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    Yoshida Interview (June 12): Joint Media Interview

    Below is my translation of an interview that was held with Yoshida on the last day of E3 (thanks to Sho for the heads-up that these were floating around). It was a 90 minute joint media interview with Game Watch, Famitsu, and other Japanese gaming media outlets. Presumably they were told not to publish the interview until late last week, because they all came out over the weekend.

    I've translated the Game Watch version first and I tweaked it a bit with some changes from the Famitsu and Dengeki transcriptions (mostly identical, so not many changes).


    ________________


    http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs...23_654559.html

    E3 2014 Interview with A Realm Reborn Producer/Director Naoki Yoshida
    At E3, Yoshida discussed the upcoming addition of a new class and job, new primals, as well as the current state of affairs and the future of A Realm Reborn.

    ---

    At last year's E3, the main focus for Square Enix was the release for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. At this time last year, they were busy with the beta test ahead of the August launch. This year, in addition to the introduction of a new class, "Rogue," and a new job, "Ninja," other future prospects were shown, such as information about patches 2.4 and beyond, and a three-day battle challenge against the Leviathan primal was held, with a great turnout at the booth each day.

    Regarding the next large patch 2.3, "Defenders of Eorzea," the release date is scehduled for July 8, and it will include new content such as the Ramuh primal battle, Frontline PvP, and the Syrcus Tower of Crystal Tower. A lot of other information was published about equipment, etc., at this year's E3. In this article, we focus on the joint interview with the Japanese media which was conducted on June 12, the last day of E3.

    The long-awaited introduction of a new class, “rogue,” and new job, “ninja” – not a tank, but a pure DPS

    Yoshida: First off, I know it’s been crazy this last day of E3, so thanks for taking your time to gather here to talk about Final Fantasy XIV. At last year’s E3, we hadn’t started the global release yet and we were just working on phase 3 of beta testing including the PS3 version. It was hard enough without doing a broadcast (laughs). After launch, we had to deal with all the server congestion issues, but we managed to get that on track while still moving forward with major patches, and I’m glad that we were finally able to announce a new class and job at this year’s E3. We’re also able to talk about patch 2.3, and as we move towards the future expansion pack, we have a lot of surprises in store, so I hope you’re looking forward to the update.

    At the same time, we have another target to keep growing the community, so we’re moving forward with plans to start service in China, the world’s largest online gaming market, this summer. We’re also in talks with several other locations and we will continue to challenge ourselves to make A Realm Reborn a truly global game. Thanks for your continued support.

    While there’s been a lot of talk about what patch 2.3 will deliver on July 8, I think the highest level of interest right now is for information about the new class and new job, so I’d like to ask you about both. What was originally planned to be “Thief” eventually became “Rogue,” and I think there are some FF fans in Japan who wanted to play as thief, so maybe you can talk a bit about that.

    Yoshida: First things first, rather than implementing all new classes and jobs with expansion packs, the development team decided that it would add one new class and job ahead of the expansion pack. We were able to add Scholar as a surprise at the start of A Realm Reborn’s official service, which was partially because there were a lot of players of the original FFXIV who were already level 50 on all classes for a long time and we wanted to add something new that they could develop as they progressed through the storyline. Now that we’ve balanced the DPS classes, we decided to add a new rogue/stealth focused class. Rather than include it from the start, we decided to add it at this time because it will be a tricky job to play.

    Also, “Frontline,” which we introduced in the earlier LIVE letter, is a 24 vs. 24 vs. 24 PvP battle which takes place on a fairly large battlefield. It will be key to have scouts performing recon operations. For example, you might have a scout who finds out that three Gridanian parties are moving south towards base 3 and you could intercept them or try to flank them. Once players are familiar with the main idea of “Frontline” as added in patch 2.3, when a Stealth class is added in patch 2.4, things will definitely be changed up. There are a lot of decisions like that we made when decided about patches 2.3 and 2.4.

    In patch 2.2, we hinted at the introduction of a new class and job in the storyline so that the addition would make sense as the world continues to evolve. Although there are definitely patterns with the types of things that are implemented in MMORPGs, because we want to keep this feeling like a FF game, we need to make sure things are properly integrated with the story.

    Truthfully, I wanted the job to be called “Thief,” but the development team wouldn’t have it (laughs). You see, there are guild headquarters in each city for all of the different classes, but if we had a class called “Thief,” it would have to be some kind of underground organization since it wouldn’t make sense to just be out in the open and it would be difficult to include in the main scenario. I told them, well, Limsa Lominsa is a port town and it was once overrun with pirates (laughs)…. but as Thancred pointed out, to properly organize it, the guild would have to be recognized by the nation at least to some extent, and it would be strange if they kept calling themselves “Thieves.” Also, the dual wielding nature of rogues is a form of martial arts that has some respect among Eorzeans, so we intended Rogue to be the Thieves of today.

    In Japanese culture and also around the world, when you think about a stealth-type, Ninja immediately comes to mind. Partly because of this global appreciation, we decided that it would be the first job that we would add. I really liked Shadow in FFVI, and I wondered what it would feel like to have a contemporary Shadow. Our thinking is that when Thancred’s battle style is combined with the mysterious Yugiri’s knowledge from the East, a new job will be born in Eorzea.

    So it’s a little different in the sense of Ninja and Thief from the past FF series? What about the “Steal” ability that Thieves have traditionally had in FF games?

    Well, since this is a stand-alone game, we don’t have to maintain all of the traditional thief roles.

    Would it be correct to say the jobs and classes are intertwined and Ninja is basically just a more specialized Rogue?

    That’s right.

    Do you intend people to see it as a hybrid of Thief and Ninja?

    For rogues, proper use of the poisons will be the focus, and when it comes to Ninja, Ninjutsu will be added, so I think it will be a little different from before.

    So they will have both poisons and ninjutsu?

    That’s right. It will be completely different from the nine jobs which have been implemented so far. Once patch 2.3 is released, we’ll have a lot more PR focusing on it, so stay tuned.

    Regarding Ninjutsu, will it act as a debuff or a buff, and how will it work if there are two Ninjas in the same party?

