Dev Tracker For The Week Of 9/16/11
It’s been a while since our last dev tracking, in part because the official Lodestone topic posts have kept up with the news from the Devs. Last week, however, Yoshida made a number of posts about the upcoming 1.19 and 1.20 patches, and while the information will almost certainly appear on Lodestone soon, for those that want additional, unfiltered “Yoshida-speak” on what’s in store… well read on. Yoshida covers all aspects of equipment – from what you can equip, to the UI elements, repairs, and the new Materia System.
Warning – there is a lot of text following the break!
(tl;dr version: Repairs will be simplified, both by NPC and DoH classes. UI is needed to help create a common language of how equipment can and should be worn. Equipment will include both class/level permissive and restrictive types. Materia System will tie together all class archtypes, and will allow reliably improving gear. The “Forbidden Materia” craft will provide a higher reward system, but include significant risk.)
I appreciate the lively discussion that’s been taking place here.
Before I start, I’d like to apologize that my post is late as we were struggling through a dizzyingly busy week. While I was busy running around, you were busy creating a range of topics that even touched on the in-game economy! But today, I’ll be going back to basics. Let me start with our plans for the item repair system in 1.19 and from 1.20 onwards! (As for the in-game economy, we cannot really get into this subject at the moment until every single element of the system becomes “normal.” Otherwise there are too many aspects to talk about and it’ll end up too confusing to discuss)
Over the next few days I can promise you more posts after this one, and in the next producer’s letter I will let you know more of my thoughts about the fundamental direction where FFXIV and current generation MMORPGs should be heading. I hope you are looking forward to my new letter which will be out soon. However, due to our current situation and progress, the letter will be posted just before 1.19 is released. So in the meantime let me explain what 1.19 has to offer through videos which you have been requesting!
General policy about the repair system
When I consider the death penalty and FFXIV as a current generation MMORPG, which entails striking a balance between risk and reward and taking your lifestyle and work into account, the common link seems to be the “concept of equipment durability”. I mentioned it before and it’s still on my mind. Equipment worn in battles will lose their durability over time; this could be seen as a small milestone in your long journey. It will motivate you to get new equipment, crafters can demonstrate their repairing skills, and players can feel the reality of seeing their equipment age over time. So I believe we should keep degrading armor and repair systems as they are. (Some have pointed out that it’s not really a death penalty for crafters as they can fix their gear, though I don’t see any problem with that. Players can raise their crafting level with some serious grinding, so I think this balances out the death penalty)
Yet we have a massive problem with the current repair system
I know it has been a huge issue that we ask you to devote a tremendous amount of effort to repairs. As I mentioned above, the concept of equipment durability and degradation has an impact on various systems, player motivation, settings and the death penalty, for only minor rewards. Therefore, I understand there is a big problem with the imbalance between the amount of work needed and the stat increases that can be gained. In short, I concluded that repairs should become a lot easier, if I take balance into consideration (Although I wouldn’t be able to respond if you were to say it’s a long time coming)
There are two ways to repair items
We already implemented two different ways to repair items in the game: paying NPCs or disciples of the hand. However, both methods have their respective problems and the solutions are also different. Therefore, I’d like you to understand the tweaks and changes below which address each method. We will evaluate the system comprehensively when it comes to actually implementing changes. However I wanted to be clear about the features, as the discussion may go off track on the forum.
Adjustments in Patch 1.19 (Focusing on NPC Repair Adjustments)
Currently the goals we’ve set for ourselves for 1.19 are pretty extensive, and it won’t be possible to implement most of the new features in a single patch. Therefore it looks like there will be several stages of implementation over patch 1.19 and 1.20 to improve the repair system.
The updates in patch 1.19 will mainly focus on NPC repairs.
