This past weekend at Fan Fest in Las Vegas we got to sit down and talk with Naoki Yoshida about some of the announcements from the event as well as other topics!
Translating the interview for us was Aimi Tokutake, who you might remember from the Fan Fest live stream.
Yoshida: Thank you for coming out to Las Vegas for this Fan Festival. This was a game that went through a lot but I am happy we were able to announce the upcoming expansion. This is one of the new challenges we are taking on for Final Fantasy XIV.
Gamer Escape: It was announced that Ninja would be using monk gear, but it was also said that it would be using dexterity as a primary stat. Isn’t the main stat on monk gear strength? How do you see this working?
Y: (After checking) Up to level 50, if you happen to have it, you are able to equip the fighter gear. Up to level 50 it is not job specific gear, so as long as you have fighter gear you will be OK, since they have both dexterity and strength. Beyond level 50, for example, the Fuma set from the Crystal Tower, and on that the dexterity attribute is already attached, so you be be able to use that. From 2.4 there will be new specific level 50+ gear that has the dexterity attribute attached so you won’t be conflicting with the Monk’s gear. Each will have their own specific sets of gear.
GE: You spoke briefly about the reservation system for the Eternal Bond ceremony. Will there be a faster system for people who don’t want a full ceremony? How will the system work?
Y: There will not be a faster system to avoid the reservation system, but the ceremony will not require GM support like what was needed in Final Fantasy XI. There will be a 2 hour window for each ceremony, which can be reserved by both players a week in advance. When the time comes,the people who received an invite will be taken to a waiting area, and the bride and groom will be taken to separate waiting areas where they can choose their costume, coloring and hairstyle. Then when both players accept then the ceremony starts. It is built to take promptly 2 hours. Once you have reserved the slot it is yours. The ceremonies are scheduled one week in advance, and they are planning on doing a weekly reset. It is reserved by talking to an NPC when the slots are opened up.
GE: Will there be any in-game fees for the ceremony?
Y: No, but you will need to craft a ring, so there could be market costs associated with that. Free Companies might make the rings as a wedding gift for example.
GE: In the Heavensward information, you indicated new “jobs” but not new “classes” – was that intentional?
Y: You have a good eye! I’m afraid we can’t really say at this point. That’s a wonderful question though.
GE: Any future plans for gardening? Gardening pots in private chambers?
Y: Gardening requires a lot of saved data- which needs to be allocated properly. With housing, for example, we have a limit of 200 items per house – and that is the same issue. Looking at FFXIV, per player data is pretty big, so we need to consider how to allocate saved data on a per player basis. Making the actual pots is not too difficult, but we need to consider how to allocate the resources. If we were to consider it, maybe in Heavensward, but not sure. At the start of 3.0, we will expand on how much player data can be stored, so I am sure the various game teams will compete for who’s game elements can take advantage of that.
GE: There is a lot of merchandise that has been available on the Japanese online store for some time – like the Hildibrand shirt – will we ever have a chance to buy them here in North America?
Y: This is hard to put into words. We have the desire to sell the merchandise that the fans enjoy, but up until now, the merchandise team had a weird rule that if we are making any official t-shirt, for example, it had to be made in Japan. Considering the exporting, customs, additional safety testing, local and regional testing, would make the item cost more and also take time to have the item go through that process. So we are considering just having the design be created in Japan and the same in all regions, but have the actual manufacturing be done in the local areas. We really want to explore this, but we are working on it and trying to iron out the details. It is part of my job to break the mold on some of these weird Square Enix rules.
GE: Fan Fest is just about to end, how do feel it went? How often are you thinking about doing these?
Y: We really want to seriously take the feedback from the fans. It was the first one, and we are sure people are enjoying it, but we need to look into, for example, was it a good choice to have it in Las Vegas, did we have enough activities… we had the merchandise booth, but unfortunately we didn’t bring enough registers and there was only one credit card machine so I am sure there is some frustration there and I need to talk to the merchandise team about it. But like the game itself, we need to evaluate the feedback of those who actually experienced it. It looked like people were having fun, but we really want to listen to the voices and apply it to future events.
As for how often, this event we were able to announce the new Heavensward expansion, and if we did this every year people might expect an expansion announcement every time, so once per year may not be the optimal timing, so maybe every couple of years? That might be a good ballpark range.
We also have our relationship with China now, so we have to think about Fan Fest China, and we just announced our relationship with Korea, so we’d have to think about Fan Fest Korea too. I am sure we will constantly be doing something for the game and to bring something to the fans.