Phase one of the beta testing of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is about to begin, and to celebrate the occasion (after we received quite a sizable bunch of assets yesterday) Square Enix held another Letter from the Producer Live videocast with Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida responding to quite a lot of questions from the fans (read by Community Manager Toshio Murouchi) and President Yoichi Wada playing the funny guy of the Manzai duo and showing off “confidential” sketches and artwork on camera.
Many criticize Wada-san, but I surely don’t know many company presidents (especially Japanese ones) willing to play the clown for the audience during the launch of a game. At the very least he’s a good sport.
Since the event was held at quite an ungodly hour, below you can find the translation of the questions and answers (provided by the game’s community team) and quite a few screencaps from the stream showing the beta version of Ul’dah and Limsa Lominsa, FATE events and many pieces of artwork (as usual shown on paper), including housing furniture like bathing tubs, pets, equipment and PvP armor and areas.
Of course remember that the screencaps are taken from a livestream, so quality will unfortunately be very low. Square Enix will, as usual, release a subtitled version of the video in a few days.
There’s quite a lot of information to munch on, so arm yourself with patience and coffee and read on.
Q1: What’s the difference between Free Company housing and individual player housing?
A1: Fundamentally, there will not be many differences since individual housing will have the same features as Free Company housing when it is released; however, there will be differences in regards to whether the parks and towers are set for personal use or for Free Company members.
Q2: How much will the houses and land cost?
A2: We would like to keep it a secret at this current stage. Stay tuned!
Q3: Will housing be implemented at launch?
A3: We’re planning to release housing with the first major update.
Q4: Are we going to be able to change into a different set of clothing when we bathe?
A4: Yes, you will be able to change into a different set of clothing before you take a bath (i.e. bathing suits, fire resistant gear, etc.)!
Q5: Are there plans to release the game on PlayStation 4 (or next gen consoles) in the future?
A5: While we would like everyone to enjoy the game on a variety of platforms, we would first like to focus on releasing the game on PlayStation 3.
Q6: Will there be a downloadable version of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn for PS3/PC?
Q7: Will we be able to listen to background music that was used in 1.0 in A Realm Reborn?
A7: While we don’t have plans to have this for launch, in the future we think it would be cool to introduce a jukebox type of feature for housing where you can listen to your favorite songs.
Q8: Will you continue to update the Developers’ Blog after the release of A Realm Reborn?
A8: I’m sure that if there are enough calls for it, Project Manager M and the Localization team members will answer!
Q9: You mentioned previously that you’re working to include summoner in time for launch. Is it going to make it?
A9: Yes, it will!
Q10: How will fishing work in FFXIV: A Realm Reborn?
A10: It’s probably best if you actually experience it in-game, so let me just go over the broad concept. In ARR, you will first need to walk near a water spot, select a fishing pole that matches the type of water, and then select the bait. There will be no actions during the fishing process. Instead, we will be providing a variety of fish-types depending on the area.
Q11: Could you tell us any information about possible new classes/jobs like thief, ninja, samurai, musketeer?
A11: We feel that their is a lack of scout and caster type of classes. Our overseas players continue to mention ninja and samurai, but we realize that we need a good variety of jobs!
Q12: You previously stated that the status bonuses will change in A Realm Reborn. Will 1.0 players be able to re-spec?
A12: Yes, 1.0 players will be able to re-spec their attributes!
Q13: NPCs in Ul’dah have moved, but has the city itself changed?
A13: I believe you’ll get a good understanding if you’ve seen the “End of an Era” video, but since Ul’dah wasn’t hit by Bahamut’s attack, there are really no changes to Ul’dah in this regard. To give a simple example of a change, the previously unpassable gates in Ul’dah have been opened! (Showed off a picture showing the revamps to the city.)
Q14: You showed a screenshot of train tracks. Will players be able to ride on trains in A Realm Reborn?
A14: Stay tuned! By the way, train tracks will also be available in other locations, too!