    I don’t think that the power will increase with multiple players in the same party because then it would create situations where everyone wants multiple ninjas in their parties. For some Ninjutsu, they don’t exert only one effect, and things change a lot depending on the order in which the Ninjutsu are connected. I think it will be fun to discover how the different Ninjutsu link with each other, so please wait until release to find out more.

    When you say Ninja in FF, I think people focus a lot on how it was a tank in FFXI, but it’s a DPS in FFXIV?

    It’s a DPS. I really have no idea how people came up with the idea that a Ninja should be a tank (laughs). I like the way a ninja style was done in “Assassin’s Creed,” but there was a lot of standing around. I’m thinking about treating Ninja more like it was in “Shinobi,” as a pure DPS.

    So it’s not a tank.

    That’s right. I think the image of what a Ninja is has gone overseas with the hit Japanese cartoon “Naruto,” and I think a lot of players already have an idea of what they want Ninja to be from the time we announced it. I’m not thinking too much about FFXI in that sense. Of course, there are those who still have the image of Ninja from FFXI and I saw a lot of expectations on the internet of it being an evasion tank class, but that’s not what it will be at all.

    So no Utsusemi?

    What do you think? (laughs)

    Maybe? You didn’t deny it. (laughs)

    Well, we want to keep our options open to use some of the skill names for Ninja from past FF games.

    One more ninja-related question – will ninja tools be needed?

    It won’t consume any items. This is also true for poisons. It’s so unpleasant to have someone show up for some content and then be like “oh, sorry, I can’t go DPS because I ran out of poison!” so we definitely don’t want that to be the case. For now, I had all of the battle staff involved with the new class and job go back and reread volume 1 of Naruto to get some ideas.

    So Ninja in FFXIV will be influenced by Naruto?

    Well, not really, but we’re referencing the visual style like their poses, movement, and swiftness of actions, so we’ll definitely be emphasizing that (laughs).

    In the trailer, it was shown as taking no damage because it was able to move around nimbly; will it still have directional combos in the same way that dragoon or monk do?

    I won’t say no outright, but it will be totally different from monk. We gave the appearance of a lot of movement in the video, but timing of ninjutsu with the battle situation will also be important. For example, it will be more like the way scholars and summoners have to decide what they will use Aetherflow for during a battle. It won’t have the feeling of strictly specified positions, so it will be quite unlike monk.

    Among the variety of available roles, why did you choose to add a melee DPS?

    As I said earlier, we wanted to have at least one rogue/scout-type class. Right now we have at least two positions available for every role, like paladin and warrior which are very different from each other. We also had two melee DPS classes, but they were both pure DPS. With this, we decided to add a stealth role, with the idea being that the overall choices would be increased so you can align your groups with what you need for a particular situation.

    So each job as has some unique element that makes it situationally useful?

    That’s right. We have bards which can attack and buff, monks which can be the number 1 DPS while they maintain a combo, dragoons which are easy to use in more situations, black mages as pure casters, and summoners which mainly use DoT, each of them has a specific purpose and utility.

    Do you have something planned as a countermeasure against the further overcrowding of the DPS population?

    The simple answer is that at first, it will take a while to find matches in Duty Finder. For those who want to level fast, FATEs might be a better answer. Because of that, this may be a good opportunity for people who still haven’t leveled healer or tank classes to get a lot of role bonuses on those as they level up and give them a try. In FATEs, you can have a party of eight ninjas if you want, so maybe more people will decide to use this instead of the Duty Finder and it might not be so bad.

    Even if you rush to end game content in 2-3 weeks and you intend it to be your main character, it will take some time to earn enough Allagan tomestones to get the gear you want, so I wouldn’t be extremely worried about Eorzea being overrun by ninjas or anything like that. There are always a few issues after new classes are first added in MMORPGs, but it keeps things interesting and will work out in the end.

    In the trailer, one jumped up on Ifrit’s head and grabbed his horn, what was that about?

    Stay tuned for more info (laughs).

    Is that a level 50 action?

    Yes, a critical hit to the neck, that seems ninja-ish! Please try also using it on small monsters like ladybugs and let us know what you think (laughs).

    I know it’s a dual wield job, but will you use two weapons like you did in FFXI?

    It’ll be different. Even though it’s a pair of weapons, it will both be together as one weapon. You won’t equip each one separately.

    What will the main stat be?

    I can’t discuss it yet. It’s also possible we’ll change it from what we’ve already planned (laughs).

    What about the relic equipment for Ninja? Will the acquisition conditions be the same, and when will they be implemented?

    It’ll be there, of course, and the conditions will be the same. For someone who’s planning to level ninja, maybe you can go ahead and start collecting Atma now to get ready.

    Last year when Scholar was introduced at E3, it was mentioned that it would branch off from the same class as Summoner, and this would be a mechanic that would be used more, but it has yet to happen for any other class. You haven’t announced anything yet, but are there any other plans to introduce anything like this? For example, another swordsman besides Paladin?

    Well, we need to look into this and whether we want to keep that plan, it’s something we have to consider as we add new jobs and classes. One of the more difficult things with the system is that when a job is derived from a class, it's tied to the class's actions. Also, when we make multiple jobs from one class, the weakness with having multiple jobs branch out of one class without being able to freely switch stats around is exposed. This wasn’t a problem initially because both of those jobs were simultaneously added and it was planned from the start, but now we have to carefully think about this. One thing we could consider, for example, is a hybrid job derived from more than one class, but it may change depending on what we want to add. The number of jobs will increase even further with 3.0 (the expansion pack), and at that point we might decide on an entirely new mechanism, so please hang on for further details.

    And what’s the timing of that?

    Well, we’ve finally just announced a new job, and I think you all still need some time to play that. Indeed, there are more classes and jobs on the way, but please enjoy this one for now (laughs).



    At E3, the new primal Shiva and Ramuh were introduced, along with future storyline.

    You’ve already told us that Ramuh would be implemented in patch 2.3, and you’ve also announced Shiva. Will you continue to add new primals frequently in the future?

