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    Yoshida on 3.3 Feedback, 3.35 and beyond - Game Watch Translation

    Just finished up this translation of the Game Watch interview held at E3 the day after the live letter. Didn't get a chance to thoroughly proofread this, but it should be mostly complete except for that part where he was talking about E3 games and I just wanted to get this done...maybe I'll finish that up later.

    The Palace of the Dead stuff is a lot of rehash (Yoshida even says it himself a few times in his answers), but there are a few new tidbits scattered. The rest of the stuff after that is some interesting discussion around 3.3 feedback, game design, and perhaps some vague details for future updates 3.4, 3.5, and beyond, but nothing incredibly revealing. I'm looking forward to cross-data center Party Finder, at least.

    Thanks to Munba for the heads-up that this interview was published... I stopped looking for E3 news a couple days ago, figured nothing was coming.

    Source: http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs...w/1007099.html

    -----


    To end our E3 reporting, as has become something of a tradition, we'd like to deliver an interview that was held with producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV, Naoki Yoshida.

    On the second day of the E3 expo, as in the past few years, a live producer letter from E3 was held which went over the deep dungeon content scheduled to be implemented in patch 3.35, including video of the content.

    Our interview was conducted the next day, and we asked questions covering the Deep Dungeon content to be implemented in mid-July, feedback on the content implemented in patch 3.3, aspirations towards the next large scale update (patch 3.4). I also tried to ask a few questions about the next expansion (4.X) as well as some around the Fan Festival to be held in October which had some official announcements the previous day.


    Patch 3.35 Deep Dungeon content

    In the producer letter live, you announced that the Deep Dungeon would be the content for patch 3.35. Is there any other content besides Deep Dungeon that will be included in patch 3.35?

    Yoshida: No, there is no other major content. There will be some preparation in advance of the start of the second season of The Feast. However, Deep Dungeon itself is large scale content. While Deep Dungeon was developed for patch 3.3, rather than crushing players with a large amount of content simultaneously in patch 3.3, we decided it would be better to push it off to patch 3.35.

    You mentioned for deep dungeon that in a future update it would be expanded to floor 200 and rankings would be added. Will there be any reward for reaching the 200th floor?

    Yoshida: There won't be any rewards added for the rankings themselves, as those are mostly about speed running. As far as score and reaching the 200th floor, there will be an achievement, but it's mostly for fun and the rewards won't correlate with the difficulty of reaching the end.

    The glowing weapons have been announced as the current reward, so what will the reward be after the 50th floor? Will it become stronger and increase the glow?

    Yoshida: The weapon isn't the reward. Rather, I think it's more about pride of the accomplishment.

    What is the item level of the glowing weapons?

    Yoshida: Although it's releasing earlier, given that item levels will rise in patch 3.4, it will be fairly strong. The Palace of the Dead itself is not so difficult and intended as casual content, so I think it will be better suited for casual players or for core players gearing up a second job.

    It's not the strongest?

    Yoshida: It won't be the strongest. Savage Alexander weapons will remain the strongest for those who can clear it. I think players will also continue to use anima weapons and lore weapons for their main jobs.

    For the glowing weapons, aside from the fact that they are glowing, there aren't any other special abilities?

    Yoshida: Right, there aren't any special properties.

    The official name of the weapon is "shining?"

    Yoshida: The Japanese name is [[something like "magic instrument equipment"]]. It's primarily set to be the weapons and armor you'll use within the Palace of the Dead.

    The weapon is the only reward for up through the 50th floor?

    Yoshida: That's right.

    Since you start from level 1, about when will you be expected to be level 60?

    Yoshida: You should be level 60 around the time you reach the 40th floor. If you haven't reached 60, you may have to avoid some enemies. That said, the gate to the next floor becomes active only after defeating some enemies, so you don't really need to go out of your way to gain experience.

    What happens to experience earned in the dungeon?

    Yoshida: You'll receive some of it when you leave the dungeon. So in terms of rewards, experience points is actually another one. Since you can enter the dungeon at level 17, even during the free trial, it should be useful in leveling up.

    Is it possible to save and exit in the deep dungeon?

    Yoshida: You can do that every 10th floor.

    With 50 floors being the current end of Palace of the Dead, do you plan on releasing the rest in three more updates of 50 floors each?

    Yoshida: No, the next step will implement all the way to floor 200. There's no reason to divide it up further.

    Since it starts at 50 I thought it would go to 100, then 150, then 200. (laughs)

    Yoshida: After the 100th floor, it's really just there for the challenge element. However, that won't be the end of the "Deep Dungeon" content as we're planning to continue adding in the future. Even in 4.0 or later, we plan to add new Deep Dungeon content.

    Would that be something like up to the 300th floor, or would it be an entirely new Deep Dungeon?

    Yoshida: Palace of the Dead will end at the 200th floor. When we add the new content, it will be another dungeon. Right now, we have 8-man normal raids, 8-man savage raids, 24-man raids, and we envision Deep Dungeon as being another entry.

    How long will it take to reach the 50th floor?

    Yoshida: If you go straight through, I think it will be about two and a half hours without any breaks. The content for each save is roughly the same as an instanced dungeon, so you can save when you reach the 10th floor, head out and play other content, then continue the next day or on the weekend. There's no penalty for leaving.

    The weapons that you strengthen inside the dungeon are the reward for outside the dungeon?

    Yoshida: Once the weapon is trained to a certain level, you can talk to a NPC outside the dungeon who will take the strength from that weapon and imbue it into a physical weapon that can be used in the outside world. Once you receive a weapon for one of the jobs, you'll have to start training a new weapon from level 1. You can select a weapon reward regardless of the job you clear the content with, so you can get one for your favorite job.

    If you save on the way in a party, can you then go on and continue solo?

