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    Yoshida on Stormblood - Game Watch Interview Translation

    Here's my translation of the Game Watch interview that was held during the Hamburg event. They always tend to ask questions that are more detailed and core-gamer focused (at least within the context of what SE's handlers will let Yoshida answer), so I always find their interviews to be enlightening.

    -----


    "FFXIV: Stormblood" Interview with Producer Naoki Yoshida

    On its media tour for Final Fantasy XIV's latest expansion pack, Stormblood, Square-Enix held an event in Hamburg, Germany.

    Stormblood will contain significant battle balance adjustments which took all actions for all jobs into account. At this press event, I was able to try out all of the skills for all jobs in a level 63 instanced dungeon and at some field locations. Since my interview time slot was at the end of the press event, I was able to try out jobs all day and tried to bring up my impressions and concerns during my chat with Yoshida.

    The specific details of each jobs have been summarized in the job play reports, so please refer to those to understand the intent of the adjustmenst discussed in this interview.

    Action adjustments were performed from three perspectives

    What were the standards by which you decided which job actions to remove?

    Yoshida: There were three basic points. The first is a reorganization to remove ones that weren't popular. One easy-to-understand example is monk's Featherfoot. The animation is cool, but you can beat monsters even solo without ever using it. However, even so, there was some feeling that it had to be on the hotbar, so we thought it better to get rid of it.

    Another is with skills like Manawall. The original implementation of Manawall allowed a single physical attack to be completely nullified , and we eventually made an adjustment which moved that in the direction of reducing damage taken, but black mage still had particularly high physical defense among casters in certain situations. Although it wasn't used so frequently, it seemed that its performance was too high, and with consideration of future raid balance, we removed it to level the playing field. There are also actions that felt cumbersome to have to use repeatedly.

    You mean that they were difficult to maintain?

    Yoshida: We have to look that balance is maintained even after the action is removed, but we looked to reduce the amount of trouble a player had to go through. For example, we even looked at whether we should remove "Protect." Considering you always have it, it would essentially be the same if we simply adjusted the balance of content in a state without Protect. We went pretty far down the path thinking about things like the need to repeatedly cast Protect slowing down your ability to rush into repeating content, etc., but in the end, we decided that it's a tradition to have that action performed by healers, so we decided it would be better to leave it as it is now.

    What was the third reason?

    Yoshida: Lastly, we decided that it would be best to merge actions common across a role into a single set of role actions. If you want to use them, you can, and you can remove them for content where you don't need them, so it will be easier on your hotbar. Also, a new element of the strategy will be that if there are role actions that are more effective for certain content, you can choose those, but you'll have to decide which to sacrifice as a result.

    As one example, the Stun ability for tanks has been added as a role action, and warrior's stunning skill Brutal Swing has been removed. However, we left Paladin's Shield Bash. Since Shield Bash is a weaponskill, it has the associated disadvantage of interrupting a combo, but a merit in that it can be used repeatedly. We decided to leave that as a characteristic feature of paladins, and although it has a recast, you could also choose to take the stun technique so that you can use it during a combo. It's something to think about that provides an interesting utility for the common Stun while still maintaining a unique paladin characteristic.

    So you're saying if they shared too much then the jobs would be too similar.

    Yoshida: Yeah. After all, one of paladin's specialties is its ability to continuously use Stun. For example, when trying to gather up a large group of monsters, if hate is unstable from using Flash, you can still stabilize the group by using Stuns, which is something only Paladin can do. But by leaving the stun with a recast, it allows you to choose something you can incorporate into a combo.

    So you've retained the characteristics of each job but also increased the options available with the sharing.

    Yoshida: White mage's Esuna is another major spell in Final Fantasy, but when you have an Astrologian or a Scholar, rather than thinking "which of those is Esuna?" by having Esuna as a common action, it would be easier to remember. I thought that resulted in the best balance from that perspective. It may not be clear on just reading the patch notes, but hopefully you can understand our intentions once you reach level 70. There's a reason behind each decision we made, but I'm sorry that I don't have time to explain them all. However, that's a basic overview of our policies behind them.

    It looks as if you've removed skills that say "physical resistance down," and rather say that damage is increased, or critical hit rate is increased, as there seem to be a lot of different thoughts about physical resistance. In 3.0, the lack of slashing resistance had a huge impact on party synergy and made a difference in how easy it was to get invited to parties. Those effects are still around, so what are your thoughts on this moving forward?