Q15: Will shouts be displayed when you are inside Free Company housing?
A15: Since we will have the duty finder and you won’t want to be bothered by shouts when talking with your Free Company allies, fundamentally, we plan to make it so shouts are not displayed in the log while in housing. The shout system will also be updated and it will reach an entire area now.
Q16: Any chance we will be able to change our characters to a left-handed character?
A16: Unfortunately, this will be too difficult of a task because that will impact the cut scenes for the class quests and job quests.
Q17: What is a “Legacy Config” option you selected?
A17: It refers to a configuration wherein players will be able to set their controls and movement method similar to how they were in 1.0.
Q18: Could you please explain a bit on the item bind system and why it was implemented?
A18: All items that generate 1 spiritbond will become bound. The largest reason for this is that “used” gear will flood the marketplace and it will become difficult for crafters to break into the market, so we are implementing this to stimulate the marketplace.
Q19: At what height will we take fall damage?
A19: Characters won’t take fall damage that easily. The plan is “Even the strongest adventure that can take down a primal will get hurt if they fall from this height!
Q20: If you are low level and fall from a high location, will you die?
A20: The damage is a percentage of your HP. Also, regardless of how high you fall we’ve made it so in the worst case scenario your HP will fall to 1, so you will not die. However, if you jump and have aggro from a monster or are on their hate list, there’s a good chance you may die!
Q21: Please tell us more about the changes to the materia system!
A21: We have changed how affixing multiple materia works and the adjusted the types of materia. We will make a detailed announcement once we are ready to release the details. Stay tuned!
Q22: Please tell us more about chocobo raising!
A22: We’ll first be releasing housing, but you’ll be able to set up a chocobo stable and purchase a baby chocobo to raise. Once you have a chocobo stable you will also be able to do things like breed chocobos and train them.
Q23: Please tell us more about “Treasure Maps.”
A23: We will most likely end up implementing the “Treasure Map” system through an update. Basically, Disciples of the Land will have a chance to obtain a treasure map while gathering. The treasure map will provide the players with a hint of a specific location. Once the players figure out where the location is and goes to that location, a ton of monsters will spawn and the players will receive a reward after defeating the spawned monsters.
Q24: Will monsters also take fall damage?
A24: Monsters are monsters, so no…
Q25: What’s with the icons above NPC’s heads that look like the icon is on fire?
A25: This is a quest icon, but it’s showing that this NPC has an important quest related to the main storyline.
Q26: You previously stated that you will be changing how the gear set works. Could you be a little more specific?
A26: We are planning to completely overhaul the gear set system. The temporary, work-in-progress, name for the new system is called the “Armoury Board.” The current plan is to show a catalogue of items that player owns and players will be able to create different alias for their created gear sets.
Q27: For the duty finder, what would happen if there were characters with the same character name? Can you tell us what will happen to the names and if you can invite specific players by name?
A27: Even if the players searching have the same name there won’t be any problems! It will be possible to play in the same dungeon with both players keeping the same name. It will not be possible, however, to invite specific players by name.
Q28: Will we be able to fight giant monsters such as the Adamantoise that appears in the benchmark video?
A28: The benchmark video contains content that was specially created for PR-purposes, but you will be able to fight giant monsters starting from phase 1 of the Beta Test. Experience it for yourself and let us know if you want to fight something even bigger!
Q29: Please tell us some details on the FATE system. I’m worried what will happen during times or areas where there are not many people, and whether this will be disruptive for quests and gathering. Do you have countermeasure planned?
A29: Since gatherers will have stealth, they’ll be able to avoid aggressive monsters. We are also looking into making it so that FATE does not occur in areas where there are a low number of people.
Q30: Will there be any gimmicks when FATE is activated (bridges falling, beastmen/empire soldiers attacking, etc.)?
A30: Yes. What you see now in this Producer Live video is close to that.
Q31: Could you tell us some details about retainers in ARR? Will you be able to have them gather for you? Will it be possible to change their appearance when you hire them? Also, will it be possible to change the name and race of our retainer?