    Yoshida: Since there are two save slots, you can use them selectively. If the two aren't enough, you'll need to overwrite one. If you enter the content in a pre-set four person party and you want to continue, you'll need to go with the same four people as the previous time. Since you have two save slots, you can also use one for matchmaking and one for a fixed party or for solo. The save data of weapons and armor is the only thing that they will have in common, the progress for each will be saved separately.

    A major feature of Deep Dungeon is that the structure of the dungeon is automatically generated. What kind of work went into the production of this? For example, do you have 100 different patterns of rooms, or are they selected randomly, or completely randomly generated?

    Yoshida: It's not the former. We wanted to use similar algorithms to the "Mystery Dungeon" series, but since FFXIV is a server-client style game, it would be difficult to have done that, so we came up with an original algorithm. There is a database of map patterns, and the map is generated based on those.

    For the demo, it looked like the floors were about four or five rooms. How large do they get as you go deeper into the dungeon?

    Yoshida: We only have 50 floors so far, and that goes up to about 8 rooms maximum. The first through tenth floors have about four rooms each.

    About how big is each room?

    Yoshida: It's equivalent to about 20 x 20 meters.

    Is that around the size of a boss fight in an instanced dungeon?

    Yoshida: It's a bit smaller than that. Normal boss fights are about 40 x 40 meters, so it's smaller. It should be fine to sprint between rooms as the TP you recover during battle naturally should be enough. This will be different from previous content as people were usually stingy with Sprint because of the TP issue. However, if you step on a trap, you'll want to stop right away (laughs).

    In some cases Sprint will be restricted? Are there any other kinds of restrictions?

    Yoshida: Things like inability to use items, there are a lot of types.

    What about no weapons?

    Yoshida: Not that (laughs). The floor effects are randomly generated, so those will be different every time you go. There are also effects which work to your benefit, so it comes down to luck.

    How do the traps work?

    Yoshida: There are a few kinds of floor traps. Some of them are quite severe.

    Are there any elements which dramatically change things?

    Yoshida: Transformation into a manticore would be one since that lets you defeat all enemies with one hit. However, while you're running around one-shotting enemies, please be careful not to step on a trap which depletes your HP as you might still get defeated (laughs).

    Tell us what you thought about when you said you wanted to implement content similar to the "Mystery Dungeon" series.

    Yoshida: There were two concepts. One was to add content where veteran players and new players can play together, and the other was to go back to basics with battle content that wasn't heavily focused on mechanics. The person in charge of deep dungeon got those two requests from me. That person was also quite familiar with the battle formula since he was involved in the development of the system, so his background was helpful.

    Since we wanted to have new players and veterans alike start from level 1 and play together, at first we didn't have saves as part of the specifications. However, even though you start from level 1 if you die in "Mystery Dungeon," I thought that might be too much for a MMORPG, so we discussed implementing saves, and the person in charge came up with the idea of every tenth floor. But yeah, as I mentioned, the two most important reasons we implemented this content were to get new and veteran players together, and to have less restrictive content.


    Since the floors after 100 are designed for hardcore players, does that mean there won't be any saving between floors 100 and 200?

    Yoshida: We're working on final adjustments now, but that would be too long to go without a save, so we're talking about maybe allowing a one time save. However we need to limit the number of times it can be registered in the ranking. We don't want people playing particular floors repeatedly to strengthen items or raise ranking, so we may limit the number of times a ranking can be overwritten per save.

    As someone with a normal day job, I wince a little when I think of playing through content for two hours in a go, so maybe you can do it the other way like however far you get in 30 minutes?

    Yoshida: The save every 10 floors allows you to progress little by little as you go through it. As I mentioned before, for floors after 100 you may not be able to save. However, this might be a bit scary if something happens like the servers crashing, so we need to discuss this further.

    Deep Dungeon in FFXIV has some familiar aspects to Nyzul Isle assault in Final Fantasy XI, which was quite popular at the time. Is Deep Dungeon that kind of thing?

    Yoshida: The server structure in FFXI for processing those instances was not good, so we've definitely improved on that. We should be OK with the implementation of Deep Dungeon because we already have a considerable number of backing content servers, and more can be added real time by cutting others.

    Out of curiosity, how many sessions can FFXIV handle at the same time?

    Yoshida: It depends on the allocation, but they're available in units of 100 for each data center. For example, at the start of Heavensward, for what we call QIBs (quest instanced battles) where you enter solo, there were about 500 assigned for each data center so for the most part there was no congestion. When A Realm Reborn launched, the allocation was only about 40, so...

    If a party is almost wiping, can you run away?

    Yoshida: No, the monsters will follow you anywhere on the same floor. However, as I've mentioned a lot before, the degree of difficulty and balance for these monsters is such that you can easily handle it and revive your companions if you're not in a rush. Additionally, the monsters aren't too tightly packed, so you should be able to progress even if you aren't being very cautious.

    Can the Ankh to revive fallen players also be used in combat?

    Yoshida: The Ankh can only be used in a non-combat state. Since you should be able to defeat enemies even solo, first clean up the surrounding remaining monsters. The most frequent ways players will die will be if they become surrounded by monsters right after they step on a trap, so don't get too nervous.

    Since this is also intended to be for new players, how difficult will the mechanics be?

    Yoshida: I've also mentioned this several times, but there will be no mechanics like those in primal battles in Deep Dungeon. The content is unlocked at level 17, so at that point you should have progressed through the three starter dungeons. You shouldn't have any issues if you can clear those.

    What's the story of deep dungeon?

