Letter from the Producer, X

FINAL FANTASY XIV fans the world round, the tenth Letter from the Producer has arrived for your viewing pleasure!

Pore over the complete letter after the break.

Hello again, all fans of FINAL FANTASY XIV!

Today’s letter marks the tenth entry in the series, which is still going strong thanks to your support. As always, I’ll endeavor to keep the latest information flowing to you, so keep watching this space!

It’s been a while since I last updated our list of changes, so I figured it was due for a good clean up. Like last time, I’ve grayed out the items already implemented and noted what patch they were released in. New entries to the list are appropriately marked as -NEW-. The Battle System section was getting a bit large, so I made a separate category for enemy and field changes. This time around, the list contains additions planned for up until summer 2011. You see what I did there with the bold font for emphasis? But anywho, without further ado, feast your eyes on the list in its entirety! (Remember, these are our plans until summer 2011!)

Category Planned Current Tasks Future Tasks
Quests -NEW-
Opening tutorial adjustments
-NEW-
Planning of simplified opening tutorials and assessment of implementation costs
-NEW-
Implementation of simplified opening tutorials for the three city-states
Quests revolving around the danger facing Eorzea Planning and implementation of quests Introduction of additional quests
Storylines and world quests Development and release of supplemental storylines and world quests Introduction of additional quests
-NEW-
Grand Companies quests
-NEW-
Development of the Grand Companies for the three city-states and design of accompanying quests
Introduction of additional quests
-NEW-
Seasonal events
-NEW-
Implementation of new seasonal events for summer
-NEW-
Ongoing development of seasonal events
-NEW-
Job quests
-NEW-
Design of quests to accompany the job system
-NEW-
Implementation of job quests
Quest-related system changes Addition of icons to make quest NPCs easily recognizable (complete as of 1.17) Addition of several icons to distinguish between quest types
Addition of quest NPC locations to maps (complete as of 1.17) Division of map data for various quest types
Addition of confirmation windows for accepting/refusing quests (complete as of 1.17) Opt from among several rewards upon quest completion
Ability to abandon accepted quests (complete as of 1.16a)
User Interface
(UI)
Improvements to the log Examination of new log config settings(moved from Future Tasks)
Ability to set length of inactivity before log is hidden
Revision of text colors by message type (complete as of 1.16) Increased log tabs
Increased color customization by type
Improvement of dialog windows
(ex. market area selection)
Changes to increase the amount of on-screen data to reduce the need for multiple pages (complete for market area selection screens as of 1.15a) Reexamination of page-scrolling mechanics
Conversion to specialized query windows
Improvements to journal usability (complete as of 1.16a) Changes to consolidate all current quests and levequests on one screen (complete as of 1.16a) Ongoing changes
Additional list entries (complete as of 1.16)
Increased speed for text scrolling in general, and further speed increase for continuous scrolling
Addition of page-scrolling control for gamepads (complete as of 1.16a)
Addition of entries to journal list (complete as of 1.16a)
Character jump feature Examination of the implementation of jumping(moved from Current Tasks as lower priority)
*Implementation dependent upon risk analysis
Rank/Level up fanfare (complete as of 1.16) Examination of dramatic effects when a new rank or level is attained (complete as of 1.16) Further rank/level up fanfare enhancements (complete as of 1.16)
Increased usability of maps (complete as of 1.17) Subsequent increase in the number of points and icons pictured on maps (complete as of 1.17)
Improved minimap usability (complete as of 1.17) Quest NPC directional indicator (complete as of 1.17)
Improvements to camera usability Changes to allow camera distance settings via gamepad (complete as of 1.16)
-NEW-
Implementation of initial camera position retention
Changes to notification windows Changes to window placement (complete as of 1.16) Changes to increase the specialization of windows
Improvements to targeting mechanics Changes to allow targeting by type (PC or NPC) when targeting with a gamepad (complete as of 1.16) Examination of target indicator customization
Addition of an “attacking enemies only” type to targeting system
Ability to target by clicking on character name displays (complete as of 1.16) Examination of additional information display on unit frames (complete as of 1.17)
-NEW-
Display targeting cursor above character
Emote usability improvements Display of text commands for each emote on the emote list (complete as of 1.16) Alphabetization of emote list
Auto-translate dictionary update (complete as of 1.16) Update of auto-translate dictionary contents (complete as of 1.16)
-NEW-
Introduction of pop-up help
-NEW-
Implementation of pop-up help messages
-NEW-
Configuration menu improvements
-NEW-
Make settings done via text commands also available in the configuration menu
-NEW-
Reorganize configuration menu layout
-NEW-
UI revisions based on battle system reform
-NEW-
Action bar and other GUI revision based on the introduction of auto-attack
-NEW-
Graphically display recast time on the action bar
-NEW-
Addition of shortcuts to improve battle controls
-NEW-
Management window for achievements
-NEW-
Examination of a window for achievements unlocked
-NEW-
Implementation of a window for managing achievements
-NEW-
Grand Companies
-NEW-
Cost analysis for creating command center UI for the three Grand Companies
-NEW-
Implementation of command center UI for the Grand Companies
-NEW-
Materia crafting system (name tentative)
-NEW-
Conduct UI implementation cost analysis based on system details
