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    GameWatch Interview - translated

    Interview from GameWatch :
    http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/game/...17/ff11_15.htm

    Original Thread on BG :
    http://www.bluegartr.com/forum/showthread.php?t=60552
    (This here is a summary not lost somewhere in the previous Thread)

    Translated into English by :
    Elmer the Pointy – www.bluegartr.com
    (all credits go to him for translating )

    To jump to a Section simply use ALT+F and <number>

    1.Must see Final Fantasy XI Development Team...
    2.”Two Panels” of Wings of the Goddess Missions...
    3.Putting It All Together: Campaign, NPCs, Point...
    4.How Do We Repel Beastmen Invading Cities? ...
    5.Issues Involving Earning Campaign Points ...
    6.The Merits of Winning Campaign Basically,...
    7.Campaign Battle Weapons and Constructs Tell...
    8.Campaign Ops Based on Nation’s Strength The...
    9.Job and Battle Related Stuff, A New System to Aid...
    10.Zeni Notorious Monsters You added a new...
    11.Balrahn’s Secret Weapons, Adjustment...
    12.Closing Statements Please give us some last...
    13.Special Short Interview with the busy Tanaka...

    1

    Must see Final Fantasy XI Development Team Interview! Packing with Info, From Campaign Mechanics to New Game Elements!

    As a special treat, we give to you our interview inside Square Enix Headquarters with the FFXI Development Team. In attendance were Wings of the Goddess Director, Ogawa Hiroichi; Planner, Saito; Planner, Ito Mizuki; Planner Gondai Mitsutoshi. It was a long interview, lasting two hours. Producer Tanaka Hiromichi was also in attendance, for what little time he was able to spare.

    The interview focused on Wings of the Goddess content and story with Ogawa and Saito. Campaign elements were discussed with Ito. Job and Battle related questions were posed to Gondai. “Things you didn’t know about Campaign,” new job and battle elements, the future of Balarhn’s secret weapons and other must-see content is packed within, so please enjoy.

    Wings of the Goddess 6 Months Old, Constructing Massive Background Material, Mission/Quest Relationship

    What are your impressions now that Wings of the Goddess has been out for over six months?
    Ogawa: We added so many new elements at the beginning, I think players had a hard time figuring out where to begin. We’ve reached the point where they have settled into the content. Now I think we have to focus on achieving balance. At the same time, we are looking towards expansion. We are going to add a lot more in line with the current content.

    Certainly, jumping into Wings of the Goddess you face many bewildering new things.
    Ogawa: Yes, it is quite jarring at first. (laugh)

    Looking at the story as a whole, it’s not only Missions, but continuous Quests as well. This is a new technique, isn’t it?
    Ogawa:Wings of the Goddess is set in the world of the past. There are already various Missions for the established 3 nations in the present, and now we’re talking about the state of the world during the Crystal War. To start, we drew up some Missions. These served as the ‘bookends’ to the expansion. In between, there is a collection of events that can be experienced, regardless of affiliation with a particular nation. Players can enjoy the quests of any nation they choose. Missions are the core story of Wings of the Goddess, while Quests make up the personal experiences of the characters.

    In actuality, would you say the Missions and the Quests for each nation make up four separate stories?
    Ogawa: I guess that’s right. (laughs) We wanted to keep the amount of content in check, but in the end, it ended up being vast. It’s tough to keep control of that stuff.

    As the story progresses, will the focus be on completing series of Quests to in turn complete Missions?
    Ogawa: Yes, I believe so. Basically, in between each Mission, there are a series of Quests related to each nation, and that’s how it’s being developed.

    I want to ask about the story throughout the Quests, but the story of the Crystal War Era seems to be fraught with hardship. There’s an immense amount of background material to deal with, isn’t there?
    Saito: Yes, there is. I think everyone’s been suffering a bit putting this one together.

    The Vana’diel Tribune on the Official Site chronicles the deeds of some famous NPCs, but was a lot of the detail made in the beginning?
    Saito: Some of it was, like the Windurst Missions in the present time explored the history of the Crystal War. However, Sand’Oria and Bastok barely touched on the Crystal War at all. Looking at the chronological timelines that lay out the setting and history of the world, we’ve really had to dig deep and imagine what exactly happened at what point in time, paying careful attention not to cause contradictions. That’s how we’re doing it now.

