As the time draws ever closer for Final Fantasy XIV to level up into a beta, Dengeki sat down with Producer Hiromichi Tanaka, Director Nobuaki Komoto and Planner Kenichi Iwao to discuss the progress of the game thus far. Some of this article has been leaked already, and various tidbits can be found around different fansites. Let's take a look through the article itself and confirm exactly what the developers said.
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Server Stability Issues
- Server stability issues have plagued the alpha, and the developers apologize that players cannot fully enjoy the basics of the game.
- At first, there were many more players than they had expected, but recently the number has shrunk considerably.
- Phase 2 of the alpha will begin once they fully stabilize the current World. After that, they will add a second and third world.
- The next round of testers has already been chosen for when phase 2 of the alpha begins.
- The beta is planned to begin once a player base of around 50,000 is built and the servers are stabilized to handle them.
- Players feel that the pace of battles is too slow. The developers plan to implement a new system for the beta that is almost completely different.
- Another common complaint is that aspects of the game's system are not explained well. Much more detailed guidance will be added for players in the beta and retail versions.
- Problems with sluggish character animations or Aetheryte not appearing are attributed to server load issues.
- Server load and bugs have also caused errors when trying to use Battle Regimen.
- Players are having a hard time acquiring gil. The developers recommend Guildleve, but admit the issues with the alpha test cause people to fail their missions often. They plan to add a consolation prize if you should fail a Guildleve, and also provide rewards for party members who help you.
Moving to the Beta Phase
- All the races will become selectable in the beta version. This includes Miqo'te, Komoto adds with a laugh.
- Character textures will not change much in the beta, but the lighting and textures of Limsa Lominsa are set to change significantly.
- Shadows are also getting an overhaul. Using SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion), the developers say that shadows can change faithfully based on orientation, position and distance from various sources of light.
- The area that players can explore will not expand initially in the beta. They feel the current areas and level limits are enough for the testing they want to complete.
- Players have enjoyed the realistic feel of field areas, but Limsa Lominsa is a little bit confusing to navigate. One plan is to split up the map between the two floors of the city during the beta.
- Changes to the log system will be made, such as the addition of filters. Players have complained that surrounding battles often spam their logs.
- There will be no "Mog House" since players can change classes on the fly and are able to carry a large amount of items. However, some type of home or personal area for players is in the works.
- A bazaar-type system is planned for players to buy and sell goods. They want players to be able to keep their bazaars open even when logged out.
The World of Final Fantasy XIV
- XIV aims to bring more freedom to the life of the adventurer. In XI, players were introduced to the world as citizens of a particular nation. In XIV, you can freely associate yourself with different guilds.
- There will be guilds that revolve around different classes, like Pugilist, and different professions, like blacksmithing.
- Crystals exist as Aether, and come in six different elements. The Aetheryte that adventurers use are constructed through the power of Aether.
- The calendar of Eorzea shifts between the "Astral Era" and the "Era of Woe" (not official translation). The text on the world map was written in 1506, the 6th year of the "Astral Era."
- The 12 gods of Eorzea are loosely based on Greek mythology, in that there is a pantheon of deities with different characteristics and personalities.
- Each god has an elemental affinity and will have some affect on the player. Whether or not players can meet and interact with these gods is still being kept under wraps.
- There are plans to let players change their selected god, but it will come with a penalty.
The Land of Eorzea
- XIV is focused on the continent of Eorzea, though like XI, other lands may open up eventually.
- While XI featured a war between mankind and the beastmen, the Garlean Empire's invasion of Eorzea will have people fighting people.
- Similar to ancient Greece or the Middle Ages in Italy, Eorzea has a number of large city-states with fully developed cultures. The flag for these cities can be seen in the bottom right, though the developers are reluctant to elaborate on their connection with each other.
- XI players have noticed the name "Roddard Ironheart" on the map of Eorzea, which matches the surname of famous cartographers from Vana'diel. Iwao laughs and says it must just be a coincidence.
- Limsa Lominsa is like Venice, a city on the water. Ul'dah is like the ancient Aramaic city of Palmyra, an oasis in the sands. Gridinia is modeled after Mayan cities, secluded in the forest.
- Some guilds will be present in multiple cities, but each city will have its own theme and set of guilds. For example, Gridinia will have a fishing guild since it is located near rivers and streams.
- Ul'dah will have a coliseum where players can participate.
- In addition to Chocobos, carriages, boats and airships will appear in Eorzea. The various level requirements are still unknown.
Citizens and Monsters
- There will exist NPCs that players are unable to create themselves (i.e. male Miqo'te).
- Other monsters, like the Dodo and Puk, that are familiar to XI players will appear in XIV. There will be many monsters from Aht Urghan and beyond that players can expect to see.
- Other friendly races of monsters, such as Goblins and Qiqirun will also be in XIV.
- There will be some monsters that can be friendly and even aid adventurers. Conversely, there will be human characters that turn out to be evil and even face the players in battle.
- The developers are planning to focus on customization of equipment to allow for more coordination and unique fashions. One example is how the interviewer noticed the difference between leather hats and suede hats on the NPCs.
- There are plans to allow players to sign their crafting handiwork like in XI.
In the end, it's all about freedom. The developers want players to have the freedom to choose a deity to follow, join a guild, pick a class, work on a craft... all without being "locked down" into a specific area. Once the servers are stabilized in the alpha, it looks like a whole new chapter is set to unfold based on the feedback and opinions of all the users. According to the developers, that time is closer than ever, so keep your eyes on your inbox!