are just some of the things in the Letter from the Producer LIVE Part IV & Q&A Summary
We're proud to bring you the full Q&A digest and English-subtitled Letter from the Producer LIVE Part IV, which was broadcasted last week! If you weren't able to watch the live stream, or if you just want to watch it over and over again, check it out below!
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Q: Will Hildibrand be appearing in ARR?
A: Of course! Hildibrand received lots of positive feedback from players, so he will most likely be back to crack more cases. You can look forward to his return in ARR!
Q: Will we be able to change character names at the start of ARR?
A: We'll continue to look at the possibilities until the very end, but it looks like we will be able to provide this option.
Q: Will my character's chest be bouncy?
A: In programming terms, so-called "skeletons" are implemented around the characters breasts. So, yes, they will move.
Actually, they currently move a bit now in the alpha version. We are going to make adjustments to each race to the extent that they aren't over the top.
Q: Please tell us about the details of the FFVI-style Magitek armor. Will we be able to use it in battle?
A: Unfortunately, we don’t have such plans at the moment. That said, the Magitek armor is very popular among players, so the team is coming up with lots of ideas for it, like with chocobos. It will be receive special treatment.
A coeurl mount is also currently in-development.
*Video shows off the coeurl mount in action.
We are planning to release a wealth of mounts.
Q: In the primal battles in Version 1.0, there is a lot of pressure on tanks and healers. Will the roles be rebalanced for ARR?
A: In MMORPGs at large, both tanks and healers have important roles: maintaining hate and healing party members respectively. If these two roles aren’t played well, the party may collapse. But this doesn’t mean that other classes have any less of a burden. If damage dealers don’t work quickly enough, the fight will end up dragging on, making it harder for tanks and healers to do their jobs. So I don’t think there will be much of a change.
We'd like players to see how things are in the beta.
Q: What function is the duty finder system intended to serve? Is it meant to be a way to keep older content populated, or can it be used to form parties for new content such as the Crystal Tower?
A: We’re planning to make it serve both purposes. As I’ve mentioned in recent interviews, ARR will boast a multitude of content and have much kinder drop rates than in the past. Players will have the ability to “Need” items a certain number of times per week per content. That said, you can select from the various contents and decide where you want to go, instead of having to gather at a certain time each week. For example, if I haven’t used my “Need” for Tam-Tara Deepcroft this week, I could go there with similarly motivated players. Since it may be difficult for newer players to find others with the same objective, who are of the same level, the system will bring people together from multiple worlds. That way, you can play what you want, when you want.
Q: Will there be any changes to 8-man parties in A Realm Reborn? Will there be content for solo players or smaller parties?
A: We’ll continue to add content like Skirmish that can be played in parties of four, and those that can be enjoyed without worrying about numbers.
We are preparing content known as a “Full Active Time Event.” It borrows the words “active time” from the FINAL FANTASY series. I think this will be appearing very often in our PR activities from here on out.
It will be difficult to explain the system without a video. For example, an NM pops. A notification of this is sent to all players in the zone, who then converge on the NM. Parties are automatically formed, and a battle begins. The NM is defeated, rewards are doled out, and the players go their separate ways.
Things like Hamlet Defense and Caravan Security will be considered Full Active Time Events. With this system, many different things will take place in many different places. That’s how I’d like you to think of it for now.
Players will be able to experience it in the Beta Test.
Q: How will the materia system change in A Realm Reborn?
A: Fundamentally, it won’t be changing all that much. We will, however, do away with fluctuations in materia parameters. We’ll be raising parameters to the upper end of the range for existing materia. We’ve also been discussing raising the success rate of multiple melding, but the numbers haven’t been finalized just yet.
We’ve been talking about simplifying the system, as some aspects of it are difficult to understand.
Q: You mentioned in the past that the monk job will be reconceptualized. Will STR and INT continue to be the main attributes? What kind of abilities will monks have? Please give us more details!
A: Basically, the main attributes for each class and job will be changed significantly.
We’re completely reworking the battle system, and attributes will be changed as a result. Work is ongoing in the Alpha, and it should all be ready for the Beta. But, yes, everything will change.
There was talk on the forums about monk, debating whether stances will stay, whether forms will be introduced, etc. The main attributes will change along with the way the job works. You’ll be able to chain together endless combos. It’ll be very different.
Q: Will there be any new gatherer-specific content implemented at the start of A Realm Reborn? And what kind of content are you planning?
