Originally Posted by Naoki_Yoshida View Post
Hello. This is Producer/Director Yoshida.
I’d like to comment on the reasoning behind looking into implementing the spec where you can interrupt spell casting by moving, as was written in the 1.20 patch notes.
Since this is going to be about the roles and special characteristics of magic classes in battles for 2.0, as well as PvP-related content, this post has become just as long as the longest post I ever made in the past…I apologize.
In terms of MMORPGs I will be writing extremely orthodox stuff, so this might be kind of boring content for the veteran MMORPG players out there…
Please understand ahead of time that this feature is something that is being looked into and tested for implementation, and especially depending on canceling casting and the response for re-casting, there is a possibility that the implementation will be put off until 2.0.
Image and Role of Casters in Parties (Mainly black mage)
This is a pretty fundamental idea, but first off, the below is the image for predominantly magic using classes in FFXIV:
Lowest defense of all classes
Largest amount of damage for a unit of time amongst all classes (high DPS)
Can deliver a concentrated amount of damage in a short time and push the envelope, but will guzzle MP
Possesses crowd controlling status ailments such as Sleep/Paralyze/Bind/Charm/Heavy
In other words, as long as they are able to cast and not run out of MP, they will possess a great deal of destructive power. However, it is setup to be an extremely one-sided class in the sense that once an enemy gets close, your spells will get interrupted and your HP will fall instantly.
Of course, the above is a very extreme version of a black mage and we are planning to add other casting classes in the future that will have their own specialties that will be different.
As is true for MMORPGs, I would like magic users to be a shining class in FFXIV as well. By maintaining a good distance from a monster, if you can keep firing off strong spells, you will be able to defeat monsters comfortably as long as spells are not resisted.
However, it is a difficult class to manage because if you are not careful your MP will run dry, or you might miscalculate the distance to your enemy and before you know it you are dead.
Digressing a bit, caster classes are the ones I have been playing the longest in my MMORPG history.
Status Ailment Spells and Instant Cast Spells
For casting classes, we will be allocating status ailment spells to each class.
They will be given debuff spells ranging from the core: sleep, paralyze, bind, charm, and heavy to spells that will lower enemy’s stats and resistance to magic.
(We are also planning to add a lot of spells to the currently existing classes at the time of 2.0.)
By commanding these spells which are called “crowd control spells” or “debuffs” in the MMORPG world, you can prevent enemies from getting near you and by combining this with spells that deal damage, you can defeat them before they come in contact with you. This is the fundamental stance for playing a caster class.
Additionally, in order to deal with emergencies when enemies get close, casters will also be armed with instant cast spells. This type of magic has no casting time and as long as the recast timer is up you can just target and activate it in a flash. (There is also non-target AoE magic as well…)
However, in exchange for there being no casting time for these instant cast spells, they will be balanced with low damage for attack spells, low effect duration times for debuffs, be easily resisted, and have long recast timers.
The reason why they are “casters” is because they are able to select from a variety of spells based on the situation, not only damaging spells.
Image of Casters for Solo Play
To put it simply, it follows the below flow:
1. Attack enemy from max range with the most damaging spell
2. Monster aggros and begins to move to attack
3. Cast sleep and put monster to sleep (OK to slow their movement speed by adding a heavy effect)
4. Move to the max range while the enemy is asleep or weighed down
5. Once you have established distance, turn and fire off an attack spell combo to deal a maximum amount of damage
6. Once damage has been dealt, sleep will wear off and the enemy will begin to move again (however, their HP is halved)
7. Cast attack spells for combos and lower the enemy’s HP
8. Finally, use a spell that recovers MP and defeat the enemy
Understanding the enemy’s remaining HP and the amount of damage needed to finish them off is the way a caster solos. If you adjust the damage appropriately so that you can use a spell that has an MP recovery effect, you can move on to the next enemy without much down time.
However, these are the fundamentals for enemies (monsters) that do not have ranged attacks.
This is what we were considering when we took out the ranged attacks in 1.20 that monsters had been unreasonably given, so this basic way of playing would become possible.
(Paradoxically, if we didn’t revamp actions and remove these ranged attacks, it would not be possible to create this style of caster, so we took care of each portion leading to 1.20.)
From patch 1.20 on, we will need to carefully handle casters in regards to monsters that use magic and ranged attacks.
The main reason being that once a caster is attacked, their spells will be interrupted and will no longer be able to attack. (For this we will be performing adjustments as necessary for casting impediments.)
