Today Square Enix broadcasted another Final Fantasy XIV: a Realm Reborn Letter from the Producer Live webcast, starring Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida as he responded to a storm of questions from the fans brought by Community Manager Toshio Murouchi.
The broacast started with a surprise: Final Fantasy XIII producer Yoshinori Kitase appeared on screen, talking a bit about Lightning Returns and stating that he’s been playing FFXIV‘s beta. The interesting element is that he appeared with One Winged Angel (Sephiroth’s track) from Final Fantasy VII on the background. He also encouraged viewers to look forward to E3. You can take that peculiar association however you wish, because your guess is as good as mine.
The fact that many elements from Final Fantasy VII like Materia and Limit break are also present in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was also mentioned.
After that they started showing the interior of all three sizes of player-owned ouses. Small size houses will have just one floor, medium and large ones will have a second floor and a basement. The large houses are definitely huge. We also saw some cute carpets. One was even shaped like a Gobbue.
After that they moved to the questions and answers, that you can find below. The translation was provided by the Square Enix community team. My personal comments are in italics.
Q1: Will Phase 3 of the Beta Test only be conducted on the weekends?
A1: For a while it will be only on the weekends, but for the latter half of Beta Test Phase 3 we will have tests that last longer.
Q2: If a housing area becomes full, will it automatically create a new instance? Or is that something you will have to do manually?
A2: In order to use the server space efficiently, we will monitor the situation and add instances through updates when necessary.
Q3: Is it possible to have a storefront with a counter in your housing area?
A3: Yes, this is possible. We will continue to add objects and I believe it will be possible to have a store-like setup by using retainers and such.
Q4: Will the houses have balconies?
A4: It will differ depending on the type of house. While some will have balconies, others won’t.
At this point the stream pretty much exploded on Youtube due to excessive traffic and everyone was redirected to the backup stream on Ustream. A few minutes later Ustream exploded as well. Finally the Youtube stream was raised from the dead, limited to 720p resolution, so screencaps from this point onward are a little less detailed. Keep that in mind.
Q5: What happens if there is a critical bug found during Beta Test phase 3 or 4 and it cannot be fixed in time for release? What kind of countermeasures are you considering?
A5: If it came to this, I believe it would be difficult to release the game in that state, but the entire development team is working hard to ensure that this does not happen.
The vista shown at this point was absolutely stunning, with a field of view that went all the way from High Bridge to Ul’dah. It definitely shown off the power of the new engine, paired with some awesome lighting.
Q6: Will we be able to carry over our friend list/linkshell from 1.0?
A6: As far as the linkshell goes, you will generally be able to carry it over. However, if the linkshell leader chooses to go to a different World with the World Transfer, the linkshell will be disbanded. On the other hand, the friend list in 1.0 was more of a bookmark than a friend list. In ARR, the features of the friend list have changed. Unlike 1.0, the other player will have to accept the friend invite. When you first start ARR, a mass friend invite will be sent to the players on your friend list and if the other player accepts the invite, they will be added to your friend list.
Q7: Show us the duty finder!
A7: The dungeons that you can participate in using the Duty Finder will be added to the Duty Finder list after you have completed the quest. Also, when participating in dungeons that are lower level than you character, level sync will be applied and it will be possible to participate at the appropriate level. You’ll also be able to modify things such as language settings.
At this point Yoshida-san moved to showcase the Contents Finder (FFXIV’s version of the Dungeon Finder), in which players will be able to select their role and a few other options. The content finder is also usable from inside dungeons. Dungeons will have the Level Sync feature activated, allowing players of different levels to play together. The menu shown available dungeons at levels 15, 16, 17, 20, 23 and 29.
Q8: When will the new Lodestone launch?
A8: We are planning to open it during Beta Test phase 3 or perhaps between phase 3 and 4, and are currently making final checks.
Q9: Will be able to specify multiple jobs on the duty finder?
A9: No, you will not.
Q10: Will we be required to use jump to complete content?
A10: Generally no, but there may be some battle content where jumping will offer an advantage.
