Reddit: One of the big questions going around with players regarding endgame raiding in Heavensward is typically in a lot of MMOs when an expansion comes out developers will give players a week or two to level up before they’ll open up endgame content. Will Alexander be gated for any period of time after the expansion opens to give players a chance to level without panicking?
Yoshida: We do plan to have a two week gap before we open up the content. You may already grasp why we’re doing this but I want to take the opportunity to explain the reasoning. The main reason why we want to wait to open up the new high end raid or the new Allagan Tomestone or any content that has a weekly restriction or lock is that if we open it up right away there’ll be people rushing to get to the content the week of June 20th and just there may be certain players who want to take their time and enjoy Heavensward as it is but we’ll be putting the pressure on them to skip through the cut-scenes and get through your leveling as we feel that we shouldn't make players feel forced to rush through everything or skip over any of the content and allow them to go through it actually enjoying it, especially if you wanted to take the time to enjoy it. So with this two week gap we’d like players to take the time to enjoy the story. We have a rich new story that is going to open up with Heavensward. We also have new jobs that are being introduced so we’d love for people to try them out as well and take a moment to raise your level and get to the new level cap and assess what skills you have in rotation in the case you need to rebuild because of the new skills you've learned. This could be a good time to prepare and strategize on if you want to keep your main job going into endgame content or do you want to switch over to one of the new jobs. There’s just so many things you want to consider ahead of time as well as just enjoy what’s available in Heavensward. It’s not that we’re trying to hold back information or hold back content, we just want to ensure that everyone gets to enjoy the Heavensward content we have available.
RPGamer: For players who may not have played a lot of the endgame content already there. Will there be any way for them to be eased into the new Heavensward content?
Yoshida: Yes we will have something in place like that. For example our high end raid, Alexander, will have two different modes, Normal and Hard. Normal will be for the people who want to take the time to enjoy the story-line. It will be slightly easier than the current endgame raid, The Binding Coil of Bahamut. It will be easier so that the more casual type player will be able to enjoy it. But at the same time we have the hard mode which is much harder. It’s planned to be even more challenging than the Binding Coil of Bahamut.
Reddit: is there any chance we’ll be able to have cool downs automatically reset after wiping in a raid? Often times you have to wait on Swift Cast, Raging Strikes, Convert, etc.
Yoshida: We’re thinking about it but whether or not we do it is still to be determined. The decision hasn’t been finalized yet on if we will implement this at the start of Heavensward or in a subsequent patch like the patch immediately following Heavensward. We’re still trying to make that final decision. That being said, we are considering options of a training opportunity with no rewards. For example you could focus on just turn three, phase two and work at getting better at that. There is a high chance of that being available to start practicing at the start of Heavensward.
RPGamer: What balance issues are you hoping the new jobs will work out within the current game? Are there any issues these new jobs aim to fix?
Yoshida: With any content that has a party that goes in with a predetermined number of members in each assigned role. Say you have two tanks, four dps, two healers; if you have those predetermined numbers in your party the content is already created so that you can clear it with the assigned roles. Of course depending on the players some may say “Oh the Ninja is better or the Monk is better” but we made it so that you should be able to beat the content with the assigned roles. We never thought of adding these new jobs as a way to fix any sort of balance issue. With the introduction of a new job our goal is to provide a wider range of game play experience as well as a wider range of options you can use during combat. With the three new jobs we’re adding how they play differs a lot from the existing ten jobs we have and that’s how it’s intended to be made. With Heavensward we are raising the level cap so you’ll be learning more skills and you’ll be reassessing what skills you have in a rotation so we hope that players try it out and see what fits with your play style and what would be the best choice you want to use as a player.
Reddit: With addition with new jobs in Heavensward, player inventories and armory chest space will start to suffer. Any plans to increase storage space, perhaps with quests similar to Final Fantasy XI or something along those lines?
