Naoki Yoshida has made a post on the Final Fantasy XIV Forums discussing his thoughts on how classes will be looked at in the future. Make sure to give it a read!
Good evening (Or is it good morning?)! Producer/Director Yoshida here.
I’m pretty nervous writing this text seeing how many fervent posts there have been on the subject.
This is going to be a long one again. I’m thinking it’s the longest to date.
With that said, I’d appreciate it if you read over it thoroughly when you have the time.
“Adventure” and “Class” Viewpoint Differences within the Armoury System
Before I get to talking about Disciples of the Land and Hand, I’d like to touch a bit on the Armoury system.
The characters in FFXIV are “adventurers.”
Of these adventurers, there are battle classes, gathering classes, and crafting classes. The current Armoury System is parallel in a sense that for any class, you are able to level it up on its own or level it up alongside another class. The Armoury System is such that you can be and do anything you like with a single character.
In the world of FFXIV, if we were to summarize the play elements on a large scale, you can break it down into three main categories: “fighting”, “gathering”, and “crafting”. I think it goes without saying which class fits into which category.
Since there are certain classes that fit directly into these three categories, looking at it from a “class” standpoint, I really feel that class identity would bring out the interesting aspects for each class.
However, looking at it from an “adventurer” standpoint, there is no sense of class identity, because you can play as any class and enjoy any aspect of content as long as you put in the time.
If you take this all in as an adventurer, it’s possible to experience and play any type of content; however, if you look at it from a class perspective, you will only be able to play certain content.
There are some players that are citing Ultima Online, but of the tens of existing “skills” you have to make a choice and raise your character. Since there are decided limitations on the skills you can raise, looking at it from the character’s perspective, specific class identities will arise (though it’s possible to re-spec). In the case you would like to experience everything, you will need to level multiple characters.
However, in the case of FFXIV where you can level classes side by side, there are no limitations on leveling your classes, so it’s possible to complete all content with a single character. Naturally, it will take some time, but MMORPGs are created to allow for long periods of play, so as I said in the second Producer Letter LIVE, I’d like you all to go at your own pace and enjoy the game.
As a result, in order for as many players as possible to enjoy the FFXIV Armoury System, I’d like to ultimately use the Armoury System and matching system to realize the below two core points:
- It’s possible to experience everything by playing over a long period of time, even if the player can only play for a short amount of time each day
- Adding specific elements that hardcore gamers will enjoy
Main Quest Line and Content
I’d like to give a specific example based on these two standpoints, “adventurer” and “class”, for the Armoury System.
For the main quest that was made before I took over FFXIV, in order to preserve the idea that you can complete the quests as any class, you would have to go around to a vast number of areas for the story aspect only, without battles ensuing. This is the result of the class standpoint at that time.
However, my thoughts of when I played were not particularly good. Being able to clear content with any class destroys class identity. This is the complete opposite idea to class identity which I mentioned earlier, and it does not bring out unique characteristics.
In order to create this uniqueness, the thought of “why not just make one large story with multiple points of view for every class” might come to mind, but the problem with this is of course not only the costs associated with it, but also the large amount of restrictions it places on the content.
The persona of a FFXIV character is that of an adventurer. Classes (and the jobs to be implemented in the future) are the roles that you take on at any given time as an adventurer.
For example, if you clear a mission of the scenario as a battle-type class, as an adventurer, you’ve already experienced this story. Even if you were to change your class to a Disciple of the Hand and try to experience the same story from a different angle, as an adventurer, this is just merely something that you have already accomplished previously.
Even if there are quests with different angles, such as scenario A1, scenario A2, scenario A3, they will be no different from scenario A1. It’s possible to flesh out some ideas, fix the axis of time and create “A1”, “A2”, and “A3” as parallel episodes. However, in this case, after clearing episode A, once you play episode B, you’re already heading towards the future of the scenario and if you then play episode A2 or A3, narrative paradoxes will develop.
So, you’re thinking now, “Well, how about if you create a episode A2 version 2 in case you play episode A2 after clearing episode B…” This is just not possible. For a console game, there is a finite end point so something like this is possible. You can even play again from the beginning. But for an MMO, as long as it is being updated, the “what ifs” can continue on infinitely.