    Yoshida: Originally, some jobs had high resistance as a job characteristics. We wanted that to provide a unique identity for each job. We didn't want to get rid of that differentiation, but at the same time, if we're creating situations where certain jobs are being excluded from content because of that, it would be better to add separate damage down effects rather than having significant resistance, so that each job can maintain unique characteristics, but you can do fights on any jobs, so adjustments were made in that direction.

    So it's not that you're getting rid of the physical effects, but rather that they won't affect much?

    Yoshida: The thought was to focus on things that strengthen party DPS. After we set the values for each job, if we have one job with 100 DPS higher than another job, rather than making standalone balance adjustments based on what percentage of a party's DPS each is doing, the adjustments are performed taking synergies into account so that everyone has the same value when playing in a party.

    In the producer letter live you also talked about party DPS, which I assume is different from just adding up the individual DPS of each member?

    Yoshida: As an example, perhaps we want to align the average party DPS at 10,000 - it may at first appear to be just the sum of the DPS of each individual member, but if one job uses actions in synergy for party contribution, of course, the DPS of the other jobs will increase, so it will be higher than what each individual DPS could do added up, and we consider all of the jobs side by side to adjust these values to be the same. To get into even more detail, we also factor in the degree of difficulty of operation.

    In other words, you're saying that whether you have a dragoon or a monk, the overall party's damage output shouldn't change.

    Yoshida: Yeah, that's the basic idea. Of course, the DPS specific to the dragoon and that of the monk are different, but the idea is that one's contribution to the rest of the party's DPS will be higher when their own individual DPS is lower.

    So you mean it's more advantageous to use synergy skills for party DPS even if it makes your own DPS fall?

    Yoshida: Yeah. I don't think there's anyone who doesn't use Battle Litany, but with that in mind, this time we also have other things that benefit other members like monk's Brotherhood which raises the whole party's physical DPS for a period of time and also gives the monk a 30% chance to get Chakra from other party members. So it's also designed to be able to raise your own DPS.

    You're also adding new job gauges, so will gauge management be important moving forward?

    Yoshida: Actually it's pretty much the same as it's always been. Rather than watching small buff icons and numbers, you can now keep your eye on a larger graphical gauge which will let you know your current status. The ability to quickly understand them at a glance is important, and the biggest role of the job gauges is to allow you to visibly recognize the effects you have to manage in a more sensible way. The basic idea is that if you were good at strictly managing your buffs and numbers, this probably won't change much with the buff gauge. But if you weren't good at keeping an eye on your buffs, it will be easier to see the accumulated values on the gauges, and it will become more apparent when you need to act with actions that are stored in the gauge.

    Won't your DPS go up further with proper management of the gauges?

    Yoshida: As you learn exactly what grants what and how the gauge accumulates, of course, your DPS will go up more. That's not a new thing. However, since it's now displayed on a larger UI, it's easier to see. The best explanation is that it will reduce the oversight of people who may have missed certain things before, and thus reduce the frequency at which your DPS experiences a severe drop.

    After trying it out, it felt like maintenance of Blood of the Dragon was made considerably easier on Dragoon.

    Yoshida: I hope it feels that way. We've adjusted combo routes to be considerably simpler and you can see when it's about to wear off on the gauge. On top of that, however, you can boost your DPS more with spot decisions based on the content.

    On the flip side, it seems like gauges for tanks, as an example, have added new elements to battle which were previously simpler.

    Yoshida: Yeah. There were situations where paladins needed to do the Rage of Halone combo, but by adjusting those combo routes, I think it becomes more fun because it opens more options. Additionally, rather than needing to focus on how many buffs are stacked, hardcore players can instead think about the rotation in terms of accumulation of energy with Oath, Inner Beast, Blackblood, etc., and what consumes what... I think it will provide a new fun element as you play with it.

    Yeah, it feels like a gradual build through the flow of battle.

    Yoshida: Core players might feel this change makes things a bit too easy or too boring, but I think the growing room for advanced play hasn't decreased at all. Making things easier to understand and simpler isn't necessarily the same as making them easy in difficulty. In a lot of cases, this simplicity may lead to other means of differentiating your play. Regarding the skill rotation, we've made spontaneous decisions play more of a role for every job.