    So if you are working to avoid contradictions, that means we already know the outcome of the events in the past.
    Saito: That’s right. (laughs) The overall setting, or backbone, is already well known, but the specifics of “this happened this way” and such are unknown to the player community. There are especially knowledgeable people who point out some mistakes, but we continue to strive to eliminate any plot-holes we can. In rare cases, we just have to use what fits bests, and perhaps slightly ret-con a situation.

    Is there anything told to us one way that we will find out actually happened differently?
    Saito: That will all be told within Wings of the Goddess. It isn’t recorded on the timelines, but the results of the intervention of adventurers will be revealed.

    Tell us about the story concepts behind the three nations/
    Saito: Each nation has different people in charge, and received various different stories. First, Sand’Oria has the pure-hearted children concept. During the Crystal War, the children band together to oppose the adults. It’s a coming-of-age story. However, they are still reckless children with that common frustration with the status-quo. (laugh)

    Excenmille and Rahal of the Young Griffons must have had many other experiences afterwards to get where they are now.
    Saito: Well, yes, they are two of Sand’Oria’s finest. (laughs)

    Rahal especially had many events happen to him afterwards, such as being awarded the current title of “Dragon Slayer.” Will that be explored as well?
    Saito: That is discussed in the Dragoon Artifact Quests, so Wings of the Goddess will not delve into it. It’s difficult to decide how much to tell without encroaching on the Dragoon quests.

    It feels like Wings of the Goddess was very difficult to make. Were there a lot of difficult considerations to make?
    Saito: We did not just have to weave a story, but take into consideration the complex history. We had to make sure every step was checked and double-checked. All those little checks really added up.

    Comparing it to the other expansions, would you say this was the most difficult?
    Saito: Original content likeTreasures of Aht Urghan is different, because here we had to avoid contradictions with existing content as well as allow new players to jump in and enjoy the game. New players who start with Wings of the Goddess can then play the original stories and think, “Ah, so that’s what happened.” We had to keep it consistent. As a result, we felt we could not violate already established stories, but show you things you had never seen before. For example, you can look forward to learning more about what happens between Excenmille and Rahal of the Young Griffons.

    Let’s move on to Bastok.
    Saito: The Missions in the present era tell of the rift that exists between the Galka and Hume races. That problem also exists in the past, firmly engraved upon the Mythril Musketeers in the form of rivalry between Volker and Zeid. It’s a serious theme and the person in charge of Quests agrees. Bastok is a serious story with heavier subject matter. It’s also a time of war, and Bastok’s storyline will move into the battle. Now, the story has revolved around politics and such, but will continue like Windurst into the war itself.

    Bastok certainly has a heavy theme, rife with politics and corrupt maneuvering behind the scenes.
    Saito: It’s a time of war, but there is a lot of other trouble brewing. We’re looking to develop a lot of startling revelations to surprise players.

    The Scholar Adelheid seems to enter to picture a lot. Will there be more story devoted to her in the future?
    Saito: I wonder? (laughs) She participates in Campaign battles, and therefore will not become a key player in scenarios and such. For example, there’s no way we could bump her off as part of the storyline. She is standing around town and in Campaign battles, after all. It’s tough to say how far we’ll take the character, but we can only do it a little at a time. We wonder if maybe we overdid the appearance of this character a bit. (laughs)

    Next up, is Windurst. We’ve seen the full effects of war, and the resulting state of the city as it progresses.
    Saito: That’s right, “it’s war!.” The capital had been invaded from the start, so it’s in a state of poverty and disrepair. The person in charge wanted to create a scene of constant action and upheaval; a daily sense of drama and chaos. We want adventurers to become key players and affect history in ways that could not be imagined previously.

    It’s the opposite of Bastok, in that they have made those opening moves and developed into a full-scale battle. Or at least that’s how I see it.
    Saito: There is still much to tell regarding Windurst. There are more surprises in store, as well as some events that have been foreshadowing in both the past and present.

    A lot of material for this has been there since the beginning, right?
    Saito: The fascinating cast of characters has been established, and we can now detail their actions in the past. It’s a chance to explore what these people, with whom you are already familiar, had happen to them. Windurst has many characters with a strong sense of justice, so new faces like Warlock Warlord Robel-Akbel and Lehko Habhoka will appear.

    Robel-Akbel looks like a villain at first glance. He’s quite mysterious.
    Saito: He’s motivated by his own sense of justice. You will see more of that in the future.

