/regret/ or down right anger.


Those sound par for the course in the transition to 2.0.

In regards to their PR for the game, I've noticed a lack of communication too. Now, maybe this is a Japanese culture thing but if you had something you thought was going to sell, wouldn't you put it out on the table for all to see? Is there some cultural nuance that says Japanese businesses should hide their cards until a big release?

Arenanet recently had their Guilds Wars 2 beta weekend that I was able to participate in, for free I might add. They were open about the game from the start so everyone knew what to expect going in. I'll say that I read not disappointed at all! It was surprising how fun the game was and I know exactly what to expect when the game comes out. I'm planning on buying it.

Compared to FFXIV, we only know scraps and crumbs about what to really expect in 2.0. They're going back to the same way they were pre-1.0 release by only showing tiny bits and pieces. They should be showing everything they have as soon as possible. This not only keeps the game fresh in everyone's mind but also gives people a chance to see what's coming, remind players that they're making progress, and gives the company time to judge the player's reaction. The last time they were secretive about **** it cost them dearly, you think they'd learn! So maybe its a Japanese honor thing? I dunno.

SE is past the point of building up hype. They need to prove to players that they can deliver and they're not going to do that playing their hands close to the chest at this stage of the game. We've been promised a great game before, they'd be foolish to think players will fall for it again.
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#23 Jul 24 2012 at 10:20 PM Rating: Good
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reptiletim wrote:
They should be showing everything they have as soon as possible.

SE is past the point of building up hype. They need to prove to players that they can deliver and they're not going to do that playing their hands close to the chest at this stage of the game.


Even if they wanted to hold back new content, they should at the least be proving that the major issues that people had with 1.0 are not present in 2.0 version. No better move they can make if they want to generate hype than to clear away all of the doubts about their understanding of the issues and their ability to fix them.
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Rinsui wrote:
Only hips + boobs all day and hips + boobs all over my icecream

HaibaneRenmei wrote:
30 bucks is almost free

cocodojo wrote:
Its personal preference and all, but yes we need to educate WoW players that this is OUR game, these are Characters and not Toons. Time to beat that into them one at a time.
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