A: I‘ve talked about this in the past, but gatherers and crafters find and make items respectively, and battle classes use those items to fight. We consider this to be the core content for gatherers, and right now there aren’t plans for more activities specific to gatherers and crafters. We will, however, be updating things. In Version 1.0, there were originally plans for collaboratively-built boats. In A Realm Reborn, they’ll be able to craft roofs for player housing, find the materials to make those roofs, and also create items for their free company. So there’ll be more activities for gatherers can get involved in.
Q: What will the new market system be like? Can you give us some details?
A: Basically we will be totally re-making retainers and the market system from scratch.
We’ll be adding all the Auction House features people are asking for, and make it so that only your own retainer and those you want to appear are displayed in the market wards. It’s a bit difficult to explain. It’d be better to have our players try it for themselves in the Beta, the same time we run server stress tests.
We will also be fixing the system so that you can search for materia-enhanced items, and tell whether or not an item is HQ. In the Beta, we’d like to see how much stress the search feature can take, so please search away.
Q: Will houses be personal or shared?
A: First it will be joint housing. A house of this size is going to require everyone to dish out some dough. It’s pretty expensive.
You can make furniture available to people of the same free company, or, if you want, you can set permission levels so all of your friends can use the furniture and what not. There are quite a few settings.
The reason why we’ve decided to establish them as free company bases first is because inside of the houses there is a new kind of system that involves parks and towers.
Parks would give a bonus to everyone in the free company, like an extra 25% to experience points earned. It could make crafting faster to level, or maybe give success bonuses for HQ crafting. It's a system that allows members to add things that will give boons to the entire free company. You’ll be able to increase the size of your house, and also your company can rank-up through free company points, allowing you to place more parks and towers around.
I’d first like to create a strong community within FFXIV. When new members join, you’ll be able to get more points, and we’d like to establish a system that encourages people to support new players coming into the game. Once the community has had time to come together we will then allow players to have their own private housing and branch out from there
Even for an MMO, I believe it’s nice to have a place to call home.
*The video shows off housing art for each region.
Q: Isn’t the largest size house almost too big.
A: With it being so big, you have so much room to put lots of neat stuff. For example, if you defeat Ifrit, you can place his skull on the wall above the fireplace.
Q: Roughly how much will housing cost including the furnishings and interior designs?
A: I think that maybe 4-5 players, each with one level 50 class could probably buy a house if they put all of their earnings together.
From there it will be possible to buy more land and rebuild, things like that. There will be lots of things you can do like have the roof changed to a different style, and then paint it whatever color you want.
Q: Can someone who is affiliated with a different Grand Company join the same Free Company as you? Could you give us more details about the Free Companies, please?
A: Regardless of which Grand Company you belong to, you can belong to the same Free Company. If we were to put strict limitations on this, then it would be hard to add people who want to play casually and it wouldn’t be possible to play with friends who already belong to a different Grand Company.
I was wondering if players would do some role-play with this. For our overseas players in particular, I can see people identifying with the military structure in-game. So maybe, for example, you have a group whose members are devoted to the Maelstrom Command, and everyone has the same motivation to get the Maelstrom Command to the top of the three Grand Companies – some kind of role-play like that. If this becomes the norm, however, you have to consider that casual players will have a hard time joining in, or that a player's friends may have joined different Grand Companies
For example, if we compare this to society – this starts to break into reality a little too much, but anyway – let’s say that the parent company is the Immortal Flames and we made a subsidiary company, a free company. But if we get contributions from players of three different Grand Companies, our reputation will vary depending on where we choose to focus our efforts. It should be easier to build a reputation if we devote our energies to one company, and swear to fight for that company only. So there could be this whole "reputation" concept – I'm sure the naming will change though. If you rise higher within the Immortal Flames, you could get a special title, or something like that, which would allow both casual and hardcore players to participate in this kind of role-playing.
Q: Will the poster behind you be for sale in the future? It looks really nice.
A: This is something that was created to really promote A Realm Reborn, but we’re planning to create a poster with the similar motif of all the primals together.
We have a lot of other things planned as well. Free company art and so on.
Q: For account bonuses, such as the Legacy Chocobo, will they only be applied to characters that have already been created? Or as long as you have a Legacy account, will they apply to new characters you make after the fact as well?