    Finally, a male Mithra, Lehko Habhoka has made his appearance. What was the concept behind this character?
    Saito: Mithra females are generally active and energetic, and we wanted males to be a contrast to that. Mithra males are more aloof and easygoing. In fact, we had the image of a male escort in mind, at first. (laughs) It’s nothing big, but that’s how we got to the form they took. He will play more significance in the future.

    Will he be limited to Windurst Quests and not appear in Missions?
    Saito: I wonder… (laughs) We cannot say for sure at this point. He appears with Robel-Akbel, but there are some things that will happen with him.

    2

    ”Two Panels” of Wings of the Goddess Missions Complete?

    Elmer Point: 4-Koma or a 4-panel manga is like our equivalent of a newspaper comic strip. It’s a condensed little comic with a quick joke; first half sets it up, and second half finishes it off. I’m sure you’re all quite familiar with them thanks to memes.

    Moving along to Wings of the Goddess Missions, it feels like they are only in their opening stages. What can we expect regarding the full scope of the Missions?
    Ogawa: Looking at it like a 4-panel manga, we’ve completed the first 2 panels. (laughs) (Here, all the writers shout “Wha?!” in disbelief)
    Ito: Is it that bad?! (laughs)
    Saito: Like 4-Koma, huh. (laughs) It may be 5 or 6 panels, but we’ve done the first two. (laughs)
    Ogawa: What I mean is, the third panel is in development, so… (laughs) We’ve opened up with the first two.

    Missions in Treasures of Aht Urghan spanned almost two years. Can we anticipate that volume of content here?
    Saito: Yes, you can. Think of it this way: the Missions and Quests will form a menu from which you can select content. The story moves as one entity, but stretches out amongst Quests. Together, they form the full volume of content. If the players feel the same, we may continue with this format.

    Lilisette appears in the new Missions. Will she become central to the story?
    Saito: They call her the “Mission Girl.” (laughs) Zilart has Lion, Promathia had Prishe, and Aht Urghan has Aphmau. Lilsette is an unabashedly active character. The Scenario Designer wanted very much to show her dancing scene and the motion team worked hard to make it. Please view it many times on replay. (laughs)

    The battle difficulty of Missions and Quests is relatively modest recently.
    Ogawa: We’re still in the opening stages, so things aren’t so difficult as of yet. We think it’ll get progressively difficult from here on. Still, the final stages will not require more than one party.

    There are battle zones in Wings of the Goddess called “Lair Areas.” What are these places?
    Ogawa: The guy in charge of battle planning originally wanted areas “similar to Assault, but more freely usable.” Rather than go through setting up an area for use, they can be entered outside the scope of Quests and Campaign.

    There’s a lot of uses for an area like that. Now that you mention it, I heard of a rumor regarding some trick with the Sandworm NM… Unfortunately, I haven’t seen it yet.
    Ito: Only a few people may have seen it so far… Probably because they aren’t looking for it. We want people to experience the trick for themselves. It will suck you up. (laughs) We actually wanted it to do this from the very beginning, but there was still some experimenting required. We’ve now finished that and were able to implement it.

    New NM triggers are always interesting. Are there any other little tricks planned?
    Ito: Yes, there are a number of things we would like to try. These things take time but… we’re actually experimenting on something right now.

    When will we be able to ride Chocobos in the Crystal War Era? I think it would be a nice way to get around when the city is under attack and warps are unavailable.
    Ogawa: We’re actually thinking of adjusting the warp situation. We apologize for the wait, but we are planning to lift the ban on Chocobos in the past.

    Can we expect battles with mounted knights as well?
    Ogawa: For the moment, we’re only introducing Chocobos available for riding. As for new uses… I cannot say anything right now. (laughs)

    Can we at least ride armored Chocobos?
    Ogawa: Yes, that is what we are considering.

    3

    Putting It All Together: Campaign, NPCs, Point Systems, and Medals

    What can you tell me about Campaign and the way it was structured?
    Ito: If you look at the last Gamewatch Article (Vol. 14) it’s about the direction we wanted to take with Campaign.
    Elmer Point: He’s basically referring to the current state of Campaign as reported in the article. Armies on both sides have been expanded with new units and abilities, and beastmen are able to invade cities. Also, considering the constant back-and-forth difficulty adjustments of Campaign, it must be hard to precisely balance the event.
    In the last Version Update, we were planning more NPCs to explain the workings of Campaign. However, there is just so much information to explain. Putting it all into nice, flowery text would just take an immense amount of time to compose and subsequently translate. We eventually had to abandon the idea for the previous update. We’re discussing what we can provide regarding this for the next Version Update.