Q11: In regards to retainer sharing, for example, if you have one account with three characters on the same world, will we be sharing 2 retainers between 3 characters or have 6 retainers?
A11: While their inventory will be empty, the retainers will be shared.
Q12: I would like to know about the World names that will be ready at launch and also which of those Worlds will be prepared for legacy/new players.
A12: The Worlds used in version 1.0 (a.k.a Legacy Worlds) will remain as is. Also, those Worlds will have the “Legacy” tag at the end of the World name. As far as Worlds for new players, it will be announced via the Developers’ Blog so please stay tuned!
Q13: Besides regular crafting recipes, will there be special recipes that you can obtain as rewards from battle, quests, or achievements?
A13: While they will not be available at launch, we plan on looking into this for the future.
Q14: Do you plan on distributing new “heat-resistant gear”? (Heat-Resistant Gear is FFXIV’s euphemism for swimsuits)
A14: Yes, we do!
Q15: Please show us an in-game footage of companions in battle.
A15: The companions will have “stances” and will act according to what stance they are in. There will stances that will prioritize attacks and stances that will prioritize healing. On top of the stances, there will be a skill tree system where you will be able to teach the companion new abilities by spending points. Companions will be available from phase 3 of the Beta Test.
Q16: You called your companion with some Gyashl Greens; are these consumable items?
A16: Yes, it’s a consumable item.
Q17: Will arcanists be able to summon both the companion and carbuncle at the same time?
A17: Yes, they can.
Yoshida-san then showed the buddy Chocobo and its ability to use its own skills in battle, and to be set on different stances (Attacker, Defender, Healer). He also managed to fail terribly in a battle against an Ixal, before moving to a weaker and safer opponent.
Pictures from the NicoNico Chokaigi event were also shown during the break (you can see them in the gallery with the rest of the screencaps). And yes, that’s Sound Director and Composer Masayoshi Soken taking pictures of a host’s knee socks. He loves them.
After the break Yoshida moved to the PS3 client to show how it looks, starting from character creation. He displayed a few new hairstyles (including some of the heavily requested long ones), the new color palettes, the ability to set each eye to a different color and to mirror face paint to the opposite side of the face. You can distinguish PS3 screenshots in the gallery at the bottom of this post from the cross-shaped controller UI. The detail displayed is obviously lower than the PC version, even if it definitely still looks awesome, especially for a MMORPG on a console.
Q18: Could you show us some new hairstyles that will be implemented?
A18: As for the barber shop, we plan to implement it in patch 2.1 (referred to as patch 2.1 among the development team). In addition to the barber shop, there will be additional hairstyles implemented as well!
Q19: So about that scholar rumor…?
A19: Scholar will be implemented at the start of service as a job! Look for details on scholar at E3!
…And the game’s official forums exploded.
Q20: Is there any new information on musketeer?
Q21: Do you have any plans to add another healer besides the white mage?
A21: You might see a new class/job that can heal in the future
Q22: Show us monk in action!
A22: We have a special surprise for you after the stream is done, so please be sure to check it out!
Q23: Regarding the materia system in ARR, will it be possible to meld materia to equipment regardless of your class?
A23: The class that can meld the materia is the class that can repair the item you would like to add materia to.
Q24: Will we be able to equip different types of weapons in the future?
A24: Hmmm. While I don’t want to say no, I personally think it’s better to just add new classes/jobs instead.
Q25: Will you be implementing weapons that attack multiple times?
A25: We are not thinking about introducing multi-hit weapons, but we are thinking to introduce this via abilities and skills.
Q26: Regarding the vanity slot, when will it be implemented and how much freedom will we have?
A26: We are currently to implemented in patch 2.2 (second major patch). As far as the freedom goes, as we stated during the previous live letter, black mages will not be able to equip heavy armor, etc.
Q27: Will equipment dyeing only be possible for the main color? Or will it be possible to dye the accent colors as well?
A27: The portions that can be dyed are pre-set, but depending on the item it will be different.
Q28: Will the “haste” spell be implemented? If not, are there effects similar to haste?