A: Well, this applies not only to Legacy Accounts, but for example in the case that we were to announce a special bonus for those players who pre-order the PS3 version in the future, it will be directly tied to your account. In other words, since your account is flagged, you will be able to receive those in-game items for all new and existing characters via the Mog Letter delivery system.
Q: Are there plans to release a benchmark? If so, when?
A: We are planning to have two. The first one will be for Beta to see how well your PC can run it, and the second one will be right before launch and it will include character creation with all races.
Q: Will it be possible to switch the audio language and subtitle languages? Also, if this is possible, would we be able to make this change while running the game?
A: From a world-wide service perspective there would be way too many patterns. We will be supporting each voice however, and it can be changed in-game. So with that said, we are not really planning for subtitles.
Basically it will be possible to switch the voice languages to each of the support languages, and this can be done via the in-game config.
Q: Tell us more about the Crystal Tower and the Great Labyrinth of Bahamut.
A: The Crystal Tower is an alliance raid. It’s content that is taken on by an alliance of three parties, for a total of 24 players.
The Great Labyrinth of Bahamut and the Crystal Tower are similar in that neither of these raids will be completed in one visit. We will continue to add floors over the span of about a year and a half.
The Crystal Tower is, as I’m sure everyone knows, the last dungeon in FFIII. So as the floors increase, you can all ultimately expect something like the Cloud of Darkness to make an appearance.
It’s difficult to explain the Great Labyrinth of Bahamut without saying spoilers. Well, just as everyone saw at the beginning of the stream in the video, Dalamud actually contained Bahamut. So you might ask, “Why was Bahamut inside?” And I believe you all saw that a key-like object fall out of Dalamud and that’s a large part of Bahamut’s containment. It scattered all over Eorzea and is an important clue for the dungeon. You can take on the Great Labyrinth from various locations…
Well, if I say anymore it would weaken the impact for when everyone first enters the dungeon.
Events will develop on a grand scale, and there will be a huge number of bosses for each “episode” of the raid. So, it’s going to be hard if you don’t dish out enough damage.
It’ll probably take more than 10 or 20 wipes to really figure out.
Q: What kind of recognition will our characters receive to show that we played through the current version of the game? Can you tell us?
A: Yeah, I think it’s a bit too early for that. I’m going to keep quiet a bit longer.
Q: How many new hairstyles will there be? Will we be able to change to new hairstyles when A Realm Reborn begins?
A: *Yoshi-P shows off new hairstyle images in the video.
We’ve been saying that basically everything will be in at Beta, but there is a possibility that we can’t finalize some parts of animations and have to include some placeholder equipment.
We’re converting a ton of things right now, so it’s pretty close as to whether or not we’ll make it in time.
Q: In the 3rd Players’ Poll, there was a question about new races and clans. What kind of race will be implemented and when? Also, will we see Viera or beastmen/lizardmen?
A: The Viera are extremely popular amongst our overseas players, so we’re really thinking hard about this one. We’d also been considering a dragon-blood tribe – something more beastman or reptilian, a direction that we haven’t really tried in a FINAL FANTASY before.I guess I was leaning towards what in Japan would be considered a Western design, but our North American players have also been pretty vocal in their requests for the Viera race. We would like to look into it. You can assume it would be for an expansion pack.
Q: When PVP is implemented, will it be possible to face off against Yoshi-P and everyone?
A: We’ve actually expanded the battle team just recently. And there are quite a lot of them that have played PVP games with me. We’ve put a lot of work into the system, including the core design, so, yeah, we’d love to take part.
Maybe I’ll participate incognito. Or maybe the development team will try copying their characters over to characters with different names during events. Regardless, I’m really motivated to play FFXIV: ARR myself, and I’m really, really looking forward to it. I’m logging in for the Alpha Tests as often as possible so I can talk with everyone. Even for the full release, I would like to do this. By playing the game ourselves it really helps us see where the balance is off, and gives us a more direct understanding of player feedback. I’m serious when I say we will do this - as much as the dev schedule allows.
I’d really like to plan events for the future where players can battle the development team and Wada.
Since everyone’s feedback on battle balance is extremely important, especially the perspectives of the top tier players, I’m wondering if we could have a feedback exchange meeting.
I honestly would like to proactively have real live communication between the development team and the community.
Q: Will there be map variations that follow seasonal trends like flowers blossoming on trees, leaves changing color, and leaves falling from trees depending on the area?
