March Dengeki PlayStation Q&A (Part I)

Did you enjoy all the new information this weekend?  We had an official NA and JP site update and people on the forums have been sifting through the information and finding all sorts of interesting things.  I know some people have been busy updating the wiki as well.  Starting it all off though was a lot of translated information from magazines like Weekly Famitsu and Dengeki PlayStation.

But wait!

We haven’t talked about the interesting stuff that was in Dengeki PlayStation yet.  This time we’ll be covering the long Q&A portion of their FFXIV coverage.  It covers general questions related to the upcoming alpha/beta test, character creation, and the various classes overall.  In another article, we’ll cover the shorter class-specific questions.

First, let’s talk beta.

[About the Beta Test]
Q: About how long do you expect the beta test to run?
A: It isn’t set in stone at this point.  We’ll have to see after we start making adjustments.

Q: How much of the game can people expect to be able to play around with in the beta?
A: It won’t even be half of what we think will go into the final release.  After all, the goal of the beta test is to refine  game balance and double check some of the very basic technical things.  For the alpha test, you could almost say there is next to nothing there.  However, we feel this makes it easier to take in people’s feedback and requests as we build up the game.

Q: Could you tell us the PC specs required for playing the alpha and beta test builds?
A: Well, we are in the process of optimization right now but it isn’t finished yet.  That means for the alpha build, you are most likely going to need a powerful CPU.  Your video card will need to be able to handle DirectX9 but if you’ve bought a card within the past few years you should be good to go.  Memory-wise you’ll want 512MB of VRAM or more.  We’ll be posting more specific details at some point on the official beta test site.

Q: Will the PC and PlayStation 3 beta tests begin at the same time?
A: The alpha test will be PC only.  No decisions have been made yet about the beta test, including the timing.

Q: You’ve said before that you want the FFXI community (in the form of friend lists and so on) to continue to be together in FFXIV as well.  Can you tell us specifically how you plan on making that happen?
A: The details haven’t be worked out yet but we’d like to make it where you can transfer to the same server as your friends so you can play together.

Q: Will the 9 classes you’ve released information for this time around also be playable in the beta?  Also, will players in the beta be able to pick a starting class from them?
A: They will be playable in the beta.  Perhaps not everything there is to each class will be included, but you will be able to play them.

Q: Will other classes be available in the beta test as well?
A: We’re not sure at this time.

Q: Say I’m a player that wants to play out a particular role.  Can you give us some advice on the role of each class?
A: In a very broad sense, this is the image I have for each class-
Gladiator– The hero who crushes the strong and defends the weak.  They are the guardian of the party.  An almighty fighter good for anyone.

Pugilist– You’re right on the front lines.  There is a thrill in the split second decision making you’ll have to do.  Do you change your stance or not?  This person is definitely a damage dealer.  I’d say it is also for people who don’t want to have to pay a lot of attention to detail.

Lancer– You’ll need the ability to make judgment calls and make the most of your weapon range.  The lancer is the party’s last defense.  Play lancer if you like tactical fighting.

Marauder– This is a macho and massively powerful attacker.  The trump card of the party.  The marauder is a good class for people who like getting in those last blows and stuff.

Archer– A cool sniper who scans the battlefield, looking for their chance to strike, rather than staring off into the distance.  If you were talking baseball, this is your team’s shortstop.  It is also a good class for people who want to play solo or are kind of a loner.

Conjurer– This is a support member who changes roles depending on how the battle is going.  They could attack, add to the party’s defense, or cure.  This is a good class for somebody who wants to put their hands in everything.

Thaumaturge– The Thaumaturge is your party’s strategist, using their enfeebling magic to control the battlefield.  Good for someone that has the capacity for forethought.

Miner– Metal is an indispensable part of making almost any piece of armor and the miner is the person that goes out, finds it, and brings it to the marketplace.  This is a class that knows how to make money fast.  It is also for people who are persistent.

Blacksmith– The blacksmith is a crafter who makes and repairs weapons, tools, and other things that have some metal component to them.  You’ll always have customers so this job is suited for people who like doing business with other people.

[Character Creation]
Q: Previously we were introduced to the idea of clans within different races, like the Seekers of the Sun and Keepers of the Moon for the Miqo’te.   Will people be able to choose their clan during character creation?
A: For the beta test, you’ll be able to choose from a subset of the races and clans.

Q: I get the feeling that rather than being able to choose freely, you’ll have to choose things that fit with a particular clan’s special characteristics.  Like, you could choose from different shades of brown if you were a Seeker of the Sun but because Keepers of the Moon are nocturnal, they have to be fair-skinned.  Am I right?
A: Kind of.  Except rather than just the lightness of your skin, there are different themes and you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of skins that follow those themes.

