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Famitsu Developer Q/A from April 9th

4 May 2010

Pop quiz!

1)  What’s the name of the server Final Fantasy XIV testers are currently playing on?

2)  How are FFXIV surnames and FFXI character names related?

3)  Can players level up in FFXIV?

You don’t need to be an alpha tester to know the answer to these questions although knowing some Japanese would help. It’s a little old but a few weeks Famitsu released a developer Q/A on their website.  If you don’t know the answer to these questions, read on!  Keep in mind that since this is a little old, some of the info might already be outdated.

Q: Please tell us how long you think the alpha and beta tests will last.

A: Right now we are doing alpha testing with a limited number of people playing all on one server.  That server is called “Shadowlord”*. We want to run 3 tests a week for each of the three regions.  Each time the testing server is open for about 4 hours.  We’re starting off by testing for stability and server load stress.  After that we’ll move into the first phase of beta testing.  Phase 1 will have the same game contents as the alpha but the testing will be broken up across multiple servers running at the same time.  We’ll also be testing different character growth patterns so at several times in the testing cycle we plan on deleting all of the tester’s character data.  The problems people report during the alpha test and beta phase 1 along with other issues will probably be fixed as we go into beta phase 2.  At that point we’d like to open up the servers to 24 hour testing.  The game contents will also get closer and closer to what will be available in the final release.  We’re also hoping to start PS3 testing around this stage.  We’ll continue to add new servers, add new testers, run server load tests, and get ready for the official start of service.  After that, right before release we’ll probably have an open beta for a few weeks.  However, we don’t plan on letting testers explorer anywhere but the immediate area around Limsa Lominsa.  Only about 20% of the final release will be open for testing by the end.

*Shadowlord is the name of an important figure in FFXI

Q: Why did you decide to add the option of surnames for characters?

A: It won’t be possible to have the same first and last name.  However, it is possible to have the same first name or the same last name.  We did this for Final Fantasy XI players who have grown attached to their character name.  Using surnames makes the chance of overlapping names extremely small and increases the chance of being able to use the name you are fond of.  The names might get long but we are looking into ways to keep players from having to type out a person’s full name when they want to use the /tell command, etc.

Q: Are there any differences between the various starting city-states?

A: Each city-state has its own story.  The facilities and shops will also be a little different so depending on what a player chooses, one place might be a little bit more convenient than another.

Q: What’s the purpose of using so many instanced areas in the game?

A: We really want to make a game where you can play when you want to play.  The guildleves system is an example of this.  In order to be able to monopolize an area and not have to wait in line behind other people, we decided to use instanced areas all over the place.

Instanced areas also work well with the idea from scenario lead Yaeko Sato.  Let’s call it “the power to see the past”.  For myself, I’ve always liked how in FFXI everyone is in the same world however not everyone sees the world in the same way.  However, we could only bring this out in cutscenes and I was never quite happy with that.  That’s where instanced areas can really come in handy.  For every new addition in the FF series, we have to create a new “syntax”.  In FFXIV, that “syntax” could probably be considered the use of instanced areas to show the effects of events.

(*Translator Note: The “power to see the past” is most likely the “Echo” power mentioned on the official site. Also, I’m not really sure what he means by the “syntax” thing.  It’s in quotes in the original too.)

Q: Are there enemies who will just come right out and attack you?  Also, are there any really strong enemies for players to go up against that aren’t a part of the story line?

A:  A resounding YES! to both of those.  For the current alpha build, we aren’t expecting testers to always team up for things so we haven’t included too many strong monsters or monsters that aggro though.

Q: Are there any sort of levels involved?

A:  There is something called your “Physical Level” that shows your HP, MP, Arm Strength, Intelligence, and similar basic stats.  However, your main weapon skill rank is more important.  After all, we want to make the most of the Armoury System.

Q:  We know that you have to use different commands during battle.  Does the amount of time before you can use a command change depending on the weapon?

A: Yes, it does.  Right now we are looking at the overall feedback from testers in the alpha build and that led us to already make some adjustments to improve the battle tempo.