Akihiko Matsui on: Battle Reform Blueprint
The post that we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived! Final Fantasy XIV Battle Designer Akihiko Matsui has posted information regarding the changes that will be coming to the battle system starting with patch 1.18. Among the items on the list are mentions of auto attack, the job system, changes for enmity viewing and much more!
Check out all the juicy details after the jump! and make sure to share your thoughts on our forums!
It is with pleasure that I announce the release of the battle reform blueprint. My apologies to have kept you waiting for so long, but due to my primary patch commitments, this document has been longer in the making than intended.
But without further ado, please allow me to take you through the blueprint and explain in detail the planned changes and the driving force behind each of them.
Lead Battle Planner
- Fostering Skillful Play
Creating a battle system that fosters skillful play.
The above is, in a sentence, the rationale behind the coming battle changes. Not exactly the punchiest catchphrase around, but perhaps there’s kindly a soul out there who could word it better. */poke Yoshi-P*
To elaborate, we are aiming to address issues such as the following:
- Victories coming with little reliance on skillful play.
- Lack of information needed for skillful play.
- No sense of accomplishment even with skillful play.
In light of the above, our objective is to implement a battle system that rewards player effort and innovation in such areas as equipment, hunting grounds, and party structure.
Lastly, in conceiving these changes, we have kept one fact close to heart: simply making enemies stronger does not equate to an environment that fosters and rewards skillful play.
Dungeons, the proving grounds for parties, will be released in 1.18. We will be implementing two types to begin with, with future updates to usher in additional maps and battle concepts.
This content takes the form of raid missions in which players slash and burn their way through a labyrinthine area before finally squaring off against a formidable final foe. Dungeons are intended to push teamwork to the limit, and players can expect a level of satisfaction (and spoils!) befitting the challenge.
To coincide with the addition of dungeons, a number of actions and skills will receive tweaks ahead of time, the details of which will be released at a later date.
- Notorious Monsters
We will continue to introduce new NMs on a regular basis, although numbers may be modest for patches boasting large-scale features such as dungeons. Players can look forward to engaging in more epic struggles and acquiring spectacular spoils.
- Skillful Partying
Alongside our ongoing endeavors to make solo adventuring ever more rewarding, we are also injecting effort into making full-fledged partying more enjoyable. At the heart of this undertaking is a series of plans to draw out the uniqueness of each class (details in the Armoury System section below).
It goes without saying to those familiar with MMORPGs, but the masterful manipulation of the following facets of battle is the cornerstone of effective partying.
- Enmity (hate) control, which governs the enemy’s attack target.
- Crowd control (CC), the act of rendering enemy groups incapable of attacking.
- Enmity (Hate) Control
Following review, we have deemed the current algorithm unnecessarily complicated, and as such have decided to simplify the system as follows:
- Damage will convert to enmity at a one-to-one ratio (in most cases)
- Players will have the means to examine their own current hate value.
A hate conversion formula will be applied to actions that target friendlies or do not inflict damage.
Furthermore, a player’s enmity will be made constantly visible as a percentage of that of the party member being attacked. A feature whereby players may examine hate values for all party members is also under consideration for a future update.
- Crowd Control (CC)
As crowd control tactics are expected to gain in prominence with the introduction of dungeons, a host of adjustments is being planned centered around the following:
- The reforming of crowd control methods
- Tweaks to crowd control actions and their distribution among classes.
- Solo Play
Solo play is the preferred choice of those short on time, and we intend to preserve the balance wherein adventurers can take on foes of the same rank unaided. Even as we work to further accentuate the uniqueness of each class, we will make it so that all classes are capable of ranking up via solo play.
Auto-attack and Other Systems
We will be implementing auto-attack. As the workload for this is expected to be considerable, however, the feature will be introduced in stages alongside revisions for other systems.
For the first stage, we will implement the core mechanics of auto-attack and perform provisional adjustments to the accompanying damage algorithm. The next stage, planned to take place after the aforementioned crowd control and action/skill revisions, will involve a fine-tuning of the auto-attack algorithm. Other algorithms will also undergo revisions, which will be explained further below. In so doing, we hope to further draw out the unique flavor of each weapon. At this same time, we will also carry out motion and other graphical revisions to accommodate auto-attack.