A28: There are abilities that will increase your speed. Additionally, there are equipment that will decrease the global cooldown.
Q29: Do you have any plans to implement elemental weaknesses/resistances? Also, please tell us why you eliminated these.
A29: There was already a lengthy response about this on the Beta forum, but to give you an example, if you are fighting Ifrit and his weakness is water, then classes and jobs that are proficient in fire would be excluded from participating. Since we want to make participating in content easy with the Duty Finder, we felt that this wasn’t good and decided to get rid of it.
Q30: Could you show us an in-game footage of the Armoury Chest?
A30: In ARR, you have the ability to change into different classes/jobs on a single character. Due to this, players often have to carry a large amount of equipment in their inventory. During the previous Beta Tests, we received numerous feedback about the usability of the gear set. We discussed the matter internally and we believe this is the best way to satisfy everyone’s needs.
All equipment will be stored in your Armoury Chest and you will be able to store up to 25 items per slot. In addition, you will be able to equip and repair by clicking on the item. As for the gear set, you will be able to select any item within the Armoury Chest and therefore will no longer need to prepare multiple items of the same type if the item is equipped by multiple classes/jobs
Q31: Will there be multiple parts to target on huge monsters?
A31: We are planning to add this to Behemoth, but for the general FATEs we do not plan on having this type of system.
Q32: Do you have any countermeasure in mind for free company leaders who leave without notice?
A32: We will have countermeasures, such as passing the authority to the sub-leader, so please don’t worry.
Q33: Will there be any changes or adjustments to the fighting and running animations for each race and gender?
A33: The running animations will be different. There is a concern that it would take too long to implement everything if we were to make every class and job animation different, so we are thinking to show each race’s individuality via emotes and such.
Q34: You previously stated that there’s a limit to how many times you will be able to “NEED” on a dropped item. Will it be counted even if you don’t win the roll?
A34: While there won’t be any limit to how many times you will be able to NEED on an item, we do have plans to implement a restriction of some kind.
Q35: What kind of ability will limit breaks be? Please tell us about the area of attack and requirements to use it.
A35: In regards to the area of attack, you will use it by placing something known as a ground target. We will be announcing the different type of limit breaks at E3, so please look forward to it!
Q36: When the limit break gauge is full, will we receive any recommendation on what class/job to activate with?
A36: Since that will be one of the exciting parts of battle, there are no plans to add a feature of that nature.
Q37: Will you continue to have Letter from the Producer LIVE after the game is launched?
A37: We would like to continue these as we enjoy holding them very much!
Q38: Please tell us about each job’s unique features, such as dragoons specialities for physical attack and the difference between the two tanks, paladin and warrior.
A38: Dragoon is your standard damage dealer. However, by attacking from behind or the from the side of your enemy you will get bonuses and buffs. These bonuses can stack and enhance your damage. Also, when you talk about dragoon of course they have jump, and in ARR we will have a variety of different jumps. You can use jump to get close, leg sweep to stun, and then run behind them and attack with a multitude of abilities.
In regards to monk which was shown on the stream, using a single weapon skill will determine a “form” which will determine the next weapon skill you can use. Additionally, you will be able to link forms together. Depending on the form you can receive a haste effect which will reduce your global cooldown, so by linking a bunch of forms it will really open up possibilities.
With that said, each damage dealer has their own special characteristics, just as classes/jobs and paladin/warrior have their special differences.
Q39: What’s the start date of phase 3?
A39: I would like to apologize to those who thought that phase 3 will start tomorrow. Unfortunately, there’s scheduled building maintenance that will occur on June 1st to June 2nd.
As for the start date, the current plan is June 14th, unless we encounter a critical bug!
There you have it, lots of info, lovely graphics (and the PS3 version shows an enormous improvement from the footage we saw previously, with much steadier framerates), and a new and previously unannounced job confirmed. What’s not to love?
In the gallery below you can see 233 screencaps from the event, while we wait for the recording to be available. You can also enjoy the job actions trailer shown at the end of the livestream.
Update: also added the recording of the live letter, thanks to Chris “Doctor Mog” Smullen.