    Yoshida: The Gelmorra Ruins have existed since ancient times in the Black Shroud, and an incident has occurred there. The general story is that you're investigating this occurrence. As far as what comes from that, I'd like you to check it out for yourself, but the story will not be completely told up to the 50th floor. There will be a series of events after the 50th floor that show why this occurred, but some elements will remain a mystery until the next update of Palace of the Dead. In the next update, we'll be implementing all the way through 200, but the story should be told in full by floor 100. Floors 101 and beyond are just there as challenge content.

    When you showed the trailer, a woman was shown up to her shoulder for a moment. There was lot of speculation immediately after you showed this among the community that *she* would be resurrected.

    Yoshida: I've seen that, but I don't want to say more (laughs). Between what you see and the BGM you should be able to come up with a few ideas.

    So does that mean there will be some continuation of a previously introduced story?

    Yoshida: The people who have been interested in the story of a certain person will get some more details after they complete the quests that unlock after the 50th floor. After that, you'll want to play through the 100th floor to find out more.

    Although the deep dungeon is implemented with a dedicated UI, can you change around the arrangement like with the prior UI?

    Yoshida: Yeah.

    Do items coming from the outside world drop and would there be any issue with having a full inventory?

    Yoshida: It won't really be an issue, and you'll want to bring some. Items that you obtain in the dungeon will go into the special item slots, so don't worry about that because it's managed separately. However, there are some other items from the outside world that are useful in the dungeon that you can also obtain like Phoenix Down, etc., so you may want to have some free space available. In addition, since potions are convenient to have, you should also take some of those along. You might want to pop a potion right away if you step on a trap.

    You've said Deep Dungeon was designed to have free roles, but would 4 DPS work even past floor 100?

    Yoshida: We're working on the balance up through floor 100 right now, so I can't give a clear answer. We want to guarantee that you can clear with free roles up through floor 100, but that's probably impossible to guarantee at floor 101 or beyond.

    Related to that, if you feel things starting to get tough as 4 DPS, can you change roles?

    Yoshida: I don't think things will feel tough with or without a healer up through floor 50, I've already checked it out with 4 DPS. Based on the design and balance decisions, you can't change your job inside the dungeon.

    How many shining weapons can you obtain as a reward?

    Yoshida: You can't get two for the same job, but you can get multiple if you have other jobs.

    You've shown the gimmicks of being transformed into a manticore and succubus, are there any other kinds of monsters this time?

    Yoshida: Those are the two types we've introduced this time. It wouldn't make sense to turn into a monster unless they had a very high effect. For example, you can use Physick on black mage as an additional action if needed, so it's hard to come up with a lot of benefits for transforming into a monster. So we don't plan on increasing this by a lot.

    When you reach level 60 by floor 50, does character enhancement rely just on the weapon and armor?

    Yoshida: That's right. However, remember patch 3.35 only goes up to floor 50.

    Have you decided on the title for floors 51 and beyond?

    Yoshida: It's also "Palace of the Dead." There will be some stairs leading further down from the 50th floor that you won't discover until the next update, something like that.

    When will the next part be implemented?

    Yoshida: I think it will be patch 3.45 or patch 3.5. The Palace of the Dead will be complete with that update.

    Matchmaking is done this time without using the Duty Finder, is that intended?

    Yoshida: It's because the matching is a bit more complex for Deep Dungeon, with free role matching and matching degree of progress. This is also different from matchmaking with Frontline, so if we tried to incorporate it into the existing Duty Finder, we would have to first debug the entire Duty Finder system. That's too much scope for this, so we decided to do the matchmaking via a NPC. It's basically a different version of Duty Finder running behind the scenes, nearly identical. It's similar to how the matchmaking for Diadem is only through the NPC at the airship landing in Ishgard.

    I think players will want to repeat this several times to get different shining weapons so is there any way to check how many times players have cleared Deep Dungeon?

    Yoshida: There are achievements for every 10th floor, so there's also an achievement for the 50th floor. However this doesn't save for multiple clears, so it will be flagged after the first clear.

    When the new Deep Dungeon is implemented in the future, will the strengthening of these weapons be carried over?

    Yoshida: They will not be carried over. The content will be separate.

    The job icons that appear on the save data are cute, but why did you go through the trouble of adding that?

    Yoshida: With the name Deep Dungeon, I wanted to evoke a sense of nostalgia from Square games from long ago. With the concept of save data and save slots, I thought it would add to it to have icons like that.

    We definitely got that feeling of the old FF titles from looking at the save data (laughs).

    Yoshida: The pixel art is from Minagawa and the original UI team, it was all recreated (laughs).

    When you add more Deep Dungeon in the future, will the entry conditions remain as level 17?

    Yoshida: I don't know yet. I think we're going to make it, but I haven't decided anything beyond that (laughs).



    The response to patch 3.3, difficulty of Mhach.

    Tell us about the usage situation for Raid Finder which you implemented in patch 3.3. The amount of time waiting for a tank can be very high.

    Yoshida: Well, since you need two tanks, the main tank and off-tank, it's already tough in a way. Since we added a lot of content in patch 3.3, I think there are a lot players are involved with that content rather than focusing on the raid, so I think it will get better. When players do get matched, I think there can be a clash of how players deal with things on certain worlds, so there seems to be a need for a lot of discussion about tactics when a new group is matched.

    In the producer letter, you mentioned players should stop the resale of land. Do you intend this restriction to include players who want to sell to their friends when they are moving servers?

    Yoshida: The idea is that buying land with the intent to resell is not acceptable. This is an act which inhibits the ability of other players to enjoy the game. If we receive reports, we will investigate with log data, and if we determine that the motive was profit, then we will release the land. Of course, if you purchased the land for yourself and later decided to transfer worlds, there's no problem with handing the land over to FC members or friends because the intent wasn't to earn gil through resale.

    What will happen to the price of land if it would have dropped by the time the resale happened?

    Yoshida: It will return to its initial value.

