Here's a translation of the questions that Game Watch posed to Yoshida via e-mail. Couple pieces of information here that I think are new, or confirmations of things we expected.
FFXIV Stormblood E-mail Interview with Producer Naoki Yoshida
The first hints about what we'll be able to enjoy with Stormblood come to light. Large-scale PvP to be implemented some time after 4.0.
In February, the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2017 in Frankfurt was held in Frankfurt, Germany, where a variety of new information was released including the new Samurai job, the new areas of Doma, new beast tribes, underwater cities, and more.
An interview with others was held with producer Yoshida during the first day of the festival, but we were also able to submit questions by e-mail, so I'd like to share the responses here. Since each magazine was only able to have 10 questions answered, we couldn't drill down to specifics and we received a limited response, but we did hear about some new things we'll be able to enjoy in Stormblood. We'll have an opportunity for an interview to examine the details more closely, but for now, please check out the responses below.
Regarding New Jobs / Job Adjustments
This time around you'll be releasing two new DPS jobs - red mage and samurai. DPS jobs that have been implemented so far have had support skills as well, so will there be any of those for samurai?
Yoshida: With the renovated battle system we'll be getting rid of additional skills, and replacing them with "role-common actions." We'll take a look at the support actions of not only samurai, but the other DPS jobs as well, and actions that are common to each job will be moved to role-common actions. So rather than talking specifically about samurai, you should be thinking more about role-common actions.
Since you are just adding two DPS jobs this time, with the importance of maintaining a population balance across roles and battle balance in general, what's your idea for adjusting the population balance across roles in Stormblood?
Yoshida: About two years have passed since the release of Heavensward and we haven't seen a marked change in the population of each role for tanks, healers, and DPS. People who like to play tank continued to play tanks as their main, and we're expecting that with the addition of two new DPS this time, ultimately it will primarily be people moving their main job from one DPS to another. Of course, there will be many people who play them as second jobs. We want to add more motivation for folks who are on tank roles to play through instanced dungeons, for example, but, with the addition of Deep Dungeon, leveling is no longer limited to just instanced dungeons, so I think that will prove pretty popular in the early days of Stormblood.
Regarding the Story
Who is the samurai that we saw in the trailer? Is that the master of the Samurai guild?
Yoshida: His name is Gosetsu, and he'll be introduced in the main story of part 2 of patch 3.5. As far as whether he is a samurai and how he appears in the story, please hold on a bit longer until the patch is released. However, he's not a samurai guildmaster.
Raubahn and Yugiri were the only familiar faces that we saw. Will the characters be changed up in the areas?
Yoshida: Unlike how Ishgard was involved in parts of the main scenario since 2.0, Ala Mhigo and Doma have been under imperial control and essentially quarantined to some extent. Because of that, you'll encounter new characters and uncover new stories in each area. So it's true that there will be more new characters than we've had before, but obviously members of the Scions like Alphinaud and Alisaie will continue to be involved. Please pay attention to what kind of journey will take place in the Stormblood story. We'll continue to methodically introduce the new characters until release.
On the small continent of Othard, aside from the countries of Hingashi and Doma and the Azim Steppe are there any other countries?
Yoshida: There are a variety of elements on Othard besides what we've announced so far, but they won't all be revealed from the start of Stormblood. They may appear during the patch 4.X series. First things first, please adventure to every corner of the Stormblood areas.
It seems that the map this time is larger than tha Aldenard continent of Eorzea. Is the total area this time equivalent to the ARR and Heavensward areas combined? Will you be free to come and go as you please between Aldenard and Othard via teleport?
Yoshida: I think the total new ground area added in Stormblood is about equal to Heavensward, but there are also underwater areas and other areas we haven't discussed, so it's quite a large scale. Of course, you'll be able to teleport between the continents. However, that teleport price....
On the map, we can see Genbu, Byakko, Seiryu, and Suzaku. Are there plans for these to appear as bosses like the Warring Triad series?
Yoshida: For now, I'll leave that to your imagination as far as whether there's a connection there. Aside from that, there are a number of other little stories hidden throughout the updated FFXIV world map, so hopefully everyone interested in the setting can take a closer look and generate some discussion.
Kugane seems to be quite a huge town. Is it as large as Ishgard and is it made up of multiple areas?
Yoshida: So far, all of the cities have been divided into two zones which made the layouts difficult to understand and made traversing them quite a chore. Because of that, we've designed the layout and structure this time to fit into one zone. It is huge, but it fits in one area. As your adventures calm down, you should check out all the locations.
Regarding High-End Content
Will the Omega raid be implemented in two stages with a normal and savage mode? Will the basic specifications be changed up at all from the prior high end raids?
Yoshida: After talking it over, we've decided that we'll also release the Omega raid with two difficulty configurations - normal and savage. As the number of jobs increase, we're aware that this will make it seem more difficult to get items for specific jobs as direct drops, so we'll be making a slight change to the structure of directly dropped items. Furthermore, we plan to have additional content which will be added in the odd patches for those who have cleared all four parts of the savage raid, but please hang on a bit longer to find out what that will be like.
Regarding large-scale PvP content in Stormblood, although you didn't discuss anything at the keynote, are you not still planning to add something during the 4.X series?
Yoshida: Oh, no, it's still in development, but we didn't want to include it in the keynote as it would have eaten up a lot of time as we would have had to explain it along with the major planned renovations to PvP. However, because the cost of preparing this next large-scale content is extremely high, rather than releasing it in 4.0, it will be a bit later. By the time Stormblood is released, we plan to have an opportunity to disclose PvP information in more detail.