A: It’s rather difficult since Eorzean time and Earth time are a bit different. The time of a single day is quick. Also if we are to match the seasons, do we match it to Japan? Do we match it to the northern hemisphere? By having as many seasonal events as possible and decorating a variety of places, we would like to match the mood of the seasons in Japan, since it is a Japanese made game after all.
Honestly, you’ve all seen various graphics so far and we built those in just a year and a half from scratch.
Adding seasons for every variation would be a bit much. We do have a lot of weather types though. However, it depends on the region. There was something that was never seen before in the trailer with Behemoth…the snowy mountains. We’ve been preparing stuff like this from the start, so we hope you can experience the special touches in each of the regions.
Q: Are there are plans to expand inventory size? For example, furniture for our houses, locker expansion quests and so on. And will we be able to send items to our mules easily?
A: Having players carrying around lots of items eats into real time memory, so we don’t have plans to expand the player’s inventory, but we do have plans for other storage. For example, storage boxes that you can put in your house. There will be joint safes for free companies, and also quite a bit of space on retainers, so you can summon them to pick up/drop off items.
There’ll be more gear sets in the future, so naturally, we mean to introduce ways for players to expand their storage, through quests and such.
In regards to sending items, I believe our alpha testers will understand this feature a bit. Right now we’ve made it so that you can only send things to friends. This is done via character IDs, which means that if you know the IDs for the characters on your account, this is already possible.
The thing is, this would introduce elements that make it easy for gil-farmers to do what they do. However, we have certain specs in place that should prevent this from becoming a major issue. First, there will be more rewards for everyone. Second, certain items will be untradable, like gear with spiritbond. If the demand is high, I believe we can do it.
Q: When will NA and EU players be able to participate in the alpha test?
A: We’ve just conclude phase one of testing.
First off, we’ve managed to eliminate all the critical issues that surfaced due to heavy server stress, which is caused by an increase in players. So, right now, we’re safely running the game with around 800 people in a single zone.
This number applies not only to players, but enemies too. Here we have around 700, with 400 battles taking place simultaneously. That’s what we’re having our testers do right now. It’s come to light that the server becomes laggy when we go past the 800-player mark.
We’ve managed to identify the top 20 causes for this, and will be working to address the issues next week, along with all the bugs our alpha testers have submitted. We’ll temporarily stop alpha testing next week. The test has been taking place on two worlds already, and we’ll pick things up the week after for around five days. If everything looks okay, we’ll move to the global phase the week after that. We’ll probably be keeping the servers open 24 hours for our overseas players and for the aging test, and hope to have everyone participate from 11/26. We’re planning to give out a lot of accounts.
Q: Will it be possible to get married? Also, will same-sex marriages be possible?
A: We previously released a screenshot of a sanctum in the woods.
So when the era came to an end, something happened that led to the sanctum being rediscovered. So what is this place for? Well, in creating a world, we wanted put anything in it that is close to reality. Marriage is one of those things. That’s why we built the sanctum--so that characters and players can get married. The system for weddings--proper services and such--might not be available right from the beginning. It’ll most likely be added in a patch. However, we’ve already prepared a place for it.
As for same-sex marriage, this is an extremely controversial topic that has been under discussion in the MMO world for the past few years. First we would like to start out with opposite-sex marriage, and then consider the feedback from our players in order to make a careful decision.I can’t say whether or not it will be possible at this point in time. I’d like to keep dialog open with our players as we deliberate the matter.
Q: What’s the countdown that’s happening on the right side of the screen?
A: This is telling me that I have been invited to a party. Once the internal clock hits 0 for this, the party invite will automatically be declined. The number is showing how many invites I have received.
Q: Will we be able to dye artifact and sentinel armor or gear with yellow or green item names?
A: There’ll be dyes that you can readily buy from NPCs, and then those that can only be made through the combined effort of gatherers and crafters. Dyes won’t be permanent--you’ll be able to dye your equipment over and over again. So let’s say you’ve been wearing red all week and feel like a change. It’d be a simple matter to recolor it yellow.
There’ll be 24 colors at the start, I believe. In addition, there will be rare shades. In order to make these, you’ll need the expertise of gatherers and crafters. If someone happens to be selling the color you want at the market wards, you can also get a hold of it there. Players will have a lot of freedom.