    For example, a black mage can cast Foul by maintaining Enochian for 30 seconds, but this ability can't be stacked, so if you hold onto it for 30 seconds after accumulating it before casting it, you'll lose a full cast. However, if you get a Thundercloud proc at exactly that moment, your DPS will also fall in the long run if you don't make use of it. The longer the battle goes, the more likely something will happen which could throw off your rotation. Even though the machinist job has changed entirely, instantaneous judgment is still necessary to manage the Heat Gauge within a limited range. You'll have to make quick decisions about what to do when, based on the phase of the content, your rotation, and random elements like AoEs. I think there will be differences in this area among the more advanced players.

    So you have to decide what to use in the moment.

    Yoshida: Whether its better to return to your Ley Lines on foot using Swiftcast to cast while moving or using Between the Lines will be a decision you'll make on the spot based on the distance or whether you have a proc available. There are plenty of decisions like that which pro players will be thinking about. Also, I think role actions are something that players will likely decide in consultation with each other depending on the level of the party they're putting together.

    What kinds of situations are you talking about?

    Yoshida: For example, if your healers aren't good at managing MP, or the DPS keep getting hit by damage, a healer's MP will tend to get depleted. But if you have casters in the party, they can place the role action Mana Shift to transfer their MP to a healer, without the healers needing to use the Lucid Dreaming role action. With that, you can use it to transfer 20% of your MP to the healer each time. On the other hand, if your healer says MP management will be no problem, you can go with a more aggressive plan. I think there will be some interesting choices to be made there.

    With only five role actions available, it seems like it'll be quite difficult to fit in Cleric Stance.

    Yoshida: Healers have a lot of useful role actions, so they will have some tough decisions to make.

    Rescue, which pulls a party member to your position, is another interesting one, but seems like it could cause some issues in use.

    Yoshida: It's something you can use to help negate a mechanic. For example, you can tell one of your party members to stay in position on an AoE marker and you can Rescue them. It's something new that you can coordinate based on the skills of your party.

    In the producer letter, you mentioned that samurai is a high difficulty job with quite a lot of steps in its rotation.

    Yoshida: There are a lot (laughs). It's another pure melee DPS along the lines of monk.

    But they also have a lot of AoE techniques.

    Yoshida: In FFXIV so far, as you repeat instanced dungeons, there are many places where you'll use AoEs, and even in raids there are phases with a lot of adds that may take too long without AoEs. For Samurai, you'll have to think about how to properly use Combos, Hissatsu, and Iaijutsu while focusing on AoE attacks. There are several routes you can use to do so, but you'll understand the idea when you go through it.

    There are a lot of Hissatsu abilities, but I was too busy working on the combos for Iaijutsu and forgot to hit them between (laughs).

    Yoshida: If you're only focusing on combos while you're still getting used to it, the Hissatsu gauge will turn red, so you'll notice it. I'm sure the rotation will be discussed more in the future.

    Red Mage seemed to be a difficult job from just the explanation of it, but it was actually quite easy to understand after using it.

    Yoshida: It's tough to explain in words, and it also feels complicated just trying to explain it, but there are points that are hard to describe without trying it out. I mentioned it before in the producer letter, but the Dualcast trait which guarantees the next spell will cast instantly after you cast a spell with a casting time is something where you can make mistakes with the rotation and could cause a DPS loss. The rotation is set to a certain extent, but I think there will still be some areas where spontaneous judgment is needed.

    I kept using Veraero (with a long cast time) while casting it (laughs).

    Yoshida: I do that too (laughs). I notice it after I see the black mana that just accumulated. I think it will be a job that has a feel we haven't had before in FFXIV.

    Vercure was surprisingly strong. It's almost on par with a healer's Cure.

    Yoshida: The image of red mage is that it's a job strong enough to use black magic, white magic, and physical damage, but if we put it into FFXIV with all of that in mind, it would get shortchanged on each and the implementation would be difficult. By thinking through that carefully, we came up with the idea of saving up both kinds of mana in balance and using them to enchant a spellblade. Even though we already felt it was red mage with that basic implementation, we decided that we should go further to firmly establish the impression of red mage by allowing them to also Cure and Raise, and we gave them a strong Cure with the idea that if they decide to help with healing during battle content, there will be a DPS sacrifice to do so.