- Action Bar
We realize that having to reequip gear and reset actions every time you change class is a source of chagrin. Although we are unable to indicate a timeframe, discussions are underway with the UI team on ways for players to retain equipment and action data for each class.
As battle revisions encompass not only tweaks to areas such as classes, items, and monsters, but also entail improvements to user interface, we wanted to share with you this aspect of our plans as well.
- Battle Regimens
We are afraid to inform you that work on the Battle Regimen system has been postponed, as adjustments and additions alone will not suffice to address problems. There is a need to rework the system from the ground up, and we will lay the foundation stones after other changes have been seen to completion.
- Battle Attribute Allotment
When it comes to battle, class rank should, by logic, be more important than physical level. The reality of the situation, however, is that attribute point allotment is dependent upon physical level, something that is causing complications in our endeavor to improve the battle system.
In the recent battle poll (thanks to all who participated), we learned that a considerable number of players would be willing to forgo physical levels, but wanted to retain the ability to customize characters through attribute allotment. Armed with this knowledge, we proceeded to formulate the optimal solution.
The decision: attribute point allotment will no longer accompany gains in physical level, and will instead occur when characters rise in class rank. Although the amount in frequency of points awarded will be lower than previously, players will find that each point will have a more profound effect.
In light of changes planned for the Armoury System, the need to revise algorithms has arisen. At the same time, we will also carry out the changes below in order to streamline areas made overly complicated.
- Abolishing the rounding formula based on standard rank values *1
- Optimizing the value ranges for the influence of attributes *2
Many in-game elements are known to influence algorithms, and we are working on identifying them all regardless of the extent of their impact.
We believe that the above changes will allow players to more keenly feel and appreciate the myriad benefits offered by magic and equipment, which will lead to a new depth of enjoyment in attributes.
*1 The algorithm whereby values associated with rank are rounded up or down to be as close to the standard as possible.
*2 The system whereby enhancing statuses (whether obtained through attribute allotment, equipment, or magic) are influenced by incremental sets of values.
Actions will undergo major revisions, along with both the underlying mechanics and conditions.
By major revisions, not only do we mean the tweaking of effects and potency of existing actions – we will work from the ground up to redesign and reassign actions based on clearly identified class roles.
We will also make a number of changes as part of our reexamination of how actions are equipped and the character requirements for doing so. First, actions learned by each class will be set to the action bar by default when playing as that class. Also, we will be making some actions settable on any class, while other “class-defining” actions obtained at higher ranks will be usable only by that class.
The job system – that series-defining trademark – will be implemented in FINAL FANTASY XIV (details such as specific jobs TBA). Quests to unlock each job will become available once you have reached a certain rank in the corresponding class.
Rather than being advanced versions of classes, we would like players to think of jobs as specialized playing styles optimized for partying. While playing as a particular job will render you unable to equip certain actions of other classes, you will be compensated with access to exclusive actions, which can be acquired through quests.
In practice, players will find the existing classes effective when playing solo or in certain party setups. Jobs, however, will shine in party situations where specific skill sets are demanded. Now, you didn’t hear this from me, but there are also rumors circulating that quests for obtaining job-exclusive equipment are also in the pipes.
We at the development team are currently hard at work on the job system, and expect to have details to share with you soon.
- Fighting the Good Fight
Thank you for taking the time to pore over these words. Having read the blueprint, there is bound to be more than a few players who feel that we’ve only recited a handful of things common to all MMORPGs. There may be others still who are saddened – perhaps even piqued – that elements they felt made FINAL FANTASY XIV unique will be going to the cutting block.
I would like to clarify here that the battle team’s overarching objective is to lay a solid foundation upon which to build new elements – elements that will bring out the best in FINAL FANTASY XIV. The marriage of classes and jobs is representative of this endeavor. Whereas the ease of play classes offer will find favor with solo and casual party players, jobs will add a new depth of enjoyment for those wishing to take on high-level, strategy-rich content.
A period of great change is underway, and we ask you to bear with us. FINAL FANTASY XIV is dear to us as it is to our fans, and there is simply nothing we would love more than to see it flourish into everything it can be. And to see this wish become reality, we promise to spare no effort in delivering the ultimate battle experience to players.
On behalf of the team, thank you always for your encouragement and support.