The troubled history of Final Fantasy XIV has come to an end today, and as the adventurers of Eorzea finally rest their weary souls, Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida came to us with another Letter from the Producer Live about the upcoming A Realm Reborn.
Yoshida-san apologized for the connection problems during the final event, and confirmed that the dragon during the beautiful final trailer is Bahamut (since a lot of people were actually conflicted between Bahamut and Shinryu). Then he proceeded with the questions and answers, while showing an impressively fluid alpha despite the presence of a whole army of overly jumpy players on the screen.
Below you can find a recap of all the questions and answers translated by the Final Fantasy XIV community team, and a few screencaps of the most relevant assets shown during the livestream (my personal comments will be in parenthesis and italicized).
Q1: Will Hildibrand make an appearance in ARR?
A1: Of course! He will most likely face brand-new challenges. Please look forward to it in ARR!
Q2: Will we be able to change our character name at the start of ARR?
A2: We’ll continue to look at the possibilities until the very end, but it looks like we will be able to provide this option.
Q3: Will my character’s chest be bouncy?
A3: If you are an expert in this area, you will most likely understand, but they will… *boing boing*
(looks like we’re going the Dead or Alive route here… Who am I fooling… Yay for “boing boing”!)
Q4: Will we be able to use Magitek armor in battle? Also, would it be possible to provide us with additional info on the other mounts you’re planning to implement?
A4: Unfortunately, we currently do not have plans for the Magitek armor to be usable in battle. However, we may treat this particular mount in a special way. Also, we’re currently planning to implement a Coeurl mount. We’re currently in the process of testing out the animations.
Q5: In the current version of the game for primal battles, a lot of pressure is put on tanks and healers. For A Realm Reborn will there be any rebalancing of each role’s responsibility?
A5: Not only for ARR, but for MMORPGs in general, the tank’s role is extremely important as they have to hold hate, and the healers role is equally important, however, if attackers are not able to deal damage the fight will go on and on, so it’s not the case where other classes are not as important or busy. We’d like to have everyone try out the Beta Test to see how everything is balanced.
(I’ll really have to try this one out. Hopefully enemity reset mechanics won’t be abused as they were in the first incarnation of the game)
A6: With the content finder, players will have the option to chose from multiple types of content. While the current players may have a different level of motivation compared with the new players when it comes to participating in content, players from different Worlds will be able to play together and have the option to choose the content of their choice.
Q7: Will there be any changes to 8-person parties in A Realm Reborn? Are there any plans for solo or low-man content?
A7: For raids the focus will be on 8-person parties. For instanced dungeons there will also be 4-person party ones. In regards to high-level content, we are planning to make it fundamentally focused on full parties, however there will be casual content as well. For example, one plan we have is for content called “FULL ACTIVE TIME EVENT.” This is content that contains various elements such as fighting against a bunch of monsters that spawn and hamlet defense-like elements. For the time being, think of it as there will be a lot of different content in a variety of places.
(Public quests inbound!)
Q8: You mentioned that the concept of the Monk job was going be changed. Would it be possible to provide a little bit more information? (Such as if STR/INT will continue to be their main attribute, what kind of abilities they will have, etc.)
A8: The main attribute for all classes and jobs will be completely different. Since the whole battle system will be revamped, we will make the necessary changes to accommodate these changes.
Q9: Will there be anything new added for crafters and gatherers in ARR?
A9: We currently do not have anything planned that is specific for gatherers and crafters that could be considered as a “main focus”. However, they will play an important part for things like housing (such as changing roofs, etc.) for example.
Q10: Please tell us more about the new market system.
A10: The retainer system has been revamped from the ground up. We are planning to implement new functions such as the auction house system, which was requested by a ton of players. Additionally, you will be able to display the retainer of your liking while in the wards. It’s quite difficult to explain so please see for yourself in the Beta Test!
(The Auction House is going to make a lot of people happy, that’s for sure)
Q11: How will the materia system change in ARR?
A11: Basically, there won’t be too many changes. In the current version, there are fluctuations in the resulting stats for materia, but in ARR these fluctuations will be removed. The rate for multiple melding will be higher than it is currently, and the materia system as a whole will be made more casual.
Q12: I found some artwork related to the housing system. Can you tell us more about it?
A12: Here’s the artwork for a large size house. As you can see, large houses will come with balconies. If you plan to purchase a house of this caliber, it will require a very large amount of gil.
