Famitsu did a brief pre-release interview with Yoshida at E3 touching on upcoming content (few questions about Delta, additional high difficulty content, and one non-answer around what’s coming to replace the missing IDs), as well as a few general questions; translation follows.

Source: https://www.famitsu.com/news/201706/15135556.html


High difficulty content beyond Savage to be implemented in patch 4.1 - FFXIV E3 2017 Interview with Yoshida

Early access for the FFXIV Stormblood expansion pack will finally begin around 18:00 on June 16, 2017. With the focus on the new additions and the excitement and expectations of players around the world rising, our interview with producer and director Naoki Yoshida focused on his current feelings and plans for the near future of the game.

Yoshida was present at the E3 2017 venue to promote the game. I was there at the Square Enix booth for the producer letter live at E3 the previous day where he was able to show the charm of Stormblood off to the whole world. I was also able to speak briefly with Yoshida.

The interview has been edited slightly in this publication for readability. Please understand in advance that the order of Yoshida's responses differs in parts to the actual interview.

FFXIV reaching record highs

With early access for the latest expansion Stormblood beginning in a few days, please tell us how you're currently feeling.

Yoshida: We were doing final adjustments until just recently, so I'm not even sure how I feel. Since FFXIV is an MMORPG, unlikely ordinary releases, we can make adjustments as quickly as time permits. Honestly, I don't feel much yet.... After the patch notes reading once we're about an hour away from opening up the worlds, my hands will probably start trembling like all of the people in the Japanese community writing about the game.

My hands have been shaking since I returned home.

Yoshida:It's tough, isn't it? (laughs)

Yeah (laughs). Will you be logging in during early access?

Yoshida: Toshio and I will be paying close attention to the data trends from our room. We'll be in touch with the Japanese staff, and in case of issues preventing gameplay, we'll send out messages to affected worlds.

That's too bad.

Yoshida: It was the same with Heavensward, it can't really be helped. I'll get to catch up once I'm back in Japan. Hopefully my raid team won't tell me I'm too late (laughs).

(Laughs) Was there anything like certain technologies you're interested in that caught your eye here at E3 2017?

Yoshida: I didn't have time to see everything (laughs). However, we had a chance to have dinner with some of the staff on Monster Hunter: World, so we got to share stories. Along with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it's another great example that shows both the importance of continuing series but also having the courage to change. With Monster Hunter: World, I'm excited to see how they are breaking down traditions in a good way to create the next generation of Monster Hunter. At the conference there were cheers from the audience when they showed footage.

It certainly was a huge cheer.

Yoshida: As a Japanese developer, they should be really proud. I'm also looking forward to the finished God of War.

What's the subscription situation for players in North America and Europe?

Yoshida: On the whole, it's the most exciting it's been since A Realm Reborn. It's been growing particularly in the North America region, so we're seeing huge numbers. In terms of growth, we're also rapidly growing in Europe, so it seems like we would have run into problems without the new servers. At any rate, it's looking great.

Injecting nostalgia into the high-difficulty battles

The main scenario seems to be divided into two parts - Ala Mhigo and Doma.... Or are the two entangled together into one story?

Yoshida: Overall, it's closer to the latter, but as you play through it you'll feel like this part is a Doman element, or that part is an Ala Mhigan element. That said, there isn't a lot of going back and forth. We wanted to focus on and develop the characters like Yugiri, Gosetsu, and Hien, so you'll spend a lengthy portion of your journey with Doma.

I see.

Yoshida: However, it's not like a separate Ala Mhigo and Doma story - both will appear together as part of one larger story.

I'm looking forward to it (laughs).

Yoshida: We'll be focusing a lot on the Au Ra tribes, but we've mostly excluded that from the preview scenes and images we've released so far. There will be a lot of new Au Ra characters that emerge with different backgrounds, so please pay attention to those as well.

I got a chance to play the Susano primal battle at the venue, and we were able to get through it with just one tank. Do you think people will be doing this fight with that setup in the future?

Yoshida: That's probably because of how Elysium did it. They likely discussed within their group and decided to increase the DPS by one because of the changes in the action rotations operating level 63 characters. They have excellent tanks and healers, so they may have felt they were covered even with one fewer tank. I wonder if everyone took notes from their video.

It seems like a lot of people were checking out videos; there were many parties who tried it out with just one tank.

Yoshida: It seems like most people think it's easier to beat that way, but it's more stable with two tanks. For that setup, if the tank dies, you're done (laughs).

When will you be adding content with difficulty that goes beyond Savage?

Yoshida: That'll be patch 4.1. All four parts of a raid are added in the even patches, so after that, once you start clearing, you just repeat over and over until you have all of the weapons and equipment your group needs. After that, with odd patches, motivation will definitely go down. To avoid that from happening, we've decided to put one super high difficulty content that only those who are able to defeat all of the raid battles in the even patch can attempt.

What'll it be like?

Yoshida: We haven't said yet (laughs). We'll be holding a producer letter live after the release of Stormblood, so I hope to introduce it in that. It may make some people feel nostalgic. We're currently hard at work on it. Even if it's difficult, please don't tell us "it's too hard!" (laughs)

[b]The final battle of Delta Savage will be more difficult than Soul of the Creator.

