Wada Responds to FFXIV Criticism

Something is rotten in the state of Eorzea.  At the Square Enix earnings conference this week, CEO Yoichi Wada tried to articulate what exactly that something was, and how they will attempt to fix it.

First, the hard numbers.  Compared with the previous year, sales at Square Enix were down 25%, operating profits were down 56%, ordinary profits were down 71%, and net income was down 36%.  Sales of Final Fantasy XIV were actually the biggest positive contributer, with 630,000 copies sold (190,000 in Japan, 260,000 in North America, and 250,000 in Europe).  However, FFXIV may now also prove to be the company's biggest problem.

Wada was reported to have been deluged with questions regarding the status of FFXIV and the maelstrom of negativity surrounding the game.  On stage, Wada did admit that, "the customers are not satisfied with the state [of FFXIV]."  Current plans include big updates in November and December, and of course, the PlayStation 3 release coming next March.  While other details were not to be divulged at the time, Wada stated, "We must put our full effort into regaining the user's trust."

However, the CEO was not let off easily.  Attendees continued to bring down tough questions and harsh criticisms.  When asked about user numbers, Wada dodged by saying he could not predict how things will change once FFXIV ends the free trial period and institutes the monthly fee.  Another attendee asked, "Do you test your games to make sure they're complete?" to which Wada admitted, "There may be some areas of testing that were lacking or too rigid," before quickly bringing it back to, "In the short term, we're working hard on restoring user trust."

In the end, Wada admits that there were many things the company missed, including not only bugs, but difficult controls and other issues.  While FFXIV will not prove an immediate success (both in terms of customer satisfaction and profit), Wada is looking to next Spring as being the rebirth of the beleaguered title.  The plan is to focus on the quality of the gaming experience and the happiness of the players and have a solid title ready for the PS3 launch.

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Why Act shocked?
# Nov 14 2010 at 5:22 AM Rating: Default
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This game is huge! Can you develop a game like this by yourself and play it and update it normally? All in all if you don't like it don't play if you don't have patience, easy don't play. No one has a gun to your head. This is a next gen MMO I expect their to be problems I already felt the game kinda came out quick anyway I was still happy with ffxi.

I like how they implemented a lot of things that we wanted in ffxi at the very beginning. (ex. not having to change gear every time you change a job, being able to run and cast,giving you exp for crafting, Not having to wait around for a party in town if you want exp, the being able to hold 8 linkshells thing is cool and be able to see what everyone is talking about. Yea there's more

So all in all ok the game is beta feeling yea SE should have known better but do you realistically think there not going to fix it your crazy. They want there invested money and you bet there listening to all our feedback and some SE head is getting a lot of crap right now. I bet he can't even sleep with the amount of stress he has from this issue.

So all in all be happy get your crafting up so you can make gils on the ps3 release the game is going to be fine and we will get our update. I'm glad that they are making a search function to make buying and selling items easier that is one of the main problems as we alllll know.

So gosh chill out people it's a deep and complex game that I plan on playing 6-7+ years like i did ffxi. I'm not going anywhere else I enjoy the beautiful original worlds they create, and the whole feel and sound of FF so why go anywhere else? All mmos have problems and we know that if money makes the world go round SE is fixing this game.

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Mind on Krak
# Nov 15 2010 at 10:36 AM Rating: Decent
6 posts
I have long been a fan of Square and this is my first MMORPG. I enjoy the gameplay and interactions with people always on the move to raise ranks or make a hustle. Yes there are things that need improving.(Some of which SE has addressed with the upcoming updates) but I have Faith that SE can make these improvements. For the time being the server stopped crashing the lag was lessened n all the ppl I started playin with since release are still playing to this day. All who abandoned this diamond in the rough I hope that u reconsider subscribing at some point...Hopefully by then its a better game experience for u
Why Act shocked?
# Nov 14 2010 at 12:49 PM Rating: Decent
Can you develop a game like this by yourself and play it and update it normally?

Ignoring the fact that the "don't criticize it if you can't do it" argument is about as naive and childlike as it gets, that FFXIV's world isn't actually big or interesting, and that the development teams of other MMOs somehow managed to do what SE couldn't and create larger, more interesting worlds with more content at launch, it's fun to point out that the developer of Infinity: The Quest For Earth has made an infinitely larger game all by himself - an entire universe of explorable worlds. It also runs flawlessly on hardware that's a few years old. Know what game actually had a huge world? Vanguard. Know what game had no content at launch? Vanguard. Know what game sucks and is completely dead? Vanguard. This is Final Fantasy XIV: Saga of Heroes.

