FFXI Development Team Reddit AMA

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Towards the tail end of July, the FFXI Development Team titans Producer Akihiko Matsui and Director Yoji Fujito stopped by Reddit to field some questions from the masses.


While a great number of these have been answered in the past, many of the Development Team’s replies never directly answer the questions they’re being asked. Regardless, this increased level of direct communication with the player base is a welcome step in the right direction for a richer game experience. Check out the write up below:

Q: What is the status of the new user interface that was being developed before? Is it still being developed now that PC is the only platform for FFXI?

A: In order to reduce the time between version updates for Rhapsodies of Vana’diel we stopped the development of this user interface. Mainly this was because updating certain portions of the new client program would not make it in time.

Q: Is it possible for any graphical or performance improvements in the future for FFXI now that PC is the only platform?

A: Unfortunately, this is not possible at the moment. Our current plan is to devote our development resources to in-game systems and balance adjustments.

Q: Will you guys ever drop PlayOnline support and update the game to Direct X9 or Direct X12?

A: In terms of the things you see such as your friends list and the navigation, it might seem like PlayOnline is still operating like usual; however, the actual service for PlayOnline concluded some years ago. Other than running on top of the PlayOnline platform, FFXI doesn’t really have any other ties to it. In regard to a DirectX update, we can’t guarantee FFXI’s performance on these, so we are not thinking about doing this at the moment.

Q: What are your plans for the future of FFXI? Can we get a road-map for the next year, like we have in the past?

A: We’re planning to have monthly Ambuscade content as well as Master Trials and quests through Records of Eminence every other month leading up to March of next year. Essentially we will be continuing on with this type of cycle, so there is no plan to release a road map. In terms of post-March of next year, we are in the process of planning content.

Q: Will it ever become possible to complete an Aeonic weapon by using Primeval Brews in the future?

A: We don’t have any plans to look into this.

Q: Can you finally explain the ins and outs of Absolute Virtue and Pandemonium Warden? What were the secrets to beating it that the community didn’t find? What was the design decision behind making an 18 form boss? Was it designed to take over 16 hours to kill? Why was the video for AV as obtuse as it was?

A: Responding to each individual portion of this question may invite the possibility of a misunderstanding, so allow me to speak about the intentions behind the implementation of Absolute Virtue and also Pandemonium Warden. At the time they were each implemented, they were the so-called end-game bosses, and they were created based on the idea that they were the highest difficulty battles that would be undertaken by large groups. This served as content geared towards players who wanted more than the standard run of the mill battles, and in order to defeat them it required players to have both very solid strategies and a strong mind. After seeing many instances of trial and error, we decided to release a very small hint video for Absolute Virtue.

However, when it comes to these types of battles, we realized that the time to defeat these monsters was quite long, and it was putting players’ health at risk. This is why we made adjustments. After this, we have done our best to eliminate these kind of mechanics and systems where players would be forced to spend long periods of time battling bosses.

Q: What job’s current play style is furthest from the original envisioning of the job?

A: We originally envisioned ninja to be a damage dealer with enfeebling support, but it turned into a tank! We also originally envisioned dancer to be a support-type job, but it turned out to be really good for soloing.

Q: What are your fondest memories/moments/experiences with FFXI?

A:
Fujito: Seeing players’ reactions in real time!

Matsui: Being able to enjoy FFXI myself.

Q: The character Degenhard uses different models in his Bastok Markets version and the “Beyond the Stars” quest, where not only are his clothes different, but he also has a moustache. Are there any plans to update the Bastok Markets model to fit the quest scene in the future, making him more distinct from Maat?

A: We’ll look into this!

Q: Is it possible for Siren to become a summon-able avatar like Alexander/Odin?

A: This is not possible. We originally had plans to have Siren be an avatar; however, we ended up introducing her as a character in Rhapsodies of Vana’diel, and since she was so tied to the story we decided not to use her as an avatar in the end.

Q: To both of you, what’s your favorite NM and why?

A:
Matsui: King Behemoth, because it dropped a Defending Ring for me. For mission bosses, then I’d have to say the Ark Angels.

Fujito: Hmm, I don’t have anything in particular. Maybe, Leaping Lizzy?

Q: Are there any plans for a service that allows us to change our character’s appearance? For example, the ability to change race, face, etc.

A: As part of FFXI’s policy, there has been something in place from the beginning of the game where we wanted players to keep their name and appearance. Also this is not easy to implement from a system perspective, and as such we do not have any plans to add a service that would allow you to change your character’s appearance.