    If you think about summons from previous games in the Final Fantasy series, referred to as primals in A Realm Reborn, there are countless more which could still be added, but we want each of them to serve a purpose. Up until Leviathan, the primals have been brought forth by beast tribes who are looking to eradicate humanity, but moving forward, the reason that new primals appear will be more complex. You’ll begin to see signs of this starting with Ramuh as the reasons behind the appearance of new primals change.

    We’re only just beginning to add the summons in this latest work of the FF series, so hopefully you can start imagining what’s to come as the world expands. 2.3 will be a branch point in the 2.0 patch series and we expect that a variety of speculation will begin. Although everyone is trying to protect Eorzea, different individuals also have their own interests in mind, which has given rise to some complex situations about who and what to protect. The primals are also entangled with this situation, so the Scions of the Seventh Dawn have responded. On the other hand there are new forces against which all of the players of the 2.0 series must take part, so please follow along with the story.

    I’d like to ask a bit about Shiva. I know it’s a bit early because Ramuh is coming first, but previously you had said that certain things had to happen before Shiva was introduced – is there a certain reason that Shiva is now coming?

    As you enjoy the story of 2.3, it might become more apparent…. So far, we’ve faced the problem of primals in areas under each of the three powers, but even since the original FFXIV, players have not yet been to the fourth. As Shiva is the ice primal, you’ll get a better understanding if you think about the territories to the north. Similar to how we were conscious of introducing the new job in the storyline of 2.2, we’ll continue to move the main scenario narrative forward, so I hope you’re looking forward to it.

    Aside from Shiva’s general character and hair colors, she's mostly similar in style to a normal female character, is that intentional?

    It’s not for me to say yes or no (laughs).

    Will Ishgard be implemented at the same time as Shiva?

    It does not have to be the case. As we move through the story of 2.0 we’re still focused on the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, so there will just be foreshadowing as we move towards this new place.

    Will we get a little peek at this in 2.3?

    Yes, it will start to come into view.

    Will there be something like the original three primals where you can get a weapon per week by killing Leviathan, Ramuh, and Shiva?

    We’re not planning that at this time, maybe something for the future. There are already enough weapons in the 50, 70, 90, and 100 level ranges, so we don’t plan on increasing the number any more at the moment.

    I like the way Ramuh looks, but I heard that the US PR team weren’t really fans – what are you hearing from players?

    We do have Ramuh here (pointing at CG artwork made for E3) with his characteristic bushy beard, but his face is small. We wanted to focus on Ramuh in the middle of the set of primals, but since it was the main banner to be placed at the entrance of the venue at E3, we decided to respect the opinions of the North American team. They asked us to focus on something more glamorous, so we decided to go with Shiva, which is why we arranged the primals like we did.

    What’d you think when you heard that from the PR team?

    I looked at the way Ramuh was placed and it certainly wasn’t what I envisioned (laughs), he’s definitely not glamorous. I like the old man character design and the setting of Ramuh, but I understand that he may not exactly be suitable for PR purposes. That said, I hope everyone gets to check him out in person in the game to see his better aspects.



    Information about Crystal Tower’s “Syrcus Tower”

    Even though some information about the new Syrcus Tower part of Crystal Tower is available, there’s still the issue with drops where players leave in the middle of runs and that sort of thing – do you have any countermeasures added in Crystal Tower this time?

    We don’t have anything dedicated for specifically prohibited acts.

    There’s also the system to replenish the ranks, so do you want alliances to refill using that?

    That’s right. Even if people do drop out after getting their drop for the week, there are also a lot of people who look to join these runs in progress to get their items and since the Allagan tomestones are also stacked towards the end of the tower, so I don’t think it will be a big issue.
    For eliminating other negative issues, we’ll do what we can with updates. For those who are actively engaging in using illegal tools to break the rules of the world, we’re working on a single step countermeasure process which will be strictly enforced.

    So for that fewer than 10% of people who are leaving in the middle of runs, I wonder if it’s really even a good thing to add a system which punishes them. For example, what if your ISP suddenly disconnects you and you had no intention to leave? There are too many variables to try to implement any specific countermeasure for this, not to mention that we could create unintentional bugs in doing so which could affect normal play.

    I think it’s better just to implement the Crystal Tower as a 24-person challenge, and I don’t think people playing with malicious intent will stay around for very long. Plus, there are some people who feel like that once they get an item it’s better if they drop out to make room for another person who still needs an item for that week. If we have to create a punishment which affects those people, I don’t think it paints a very pretty picture, so I don’t want to go that route.

    To participate in the new Crystal Tower, will you have to have completed the Labyrinth of the Ancients and some new quests which will be added in patch 2.3?

    Yes, you’ll need to have cleared the Labyrinth of the Ancients.

    In the sense of overall volume, will it be as much as last time?

    It should be about the same.

    Will it also be about the same degree of difficulty?

    Yeah. Monster’s HP and stats will be increased, of course, because everyone’s item levels have increased. It should have just the right amount of challenge. However, of course, there will be new battle gimmicks too that you’ll have to figure out. Hopefully you can still have fun and laugh at the first few times you try even if you wipe. I think it’ll be similar to Labyrinth of the Ancients that you’ll be able to clear it on your first try after a few attempts for each part.

    The equipment that drops will be item level 100, so is that the corresponding level of difficulty?

    We were looking at 80 or 90, but it'll probably be 80. Since the armor that drops from Labyrinth of the Ancients is all IL80, the intent is that you can align yourself to that and clear this at IL80.

    The rewards last time were stylish armors which were reminiscent of the FF series, so what about this time?

    Please look forward to it [[I had to translate it like this sooner or later, lol]]. If possible, think about something named after the boss of Crystal Tower (laughs). You’ll want to get the whole set, even if you’re just using it for glamour.

    Are there several sets like before, for each role?

    Yeah, there will be a substantial amount if you intend to collect them all.



    Yoshida says that A Realm Reborn’s first RvR, “Frontline,” is not the same as Dark Age of Camelot

    Tell us again about the implementation of Frontline.