You're willing to accept less, and that's okay. Expecting others to is foolish. Unless SE manages to execute their huge list of promises on-time and flawlessly - something you'd know that they've never, ever done in their history of running MMOs, if you really did play XI as much as you say, or even followed the beta - enjoy your much-emptier servers, compounded by the population spreading out as there's more disparity between players' ranks of the jobs they're working on, as people simply move onto one of the many games that was created by a development team which understands execution is all that matters. Enjoy your subscription + expanding microtransaction model, something no other company is stupid enough to do simultaneously, especially for a game with nothing in it (especially no players).
haha
# Nov 14 2010 at 1:48 AM Rating: Default
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"Do you test your games to make sure they're complete?"

seriously? did someone seriously ask that question within the context of FFXIV?

they need to start handing out bans for being a troll at these things. i mean, unless the person was genuinely uninformed on the issue, but i somehow really doubt they formulated such a passive-aggressive and loaded question by complete accident.
Having Faith
# Nov 10 2010 at 6:32 PM Rating: Good
1 post
I feel like one of the very few who have faith in the company and willing enough to pay through the fixes. >.>;

About the NOV/DEC updates. A lot of people have said they should "flow out weekly". I actually prefer the idea of a full scale update. Why? Cause I feel I'd rather get them all in one and have them all ready for integration in one swoop. I can expect perhaps a bad patch maybe with a few errors, glitches or crashes, instead of it being sprawled across several months when they add something new weekly and something else get's messed up cause of it.

I don't normally care for this type of news, simply because I have faith they will work on it. Maybe that's my own down fall of being gullible. I don't see the point in reading to deeply into it, simply because a majority of companies, regardless of industry, also avoid answering some questions simply because there is no happy answer. Reassurance is the only answer you can give, even though it doesn't satisfy people.

For me, I feel improvements have increased from the beta and then since the opening. For me the most noticeable is the lag is less (but this may simply be to less players but in some areas like market stalls (not retainer wards) and adventure guilds I would have a hellish time waiting for people to pop out of thin air. I also have less crashes randomly (in fact probably none in the last three weeks maybe more) but I do feel small improvements can be made. But I'm not as disappointed as I feel I should be from all the comments I hear. I'm still coming home and loading the game up and spending 4-5 hours on it before bed.

If SE want to make me a beta and use me while I pay the fees to support the finances to improve this game (or whatever) I'm more than happy to. I'd rather give it my support to see it get better, than give up on it. FFXI was my only MMORPG and I played since JAN10 since I heard FFXIV was being made. So maybe I'm not as spoiled as other MMORPG users who have played different games to have a better experience, who knows. But I couldn't stop playing and wait till March, simply because in my view, I can still play this unfinished game and give it the support it needs to improve.
Hmmm.
# Nov 10 2010 at 2:25 PM Rating: Good
13 posts
It seems like everyone just wants this game to be FFXI with better graphics. lmfao.
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Nobody cares about the PS3 release
# Nov 10 2010 at 12:10 PM Rating: Good
8 posts
Nobody gives a sh*t about the PS3 release and it's not gonna do anything for us PC users and I feel like they're using us as beta testers for their console release.
needs work
# Nov 10 2010 at 10:02 AM Rating: Good
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I am willing to play a lot more when they take care of the horrible screen lag I still get while playing. The other trivial matters like the retainer search feature, the inventory sort feature, etc will make me happy when they come as well.

I just wish they would add a player search feature, and a location feature for linkshell mates, and a way to rid the shell of dead players.

Mo
To regain Trust!
# Nov 10 2010 at 9:47 AM Rating: Good
9 posts
They should actually call this large scale beta testing and not charge monthly until the ps3 version comes out. Don't get me wrong I don't mind paying through the problems, but this would give them enough time to create a final product (hopefully). On that release date re advertise FF14 with statement of it being fixed and get the product re-reviewed with major sites.
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All talk
# Nov 10 2010 at 9:46 AM Rating: Good
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Always promises of what they want to do, and as of now, nothing to show for it.

They're all talk.

I'd like to hear them address something besides glitches, like the overall fun factor for the game that seems to be missing for many of us.

What's up with the massive zones that have nothing in them, the pointless empty towns that have no purpose, the combat system.