Yoshida: First and foremost we've heard this question asked multiple times around the world and we want to mention that in Final Fantasy XIV just the sheer volume of the character data and the number of items each character can hold is much greater than that of a typical MMO. The reason why we can’t increase the size of the armory chest quickly or easily relates to how often we rewrite the data into the servers in the back end. We rewrite the data every fifteen seconds so even if the server goes down you don’t experience a rollback. Of course with the sheer volume of the character data when you expand the armory chest the amount of load that goes into the rewriting and refreshing of the back end servers would increase and we’re trying to keep it as quick as possible. We currently have it at fifteen seconds but if we were to add more load to it then it may make it take longer to do that refresh and it may delay to thirty seconds, one minute, fifteen minutes. We don’t want to take away from the player experience. We don’t want things to slow down because we’re expanding the armory chest. We’re researching ways in which we can make that happen. We need more time to make that happen. We’re not saying it’s impossible but your patience would be appreciated as we try to figure out a way to optimize the process so that it won’t take away from the speed and affect playability or the player’s experience. We are trying to implement something that can be addressed quicker which is increasing the number of retainers. So in the mean time we if you are using things within the game fairly frequently you may want to utilize the expanded retainer capabilities.
RPGamer: For the new jobs in the game, do they start at level 1? And if so are the new zones and quests for those classes or do they have to return to old zones to level up?
Yoshida: (Editor’s note: This question will read a bit difficult because it was mistranslated at first but thanks to Matt Hilton was corrected. I've included both answers because I think they both provide worthwhile information.) Heavensward is an expansion so if you create a brand new character that character will start at level one. So the areas within Heavensward will be level fifty one and beyond. So if you have a character that is at level one they will have to revisit the Realm Reborn areas. There may be questions because there is a system in WoW where you can either start off with a higher level character or purchase a higher level character. Those apply to games that have been around for a while, eight to ten years, and those initial levels are just way too far back in history that it would take forever to get to the current level. But A Realm Reborn has only been around for about one and a half years, almost reaching that two year mark so we feel there’s still enough time to go through and take your time to revisit the areas in a Realm Reborn and there’s still many new players that are coming on board to the world of XIV so we feel that there’s not too far of a gap between a very new player and the more experienced players. So we encourage players to explore the areas in A Realm Reborn and we don’t feel that it is time to offer an official powered up version. In terms of jobs we don’t start at level one.
Reddit: Specifics? Numbers?
Yoshida: We’re still in the final tweaking stages on where we’re going to have them start but definitely not at level one. If we mention it I’m sure so many people are going to try and get ready and get a head start. We’re going to keep it a secret as long as we can. It definitely won’t start at level one so you won’t have to scramble to get through things such as guildleves.
Reddit: Final Coil of Bahamut was cleared very quickly and various players felt it’s been the easiest raid thus far. What lessons were learned from this and what plans do you have going forward?
Yoshida: I disagree that it’s the easiest. For those that are aiming for world first I believe that not only is their teamwork very meticulous but the skill and strategy they have is very meticulous as well and they’re insanely high leveled. They just have such incredible speed and the way they go about it. The development team looks at the footage that those teams capture before it actually is opened up to the public and they review just how quickly they go through it and it’s incredible how high their skill level is. When those videos do become live and people get to look at what the strategy was we’ve noticed that not too many people were able to recreate or trace their steps as flawlessly as those world first people. Typical players took an additional four more weeks before they were able to get through it. So you may have gotten the impression that it’s easy per se only because the top people were able to clear it so quickly. So what we found through that is for the First Coil the first one or two turns were extremely difficult and with Second Coil even harder so people were kind of hesitating on trying it out so with the Final Coil we actually stepped back with the first couple of turns so that people can get into it. But in terms of turns three and four of course we didn't hold back on those. Looking back at the data of the clear rate and the number of people who've attempted that content the development team feels that we can’t have one single level difficulty for this content. That’s why we decided with Alexander we’re going to have the much harder hard mode and then the normal mode for more typical casual players. If you listen to some of the tactics that are in place for beating the harder modes you might not even comprehend what goes into it so if you like a good challenge we definitely recommend the hard mode.