    “Frontline” is going to be the main PvP in A Realm Reborn. It was first preceded by Wolves’ Den where we were able to spend a lot of time making adjustments and correcting our mistakes. Once we got things set where we wanted with PvP battles in Wolves’ Den, we moved on to Frontline. It did become rather cutthroat, though, where player stats, morale, equipment level, and PvP actions made a huge difference between beginners and veterans. The name of the content matched this well because it really was like a bunch of rabid wolves eating all of the little novice bunnies.

    A lot of people were very interested to get into the PvP experience in A Realm Reborn, but the gap between players was too intimidating, so we wanted to do something about it by letting players fight more people across a larger battlefield. So, in Frontline we’ve eliminated this gap as much as possible with the scope aimed towards a more casual crowd, along the lines of Crystal Tower. The responsibility of each individual player, then, is a bit less burdensome. Also, a game doesn’t just end when you wipe out – the competition is for points, so you can return to the front even if you are KO’ed. It’s definitely made with casual aspects in mind.

    At this time, we haven’t included anything like siege weapons in Frontline. We’re thinking about elements like making full use of rams and catapults against castles or other things involving larger maps in the future.

    For the final concept of Frontline, were you thinking about RvR with the same sense of scale as DAoC?

    There may be similarities, but the amount of content and size won’t be quite that large. Because A Realm Reborn is mainly a PvE game, PvP is just one of the many choices that players have to spend their time on while enjoying the game. In DAoC, winning RvR is the purpose of the game, so it wouldn’t make sense if most players didn’t participate in the RvR and there are definitely differences between DAoC and FFXIV.

    If we made things too large-scale with the size of the map or the number of elements to the battle, it would be difficult to have a match with a smaller number of people. Also, as we add new content, we expect that people will primarily do PvE to get the new equipment, so momentum will shift back and forth between farming items and the battlefield. It wouldn’t be much fun to around on an endless map for 2 hours and then engage in combat for 20 seconds when you finally find someone.

    So, while we think it would be great if we could achieve something like the RvR from DAoC, we don’t expect it to happen, so we’ve added things like PvE Tomestones of Mythology and Soldiery as teaser rewards to get more players to try out PvP.

    I think the main thing that most players will be partaking in from 2.3 is Syrcus Tower, so after you spend a few hours in a week getting your item, you’ll probably still need more Tomestones, and maybe you can try out PvP to accumulate some more.

    Unlike Wolves’ Den, basically anyone can participate?

    That’s right. Because it’s more casual, I hope everyone tries it out at least once.

    In the LIVE letter, you announced that the morale stat from Wolves’ Den won’t be used in Frontline. Will there be anything new you can develop or any new equipment-specific attribute like that for Frontline?

    Any PvP actions you’ve developed with points in Wolves’ Den can also be used in Frontline, so I think that will prove slightly advantageous already. That said, at the time of Frontline implementation, we will be adjusting almost all of the PvP actions. There are some which are a little too strong, and some which are too weak and unused, and a couple that are just right, but we reviewed everything.

    In patch 2.28, we implemented the fix where all PvP actions were acquired for all jobs automatically, so the only difference now is the effect enhancements, which eliminates situations where people are winning or losing just because they have certain actions. We’ve also gotten a lot of comments from people that they want to enjoy a fair fight with morale turned off. I think we’ll continue to fine tune Wolves’ Den while listening to player voices in the future.

    About how large is one of the Frontline battlefields?

    Well, one zone is slightly smaller than the Central Shroud near Gridania.

    Each group won’t be able to see the other groups’ locations?

    I don’t think so since the three outposts will be considerably far apart.

    When they’re approaching, you’ll be able to see them coming little by little?

    I don’t think people will suddenly appear from out of sight, although if you need more memory or a faster HDD you might see a bunch of enemies suddenly appear (laughs). When I played DAoC, the graphical lag was terrible on a lower spec machine.

    Did you have the initial concept of a 72 person battle from the start?

    Yes, we wanted to get at least 24 vs. 24 vs. 24 as a minimum.

    It’s good that you have a flexible system which also has 16 vs. 16 vs. 16 and 8 vs. 8 vs. 8, but why was this done?

    There are games like DAoC with scheduled battles that happen on a 24-hour open battlefield, but we wanted this available to people who can play at any time during the day. Since the Duty Finder matches people across multiple worlds, it’s easy to find people, but there may still be difficulties in filling a complete 24 vs. 24 vs. 24 match during some hours of the day or in the early morning, so we designed the mechanism so that it could also work with 16 and 8 person teams.

    If you use the Duty Finder, you can be fighting against other worlds. Was it planned for this to be a type of competition?

    That’s right. I think in the future after we continue to adjust the balance, we’d like to hold some PvP events. Some PvP events have even turned into eSports with real life sponsors. We’d love to see this type of excitement come to Japan, since there are a lot of really good gamers in Japan. Hopefully there are some FCs out there with world class strength.

    If you have the time, please check out the excitement in Frontline. I think you’ll find yourself asking for “just one more game” more than once. Since there are no restrictions on roles, it’s easy to participate over and over, so you can try being that annoying white mage who uses Swiftcast Holy.

    I thought Black Mage was your strongest character?

    What about it? (laughs) When you first engage an enemy, I recommend that you spread out. If you’re all grouped together, you’re likely to get eaten by my suicide bomb tactics.



    Regarding player concerns about game balance and job adjustments

    You showed a video of the extreme primal battle against Ramuh. Although the balance has been very well done each time, for a lot of players there was a “Titan shock,” and many others are already taking on Second Coil content and don’t think that there will be much of a challenge or purpose to the new extreme Ramuh battle.

    Similar to when we first added extreme Leviathan and Moggle Mog XII in the 2.2 patch, it won’t be available via Duty Finder at first. I think for people who try it out, it will help them to compete better in turns 2 and 3 of second coil, like how getting weapon from extreme Leviathan or a ribbon from Moggle Mog XII helped in clearing the first turn.

    For the people who have already finished all four turns of the Second Coil, we hope you’re looking forward to the Brutal Mode of the Second Coil. When we were originally developing the Second Coil, we had it set close to what Brutal Mode is and had to reduce the difficulty to its current form because it was too tough. We also checked Brutal Mode to see whether a clear was even possible, and it wasn’t even something we could confirm. Although Crystal Tower and Frontline are the main content this time around, we hope that you’ll try out the Brutal Mode. That said, it’s likely to be insane upon release, so please be gentle with your feedback.