(In a way, I suppose the adjustments will involve crafter repairs)
1. There will be a “Repair NPC” and a “Merchant NPC” stationed at every Aetheryte/Settlement.
2. When an NPC repairs an item, the level of durability will be restored to 99% of the item’s condition.
3. Only crafters are able to restore an item’s durability to 100% (As per the design)
4. The price for NPC repairs will be greatly lowered.
(The price per item will be fixed at 100G/500G/1000G/2100G/5000G according to the level of the equipment)
5. The cost of Dark Matter will be lowered.
(G1/G2/G3/G4/G5 = 50G/300G/700G/1500G/3500G)
6. The decrease in condition based on equipment deterioration changes are as follows:
No decrease in status/attributes for durability levels between 100 and 1
If durability reaches 0, it will have a “Damaged” status, and the equipment attributes will be treated as 0
When durability is 10 or below, a yellow icon will appear which will indicate that it is nearing the durability limit
When durability is 0, a red icon will appear which will indicate a damaged item is equipped
So that’s the plan for repair adjustments for patch 1.19. I’ll be sure to keep you updated. To cut it short, equipment deterioration during normal use of items is:
- The line for equipment’s stat deterioration will be clear and there will be no more need for partial repairs (the icon won’t be annoying)
- The pricing for NPC repairs will be reasonable, and it will be possible to have affordable repairs which will restore to durability 99%
- When second-hand items go up on the market, repairs carried out by a crafter will be needed
- The price of Dark Matter will be lowered, and it will not demand a large amount of gil
Adjustments for Patch 1.20 Onwards (Focusing on Disciples of the Hand Repair Adjustments)
I’ve finalized the plans for changes to the crafter repair procedure for 1.20.
If there is a chance to speed up the process then we will. In any case, the huge amount of trouble repairers have to go through is a real problem, and I have thought about adopting this basic flow.
1. Perform a command every time when you repair, to cut out the animation which plays each time
2. If Dark Matter can be offered by the one who is getting their equipment repaired this will make work a lot easier for the crafter
3. Add Dark Matter G6 (Level 50+ exclusive equipment) and readjust the specifications and price of G5
Apart from this, making the repair request icon more visible and simplifying the ability to collectively repair equipment is in the works. Furthermore, I was thinking it would be ok if all Disciples of the Hand classes, aside from Alchemist/Culinarian, would be able to repair any equipment.
It doesn’t mean that each disciple of the hand class will be knowingly gathering up all the equipment that they are able to repair, and even if there is a repair request, the parts that can be repaired will differ depending on the crafter. So in the end there are huge losses at stake for both the repairer and the one seeking repairs.
(I have a different plan for Alchemists and Culinarians doing repairs. However, it might be over simplified…? There will be something like a repair kit which crafters can use. (It might be an idea to have something like a repair kit which only crafters can use)
As I really want to get feedback from all of the current crafters out there, I plan to launch a third survey after the release of patch 1.19. ^^
So, my time’s up and as always I have written a lot, however that is it for the repair improvements plans! Looking back on things again I feel I should have done something about this sooner…
From now on, when you are in an emergency let me hear what you have to say and we will work hard to release new contents and make adjustments. So please keep on telling us your opinions/feedback!
I’m sorry, I forgot to post information regarding accessories.
Repairing accessories (Post patch 1.19)
Plan A: Stop loss of durability of accessories.
Plan B: Allow NPCs to repair accessories.
If we choose Plan B, we will look into implementation as soon as possible after patch 1.19.
We are still in the process of carefully reviewing Plan A.
We are also looking into a system that would charge abilities with recast timers in conjunction with accessories, so I’d like to take a bit more time to think about the balance for this. (I think it would be nice to get rid of durability and implement a recharge cost)
Due to the adjustments necessary, Plan A would require more time than Plan B.
Classification of gear that can be repaired by Disciples of the Hand
I mentioned this in my previous post, but we have not fully decided to allow repairs of all gear by all crafting classes (other than alchemy and cooking).
Of course we are taking into account issues of story and crafter identity, but we don’t think that this should cause any stress. We believe that at this level, players will have their preferences, which is why we are conducting a survey in order to factor in the players’ opinions in our final decision.
As the number of items increases, their names tend to become longer, and if the items can be upgraded, statuses will increase, so the whole situation becomes very complicated.
Players who are new to Eorzea will not know which items to choose out of the many possibilities when trying to equip gear to strengthen their characters. Especially for suggested gear, it is difficult to distinguish whether the gear is appropriate or not.
Therefore, new players may ask their fellow LS members or experienced players questions such as:
“Which gear should I equip?”