The way to avoid this is to have a flag so if you don’t clear A1, A2, or A3 then you will not be able to reach episode B.
However, if you set it up so A1 is the Disciple of War/Magic one, A2 is the Disciple of the Land one, and A3 is the Disciple of the Hand one, it results in you not being able to move forward unless you play as every class. Creating these types of flags ultimately results in a loss of freedom.
Well, how about if you make it so if you clear either A1, or A2, or A3 then it counts as a complete clear? Looking at this from a class standpoint this is okay. However, when looking at this from the adventurer standpoint, each class is parallel to one another. Due to this, the development team cannot guarantee that players can see every story as the class they desire to.
For MMORPGs, since data is saved on the server, it’s not like you can simply hit the reset button and roll back your progress.
It would be possible to set up a prompt when beginning a scenario asking “The scenario will now begin. Since you are playing as a Disciple of the Land, you will be unable to experience this scenario as other classes. Proceed? Yes/No.”
We could make three parallel scenarios that could not all be observed with one character. Considering this, a ton of development resources would be spent and the scenario itself would not progress very far.
Personally, I do not want to create this type of scenario and I don’t think any of you are looking for a FINAL FANTASY with a non-immersive scenario. This relates to what I was talking about in the recent Producer Letter LIVE when I said “If you want to follow the main storyline, you’ll need to level up a battle class after 2.0.”
For a dynamic storyline menacing battles are necessary. With this said, I’d like you progress through the storyline as an adventurer playing the role of a battle class.
However, it’s possible for us to create stand alone quests for Disciples of the Land and Hand classes that do not affect the axis of time for these battles. For example, quests that show the origin of weapons adventurers come in contact with or reforging swords that were broken during other stories. I’d really like to show how the rest of the world is moving forward via these kind of quests.
Though, it’s a fact that these side developments have been placed in lower priority because of where we were previously in a state where there were no quests available.
In between now and 2.0, I won’t say there will not be any or that or they will not be implemented, but they will be very few in number. If we do not lay the proper foundation, the branches will not develop. However, we are preparing a bunch of content for Disciples of the Land and Hand with the achievement system planned for patch 1.20 (with Land/Hand-specific rewards too).
Also, the same goes for content that is intertwined with battles.
“While in the dungeon, if you do not have a Disciple of Land in your party, certain items will not drop. Inside the dungeon there will be doors that can only be opened by keys that can only be made by Disciples of the Hand.”
While it is possible to plan and implement something like this, the below points ultimately display a number of problems.
- Battle classes would need to save a spot for a class with no battle proficiency (Stressful)
- Disciples of the Land and Hand will be bored during battles (Stressful)
- Battle balance would be off if we made Disciples of the Land and Hand count as party members (Stressful)
If we gave Disciples of the Land and Hand support abilities, then class identity would be destroyed. (I understand that there are comments like this though lol “It’s fine! Wouldn’t it be cool? Just try it for this dungeon!” So, I’m thinking maybe we can try it out just once if we have the time.)
With all this said, I really think it is better to create specialized content for each class.
In addition, I’m considering proceeding with the creation of Ishgard Defense (tentative name) with the goal of content that exists parallel on the class level.
The future of Disciples of the Land and fundamental class revamps
For Disciples of War/Magic, I want to provide the joy of fighting and defeating powerful enemies. For Disciples of the Hand, I want to provide a feeling of satisfaction from other players utilizing your created items. For Disciples of the Land, I want to provide a sense of fulfillment for gathering the materials that support the world.
I want to include content in which those that gather are praised by other players and NPCs for their efforts to travel the world and collect various items.
The gathering mini-game will be adjusted as follows up to the release of 2.0 (at the latest):
- Gathering points will be searched for and discovered using a Disciple of the Land-specific ability
- The gathering points discovered will have different levels, and they can be accessed based on class level
- If the player has a sufficient Disciple of the Land level, it will be possible to gather at the point
- Points with rare materials will move around within the area
- Disciple of the Land-specific abilities will be heavily reviewed
- A point system similar to TP and MP will be implemented (same for Disciples of the Hand)
- A reward system similar to exp bonuses will be implemented for successful gathering attempts in succession (also for Disciples of the Hand)
- Fundamental animation revamps
- A system for easier gathering will be created (also for Disciples of the Hand)
We have also prepared a more detailed explanation of specs to implement the above.