    Also, it’s good to challenge other groups like BG, so I want to thank you for inspiring Japanese teams.

    With the Second Coil it was close. I think there are some really good Japanese FCs, and they were just one step away. The BG team has a European staff and it’s a global team. I think Japanese gamers were also able to show off their teamwork, though.

    Maybe you can’t really answer this, but you had previously announced that there would be black mage job adjustments coming in patch 2.3. It might have been a misunderstanding on the players’ part, but your comments seemed to have indicated that there were some items that weren’t balanced between jobs. You’ve made it clear that black mage will be adjusted, but will there be any effect on other jobs or is that just a misconception?

    The adjustment of black mage will not affect other jobs. The Japanese language is… difficult. As a quick recap, black mage excels not only in attack, but also defense via Manawall and Manaward. For example, on Twintania with Manawall you can just stand there for two Divebombs which no other job can really replicate except for Tempered Will on Paladin. It also excels at AoE attacks, and it’s a great so-called “Brayflox job.”

    However, because of casting times, all of this changes completely when the black mage is in conditions where it needs to move, and it can be very hard to keep DPS up because of this. Originally, black mage was planned to be a strong single-target DPS with some decent AoE. The overall offense/defense balance is good, and we thought it would be balanced with melee classes which are limited by the fact that they have to approach the enemy to attack and they need to position themselves for combos. The adjustments that we make will be to catch up the DPS, not to reduce the usability of other jobs. That’s not to say we won’t be looking at other jobs when working on job balance, though.

    One other thing – there are a lot of actions and abilities on other jobs that are hardly ever used, so we want to continue to make these easier to use little by little. It’s possible that the misunderstanding came from this comment because we’ll be adjusting black mage and separately adjusting abilities that are difficult to use across all jobs. Again, though, those adjustments are separate, so please don’t think they are related.

    Right now characters’ stats have basically plateaued at level 50, but do you have any plans to implement anything like merit points from FFXI in the future?

    We aren’t planning that far out yet. The first thing we’ll do will be to increase the level cap. At some point when we’re done increasing the level cap, we’ll think of other systems to continue to develop your character besides leveling. Because the design for FFXI was so restrictive, it wasn’t easy to just increase the parameters and raise the level cap, so I think that’s what merit points were born out of – more of a last resort than the best option. Since there’s room to raise the level cap in A Realm Reborn, that will be what we do first. However, there will still be other growth elements in A Realm Reborn, but I’ll talk about those when the time comes.

    While they used to be level 50, places like Amdapor Keep and Wanderer’s Palace now drop some equipment around level 60. Darklight equipment is in the new instanced dungeons that were added after that, so are they intended to now be the next step up from AF equipment? I think those dungeons might be a little tough if you try them in AF equipment. When you first hit level 50 now, it’s tough to know what you should be going for and from where, so it might feel unbalanced.

    When we released patch 2.2 and I talked to the battle team, the first two questions I asked were whether or not to get rid of Philosophy tomestones and how would players know what to do when they hit level 50. When we added the three expert dungeons in patch 2.2, we adjusted the difficulty of the dungeons in the high-level category such as Amdapor and Pharos Sirius to match Wanderer’s Palace. We checked these dungeons many times using AF equipment, and we determined that DPS would not be an issue.

    After you obtain the AF equipment from the main story, you can then go to level 50 dungeons to get the level 60 gear, and move on to get level 70 gear once you’ve gotten your equipment to level 60. Because there’s more to do afterwards, we changed the flow so that rather than being exchanged for Philosophy, these were obtained as direct drops. We also assumed that crafted items which used Philosophy materials would be cheaper, so those could be used as well. Of course, if you try to skip ahead into expert dungeons using AF equipment, it’ll probably feel tough. I think to keep the transition smooth, you’ll want to start from dungeons which drop item level 55 gear.

    There might be one person who enters with 3,000 HP and sees other players with 4,000 or 5,000 HP and feels like it’s still too early for them to go to a dungeon.

    Well, if you play with these people at a higher item level, you might see those people and wish you could be that strong. Maybe down the line we’ll be in a place where you can skip up to IL70 equipment and won’t need IL55 or IL60 gear, but if we decrease the difficulty that removes some of the motivation to level up gear not just because other people are stronger but because the dungeons are hard to complete.

    So in future patches, equipment which you can obtain from Mythology right now could become a drop somewhere?

    We don’t know if it’ll be dropped in a dungeon. With one of the NPCs added in patch 2.3, you’ll come to understand that the mythology equipment is not just gear but also a replica of Artifact equipment, so it’s kind of hard to imagine as a drop from a dungeon. That said, mythology equipment will become easier to get in patch 2.3 because it will be available in exchange for points received from Hunts. Maybe the name of the equipment now called “myth equipment” will change based on this (laughs). I think most people are getting mythology and continuously turning it in for Atma books, so the value of these items changes continuously.

    With the addition of The Echo in the Binding Coil of Bahamut, it’s definitely made it easier to go to but still maintained balance, but I think the opposite is true for the extreme primals and it can actually make things harder.

    Like for extreme Titan.

    Since the echo buff was added, it causes situations where things like bombs and Earthen Fury are happening at the same time, and the echo buff can actually be causing more harm than good. Do you have any ideas about this?

    Like I said before, I’m thinking about Titan in particular. Since a lot of the gimmicks there are based on phase changes which occur at set amounts of HP, with the increased DPS that comes from the echo, it creates situations that can be difficult to contend with.

    It will be tough if you don’t make it more forgiving.

    It can be helpful to make the fight easier, but since people can already clear it without the echo buff, I think we need to review the overall balance for the fight.

    What about when the sub-tank falls off?

    We’ve already recognized this as a problem, but it would take something like Auto-Levitate… I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we’ll make it so that you can come back even if you fall down to the lava. We’re talking about a few different things so I can’t really say for sure yet, but we are definitely thinking about doing something so hopefully you can hold on for more info.