Obviously bugs will be fixed, we all know this, what we don't know is what they're doing to make the game more enjoyable, not just more functional. Functionality and stability comes with time, fun factor is something that has to be there from the beginning in my opinion.
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trust
# Nov 10 2010 at 9:37 AM Rating: Excellent
6 posts
1 . hes worried about gaining trust and still holds secrets ????
im pretty sure if your in a relationship with sombody that dosnt really help. he should be spilling his guts about everythign being planned . no more secretsat this point. maybe a yr in then start being secret again . 2 when asked if they even tested the game before relase ?
"Do you test your games to make sure they're complete?" to which Wada admitted, "There may be some areas of testing that were lacking or too rigid,"..yeah thats wada way of saying testing whats this testing you speak of :p lol . how can test a game and thought the ui was good enough that like right in front of your face .
I thought I'd give it a chance but ...
# Nov 10 2010 at 6:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah. I think it has the "potential" to be a good game ... but I went ahead and unsubbed. If the game isn't pulling me in at least once a day ... or once every other day ... I'm not going to play it ... and I'm not going to give my $15+ for something I'm not going to play. Maybe when the PS3 version is released, I will return. But until then ... my FFXIV game is uninstalled and in hibernation.
Realistically you all have nothing to play...
# Nov 10 2010 at 2:08 AM Rating: Default
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I think the game deserves criticism as well as the loss in subscriptions but i think the "outrage" is extremely unjustified and empty.
Its an incomplete game but everyone agrees the potential is there. Wow fans will stick to WOW and SWTOR fans will play that. I think its a little silly to say that anyone who purchased the game won't give it a second shot within the next year or so, at the very least follow its development. Secondly, anyone that though FFXIV was going to be the end all of mmo's also had unrealistic expectations to begin with and their fury is in proportion to their lack of insight. It'll be niche but not as niche as FFXI was.
This is the rockiest of starts for MMO's propagated by a 2nd wind console launch, poor development-producer communication, and a mid development alpha/beta.
They got a 6 months to fix the game up, no one new or old coming back to the game is gonna care about its poor past as long as what their playing is a smoother more complete experience.

I come to these forums and read peoples outrage and laugh, just another example of how the internet allows people to exacerbate their poor self control.

Related to the subject matter I think SE is handling the situation beautifully and the fact that they're not afraid to admit the game needs work is very promising for those of us who are still playing.
Realistically you all have nothing to play...
# Nov 10 2010 at 2:08 AM Rating: Default
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I think the game deserves criticism as well as the loss in subscriptions but i think the "outrage" is extremely unjustified and empty.
Its an incomplete game but everyone agrees the potential is there. Wow fans will stick to WOW and SWTOR fans will play that. I think its a little silly to say that anyone who purchased the game won't give it a second shot within the next year or so, at the very least follow its development. Secondly, anyone that though FFXIV was going to be the end all of mmo's also had unrealistic expectations to begin with and their fury is in proportion to their lack of insight. It'll be niche but not as niche as FFXI was.
This is the rockiest of starts for MMO's propagated by a 2nd wind console launch, poor development-producer communication, and a mid development alpha/beta.
They got a 6 months to fix the game up, no one new or old coming back to the game is gonna care about its poor past as long as what their playing is a smoother more complete experience.

I come to these forums and read peoples outrage and laugh, just another example of how the internet allows people to exacerbate their poor self control.

Related to the subject matter I think SE is handling the situation beautifully and the fact that they're not afraid to admit the game needs work is very promising for those of us who are still playing.
From a die hard fan of FFXI
# Nov 10 2010 at 1:37 AM Rating: Excellent
As someone who has invested alot of time into FFXI, I can't help but be dissapointed in FFXIV. I came into this game with high hopes that it would be the MMO i would be playing for the next few years, but now I really don't know if this will be the case.
I'm glad that the developers are planning to address the MANY technical issues that FFXIV suffers from (attrocious targeting and interface, server lag, unbalanced EXP system etc.) because underneath the rough edges there is a really great game. I'm just hoping (fingers crossed) that SE doesnt drop the ball on this game because it has alot of potential.
From a die hard fan of FFXI
# Nov 10 2010 at 2:21 PM Rating: Default
13 posts
Well...did you happen to play FFXI on the release?
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From a die hard fan of FFXI
# Nov 11 2010 at 2:39 AM Rating: Good
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if he did or not is not the point. any good game developer does not completely trash years of work and make a new game that plays differently then the last one.

they had an oppertunity here, to take what made FFXI great, and refine them to perfection. they had an oppertunity to take the things people did not like from FFXI to possibly take it out, or fix it to make it better. They had alot of things they could have done, but instead tried to re-create the wheel.