Also, I’m aware of the community discussion on using sliders to choose colors during character creation. The problem with this is that the tip of the polygon, called vertex color, which functions as the visual representation of the color selected is easily distorted by lighting. Therefore, we’re limiting the color selection to bring out the best of each color. Technically, we can implement all 65,535 colors, but realistically speaking, it’s impossible to tell the difference between similar colors.
Also, you won’t be able to color every single area on your armor. For example, if there’s a bit of chainmail showing around the arms, that bit of chainmail won’t be dyeable. This is because--let's be honest here--if I colored myself entirely in yellow, I won’t look that cool. Our character modelers decide what parts can or can’t be dyed, and this is a very involved task.
To answer the part on dyeing artifacts, we plan on keeping their colors as they are for a while. This is because we want to preserve their image, especially early on. Eventually, when people get used to the design or new sets of artifacts are introduced, the option to change colors will become available. That’s our current plan.
Q: Characters created from scratch in A Realm Reborn will start out with the new starting gear. Will existing characters brought in from Version 1.0 be able to obtain the same gear?
A: Yes they will!
Q: In a related question, will higher level race-specific gear be implemented?
A: We don’t have any plans for the start of A Realm Reborn, but we’ll definitely look into adding such gear later on if there’s enough demand.
Also, this may be a bit early to share, but there are plans for a vanity system called “katagami” (dress pattern) that allows you to adjust your appearance. Say your role is a tank, and you like wearing your artifact armor, but prefer the stats on your Darklight gear. In this case, you can change the appearance of the latter to be like the former. I’m not sure yet when this feature will be ready. It’ll depend on our progress.
Q: If you want to play the PC version on a PS3, will you still have to purchase the registration code for the PS3 version?
A: In that case, I’m very sorry but you will have to purchase a registration code for the PS3 version. However, you will be able to play on the PS3 with the same character you created on the PC.
Q: A lot of people are saying that they tried to clear “The Raven, Nevermore” but couldn’t manage to before the end. So, will we be able to challenge “The Raven, Nevermore” in ARR?
A: This content was made for our current players and was only intended for 1.0. It would also clash with the main story if it were still playable.
Q: Will there be a way to obtain primal weapons in ARR?
A: Yes, there will be a way to do so.
Q: Will arcanists be able to use their grimoires to summon familiars other than Carbuncle? Can you tell us new information on the primal and relic weapons for arcanists and summoners?
A: As an arcanist, you’ll be focused on Carby. Now, some may assume that we won’t expand the arcanist summons in the future, but that’s not my intention. This is just something to start with. Arcanists can summon different types of Carbuncles. Basically for arcanists, play will revolve around using the different types of Carbuncles. When you unlock the summoner job, your summons will harness the power of the primals.
There will be summoner AF and class specific equipment.
*Video shows off art of the arcanist’s grimoire.
Q: Can we have an updated roadmap and schedule for the start of the Beta Test to the release of ARR?
A: Honestly speaking, according to the roadmap that we released December 2011, we are currently two months and two weeks behind schedule. We’ve been working frantically to develop this game for a long time, and have just barely managed to stay on track until recently. However, when I was finally able to test the alpha version myself two and a half months ago, I realized that there were a ton of aspects I wanted to change. This goes for the UI, the display around the characters, and also the graphics. Version 1.0 started out like this as well, and I felt that we couldn’t release it in that state.
I felt that if we can’t make something that I can at least enjoy as a gamer, it’s...I mean, even if it’s just alpha stress testing, if we don’t provide that level of quality to our customers, then it’s no good. I made that clear to the team. And so we’ve refined the alpha version to this point and will approach the beta with the same attitude.
Of course, now that 1.0 has ended, we want to deliver ARR to the players quickly. However, we have seen some world class MMOs released in this past year, or year and a half, such as Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, and so forth. The staff and I have spent sleepless nights looking into these titles, and we feel that, this time, we want to be able to compete with these world-class games--and we don’t want to lose. For now, we ask that you give us more time to make adjustments, and we hope to release a new roadmap around the end of November or beginning of December. As for the beta test, we’re hoping to start beta phase one at the end of January or the beginning of February. We’ve already begun work, so we ask for your patience in the meantime.
In return, to ensure that many people can take part in the alpha test, as soon as we have entered the aging test, we’ll do our best to keep the servers open 24 hours so that everyone can experience it, so please give us a little more time. We want this to be a great game. That’s all I have to say about our progress up until now.