    For housing in general, one of the reasons resale is a problem is because the land gets sold out even when land is added. What is your ideal image for housing?

    Yoshida: It's a bit difficult to be sure, but I think the ideal would be if about 80% of all land was sold to meet the demand, which would leave a bit more that new players would be able to purchase if they could afford it. In most worlds, the additional land added achieved this state, but in some of the more crowded worlds, it still sold out. We are considering managing this by adding additional land to the more crowded worlds.

    First, I'd like to completely cover the demand for individual housing with the implementation of apartments in patch 3.4. After that, we'll do some careful consideration and follow up by addressing the demand for FC housing in overcrowded worlds in the next major update.

    There are also two kinds of play styles where some players want to have a house for their FC, but some players also want to have their own house and land for their character. In the case of a FC, you can collect gil from multiple people, but for an individual, all the gil comes from one person. We want to be able to accommodate both FC and personal desires, so this is a tough problem to tackle.

    Do you think land sold out immediately due to high resale demand or just due to population?

    Yoshida: The higher the population, the higher the demand for land, and the higher the demand for land, the more people who want to use it to make gil. I think it's like that.

    You said that selling out and resale is a problem on a small fraction of the worlds, so do you mean to say that housing is already in an ideal state in most cases?

    Yoshida: Well, with the shortages and resale issues in overcrowded worlds, I wouldn't say its ideal, but I think it's good in about 80% of the worlds. New players can level up, earn gil, and by then they should be able to afford the houses as the prices continue to decrease.

    Did you put any thought into regulating the resale systematically?

    Yoshida: Once bought, the system already has conditions where the land cannot be sold through the system and is automatically removed after a certain period of disuse, to make it difficult for players to resell through the system. However, a MMORPG is made to be "played," and there are mechanisms available to allow players to abandon land of their own will. The system doesn't have the ability to determine whether players had malicious intent when they decide to use that mechanism, so combining that mechanism with the ability to trade you end up with resale. It would be possible to stop it entirely if we want to take a view that everyone has bad intent, and there'd be less time and effort involved with that as well. But by doing that, we would destroy some of the good intentions of the community like players handing over land before they take a break or transfer worlds.

    On the other hand, we heard opinions like limiting the number of houses to one per account, but for players who have multiple characters on one account and want to role play on each, this still creates a problem. Furthermore, for FFXIV, since the requirement to buy land is to be level 50 on one job and to save enough gil, there is quite a high hurdle to be able to purchase land. So we should respect those players who have done enough to satisfy the conditions to purchase land on alternate characters.

    If these things continue, the housing system will become very overcrowded. Rather than viewing everyone as inherently bad, we'd rather allow as much freedom as possible to remain in the system. Additionally, after speaking with players and getting feedback from a majority, we can make provisions if we decide that certain things should not be allowed. So first, let's talk about it. I think there wouldn't be any problems if everyone would act ethically.

    On an economic note, with the addition of the Aquapolis in patch 3.3 and gil becoming easier to earn in content, aren't you worried about inflation?

    Yoshida: When we looked at the economy up to patch 3.2, the disparity between the haves and have-nots as far as gil is concerned was too extreme. There are players who are busy in real life and typically spend most of their in-game time doing battle content. However, gil savings was pretty low for players who were just focused on battle content, and they still need gil to do things like melding materia, repairing equipment, and purchasing food or medicines for raiding. They also need gil just to purchase items off the markets. Despite playing the game for a while, the amount of gil these players had could make it difficult to use some of these systems, so the balance was off. We decided to add Aquapolis to increase the amount of gil these players can obtain each day.

    We performed calculations and simulations based on the market trends and assumed there would be just a little inflation. Since patch 3.3, we've been monitoring the amount of gil paid out for items each day, and it's generally within the range of our assumptions so we think it's all right. After we released patch 3.3, a lot of the staff on the development team not involved with the in-game economy asked if it was reasonable to add that much gil (laughs). Since a lot of gil is available, please check it out. Folks who primarily enjoy battle content should check out the Aquapolis.

    In the future when you increase the inventory, will you also separate the items for daily and weekly quests and events, and will you be able to stack items which currently cannot be stacked?

    Yoshida: Hmm, it might be too much to add all these as currencies in the future. I think the utility of the daily, weekly, and primal tokens will be done when 3.X is completed, but there are many players who set aside past tokens as things that "may be used" in the future....

    By the way, adding data to the currency tab creates just as much "save work" from a development point of view as adding a slot to inventory. In other words, adding a new currency is the same as providing another inventory slot. So I apologize, but the situation will remain as it is now until we expand the inventory and armoury chest.

    What's your favorite scene and character from the Ishgard storyline?

    Yoshida: Including all characters from before as well, it's Alphinaud. In order to connect the stories of the original FFXIV to A Realm Reborn, we developed the new characters Alphinaud and Alisaie. In fact, he's one of the most human characters, and he started off as a child with dreams. His aspirations may have been a result of his family background, but he also learned much on his own through his studies. He also had a lot of passion and ambition. As a result of his ideals and brashness, he got to taste defeat and frustration for the first time. After he had his heart broken by those events, though, his friends still supported him and little by little he rebuilt his confidence. His character has really grown and I'd like to continue to show that moving into the future.

    After that, it's Estinien. Estinien is a character who appeared in dragoon quests since the original FFXIV. When FFXIV was reborn, we decided he would be involved in the adventures leading to Ishgard. The development of his character continued from there. Nidhogg's hatred of humans stemmed from how his sister was killed in an act of betrayal by humans, and likewise Estinien's hatred for dragons was because he witnessed his brother's and parents' death at the hand of a dragon. Nidhogg and Estinien are the pair of characters which together represent the Dragonsong War. Nidhogg was alone until the end. Estinien was also a solitary person, but he became fellows with Ysayle, Alphinaud, and the warrior of light whom he accompanied on their journey. I'm very satisfied with how he was depicted.