    With Dualcast, you can recover more than 10,000 HP at once.

    Yoshida: With the power of Dualcast Cure, when you have a red mage in your party, it's possible to recover even when your healer goes down. Even when we were checking through the normal version of Omega, there were a lot of situations where our project team said red mage's recovery power was amazing or that they couldn't have gotten through it without a red mage (laughs).

    For tanks, I got the impression that you'll need to switch stance on all three jobs to make the most of battle situations.

    Yoshida: Well, since the gauge is halved when you switch Stance on any tank, we don't recommend switching that frequently. In the end, the biggest roles of tanks, as before, are to grab enemies, establish control of them, reduce the burden on healers with defensive actions, and manage the battlefield. However, we've addressed the disparities switching between main and off-tank that existed in the 8-man content in the 3.X series by making DPS and debuff adjustments.

    We've raised Paladin's defense against magic attacks, adjusted the combo route, and added an AoE attack. Reprisal is a role action that all tanks can use, and the effect of Storm's Path has been adjusted. Our intent was to adjust each so that each of the three tanks could be either main or off-tank, while still retaining unique features. However, we wanted to avoid situations that made the job feel boring, for example, if the Oath Gauge was only used during Shield Oath, so we've created a use for each stance so you'll have to think about which to use. For paladin, we went into a lot of detail with the decisions such as deciding whether to add enmity to the AoE attack.

    It might be kind of useless in an instanced dungeon if it doesn't generate enmity.

    Yoshida: That's true in an instanced dungeon, but in battle content, after a tank swap, you might grab back enemies unintentionally if the move had Enmity associated. The idea is that you can grab enemies with the AoE Flash, and then repeat the weaponskill once hate is stabilized.

    So the hate was removed intentionally? Is there a chance it might get adjusted prior to early access?

    Yoshida: No, I think it will stay as it is now. We've left Flash for Paladins so that they can grab enemies in an AoE.

    Perhaps its just that DPS weren't used to it yet, but it seemed like even in Sword Oath, hate didn't bounce around very much, so have you made any adjustments related to Enmity?

    Yoshida: We've done that a bit, but it's probably more because the DPS around you weren't stable. Normally if you're only using Sword Oath, it will bounce around. Although our lead designer Takeo Suzuki worked on adjustments to tanks quite a bit, he still made the mistake of using just Sword Oath in an instanced dungeon and the monsters were bouncing around a lot (laughs).

    Previously in instanced dungeons, I often expected to be able to leave on Sword Oath the whole time, so this is no longer the case?

    Yoshida: It'll be different (laughs).

    Thinking about other tanks, Blackblood on Dark Knight accumulating more easily in Grit furthers the hybrid image of tanks with the ability to DPS.

    Yoshida: It's to further differentiate between main tanking and off-tanking.

    So you'll be able to put out a lot of DPS while off-tanking?

    Yoshida: No, to repeat what I said earlier, the role for tanks in the end is to keep control of the enemies. We don't want it to go beyond that (laughs), so it shouldn't feel like we're putting more DPS on top. That said, when you're off-tanking, you'll want to attack by using the gauge properly, and the balance has been adjusted considering the influence of off-tanks on damage dealt to enemies. How you play and what you do is your choice, so if you're a tank who's really trying to push your DPS as an off-tank, that's not a bad thing as long as you enjoy it.

    Even so, using Fell Cleave five times in a row on warrior is quite awesome.

    Yoshida: Actually if you do it right, you can do one more.... However, I'm not sure that would be the best route, and we've reviewed the timing associated with all of the combos and various debuffs, so please check it out and do some research. It will take some time to get used to it, but it should feel familiar once you get to level 70.

    The core of bard and machinist has changed to the point where they really feel like new jobs. These jobs have seen a lot of adjustments already, so are you having difficulty with the adjustments on those jobs?

    Yoshida: At the time of 3.0, we wanted to make DPS more difficult as a whole. Therefore, our overall policy was that we wanted to raise the difficulty of every job to the point where it took some time and practice to master it, with the idea that DPS would increase more as you performed better, but I think we went a bit too far with it. The difficulty level of handling jobs went up too much from 50 to 60. Because of that, the feeling that bard was a cool job that could also sing songs for support went away.