    If you introduce such NPCs, we’ll get a solid idea of the background of Campaign?
    Ito: Even after putting in these NPCs, we feel there will still be a few mysteries left. If possible, we want to give players their own unit commander to control: someone through who they can see results from their chosen actions.

    The ability of FFXI users is incredible. They figure out new content quickly, too.
    Ito: From the beginning, we just wanted users to explore Campaign without us really explaining anything. It was a way to let them play without restrictions. We wanted to avoid forcing them into playing a certain way.

    There’s still a chance they will conform to a single style.
    Ito: We put in as much mystery as possible. To invite players to “do whatever you like,” we sort of thrust them into this new world at first. From there, their personal experiences could guide their playing style. Still, we may be overdoing it with the lack of information. The aforementioned “commander” NPC still hasn’t appeared. (smile)

    People who want to play that way might not have the confidence. It’s possible some experimented is curbed because of the risks it poses, and dissention from other players. It may be best after all to add a little more direct control and clear explanation.
    Ito: You are right.

    With the Campaign adjustments, where do you feel the difficulty falls between “light-hearted fun” and “intense battle?”
    Ito: We feel there are an equal amount of people looking for intensity as there are looking for a simpler fun experience. Therefore, we have to take both sides into consideration. It’s difficult to satisfy both ends in any single update. The last update focused more on the serious player, and we will soon add more adjustments.

    Are you looking to achieve that balance with the constant strength adjustments of allies and enemies?
    Ito: Yes. The size and scope of Campaign will constantly change in accordance with the actions of the players. The Tactical Assessment has a large impact on this. It acts like a vote that shows us what players are clamoring for.

    Tactical Assessment is easily overlooked, isn’t it? There may not be that many votes submitted.
    Ito: One may think that the effect it has is small, but in reality, it has quite an impact. The explanation given by the Tactical Assessment officer is somewhat vague. We didn’t want to simply write, “choose this, and this will happen.”

    4

    How Do We Repel Beastmen Invading Cities?

    Could we possibly get a hint as to how we can effectively repel invading Beastmen during these tough battles?
    Ito: Think “Tactical Assessment.” Rather than simply defending your own city, if you dare to go on the offensive, you may be able to turn the tide of battle. Cities are getting attacked frequently I believe, because the circumstances to trigger an attack, i.e. beastmen controlling the surrounding areas, is always fulfilled. If you manage to take back control of one of those areas, than this will not happen.
    When a city is attacked, it directly hurts their war funds and technological power. That country will then find itself in a downward spiral, and they have to break that chain of decline. By taking back an area into their control, they can once again store up war funds and make a recovery.

    So, taking back a single area will make a huge difference?
    Ito: Another loss will continue the downward spiral, but troops that win get stronger, and troops that lose get weaker. This refers to just that one set of troops. If a unit that loses continuously, say a Sand’Orian unit, those soldiers will progressively get weaker. If no players arrive, they will continue to fight, but they will be defeated soon after appearing. This creates a spiral of enemy wins and ally losses.

    Are you saying enemies and allies work on an experience points-like system? So, supporting NPCs is a good way to build national strength?
    Ito: That’s right. To make a comeback, there are also Campaign Ops. Depending on the type you perform, you will improve different aspects. For example, repeatedly doing soldier training in Campaign Ops will raise the average strength of your soldiers. Similarly, if you perform Ops related to fund-raising and procurement of goods, those things will be improved.
    However, you cannot achieve a full comeback on Campaign Ops alone. To do so, you must also change the military strategies of your nation. If you get things flowing in the right direction, good things will happen…

    The system really is complicated. (laughs) I don’t think players knew that ally and enemy NPC strength changed with the status of the nation.
    Ito: We heard a lot about enemies being too weak at first, and after that, they became too strong. Here we have a base level from which things can deviate, but the range is not that wide. More importantly, when soldiers return home victorious and level up, training them vigorously is a big part of strengthening them.