halo, as an example, is known to be a FPS game. in each new game, they take what made the one before it good, and made it better. for reach, they added some new stuff like the armor abilities, and refined forge from halo 3 to what can only be described as perfection when it comes to creating custom maps on a console.

now, halo did do something that was not taken as well as the other games. they made an RTS out of halo. halo wars was OK, but it was nothing special compared to other titles such as starcraft.

if bungie had not made reach or ODST, and instead started making halo wars 2 and 3, that franchise would have started to go down, because that is not what halo is. halo is an FPS, and always should be.

my point for all that, is that FFXIV is doing something it should not be doing, which is completely ignoring the other games in its genre, including it's own predecesor FFXI. FFXIV doesn't feel like i'm playing an RPG, it feels as if i'm playing real life, and i play enough of that from day to day. that is why people are drawn to MMO's. to enter another world that doesn't reflect this one.

TL;DR:
square should have learned from their past MMO to make the new one. regardless if FFXI was like this at launch is irrelevent. other companies don't throw away all their work to make a new game every time they make one. FFXIV should have been good from the get go since FFXI was good at the same time FFXIV was released.
Shit pissed me off man!
# Nov 09 2010 at 11:45 PM Rating: Decent
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Game needs the Final Fantasy XI engine!
Level criticism
# Nov 09 2010 at 11:08 PM Rating: Default
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There's still a lot of undeserved mud-slinging going on over FFXIV's rushed launch, and it's clear Square-Enix are well aware of the issues. This, if nothing else, should serve as proof they will do what is needed to make this game great.
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Level criticism
# Nov 10 2010 at 12:03 PM Rating: Good
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Glitterhands wrote:
There's still a lot of undeserved mud-slinging going on over FFXIV's rushed launch, and it's clear Square-Enix are well aware of the issues. This, if nothing else, should serve as proof they will do what is needed to make this game great.


I'm not so sure if it's undeserved when it comes to it being rushed. Beta could have been extended with release date being pushed back. Sure they wouldn't have beat cata to market or even made holidays, but in the end, I think it would have went a long way to restoring the trust that many are losing in this company. With some already having bad experiences with xi, giving them a second shot for yet another bad experience, they are going to get an earful. I was very disappointed in how rushed the game was. As much as I was looking forward to it, I would have preferred to have waited til Spring when some of the basic things were worked out to have an overall better experience.

That being said, I think they aren't getting credit where it is due. Playing many MMO's in beta and launch, I will say that technical wise, it was the smoothest I've experienced. The game is stable for the most part and that is pretty impressive.

I think a lot of the complaints are going back to this feels like a beta for the ps3, which in a couple of weeks, we are going to have to pay to play. The extra 30 days were nice. But it would have been nicer to see weekly updates that either addressed some of these problems or added content, not making us wait til the end of this month and next.

Is adding an inventory sort really all that difficult? Or making <pos> work? These are things they said were coming in their updates, but why couldn't some of these smaller things been pushed in the weekly maintenance? That would have went a long way to satisfying quite a few people who are unhappy.

There is a lot about this game to enjoy and the potential is there for it to be somethings strong. I just hope SE keeps to their promises and gives us all what we have been waiting for and deserve.
Wada's role at SE
# Nov 09 2010 at 10:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'd like to remind people that it's Nobuaki Komoto who's the director of this particular game, not Yoichi Wada.

While I'm happy Wada is willing to funnel money into the development of XIV I believe that's all he really is capable of. Wada has never worked as anything else than a producer or as a publisher.

I'm sure his ideas about game design are about as relevant as the janitor's. That might explain the lack of concrete plans in this article.

Feeling used
# Nov 09 2010 at 10:11 PM Rating: Good
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I feel "used" being made to pay come December to be a Beta tester until they release their "real finished" product.
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Feeling used
# Nov 10 2010 at 12:12 PM Rating: Good
8 posts
I feel ya man, but I feel like they're using us to beta test their PS3 launch (which nobody gives a crap about)
They still don't get it.
# Nov 09 2010 at 10:06 PM Rating: Excellent
35 posts
They may be somewhat scared at this point about player retention, but their actions don't seem to reflect this new (to them) reality. I'm at least somewhat convinced they are holding back at least some improvements at this point in order to be able to have a big press release about how much better the game is after the November/December patch(es).

