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Interview(s) - 3.1 Impressions


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Considering there may be more interviews based 3.1 going into 3.15, I'll be collecting translations or summaries regarding the upcoming 3.15 patch here. Or, as indicated, staff impressions of current 3.1 content.


Some of you might have seen the brief summary of this interview on reddit.


Recent Famitsu Interview with Yoshi-P on 3.1 translated by Slycer on the bluegartr forums


The timing for introducing Esoterics weapon upgrade items will be determined based on the current situation.


Let's switch back to the Japan version for some questions. Do you have any plans to announce patch 3.15 elements, like at a live producer letter?


Yoshida: Since patch 3.15 is a minor update to add the Anima weapons and St. Endalim Scholasticate story, we have no plans for a live letter before the patch. We have a few plans for the next letter after the patch 3.15 release, so hang on a bit until the official announcement.


Is this when you'll make the upgrade item for Esoterics weapons available for exchange, or will that be after the release of 3.15?


Yoshida: We're watching the clear situation with the Knights of the Round primal battle. Since the item level of the reward weapons there is 205, it will depend on how many people obtain that.


I see. By the way, how many clan mark logs will you need to exchange for the item to upgrade Esoterics weapons?


Yoshida: That's still a secret (laughs).


Oh well (laughs). You mentioned earlier that patch 3.15 would be released by the end of the year, have you narrowed that down any more?


Yoshida: It will be in the mid to late December range, but we'll be delivering it before Christmas.



Lotting Rules for Sea of Clouds Exploration


In a previous interview, you mentioned that you would be focused on gauging players' interest about aspects the Diadem exploration. How are you currently feeling about this?


Yoshida: First of all, we had a much higher percentage than expected participating in the content. There weren't enough instances from the first day and many people got stuck waiting for a server reservation, so we increase that amount in the emergency maintenance on November 12.


It increased a lot.


Yoshida: With FFXIV now, within a single server process thread, we have a technique called "instance of an instance" which allows us to create multiple instances. By taking advantage of this, we were able to increase the amount quite efficiently. I don't know the exact trend for the future, but just taking a look at the weekend now (11/14-11/15), we're predicting that there will always be at least 5 digits of players in The Diadem. This is great since many of the players are participating in tht content.


If nothing else, the high performance armor you can obtain is a big attraction.


Yoshida: Once people started reporting IL210 equipment drops on the internet, I was relieved to see that the rate seemed to meet expectations.


Right now, it seems like the main way of handling it is simply to collect equipment by defeating stronger enemies. Do you have any other recommended play styles?


Yoshida: Diadem is not the type of content where we would want to propose something. Since you can enjoy this with anyone, there aren't many restrictions. Within the community, we've seen some opinions that players on gatherer classes should not have the ability to lot since they are doing their own thing, and this has been actively discussed. Rather than introducing a specification which doesn't allow people who don't participate in battle to lot items, we still think it's a good idea to allow everyone the opportunity.


Give us a little more detail.


Yoshida: Right now when a treasure box drops, any player is able to obtain the rewards, not just the players who attacked the target. If players are on their own gathering items, they will still be able to lot even though they didn't participate in the battle. So from that perspective, we understand the feeling that players who start gathering shouldn't be able to lot items.




Yoshida: It would be possible to create lotting restrictions so that only battle participants can lot items. Then, players who are gathering or otherwise not participating in the battle would not be able to lot items. However, this could increase the likelihood that players are going around doing their own thing after being matched with others. For example, some players may not need any battle rewards so they go out and do their own gathering in anticipation of others doing the same. If we use the system to cover this up, then we're using the system to protect morality. The idea behind the content is that everyone can play together and interact. If we start putting constraints and rules on the system, people will start engaging in separate behaviors and it will make matchmaking more difficult and the time spent less efficient. Based on all that, the development team is going to spend more time looking at the current situation.


Ah, I understand.


Yoshida: Instanced dungeons in FFXIV are sometimes discussed as having no freedom and just being a single path, which is one reason you wouldn't see something like gathering elements in an instanced dungeon, and perhaps one reason why it's seen as a problem in Diadem. Based on optimizing clear methods, the roles are pretty clearly defined in each type of content in FFXIV; however, this isn't the case in Diadem. For players who felt like they were forced to play certain jobs or roles, this may offer some flexibility and the opportunity to discuss that with others. This is the idea behind the wind currents at the start. If we get rid of them, I believe there will be more cases where players immediately begin acting separately after entering. This limitation kind of provides a minimum amount of effort needed to work together.


So you'll be keeping rules to a minimum, but also watching how the situation evolves.


Yoshida: We'll be keeping the rules to a minimum, and we'll be looking at the feedback that we receive from everyone. Based on that, and whether or not the amount of participants in the content increases, we'll be thinking about our next moves.


Sounds like you're planning to wait and see.


Yoshida: That said, it's only been out for four days, so I think players should talk it over with their party and try out a variety of different patterns. Notorious monsters appearing on certain small islands might certainly be considered a bug, but that just points to the degree of freedom in the content. Actually, the speed with which some warriors of light are defeating some monsters is so quick, we think it may be a little too rewarding so we might have to make some slight adjustments... (laughs).