    Why can't we do the Trials Duty Roulette in a party?

    This is not currently supported because it could make it difficult for individual players who are looking to get through the various battles for the Relic quest as well as those looking to get past Cape Westwind. The bonus is intended to get other players to repeat these battles to help out.

    There was earlier some discussion about adding a “Beginners’ Hall.” Will this be set up in such a way that players can practice combos, etc.?

    If you think about a training mode in a fighting game, there are ways you can practice the different commands. For example, you could go to the Beginners’ Hall and talk to the NPC and say “I want to practice Monk.” Then a certain themed map will appear with dummy monsters and the game will say something like “Clear!” when you’ve achieved something. It’ll be built in such a way that, for example, it would first ask you to practice a two-stage combo. Then it would test you with putting out DPS while not losing your combo for a one-minute period, and with this you could practice dealing damage.

    That’s just an example as a monk which is a lot like training in a fighting game, but we’ll have training modes for other roles like tank, also, where you’ll have to go get enmity on three enemies at once using Flash. Or there might be another map where a healer has already pulled aggression on a monster and you’ll have to get hate back by using Provoke. It will allow you to prepare for all of the roles of your job.

    For black mages, it’ll teach you how to properly switch between Astral Fire and Umbral Ice. It’ll be designed for people who are new to MMORPGs and those who want to learn more about the characteristics of their jobs. That said, our primary focus is on getting out content that the most people can enjoy, so we’ve given priority to that type of content and this isn’t ready to implement just yet (laughs).

    The demand from users has dropped from before?

    No, there have been a lot of people saying they want to be able to measure their DPS, and what I’ve talked about so far has been this Beginners’ Hall. In our LIVE broadcast I talked about having some kind of training dummy in the Beginners’ Hall where you could measure and display DPS, and people thought this was a good idea.





    For retired users, Yoshida aims to create a game that’s easy to come back to.

    Not to turn things too negative, but there are a lot of players I’ve played with who have been inactive for a while. Do you have anything in mind to get some of these players, such as those who have gotten tired of the fixed parties in Coil, to come back?

    It’s difficult to know all the reasons that people left the game, but we believe that people not being able to clear content is one of them. One thing we talked about is how we’ll relax content in steps, so, for example, people who got stuck on Titan extreme can come back now and try again. Not only is the fight easier, but we also relax the conditions to unlock new content, so you no longer need to clear Titan extreme to unlock further content. On the other hand, there are those players who rush to the top and then get tired of repeating content and take a break from the game. I was talking about this with a lot of foreign media at this year’s E3, but one of our goals with A Realm Reborn is to make a game that’s easy to come back to.

    For example, we have discussions like is it better for the in-game economy to have the strongest weapons be crafter made? There are different opinions in different MMORPGs. In the case of A Realm Reborn, there are a lot of business opportunities for crafters immediately after patches, and as the average item level of players goes up, the market value of some items decreases with it. Then, a new patch is released and the item level goes up, and new valuable high level recipes are added. That’s part of the cycle with the economy in A Realm Reborn.

    In a lot of first generation MMORPGs, with a closed system, it’s hard to maintain the value of items as money is added to the system. In other words, it does depend on the game, but the as a game continues to operate for a long time, the economy will gradually start struggling with inflation because currency is endlessly added to the economy from the game’s system. As long as gil is continually added, the inflation won’t stop, but because earning gil is one motivation people have to play, we can’t just remove this.

    For example, you may have one person who’s willing to play continuously as long as he’s able to keep accumulating gil with increasing value of popular market items. On the other hand, you may have another person who stopped playing the game for three months after the last major update, and when he tries to come back with the next update, his reduced “buying power” because of the market increase will be a big barrier to returning.

    If we go back about three months ago and we look at the market and amount of gil people have, it has jumped, and while the active community is generally happy about this, players who are thinking about coming back have to consider the amount of time it will take them to get back to the forefront of the economy. So, in A Realm Reborn, rather than having the economy be cyclical we advance it in waves. With every other major update the economy will get refreshed with new Allagan Tomestones, etc., which should allow players to jump right back into the economy pretty quickly.

    If you take a break for two patches, you might even be able to skip a whole item level of equipment when you get back because of the degree of difficulty adjustments in various content, making it much easier to clear old content and catch up. For example, expert dungeons now can be cleared by some margin with some myth equipment, but they’re adjusted to even be clearable with mostly Darklight gear, so it’s probably possible to return to the forefront in just 3-4 weeks of playtime.

    Aside from this, there may be people who are tired of repeating the same top end content, and I think we want to focus on new content to even keep those players interested. In some respects, I think when a MMORPG is smaller it’s good because there aren’t many options and it can still provide a great gaming experience. As things expand, there’s some fear of getting left behind that builds within the community.

    However, gamers today are also very busy. There are a lot of different types of non-gaming entertainment fighting for your attention, like social media, etc., with new things available all the time. We can’t think of ourselves as the only entertainment option for our players. It’s the same reason you see waves of seasons in systems for MOBA games like League of Legends.

    So, in the same way that we did with the original FFXIV, the most important thing is that we keep players’ interest as we continue to update the game with new content in patches. This guides our thoughts behind our PR for each large patch, including the free login campaigns to try to get as many people as possible interested with coming to Eorzea. Rather than just focusing on content alone, though, we also have to do our best and look at the whole game to see why people have become inactive. For example, the Allagan Tomestones are there to help players to be able to get back to the forefront pretty quickly.

    Of course, we have many players who have kept playing all along and haven’t given up on the game, so we’re also hard at work to make sure the patches are for them, too. And for those who are planning to take the day off, we’ll make sure that we properly advertise it and let you know about all the new details by e-mail, etc.

    Having content which takes a lot of time like Zodiac weapons won’t be the only solution. From a development and operations side, it’s certainly disappointing to see customers leave the game, but from the players’ perspectives, it’s sad to see community members leaving and can be shocking and make people feel lonely. It’s something that I’ve experienced many times over the years playing MMORPGs.