    As far as scenes go, it's a bit different seeing them as a creator, but probably the one I've watched the most after releasing it is the series of events that occur after you complete The Vault. Sometimes I watch the scene in the middle of the night and find myself crying again. Maybe because I'm getting old my tear glands are a little loose (laughs). After that, I'm also fond of the scene of Alphinaud and the dragon's eye. Those two things scenes are the ones from the 3.X series that I'll never forget.

    There's been a variety of opinions on the difficulty of the Nidhogg battle and the Weeping City of Mhach. How are you feeling about this based on the assumptions from the development side?

    Yoshida: We talked about this a bit at the producer letter at E3, but it wasn't designed to be harder than ever before. More to the point, Void Ark was oversimplified. When the 24 man raids were added in the Crystal Tower series, there were plenty of wipes in the first couple of weeks and it was chaotic, and occasionally players would not be able to clear, but that made chatting about strategy or providing instructions more commonplace. From there, things become more stable and the conversations aren't needed as much. There should be a culture that players are willing to teach others who are new to the content and provide tips.

    But in Void Ark, even if you didn't know the mechanics you still usually wouldn't die, and if you did die you could still easily recover. Because of that, the chat culture went away and the image of the degree of difficulty for the content changed, and I believe that made Mhach feel more difficult this time around. I think with the high difficulty of savage Alexander Gordias, we had too much of a knee jerk reaction to lower the difficulty of Void Ark.

    When Mhach was released and we started reviewing the logs from the first day of raids, we were a bit shocked to see empty chat logs even after groups fully wiped to a boss. Players would silently wipe over and over, and we're sorry for this as we feel it's partially because of the environment that was created with Void Ark.

    Now that things are getting more stable in Mhach, with some low amount of chat, we're assuming that it's because people are getting used to it. Since we are getting back to the difficulty of the Crystal Tower series, it's good to see things are settling down. However, there is one technique used by Ozma called "Debris Burst" which may be a bit too challenging. For now, we won't be making any adjustments, but we are taking note of this for future raid development.

    Also, although we've seen feedback that the bosses are hard, keep in mind that the balance is developed for item level 215 equipment without materia melded. Furthermore, we actually reduced the bosses' HP by about 10% right before release, and I think there are a lot of familiar elements. During battle there are a lot of cases where players need to stop fighting and their DPS becomes 0, so that can make it feel more difficult.

    Regarding the Nidhogg battle, we were a bit worried about making the degree of difficulty too low. Since he's the final boss of the Heavensward storyline, we kept the movements simple and strengthened his attacks. We've been told that Nidhogg felt too weak when fighting him in The Aery, so this time we were able to maintain his dignity. Also, since he's a scenario boss, it should feel like a good challenge to culminate the Heavensward storyline.

    You said 3.35 would be released in mid-July, but have you decided on an implementation date?

    Yoshida: It's been decided within the development team. There's a possibility it could be delayed while I'm here at E3 if any big issues come up, so I didn't want to announce the date just yet.



    Patch 3.4 and beyond... introducing the story of 4.0

    With the story of the Dragonsong War ending in patch 3.3, will the story continue in Ishgard in patches 3.4 and beyond? Or will it move to a new area?

    Yoshida: It's not that Ishgard won't be involved. Ishgard has returned to the Eorzean Alliance as the fourth city-state, but that doesn't mean they won't be involved in patches 3.4 or 3.5. Now that the war has ended, the story with the warrior of light will continue as you further cooperate with the Scions of the Seventh Dawn.

    So will Ishgard set the stage for the story of patches 3.4 and 3.5 or will the story be expanded?

    Yoshida: Well, there have been some subtle hints, but with the next story beginning it will change.

    It will change starting in patch 3.4?

    Yoshida: I think the major changes will begin with patch 3.5. Last time we also had a major shift around patches 2.5 and 2.55.

    You've referenced patch 3.5 a number of times, but will that be the end of the patch 3.X series?

    Yoshida: It will definitely continue through 3.5. I can't say any more on that. (laughs)

    So far, new content is implemented in odd patches, but the primary focus on battle content like Alexander is with even patches. Will this trend continue in the future?

    Yoshida: Yeah. Item level updates will continue to come once ever other major update. If we don't implement a high difficulty raid at that time, the overall challenge would disappear, so we won't change that flow. Since we also implement the crafted equipment used for early progression in the raids at that time, it's a tough time to implement casual content.

    If we implemented the casual content at the same time, people would continue to raise their item level over a few months and the relative difficulty of the raid would decrease drastically with each passing day. Then it would be difficult to set the rewards properly, so we're continuing the current pattern for the future. Of course, there will be casual content in even patches as well, like new content to be introduced in patch 3.4 which we'll be announcing in a future producer letter.

    With the additional details announced about Fan Festival the other day in the producer letter, we finally got the impression that you've got your foot on the accelerator towards 4.X, but we're still progressing through the 3.X series. Please tell us about the future of the 3.X series.

    Yoshida: To avoid spoilers, I can't talk about anything story-related, but part of the announcements at the Fan Festivals will also be related to the main story. We'll have patch 3.4, then announcements at the United States fan festival, then at the Tokyo fan festival. Soon after that we'll implement patch 3.5 and make final announcements at the Europe fan festival. We hope to link up the fan festival announcements with the patch content. I guess that's all I can say for now.

    Will you be releasing details about "4.0" at the October fan festival?

    Yoshida: Yeah. This game is supported by a lot of players, and we wanted to share the biggest news at a fan festival venue.

    Will you be announcing anything at Tokyo Game Show in September?