“I got this weapon during a quest, but is it strong?”
In this instance, it is very difficult to type in an item with a very long name or explain to a new player the effects of a weapon. We would like new players to simply enjoy Eorzea quickly, and learn the more complicated nuances over time.
It would be best to provide simple answers such as:
“Um, you should be fine if you equip items that are green to you! “
“When your gear becomes weak, it will turn grey, so you should look for new gear when that happens! ”
“As long as you do that, in the early stages it is OK to select your gear based on appearance! “
“Items that have their name displayed in blue are very good, so don’t sell them or throw them away!”
MMORPGs are games that cannot function without the player community. I think that it is very important for these games to have a “concise universal language that is easy to understand.”
Thus if we allow the option to turn this feature ON/OFF, a universal language will not be established. If this setting is not at least set to ON by default, there would be no purpose in implementing this.
The fact that all of you are playing Final Fantasy with passion and pride is very clear to us developers. We, the development team, and the operations team will continue to develop/operate the game with passion and pride.
We understand very well, that some players will have the opinion:
“I don’t want the aesthetic aspect of the game to be hindered by making the game too colorful!”
However, we believe that implementing this feature is necessary so that the “Final Fantasy MMORPG” is easier to understand and friendlier for the players.
I am sure that conversations similar to the ones I have posted will take place over chat following implementation. When that happens, I will be happy if you think back on this post.
Sorry that this post is late!
Though this is mainly a thread about the recipe edits, since the discussion is largely shifting into gear limitations, I’d like to discuss about my plans for the future of equipment requirements!
This is uber-long, so please feel free to read it when you have some time.
I touched on this in yesterday’s post on the repair system, but I am planning to write about the basic direction I think about in terms of FFXIV and modern day MMORPGs. Please read that as well once the letter is released.
(Considering the current development situation, it seems like the letter will be released right before patch 1.19 goes live)
Importance of Individuality in MMORPGs
Of all online games, the MMO genre has thrived from everyone playing them for extremely long periods of time. Within MMORPGs, being able to individualize a character is a very important element that makes people continue to play for long periods of time.
Putting on rare equipment that other players don’t have, boasting your style by wearing equipment combinations others hadn’t even thought about, becoming the adventurer you dreamed of drawing a sword engulfed in flames! I am sure the wands that are shining with light that high level character equip will be a strong incentive to level up, clear content, and aim to be a great mage! (We will implement these kinds of weapons sometime soon lol.)
However, individuality is a really difficult theme for developers.
Especially with equipment, the appearance and the stats need to be inextricably linked.
Below I will discuss looking at MMORPGs from an item only standpoint.
Equipment Appearance and Stats
Since an item’s stats increase a characters abilities and make it easier to clear content, for players of course, the higher the stats the better.
Naturally, players will want these types of items and it will become a motivating factor for clearing content.
(Especially for end-game focused MMORPGs)
However, on the other hand, if everyone starts to equip these items placing emphasis on stats, the whole individuality of appearance will die.
On the developer side, they spend a lot of time and effort creating original designs that fit these items because they have such strong stats.
Due to this, the developers adjust the difficulty of obtaining these items so players can equip them.
Item wise, the content difficulty and drop rate are arranged based on this.
(For content difficulty we don’t really think of it based on reward, but it’s pretty complex so I will omit that portion)
When differences in obtainment difficult items are added, time lag will arise before everyone gets through it and it’s in this time period where we can preserve the individuality of appearance.
The development team works hard to make sure that this time lag does not fill up by preparing new content and original items, and also makes sure that the balance between appearance and stats is preserved.
On the flip side, appearance is extremely important, regardless of class, to role play as your own character. In the real world, I am pretty partial to western clothing lol.
If there is anyone who wears the same brand of clothing, I think there comes a time when you say to yourself “Hmm, maybe it’s time to try something new.”
In my case, if someone were to say “Game producers can’t wear these types of clothing!” I would think “at least let me wear what clothes I want!”
This is the same in the world of Eorzea. I believe it is a natural desire to enjoy the equipment coordinating and living life in Eorzea as you wish.
With that said, I would really like to place an importance on two kinds of desires:
I want to equip items with high stats before anyone else!