    So, we’ll continue with our best efforts in the future to make sure that instead of the content sputtering after a patch, it’ll feel refreshed and new. I heard a lot of stories the last couple of days from media in various countries saying they took a couple month break after 2.1 but came back for 2.2 and they were hoping that more content would be added in the future which continues to make it easy to come back quickly. It’ll be difficult to keep this up, but we’ll do our best.




    Current status and future of the Zodiac weapon system

    Right now the third stage of the Zodiac Weapon system, Novus, has been introduced, but there are a lot of users like myself who are having problems and I’ve been hearing things like “I can’t get any atma” or “this takes too long to collect myth.” The mystery is that these same people who are having so much trouble also feel like they’re required to get it. From your point of view, I wanted to ask about what your expectations were for this.

    It differs by region, but it was not intended to be something you would do in a hurry. I wonder if people’s different personality types also play a role…

    Speaking from a Japanese player’s perspective, I feel like we have to get it, but I spent six hours one day and got nothing.

    Did you really spend six hours just doing FATEs or were you doing other things during that time while doing FATEs over the six hours? Assuming that you continued to do FATEs for six hours a day for two or three days, it’s not impossible, but it’s incredibly unlikely that you wouldn’t see an Atma. In fact, the drop rate of Atma is probably not as low as you might think, but if you’re doing it in combination with other things like using it to kill time waiting for Duty Finder, etc., you aren’t really spending six hours in FATEs and the actual number of FATEs you tried might be a little low, but it might give you the impression that they just don't drop anyway. We have seen a lot of the negative feedback, so we are carefuly considering it while reviewing player data.

    For Atma collection, it takes some diligence, and there are a lot of people who would prefer to do other things like Second Coil, etc. For the books, while you’re doing your second book if you’re going at a reasonable pace, you’ll be normally accumulating mythology towards your third book and should be just about ready to pick it up once you finish it, and that’s what we expected. Similarly for the fourth book, etc. But like anything else, everyone has a different perspective.

    So the development team’s perspective is that everyone should do it at their own pace?

    Yes. However, we know that there were a lot of people who moved quickly and were looking forward to the Novus growth in patch 2.28.

    It’s amazing though, somehow it feels like everyone is going for it. (laughs)

    We’re sorry about the inconveniences of the emergency maintenances, but we were surprised by a pretty big log-in rush. We didn’t intend to reduce your playtime, so we apologize for that and we’ll take better precautions next time.

    Do you plan to reduce the requirement of mythology or otherwise reduce the difficulty in any future patches?

    I think we want to go in a direction of increasing the availability of mythology. We made a little adjustment to this in 2.28 and we’ll go even further in 2.3 to make it easier to get more of them. We don’t have any plans to adjust obtaining the twelve Atma yet. As far as Novus goes, with the next update, there will be more content that you can use to help grow this weapon.

    In patch 2.1 and patch 2.2 we added the echo to content to help people through it to clear it, but I still feel like this idea hasn’t completely transferred across to other content, and we do want to make it easy to come back to the game. So for those who don’t want to be left behind, there will be some adjustments in future content to keep you at ease.

    We want to make these adjustments slowly, though. Back in the heyday of FFXI, your progress was directly related to your playtime, which made it difficult to return to the game after leaving. I think a lot of players may still feel this is true for other MMOs today. As we move forward, we’ll make sure that we’re open in our communication and steady with our updates.

    How has the reception been for remote play of the PS4 version on the PS Vita?

    When I got to LA for E3, I had dinner with the guy in charge of level design for Dark Age of Camelot. He was also a hardcore player of FFXI and A Realm Reborn. He said that the transition from PC to PS4 was really easy, but as a result of transferring to the PS4 edition he had to fight with his wife over the TV. But with the remote play, he could play without his wife even knowing, and we had a good laugh about that.

    I think there are quite a lot of people who use remote play like before they got to bed. I saw someone in LS chat say “sorry if I don’t respond to chat, I’m playing from bed.” I also met a lot of people who have used it for even more, like some people recently who cleared the second turn of Second Coil.

    I guess they are veterans. (laughs)

    I wonder if the people they went with knew....

    One of the foreign topics that was brought up was around DPS measurement tools, but in general, how is add-on development going?

    We are working on an add-on tool right now that allows the display of different skins. It will be at your own risk whether you decide to use these tools or not. Many of them like the skin tool will be for personal enjoyment only, so that’s why if you install them it’s at your own risk. This is all I can really say so far.

    Wrapping up, do you have any last message to players of A Realm Reborn?

    Lots of things… we’ll keep strengthening the Zodiac weapons and updating coil. We’ll be adding other ways to get the items needed to upgrade Soldiery items in the future. In Patch 2.3, we’ll be introducing Syrcus Tower. We’ll also be adding the PvP Frontline competition for 24 to 72 participants, and we’ll continue to deliver on all kinds of things that people can enjoy every day.

    Like I said before, we want to get as many people around the world to play as possible. Hopefully this trend will continue into the future, so I’d like to thank everyone very much for their continued support.

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    Updated with tons more Ninja info. This is about 20% of the interview so far. The next part will focus on Ramuh, Shiva, and future storyline (gonna be a while before I get it finished though, busy for the next couple hours).

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    This really seems to make it sound like we won't ever see Thief. And that makes me a sad panda. Also no steal? Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

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    This really seems to make it sound like we won't ever see Thief.
    Actually, I think that they arranged things so that Thief can become a Job, branching from Rogue. Their comment about guilds - which is reasonable - does not apply to Jobs.

    Besides, seeing how Classes are underused at the moment, I'd prefer to have a Thief Job later on, than a Thief Class today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomino View Post
    Actually, I think that they arranged things so that Thief can become a Job, branching from Rogue. Their comment about guilds - which is reasonable - does not apply to Jobs.

    Besides, seeing how Classes are underused at the moment, I'd prefer to have a Thief Job later on, than a Thief Class today.
    I agree and this is how I thought it was going to be set up anyway, but just the quote:
    we intended Rogue to be the Thieves of today
    makes me think it's not happening.

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    Who knows, maybe Rogue will have nice cross-class abilities making it useful in its own right.