    Also, if you were playing casually, your DPS didn't really increase, and in cases where the new actions made things more stressful players often "got stuck." Less players utilizing the ranged classes also impacts matchmaking in content, so with all that in mind, we decided that it would be better to allow bard to move freely again, and returned it to the 2.5 state and added from there. A main feeling we wanted to add was that you're always aware of the song. Regarding the difficulty to master, our policy is to adjust the balance so that the difficulty is lower but there is more room devise new tactics.

    We also got a lot of feedback from bards that the bard's songs should do more than just support their party, but also provide unique effects for the bard as well, in addition to being able to support their allies. The earlier party support functions have now been moved to role actions common to bard and machinist.

    With all the earlier songs moving to role actions, it feels like for bard only that the number of actions available to them is increasing.

    Yoshida: You're shooting a bow while singing and dancing - it should be fun to use.

    It could previously be confused with machinists, but now machinist is becoming more aggressive.

    Yoshida: I heard sometimes that it was a very plain job, so we've made adjustments to a lot of the actions. After that, you'll need to focus on the Heat Gauge to grow your DPS. In general, we handled it differently from bard and we adjusted it more by looking at is as a DPS. Machinists had a lot of different actions which influenced DPS and it often got to a point where it was hard to manage because it was difficult to understand when to use what ability. Because of the relatively boring period between Wildfires, we decided to implement the Heat Gauge to change the direction of the job. The idea is that you can maintain the heat gauge at a certain level, and then overheat when you need to do burst damage. The more you get used to particular content, the easier it will be to handle. The area for growth here is figuring out the best times to overheat. It's become a job that will be quite different from bard.

    It looks like you'll get to have fun with a Flamethrower before overheating.

    Yoshida: You can use it as an AoE attack but also as a way to build up the heat gauge, so it will work in a number of ways. I'm thinking it will also be useful outside of battle for screenshots and role playing (laughs).

    It's come up before that you don't take healer damage into account in raids, but we got the impression that their attack capability has been strengthened considerably.

    Yoshida: To clarify, outside of the early wins, if you take on content with the proper item balance, you don't need to worry about healer DPS. But if you want to do DPS at an early stage or any other, you should feel free to do so.

    The biggest change for healers is that they'll no longer need to use Cleric Stance because the damage calculation formula has been switched to be based on MND. With that, you'll no longer have to be warned about Cleric Stance or forget about it when you try to heal an ally. There are players who just wouldn't play as healer because they felt that switching in and out of Cleric Stance was too annoying. Of course, I understand that there are people who got used to switching Cleric Stance between techniques and putting out DPS for momentary parts of the fight, but even those people should appreciate the idea that you don't have to worry about turning Cleric Stance on and off and you'll already be able to attack. There will also be some changes based on the role actions that you set up, so try out different things.

    On the system side, you've added a main quest navigator.

    Yoshida: That's for new players to prevent them from getting lost trying to figure out what to do next, so you should be able to clearly understand what to do next to progress the scenario. It's also useful if you quit for a while and return as you might not know what to do next. It's especially useful if you finish one quest without picking up the next one so you can figure out where to go next. It's available from the first quest with A Realm Reborn all the way through clearing Stormblood. You can also choose to hide it if you want.

    Is only the main scenario supported?

    Yoshida: There are too many side quests, so to get it done in time we focused on the main scenario. However, once you're around level 30 if you don't have a job, you'll also get a notice that lets you know there are job quests available that you should do, or that you should start saving Grand Company seals once a chocobo is available to you. In that regard, side quests that prop up the main scenario are also supported. We want to make it as simple as possible so that players who are new or returning don't forget what they need to do next. As far as the name of that UI system, well, we just implemented it last week (laughs).

    There are lots of things on the new map that look like Japanese monsters and legends.

    Yoshida: I think you tried out the instanced dungeon - the second boss had a bit of a story, didn't he? I like traditional Asian and Japanese lore, so we definitely kept those cultural ideas in mind and tried to implement them accurately.

    By the way, XXX became a male character, is there no female version of XXX? [[the name is censored from the interview]]

    Yoshida: We had a branch during the planning phase, but once we got to graphics we decided the cost was too high (laughs).

    There were also islands that looked like Onigashima.