In this environment, if we were to have casters that could move while casting spells, the balance would be completely destroyed and this is one of the reasons that we are planning to make it possible to interrupt spells through movement in the future.
(By possessing status ailments that make it extremely easy to gain distance from a monster, having this would only make it even easier.)
This is also the meaning behind making movement=immediate spell interruption (once the server coordinates are updated, casting will be terminated).
Image of Casters for Party Play
While not much will change from solo play fundamental of “don’t let the enemy get close,” the constraint of not generating too much enmity will be added. Casters have very high stats compared to other classes for dealing damage. If they over do it too much, they will quickly generate a great deal of enmity, the enemy will target them and they will be killed before a gladiator or paladin can help them.
For party play, different than soloing, the monsters you face may be stronger than you or there might be numerous monsters. Since casters are defensively challenged, if you are attacked all at once by multiple monsters or by stronger opponents, the white mage will not be able to cure in time and you will die.
Due to this, casters need to pay attention to enmity, use proper crowd control for multiple monsters and deal the finishing blow while having a good grasp of the team’s dynamics.
Especially in dungeons and other narrow areas, since it is very hard to get distance from monsters, crowd control spells and good communication with the tank is critical.
On the other hand, for parties in wide areas, if you could not cancel spell casting through movement, it would be possible to easily defeat difficult enemies by repeating the strategy of damaging the enemy and stealing hate, maintain distance while running as other classes beat down the monster, and then casting again, so on and so forth. (Kiting, catch-ball, there are many names for this strategy.)
It will not be possible to cast spell while moving. If an enemy gets close and starts attacking, spell casting will be interrupted. However, once casting is completed, it will be possible to deal a tremendous amount of damage. Casters are a high-risk/high-return type of class.
Naturally, players that play casters can show off their skills by using instant cast spells, which can be fired off even while moving, to avoid danger. As noted earlier, the amount of actions you can perform while moving are not zero.
The balance between mages and melee attackers in PvP situations
In regards to PvP situations, being able to cast spells while moving disrupts the balance.
Let’s take a look at the following situation for example.
Consider yourself a paladin in this situation.
1. A black mage casts a spell on a paladin from long distance (not the maximum distance)
2. The paladin cannot attack the black mage unless (s)he moves closer, so (s)he performs one of the following actions
A. Move out of the black mage’s attacking range
B. Run toward the black mage to shorten the distance
3. The black mage observes the paladin’s action and performs one of the following actions
A. Chase the fleeing paladin while casting spells
B. Run away from the pursuing paladin while casting spells
C. Cast sleep to put the paladin to sleep (there is a possibility that the spell is resisted)
4. The paladin decides to pursue the black mage, but the black mage continues to cast spells while running away from the pursuing paladin
5. Although the black mage has to stop temporarily while casting a spell, the paladin was unable to close the distance to the black mage and was defeated
Being able to cast spells while moving is way too advantageous for mages.
Basically, the paladin has no other choice but to flee out of the black mage’s range.
However, the mage who can cast spells while moving will probably obstruct the paladin from fleeing by casting sleep or heavy.
Essentially, it is impossible for the paladin to win with the current specs.
This is a terrible imbalance that cannot be overcome with player skills.
Of course, even if it were by design that spellcasting would get cancelled if a player moved, the mage still has the advantage of getting the first attack off from a long distance. This comes as no surprise in a long ranged class vs. close ranged class situation. However, if a paladin resists a spell even once or if he is able to get within range of the mage while tanking the spell damages with his high magic resistance, then the paladin will dominate the battle. In a close combat scenario, the paladin will be able to knock out the black mage using his shield bash, land an attack combo, and easily defeat him.
(That is why it will be crucial for a paladin to be equipped with high magic resistant PvP gear in such PvP situations)
This design which prevents a mage from casting spells while moving is what will give the paladin a winning chance. That is why the specs for a mage’s spell range, in addition to a character’s movement speed, will be a critical factor in balancing classes.
In the current version of FFXIV, we have not made any severe range adjustments on individual spells, but proper adjustment will be made on each spell as we move on. Therefore, when 2.0 comes along and PvP is implemented, it will be important for players who play as a mage, a long ranged attacker, or a close ranged attacker who wishes to make a name for themselves, to fully grasp the attack range for each spell. You will be able to guess which black mage spell has the longest range and which magic attack you just received by studying the colors and shapes of the spell effects and by their damage. Likewise, it is very important to memorize which class/job possesses which spell.
