Letter from the Producer, XVI

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

Pore over the complete letter.

Hello again, all fans of FINAL FANTASY XIV!

With energy conservation measures in place, the team is getting a full taste of the summer heat here in the office. Things are buuurning up in Eorzea as well, with Firefall Faire in full swing!

Before I dive in here, I’d like to apologize for being later than I intended with another letter. I was planning to send it out early last week, but ended up being out of commission for three days with a high fever. Ah, the woes of aging…

Now, I realize that this hardly makes up for my tardiness, but there’s something I’d like to share with you all: a screenshot of the long-awaited “My Little Chocobo” system!

As you might have guessed, this system is still under development…and the name is obviously still up in the air. The team’s pushing hard for release in patch 1.19, so I ask you be patient just a little while longer. In the meantime, though, feel free to let your imaginations run wild.

Moving on, it’s time again for me to update the list of changes. I’ve reformatted the list and given it a new name to better reflect the content: “Patch 1.19 Update Schedule.” So as to keep this letter a reasonable length, items scheduled for after 1.19 will reappear in my next letter, where they’ll have a list all to themselves. Now, without further ado, feast your eyes on the list! Further commentary below!

Quests

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
1.19 Opening tutorial adjustments Implementation of simplified opening tutorials for the three city-states (moved from future tasks) Simplified tutorials will be implemented for the introductory quests designed for new characters. We also intend to provide players with more early-game guidance in future patches.
1.19 Quests revolving around the danger facing Eorzea Planning and implementation of quests
1.19 Storylines and world quests Development and release of supplemental storylines and world quests
1.19 Grand Company quests Development of the Grand Companies for the three city-states and design of accompanying quests
-NEW-
Quests for full induction into the Grand Companies, including speeches by the three heads of state.
1.19 New seasonal event (scheduled for mid-October) -NEW-
Implementation of new seasonal events for fall

New Content

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
1.19 Ifrit battle -NEW-
Implementation of Ifrit battle quest
New primal content is planned for patch 1.20.
-NEW-
Development of cutscenes for Ifrit battle
New primal content is planned for patch 1.20.
-NEW-
Ifrit battle (level 30)
New primal content is planned for patch 1.20.
-NEW-
Ifrit battle (level 50)
New primal content is planned for patch 1.20.
1.19 -NEW-
Caravan escort
-NEW-
Implementation of caravan escort system (level 20)
Missions catering to higher levels are scheduled for patch 1.20. Caravan escort will pave the way for the upcoming hamlet defense content.
1.19 -NEW-
Beastman strongholds
-NEW-
Implementation of Amalj’aa stronghold raids
-NEW-
Implementation of Ixali stronghold raids
-NEW-
Implementation of kobold stronghold raids
1.19 -NEW-
Low level dungeon
-NEW-
Implementation of a public dungeon for low levels
1.19 -NEW-
Treasure chests
-NEW-
Addition of treasure chests to field areas
1.19 Mount/transportation system -NEW-
Implementation of rental chocobos in the three city-states
Players will be able to rent chocobos (payable in gil) for a set duration.
-NEW-
Implementation of Grand Company-issue personal chocobos
Finally, a chocobo to call your very own. Sorry for the wait.
-NEW-
Implementation of airships linking the three city-states
Airships flying between the three city-states. Pay for your passage in gil, and hop aboard.

Guildleves

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
1.19 Improvements to guildleve-related information Additional information when exchanging guildleves (complete as of 1.18)
-NEW-
Introduction of accruable ticket system for guildleve acceptance
Accumulated tickets can be used to enjoy back-to-back guildleve action on weekends.
-NEW-
Allowing players to retry guildleves immediately after failure
…But not without conditions.
-NEW-
Reorganizing convoluted aspects of the system such as leve exchange
1.19 -NEW-
Grand Company leves
-NEW-
Addition of a new leve type issued by the Grand Companies
1.19 Balancing of guildleve rewards
-NEW-
Further adjustments to leve difficulty and rewards

Behest

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
1.19 Reward and balance adjustments for behests -NEW-
Changes to less popular behests in line with reward balances

Company System

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
1.19 Introduction of the Grand Companies Implementation of command centers in the three city-states (complete as of 1.18)
-NEW-
Addition of Grand Company ranks and exchangeable items
-NEW-
Implementation of supply and replenishment objectives