-NEW-
Implementation of Materia crafting window
Guildleves Improvements to guildleve-related information Additional information when exchanging guildleves
Revision and balancing of local leve issuing conditions (complete as of 1.16) Ongoing revision and balacing
Balancing of guildleve rewards Changes to less popular guildleves in line with reward balances Further release of new guildleves following balancing
[NEW]
Behest
-NEW-
Reward and balance adjustments for behest
-NEW-
Changes to less popular behests in line with reward balances
Items,
Synthesis, and
Gathering
Adjustments to item condition values Adjustments to lower the rate at which item condition deteriorates (complete as of 1.16) Ongoing balances in line with player feedback
Higher visibility of the optimal rank of items Changes to the color of item names to convey the disparity between optimal rank and a player’s current rank
Currently assessing costs of implementation
Color categorization of item names
Reassessment of the gear affinities Introduction of gear with rank requirements to create player-oriented goals Further changes to gear affinities
Reexamination of class-based requirements for gear Addition of class-specific gear to enhance class uniqueness and goal-oriented play Reexamination of recommended class system for gear
Revision of battle loot and quest rewards
(spec revised, implementation ongoing)
Ability to obtain weapons and armor via battle loot and quest rewards
(spec revised, implementation ongoing)
Implementation in line with quests
(spec revised, implementation ongoing)
-NEW-
Equipment attribute revisions
-NEW-
Adjustments to the attributes of existing equipment
-NEW-
Resetting the attributes of existing equipment
-NEW-
Synthesis recipe revisions
-NEW-
Optimize ingredient and task requirements of recipes to be appropriate to rank
-NEW-
Develop optimized synthesis recipes for new equipment
-NEW-
Addition of optimized synthesis recipes for new equipment
Expansion of synthesis recipe history (currently stores eight recipes) (complete as of 1.16a) Ongoing improvements to recipe history feature
Adjustments to the item synthesis process (complete as of 1.16)
Increased pace of gathering actions (complete as of 1.16) Changes to the frame rates of action animations to speed up gathering (complete as of 1.16)
-NEW-
Materia crafting system (name tentative)
-NEW-
Finalization of system details and implementation cost analysis
-NEW-
Implementation of Materia crafting system
-NEW-
Adjustment of equipment attributes for Materia upgrade
-NEW-
Implementation of equipment attributes for Materia upgrade
-NEW-
Development of Materia attributes
-NEW-
Adjustment and implementation of Materia obtainment rate
-NEW-
Devising a catalyst required in Materia crafting
-NEW-
Adjustment and implementation of obtainment rate for Materia catalyst
-NEW-
Establishment of Materia crafting success rate and conditions
-NEW-
Adjustment and implementation of Materia crafting success rate
-NEW-
Repair system improvements
-NEW-
Implementation of improvements to the repair system
Market Areas Improvement of market area connectivity and stability -NEW-
Stage two of radical improvement measures
Ongoing improvements to market area stability
Retainer system improvements Ability to summon retainers currently operating a bazaar (complete as of 1.16) Ability to save retainer location (complete as of 1.17)
Improved usability of the item search feature Examination of ability to search by specific item names
Examination of an auction house system Final examination of retainer and auction house systems Initial planning following final decision
Battle System Ability to toggle display of head gear Addition of a menu option
Party system changes (complete as of 1.17) Examination of maximum single party size (complete as of 1.17)
Changes aimed at improving battle balance
Reduction of “full” party size from 15 to 8 members (complete as of 1.17)
Release of “small” parties made up of 4 members (complete as of 1.17)
Redesign of UI elements in line with new party system (complete as of 1.17) Examination of a buffing system and party display for small and full parties (complete as of 1.17)
Revisions to party-based skill point acquisition in parties
Battle adjustments for new party system (complete as of 1.17)
Adjustments to degrees of difficulty and bonuses for behests for full parties (8 members) (complete as of 1.17) Adjustments to period of time between behest resets (complete as of 1.17)
Auto-attack system -NEW-
Implementation of core mechanics for auto-attack
-NEW-
Adjustment of class-specific motions to accompany auto-attack
Character collision detection (complete as of 1.16) Removal of character collision (complete as of 1.16)
Changes to enmity calculations -NEW-
Revisions to enmity algorithms
Ongoing revisions to enmity algorithms
Adjustments to positioning algorithms of enemies in relation to PCs Ongoing adjustments of algorithms as necessary
Adjustments to ranged attack algorithms of enemies Ongoing adjustments of algorithms as necessary
Revision of crowd control actions Revision of crowd control actions for each class to improve party-based play Implementation of changes after finalization
-NEW-
Crowd control system revisions
-NEW-
Implementation of rules for when stacking crowd control actions
-NEW-
Ongoing adjustments
Changes to enemy group dynamics Introduction of enemy group variability, as well as enemy group highlighting to enhance combat visibility
Changes to claiming/engaging enemies Examination and implementation of changes to claiming and engaging enemies Ongoing balancing of skill point acquisition following initial changes
-NEW-
Reexamination of Return cost
-NEW-
Examination of reducing Return cost to 0 anima
-NEW-
Abolition of anima cost for Return
-NEW-
Reexamination of surplus values
-NEW-
Final examination for the abolition of surplus values
-NEW-
Abolition following balance adjustments
Armoury System

