When I started playing the Final Fantasy XIV beta a year ago, I had the nagging feeling that something was out of place. Well, many “somethings”, actually, but this particular one was quite prominent. When I first experienced the Guildleve system, I felt that it wasn’t as bad as many painted it, as much as it was misplaced.
The original development team obviously meant for the Guildleve system to be the core the leveling mechanics of the game, both for parties and solo players. Personally I felt that such a system would have made for a perfect alternate quick and dirty leveling system for solo players, supporting different, mostly group oriented content. I hoped until release to see that idea realized, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. At least, not yet.
In today’s Letter from of the Producer, Naoki Yoshida officially corrected that basic mistake, or at least announced the first steps to address it. Guildleves won’t be the core of Final Fantasy XIV anymore, as much as bite-sized content to be enjoyed by people that prefer playing solo or don’t have much time to play. Back from work late with only one hour left to play? Guildleves are for you.
But if you have more time than that, and want to dedicate to a MMORPG more than a hour or two between dinner and sleep, than Guildleves simply don’t cut it. Recognizing and addressing that is the very first step in the path to turn Final Fantasy XIV into the high-quality game it was supposed to be.
In order to achieve that, the development team will follow a series of steps that include the repositioning of Guildleves as solo-oriented content, the rebalancing of their rewards and usability to that goal and the implementation, now and in future patches, of large amounts of traditional quests that will involve the interaction with NPCs.
Yoshida concludes the letter with a quite bold statement: “1.18 has proven to be a time-consuming patch, but there’s a good reason for this. 1.18 is the momentous first bold step towards the ideal game that we’ve envisioned, and we hope our fans will be able to feel and appreciate the passion that went into its creation.”
But the Producer Letter isn’t the only good read for the Final Fantasy XIV hopefuls. The Japanese gaming site 4gamer.net published an interview to the Yoshida himself, Akihiko Matsui (Battle Content Lead) and Mitsutoshi Gondai (Battle Planner). A full translated version is available on Eorzeapedia.
Many interesting points are made on what’s to come in the next few months, including interesting snippets like the one about “a big storyline” being part of the upcoming patch 1.18. Yoshida also talks about the future PS3 version of the game, demonstrating once more that Square Enix still plans to release Final Fantasy XIV on Sony’s console.
Looks like this summer will be quite hot for the playerbase of Final Fantasy XIV. Personally, as a player that decided to stick with the game, recognizing the many much needed innovations it brings to the genre despite the bumpy ride it offers, I’m quite eager to see what will come.