    Yoshida: I think the main talk there will be patch 3.4 content.

    Will you be talking about new developments in the scenario there?

    Yoshida: Yeah.

    Oh? Will there be any surprises in store for FFXIV players?

    Yoshida: Hmm, I wonder. I love a mystery, but I also like the story gimmick of betraying expectations. I don't hate the feeling of knowing something that was coming, but I don't want to know everything (laughs).

    FFXIV experienced some large changes from 1.0 to 2.0 Not only in game, but also with out-of-game elements like events in real life and the way we disseminate game-related information, so I hope players enjoy the game both online and off.

    Around when will patch 3.4 be implemented?

    Yoshida: That's still a secret. I think everyone already has some expectations, though. We kept you waiting a bit between 3.0 and 3.1, but we changed back to the usual cycle in subsequent patches, so you can probably infer from that. Plus, the patch is always on a Tuesday (laughs). I think from that you can probably guess give or take 1-2 weeks.

    Will you be selling the additional items given to fan festival visitors or stream viewers at a later date?

    Yoshida: Those are intended to be limited benefits that players who participated in those events receive, so if we had a trend of later selling those kinds of items it would be a bit disappointing later on. For example, we don't sell the minions that come with the first print of the soundtracks because they are limited to the first edition soundtracks.

    The three character minions you're adding are Rikku, Lulu, and Yuna minions based on Final Fantasy X characters. Do you have any plans to add minions of other popular characters from the series in the future?

    Yoshida: I can't say anything at the moment.

    Will you be able to buy the stuffed Cait Sith doll in Japan?

    Yoshida: Yeah, the Japan e-store has started presale as well.

    What about the moogle slippers?

    Yoshida: Those are still undergoing a safety inspection. Our merchandising unit has already created a partnership with the factory where we'll be producing these.

    So there may be some changes to the finally released design?

    Yoshida: Yeah. However, these were pretty perfect, so they should be almost as they are.

    What about the figures that you were planning to release overseas that you had talked about in earlier interviews? You didn't make any announcements at this time.

    Yoshida: Perhaps around a fan festival, although these would be pretty expensive compared to past goods.

    Something like 30,000 yen?

    Yoshida: It won't be that much. However, those who come to fan festival might want to bring a bit of extra pocket change.

    Why did you showcase the Fat Chocobo at the E3 exhibit?

    Yoshida: The North America marketing and PR team came up with that plan based on the marketing budget we allocated for E3. Aside from just banners, we thought we could generate some excitement with people taking photos on the Fat Chocobo and posting them to Twitter, the idea was to evoke some interest in FFXIV. The Fat Chocobo is also popular in North America. I was wondering if anyone might fall off since it was quite high up so players had to be a bit calm getting on and off.

    Items like the Panda minion produced for the China version have already been sold in Japan as well, but are there any plans to sell items like the China dress in Japan?

    Yoshida: We're planning to. We're ready to add the data on the Japanese side so I should be able to make an official announcement pretty soon.

    MMOs have increasingly been adopting mega-servers allowing players to all play in one place. Do you have any plans to adopt something like that for FFXIV?

    Yoshida: That's probably not possible. From a database side, that's highly dependent on the initial design, so if we wanted to do something like that it would probably be faster to create a new MMO.

    How about matchmaking across data centers?

    Yoshida: It's more than just data centers, we're talking about going beyond the physical and logical servers so it would be quite a high hurdle to overcome. Of course, we'll continue to try for this in the future, but it won't be in a short space of time. With respect to the servers, we're working right now on the fundamental specifications to implement party recruitment across worlds which will allow members to recruit across worlds, gather, and chat across worlds. We're aiming for implementation with the release of patch 3.5.

    With this, in a sense, players across a data center will feel like part of a connected world. I think play will change quite a bit when players can recruit parties to complete content across the data center, so it's something we really hope to be able to allow.

    However, back to your comment, designing and implementing a mega server while continuing the current service, then migrating to the new service, would be extremely difficult and there's the risk of data being destroyed. Of course it's not completely impossible, but it would be insanely difficult.

    PSVR will be launching later this year, are you trying anything with that?

    Yoshida: We aren't (laughs). We exhibited the VR version of Titan last year at TGS, and we got very good reactions from those who experienced it. However, for VR, if you can't keep 120 FPS, some people will get very motion sick. There would be a lot of problems with matchmaking players of VR and non-VR. Additionally, since that would only be for the PS4 edition, it's a pretty high hurdle to think of trying out. We could make some VR-exclusive content for people to try out, but that's a business and technology decision. The VR Titan was made just to try out the technology.

    To make really good VR content, another cost adder is creating a UI specific to VR. I feel strongly about the potential for VR, but I think the best pitches for VR are new content, so I don't think this is something we should be doing with FFXIV.

    Would you consider making a separate VR game with a FFXIV theme?

    Yoshida: I think that's still a possibility. Something like "Miqo'te lessons," and create some space in Idyllshire that only players with VR can enter, and have some kind of Miqo'te paradise. That might be interesting.

    Which title did you find the most interesting at this year's E3?

    Yoshida: I get asked this ever year, but I've hardly been out of this interview room.... That said, games like God of War or Horizon Zero Dawn are really high end HD games and the knowledge and experience required to develop these really show the difference with Japanese games. Actually it's a bit frustrating.

    Coming out of the playable demo of Horizon at the conference, I was really checking out the grass. I think you can see it in the video a bit, but grass is automatically generated and rewritten about 3-4 meters around the character. FFXIV has automatically placed grass to some extent, so it isn't necessarily always in the same place. To accomplish this, the data is placed in a mesh structure on the ground for the type of grass, the density, and other numerical values like the resolution, and then the grass automatically grows by setting a percentage. In the case of Horizon, it looked like the grass was growing in about three stages of density. Grass can be a heavy process on performance quality, so typically it's only displayed about 3-4 meters in front of th character. By controlling the automatic grass and increasing the density on the screen, it was hard to notice where the display turned from on to off. Just looking at the grass in the scene where the character is wondering, you can hardly notice where the grass changes off in the distance. Additionally, when you look at it as a still image, it gives a beautiful sense of density.

