Upcoming FFXIV Updates Are Going to Make Rash Reviewers Eat Their Words
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself with the title of this news article. Along with extending the free trial of the game that everyone received when they bought it (from 30 days to 60 days), Square-Enix has been hard at work taking player feedback into consideration for the next couple version updates. See, folks, this is why you don’t rush out and write a review for an MMORPG as quick as humanly possible. Things change. All MMOs have issues at the start, and this one is no different.
So, let’s take a look at a couple things that came out of Square-Enix today. After these updates, it seems like those who did an actual review for the game in the last couple weeks will realize that they put the cart in front of the horse, so to speak.
Frist off, FFXIV director Nobuaki Komoto wrote a lengthy discourse on the game’s Lodestone site about what they’ve taken from player feedback and will be adding into the game in the near future. Check out his thoughts here:
As always, we would like to thank you for choosing to play FINAL FANTASY XIV.
In this Topics, I will speak at length about the forthcoming version update.
Allow me to begin by stating that the development team plans to release a version update at a rate of once every three months, of which the large-scale version update currently planned for December will be the first. Nothing is more important to us than seeing to the prompt implementation of the various changes and features players desire to improve playing conditions. In that vein, there are several adjustments and additions which we will be introducing before December’s version update.
A good deal of the constructive feedback we received was in regards to the market and retainer systems. As previously addressed in an installment of Ask the Devs, several improvements will be brought to both of these features. Among these are a simplification of retainer access which no longer requires use of the interactions menu, and specific reduced taxes in market wards which will serve to reorganize them by item types.
Further changes we have planned for the near future, which will be coming sometime after the first version update, include the following:
Search feature to allow item searches by individual wards
Icon display to identify retainers selling sought-after items
Increase in the number of retainers that may be employed
A version update scheduled for late November will contain a number of other changes and additions as well. Below is a list of the primary points of focus.
User Interface Adjustments
In response to the generous amount of player feedback we received, a number of changes and new features will be implemented in this area. Many players have voiced dissatisfaction with several facets of the user interface, such as the chat feature and targeting mechanism, and we will be working to remedy these issues as soon as possible.
For more details, please read Ask the Devs.
Party-Based Battle Balancing
Party-based battle will be undergoing a number of adjustments and tweaks, but players may rest assured that we have every intention of staying true to our policy of making a game that is enjoyable for solo players as well.
At present, players have voiced concern over a lack of necessity for forming parties, as well as a shortage of situations that demand the execution of multiplayer battle strategies. To address such issues, we will be making modifications to the way in which the enmity mechanism works, in addition to reexamining the Battle Regimen system.
Notable lag has been observed in certain areas of the game, particularly when a large number of players are gathered together. To combat this, such areas will be divided into multiple “sections” for the purposes of server-side processing, thereby reducing concentrated loads and subsequent lag on individual World servers.
Distribution of Enemies
In an attempt to further reduce occurrences of lag, we initially avoided placing a large number of enemies in close proximity to one another. With, however, the implementation of the measures mentioned above to reduce server lag, and as player concentrations are beginning to disperse from the starting areas, we will be looking into a redistribution of enemies that is more conducive to enjoyable adventuring.
Another significant addition planned for the December version update is the introduction of notorious monsters (NMs), which will appear in open areas and on guildleves (faction leves). Coming together with the notorious monsters will be a wide variety of new items and rewards, and future version updates will usher in all-new content centered around these formidable new enemies.
Further details regarding notorious monsters and associated new loot will be released in Topics posts as they become available, so be sure to check in regularly!
We also have several seasonal events scheduled to take place beginning in December, and hope that you will all look forward to those as well!
There are still more changes and additions slated for year’s end and early next year as well. We will make sure to release information regarding them as soon as we are able in the ongoing Ask the Devs FAQ.
Thank you again for your time, and we hope that you will continue to enjoy your time in ever-evolving Eorzea!
Secondly, here’s an “Ask the Devs” feature that was posted on the game’s site, which covers many of the issues people are having with the game in these first couple weeks, as well as what they will be doing the remedy the situation.
The development and management teams continue to address the questions and concerns of the community in an ongoing FAQ.
The topic addressed this time around is the upcoming version update.
Q. Exactly what type of adjustments or additions to the user interface are being planned?
A. Since the game’s official release, the development team has continued their efforts in designing various new features, as well as retooling and improving existing ones. Currently, we are focusing on addressing the issues about which players have been most vocal, and are pleased to announce several key changes set to be implemented as soon as next month. The following is a partial list of what we have planned:
–Inventory Sort Feature
The late-November version update will include the addition of a feature that will allow players to sort their inventories.
We are currently working on methods to make navigating the game’s menus simpler and more efficient. In the forthcoming version update, we will focus on improving the Actions & Traits menu, starting by automating the selection of main/off hand.