Monster and Field

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
Ongoing Balancing of enemy attributes Changes to enemy attributes and drops Adjustments will continue beyond 1.19.
1.19 Strengthening of beast tribes -NEW-
Diversification of enemy types in existing species (for strongholds)
A multitude of enemies is in the pipes for strongholds.
Addition of beast tribe settlements
Ongoing Environment collision detection Ongoing adjustments.
Ongoing Enemy distribution adjustments -NEW-
Redistribution of enemies in six areas
1.19 will focus on lower level enemies in six areas.
Ongoing Design and release of notorious monsters -NEW-
Addition of new NMs for low level dungeons
Adventurers may come face to face with a certain feline monster that starts with C and ends with OUERL.

Battle System

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
1.19 -NEW-
Battle system framework revisions
-NEW-
Fundamental program-side revisions to the battle system (to be completed in 1.19)
We are working to rebuild the battle framework, which will involve large-scale revisions to the enemy claiming and linking systems as well as the damage algorithm. Unfortunately, these changes will render Battle Regimens unusable, and so we have decided to suspend the system in 1.19. We aim to have a new and optimized Regimen system back online after work on battle classes and the job system is complete, and ask for your patience in the meantime.
-NEW-
Overhaul of the damage algorithm (to be completed in 1.19)
1.19 -NEW-
Battle Regimens
-NEW-
Temporary suspension due to battle framework revisions (reimplementation date TBD)
1.19 Auto-attack system Implementation of core mechanics for auto-attack
Adjustment of class-specific motions to accompany auto-attack (moved from future tasks)
Ongoing Changes to enmity calculations Revisions to enmity algorithms (complete as of 1.18)
Adjustments to positioning algorithms of enemies in relation to PCs Further adjustments to the algorithm will be made as required.
Adjustments to ranged attack algorithms of enemies Further adjustments to the algorithm will be made as required.
1.19 Changes to enemy group dynamics -NEW-
Introduction of enemy group variability (link system)
We will make it so that enemies will call for reinforcements based on player strength.
1.19 Changes to claiming/engaging enemies -NEW-
Revisions to the way enemies are claimed and engaged
Details to be posted on the forums.
1.19 -NEW-
Revisions to skill point (experience point) bonuses
-NEW-
Implementation of a bonus for when enemies link
-NEW-
Implementation of a chain bonus for defeating enemies in succession
-NEW-
Revisions to the distribution formula for skill points (experience points) in battle
Reexamination of Return cost (complete as of 1.18) Examination of reducing Return cost to 0 anima (complete as of 1.18)
Reexamination of surplus values (complete as of 1.18) Final examination for the abolition of surplus values (complete as of 1.18)
Abolition following balance adjustments (complete as of 1.18)

Armoury System

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
Ongoing Changes to actions for Disciplines of War & Magic classes -NEW-
Review of actions for all battle classes. List of redistributed actions to be released to players
Changes to be implemented in 1.20 with player feedback taken into account
Revisions to the battle algorithm has led to the need to redefine and redistribute actions, abilities, and weapon skills for all battle classes. As these changes can’t take place concurrently with work on the algorithm, we have decided to release the list of changes planned for all classes around the time 1.19 goes live. The feedback we receive from players at this time will help to shape our work, which is scheduled for completion in patch 1.20.
Further changes to enhance class uniqueness (partially complete as of 1.18)
Adjustment of certain action effects in line with the introduction of dungeons (complete as of 1.18)
Adjustment of range of effect for actions (single target or area) (partially complete as of 1.18)
Adjustment of recast time and MP cost for actions (partially complete as of 1.18)
Development of unique motions and effects for certain weapon skills
1.19 Abolition of physical levels -NEW-
Abolition of physical levels
Physical levels will be abolished, and this will be accompanied by the renaming of skill points to experience points, and rank to level.
1.19 Physical bonus revisions -NEW-
Implementation of automated character development based on class level
We will implement a system whereby players can voluntarily allocate attribute points to each class in patch 1.20. This will take place alongside class balance adjustments.