Q: Bastok, Windurst, and San d’Oria are almost always empty these days as there’s very little draw for high-level players to visit the cities. Are there any plans to draw players back to their home nations?

A: We have nothing planned in particular, but we’ll keep that as a suggestion.

Q: Which nation is your personal favorite?

A:
Matsui: San d’Oria, since that’s where I first began playing from.

Fujito: I’m from Bastok, so it has to be Bastok.

Q: Reaching the haste/delay cap is a major focus for melee, and aside from BLU it is very difficult to do this, which is why BLU is sought after so much. Are there any changes you can make to help the other jobs out in this regard?

A: If you’re asking if we can make it possible so other jobs reach the haste cap while solo, then the answer is “no.” The premise of FFXI is to join together with fellow players and party up, even if there’s more room for freedom now.

Q: It’s difficult to complete some of the harder content such as the higher level NMs, such as Eschan/Reisenjima NMs, due to lack of server population. Are there any plans for a server merge soon?

A: Merging Worlds don’t always come without downsides, so we would like to hold off on doing that until a majority of players are calling for mergers. For those who cannot wait, please consider using the World Transfer Service.

Q: Compared to geomancer, bard feels like it is lacking recently. What are you plans for bard to catch it up to geomancer?

A: The roles for geomancers and bard differ, so it’s difficult to make a direct comparison. Once it’s at a point where we need to make adjustments, we may do something, but we currently have nothing planned in particular.

Q: I do not think I will ever forget the music of FFXI; will Naoshi Mizuta be composing any new work for FFXI or other Square Enix titles in the coming years?

A: Of course! Mizuta isn’t working exclusively on FFXI, so he’s composing music for our other titles. That said, we did ask him to compose a new song for FFXI… Please look forward to the August Version Update for details!

Q: Are there any plans to make accuracy gear more easily attainable? It’s very difficult to get into parties as melee when you don’t have the accuracy requirement needed. Given that the gear required is not easy to obtain, it serves as a barrier for players with less time on their hands.

A: In the August Version Update, we’ll be making changes where it will lessen the amount of evasion that high-level monsters receive from AGI. Due to that, the amount of accuracy required will decrease. We would like to see how this change affects the situation and proceed from there.

Q: Will you consider doing new expansions and content as long as you have a player base that is paying monthly subscription fees?

A: Yes, we will consider this.

Q: I understand that it would be hard to implement into the game, but if possible would like to see some more background lore revealed. Even if we got a forum post or site update with some glimpse into the history would be really nice.

A: As a policy, we do not post any form of lore that is only accessible from outside of the game. So we’ll try to handle this request by adding it to the game itself, as much as we can.

Q: Are there any additions and improvements to the game you hope to make that you weren’t able to make because of the Xbox 360 and PS2?

A: Originally, there were resources which were developed with the consoles in mind. Cutscenes take up a lot of memory and were difficult for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox 360 versions, but we don’t have to worry about this for the Windows version. With that said, there are many aspects of the game which were implemented post April where we haven’t worried too much about this restriction. In general there isn’t anything that became possible because we are now only developing the Windows version. For aspects which we need to change, we will make those changes.

Q: Assuming the spawn conditions have changed, what were the spawn conditions for Almighty Apkallu back in mid/late 2000’s?

A: Simply put, the spawn rate was extremely low. Essentially, the lottery would not start unless there were specific weather effects, and the chances for it so pop within this already limited time-frame were very low.

Q: Could you give blue chocobo eggs to raise as a gift for login points? They are so hard to get. Thank you.

A: There aren’t any chocobo eggs that produce a specific color, so you’ll need to try out different combinations.

Q: FFXI was designed with dial-up modem internet speeds in mind. It sends UDP packets about twice a second and caps their size at ~1.25KB. Thus, the maximum bandwidth of the server-client connection is approximately 2.5KB/s. Game performance in demanding situations (like zoning or fighting multiple monsters) could be dramatically improved if you increased the frequency or size limit of these packets. Is it possible that you would consider doing either of these things?

A: This would be difficult to address. It would require making changes to various aspects of the game engine itself, so it’s actually much more difficult than what one may assume.

Q: What’s the future for ilvl gear look like? Will 119 be the cap? Will there be higher and higher levels added as more content gets scrounged up?