You will be able to set entry restrictions for your house. With this function, you will be able to specify which players will have access to your house. With the larger houses, we plan to release it as a headquarters for the free companies initially, and then release it as a personal house later on. Additionally, you will be able to place parks and towers within your houses and these objects will provide special bonuses such as experience bonus, HQ rate bonus for crafting, etc.
Furthermore, we have plans to turn a portion of a room to an instance that the players will be able to live in.
(I will admit that I’m not exactly sure about what this last line means…but it’s housing, so it can’t be bad, can it?)
Q13: How much will housing, including the interior and furniture, cost?
A13: We will be lowering the value of gil in ARR, so this is quite difficult to say, but a couple of level 50 players that save up their gil can get an S-sized house.
(I wonder if the meager five million gil I saved with my character will be enough… For some reason I feel this is going to hurt)
Q14: Will we be able to form free companies even if we are from different grand companies? Tell us more about free companies!
A14: Regardless of your grand company, you will be able to join a free company. Who you build your free company with is up to you and we leave the role playing up to you. There will be a value system for grand companies, “reputation,” so you’ll be able to contribute to a grand company of your liking.
Q15: Will you be selling that sweet poster of the primals?
A15: We’re planning to make it into a poster, but this one behind us is just for promotional use. We also have a lot of other plans!
(They better have security around their stand at the next event they go to, or they might receive some night-time poster-stealing visits…)
Q16: How are you planning to attach the Legacy bonuses (i.e. chocobo, etc.)?
A16: The Legacy bonuses will be tied to the Square Enix accounts. As long as your account is flagged as a Legacy account, existing characters and new characters will be able to receive the associated bonuses.
Q17: When will the PC benchmark be released?
A17: We’re planning to release the first one around the time of the Beta Test. The first one will be to check your system in order to play the Beta and the other benchmark will be released around the timing of the launch of ARR. We are planning to have character creation in the second benchmark.
Q18: Will we be able to switch the language of the subtitles and the voices? If so, will we able to switch it in-game?
A18: While we plan to increase the languages that are supported, we currently do not have plans for players to be able to switch the language of the subtitle. The voices can be switched while in the game, but you will not be able to switch during a cut scene.
(At last I’ll be able to play the game with the Japanese voices. Can’t say this doesn’t make me happy considering the previous experience…)
Q19: Tell us if there will be any physical evidence on our characters that they survived the Seventh Umbral Era!
A19: Sorry, but we cannot tell you right now! We will let you know once the time comes!
Q20: Please tell us more about the Crystal Tower and the Great Labyrinth of Bahamut!
A20: The Crystal Tower will be an alliance-specific raid and an alliance party consists of three parties. Both the Crystal Tower and the Great Labyrinth of Bahamut will be expanded in multiple stages.
Also, as far as the Great Labyrinth of Bahamut goes, you probably figured out the Dalamud was used to imprison Bahamut. Players will find out why Bahamut was trapped, why the key-like object fell to the ground, what role the key plays in the dungeon, etc. Sorry, this is much as I can say for now!
A21: *Yoshida shows off new images of various characters belonging to different races*
(Do I spot long hair on that female Midlander? And a female Highlander too? My day has been made)
Q22: When will we be able to use the new hairstyles and other features that are added?
A22: We are trying our best so that you can use them during testing, but there is a chance that they will be implemented into the Beta without all of the animations finalized.
Q23: In the 3rd player survey, there was a question about new races/clans, but when and what race will be implemented? Will there be Viera or beastmen/lizardmen?
A23: Viera are extremely popular amongst our players overseas, so we are lost in thought on this one. We haven’t decided anything as of yet and are still looking into this. In the event that we do add them, it will be in the future in an expansion.
(Bunny girls mh?)
Q24: Once the PvP content is implemented, will we be able to fight Yoshi-P?
A24: There are multiple people from the development team who put a lot of thought into the PvP system and we currently do have plans to implement a system where players will be able to fight against the development team. As an additional note, we have plans for players to be able to fight Wada for an event!
(I can see a fighting Wada event becoming quite popular…)
Q25: Depending on the area, will maps change based on the season? For example, flowers blossoming, leaves changing color or falling off trees, etc.
A25: Areas will have certain elements, so you will be able to feel the seasons. However, Eorzea’s time and real world time are slightly different, and there are different times around the world as well, but we will be matching it to Japan since it is a game originating in Japan. As we showed you before, there are snowy mountains, so we hope you’ll be able to experience the varying seasons.
Q26: Are there any plans to expand inventory size? Also, are there any plans for us to be able to send an item to our secondary character easily?
