Thank you very much for taking the time to review and answer my questions. I’m not sure how much you know about me, but I have ran a podcast for three years dedicated to interviewing and discussing topics with players, called “MogTalk”. I have spent an extensive amount of time speaking with raiders of every sort, from world first to casual players – as well as the most die-hard PvP players. Below are questions that have been generated from my conversations with the playerbase recently that I hope you could answer.
First and foremost, thank you so much for actively doing these podcasts! Your efforts to reach out to players and hold valuable talk sessions do reach us in Japan. We all see the translations for these podcasts! (There’s a site where Japanese players translate them.) So without further ado, let’s get started with the responses.
I’m hoping that the episode with these responses won’t make people too salty! :p
Q: Most players have commented on the difficulty for Sigmascape (Savage) being the same or maybe even easier than Deltascape (Savage). Can we expect savage to continue to stay the same or become easier? If so, is this due to Ultimate being implemented?
Yes, the current difficulty for Savage is deliberate. We will probably work towards keeping this level of difficulty moving forward. The reason is very clear: if it becomes any more difficult than it currently is, less people will take on the challenge, and there will only be a small portion of the player base that would be satisfied. Compared to previous raids, there were significantly more people who cleared Deltascape (Savage), leading to us reaching an all-time high. Through this, we saw an increased demand for crafted gear, food items, and potions, and the markets became more active than any previous raids. I concluded that continuing this would allow for more players to enjoy Savage content. Of course, because of that I decided to implement the “Ultimate” series aimed for those who may not be satisfied by the level of difficulty of Savage. Fortunately, “The Unending Coil of Bahamut (Ultimate),” the first in the Ultimate series, was received very well.
We are currently working on the next Ultimate as part of the Patch 4.3 series. If you love content with high level of difficulty, I encourage you to stay tuned for more information!
Q: With 15 unique jobs and only 8 positions in a full party, some jobs are naturally more desired than others. When adding more jobs and continuing to support the current jobs, how do you make each job satisfying to play and worth bringing to an end game raid?
Fundamentally speaking, our policy is to create a “unique job experience that is specific to that job” with any job that is in the game. When a player uses that job, we think about bringing some kind of change to the battles they had played up to this point, through job-specific mechanics or gameplay experience. That’s because by doing so, the players will want to try out various different jobs. When thinking about a new job, we pay close attention to the catchiness of the character’s look and the stylishness of their actions. Many players can be particular about whether or not the job feels like FINAL FANTASY and is visually appealing, before they concern themselves over whether or not it’s actually fun to use the job, so with any new job introduced to FFXIV, these points are very important. The decision to bring a particular job into an end-game raid is up to the players, and so our task is to simply make sure you can complete the raid with any job combination. Of course, I understand that with each job, there will be some jobs that are more advantageous than others in terms of clearing the content early/quickly, but more than that, we prioritize providing a gameplay experience unique to the job. That is because not all of our players will go to a raid.
Q: When doing previous end game content on the minimum iLvl setting, many players would like to have their level 70 skills and abilities. Removing access to their level 70 skills/abilities feels incomplete and awkward since for some jobs, the skills and abilities are even different than what it was at the time the content was released. Is there any chance level sync will just scale down stats, and not limit access to skills/abilities as well?
Technically, it is possible, but even if we scaled them down and people would have LV70 skills and abilities, I think whether or not an encounter’s difficulty level becomes the same as when it was first implemented is a separate issue. Compared to before, I believe the DPS overall has increased, and also healing and defense has become much easier. In order to keep it in line with the difficulty level of when a content was first implemented, I believe it can’t be addressed by a simple scaling of the stats. We would have to readjust the balance on all content, and I’m afraid we are not able to allocate the resources to do so. It’s possible to simply unlock all the LV70 actions, but I’m sure the content would feel way too easy then… It’s a tough call, but I would like to make an opportunity to hold a serious discussion with the battle team!
Q: With the positive feedback of adding challenging content like Ultimate, do you plan to eventually add challenging four man content as well? There are still many requests for challenging or “savage” style dungeon modes to give high end players more day-to-day content.
This is yet to be announced, but we are planning to introduce a high-difficulty game content that can be challenged by four players, sort of like floors 180 and beyond in Deep Dungeon “Palace of the Dead.” But if the intent of your question was “can we get a challenging content that four people can tackle a boss battle,” then, we currently do not have any plans for that. Whenever we create a high-difficulty boss battle, we tend to include instant-death mechanics, which means if the healer makes one misstep, the players cannot recover from there, so it begs the question, “can we even make that fun?” I would like to encourage you to first try the content we already have in the works, and please provide your feedback!