I think there are a lot of people also looking forward to the Omega: Delta (Savage) battles. Can you discuss the new equipment?

Yoshida: There'll be weapons also. Regarding the new equipment, it'll be similar to how it was added in patch 3.4, so it should feel about the same as then.

Will it be like how you wanted to get Sophia weapons first back then, that you'll want new weapons first?

Yoshida: Yeah. Alongside the implementation of Delta Savage, we'll also be releasing the new recipes.

So we'd better get our crafters up before then.

Yoshida: Yeah, you'll want your crafter at level 70 by the time patch 4.05 is released. However, along with new recipes come new materials, so you'll also need to gather those. The new equipment to be added should once again be useful for early raid clears. That said, top players should be able to get through the first and second fights even without that new equipment.

Is that so?

Yoshida: It will be like last time with Alexander: The Creator (Savage), where those who got the world first clears used almost none of the new equipment for the first or second battles.

So the third and fourth will take some time to defeat again?

Yoshida: We've mostly based this Savage off of The Creator, so players will probably be able to progress up to the third fight at about the same pace, However, the fourth battle is slightly more difficult than Soul of the Creator (Savage).

I see.

Yoshida: The fourth battle of Delta has quite a bit of new production which isn't in the normal version, so please be proud of all the people who worked on it (Laughs).

During the producer letter live at E3, you mentioned that by reducing the number of instanced dungeons to be added, you'll be able to work on some new content. What is that new content, and what's the development schedule for it?

Yoshida: The content to be implemented in patch 4.1 has already been determined. There are a lot of new elements, but it may not feel like "this is the substitute content." Rather, it might show up in patch 4.3 or later.

So it will gradually show up in patches 4.3 and later?

Yoshida: We're just reducing by a single instanced dungeon, so it's not like we can develop content that's extremely different from conventional play at that cost. But adding up the cost of removing instanced dungeons in patches 4.1 and 4.3, we can make something new... at least that's what I'm thinking.

With the new treasury dungeon added in patch 4.05, will you need new maps to try The Lost Canals of Uznair?

Yoshida: New maps will be added with the release of patch 4.0. Starting with patch 4.05, you'll be able to open the magic portals by using those.

So you'll want to start gathering new maps before patch 4.05.

Yoshida: You can start collecting them, but I won't say which map.

So there will be multiple new maps.

Yoshida: That's right.

Out of all the new job HUDs added, do you have a particular favorite?

Yoshida: The bard one that was originally submitted by the designer was different. We changed it by having staves for each song and showing the length of the song as an animation effect. The image came out really beautifully, so I like that one a lot.

Anything else?

Yoshida: For dragoon, it was initially difficult to understand the stages of Dragon's Eyes until activating Life of the Dragon. We had been using the image of dragon eyes as a motif in Heavensward artwork, and we went back and forth on how the eyes would open a number of times. Thanks to that, I think it came out very well.

How about for black mage?

Yoshida: The amount of information contained in black mage's HUD is the largest, and there were a lot of opinions about packing all of that into one UI, so there was a lot of thought put into it. For monk, I told the team to focus on making it as easy to understand as possible. I worked together with the UI team on the job HUDs, so we were all involved.

They seem to have a lot of personality, so the job HUDs alone have gotten me excited.

Yoshida: Since the Bahamut that summoner can call has a pigeon chest, we also talked about that it needed to be more inclined forward.

A festival to enjoy once every couple years

How do you want players to approach Stormblood?

Yoshida: They should be having fun, so I think all the players should be deciding for themselves. That said, as in all FF series works, the story is central to Stormblood, so please enjoy that at your own pace. The opening of Omega: Delta (Savage) won't be for four weeks, so there's no need to rush through the story. Try through new jobs, etc., it will be nice if everyone can play through the main scenario at their own pace.

Do you have any comments for all of the players looking forward to Stormblood?

Yoshida: The expansion packs are only released once every couple years, so I hope you enjoy it like a festival. With all of the change this time, there may be some trepidation, but that's all part of the excitement. We'll continue to work on things, but please enjoy the festive atmosphere.

I'm really looking forward to that festival starting.

Yoshida: I'm really hoping the servers don't go down (laughs). I'm particularly worried about the overcrowded worlds.

Actually, I moved to another overcrowded world before my first overcrowded world closed, so I wasn't able to return to my original world. When do you think this will be resolved?

Yoshida: I think it will probably remain closed until the server population stabilizes. The login rush is crazy, so it doesn't make sense to do it if you can't play or even log in. There's no particular benefit right now to continue staying on a certain world, so it might be better to move to one of the preferred worlds where there's plenty of available land and an experience points bonus will be granted. Of course, those involved in a community may feel relocation is more difficult.

But you now have recruitment functionality for parties across worlds.

Yoshida: With that, there really isn't much merit to staying on one world. On the other hand, there are also a lot of people returning to the game right now, so that's going to impact already overcrowded worlds.

Even with the worlds closed, the population is increasing because of returning players.

Yoshida: Yeah. Although they're closed, the number logging in is increasing. For overcrowded worlds, a login war immediately after the content goes live is inevitable.

That's like a festival in itself.

Yoshida: Yeah, please look at it like that (laughs).