RPGamer: In the history of the Final Fantasy series the Dark Knight job has typically been more of a DPS job…
Yoshida: No! (Editor’s note: Yoshida disagreed with the assessment of DRK being a DPS class. Everyone laughed)
RPGamer: It’s typically been a DPS class sacrificing HP for damage. How is that being adapted into more of a tank class?
Yoshida: You may have seen this during the presentation but the Dark Knight will be using his MP to draw the power of darkness. But it’s not just a simple using of your MP to execute your actions but you draw from that power of darkness and you can either use it for an attack or use it to boost your defense and you’ll be strategizing on maintaining that power of darkness and managing your MP so it’s a very unique style of play in the tank role. That concept of sacrificing in your HP in order to raise your attack power we’re still considering whether or not to include that sort of action in the Dark Knight skill set. Of course since it is a tank role the Dark Knight you don’t want to go out there sacrificing your HP to raise your damage! No sacrifice! It won’t be the main element of how Dark Knight fights. We do understand that’s a very typical way that Dark Knight has appeared within the Final Fantasy series. We’re still considering whether or not to keep an element of that in the game or not. With this introduction of the Dark Knight into Heavensward we are establishing a new Dark Knight of Final Fantasy and he’s fairly cool so we really recommend you to try him out. You won’t have a scythe to fight, don’t worry.
Reddit: A fishing question! The Master Fisher’s Ring gives GP which the fisher doesn't use. Are there any changes in the works which will allow fisher to use GP in the upcoming expansion?
Yoshida: In the current state the fact that is has GP on it is a mistake so sorry. That being said there will be new actions added to the fishing class as well. So for that ring that gives you GP+ we are of course trying to implement a system that will use that parameter. That is in the works. In terms of the other stats and other parameters you may want to equip other kinds of gear. Please relay my apologies to the community about this.
RPGamer: Are there any thoughts of adding four person versions of any of the newer Primal battles?
Yoshida: Whenever the development team is developing content, especially for Primal battles, we actually have the extreme version first. Then we take away certain elements to make the normal or easy mode. For this time around we were thinking about making the normal content to be an eight player encounter. But because of the level cap being raised and the fact we’re introducing new jobs there may be people who aren't quite as familiar with how the system works. So after some deliberation we’re starting to consider that we may want to pair it down to a four person group. We’re still discussing and debating this. But of course like mentioned earlier we make the extreme version first so pairing down shouldn’t be that hard of a task but we still want to asses it and make final adjustments and tweak it as long as we can. Which would be your preference?
RPGamer: Probably the four player.
Yoshida: I’m a bit more of a hardcore player so I prefer the eight person. If you’re still in the middle of leveling your character and you encounter these primal battles you want faster matching and be able to attack faster so it is still under consideration. In any case the extreme version is definitely going to be an eight person battle. So it’ll be very tough.
Reddit: Here’s a question that’s asked a lot. What’s the current state of the API for addons?
Yoshida: We’re still in development. It will still take more time. We’re thinking maybe after the launch of Havesnward we may be able to give you a visual reference or a screen layout of some sort. Of course having to have patch updates go on at the pace we’re going at any additional side projects that we work on tend to take a bit more time. But of course we’re inching slowly closer to making it happen and we’re continuing to work on it.
RPGamer: What was the inspiration for the creation of the new Astrologian class?
