Today Square Enix broadcasted the 13th Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Letter from the Producer Live directly from Sapporo, Hokkaido, starring Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida, Community Manager Toshio Murouchi and Main Scenario Writer Kazutoyo Maehiro.
Today’s focus was the upcoming 2.2 update Through the Maelstorm that will hit the live servers on March 27th. Below you can see a recap of the information shared, and a gallery with all the relevant screencaps including in-game screenshots and footage.
The first subject discussed was the Glamours feature, that will allow players to give a piece of equipment the look of another. There will be restrictions, so you won’t be able to wear the looks of equipment with a job/class restriction that doesn’t match your class/job, and the equipment you put on another piece needs to be of lower level of equal.
The item needed to do the transformation has different grades, but it’s not expensive and can be crafted. You can of course also revert the change with another special item. It can be done with weapons as well. You can even use items that have both body and head covered on those that have just the body, but in that case the head part won’t be shown.
The Next feature discussed is Retainer Venture, that lets you use retainers to complete tasks. Retainers can gain experience and will level up. Higher levels will be required to acquire certain items from higher level ventures.
You can choose fighter, sorcerer and gatherer classes for your retainer, and that will influence the items they’ll bring back. You can also equip them with items you have.
After you’ve equipped them you have to pay them with “chips” to send them to the venture. You can get chips via daily quests and a variety of other ways. Once the retainer departs you’ll have a timer that will show how much time it’ll take to complete the venture. The venture can be canceled but the chips paid will be lost.
Retainers will lose all their levels if they start over with another class, but leveling them up isn’t difficult. Retainers will also be unable to level up any class past the level of their owner. While the retainer is on a Venture it’s still possible to use his usual trading and storage features.
Additional retainers will also be made available as optional paid services up to two additional retainers (for a total of four with the two that are free). They’ll cost 200 yen ($2) each per month.
Moving on to farming, you need a house to be able to use it. You can purchase farming plot and place it in your land. Farming plots have different sizes (small, medium and large) and that determines how many seeds you can plant at the same time. Plants won’t wither like they did in Final Fantasy XI so people can do it in a relaxed way and not worry about watering their plants every day.
Plants will yield items depending on the kind of seed, and more seeds of the same type. Planting two different seeds together can at times produce different breeds that will yield rare items and rare seeds that can be mixed up further.
You can place multiple farming plots and their size isn’t tied to the size of your house. Items will take 3-5 days to grow.
In patch 2.2 the highest item level will be 115 for weapons, 110 for armor. It’ll go up from the current maximum of 95 in increments of five. The new patch will start the Zodiac Weapon quest, but it won’t be finished yet. It’ll continue in the already planned 2.25 patch and then in 2.3, so the weapons will be upgraded over time. It’ll take a long time to complete, and you’ll be able to select the stats for your chosen weapos.
Crafters will also get new gear, but it won’t be easy to obtain.
This time around items you get from the New Coil of Bahamuth and from tomstones will have a different item levels. Yoshida-san encouraged players to try it out to understand how it’ll really work.
Leviathan and King Moggle Mog XII Extreme can be cleared with item level 90, and the weapons you get with Leviathan can be used in conjunction with something to create something else, but Yoshida-san didn’t give further details.
A new materia system is also being worked on.
Fantasia potions to change a character’s looks will be made available for sale with real money, but the exact timing for that will be announced at a later time.
Personal housing doesn’t have a release date yet, as the development team is working on gathering information on the server resources needed, and will give an update in the next producer letter.
Following, the “echo” buff for those that can’t clear a certain challenge has been explained with a series of slides. The buff will increase in steps every time you get defeated up to a limit that depends on the content you’re challenging:
The Binding Coil of Bahamuth will also be added to the content finder, and the weekly limit will be completely removed. Two weeks after the patch the Echo buff will be be implemented and will be enhanced every two weeks up to 30%, even if this can change depending on data gathered from players.
2.2 will bring changes to player matching for PvP, so that lower ranked players won’t be matched with higher ranked ones. 2.25 will bring a big update for PvP and 2.3 will finally come packed with the open world Frontlines factional warfare.
The possibility to enter Crystal Tower with premade 24 player raids and the ability for players to summon their buddy chocobos while waiting for duty finder will come with 2.3 as well.
To make up for the lack of tanks, the daily bonus for dungeons will be raised. In addition to that two special mounts have been implemented for tanks that take part in end game content. They are a bear mount for warriors and a white lion for paladins.
Main Scenario Writer Kazutoyo Maehiro appeared after the break and answered a few questions himself after showing an awesome video of the Titan extreme fight made with 8-bit graphics.
There are two new mounts coming with the new beastmen quests, one for Kobolds and one from the Shahagin. The Ixal will come in patch 2.3. Different dance emotes will also come with 2.2.
The Gilgamesh battle part of the Hildibrand questline won’t be too hard to let everyone enjoy it. It’ll require eight players.
A scenario quest that will go over what happened in the five years between Final Fantasy XIV and A Realm Reborn is being worked on, but it’ll take time because it can’t be done in small parts.
A library-like feature for lore is being discussed, but more than a simple library, it will probably take the form of collectibles that you can check in your diary. Zodiac weapons will have their own lore, and it’ll fit there. That said, the team is prioritizing the updates to the game for the moment.
The first expansion of the game will focus on the 1000 years war, and Maehiro-san teased in a rather cryptic way that between water and sky, it’ll be sky. That possibly means that there’ll be airships, but it’s just my personal speculation.
It’ll be a bit longer before we can actually enter Ishgard, but in 2.2 the story will progress and in 2.3 the closed city state will be involved, and more about it will be explained later on.
Back to gameplay, in 2.2 tomes of philosophy will be phased out, and you won’t be able to find them anymore. You’ll also be able to trade tomes of philosophy with tomes of mythology. Darklight gear will be spread as drops in dungeons. Items will be available from treasure hunts and from the grand companies.
Some news were also given about Teatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, that will include tracks, characters and levels from Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm reborn.
An Easter egg hunt event will be held starting on April 9th. The last phase of the PS4 beta will be held between April 4th and April 7th, and the game will launch on Sony’s new console on the 14th.
The veteran rewards for 360 days have also been showcased. You can check them out alongside the rest of the relevant screencaps and artwork shown today in the gallery below, together with the Eorzea Collection and 16-bit Titan battle videos showcased during the event.
At the end Maehiro-san also mentioned that from 2.2 on NPCs will finally recognize your accomplishments and respond accordingly. You can also find the preliminary patch notes for 2.2 here and the official translation of the questions and answers provided by the Square Enix community team here, in order to complement mine.