A: There’s a wide variety of options that exist within the item level 119 gear, so we aren’t considering increasing the item level at this time.

Q: Are there any plans to reduce the subscription fee since there are no longer major version updates?

A: In order to continue operation of the game for as long as possible, we are not looking to reduce the monthly subscription fee.

Q: Ambuscade is becoming too much of a grind. Are there any changes looking to be implemented? Would it be possible to make the KI purchasable to reduce the time spent? Or possibly make it so a single KI lasts multiple fights?

A: We’ll think of unique mechanics so players don’t feel it’s so repetitious. Please hang in there a bit more.

Q: What are some of your favorite songs from the soundtrack and why?

A:
Matsui: Fighters of the Crystal, because it makes me get really excited for battle. Also, the song from Selbina since I used to listen to it a lot.

Fujito: The song which plays in Lufaise Meadows, because my wife loves it, and it makes us both happy listening to it.

Other Staff that are present: Rhapsodies of Vana’diel, because it makes us cry.

Q: Could you explain why a solo player is allowed to enter Sinister Reign, but other older content such as Incursion and Delve still require a minimum of 3 players to enter? Are there any plans to allow solo entry to this older content?

A: In regards to the larger instanced areas that have minimum player restrictions, we will address them as we keep an eye on the conditions. However, at the moment it is difficult to do.

Q: Are the rumors about puppetmaster originally being designed as Necromancer true?

A: From the early stages it was planned to become a pet job, and there were some ideas to make it necromancer. However, since necromancer wasn’t too well known in the FF series, we decided to go with the puppetmaster instead.

Q: The Shantotto II Trust alter ego, unlike most others in the game, has no direct counterpart in the game, as her model appears to be unique – do you have any plans for a future quest where we fight that version of the character?

A: There may just be plans for Shantotto II!

Q: With players being able to attain job master already, will there be even more rooms for improvement (eg. Grand Master, ultimate master)?

A: We currently have no plans for this.

Q: Can you officially confirm the crafting variables? Does direction, day of the week, time of day etc. affect crafting in anyway?

A: They do not.

Q: Is there something that either of you have personally wished would be developed and implemented into the game that has never come to fruition?

A: We wanted to implement a system where players can place objects on the map, and design dungeons freely themselves.

Q: Can you please improve the quality of the recent login campaign items?

A: We’ll ask the person in charge of this to look into it.

Q: Is there any chance we could see a Sinister Reign Improved Augment campaign make an appearance?

A: Unfortunately this type of campaign is not possible both in terms of balance and because of the way the system was made.

Q: I have been sitting on 500/500 Job Points since 2 days after 2100 was released as the cap. Are there any plans to allow us to spend job points on anything once we have completed our job categories?

A: Instead of continuing to focus on saving up more job points on already mastered jobs, we would like players to master other jobs, so we have no plans to utilize the excess Job Points.

Q: Would you please consider scaling dragons like Azi Dahaka, Naga Raja, and Quetzalcoatl based either on how many players are engaged in combat with it, or were engaged during its last spawn?

A: Since this battle content can be done openly, it’s not possible to scale the HP during the battle. As for making it possible to complete with a small number of players, we’re making adjustments looking at recent campaigns, so we would like for you to wait for these adjustments.

Q: How about increasing the number of items we can place in the Auction House?

A: We will not increase the number of slots. Since we have extended the duration in which items remain on the Auction House, this would greatly increase the amount of data which need to be managed by the server.

Q: It seems that there is some form of an update in the works for Synergy. Are you able to share any details or timeframe on what kind of changes you are looking at making?

A: We’re not at a point where we can discuss the specifics, but we’re planning some type of adjustment. Timing will be sometime later as well.

Q: In the current Master Trial fights, Rangers are really the only source of damage that can work due to magic damage being horrible and the enemies having many Area of Effect abilities that decimate melee jobs in one hit, not to mention the extremely high accuracy requirement for melees. Will future Master Trials allow melee or magic damage jobs a chance to contribute?

A: We change the concept of every battle so that a specific job structure isn’t always the correct set up.

Q: Was the introduction of the additional paid services (expanded equipment inventory) successful to the FFXI team? Do you plan on introducing other additional paid services?

A: It had an overall positive effect. If there are services that we feel players would understand the introduction of, then we would like to consider them as well.

Q: What is your favorite Final Fantasy?

A:
Matsui: Final Fantasy II, because it became a reason for me to get into this industry.