I want to have fun and look awesome by equipping a lot of things as I please!
This is a fundamental.
Balance between performance, appearance, and classes
When trying to allow freedom for both performance and appearance, it becomes very difficult, because the concept of classes must also be considered for battles.
In order to allow all gear to be equipped freely based on appearance with no worries about performance, every item must have the same stats. The following is an extreme example.
If a mage wearing full-plate armor is able to continue to cast spells with ease while being attacked by numerous monsters, I think there is something wrong. In addition, a third person watching this scene will not be able to distinguish whether the player is a mage or warrior. The individuality of the character itself will increase, but the individuality of warriors is lost. It is even safe to say that this game will not feel like an RPG. As a result it is necessary to implement restrictions such as, “mages cannot wear full-plate armor,” or, “if mages wear full-plate armor, the gear will have very little effect.”
In the case that we do not “allow mages to equip full-plate armor,” we will not have to consider whether to make the item weaker when mages equip it. Likewise, the problem of visualization can be averted too. The flipside of this is that the individual player’s freedom dies.
In the case that we allow “mages to equip full-plate armor as well but not allow it to exert its maximum potential,” we will design the item so that it weakens when equipped by a mage. However, if full-plate armor turns out to be weaker than a robe, not only will players be upset but this will also break the balance of the game itself. The normal thought process would be, “Then I’ll just wear a robe when fighting!” At the same time, if the dev. team decides, “Well, it is a full-plate armor after all, so we might as well make it better than the robe,” then Eorzea will be filled with sorcerers fighting in full-plate armor. Robes would go the way of dinosaurs.
If I were a mage wearing a robe because that is my image of a mage and my PT members tell me, “Mages should wear full-plate armor too!” that will be a major turnoff for me.
Let me pose a few examples:
“Uniqueness of an individual character” vs. “uniqueness granted to ‘classes’ such as Disciples of War/Magic” vs “uniqueness in the form of performance”
I understand that these are extreme examples but I believe they illustrate the reason why there are restrictions on equipment because unique characteristics can cancel each other out under certain conditions. We refer to this as the “player’s motivation.” However, we apologize for not making it clear as to which “uniqueness” this motivation was aimed at.
There is no Universal Answer
We want to keep the uniqueness of each characteristic, so there will be no black or white design change such as “We are going to put restrictions on all items!” or “None of the items will have restrictions!” This is because in order to appeal to as many players as possible in today’s world of MMORPGs, we must be able to cover many characteristics. It is easy to choose one universal option, but this will not make us competitive in the long run. As greedy as we may sound we will spare no effort in achieving this goal. We believe that it is best to have both and, in the end, it will come down to the “balance” of the content for each patch.
Allow me to lay down a scenario. A small group of hardcore players will skip sleep or the need to eat and jump into a high level battle right after it is released. These players will then be the first to obtain a shining rod that has devastating powers and can only be equipped by a black mage. Other players will gaze at these hardcore players with aspiration. However, in 3 months time, a solid strategy will be formulated and the difficulty level of the battle content will be adjusted too, allowing players “who cannot put their entire life into gaming” to eventually obtain the shining rod. On the other hand, the next battle content will arrive by that time and hardcore players will be able to continue challenging themselves. This is the ideal cycle for highest level items in end-game MMORPGs. (This is Final Fantasy so we plan on putting in slightly unusual features for items like Excalibur)
We believe that by overcoming content that is extremely difficult, restricted by level and class (job), and have low drop rate, players can achieve a true sense of accomplishment and superiority. This is also a unique characteristic. Please consider high level crafter recipes to fall under this category as well. (Of course, this will not mean that all recipes are going to)
Meanwhile, “basic” items that crafters make are divided by recommended level and since restrictions on class equipment is relaxed, a large number of items can be equipped by all classes. Even if individual effects may differ, the majority of cloth and leather items can be equipped by anybody. Certain restrictions may apply but the primary limitation will only be in the form of “This is for Disciples of War,” “this is for Disciples of Magic,” “this is for Disciples of the Hand,” “this is for Disciples of the Land,” etc. The only exception will be on equipment made out of metal. (Even my favorite Monster Hunter has minimal restrictions like swordsman/gunner. Changing weapons will switch classes. I think this is also the good thing about FFXIV’s armory system)
The restriction mentioned above materializes when a particular equipment is crafted with its “performance geared towards a specific class.” The overhaul on recipes this time is meant to add variety and allow crafters to craft equipment for general purposes or with certain classes in mind. The majority of the basic equipment will now have level recommendations but no class restrictions. However, with the implementation of materia craft and the eventual expansion of its system coupled with the competition over drop items from new battle content, the chances of the ultimate equipment being created are very much real. An item that matches the greatest level of freedom with extraordinary performance just might be born.