A26: Unfortunately, we do not have plans to increase the player’s inventory size (maybe a little). However, we do have plans to expand a player’s storage. We also have plans for players to be able to increase the number of gear sets they can have through quests. As far as sending an item to a secondary character goes, in ARR, you will only be able to send letters and items to your friends. As long as you know a character’s info, you will be able to send them a letter/item.
Furthermore, we are planning out the delivery system so that player’s won’t be able to abuse the system (anti-RMT measures).
Q27: When can overseas players join the Alpha Test?
A27: The first phase of the Alpha Test has been completed, and we have managed to solve almost all of the issues when player numbers increase. We’ve made it possible to safely run the game with 800 people in a single area, but once it the area exceeds 800 people we’ve seen some heavy lag. Next week will not have an Alpha Test and we’ll be focusing on fixing this. The week after if we are able to hold five days of tests with no issues, we will open Alpha globally on November the 26th.
(That’s not too long…I guess. Which is good because I’m starting to itch)
Q28: Will it be possible to get married? Will same-sex marriage be possible?
A28: There will be a cathedral in ARR, and this was created so that marriage can be performed. We will release information on this once marriage is possible. Same-sex marriage is an extremely fragile topic, so for now we would like to only have opposite-sex marriage to start.
(*Dons his flame-retardant suit*)
Q29: What’s the counter that’s appearing on the right side of the alpha test screen?
A29: That is the number of party invites and friend invites I have received.
Q30: Can you tell us what’s planned for equipment dyeing? Can you dye artifact?
A30: For dyeing, there will be colors that can be purchased from NPCs and there will also be those that will be made by Disciples of the Land/Hand. It will be possible to dye gear that has already been dyed a different color. At the start there will be 24 colors, but there will also be rare colors besides these 24. In regards to the methods for dying, the places you can dye are decided based on the equipment, and only that part can be dyed. For artifact we are not planning to allow for color changes at first. We don’t want to destroy the image of artifact armor, but we’d like to do this in the future.
Q31: When you create a new character in ARR, they come with the race-specific gear. Will existing players also receive the race-specific gear? Also, are there any plans to implement a high-level version of the race-specific gear?
A31: Existing players will also be able to obtain the new race-specific gear. As far as the high-level version goes, while we currently do not have plans to implement them, if we receive a large amount of requests, we’ll take it into consideration.
Q32: Will you need to buy a separate registration code for the PS3 version if you are playing on PC? Will it be possible to play on both PC and PS3 with the same account?
A33: We apologize, but it will be necessary to purchase a separate PS3 registration code. It’s possible for a PC version character to play on PS3, so it will be possible to alternate.
Q33: Will be able to challenge “The Raven, Nevermore” in ARR? Also, will we still be able to obtain the primal weapons?
A33: Unfortunately, “The Raven, Nevermore” was implemented specifically for the current version of FFXIV. Therefore, you will not be able to challenge it in ARR. However, the primal weapons will be available in ARR.
(Oh well, we already knew this, and the earrings it awarded were really rather lame anyway…)
Q34: Is there anything else besides Carbuncle for Arcanist? Any other new information besides Arcanist, Summoner, artifact, and Relics?
A35: Arcanist will basically only use Carbuncle, but there is a chance we expand on this in the future. It’s a bit tough to release new information right now, but there are these things… (Shows arcanist rewards for Great Labyrinth of Bahamut, arcanist book that can be purchased with grand company seals, job equipment for summoner, class-specific arcanist equipment)
Q35: I would like to know when the Beta Test will start and I’d like an updated version of the road map.
A35: Currently we are about two months and two weeks behind schedule compared to the road map that was released on Oct. 14, 2011. The main reason of the delay is the vast amount of adjustments that needed to be taken care of two months ago. While we’d like to stay on schedule, we want to make sure we create a top-tier MMORPG that can compete against the rest of the MMORPGs in the market. Therefore, we wanted to spend as much as time as we need until we are satisfied with the product.
Sorry to keep you all waiting, but we plan on releasing a new roadmap around the end of November/early December.
We’re starting to prepare for the Beta Test which we would like to implement at the end of January or early February. However, we are doing our best to make it so we can have the servers open 24 hours to allow for more and more players to participate in the Alpha Test, so please hang in there a bit longer for finalized details.
(I’m sure the most impatient won’t be happy about this, but I’d sure rather have a great game later than an incomplete one…)
As a final note, they also shown the artwork above, without really explaining what kind of equipment it is about. Feel free to speculate wildly in the comments.
That’s quite a lot of information, for a single Letter from the Producer Live. Now, if I may be excused, I’m going back to cry over the Final Fantasy XIV ending cutscene. It’s just too moving.