Gamescom 2015: Our interview with Naoki Yoshida

During the Gamescom 2015 in Cologne, we and our friends at MMORPG.de had the chance to talk to Naoki Yoshida who is the producer of Final...

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During the Gamescom 2015 in Cologne, we and our friends at MMORPG.de had the chance to talk to Naoki Yoshida who is the producer of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Here’s the English script.

Naoki Yoshida: It’s been a month after the release of Heavensward, now the players all over the world are playing the game and enjoying the game and we are very happy to get all the positive feedback, thank you very much. I’m willing to answer any questions, so let’s start!

JPGames.de: Are there any plans for a 1 vs 1 dueling system?

NY: It’s been asked several times already, but we don’t have any plans to do it at the moment. We are not going to make something on the system with it, that is, make content with it. We do not have this plan at all. Say that in Duty Finder you have a list PvP 1 v 1, we will not have that. Because the job balances are not based on 1 v 1. Let’s say that a scholar won’t be able to beat astrologian, that’s impossible. It will not be fun, that is why we will not do it. If we would do it and start balancing on the jobs, it would affect PvE. But if you want to request something like to calculate how much damage you deal for test purposes, then you can let us know and we can look into it.

MMORPG.de: Can you tell us something about the planned features of the upcoming patch 3.1?

Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn mit flitzendem Chocobo5_1NY: Something that has already been decided is the new 24-player raid content after the Crystal Tower. And also a big update for Goldsaucer and exploration when using your airship. As for details, we can not release so much now, because we soon reach the 2 year anniversary with the big Producer Live Letter coming up. During this show we will reveal more content, so please stay tuned.

JPGames.de: In the past, there was a snowboarding mini game mention *Naoki Yoshida laughs*. Are there plans for this?

NY: *laughs* Probably we won’t be able to make the next winter season. Because it is not an offline title, but an online title, all the data is coming from the server and things like that, so we have to calculate these kind of things into this plan. If we are to bring this snowboarding content to the game, and I myself love snowboarding in real life, I want to do something more proper. Crafters will make boards, and also bindings of each part. We want to have these kind of details, if we want to do it.

MMORPG.de: In Final Fantasy XIV there are a lot of references to older Final Fantasy titles, like the Goldsaucer. How does your team decide which features from older titles will come to Final Fantasy XIV?

NY: The first priority is if the new element is making the game more exciting. Say you want to make a really new game experience. If we blend the old Final Fantasy elements, and it is then more interesting or more fun, then we will have these elements from the Final Fantasy series. But if the elements jeopardize the law or design of Final Fantasy XIV or make it more boring, then we will not have these elements. Talking about a card game: We already received a lot of feedback from the development game and players that we wanted to have a card game in game for quite a while already. Because we have this idea, we plan to forecast: What can we do with it? How can we make it fun? So it is not that we just grab any elements from old Final Fantasy titles, but we always think about if it is beneficial to the game.

JPGames.de: Regarding the Goldsaucer: Are there plans for more content in the future?

NY: A new big attraction will be implemented with patch 3.1. However, we can not go into details yet. There will be a lot of mini-games as well, and adjustments to e.g., reward items and also the Chocobo Race will be adjusted as well. In the future we want to have a Goldsaucer update on every second patch.

MMORPG.de: Is there a chance that the players will see the old primals again on a new difficulty for LVL 60 players?

final-fantasy-xiv-heavensward-alexanderNY: The primal battles are already there, so we could just upgrade them, it’s technically possible and not hard to do. However, why do we not do new ones, new content? You will be excited then for new ones rather than for the old ones. We also know that it was hard on LVL 50 to beat e.g. Extreme Titan or Extreme Ifrit and now with high-end level gear and LVL 60 the players can easily beat those primals.

JPGames.de: Several servers have an overpopulation problem. Would you consider letting people change the server for free from a high-traffic to a low-traffic server?

NY: If you move people from the busy server to some empty server, then we have to have some reward, otherwise they won’t do it, because people want to go to the busy servers. There are so many people there, it is more easy to team up with other players. In the team we think about support for moving a complete Free Company, so we are already aware of the situation and think about something, but it will take time.

MMORPG.de: Are you planning to include more cross-over events, e.g. Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII?

NY: Yes, the next cross-over event is already decided, but we can not go into details, sorry. I am also talking to the director of Final Fantasy XV that we want to do something in the future.

JPGames.de: There were plans for a jukebox in the housing area. Many people spent a lot of time there and they hear the same music. Is there an idea to allow changing the music?

NY: Actually, there is a feature called Orchestrium (slightly unsure if that is the exact name), where you can choose the current BGM (Background Music) and you can switch to what you want to listen to. We are working on it already, and we have a concept already. However, we currently must focus on so many things, so it will be pushed back a little bit. We won’t be able to make patch 3.1, but we are working on it.

MMORPG.de: A lot of players complain about the housing situation. They want to buy a house, but it is impossible to find free plots on some worlds. Are there any plans to improve the situation?

NY: Yes, we are working on it, and there are three phases. The first step is working on abandoned houses, so there’s no owner, or player there actually. The second step is to make it available to players that they can move house. There is no system in game yet that can help you to change the house, so we want to help and support this in the game. With these two steps we will be able to have some empty plots. Then we want to see if we have to open up an Ishgard plot or add more plot to the existing areas. That is the third step. We want to be careful here and judge the situation first. We are working on step 1 and 2 already. There will be some updates, probably in patches 3.1 to 3.15, around this time.