    Probably not... there goes my want to return. THF is the only thing I find enjoyable about most MMOs :I

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomino View Post
    Actually, I think that they arranged things so that Thief can become a Job, branching from Rogue. Their comment about guilds - which is reasonable - does not apply to Jobs.

    Besides, seeing how Classes are underused at the moment, I'd prefer to have a Thief Job later on, than a Thief Class today.
    It seems like classes are specifically intended to be useless; the few instances where they might have some interesting applications (e.g. ACN or THM with Cleric Stance) have special exceptions carved out to nerf them.

    As for the THF job, I could have bought it as a possibility if they made NIN a tank or caster, but with NIN being a melee DPS, I don't see how it could work. Giving ROG two melee DPS jobs would be pointless and I'm not sure how they could implement THF as anything other than melee DPS in this game.

    This is, of course, presuming that they do not abandon the two-jobs-per-class mechanic entirely; Yoshi seems to be implying they may do so because of the stat allocation limitation, which would make sense if he wasn't the person in charge of enforcing that arbitrary limitation. There's no reason whatsoever that stat allocation has to be per-class instead of per-job.

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    Didn't he say that he didn't want to use the title of Thief because it seems bad for a company to be housing them?

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    What I don't understand is how they're planning to deal with Summoner and Scholar if they decide to change their stance on branching classes, they can't just leave that option open for one class and not the others. If switching points is that big of a deal why not allow free switching?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaano View Post
    Didn't he say that he didn't want to use the title of Thief because it seems bad for a nation-state to be housing them?
    Fixed.

    And the answer to that is - Thievery is either a lost art (lol) or is guilded (lol) outside of a nation-state.

    IE - expansion tiem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alkar View Post
    What I don't understand is how they're planning to deal with Summoner and Scholar if they decide to change their stance on branching classes?
    What, specifically, are you referring to here? What is "their stance on branching classes" anyway?

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    Their stance on branching classes used to be "We'll eventually add a secondary job for every class, just like SCH and ACN". The new stance seems to be "We're not sure if we're going to do secondary jobs at all. Ask again after the expansion".

    I'm not sure why Alkar thinks anything needs to be done about ACN though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raldo View Post
    What, specifically, are you referring to here? What is "their stance on branching classes" anyway?
    To this:

    Last year when Scholar was introduced at E3, it was mentioned that it would branch off from the same class as Summoner, and this would be a mechanic that would be used more, but it has yet to happen for any other class. You haven’t announced anything yet, but are there any other plans to introduce anything like this? For example, another swordsman besides Paladin?

    Well, we need to look into this and whether we want to keep that plan, it’s something we have to consider as we add new jobs and classes. The weakness with having multiple jobs branch out of one class is that you cannot freely switch stats around. This wasn’t a problem initially because both of those jobs were simultaneously added and it was planned from the start, but now we have to carefully think about this. The number of jobs will increase even further with 3.0 (the expansion pack), and at that point we might decide on an entirely new mechanism, so please hang on for further details.
    If they're planning a whole new system or mechanism shouldn't it apply for everyone?

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    One would assume that 'entirely new mechanism' would retroactively apply to SMN/SCH, I should think.
    Quote Originally Posted by solracht View Post
    Their stance on branching classes used to be "We'll eventually add a secondary job for every class, just like SCH and ACN".
    Have they ever actually committed to that? I'm not going to hold my breath that every class will eventually get 2+ jobs.

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    Well, nobody should hold their breath now, in light of the recent comments. They certainly hinted at it in the past (after announcing SMN/SCH).

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    Yoshida has discussed the idea of Dark Knight coming from Gladiator multiple times in interviews, this is the first time we've heard of a possible change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raldo View Post
    Have they ever actually committed to that? I'm not going to hold my breath that every class will eventually get 2+ jobs.
    there's no commitment until one actually comes out, so no. but what they said before was, we were going to get some new Jobs to pair along with existing classes before the new expansion and new classes (weapon types) would come out with the first expansion.

    that has obviously already changed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alkar View Post
    Yoshida has discussed the idea of Dark Knight coming from Gladiator multiple times in interviews, this is the first time we've heard of a possible change.
    Because of the issues that they're obviously running into in terms of designing new jobs while hobbled to some arbritary shit system from 1.0. Its much easier and flexible to simply make a single weapon per class/job instead of having some bullshit where Dark Knight has to switch from a sword/board combo to a 2-handed Scythe or Sword. Just make a base class that uses a 2-hander and have it grow into Dark Knight.

    I'm glad he's finally admitted that the current system has enough problems to potentially warrant a change. He's clearly not rooted in the past, either in terms of previous job roles between games (lookin at YOU, Ninja!) or previous systems between games or even versions.

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    Eh, make thf a crossbow user. thf can branch from rogue with a different main stat and weapon choice (can choose melee or ranged, or maybe implement both by using the open slot for the xbow). could work, but probably too complicated.

    I just want guns though. Pop pop

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucavi View Post
    Because of the issues that they're obviously running into in terms of designing new jobs while hobbled to some arbritary shit system from 1.0. Its much easier and flexible to simply make a single weapon per class/job instead of having some bullshit where Dark Knight has to switch from a sword/board combo to a 2-handed Scythe or Sword. Just make a base class that uses a 2-hander and have it grow into Dark Knight.
    I'm not sure why you believe that this is an artifact of 1.0 design. Yoshi's only reason against it so far has been stat allocation, which is ridiculously easy to resolve (allocation per job instead of per class).

    TBH, stat allocation itself is almost entirely useless anyway; much like the railed system of cross-class abilities, there is very little actual choice in your stat allocation. PLD and WAR get to choose between VIT and STR, and BLM can play around with PIE to hit specific MP totals for 6 (?) Fires. Everyone else dumps 30 points into their main stat.

    He's clearly not rooted in the past, either in terms of previous job roles between games (lookin at YOU, Ninja!) or previous systems between games or even versions.
    Well, except for the part where the first major change he made was to reintroduce classic FF jobs and make sure they mostly fit into tiny traditional niches.

    It is funny that you praise him for ignoring Ninja tanks in the same post where you talk about DRK using a scythe. Gee, I wonder what game that's from?

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