Fujito: Aside from Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy V is my favorite. The reason is partly because the Blink (spell) works the same way that Utsusemi does in FFXI!

Q: Could a time leaderboard system be added to things like ambuscade? With personal best clear times and server wide top 50 clear times. A lot of players either like to beat their best times or want it as a kind of competition.

A: We’re experimenting on a feature which utilizes some form of ranking system.

Q: Can you provide an explanation as to why GEO and RUN’s ergon weapons do not glow or have Afterglows like other reforged RME weapons?

A: This is because ergon weapons aren’t upgraded through Trial of the Magians.

Q: When can we ride a Moogle? I want a Moogle Mount!

A: We…we will consider this… (“Don’t ride me, kupo…”)

Q: Are there going to be hard mode fights of other major mission fights? For example: Odin, Lilith, Alexander, Rhapsodies bosses, Hades, etc.?

A: We have no plans, but we’ll take it as a suggestion.

Q: Not many players realize that Lorissa and Palomel are sisters. Palomel might never be united with her parents, since Lola only seems to recall Lorissa being taken by Balamor in the forest. Did you intend for this to be the saddest storyline in the game?

A: Originally while creating the plot for this story, the content was much more tragic; however, it was made to be a bit milder and then implemented. So with that said, that indeed was the case for the originally planned story.

Q: Can you bring back the Vana’diel census? I’d love to know how players use Group 1 / Group 2 merits in 2016, Top Relic / Mythic / Empyrean / Aeonic Weapons, etc.

A: We asked the operations team in regards to this and we were told there that unfortunately there are no plans to do this.

Q: Does Treasure Hunter have an effect on items marked Rare?

A: As for drop rate, it does affect items which are labeled as “rare.” However, due to the system, Treasure Hunter will not affect drops that are a lottery. An example of a lottery drop would be loot such as Pixie Earring and Defending Ring, in which only one can drop at a given time.

Q: Adaman Hauberk: Is it blue, or is it purple? Thanks!

A: It’s the color of Adaman! I think…

Q: Would you consider one more Wardrobe-style box? This box would only hold consumables (medicines, food, ninja tools, etc) and making at least echos, remedies, and holy waters stack to 99?

A: This is not possible as we cannot add any new storage. As for changing the amount of the stack, this is possible; however, it will increase the amount available on the market to 99, and also would make it not possible to be placed on the auction house for a couple weeks due to the system. This will cause a situation where players won’t be able to purchase when they would like to. For this reason, we would like to try and avoid making changes.

Q: Are new armors, monsters, weapon models still possible to add to the game or are re-used the only option going forward? Also if so can we get more new subligar designs!?

A: We can add some new designs (subligar included), so we’ll consider it.

Q: What is the reasoning behind parties with real players still penalizing the amount of EXP each player earns, while Trusts give absolutely no penalty, while being better than real players due to not having to skillup or buy new equipment and spells? Shouldn’t the EXP situation be the opposite to incentivize people working together to EXP? It keeps friends from having a reason to play together from level 1 to 99, leading to grouped content only happening once you finish leveling.

A: Alter egos can only follow players. If we didn’t put in EXP penalties when forming a party with other players, we felt that players would think it would be more effective to fight separate monsters rather than fighting stronger monsters together. For this reason, we have it set up the way it is now.

Q: Will Unity chat capacity ever be raised? It’s really annoying constantly being locked out of unity chat due to too many people after zoning.

A: It’s pretty tight with the limit we have now. Though it may mean leaving the Unity leader you like, if you want to focus on the messages and Unity chat we recommend moving to a Unity with fewer number of players.

Q: Will we ever have a battle in Tavnazian Safehold like the FFXI opening movie?

A: We have no plans for this. It may feel like an indoor version of Besieged, but it’s difficult to add a battle focused there.

Q: Was there anything (jobs, enemies, story Ideas) you ever wanted to add but couldn’t?

A: In terms of stories there were. For jobs, we’re pretty satisfied with the amount we have available, and for monsters, I feel that we have a lot more ideas.

Q: When is BLU getting more spells?

A: For blue mages, we have already reached the limit for the amount of spells we can add. Unfortunately, we cannot increase any further.

Q: When you’re on the ferry between Selbina and Mhaura, the boat will occasionally be attacked by pirates. When the pirate boat pulls up, some Humes wearing mage gear come out and start summoning undead monsters to attack people on the ferry. Are those people actually Necromancers?

A: I believe the lore behind it was something like that.