    5

    Issues Involving Earning Campaign Points

    Moving on, I’d like to ask about a point of contention people have with Campaign Battles. There are people who do what’s called “Buff spamming” or “Song spamming.”
    Ito: Yes, that certainly is a problem. We’re still experimenting, but we may implement some rule about taking an Allied Tag after recently accepting one. The main counter-measure is against songs, but basically they use a BOT to take an Allied Tag, sing several songs, quickly receive their experience points and subsequently grab another tag. We think regular players should be practically unaffected if, for example, there is some waiting period imposed on reapplying for your Allied Tag.

    I see. On a related note, I think Raise should reward the caster more points.
    Ito: Last update, we already added some new support troops that can cast Raise. Changing the effects of Raise is something we will have to think about.

    Was this to shift importance off of players having to Raise others?
    Ito: Yes, we wanted to free up healers to perform other actions in Campaign. We thought it would be better if they could focus on other activities in battle.

    Raise is the most effective way to aid someone, I think.
    Ito: We balanced Raise considering that one should be able to accumulate plenty of points without having to use it. We didn’t make it extreme enough to match its high MP cost, but enough that if you get the chance, you can cast it. We thought it would be best that they have the MP available for other useful spells they can perform.

    So, you designed it so the bulk of Raises could come from the support troops. Still, their ability can change, can’t it? Right now, they are incredibly weak, and Raises take a really long time.
    Ito: They are associated with technological power… if that parameter goes down, so will their ability. From here on, you can boost your medics through Campaign Ops, but if you continue on your nation’s decline, we think you’ll see a lot of weak medics running around.

    6

    The Merits of Winning Campaign

    Basically, the merits and demerits from winning or losing Campaign Battles are rather small.
    Ito: In the grand scheme of things, we want each area to have its own significance. We can’t just give bonuses to different jobs, because we would end up with certain jobs only wanting to control certain areas. For example, in Sand’Oria there would be a conflict of interest amongst the variety of jobs there. This would certainly disrupt the flow of battle.
    There are many jobs to consider rewards for, so we hope to implement a system that will please everyone into each area. Still, we haven’t reached that point yet. There are many fine details to consider, such as unique Campaign Ops or technological advances. It is difficult going over all these different options, and we have thought about what we can and cannot do for a long time. If you have any good ideas, please let us know. (laughs) It’s a delicate matter.

    It certainly is difficult. But if they are implemented, players can have a reason to voice their opinions through Tactical Assessment and decide where to attack or defend. However, it if favored certain jobs and ignored others, it could be a problem.
    Ito: It could. You would have disgruntled players refusing to take on certain areas. We are thinking about this as we observe the number of controlled areas.

    Like a salary that gets paid based on controlled areas? (laughs) Something like gil would be an equal reward for all players. Although the interest may be low, it’s a tough call.
    Ito: In the later years, there are players who want to have almost all areas controlled by the Allied Forces. If possible, we want to provide some positive effect for all jobs if they manage to take every area.

    I see. So this is the ultimate image you have for Campaign Battle?
    Ito: First, we need to achieve a balance and provide an experience for both light and heavy gamers. After that, I want players to work hard and gain control. I want unsupported areas to be taken from them. This was the state I had in mind from the beginning.

    So even the battle system and game balance are tied to either Tactical Assessment or Campaign Ops, and if players get a better grasp of their relationship, they can improve their nation’s condition. Furthermore, all that must be taken into consideration when adjusting balance or adding new elements. That sounds incredibly difficult to do. (laughs)
    Ito: It sure is. (laughs) However, we agreed to resign ourselves to this fate when we decided to implement Campaign.

    Why do you think adventurers and the Allied Forces are having trouble holding their own at this point?
    Ito: Because of the workload, we haven’t implemented NPCs to explain more about Campaign, and perhaps that’s one reason.

    Yes, lack of information could be a factor. If balancing included the proliferation of more information, couldn’t the war situation really improve?
    Ito: Yes, it could. This confusion could have caused the current dominance of the beastmen. However, there are some who feel it isn’t such a big problem.

    I see. I understand how it could be a positive thing. I would be worried about calling it a success, however. It depends on what each person enjoys. Still, there are a lot of elements that go into making it work on a large scale, as well as for the individual.
    Ito: That’s true. In addition… there are people who just want to run around freely and do as they please.

    Even those people sometimes have demands thrust upon them by other players… which is a shame.