The number of “Equipment with many restrictions” and “equipment with relaxed restrictions” will both increase with the coming of patch 1.19 and beyond. The increase in new recipes for crafters will create more equipment with relaxed restrictions and the introduction of more difficult content will result in the gradual increase in class-specific equipments with many restrictions. The numbers of each equipment type introduced may differ by patch, but we are working carefully to keep them balanced. In the meantime, keep those opinions and feedback coming!
I plan on making a post about material craft on Friday night but please give me some sleep time until then. ^^;
Also, I believe we can update you in the near future regarding the adjustments being made to the capacity of bags and number of retainers that can be owned.
This will be my last long post for the week!
As you have all been waiting patiently for info, the first half of this post will be about the materia craft concept and the latter encompassing the specifications. The numbers for the sample specs are still under adjustment, so please understand that these values may change before release.
Since this is a pretty lengthy amount of text, feel free to enjoy it in your down time over the weekend or in between playing!
The Aim of Materia Craft
The whole goal of materia craft is to create a system where crafters, gatherers, and battle classes can all play together. Materia is developed through battles and crafting, and attached to weapons and equipment that was created by crafters and gatherers. This plan was designed so that this relationship and style of playing will circulate endlessly even if higher tier craft items are added.
Below is a snippet from the synopsis I created.
Materia is an item that is made up of crystallized memories of a piece of equipment that you possessed a spirit bond with and deemed its role was finished. Materia cannot be used alone and it will become a material for crafters using the new synthesis system, “materia crafting.” (Original text)
This has just about been implemented just like this.
Converting Weapons and Armor to Materia
In MMORPGs a ton of weapons and armor are introduced into the game.
Even for the items you earn when leveling your character, all players develop some sort of bond or memory with them much more for MMORPGs than console RPGs.
Even if you obtain really powerful weapons and armor, since you just obtained them, you won’t have as much of a bond or any memories like you do with the gear you are currently using. However, your memories and bond are bottled up inside the weapons and armor that you have been using until now. Materia is just that! A crystallization of those memories and bonds.
Since materia is filled with that bond, it will serve to power-up your next piece of equipment. This was essentially my thinking when this plan was formulated.
Materia Attachment to New Weapons and Armor
Attaching materia to a brand-new piece of equipment has a 100% success rate. The reason for attachment being 100% is ensure than you can inherit the memories and bond that filled the equipment you used up until now. Furthermore, it’s possible to attach materia to all 7 slots of your character equipment (besides accessories), so you will be able to make really significant enhancements if you attach materia to each slot.
However, since materia is solidly inserted, if you remove a materia that has been attached, it will be destroyed. With this said, make sure to carefully select which item you want to attach that materia which is filled with spirit bond.
Until this point, it is the pinnacle of casual as anyone that spends a bit of time can do this.
Forbidden Materia Craft
The “forbidden materia craft” was created to forcibly add multiple additional “memories” to a single weapon or piece of armor.
This craft is forbidden because adding more than one materia is pushing the limits of the item and includes a high risk alongside it. Therefore taking part in this will include a huge risk. If successful, a single weapon or piece of armor will be equipped with at least two materia, and the power of the materia will cumulate to strengthen the player’s abilities. However, if this process fails, both the gear and materia will be destroyed in the resulting explosion.
Upcoming battle content will be balanced based on regular materia craft. The forbidden materia craft will not be involved in balance considerations, so there is no need to worry. By using the forbidden materia craft, it may result in the emergence of incredibly strong players, but we think that this is well deserved considering the level of risks involved.