    Yoshida: At first, when we planned to prepare a demon-like beast tribe around the Ruby Sea volcano, we talked about keeping it like Onigashima. Although it turned out to not be a part of the main story, it might become involved later on (laughs). From a Japanese player's point of view, this is part of folklore, but when overseas players find out this is really Japanese tradition, they might become further interested in the lore because its based on Eastern culture. Many players from overseas are interested in the culture of our region, so we decided to include elements of those, and after talking over those details, they are very happy and excited to get the chance to try it out.

    It's fun to look for elements like that, isn't it?

    Yoshida: There are quite a few things like that that are indirectly related to the story, so I think you'll really enjoy looking around for the story.

    Please give us a closing message for the players.

    Yoshida: Our focus here has been on the unique and changed elements, but as with Heavensward, there will be a lot of new content and a deep main scenario. So first off, please look forward to all of the new content. We'll be developing FFXIV for a long time into the future, so for now, enjoy reaching level 70, and once you've reached level 70 and get into the high-end content, you'll see that this is an expansion that will change a variety of things in all directions. There's certainly a lot to look forward to, so existing players should really think about it once they reach level 70 rather than judging from just their initial experience.

    For any player who starts now, we've tried to add as many handholds up the slope of the main story as we could, getting rid of the winding roads and allowing you to climb straight to the end. It's really hard to explain just how much there is, so this is the best time to get into the game for the first time. It's just a bit longer until early access, and we're giving it our all, so please look forward to it.

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2
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    For tanks, I got the impression that you'll need to switch stance on all three jobs to make the most of battle situations.

    Yoshida: Well, since the gauge is halved when you switch Stance on any tank, we don't recommend switching that frequently. In the end, the biggest roles of tanks, as before, are to grab enemies, establish control of them, reduce the burden on healers with defensive actions, and manage the battlefield.
    Previously in instanced dungeons, I often expected to be able to leave on Sword Oath the whole time, so this is no longer the case?

    Yoshida: It'll be different (laughs).
    So you'll be able to put out a lot of DPS while off-tanking?

    Yoshida: No, to repeat what I said earlier, the role for tanks in the end is to keep control of the enemies. We don't want it to go beyond that (laughs), so it's shouldn't feel like we're putting more DPS on top. That said, when you're off-tanking, you'll want to attack by using the gauge properly, and the balance has been adjusted considering the influence of off-tanks on damage dealt to enemies. How you play and what you do is your choice, so if you're a tank who's really trying to push your DPS as an off-tank, that's not a bad thing as long as you enjoy it.
    Not sure how I feel about some of these but I might be reading too much into them.

  3. #3

    Thanks for the translation. This one was really interesting since it actually got pretty deep into the thought process behind the job changes.

    All hail our new RDM overlords. Reminds me of when SCH was introduced to XI and subsequently nerfed because WHMs cried (or did WHM get buffed? can't recall).

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    SCH was a 'gimped RDM' until they adjusted it to be a sex machine, then BLM and WHM cried stating they should have gotten Dark Arts and White Arts with all the stratagems respectively.

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    Yoshida: Yeah. After all, one of paladin's specialties is its ability to continuously use Stun. For example, when trying to gather up a large group of monsters, if hate is unstable from using Flash, you can still stabilize the group by using Stuns, which is something only Paladin can do.
    I DO THAT. I'VE NOT SEEN ANY OTHER PLD DO THAT.

    As my AOE sucks in big pulls (or any pull greater than 1) one thing I like to do is to rotate stunning all mobs. My damage intake becomes laughably more manageable because of this.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by solracht View Post
    Not sure how I feel about some of these but I might be reading too much into them.
    The third paragraph you quoted probably gave me the same feeling as it gave you. Its like he don't understand that alot of us could just do that while staying in DPS stance and it did not make a difference as we were using CDs and AoEs properly.

    Thats funny tho, he does not say that for healers so you could wonder why such a difference.

    Didn't he admit one of his guys tried to do it as PLD and failed? If so that should light our lantern a little.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Stig View Post
    I DO THAT. I'VE NOT SEEN ANY OTHER PLD DO THAT.

    As my AOE sucks in big pulls (or any pull greater than 1) one thing I like to do is to rotate stunning all mobs. My damage intake becomes laughably more manageable because of this.

    3 flashes and then start your stuns and weave flashes in between.

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