JPGames.de: Currently the gear from high-level raids is better than crafter gear. This way, crafters can not compete against this gear. Is there an idea to help the crafters?

FFXIV_PUB_FANFESTIVAL_2014_TOKYO_025_1419248778NY: We are aware of the situation. However, crafting items can be bought. As long as you have Gil, you can get it. If you can get the items like this, there is no point in going into raids, because the crafter gear is better. We are not going to break this balance. If you go to the high-end raid the drops will be better than crafter items. It is not that we won’t do anything. Currently, there is a wide span of item levels, say level 130 items. We want something in between, in the middle, where crafter items are stronger than drops. We want this adjustment around patch 3.2.

MMORPG.de: What will happen when the european servers are finished? How will the transition phase work and will players have to do something special to play on the european servers?

NY: The players don’t need to do anything. There will be 4 to 5 days maintenance, we have to ask your patience there. What we are planning at the moment: There are some EU recommended servers in an ADC (American Data Center). All the data from these servers will be copied to the EUDC (European Data Center). We will check the safety of the data, if they are secured okay. Once confirmed, we will ask players to log in. So some time is needed for copying the data and also for the check. This is why we have to ask for the 4 or 5 days maintenance, but after the maintenance you just log in and you will be in the new data center. We want to make it as smooth as possible for the players. All the details will become available on a later date, so please keep an eye out.

JPGames.de: Some players feel that White Mage has lost some of its identity with recent updates. Do you feel it is like this?

NY: So, your main class is White Mage, is that correct?

JPGames.de: Yes!

NY: Because your main class is White Mage, and I think you are LVL 60, so you should know that the healing power is not decreased at all. You can still use it as a proper healer job. I understand that there are some changes, let’s say that Stoneskin now is only 10% barrier from 18% previously, and Protect as well. That is true. As you can see, your HP are now very high. If Stoneskin is keeping 18% barrier, it is going to be too strong, since HP are already inflated.

We would need to think about a raid dungeon and calculate proper damage; this would be inflated as well. Then we have a situation where the White Mage HAS to be in the raid party. With patch 3.0 we decreased the barrier to 10%, but at some point we needed to do it anyway due to HP and damage inflation. However, removing the 18% barrier, we added a lot of healing power to White Mage as well. So it’s not comparable to Scholar or Astrologian. The White Mage healing power is much higher than theirs. We really understand that White Mage kind of lost his own identity because everyone can use Stoneskin. Maybe we can add something to Stoneskin again, but not to Stoneskin and Protect.

JPGames.de: Okay, sorry, I am only LVL 48 White Mage and not 60 yet!

NY: *laughs* Well you need to get to LVL 60. If you reach LVL 60, you will see how strong White Mage is.

MMORPG.de: After the 3.0 patch player struggle with inventory space. Are there plans for more inventory space or some other method to keep more items?

NY: The whole development team are Final Fantasy XIV players and also want more inventory, so we understand the situation you are in. There are actually two reasons why we can not expand the inventory. It may look simple in game, but actually the size of data for only one item is really huge. If you look at the inventory and compare it to other MMOs, Final Fantasy XIV has the biggest inventory.

FFXIV_PUB_FANFESTIVAL_2014_TOKYO_030_1419248815We have a few 100,000 players in all worlds at the same time, and every 15 seconds data will be going to the servers and stored, so a lot of data is transmitted. If we have more items in the inventory, there will be more data to handle; times a few 1,000 bytes per item per character. That’s going to be a high load on the servers. There then might be some risk that your data is not safed properly, and we want to avoid this risk. That is why we are so careful with expanding the inventory. It is not that we don’t do anything at all, we are working on this issue by optimizing the backend data so that the data will be read properly with less stress. If there is no high server load, we can probably work more on actually addressing this issue. This is the first point.

Another issue is that when you use the Duty Finder, you will go to the contents server. But when your character is going there, you bring all your items to the server. If you have more items, you have to wait a longer time to go to the server, you will feel a lot of stress. This optimization process takes a lot of time and we are working on it slowly, but that is the only way we can actually keep your game experience and the desire for more inventory space.

Although we won’t be able to expand inventory straight away, we want to make it more convenient to use retainers. So you can e.g. access all retainers in certain areas, rather than one by one.

JPGames.de: The Dark Knight ability „Darkside“ features red light floating around the character which is irritating to some players. Are there plans for allowing players to manually adjust the effect?

NY: It was fixed two emergency maintenances before, it should be fixed. (Naoki Yoshida goes to a TV screen where the effect is displayed and points at it.) When it was first implemented, the aura was really strong and people could not see through it. Now that we reduced it, the overall feedback settled down and players are fine with the color. Probably your friends…

JPGames.de: Maybe they are sensitive?

NY: *laughs* If your friends can check again, that would be great.

MMORPG.de: It is nearly 2 years since the release of A Realm Reborn. What was the hardest challenge of the last 2 years for you?

NY: Most difficult was to keep the size for Heavensward and not make it too big. The personal big challenge was that I don’t like staying in an airplane a long time, but I have to go around the world here and there quite a lot of times. For the release of Heavensward the development team put a lot of effort into it and now we see all the players support and that they enjoy it. Now I have to talk to the team about the 4.0 planning, but probably they don’t want to hear that now *laughs*.

JPGames.de, MMORPG.de: Thank you for the interview!

NY: Thank you!