Materia Created from Weapons and Armor
Now I’ll discuss the specifications of the materia system.
We have plans to update the Lodestone announcement accordingly prior to the release of patch 1.19.
As we previously stated in the announcement, materia includes four tiers of potency:
- Materia I (small effect)
- Materia II (medium effect)
- Materia III (large effect)
- Materia IV (very large effect)
An equipment’s level will have an impact on what materia tier will be created, along with the chance of creating a higher tier materia. For example, if you were to transform a level 1 item into a materia, it will have a high chance of creating a tier I materia. In addition, it will have a very small chance of creating a materia one tier higher (in this case, a tier II).
On the other hand, a tier III or IV materia will not be created through a level 1 item.
Basically, the higher level the item is, the higher the chance it will create a grade III or IV materia.
In order to create a materia, the spiritbond level on the item must be maxed out.
The spiritbond level on an item is increased through usage, such as using them in battle. If the item is used in battle, the rate that spiritbond will increase will differ depending on the enemy you fight and if the item is optimal for your level. If you were to use an optimal item, the spiritbond level will be maxed out within a few hours of play time.
Once the spiritbond level is maxed, you will have the option of turning the item into a materia via command. It will not automatically turn into a materia upon the max level of spiritbond.
Generally, only crafted items can be materialized at max spiritbond level. Additionally, items with materia already attached can also be turned into materia. However, it will have no impact on the material that will be produced.
You will not be able to turn powerful items, such as unique/untradeable items obtained from notorious monsters, into materia.
Details Regarding the Different Types of Materia
We plan to implement about 80 types of materia in patch 1.19.
There will be various types of materia such as “Intelligence (increases INT)” and “Ironman’s Will (increases STR and VIT).”
The 80 types of materia are not randomly generated from weapons and armor. There is a pattern regarding what kind of materia is produced (i.e. INT materia will not be produced from swords and axes, etc.)
The Difference Between Materia I and Materia IV
I will use the “Vitality” materia to explain the tier differences.
Materia I / Materia II / Materia III / Materia IV – “Vitality”
- Effect: Increases max HP
- Where the materia can be attached: Shield / Body / Legs / Feet / Belt (5 locations total)
- Maximum stat bonus obtained via combined materia: +280
- Maximum stat obtained from a Materia IV: +28
The difference between a tier I materia and a tier IV materia lies in the amount of HP increased through a single materia. For example, a tier I will grant you +5 HP per materia and the tier IV will grant you +28 HP per materia.
In addition, not all tier IV “Vitality” materia will grant you +28 HP. In some cases, it may give you +24 HP, etc.
What Equipment Can Materia be Attached to
Materia can be equipped on the following seven parts:
Weapons(Main weapon/shield) / Head / Body / Hands / Legs / Feet / Belt
Any type of materia can be infused to a weapon (main weapon)/shield without any other materia with 100% success rate. When infusing materia, a catalyst item obtained by gatherers will be necessary. When removing materia from a weapon (main weapon)/shield, the materia will be destroyed.
Maximum Materia Limits
Multiple materia can be equipped at once, and using the forbidden materia craft will enable users to equip a higher number of materia. As such, each parameter will have an upper limit set up (example: HP increase will be capped at +280 for all gear equipped).
Success Rates for Forbidden Materia Craft
Success rates will be determined for forbidden materia craft, and success rates will differ based on whether two or three materia are infused. Whether or not the item to be infused with materia is HQ or not will also affect success rates. More powerful materia, such as tier IV, will have lower success rates, and the type of materia already infused will affect success rates as well. The system will calculate these success rates, and the rates will be displayed prior to beginning the infusion process.
This concludes my summary on the concepts and specs for materia craft. Information regarding the types of effects, stats, and locations of materia will be posted on The Lodestone when ready. As evident, the specs of materia craft are complex, and there will be many types of materia with different stats and applicable locations created from each gear item. I hope that crafters will be able to take on difficult requests from their Linkshell members and other players to create gear that offers both good looks and good performance using materia craft.
Materia craft, just like the other crafter/gatherer specs, will continue to be expanded, so we would like to continue development of materia craft following patch 1.19 incorporating user feedback!