Some aspects within this list cannot be implemented until the servers are revamped. However, we will be doing our best to implement animation revamps, specific ability adjustments, gathered material additions and others before the release of 2.0.
We have yet to determine a specific timetable, but we plan on working towards implementing the above changes once we have finished adjusting food item effects, food recipes, and other recipes. This is because if we move on before we adjust the recipes, the economy will remain unbalanced.
(FYI we have a separate team for Disciples of the Land and Hand)
The triangular relationship between Disciples of War/Magic, Hand, and Land
Gathering is a primary industry. Disciples of the Land themselves cannot produce a finished product from the materials that they gather, so they must sell their materials in the market or ask a crafter to create a product out of their materials.
These finished products usually end up in the hands of a Disciple of the War/Magic character. In order to fight, these classes need gear. Medicine and food (food will be fixed appropriately) are also necessary. Of course, there are also items used for fashion, as well as items for Disciples of the Land and Hand, but the overwhelming majority of items are for the battle-related classes.
These products cannot be sold without demand. Demand from the battle-related classes is spurred on by the introduction of stronger enemies. Players from the battle classes convert their old gear items into materia and equip newer, higher quality gear items to defeat stronger enemies.
Certainly, a system for buyers to easily find products is also necessary. However, this kind of system will have no use without demand.
In conclusion, by creating more demand, more products are created and more materials become necessary. This seems simple, but this is the reasoning behind our priorities for future developments:
- Alter the battle system
- Implement battle content
- Revamp recipes (allow more product creation)
- Create a system that promotes item consumption (conversion to materia)
- Improve connection between buyers and sellers (search feature)
- Add new materials and recipes
If we don’t create a necessity for materials, the act of gathering, which is a primary industry, will not have a role in the economy.
I have come to the conclusion that instead of focusing time and money towards developing content focused on gatherers, it would be best for gatherers, as well as FFXIV as a whole, to work towards completing the above six goals as quickly as possible.
The reason I have avoided posting directly about the economy is because it is an incredibly complicated topic. If there were simple solutions to economic problems, there wouldn’t be so many economic recessions across the world and there would be no need for economists.
Of course, I am thinking about this issue on a more detailed level, but I believe that there would be no solution to this discussion, so I have posted my conclusions. Until we reach 2.0, I would like to work towards achieving the above goals efficiently while taking in your feedback. After we solidify the foundation we can continue to build from there.
As such, I’m sorry that it has taken me some time to report this, but we do have plans and specs for the future of Disciples of the Land and Hand.
2.0 and beyond
I spoke a little bit about housing in the 2nd edition of the LIVE producer letter. I personally came up with the basic design for housing. (We have separate staff working on the details, and I feel bad for them that I was so ambitious with my plans)
I decided to implement a garden by any means necessary so that we can add content for Disciples of the Land and Hand.
It is also possible for players to decorate the exterior of buildings using custom architectural items created by Disciples of the Hand using construction material gathered by Disciples of the Land. There are roofs and other architectural items that can be purchased with gil, but custom items will only be attained through Disciples of the Hand and Land.
We also plan on implementing gardens so that players can plant gysahl greens and raise chocobo chicks.
Another thing we have planned for housing is an underground facility for building boats and airships. (This will be implemented sometime after the release of 2.0) We will release an image for housing as soon as possible, so please look forward to this patiently.
I have seen many posts asking, “What happened to being able to play only as a Disciple of the Land or Hand?”
This was a statement from the previous team, and I am very sorry if any of you were under the impression that you can experience all aspects of FFXIV by playing only as a specific class. I would like to officially retract this statement. I’m very sorry for the confusion surrounding this.
Each class has its own unique abilities. Disciples of the Land have the ability to gather materials, Disciples of the Hand have the ability to create items and Disciples of War/Magic have the ability to challenge enemies. It is possible for FFXIV adventurers to experience all of these things or to ultimately play only as one class.
I would like adventurers to adventure in the world of FFXIV freely and for everybody to choose their main class however they like. We will continue to work hard toward developing and operating the game to maintain this kind of freedom of choice.