In addition to the aforementioned improvements, the following adjustments are also planned:
Players will be able to scroll their maps via dragging the mouse
A player’s current coordinates will now be displayed on the main map
A player’s current coordinates will now be displayed on journal maps (as long as the player is in the same area)
Players will be able to relay their current coordinates to others using the text command
The area name will be added to journal maps
A journal map feature will be added to the main map
The log window will no longer be hidden when maps are displayed
Log Window and Chat
New tabs will be added to the log window
Players will be able to open multiple log windows
Controller functionality will be added to the log window
Players will be able to use Ctrl+R to send instant replies to /tells
Players will be able to change chat modes via menu options
The Home and End keys will now function in the chat log
For players typing multi-byte characters, starting a new message with “/” will automatically switch the typeset to single byte
Players will be able to adjust the font color for various chat modes
Adjustments will be made to the transparency of the log window when unfocused
A Loot List icon will be added
A Loot List option will be added to the System Menu
The general layout of several menus will be adjusted
Previously completed quests will now appear in players’ journals
Adjustments will be made to target priority when using the Tab key to cycle through nearby targets
When targeting a party member, a target mark will now appear next to the target’s name in the party member list
Players will be able to target party members via the party member list
Several new functions will be added to the keyboard, such as a key used for targeting NPCs
Players will now be able to re-map all functions to any key (other than Esc)
Looking beyond the late-November version update, the team is also working on introducing drag and drop functionality to the Equipment & Gear and Actions & Traits menus, map markers indicating the location of party members, a method to initiate message input in the chat log without having to press the space bar, and more.
Markets and Retainers
Q. Today’s maintenance introduced several changes to the Markets. Are there further changes planned?
A. The Markets have been a hot topic since the game’s release, and today’s maintenance was the first step in making this feature better suited to the needs of the players. With that step we saw the introduction of a one-click targeting system, making it easier to access a retainer’s list of wares. We also saw a renaming of the wards combined with a reduced-tax system aimed to promote a more organized distribution of goods, therefore making it easier for players to find the items they seek.
For our next step, we plan on introducing additional features to make navigating the Markets even easier. These include the implementation of a search feature that will not only help players locate items in a Market district, but then display an icon next to the retainers who have those items, reducing the hassle of having to look through the inventories of retainers who may not have what a player seeks.
Return and Teleport Cost
Q. Return and Teleport have made travel within Eorzea quick and easy, but it seems like I am always running out of anima. Are there any adjustments being planned?
A. Yes. The first adjustment, which increased the speed at which anima regenerates, was implemented during a recent maintenance. The second adjustment, planned for the late-November version update, will see a significant reduction in the amount of anima required to teleport or return. To be specific, the cost for Returning will be reduced to 1, and halved for Teleportation to one of up to three “favorite” aetheryte destinations designated by the player.
Q. What is the development team doing in the way of balancing battle?
A. Without straying from our original stance to provide players with a feasible means to play solo, we are working on improvements to the battle system that will make party play just as rewarding. One of the reasons players have little motivation to form a party is because there are currently few battles that require contriving a detailed plan of attack. To rectify this, we are currently conducting adjustments to areas such as enmity distribution rates and Battle Regimen effects. We will also be introducing several powerful creatures that will be better suited for party-based battles.
Q. Where are all the monsters?
A. At the time of release, server load issues limited the number of enemies that could appear in areas where large amounts of PCs gathered, such as aetheryte camps situated near city-states. To alleviate this, we have increased the number of servers. This, combined with the fact that players are moving away from these areas and have begun to spread out over the world, will now allow us to increase the number of enemies roaming the realm.
Q. What changes and additions are planned for guildleves?
A. In the late-November update, we will be adding a new feature that allows players to adjust levequest difficulty after activating the guildleve. Furthermore, we will also be adding a feature that will allow players to abandon local levequests after accepting them.
The mid-December version update will introduce many new guildleves; among them special faction leves that pit players against deadly notorious monsters.
Q. What kind of changes are planned for synthesis?
A. The late-November patch will see adjustments to the required ranks and difficulty levels of various existing recipes, ensuring that players will have a better chance to successfully create items when reaching the optimal skill level.
For the mid-December update, we will be adding several new recipes, including ones for crafting new gear. In addition, we will be introducing a new feature that will allow players to select recipes from a list of recently crafted items and recipes learned through levequests, and set all of the appropriate ingredients with the touch of a single button, thus making repeated synthesis of a single item a snap!
Q. The lag in some areas is lowering UI and battle response times, making it difficult to play. Why is this happening?
A. Even if a World server is not crowded, a large number of players gathering in a single place would increase server load, adversely affecting gameplay. To alleviate this, we have pinpointed heavy-traffic areas and split up their processing duties over multiple servers, reducing the chances that a single server will become overloaded.
Now, taking all these things into consideration, it sure looks like many of the issues people are having with the game will be rectified fairly quickly. Things from the UI issues, targeting, menu operation, inventory sorting, party mechanics, server lag and many other issues. I really people take a step back and look at these things, possibly even updating reviews once the game has had a chance to get off the ground. This, folks, is why you don’t review MMOs within the first couple weeks after launch. I hope we’ve all learned a lesson or three.