Earlier in the month, I had the pleasure of creating questions for Naoki Yoshida to answer. Before, I asked a mixture of questions, but decided to dedicate these interview questions purely to PvP within FFXIV. Below is the short interview:
Thank you very much for taking the time to review and answer my questions. The community has been responding extremely well to Stormblood and appreciates the hard work you and your team have put in for such a wonderful expansion. The questions I’m providing below are the questions and concerns I’m hearing most from the PvP community since the release of the expansion.
Q: I’m very curious to know the details on the process that goes into developing PvP modes, such as Feast and Frontlines. What does the development of new PvP modes look like behind the scenes? And what about the work behind monitoring and balancing the content?
Generally speaking, we create long-term plans for FFXIV up to two years in the future. Determining the focus, parameters, and rules for in-game content are a part of this cycle. PvP content is included in this planning cycle as well. The Battle Team and I take the lead to discuss the type of PvP content and rules to create, while considering the direction that the community is leaning towards and the play data from the game. We also discuss how far we are looking to evolve PvP content from its latest iteration as we construct our plan.
The plan to create the new large-scale PvP content planned for Patch 4.1, that separates players into two opposing sides, came about because we felt that we had solidified a strong ruleset for Frontline and therefore wanted to create a completely separate PvP experience.
Content design leads come up with the base rules, bring these rules to the Battle Team for further polishing and improvements, and then ensure the larger team, including myself, are in consensus with the created rules. Once that is done, we ask for the map to be created, and programming will begin following the rules that have been established.
Balancing of PvP content is mainly based on everyone’s feedback and play data. Balancing of the content before release is mainly based on our repeated play test sessions.
Thank you for giving us a lot of feedback all the time. It’s been a great help!
Q: In 2.X, the main PvP mode seemed to be centered around the Fold. In 3.X the Feast was introduced. Seeing as the Feast has carried into 4.X, should we expect this to be the golden standard for serious competitive PvP going forward?
Yes, we are currently planning to keep The Feast as the core PvP content and then expand from there. We are working on implementing team creation comprised of 4-6 players, team registration, team rating and rankings, in addition to making this into an official competitive sport. I believe that we will be able to implement these features in Patch 4.2, and we plan to hold official and offline tournaments from there.
Q: Are there plans to bring back light party queue? Most players, while they felt the system was being abused, used it as the main means for serious competitive PvP. Events held at the three recent fanfests and player created events all depended on organized 4v4 match ups. What are the current plans for supporting this mode going forward in the future?
We have announced this before, but there are few reasons why we decided to remove this: because we felt that most of the players would focus on PvE with 4.0, because we greatly changed the PvP system, because we wanted to lessen the number of content that requires matching as much as possible, and because we are currently working on implementing a cross-world custom match feature with Patch 4.1. This will return in some form in 4.1, so please wait just a little longer!
Q: One of the biggest complaints I receive from PvPers is towards what they feel is a lack of moderation. Players who abuse the system in ways such as queuing in with the intention to lose as fast as possible in order to get reward or hurt another’s rank go seemingly unpunished. This makes it difficult to take the competitive modes seriously when players see these situations occur. Are there any plans to combat this or increase moderation of such abuse?
This issue is extremely tough to tackle. We investigate every time we receive a report, but many of the cases aren’t as extreme as users describe them in the reports. As it relates to PvP, competition can become heated and the reports can sometimes become exaggerated, so we cannot take it at face value. We thoroughly investigate things like conversations and action logs and deal with players if we do discover a problem. This is why it would be greatly appreciated if we can receive level-headed and detail-focused feedback as much as possible. We also plan to invest more resources into supervising these ethical issues.
Q: Players are still having a hard time communicating properly in solo queue. While quick chat features help, it still doesn’t accommodate the proper communication that needs to occur to help grow the PvP community, especially with new players. While a few players present toxic behavior may discourage others, being unable to properly communicate seems to discourage players even more, due to being unable to advance strategies and grow the meta with proper coordination. Can we expect some form of bringing back feast chat in the near future for those who could utilize it properly?
I completely understand that it would be better for advanced PvP players to be able to use full chat functions. However, the data clearly shows that a greater number of new players have joined the content after we removed chat functions—this is a fact that we cannot dispute. From this, we can tell how much harsh language was becoming an impediment to new players and hurting their participation. I believe that this change is something that is inevitable not only for FFXIV, but for all PvP games.
On the other hand, it might be good to bring back full chat functions for custom matches and random 4 vs 4 practice matches, outside of ranked matches, as it would allow for players to discuss and develop deeper strategies. It is possible to separate chat functions between ranked matches and practice matches, so it would be great if we can continually receive feedback on this!
Q: One of the major successes to bringing more players into PvP could be contributed to the simplifying abilities, actions, traits, and the overall system. Although, some more seasoned PvP players are having a hard time adjusting to the lack of depth currently and believe it went a little too far. Their opinions usually suggest with the addition of a one or two more abilities per job it could add a much needed extra level of skill. Do you have any plans on adding more abilities for the jobs that seem to be lacking or hitting a skill ceiling too early?
I believe that the new PvP system we introduced in 4.0 was able to pave the way for a great future for PvP. Of course we do not think that it is perfect or finalized; we plan to make adjustments and additions to the content as we read player feedback.
At this time, those who have experienced and mastered the new features of 4.0 PvP are only a portion of the highest ranked players. We want to increase the number of experienced users with this current season, and aim to create much more exciting PvP content as we move forward. There are possibilities that we will add new actions, and it would be great if we can receive detailed feedback on what kind of actions you think would be great to have for each job.
Q: Members of PvP community who, in the past, played The Feast and The Fold on a very competitive and highly skilled level, have mentioned being discouraged in continuing to play. Their main concern is that they feel there is nothing to look forward to in terms of rewarding competitions, such as official PvP events or something similar to bring FFXIV into the eSports scene. Is there anything you could tell these players who may be discouraged?
I briefly mentioned this in one of my previous answers, but we are steadily making progress in preparing for official tournaments and other events. We are currently prioritizing receiving feedback on the competitive element as the PvP system has changed quite a bit. We are also preparing for team registrations, and we hope to finish both tasks simultaneously. The community that everyone created is dear to us, and because of that, we have been making sure to fully prepare for the future. It’s almost ready, so please look forward to these upcoming additions!
Q: As a final question, outside of FFXIV PvP, what is your favorite player versus player game currently?
I had only been playing Overwatch lately since I was focused on releasing 4.0, and couldn’t take much time to play games. I did finally start to play Splatoon 2 though. I want to play PUBG (PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS) too but I’m a bit hesitant, because I feel like I’ll become too engulfed by it and that it might actually interfere with our development! [laughs] I wonder if it’s okay for me to take that kind of time to play once we pass our fourth anniversary…? :p
Again, thank you very much for your time. It means a lot to myself and the PvP community that you took the time to answer the questions!