A31: Fundamentally, the retainers role of selling goods and storing items for you will not change. We are planning to add a feature so that retainers can do things for you like gathering in a future patch. You’ll be able keep their names as they were, but we will be preparing a re-hiring flag, so if there are a lot of requests we will look into name changes. Since retainer names are unique, there may be cases where names will overlap making it necessary to re-name them.
Q32: How will we fight NMs in A Realm Reborn? Will they only appear in FATE battles and dungeons?
A32: For the most part, NMs will only appear in FATE battles.
Q33: Has the battle system changed since the Alpha Version?
A33: The global cooldown on actions was reduced by 0.5 seconds.
Q34: Yoshida’s character only has 556 HP even he’s level 50. Isn’t that a little bit too low?
A34: The HP isn’t accurate because we’re playing on the development server in debug mode.
Q35: Will Gilgamesh appear in FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn?
A35: Yes, we have plans to introduce Gilgamesh through a series of quests. The quests will most likely be introduced in stages.
Q36: Will it be possible in the future to change our character’s appearance once they have been created?
A36: We’re thinking it would be possible for hairstyles, hair color, and eye color. We’ve already mentioned about a beauty parlor, so it should be possible to show you all soon.
Q37: What type of Free Company-related rewards and achievements will there be? How will the ranking system work? Are there benefits to forming a Free Company?
A37: We’re planning to introduce a variety of achievements related to the Free Company (i.e. forming a Free Company, having a certain number of members in your Free Company, complete a certain number of quests, etc.). As far as rewards goes, we don’t want to force players to form Free Companies so there are no plans to introduce rewards tied to the Free Company. However, there will be benefits for those who have formed a Free Company for an extended period of time.
Q38: In terms of new races, what kind of races are you looking into and will mixed races be introduced?
A38: I don’t think we’ll have mixed races for a while. Since it seems like Viera is popular around the world we have been proactively looking into this, but since having a rabbit male might be kind of weird, maybe we’ll look into having a separate race for the male counterpart.
Q39: What type of PvP battles are you planning to introduce?
A39: We are currently planning to implement a matching system wherein players will fight against other players of the same skill level.
Q40: This might be a bit early to ask, but could you tell us any plans for an expansion?
A40: As we just mentioned before about the addition of a new race, we are looking into this for the first expansion, which we would like to release within two years of launch.
Q41: Any chance you will be able to us with an audio-related spoiler?
A41: Unfortunately, we are currently unable to provide an audio-related spoiler because it might violate a contract. Stay tuned!
Q42: Will it be possible to do anything with smartphones?
A42: We are currently developing software that can also be used for FFXI and Dragon Quest 10, and we plan on making it possible to use this. In addition to this we are also planning to have features where you can browse your personal character data, as well as a large official database that you can use to check various information such as items, quests, NPC locations, and which NPCs offer quests.
Q43: I remember you showed us artwork that had a baby behemoth on New Year’s day. How does that work?
A43: Basically they are pets that you can bring along with you. These pets will be referred to as “minions.” We are planning to introduce a variety of minions so stay tuned! Also, these minions are items and that means players will be able to trade minions with other players.
Q44: When will the character creation benchmark be released?
A44: We plan on using that as a final PR push right before launch, so it will be after Beta Test phase 3.
Q45: How often are you planning to update the game after the official release of A Realm Reborn? Also, will you be introducing mini-scenarios not tied to the main scenario during these updates?
A45: We are currently planning to introduce major updates once every 2 and a half months. As far as mini-scenario goes, yes, we will be implementing mini-scenarios as well. Gilgamesh, which we introduced earlier, will be introduced through a mini-scenario.
Q46: How will the worlds from 1.0 be separated with the shift to global data centers?
A46: During Beta Test phase 3, we are planning to have players choose worlds like the world transfer in 1.0. At that time we plan on releasing information on which world will be connected to which data center.