Items, Synthesis, and Gathering

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
1.19 Synthesis recipe revisions -NEW-
Addition of new recipes for synthesizeable gear (old recipes to be removed at a later date)
Revised (simplified) recipes will be added for synthesizeable items. Old recipes will remain valid for a time, after which they will be removed completely.
Addition of new craftable items and revision of stats on existing ones as part of the introduction of new synthesis recipes (moved from future tasks) Through the new recipes, Disciples of the Hand will be able to customize gear with different attributes. Different colors will be applied to the same graphics to indicate the class for which a certain piece of equipment has been optimized. Samples to be posted on the forums.
1.19 Materia system -NEW-
Implementation of introductory quests for the materia system
-NEW-
Addition of the spiritbond attribute for equipment
-NEW-
Implementation of a command to transform to materia equipment whose spiritbond value has reached maximum
-NEW-
Addition of materia catalyst items gatherable by Disciples of the Land
-NEW-
Addition of a system for Disciples of the Hand to perform materia crafting
-NEW-
Addition of a system for Disciples of the Hand to perform “forbidden” materia crafting
?!
-NEW-
Addition of a system for purging equipment of materia
1.19 -NEW-
Stealth ability (name TBD)
-NEW-
Addition of a stealth ability allowing Disciples of the Land to avoid enemy detection
We will add a stealth ability that allows Disciples of the Land to conceal themselves from enemies. Details to be posted on the forums.
1.19 -NEW-
Rebalancing of character growth
-NEW-
Rebalancing of character growth primarily for Disciples of the Land
We will adjust the growth curve for Disciples of the Land, tweaking the rate of development as determined by the amount of gathering performed.
Repair system improvements Implementation of improvements to the repair system (complete as of 1.18)

User Interface (UI)

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
1.19 Improvements to camera usability Implementation of initial camera position retention (complete as of 1.18)
-NEW-
Configuration option for camera movement speed
1.19 Changes to notification windows -NEW-
Addition of a dedicated notification window for the simplified tutorial
1.19 Macro functionality enhancements -NEW-
Implementation of a toggle function for macro palettes
1.19 Character display -NEW-
Addition of a command to hide main hand arm display (official)
1.19 Improvements to targeting mechanics -NEW-
Addition of a targeting mode that allows only engaged enemies to be targeted
Depending on how much time is needed for testing and adjustment, this feature may be postponed until 1.19a or later.
Display targeting cursor above character (complete as of 1.18)
1.19 Configuration menu improvements Make settings done via text commands also available in the configuration menu (complete as of 1.18)
-NEW-
Revisions to the FFXIV Config gamepad mapping screen
-NEW-
Addition of new audio configuration options (e.g. muting all audio except BGM)
More audio config options by popular demand!
Reorganize configuration menu layout (complete as of 1.18)
-NEW-
Addition of keyboard configuration options
1.19 UI changes based on battle revisions Action bar and other GUI revision based on the introduction of auto-attack (complete as of 1.18)
-NEW-
Adjustments to UI layout based on changes to basic attributes
-NEW-
Renaming of skill points to experience points, and rank to level
Changes in terminology due to the abolition of physical levels.
-NEW-
Changes to enemy display name color to reflect your entitlement to battle rewards (based on adjustments to the way enemies are claimed)
Graphically display recast time on the action bar (complete as of 1.18)
-NEW-
Graphically display chain bonus for defeating enemies in succession
-NEW-
Implementation of direct targeting for objects such as aetheryte crystals
Addition of shortcuts to improve battle controls (complete as of 1.18)
-NEW-
Graphically display enemy link bonus
1.19 Grand Companies Cost analysis for creating command center UI for the three Grand Companies (complete as of 1.18)
-NEW-
UI adjustments and fanfare for full induction into the Grand Companies
Implementation of command center UI for the Grand Companies (complete as of 1.18)
1.19 Caravan escort -NEW-
UI adjustments to accommodate caravan escort system
1.19 Chocobos -NEW-
UI adjustments to accommodate rental chocobos
-NEW-
UI adjustments to accommodate personal chocobos
1.19 Disciples of the Land -NEW-
Implementation of a status icon for the new stealth ability
1.19 Materia system Implementation of materia crafting window (moved from future tasks)
-NEW-
UI adjustments to accommodate the new spiritbond attribute
-NEW-
UI adjustments to accommodate the transformation of equipment into materia