 

 

[NEW]
Job System

Changes to actions for Disciplines of War & Magic classes Further changes to enhance class uniqueness
-NEW-
Adjustment of certain action effects in line with the introduction of dungeons
Initial implementation of partial changes
-NEW-
Adjustment of range of effect for actions (single target or area)
-NEW-
Adjustment of recast time and MP consumption for actions
-NEW-
Development of unique motions and effects for certain weapon skills
Reexamination of stats Addition of an auto-MP regeneration feature (complete as of 1.16) Ongoing reeaxmination of attributes and stats
-NEW-
Abolition of physical levels
-NEW-
Abolish physical levels and experience points and shift character development to class rank
-NEW-
Implement simultaneously with physical bonus revisions (below)
-NEW-
Physical bonus revisions
-NEW-
Shift to automated character development based on class rank, with optional attribute point allotment
-NEW-
Implement simultaneously with abolition of physical levels (above)
-NEW-
Reexamination of requirements for setting actions
-NEW-
Implement the default setting of class-specific actions when playing as that class, and define conditions for setting the actions of other classes.
-NEW-
Job system mechanics
-NEW-
Development of core mechanics for the job system
-NEW-
Cost assessment for job system implementation
-NEW-
Establishment of job specifics
-NEW-
Establish the details of the initial set of jobs and their skills
-NEW-
Determine the attributes of each job
-NEW-
Creation of job assets
-NEW-
Development of graphical assets for each job such as equipment
-NEW-
Stage by stage implementation of job-specific weapons and armor
Company System Introduction of the Grand Companies -NEW-
Implementation of command centers in the three city-states
-NEW-
Appearance of the three commanders
-NEW-
Implementation of a contribution system and rewards
-NEW-
Ongoing addition of rewards and expansion of content
[NEW]
Monster
and Field
-NEW-
Addition of frontier hubs
-NEW-
Addition of hubs to remote areas
-NEW-
Ongoing consideration for the addition of further hubs
Balancing of enemy attributes Changes to enemy attributes and drops Ongoing balancing as necessary
-NEW-
Strengthening of beast tribes
-NEW-
Distribution of roaming and quest-specific beastmen
-NEW-
Diversification of monster types in existing species
Further implementation in line with new quests
-NEW-
Addition of beast tribe settlements
-NEW-
Ongoing addition of beast tribe settlements
-NEW-
Development of beastman strongholds and assets
-NEW-
Implementation of beastman strongholds
Environment collision detection Risk analysis of collision detection adjustments to improve movement response (complete as of 1.17)
-NEW-
Initial adjustments stable, moving towards ongoing adjustments
Ongoing adjustments to environment collision detection
Enemy distribution adjustments Examination of free-ranging enemy distribution
Changes aimed at clearly defined territories and secure travel routes
Gradual adjustments to roaming enemy distribution
Revision of enemy sizes Optimization of enemy size for ease of play (complete as of 1.16) Ongoing adjustments to enemy size
Design and release of notorious monsters Release of notorious monsters (complete as of 1.17)
-NEW-
Ongoing addition of notorious monsters
Further implementation in line with new quests
Conversion of roaming monsters to notorious monsters Implementation after finalization
The Lodestone Official forums Test launch of official forums in JP, EN, FR, and DE beginning in early March (commenced 3/8/2011) Improvements to forums based on test period results
Determination of final launch date
-NEW-
Linking profile with in-game character
-NEW-
Change to content-themed design
Additional blog features (complete as of 3/8/2011) Addition of a “Like!” button to mark preferred posts (complete as of 2/23/2011)
Ability to add decorative text, HTML links to blog entries (complete as of 3/8/2011)
My Site automated notifications (complete as of 2/23/2011) Notifications of new blog entries, new followers, etc., posted at the top of My Site pages (complete as of 2/23/2011)
-NEW-
New blog features
-NEW-
Implementation of monthly archives
-NEW-
Implementation of blog access counter (visible only to the user)
-NEW-
Addition of draft feature
-NEW-
Preview feature
-NEW-
Implementation of preview feature for blogs, linkshell forums, and profiles
-NEW-
Visual history for characters
-NEW-
Implementation of browsing feature for gear obtained through events
New Content Instanced PvE Content (Dungeons/Raids) -NEW-
Implementation of a rank 50 dungeon for full parties
-NEW-
Periodic addition of dungeons
-NEW-
Implementation of a rank 30 dungeon for light parties
-NEW-
Periodic addition of dungeons
-NEW-
Ifrit battle
-NEW-
Development of Ifrit battle quest
-NEW-
Implementation of Ifrit battle quest
-NEW-
Development of cutscenes for Ifrit battle
-NEW-
Finalization of details for Ifrit battle
-NEW-
Balance adjustments for Ifrit battle
-NEW-
Achievements
-NEW-
Establishment of details for achievement system
-NEW-
Implementation of acheivements and rewards
-NEW-
Mount system (name tentative)
-NEW-
Examination of mount system (including chocobos)
-NEW-
Establishment of details for mount system

