Media Tour 2019: Difficult 4-player Content

*This page lists videos and articles based on play of an in-development build of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, and content in the final version is subject to change.*

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I almost feel like this question will never stop being asked until it’s implemented in the game. Every time I have the chance to interview anyone from the development team, it seems this is the question everyone pushes for me to ask. And I have done my best to incorporate it each time because I know how much the hardcore community is begging to die in this content. So for reference, this is how I asked the question this time:

Frosty:

Again speaking with a lot of high end players, they often want new challenges. They want something more difficult to do, and every day, they say “What about four man difficult content?” and so I guess I could mix this between two questions: Do you think we’ll start having smaller challenges for higher tiered players like four man dungeons, or is there going to be some way to bring back old content and find ways to make it challenging, to use the same assets you already have to maybe reduce development?

Yoshida is not unfamiliar with this question and he did manage to let out a small laugh as I was asking for it, I expected it to be a short answer immediately saying no. But that is not the type of Producer Yoshida is, and decided to go into a good bit of detail in his answer.

Yoshida:

So the answer is going to be broken down into several different points, but first of all when asked “Do we make considerations for this kind of high end content?” For example, you mentioned about four man challenges. It’s actually always being considered, there’s always a discussion about “What do we do?” Do we want to do a very challenging or difficult content that can be attempted by four people? So we are constantly trying to make considerations and of course being one of those people that come up ideas for different content material, whenever we’re thinking about super difficult content that you attempt with four people, you have to be careful because not one person can be gone or else if they are knocked out or incapacitated , it’s going to throw things off and it’s a very peaky sort of content that we have to adjust.

I’m sure if either of you are familiar with game designing or game developing it will probably ring a bell. Two issues that would come about: How many people will actually attempt something that is so difficult, and of course if we want as many people as possible trying to attempt and complete this content we need to have that incentive, or some kind of reward. If this reward is something that is very powerful, those more casual players might not like that fact. Having that sort of difficulty and the peaky balance, but still able to complete and clear the content, and trying to consider all the factors that go into creating such content would require enough development resources to create, say like an Ultimate content.

You mentioned about utilizing graphics, resources, assets and re-purposing them, sure that is a factor that would decrease the burden on the development resources, but we still have to come up with the mechanics and the different gimmicks that are part of that battle encounter and our designer would have to come up with ideas from scratch. The same goes for programming of the content, we would have to write the code from scratch as well so unfortunately it’s not just a matter of re-purposing what existing content we already have. So if we were faced with the decision whether we utilize one of our very talented designers to create content that is four man and extremely difficult, or risk sacrificing the quality of some other content, the development team usually ends up deciding that it’s more efficient to create Ultimate battles. That’s how the conversation tends to go.

The other issue that arises is the job balance. Of course in a light party you have your one tank, two DPS, one healer, and it’s because there’s such a small number of people going into the content it’s inevitable to start seeing that certain combinations of jobs going into the content is more advantageous than the other. You can see it much more significantly compared to that of an eight man content. On top of that, among the four people, there may be specific actions of a specific job that might make things more advantageous and people might find that you need to have this job and make sure you have this action available, and there’s a really high chance of that happening. So with any sort of raid or difficult content the typical way to go about balancing that content is the assumption of eight people going into it. So if we were to have that in a reduced number of people going into the content, it causes that kind of issue, not just with the balance, but people asking for “I want this job balanced because of this content,” and there’s that sort of fear of the feedback that comes back that way.

So we always discuss very heavily about it and we always tend to be like “Well we need to give it more thought,” and we’re always kind of wondering and hesitant on it. And of course there are other team members in the development team that do want to respond to that request. There are people who want to create content like that, that would satisfy that sort of… But when I pose that question of “Would you rather create high end super difficult content for four people, or have your next Baldesion Arsenal?” A lot of the team members would want to go and help create the second Baldesion Arsenal.

But don’t lose hope! Please don’t lose hope.

One of the big facts I’m pulling from this is that it’s constantly discussed internally. It’s  something that is being considered all the time. And I guess it does pose a good question, if you had to choose between Ultimate 8-man raid and a difficult 4 player dungeon, which would you choose?

I found out after my interview, my friend MTQCapture also asked the question. And while I do my best to avoid doubling up, it’s not a major issue here. This only shows that the community wants it badly and hopefully the next time the discussion appears within the developer team, it’ll edge in the favor of doing it.



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One thought on “Media Tour 2019: Difficult 4-player Content

  1. “But when I pose that question of “Would you rather create high end super difficult content for four people, or have your next Baldesion Arsenal?” A lot of the team members would want to go and help create the second Baldesion Arsenal.”

    Yeah, it does not matter what the team wants but the players. Baldesion Arsenal is a giant mess, but of course easier to design, since it’s for ~30-56 people = you don’t really have to balance much. When you design content for a 4 player group, that’s not possible, you would actually have to put work into balancing, but then it would clearly be content way more people can enjoy.

    BA mainly worked with discord and third party tools should never be needed for something like that. It’s also a giant annoyance to play with that many random people for most, while you can easily do 4 player content with your friend or guild.

    If the team members want to do stuff they like most, that’s what hobbies are for, not your job you get paid for – you know, by the people you sell it to.

    Like

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