    [[some more about E3 I am skipping over for now because I want to just get this done]]

    I know you can't comment much on 4.0, but as a general topic, will 4.0 continue to support PS3? Additionally, since Heavensward went through just 10 levels of content, if you're planning the same with 4.0, will you have any new concepts like level skipping, etc.?

    Yoshida: For PS3, I've mentioned this before, but we'll continue support through the 3.X series, so you should be confident about that. I can't speak beyond that just yet. With respect to leveling, we raised the level cap by 10, but it was a bit tiring to get experience just from repeating dungeons, so we want to work on that balance a bit more. However, we don't want to change the overall playtime too much, so we need to juggle that. That said, it did get a bit painful in 3.0 especially in the second half of leveling, so we want to prevent that from being the case again.

    With regard to your other question, we've already implemented a "jumping potion" in the China and Korea versions, similar to WoW, but it's not available in the global version. In the case of FFXIV, there are potions which clear players through the main scenario up to the expansion pack, and two kinds of potions which allow players to level up individual jobs to the previous level cap. Whether we place this in the global version depends on players' demand.

    So you want to first listen to players' opinions before deciding on whether to include this in the global version?

    Yoshida: That's right. Some of the media in North America and Europe asked around 3.0 why we hadn't implemented something like a jumping potion as it made it tough to invite their friends. We were a bit troubled about the implementation at that point as it could have been looked at as purely for profit.

    This can be a serious issue if players want to introduce their friends to the latest expansion pack that they're excited about, but the friend needs to spend a considerable amount of time before they can catch up and enter the expansion content. And then for those players who were invited to play, they need to play for a long time while seeing their friend talk about the expansion content on free company chat, and that can be a bit frustrating, so it's tough.

    The addition of a jumping potion is intended to give a choice to players in cases like that to skip to the new elements of the expansion. We don't intend for everyone to use these, but rather we hope these would only be used occasionally. But people want to play with their friends. With a mix of veteran players and new players who want to check out the latest FF, I think it would be good to offer the option.

    Of course, we also want players to enjoy leveling up as part of the game, and to enjoy all of the main story from the beginning. But the consumption of entertainment is really fast in today's world, and it's important that we have options. WoW has already made it very easy to return with expansion packs by jumping through previous content. This doesn't mean the game would be becoming pay to win, it's just a shortcut to the end.

    Without comparing to other MMORPGs, we didn't implement this with Heavensward because we felt that players should enjoy the FFXIV content and some players might feel that we were selling the content that they previously had to struggle through. Although we hadn't added a shortcut at the time, we did implement improvements to leveling speed which we thought would be enough to allow players to catch up more quickly.

    In China and South Korea, most online gamers already know about jumping potions. So, after consulting with the regional management teams, we decided to develop a potion and provide it for them. It's just been implemented for the Korea version so I haven't seen numbers yet, but it was implemented with version 3.0 of the China version and the implementation went very smoothly and seems to have been quite effective in attracting new players.

    That said, we really need to think about whether we want to do this with the global version, and it will be a tough decision down to the end, so I really hope to see players' feedback on this.

    Any thank you message to players while they wait for patch 3.35 coming in mid-July?

    Yoshida: We're only about two weeks into patch 3.3, so there's still a lot to do, and I hope that everyone continues to enjoy the 3.3 content for a while. We were able to provide a lot of content this time ranging from the casual Aquapolis to the extreme Nidhogg battle, and Palace of the Dead will be a new piece of content that players can look forward to trying out in patch 3.35.

    Palace of the Dead is more casual than most battle content which came before, and it will have a completely different play style, so please try it out and see if you like it, and then give us your feedback. It will help greatly in the development of new content.

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2
    XI was, and will always be, better.
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    "More casual than most battle content that came before"

    This is gonna be awesome

  3. #3
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    I'm ready to be extremely disappointed. Palace of the Dead (and content like it) has the potential to be what XIV lacks: a long term event that people can do when they're out of other things to do to maintain interest. A sprawling, multifloored and diverse dungeon with interesting (maybe RNG based) rewards would allow for the system to last far longer than most of the other battle systems in the game. Diadem had the same potential. Le sigh.


    While Deep Dungeon was developed for patch 3.3, rather than crushing players with a large amount of content simultaneously in patch 3.3, we decided it would be better to push it off to patch 3.35.
    This is hilarious! If XIV ever tanks at least Yoshida has a future in stand up comedy.

  4. #4

    Quote Originally Posted by Prothescar View Post
    This is hilarious! If XIV ever tanks at least Yoshida has a future in stand up comedy.
    Yeah that quote really is strange. Too much content?! Players can't handle it? What the fuck lol

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    Their fear of people reaching max ilvl is hurting the game.

    Palace should have the glowy i230 (or whatever) weapon plus a Rajas ring. (i240 scales with the palace expansion to 100) Throw some real gear carrots on the stick and people will eat it up. Diadem fucking sucked but people grinded it 24/7 (pre nerf) for the gear drops.

    Anything and everything in a catch up patch should reward good drops. Raiders can min/max, casuals can finally get i240 and everyone feels like they are progressing.

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    By the way, adding data to the currency tab creates just as much "save work" from a development point of view as adding a slot to inventory. In other words, adding a new currency is the same as providing another inventory slot. So I apologize, but the situation will remain as it is now until we expand the inventory and armoury chest.
    Meanwhile, FFXI has over 200 entries in both its Currencies tabs for such tasks.