We should be able to announce it very soon, but, we’ll see… : )
Q. What are the changes that have been made in 4.2 aimed towards? Veteran players feel like it reduced the scope of meta even more. Is it geared towards bringing in newer players? At the start of the expansion PvP was severely altered and simplified. This feels like another step in that direction for feast.
Our goal for the changes made with 4.2 was to speed up the tempo at which a match unfolds, and it was not intended specifically for new players. However, these changes took away the push/pull dynamic of the strategy, and ended up just being a melee fight in the center of the map. We are currently working to revise this, so if you could please stand by.
Q. Many players who have stopped playing feast contributed it due to lack of excitement for rewards or not knowing what’s next for feast. After earning the armor from the previous tier, they didn’t have incentive to reach top 100 for the next since it was the same armor with a re-color. And while there are hints of tournaments, we still don’t have a lot of information on it. What should players be excited for and what are the plans to keep them excited in regards to feast?
We are already revisiting the rewards, and we intend on providing rewards that can satisfy our players to the best of our abilities moving forward. Also, I am thinking of eventually holding a tournament in which players can compete for the number one spot in a particular region, and I’ve been busy with preparations for that. In order to run an official tournament, there needs to be a very clear set of regulations (for example, what devices are acceptable, etc.) and we need to establish rules that will not allow for any foul play. I’m afraid it’s taking time, but your patience would be appreciated.
Q. Can we ever expect a capture the flag style PvP or small scale frontlines PvP(8v8)?
Of course, I can’t say that it will never happen, but we’re currently working on the next installation of “Rival Wings,” which was received well previously. This will also take some time before we can reveal more information, but development is moving along, so I hope you look forward to more information to come.
Q. The world raid race seems to gaining more traction each major patch. There was even an official tweet crediting the three teams that cleared Kefka the fastest. After releasing a major patch, how closely does your team watch the world race? Do you have someone dedicated to monitoring it?
Right after a raid goes live, we use a dedicated tool that automatically tracks the logs of that content so that we can watch which player, which free company, which team is fighting the boss and in what way. At the same time, if people have a livestream, we will continuously watch the stream, and simultaneously, the Operations team would look out for the social channels of the teams participating in the raid race. Additionally, when the raid race comes to an end, we don’t just check the log results – from here, we go in manually to see the finer details, including which team killed the boss, and in what way, and what time did that moment happen, etc. We go through all of this, and so that’s why it takes a little time before the end of the raid race is announced. In any case, we are all also excited as we watch over the race. I am really looking forward to watching the race for the next Ultimate!
Q. Many community web developers have requested an API to work with. This is something companies like Blizzard have been known to do. Is this something the FFXIV team will eventually create for those inspired to grow the community with their own creations? For example, if someone wanted to make a website to track when a character cleared a certain boss the first time?
Unfortunately, we do not have any plans to provide Web API at the moment. This is not simply because our policy does not allow it, but also because the team handling web-related matters have their own development tasks as well, and so they cannot allocate the time to distribute and maintain an API. We are currently working on a dedicated FFXIV Companion App, and I should be able to show it off at places like the Letter from the Producer LIVE and whatnot very soon. Once that’s settled, and a big update to Mog Station is complete, then we may be able to start work on it. That being said, if I come up with a different idea, we will probably prioritize that though…
Q. Where is blitzball??
There are two plans drafted, but it’s currently still pending. One idea is to recreate blitzball just like it was in FINAL FANTASY X. I’m sure there are lots of people who want this, but I can’t shake my concern that people would get tired of this after playing through it just once. That’s because for a form of playable content in an MMORPG, one playthrough takes a long time. We can reward Allagan tomestones, but if the player wants to gather tomestones, they would run something more time-efficient. Then, let’s say we implemented a designated swimwear. But once the swimwear incentive is gone, people won’t play it anymore. We know from experience that something that may be fun as a game does not necessarily work within an MMORPG. The other idea is an MMORPG-like blitzball, where you recruit NPCs from various regions to create your own team. The player would then send that team out to matches, and strengthen them through training. If you could imagine existing games that involve coaching characters, or simulation games, this idea would be akin to those. For an MMORPG, I believe this game design would be better received. But in this case, I can anticipate feedback along the lines of “this is not blitzball!” so it’s giving me quite the headache.
Do you have any good ideas? : (
Thank you again for your time and I appreciate all of your hard work!
I hope everyone enjoyed this interview and thank you everyone who helped make this interview happen!