Triggering NM spawns


Speaking about notorious monsters which spawn under certain conditions, although it seems like more enemies are appearing each day, it seems like the chance to see a NM is timed. Is it possible to make it so they can be forced to pop?


Yoshida: The appearance of monsters isn't timed. The frequency of their appearance is probably higher than right after publication as everyone is getting used to the content and doing the actions which trigger them to spawn. Originally, people were just roaming around defeating monsters here and there, whereas now they are focused on gathering them to a certain location and defeating them, which is increasing the likelihood of finding a trigger.


Is this something that players will be able to figure out?


Yoshida: There should be some degree of speculation; for example, it's possible that other parties may reduce the chance of finding a trigger.... That said, we're not going to immediately release the trigger conditions, so I hope everyone discusses this to try to clarify it.


It can be difficult to tell.


Yoshida: The Diadem instances are generated in four hour increments, and new parties come in one after the other after spending 90 minutes there. Because of that, it's possible that parties who were active in the instance earlier might have already triggered some of the conditions, so it can be difficult to guess. However, I think the ones releated to defeating enemies are straightforward.


This sounds like a traditional MMORPG kind of thing.


Yoshida: Well, in first generation MMORPGs, hunting monsters in the field was something you would do 24/7. Conditions like "if monster XX is defeated, a NM pops" might feel familiar, but for parties which enter later there's no way to know what has already been defeated.



Wondering if it would have been better to make Echidna from Void Ark a bit stronger...


Personally, I feel like right now, DPS have a shorter delay than tanks do for Duty Finder with Void Ark. With the new content released, are you planning any changes to the matchmaking mechanism?


Yoshida: The delay for tanks is longer in Void Ark because the addition of dark knight has had the effect of more players adventuring as tanks. Also, many players queue as tank to get a shorter waiting time, but since only three tanks are needed for Void Ark, it actually results in a longer wait. Once things calm down, it should get back to normal. The difficulty of matching for Duty Roulette: Expert is more due to players being spread out across more content, but there are likely other factors as well, so we're looking into this as a priority.


The bosses which appear there seem to be based on real world mythology. Will this continue in the future of the series?


Yoshida: Speaking of "the void," what's on the other side in another world was also a theme back in FFXI. As things progress and you find out the true purpose of the Warriors of Darkness, you'll start to see connections with elements surrounding the void, so things should get interesting.


Expectations for future development are pretty high.


Yoshida: "Void" has been a key word in FFXIV up until now, but the vague meaning for it and the more fundamental aspects like why it's there in the first place will be clarified in the future.


So it will go beyond just the Void Ark, there will also be other elements involved in the main story?


Yoshida: Yes, I think so.


Do the Zodiac also have some relation to the void?


Yoshida: Hmmm (laughs). Things like the Umbral Era and the Ascians will come into play in a variety of ways, but this is all ahead of us. By the time we get to the finale of the 3.X series, their purpose and how it happened should all become pretty clear. It will be clarified a little in the plot.


Will the difficulty of the future releases be about the same as Void Ark?


Yoshida: We got a lot of feedback from everyone telling us that it was easier than the World of Darkness from Crystal Tower. I wonder if it would have been good to make Echidna a bit stronger... (laughs).


(Laughs). Can you tell us anything about the portrait of the Elezen woman in Leofard's room yet?


Yoshida: I still don't have anything for you (laughs).



The secret of clearing content is to stop focusing on DPS?!


The extreme Thordan primal battle throws a lot of mechanics at you very quickly and you mentioned that it was intended to be reminiscent of Nael from the fourth turn of the Second Coil of Bahamut.


Yoshida: The original concept behind the Knights of the Round fight was to make the battle mechanics-oriented. In fact, when we originally developed the final battle for Heavensward, it had about 70% of what the current extreme version has. Although it was fun, as a way to end the main scenario of 3.0, it seemed unsuitably difficult, so we omitted some phases to remove mechanics and adjusted the final battle to its current form. That said, since the original version was also interesting, we saved that state as well, and made adjustments later on with new elements which eventually became the current extreme battle.


Will Thordan's Reign be used as a point of reference for the difficulty for future extreme primal battles?


Yoshida: We've said this before, but the battle was intended to sit between the normal and savage versions of Alexander Gordias. This one in particular was designed as a challenge for players who are working on the third area of savage to give them another near-term goal and prevent them from getting bored by giving them a new Knight weapon which they can use to keep pushing in the third part of savage. So, based on that, this is kind of a unique difficulty. For the next extreme primal we'll probably scale back the level of difficulty.


It's still been a hot topic, so do you have any advice for players who are still suffering trying to get through the third part of savage Alexander Gordias?


Yoshida: Well, it depends on where they are stuck and the individual party, so it's hard to give general advice...


Anything that we should try?


