Hello, this is Yoshida, the Producer/Director.
I appreciate all the comments from your heated discussion. I will post my objectives regarding power leveling and the removal of the claim system.
I want to make it clear now that I believe there is no way to settle this argument in a way that everybody will be 100% satisfied with. Also, this is going to be a very long post, so it may be a difficult read. (I decided that I would divide up the post, rather than rush through each topic. I hope you read my entire post.)
This is an extreme example, but even for non-online, stand alone games, there are players who enjoy completing the game even if they use cheats to obtain all items or max out their levels. However, other players feel that this is a waste of time and that it defeats the purpose of buying the game. As such, this is a difficult issue to address.
In MMOs, there are players who would like help with leveling, because they want to play with other players as soon as possible. There are also players who would like to help new players level up, so that they can play with them. These players don’t want strong restrictions on power leveling, nor to be confined to parties with major level differences.
In contrast, there are players who believe that, “Players grow together with their characters,” “If other players are power leveling, leveling up becomes meaningless,” “Power leveling will become a necessary part of the game,” and “Power leveling will disrupt areas for proper party play.”
Even without considering RMT and people who level up other players’ characters for profit, this issue is the cause of a lot of friction. For online games, RMT and people who level up other players’ characters for profit will both certainly exist, so they must be considered. This is a good point of discussion, but opinions will vary based on perspective, so it is difficult to reach a definite conclusion.
Thus, I will post the development of how we reached the new specs.
Why the claiming system will be removed We decided to remove the claiming system from FFXIV because we decided that claiming would become a troublesome spec in the future development of the game. When considering large scale PvE content involving multiple parties and PvP between large numbers of players, the spec that claiming occurs on a 1:1 basis becomes a nuisance. Also, instances will become more prevalent in future content. The concept of having to claim opponents to prevent being disturbed by other players becomes less and less relevant, so we decided that claiming is unnecessary.
Securing reward rights Up next is the decision on the right to obtain rewards. This regards who has the right to obtain experience points, dropped items, and quest completion flags when multiple parties (including solo players) attack the same monster.
In first generation MMOs the party that dealt the most damage to the monster was given the rights to the rewards. In the worst case, fighting over rewards was possible. The claiming system in FFXI was implemented to avoid this issue. I decided that it would be best for the player or party that attacked the monster first to obtain rights to the rewards. This makes it so that “the early bird gets the worm,” which I think is the simplest solution. Future content will be heavily instanced, so we think that NMs in public fields will be the most affected by these changes. Rather than allowing players to fight over rewards, I think it is better to feature some kind of gameplay system to make third party involvement in a NM battle impossible. As such, I decided to implement a “first attack” system for rewards rights.
Revision of distribution of rewards Up next is experience points, the center of our debate. If we simplify the specs, power leveling will certainly become easier.
I will provide an example involving soloing that is easy to understand. (Power leveling a party involving multiple levels is complicated) Suppose you attack a level 50 monster with your level 1 character. If a level 50 character nearby kills the level 50 monster, the skill points will be given to the level 1 character.
However, the gap between your level 1 character and the level 50 monster is too large, so the “defeating a higher rank monster bonus” will be significantly reduced. The experience points earned by the level 1 character will be adjusted quite drastically.
Suppose you attack a level 3 monster with your level 1 character and a level 50 character nearby kills the level 3 monster. The level 3 monster is appropriate for a level 1 character, so there will be no major drastic loss in experience points.
These are the basics. I will move on to determining whether or not a player is power leveling.
Determining power leveling The standard for battle length from here on out will be 30-40 seconds to defeat a monster of the same level while soloing. It would take about 4-5 seconds for a level 50 character to defeat a level 3 monster next to a level 1 character. The level 1 character can obtain the full amount of experience points just by standing there. However, the level 50 player involved is spending their time leveling up the other player instead of playing other content.
At this point, it depends how the level 1 character feels about being "helped" by the level 50 character.
Forcing out power leveling It is not easy to distinguish whether the above actions are an act of good will or serve the purpose of RMT or leveling up other characters for money.
By investigating logs, it is possible to identify for-profit violators and mete out punishment, but it would be very difficult to completely put an end to these actions. Doing so would require implementing very complicated specs, which will place a strain on ordinary users.
Distribute experience points based on the amount of damage done to the monster Distribute experience points based on hate
The above methods were used by first generation MMOs to reduce power leveling, but these methods have their own problems. Players can aggressively fight each other over experience points, classes that do not do much damage are at a disadvantage, and for-profit violators can create bots that randomly attack monsters and steal EXP. (As I said earlier, we will punish for-profit violators. However, we do not want to ban ordinary players, so it will take us time to properly identify for-profit violators.)
One thing we would like to avoid all costs is EXP stealing by bots.
Conclusion Taking everything into consideration, we understand that there will be pros and cons no matter what, but ultimately, we have decided that as a current generation MMORPG we would like to do something about,
"new players who would like some help, because they want to play with their friends as soon as possible, as well as players who are willing to sacrifice their own time to help out new players get involved in the game quicker."
We plan on implementing end-game content that is extremely difficult, so if assistance is necessary to reach this point I believe that it should be OK for players to help each other out, as long as there are players who are willing to help out.
Differences in gained experience points based on the difference between the player’s level and the defeated monster’s level will still exist, and will be adjusted. Our goal is to prevent any kind of extreme behavior. If any loopholes are found, we would like to fix these issues as they are discovered.
I believe that whether a player is playing seriously or not is a separate issue from whether the player is receiving assistance or not.
Personally, I am the type who believes that it is more fun to work hard and experience as much as you can first hand up until at least level 40, but if somebody comes asking for help saying, "I tried my best up until level 30, but I don’t have any more time!" I will help out.
Of course you would want your friends to enjoy an MMO that you enjoy playing, and if somebody is stuck in a situation where their enjoyment is hitting a wall, you would want to help out. Ultimately, it would be best for everybody to get along and play together.