Now here’s the accompanying commentary. On the hot topic of battle, as our lead battle planner Akihiko Matsui posted on the forums the other day, major changes are in store heading into summer, such as the introduction of auto-attack. Now, to make Matsui stop his incessant poking (he’s still at it!), let me put it this way—the theme of the overhaul to the battle system is reward effort, reduce monotony. Let’s see if that holds off the pokes.

Think of the satisfaction you get when taking out an enemy solo by a stroke of brilliance. Or the supreme exhilaration you feel when pwning entire hoards of foes by playing out your party role to perfection. Now, in contrast, imagine a person who, with only half his heart in the battle, struggles to dispatch the enemy. This kind of range in experience is what we’re aiming for with the reformed battle system—a system that rewards effort and innovation. Revisions to the Armoury System and battle algorithms will be spearheading the changes, along with the introduction of the job system. We’re pressing forward with changes catering to both solo and party play, so you can rest assured whatever your playing style.

1.18 will see levequest balancing go into full swing, starting with revisions centered on rewards. As for crafting and gathering, we’re tweaking existing recipes and adding brand-new ones for crafter gear ahead of the summer. I’m pleased to say we’ve concluded our feasibility study for the Materia crafting system (though the name is still tentative), and will soon hammer out the details for the UI and start working on the data.

Now, there’s one new item on the list that fans of the FINAL FANTASY series wouldn’t have missed: the long-awaited battle with the primal Ifrit is on the way! But that’s hardly where it ends. We’ll be summoning forth more and more primals in the future, so keep an eye out for further announcements.

A number of plans made at the beginning of the year will soon be ripe for release. Among these are the shiny new job system (a proper system, mind you, not just renamed classes), an in-game achievement system related to Lodestone character histories, and new modes of transport to address the mobility issue. Once our current plans progress to the next stage, I believe it’ll be possible to unveil a longer-term update schedule. (We’ve been giving chocobos a lot of thought, but it’s hard to establish a timeframe before we define exactly what needs to be done.)

And that about does it for this letter. For next time, I’m planning to write all about our progress on auto-attack, and hope to be able to present the feature to you in fully animated glory rather than with dull screenshots. (Note to self: have Lodestone crew implement video embedding on the website.)

Thanks for reading! Catch you next time and/or on the forums!