The Lodestone

Patch Planned Current Tasks Notes
1.19 My Site -NEW-
Adjustments to accommodate functions added in patch 1.19
1.19 -NEW-
Preparation for recipe page revisions
-NEW-
Adjustments to accommodate new synthesis recipes added in patch 1.19
We’re ironing out the details of an updated recipe page, laying a framework for data processing and incorporating a search function under the premise that only new synthesis recipes will be listed.
1.19 New blog features -NEW-
Addition of a feature allowing the hiding of spoilers
This feature, available on the forums, will make its way to The Lodestone.
-NEW-
Addition of item links
Addition of draft feature (complete as of 07/05/2011)
1.19 -NEW-
New activity functions
-NEW-
Display by Friend List
-NEW-
Display by Linkshell Members
1.19 -NEW-
New search feature
-NEW-
Display of images in search results
Search results will be made to list not only relevant blog entries, but also display the images embedded in them.

You may’ve noticed that some all-new things are included. In an earlier letter, I believe I used the word “heavyweight” to describe patch 1.18. Well, patch 1.19 will be a veritable monster. To give you a rough idea of its size, we’re expecting the patch notes to be 3–5 times longer than 1.18’s. This is in no small part due to the slew of long-awaited items that’ll finally make their way into the game.

Just so you’re given due warning, the team is running on a tightrope to stay on schedule, so please don’t be surprised if a handful of things end up getting put off until 1.19a or later.

It might seem that battle-related content dominate the list, but rest assured, folks, we haven’t forgotten about other aspects of the game. For starters, significant improvements are in store for both Disciples of the Hand and Land, such as an overhaul of synthesis recipes, the introduction of the materia crafting system, and a brand new ability to avoid enemy aggro in the field. The growth curve for Disciples of the Hand, in particular, is in need of attention, and we’ll be taking a scalpel to that also.

Items with far-reaching impact have also been added to the list, such as Battle Regimens. It’s become clear that in order to improve Battle Regimens we’ll need to first rebuild the framework for the battle system, which can take place only after the new enemy claiming and linking systems are introduced.

Unfortunately, we’ll have to temporarily do away with Battle Regimens in order to release patch 1.19. This is due to extremely sensitive issues with the server-side system that simultaneously reads commands input from multiple players. I’m very sorry for any inconvenience caused by the absence of Battle Regimens, especially to those dungeon-crawling types who’ve developed a taste for Dzemael Darkhold’s time-based objectives. If it’s any consolation, the large-scale changes to battle algorithms planned for 1.19 will cause certain strategies to go out of fashion, and players will need to tap into their resourcefulness to discover new ways to overcome enemies. During this time, we intend to test the overhauled battle system extensively, so that we’ll be able to provide players with the challenges they seek. Please bear with us in the meantime.

Physical levels will be nixed in patch 1.19, as per popular demand. In light of this change, skill points will be replaced by experience points, and rank renamed level.

System-wise, MMORPGs are generally more complex than their offline RPG counterparts, and this is evident in the jargon they employ. In implementing the above changes in terminology, we wanted to make it so that at least the core aspects of the game can be easily grasped by anyone. We realize that more established players may find this change unsettling, and would like to apologize and ask for your understanding in advance.

Alongside the overhaul to the algorithms, work is also proceeding on redefining and redistributing abilities for Disciples of War and Magic. This is a hefty amount of work, and not all classes will be ready by patch 1.19. But rather than a partial release, we’ve decided to save the implementation of all classes for 1.20. We’ll make the details of the planned changes available when 1.19 goes live, and monitor player feedback as a way to help define our direction. In the meantime, we’ll keep on performing balance tweaks to the current class system in coming sub-patches based on ongoing feedback from the community.

When I put together the list of changes for patch 1.19, it struck me as rather small (the vertical scrollbar in the spreadsheet was looong). But this is because it’s made up of major items outlined only in brief. The team’s working hell-for-leather to deliver this monster patch (did I mention that it’s a giant next to 1.18?) to you by the end of September. We’d love to be able to release the patch sooner, but all things considered, I’m afraid this is the earliest we can reasonably achieve. We promise you, though, that we’re sparing no effort to ensure that 1.19 will be worth the wait—a patch that’s ripe to burst with new content as well as refinements. And we’ll do our utmost to see that it arrives before the last of the summer heat fades into memory.

And here I think I’ll end the letter before I bore you all to tears.

As always, I’ll see to it that the juicy details of all the changes we have in store are made available via the Lodestone and the official forums. So what’re you waiting for? Make tracks for the forums now and get discussing!

See you next time and/or on the forums!