  2. #2
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    7

    Campaign Battle Weapons and Constructs

    Tell about the various military weapons and contraptions that appear in Campaign Battle.
    Ito: Right now, there aren’t so many that appear on the Allied-side of things. The Beastmen Confederate can send them out when they have the spare resources, because players and beastmen actually function along the same system.
    Beastmen have a plotted course of action, and using serious military weapons hinders that plan, in that it takes a lot out of their funds. Their use changes from week to week, one week they may appear, and the next they may not.

    I see, so it’s not simply random. The chance varies from week to week.
    Ito: On weeks when the beastmen are inclined to use these weapons, it is to promote balance, rather than to continuously dominate the other side. We didn’t want them to appear frequently.

    So they exist to maintain balance when necessary. What kind of situation causes them to appear?
    Ito: There are certain NPCs that don’t fight, but mainly run up to the fort and perform actions. If you defeat them, these weapons most likely will not appear.

    As for the different contraptions and constructs, I think we’d like to see more variations of those appearing.
    Ito: There aren’t any yet… We want to tinker with the abilities of the current ones. As with anything in Final Fantasy XI, we start by aiming for a target. We then remodel our vision a little, considering what effect or damage it could have. We’ve already completed that part.
    The ideal situation for Campaign would be that things happen without people having to be there. For example, a bomb get placed and then it explodes. When it explodes, there will be people that are affected, and people who aren’t affected. That’s the kind of battlefield experience we wish to create. So to that end, we are seeing if these machines should do this, or do that, and how we can improve their function.
    This is just me talking, but there are giant tanks available to only the beastmen. What if players could wrest control of them? We’re thinking about lots of new situations to develop in the future.

    Once you’ve achieved that game balance, I think people would like to play with those giant war machines. Something like players hitting a button to build one for themselves. I want some construction action on the players’ side. Then by attacking it with magic, you store up magical power, which it then releases upon the enemy. (laughs)
    Ito: Sounds good to me. (laughs)

    8

    Campaign Ops Based on Nation’s Strength

    The demand for Campaign Ops can be seen via stars, and the rewards can change as well. How have these changes been received?
    Ito: There is the element of how much the nation needs it and also the element of your standing. That forms the limits of what your reward can be. If the demand is filled, your country isn’t so pleased by it’s completion anymore. More and better rewards will go to players who complete Ops based on the country’s objectives. People with low ranks can get more rewards by doing Ops their country needs. We made adjustments like this during the last Version Update.
    The guy in charge said, “Well, if they keep doing Ops that their nation does not need, then the rewards will be lower.”

    I see what you mean.
    Ito: Realistically, there are a lot of people thinking, “Hey! Even though I enjoy doing this particular Ops, it’s not going to be worth it!” However, we adjusted it thoroughly, and added no negative effects to doing an Ops. We wanted Campaign Ops to be an aspect of Campaign that could reward you at any time you wished to do it. It was planned as something from which both low-level and high-level players could reap the benefits.

    Sometimes Campaign Ops aren’t on the list. Is that because the demand for them was satisfied? That can be rough, getting excited to do an Ops and finding it absent from the list.
    Ito: That can happen when demand is satisfied, or the country’s current battle plan does not require the particular Ops. Also, Ops can disappear due to a nation’s parameters. A loss of money could mean a loss of goods required to perform certain jobs.

    So orders for those Ops will not be issued?
    Ito: That’s right. If the nation cannot afford it, the mission will not be available. Even if a nation is on the offensive, related Ops won’t appear if the funding isn’t there. It’s like the real world: even if you need an employee, you can’t hire if there’s no money.

    That’s a strict amount of realism. For example, say there’s a battle on the streets of a city. The nation takes a lot of damage, and becomes weaker. Campaign Ops are the key to recovery, but funding has been decimated due to battle in the city and there are barely any Ops to do… Things just get worse and worse.
    Ito: Like being backed into a corner. I hate to say it, but I feel like we really should have added those explanatory NPCs in this update.

    There are Ops you can do with 3-6 people. Now, say you get your group together, only to find your desired mission isn’t on the list. It’s good to have some penalties, but it’s always good to still be able to have fun…
    Ito: Really, the lowest ranked Ops are practically always available. Still, if the country doesn’t have the funding, even those can vanish. Perhaps we could do away with that… If we do so, game balance can change so easily, so we may have to be ready to fix imbalances. The original plan was to really emphasize the harrowing effects of war. Still, I think that is something we can take another look at.

    I see. Everything is linked together, like the severe repercussions of a battle inside the city. The best you can do is try and take back an area somewhere.