Q: How much of the character creation system will be present in the beta?
A: There will be a small subset of faces and hairstyles to choose from.  After that, you can select the color of your hair, skin, and eyes.  You won’t be able to change your facial features or anything at this time.

Q: Are there any special bonuses for matching the right city-state with the right race?  And if so, will there be differences depending on clan as well?
A: Right now we aren’t planning on doing anything like that.  However, if we get a lot of feedback from people who want that sort of thing, we’ll take it under consideration.

[About the Classes]
Q: So far in the classes and weapon information, we haven’t seen anything about dual wielding weapons like you see in FFXI.  Will we eventually see dual wielding in FFXIV too?  Also, if that is the case, what classes will they match up with?  For example, is it something a Gladiator would be able to do with a dual wield-use sword?  Or would it be for an entirely different class?
A: I can’t answer your question as to when but I think it is safe to say we will see it at some point.  As for which classes will be able to dual wield, all I can say is, please look forward to future announcements.

Q: We know you will be able to change your class at any time but will there be any restrictions as to the classes you can change into?  For example, is there going to be a restriction where you can only carry 3 different weapon types as one time?
A: There aren’t any restrictions right now but that isn’t to say there won’t be in the future.

Q: Can you change your class in the midst of battle?  And if it is limited to only when you aren’t in a battle ready mode, would it be possible to change weapons if you put your other weapon away first?
A: In FFXIV, there are two modes: Passive and Active.  In Passive Mode, your HP restores while you move around.  Active Mode is when you have drawn your weapon and are ready for battle.  You can only change your class when you are in Passive Mode.

Q: In general, how many people do you think will be in a party?  Also, will we see alliances?
A:  We think that 6 to 8 people will be the norm for parties.  However, we want to make the system flexible.  Even if 6 to 8 is the norm, there will be times where you have more people or times when you have less.  You might just want to play solo or play with a small group of friends.  There will also be challenges adventurers will face that will require an alliance.

Another thing to consider is that when it comes to battle, we are thinking of “party versus party” dynamics.  You’ll be fighting for the best position and there will be a lot of planning and strategic thinking required to win beyond just who is doing the most straight damage.  First, you have to think of the best fighting range for your weapon.  You have to think about damage and accuracy, but also what position is best to get in some of those extra effects.  For example, there is a lancer move where you can keep the enemies from moving for a short period of time.  The magic users especially have to think about things because they have so many AoE spells.  The area is also different depending on the class.  You see donut-shaped spells for the Conjurer and fan/cone shaped ones for the Thaumaturge.  Also, sometimes you are the center of an ability or weapon skill, sometimes it is your target.  There are many different types.

Direction will also have an affect on things.  You might try to slip into an enemy’s blind spot or make them face in a different direction.  If you want to be a better fighter in FFXIV, you’ll need to master distance, area of effect, and direction and use these to the best of your advantage.

Q: In some of the abilities it says “get the enemy’s attention”.  Does this mean to increase enmity?
A: In FFXIV, we call it the Hostility Ratio.  That is what will increase.  [Translation note: We don’t know if the terminology will change for the English version as well.]

Q: Are there differences between the Gladiator’s Rousing Provoke and the Pugilist’s Mocking Provoke?
A: They are the same type of ability but they are a bit different from each other as well.  The way you get that attention changes.  And even if it is the exact same ability, there might be other things that factor into how well you get the enemy’s attention.  Controlling the Hostility Ratio will be a very important part of the game.  You have to look at the situation and decide what is the best ability to use.  We hope people will have fun doing trial-and-error and finding out what works best for them.

Q: Is guarding a defensive command?  Or is it something that occurs at random?
A: Both.  There is a command you can use to guard with a shield.  However, the more proficient a character is with using a shield, they might just deflect an attack with their shield without you having to use any commands.

Q: How is the Pugilist’s range different from a very close fighting range?
A: The range is nearly identical.  However, the difference is enough to show off the different characteristics of those classes.  For example, let’s look at defense.  A very close ranged fighter has a shield or other protective gear for physical defense.  A pugilist is more focused on evading attacks.  The way they attack is different as well.

Q: Do enemies have TP as well?
A: They do.  Enemies can earn TP in a variety of ways.  There might even be some enemies that could put your life at risk if you don’t defeat them quickly.

Q: For the most part, do you have to be still in order to cast a spell?
A: We plan on including a number of spells that can be cast while moving as well.