Yoshida: With the Astrologian there were actually many different ideas that were pitched to even name the job. One of the more unique ones was “item wielder” (Editor’s note: Foxclonn began digging in his phone to try and find an English equivalent for their original job concept name). In the end we considered the lore and the fact we’re going into Ishguard. The area has a very prominent Astrologian presence and they see the movement of the stars to gauge where the dragons are as well seeing the future by reading the stars. Just like there is an observatory in the Coerthas areas Astrologians were a prominent element that already existed in the realm. Another unique element and ideas in terms of a healer there was actually an idea that was pitched: “Could we have a healer that wields firearms?” (Editor’s note: They found the word at this point to be Chemist and Yoshida makes a throwing motion to mimic healing by throwing potions) So going back to the concept of coming up with Astrologian and of course there was talk of “Can they hold a gun” but in the end we decided using the cards was a cool idea and considering the culture of the Ishguard area where they read the stars that blended in very well. It is a nostalgic concept as well. If you are a fan of Final Fantasy Tactics you may recognize the Astrologian as well. So that’s why we've decided on that healer roll with the cards. A lot of debate went on. A lot of considerations were made. Definitely it’s a very cool healer type role so we hope that you give it a try as well.
Reddit: Are there any plans or thoughts on making any use for Elemental Materia?
Yoshida: I’m torn on that. Definitely in the 3.x patch series there’s a high chance of something like that being incorporated. We’re also considering for Legacy players who have the old cracked material doing away with that system eventually.
RPGamer: Will any future jobs be added via patch like Ninja was?
Yoshida: You may have heard it in the panel but the development team is kind of hesitant on adding jobs like this so I’m kind of torn. Adding a job in a patch update is actually quite an extensive task and a pretty big endeavor but at the same time we also understand that the players were really excited and happy about a job being introduced in a patch so we would love to consider it positively but at this point we’re not able to say.
Reddit: Can you tell us anything about Free Company crafting? When is it coming? What is it going to entail?
Yoshida: At the release of Heavensward Free Company crafting will become available. Within your Free Company housing you’ll be able to set up a sort of work shop in your basement. You may have seen visual aspects of this shown at a Producer Letter live but you’ll build a workshop in your basement. There’ll be two large categories of stuff you’ll be able to build with your Free Company, first of them being an actual house. And the second one is an airship. I’m sure you want more information about the airships so I’ll delve a bit more into the details about that. With the building of the airship you’re not going to be picking from a list of available designs but building it from different parts. There will be four major parts which go into your Free Company ship. For example the engine, fuel tank, the body, and then the sail that propels you and each part will have different designs as well as different capabilities. If you pick a high capability engine that has good power and a fast speed when you send your Free Company out with that high capability engine to scout based on we’ve been calling a “sky map” it can go out quickly and return fast but it’s a gas guzzler. It takes up a lot fuel. So you then add on a very large fuel tank. But because it’s so huge you lose space to store your items. Considering those different parameters that come with different parts you’ll be discussing among your Free Company members to see which parts you would need to build your ideal airship. So that’s the first part of Free Company crafting in terms of an airship. At the start of Heavensward you’re not only able to have just one ship but you can actually build up to four ships. And those airships will be ranked. And depending on what your rank level is there will be different parts you can and cannot equip. At the start of Heavensward once you build your airship you’ll be able to send it out to scout, no passengers, just the ship goes out to try and scout. And then in a following patch you’ll then be able to board that ship and explore and find uncharted areas. And even beyond there’ll be capabilities to add combat capability so you can have sort of a battleship. So it’s going to be very major content that will become available throughout the 3.x patch series. Once you’re able to go out and explore and travel and find those different areas in the sky you may find that some of these areas may have Notorious hardcore monsters that you can’t beat and just end up defeated and having to have to come back. Or you may find that other Free Company have already visited and trashed it and made a mess of it. Or you may end up finding a land where you can find really rare gathering items, materials that you can harvest. So there will be a lot of very interesting things you can look forward to in the 3.x series.
RPGamer: Will the new level 60 armor be available via job quests or via grinding?
Yoshida: We still want to keep this secret for now. But please be assured it’s not going to be something like a Zodiac weapon. So you won’t have to grind that hard. But once Heavensward launches that will be your first goal to reach at the level cap. And with the introduction of Alexander and the normal and hard modes the item levels of those items between the two difficulty levels will be much wider than that of anything in A Realm Reborn. So there will be many different options to gain gear in between.