Yoshida: Well, I think working on mechanics should be the first priority rather than focusing on damage. Try a section 10 times, and give priority to getting through that part of the fight 10 times without any issue. If someone doesn't understand what to do or makes a mistake, practice for that person. If you proceed through the fight without everyone on the same page, the differences will get exacerbated. Instead of setting really high goals, work on the fight one phase at a time and you'll get better results. Let DPS be the last thing you focus on. If you're playing with a focus on DPS from the start, you'll be neglecting how to properly deal with certain mechanics. It's a much better goal to be certain that you can get through the mechanics of phases instead of being able to reduce the boss to a certain HP percentage. Part of avoiding the mechanics has nothing to do with DPS. Once you are at a point where all eight players are able to cleanly deal with mechanics, that's the first time you should start thinking about DPS. The first goal should be to kill it before timing out, and then you can think about ways to shorten the time spent in each phase.


Certainly players often miss mechanics while trying to maximize DPS. Back on the topic of primals, how is that going to continue on based on the previous story?


Yoshida: I think it was expected right away, but starting from the next it will be a new series.


Although a themed chocobo barding is available from the Knights of the Round primal battle, it's obtained from the token system rather than from crafting materials. Any particular reason for this?


Yoshida: I think that some of people who get more hooked on content are starting to get bored, so we want to change things up. Previously, in World of Darkness in Crystal Tower, we heard ideas like shifting all loot into a final crate at the end to avoid the problem of players leaving after, for example, not getting their bard body drop. However, the probability of getting items would become excessively low. After we did some studies, we decided to change up the distribution of the items. However, if you're asking if we had any deeper intent with the chocobo armor, my answer is "not really."


After patch 3.1, it seems like operating on ninja is much more comfortable. As a result of those developments, do you have any other improvements planned?


Yoshida: Without getting into the really fundamental detail, it's tough to explain in a few words. I can say that because of the server-client type of game that FFXIV is, there will always be a delay which can occur when data is being transferred. To compensate for this, we have a 0.3 second buffer for movement and a 0.35 second buffer for actions. However, regardless of how much we improve that response, if the communication is stuck in network traffic, there will be a delay in processing.


It's a factor outside the game.


Yoshida: We've seen opinions that players are much more confident than before with the improved operation of the mudra whereas before the communication delay and distance from data centers could have an impact. People were afraid of what the change would bring, but we've seen a lot of good feedback on the internet so we're happy (laughs).





Windows 10 support announcement


Although you've already had a formal response to the Windows 10 release, do you have anything else to mention about that?


Yoshida: Sorry to have kept you waiting. After Microsoft started deploying the free upgrade to Windows 10, we weren't able to get the formal support out too quickly but we were in a hurry.


It took a while before you got the official support announcement out.


Yoshida: As far as normal operation goes, FFXIV was running since Windows 10 first launched. However, since this is a new OS, it requires separate support for the "game bar." For those playing FFXIV, I think many people had already updated their OS to Windows 10 by the time we announced formal support.


Seems so.


Yoshida: Until we confirmed in detail, we couldn't be responsible for issues. Swapping an OS can affect other applications installed on the PC as well, so we wanted to be cautious.



Thorough investigation of the cause of bugs and quickly addressing larger issues


Looking back on patch 3.1 after it's release, what are your overall feelings?


Yoshida: For some of the bigger bugs that caused urgency, we had to determine the cause so we are aware of what happened and it doesn't happen again. For it's genre, I think FFXIV has relatively few bugs and since this time we had mostly minor mistakes, we were able to spend the time to properly address. We're glad that everyone is enjoying patch 3.1, but the staff is also seriously at work to prevent the recurrence of any bugs by thoroughly investigating their causes.


If you play normally, it's rare to encounter bugs, and players definitely do discuss them.


Yoshida: Even if they're fairly uncommon, we want to be aware of them and focus on eliminating them, not just reducing them. We perform verification of the content, but some don't get caught in advance, like the issue when moving zones into Diadem. Even though we repeatedly moved into the zone many times, whether by bad luck or just not enough tests, it was something that we didn't encounter during our testing. That's something I'll be talking over with the QA team to try to better understand. Of course, players will do things with a much higher frequency than our QA team's tests can attempt, so we're still looking at new test methods, for example things we can test during development, to see if there are any additional stages we can add to prevent this from happening. I hope to have this aligned for patches 3.2 and 3.3.


Looking forward to it.


Things of note:

3.15 will have a new story quest (similar to but not -is- Hildebrand.)


3.15 will drop late December but before Christmas.


3.15 will include Anima Weapons.


3.15 will not have a live letter.


Based on the data during the weekend of 11/14-11/15 they're predicting "that there will always be 5 digits of players in The Diadem."


Kage notes:

I fucking love Hildebrand and I want him back now.


Yoshida: Speaking of "the void," what's on the other side in another world was also a theme back in FFXI. As things progress and you find out the true purpose of the Warriors of Darkness, you'll start to see connections with elements surrounding the void, so things should get interesting.

Do the Zodiac also have some relation to the void?


Yoshida: Hmmm (laughs). Things like the Umbral Era and the Ascians will come into play in a variety of ways, but this is all ahead of us. By the time we get to the finale of the 3.X series, their purpose and how it happened should all become pretty clear. It will be clarified a little in the plot.



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