    It's not even the kind of shit that needs saving every 15 seconds.

  7. #7
    Can you spare some gil?
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    Meanwhile it takes 8 fucking years to access any items that are not currently equipped on your character in FFXI because of how piss poor the game handles the addition of wardrobe and wardrobe2 on top of the very tedious and annoying menu scrolling to find out how much currency you have stored on any of the billion NPCs that you may have to look up and reference because it's so easy to lose track of what gets stored where and where they are located.

    Clearly a good example if you ignore the painstaking negative drawback of what they did to a game they have stopped caring about how it performs and the people who play it suck it up and just accept the fact that their dead content game is going to continue to suffer from slow downs with each addition.

  8. #8
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    They did at least introduce a patch that streamlined your inventory loading priority to make it load significantly quicker, so theres that.

  9. #9
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    Would you consider making a separate VR game with a FFXIV theme?

    Yoshida: I think that's still a possibility. Something like "Miqo'te lessons," and create some space in Idyllshire that only players with VR can enter, and have some kind of Miqo'te paradise. That might be interesting.
    I think we know where his priorities are now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shenrien View Post
    Meanwhile it takes 8 fucking years to access any items that are not currently equipped on your character in FFXI because of how piss poor the game handles the addition of wardrobe and wardrobe2 on top of the very tedious and annoying menu scrolling to find out how much currency you have stored on any of the billion NPCs that you may have to look up and reference because it's so easy to lose track of what gets stored where and where they are located.

    Clearly a good example if you ignore the painstaking negative drawback of what they did to a game they have stopped caring about how it performs and the people who play it suck it up and just accept the fact that their dead content game is going to continue to suffer from slow downs with each addition.
    Taking into consideration XI was designed and coded in the late 90s, meaning XIV (ARR/HW) with a far newer engine and SUPPOSEDLY better/more optimized netcode wouldn't have the same issues. The fact XI is even capable of all the additions it's done is still amazing. The wardrobe and wardrobe 2 addition for example XIV should have been able to increase the armory chest or introduced a glamour only or "case" inventory..but we have to wait until late 2017 for any inventory increase. I'm pretty sure the point is more that an ancient game (keep in mind it's well over 16 years old considering development time) is able to do certain QoL that a newer MMO seemingly cannot or will handle worse than said ancient game.

    Palace of the Dead from what we seen at E3 DOES look like it could be fun, just...they have to get off of this "so easy a blind child can get through it" mentality. I'm all for accessibility, but "overwhelming players with content"? DO IT. XIV suffers from lack of tangible content on these updates where we're still spamming the same 2 content for the next 3 months that came out 1-2 patches ago rather than focusing on a new set of content.

    It worked with XI because you pretty much had to do every bit of content to maximize your playing and gearsets, with XIV..they obsolete content faster than they honestly bring it out and instead of new content, they add "incentives" to spam obsolete content (Bird Mounts or force us to do old content for the relic.)

    I'm fairly sure no one would have complained if they had Palace of the Dead in 3.3 and could do that with people instead of doing Weeping City every Tuesday, Savage Midas then capping tomes and not logging in.

    It'd at least be something else to do.

  11. #11
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    While Deep Dungeon was developed for patch 3.3, rather than crushing players with a large amount of content simultaneously in patch 3.3, we decided it would be better to push it off to patch 3.35.
    I strongly feel the need to immortalize this. The man is so delusional now. Even if that's just a colorful translation that's amazing.

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    I wonder what he considers a small amount of content.

  13. #13

    I suspect, on some level, he's inferring to the amount of repetition required to get the most out of things. Granted, lockouts don't help that any, either. If you're up to date, this probably seems like a non-issue, but for late-comers, it essentially personifies the issues of tiering systems and being behind the curve potentially making it more difficult to get things done.

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    I think they're considering the hypothetical "I want to do everything" player. We know they've mentioned PotD being "too much to do in one sitting" while also mentioning it being about three hours worth of play. If a player does one Nidhogg EX a day, plus their map+aquapolis, plus their roulettes for gathering esoterics for relic and lore gear, plus the side-content for sands, plus Weeping City and Void Ark for gear upgrades/glamour...

    It doesn't jive with their implied intent of taking your time in the game.

    I'm still tentative about Palace of the Dead, too. I mean, Aquapolis isn't difficult by any means and is still one of the most enjoyable things I've done with friends. If PotD puts out the same feelings I'm fine with that.

  15. #15
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    Yoshida is definitely talking about people who play maybe 2-3 hours per day when he talks about content levels which feels like people who login after work, does a Mhach, tends to their retainers, does a few beastmen daillies then logs out.

    In that context, his content is built to last for the months between patches. If you binge XIV, you're not in Yoshida's vision. EX could last for months if you're on 3 hours per day.

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    I've been on 3/4 hours a day for the last 14 months. I don't binge by any means. Then again, i'm only really interested in battle content.

  17. #17

    If someone is playing for 3 hours a day and doesn't run out of shit to do they must be very easily amused or they're running learning parties for guildhests or something.

  18. #18
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    You can burn at least one hour doing dailies + ishgardian hunt logs + expert.

    Tack on the rest of the roulettes and you're pressing past 2 hours, more if you're not a tank or a healer. Just running maps on Sunday afternoon with 3 friends can eat up several hours on its own.

  19. #19

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyall View Post
    dailies + ishgardian hunt logs.....rest of the roulettes
    Quote Originally Posted by Niiro View Post
    very easily amused
    .

  20. #20
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    Progress is progress for casuals, which is who we're talking about.

    Roulettes are mandatory if anyone is interested in building a relic, too. Sometimes people just do their "chores" in an MMO and those also eat up time.

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