    9

    Job and Battle Related Stuff, A New System to Aid Party-Building, Balrahn’s Secret Weapons. Aht Urghan AF2, finally?

    What are your current impressions of the jobs and battle systems? You presented a lot of stuff at events last year.
    Gondai: We sure did. Right now, more than job balance, we are looking to develop and expand each job as an individual role. We are continuing increase adjustments in that regard.
    Right now, to help people assemble parties easier, we are working on the implementation of a new system.

    This “Party-Building Aid” system is something completely new, right?
    Gondai: If I tell you any more, Ogawa will get mad at me. (grin) It will help players to build parties and enjoy the game with friends. It’s something that won’t require a lot of preparation and allow for a more casual playing experience. We feel it’ll make playing a little easier.

    How about the new Wings of the Goddess jobs, Dancer and Scholar?
    Gondai: We feel they have taken shape according to our concept. As we adjust other jobs from here on, we will continue to take a look at them. First, we are going to expand upon their merit points.

    Merit Point Abilities were expanded from a limit of 3 to 5, right?
    Gondai: Not so much expanded, since we had planned for a maximum of 5 from the start. We just opened it up fully last update.

    So you started it at 3 to monitor the situation at first?
    Gondai: That too. We felt with a higher limit, many players would focus too much on getting strong before enjoying other aspects of the game.

    ”Magic that allows Red Mages to melee more,” “Ninja hate-lowering abilities,” and “more Avatars for Summoners.” What do you have to say about these frequent requests?
    Gondai: Changes to increase variations in battle styles are being implemented with high priority, but there are still more things planned.

    The Monk ability “Footwork” is one way to add variation to a battle.
    Gondai: Besides that, there is the Bard’s “Pianissimo,” that let’s people divvy out songs. Until now, you were basically limited to two songs, but now there is reason to cast three or more.
    As for a new Avatar… we can’t say anything yet. (smile)

    The appearance of Ixion… was quite the shock.
    Ito: Ixion… It’s a high level notorious monster that occasionally appeared as an avatar in past Final Fantasy games. We wanted to create a high level notorious monster that moved around more freely.

    Hmm, I see. Is Ixion the new summon for which Summoners have long anticipated?
    Gondai: We can’t say anything at this time, but plans are in motion.
    I see… How about plans for other jobs?
    Gondai: We’ve finally completed preparations for Aht Urghan jobs’ AF2. It will only be for Aht Urghan jobs at first, but if things go well, we will be revealing it to you before long.

    Will they be acquired through some new method or content?
    Ogawa: That, you’ll have to wait and see. (laughs)

    10

    Zeni Notorious Monsters

    You added a new battle system with “Zeni Notorious Monsters.”
    Ito: It was a concept of letting anyone trigger and challenge notorious monsters. There is a grave challenge at the end of the road, but people can really just fight what they want, whenever they want.

    The ZNM triggers are acquired through battles, and the difficulty and party size changes as well.
    Ito: That’s right. It’s like Light, Middle and Heavy classes of battles. Party size requirements also change. Drops get better and better as well. We were thinking along the lines of Tu’Lia or Al’Taieu.

    Treasures of Aht Urghan’s Alzadaal Undersea Ruins are like that as well.
    Ito: We used more of a point-gathering concept here, thinking “Could we use the Soultrapper for this?” and allow the player a lot of freedom. Together, these events comprise the compilation that is Aht Urghan, so we hope you enjoy them.

    11

    Balrahn’s Secret Weapons, Adjustment Repercussions, Serpent General Gadalar’s Quest, etc

    There are many people complaining about the harsh requirements for Balrahn’s weapons.
    Ogawa: That opinion certainly is prevalent. The quest now is just the first half, and once we implement the second half, we will look at adjusting them as a whole.

    So there’s still a second half to be completed. Don’t tell me it will be even more difficult than the first.
    Ogawa: It is mostly there to close up the story, so it will not be as difficult as the opening half. We do understand there are severely high requirements in the first half, and we will look into it.
    Saito: We’re aware of peoples’ reaction to it.

    How about a Serpent Quest for Gadalar?
    Ogawa:We apologize for keeping Gadalar fans waiting so long, we never forgot about them.

    It feels like this will be the last quest; you have really outdone yourselves with the series, haven’t you?
    Saito: Yes, we’ve put a lot into it. People might see a much different Gadalar than they are used to… (laughs) But please bear with us a little bit longer.