This is the wrong approach, and shows they still don't quite get it. Patches should be flowing out weekly at the least, to address the concerns of the people still playing. if they don't get the November patch out before the current free trial period expires for CE buyers, they risk a massive, embarrassing drop in the already shaky player base. If they don't stop listening to their marketing department, S-E is possibly doomed.

If they think they can partially patch things up by the end of this year but not really fix the game before the PS3 launch and get away with some sort of "Grand RElaunch" scheme, I think they will find themselves sorely mistaken, and possibly in a death spiral.
RE:Wada is looking to next Spring
# Nov 09 2010 at 9:21 PM Rating: Default
4 posts
Hope it works out. Next spring will see the birth of other MMO's like Star Wars The Old Republic. From what I understand that game has a pretty big following.

Also I'm not up to date, but at least let me have hope that the December update brings a Samurai class. I miss my FFXI Job.
Much too little, very much too late
# Nov 09 2010 at 9:17 PM Rating: Decent
At this point, there isn't more they can realistically do. They've lost me forever, as there will be games coming out within a year that will hit the ground with a more balanced combination of fresher gameplay, more content, and no worse graphics (plus a lack of disappointment at launch). I never would have considered the original Guild Wars over other games, but Guild Wars 2 looks like it has real potential in all respects.
This statement
# Nov 09 2010 at 8:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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The plan is to focus on the quality of the gaming experience and the happiness of the players and have a solid title ready for the PS3 launch.

Is exactly why I am leaving till the ps3 release, maybe at that time they will actually have a solid game, I trully do like the game, but there are just to many flaws to continue playing at this time.
Trust issues
# Nov 09 2010 at 8:33 PM Rating: Excellent
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1,446 posts
The first step to regaining the user's trust *is* to divulge the details.
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Trust issues
# Nov 10 2010 at 6:52 PM Rating: Decent
15 posts
unfortunately they can't trust us, oddly enough. If they divulge details and then end up having to change them in some capacity during development, be it content or time line, players would have a huge fit. Don't act like it wouldn't happen either, it's nearly universal. People act like its the devs fault in these games for not communicating, when they would communicate much more of people acted like adults and reasonable. Yes its BS that a loud minority can ruin it for the rest of us, but that's the reality of the situation.

As for 'better version of FF11', at the very LEAST that's what this game is. If the FF11 in its current state got released today it would be praised for massive content from all the xpacs and having an AH compared to FF14, then trashed even worse than FF14 for everything else. Traveling is more of a pain, switching classes, quests, soloing, combat, crafting are all worse in FF11 than FF14. As for lag in general, there is a direct cause and effect between lag and number of people around. So while people complain about lag and in the same breath talk about lack of players, they are actually contradicting themselves. There can't be a lack of players AND lag. Get it?
Trust issues
# Nov 11 2010 at 3:01 AM Rating: Decent
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there most definatley can be not alot of players and there be lag. in FFXIV's case, to many things rely on the server to function. the client has to send info to the server and then send it back to the client for mundane things such as the user intrface. why is the ENTIRE interface used by the server?

logically, i should only ask the server for information, when i'm actually asking for information. does the server really need to know, that i want to open the macro pallets? does it need to know that i want to open the options menu? no it doesn't.

as a network administrator i can assure you, that giving the server extra work for nothing can indeed cause lag. if 1 person does it? probably not. if 10 people do it? still, probably not. but with an MMO, were talking about alot of traffic just for opening up 1 window. you couldn't begin to imagine some of the things that to you, probably seem harmless, but in big enough doses can really be dangerous.

as an example, i could write a few lines of code that could cause ZAM to lag. i'm not going to tell you how to do it, but it's amazing how just a simple file could do something as make a big web site slow down. get enough of these small files, and it's posible to even crash the servers requiring a reboot.

DISCLAIMER: the above is illegal and should not be done. also, most websites that aren't a small organization has things in place to prevent this.
Trust issues
# Nov 11 2010 at 10:38 AM Rating: Decent
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You're right. I don't know much about networking at all. But it makes complete and total sense. In normal circumstances less people equal less lag. But these are obviously not normal circumstances. I've heard from quite a few people saying the same thing. That we are sending and receiving all this info that doesn't need to be sent.

My question is why did they set it up like this? Are they trying to make this game more secure?
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Trust issues
# Nov 13 2010 at 5:46 PM Rating: Decent
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my best guess would be yes, that it is for security. but any net admin can tell you, that to much security is just as counter producive as not enough security.

what i believe they do this for, is to possibly check for hacking and other things like that. basically see if something that shouldn't be able to change, is.
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