In this way, it becomes necessary to have the designs to “cancel spellcasting when a character moves” and “only allow spells that can be cast instantly to be usable while moving” in order to maintain the balance between classes and make use of their uniqueness. This is reason number 2.
On a side note, mages are a truly fun class to play in PvP. Unlike a monster, your opponent is also a player so there is no need to worry about enmity. Naturally, the mage will become the primary target for the opposing side because they have the ability to deal high damage spells from long range, put allies to sleep, and stall their advance. In other words, they are the class that players will want to defeat first and this will be quite easy if they can get close enough to the mage.
Therefore, when a mage encounters an enemy party in a PvP situation, he will want to get out of their sight. This can be done by hiding behind trees or by backtracking and putting some distance between the enemy, but the mage’s function is to disable the enemy, so at a certain point he will come out of hiding and cast Sleep for example… The risks are high but if a mage can find himself free (not being harassed by the enemy whatsoever), then he can cast as many spells as he would like.
Once one enemy has been disabled, the mage can position himself to attack the next target from just inside the maximum attacking range. (If spells are cast from the maximum attacking range, it is very easy for the enemy to move out of range.) If the enemy begins to flee, the mage can immobilize the enemy by paralyzing the enemy or putting the enemy to sleep. If the enemy charges toward the mage, the mage can flee to maintain separation. Once the enemy stops pursuing the mage, the mage can return to casting spells.
I was asked what my favorite race is during the live producer letter and I responded with Lalafell. The reason is that small Lalafells can hide easily and are difficult to target.
This has been a very orthodox narrative on mages, but this is the foundation of mages for me and the rest of the development team. Of course we will be adding spells, abilities and effects unique to FFXIV, so not everything will follow this foundation. (chain spells, nullifying the enemy’s interruption, increased casting speed, increased casting range, etc.)
Therefore, I believe it is necessary to implement the spec in which spells are canceled if the mage moves while casting the spell in order to establish this foundation for mages.
Some of you may think that it would be better to make this change in FFXIV 2.0, but players will be averse to change once they have gotten used to a certain system, so I would like to make this change as soon as possible. Some of you may think that it is too late to make this change over a year after launch, but I believe that it is crucial for the game to take all the steps necessary to implement this foundation. I apologize that this is a long process, but we must make these adjustments one update at a time in order to restore balance to the game.
I also mentioned this in another post, but in case we are not able to achieve the controls that we are aiming for with the existing servers, we have to think of alternative method.
(Of course, the best outcome is for us to be able to make improvements based on player feedback.)
Finally, we have an opportunity to implement the basic foundation of the game, which will allow us to exert the best of FFXIV from here on out. As such, we would like to inspect and implement this spec as soon as possible.
Some of you may be thinking, “wow, this was all so obvious.” However, implementing this kind of fundamental stability will allow us to add on so much more to this game. My philosophy for game design, not only for FFXIV, but for all games in general, is that doing everything innovatively, originally or with a novel approach does not always work. As a result, there was no party play strategy involved in FFXIV at the time of its release, which led to disappointment due to players being unable to feel comfortable with the game.
When FFXIV 2.0 is closer to launch, many players may consider switching over to FFXIV from other MMORPGs. As such, I believe it is my responsibility as the producer to provide comfort and stability for players switching over to FFXIV. I also need to think of ways for a whole guild to be able to transfer over to FFXIV with ease…
It is very difficult for players who have spent many years playing an MMORPG to leave behind the currency, characters and items that they have accumulated, as well as the friends that they have made, in order to switch over to a different MMORPG. Also, it is very important to help players who are new to MMORPGs (FFXIV being their first MMO) feeling comfortable with this genre.
I would like to first establish solid fundamentals by implementing a balanced UI, a battle system that is not too complicated and without too many action elements. Once the fundamentals are in, we can then provide a unique experience specific to FFXIV and establish a stable and secure gaming experience for many players to enjoy.
This may seem like a big challenge, but I have done a lot of research and planning to accomplish this goal. I’m sure many of you have many comments you would like to direct toward me, such as there is not enough information, the updates are too slow, post more, sleep more, drink less coffee, and get some sleep sometimes, but I will do my best to satisfy your demands. I’m sorry this has carried on so long, but please continue your support.
Merry Christmas, everybody!