    Are there any plans to continue adding on to Nyzul Isle Assault?
    Ito: We thought about it, but then we added Balrahn’s Secret Weapons. Before adding brand new content, we feel we should focus on the new weapons, as well as increasing the rewards gained from Nyzul Isle.

    For example, besides the Balrahn weapons, maybe some other weapons we can strengthen. It will provide various goals for people to strive for.
    Ito:That’s the kind of thing we’re considering whether or not to implement. But we need a reason before just adding new stuff to Nyzul Isle, so it’s on hold for now.

    Fellows can now be called in the past, but will this become part of the Fellow’s story, or is it simply for fun?
    Ogawa: Basically, it was to give you more areas in which to play with your Fellow. So many people wanted Fellow available in Aht Urghan areas, but they are so full of camps, we wouldn’t allow it. Now we have the past. There’s still the possibility of a new story, but there are currently no plans for it.
    12

    Closing Statements

    Please give us some last words for the players.
    Ogawa: Now that Mog Bonanza has ended, and the hot summer is upon us, there will be several seasonal events and an update coming near the end of the year I think everyone can enjoy.
    Saito: Missions and Quests still have a long way to go, so stay with us until the end. The animation and event teams have always strived to create content to surprise and wow our users. Please look forward to it.
    Gondai: For jobs, we want to make more adjustments and create a smoother playing experience. Let’s work together to achieve that goal.
    Ito: We will be working in earnest on developing Campaign and overall battle content. I hope you continue to enjoy playing.

    Thank you very much.

    13

    Special Short Interview with the busy Tanaka Hiromichi
    The Legal Issues of a Mog Bonanza Live Drawing


    How was the 6-year anniversary Mog Bonanza?
    Tanaka: We got a huge reaction. And then afterwards, we got the opposite reaction. (smile) We could not broadcast the lottery drawing. We wanted to set up a camera and show the drawing, but it turned out it could be misconstrued as gambling in other countries. That’s why we couldn’t make it more public, but we still enforced a strict selection process. We even took a video and really want to show the public.

    What kind of selection method did you use? Did you just draw lots?
    Tanaka: We announced the winning number in-game at 7pm, but before that, at 6pm, we gathered in the conference room and drew the lottery. There were a variety of methods. A ten-sided die, drawing a playing card, pulling out a Bingo ball, scratch and win lotto cards (laughs). We went from person to person, doing each digit separately.

    What a waste that you can’t show that to the public. Everyone is very interested in seeing how you picked the numbers.
    Tanaka: I know, we wanted to cry when we found out we couldn’t. We’ll have to rethink the selection method and just do a quick pick next time. By the way, we have some statistics of what numbers people bought. 77777 was the most common, with 11111 after that. The top ten are pretty much all like that.

    What about the next Mog Bonanza?
    Tanaka: We don’t want it to end here. Still, we have to reevaluate some of the methods before doing it again and tackle those legal issues. Just in Japan, there are a lot of laws regarding lotteries. If we do it again, we have to take it all into consideration.

    At Anaheim, you presented the idea of “user created dungeons.”
    Tanaka: That’s undergoing some serious development. It will take a little more time. Once the technical stuff is set, I can tell you more.

    How goes development of content for mobile phones? Chocobo Raising and other Chocobo-related content would be fun.
    Tanaka: Way back when, maybe 3-4 years ago we thought so. We presented to plan to add chat and Auction House functions to mobile phones. However, we ended up canceling those plans. There were technological problems, and issues setting up a payment system.

    Things have improved since then, haven’t they?
    Tanaka: They have. At that time, there was no “unlimited data transfer” phone plan available. It’s something that could work now, but I guess it was ahead of its time. (laughs)

    Recently, Koei’s online title has gone in that direction. You can perform actions in-game using a mobile phone.
    Tanaka: With that ability in mind from the design phase, it isn’t so hard to implement. But trying to retroactively add that content to the game would be a different story altogether. The idea has pretty much been abandoned.

    Looking at the future of FFXI as a whole, many wonder if there will continue to be significant development.
    Tanaka: There will! Perhaps… or maybe not. (laughs) But, well, Wings of the Goddess updates will continue for at least another year, and Missions have a long way to go. There’s also the upcoming “Private Dungeons.”

    Any last words for the players?
    Tanaka: The next Version Update will bring lots of new stuff, but it a long ways away. Please stay with us.

    Thank you very much.

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