We’re proud to announce that the “Letter from the Producer LIVE Part III” video has been released!
If you weren’t able to watch the live stream, or if you just want to watch it again, take a look below.
Proceed to the thread.
* Don’t forget to select the 720p option to watch the video in HD!
Since the video is over 90 minutes long, feel free to peruse the text below if you don’t have the time to watch it now!
Q: Ramuh and Titan were revealed during the 25th Anniversary event. Can we expect some new primal battles?
A: Of course! We can’t reveal new primals without introducing new battles with them, so please look forward to those. But it’s a little too early to talk about right now.
Q: You also mentioned that elements from the FF series would be introduced into the game; like the Crystal Tower, Magitek Armor, and the Gold Saucer. What other things are you thinking would be fun to add?
A: Well, we’ve been considering quite a lot of things, but it really comes down to timing. The team’s schedule is really quite full at this point. At one stage we were talking about being able to ride Red XIII, or even Red XIV, from FFVII even came up.
I’m a huge FF fan, so just like you, I’m dreaming of different things that I would like to put into the game as well.
Q: Goobbues and chocobos mounts have been introduced, but will we able to ride the Ahriman revealed in the last Live letter right away?
A: You should be able to ride it right away, but we’re testing and looking into how to introduce it along with other mounts as well. Mounts are really fun and many players like them, so we’d like to keep implementing a variety of them in A Realm Reborn.
Q: A straightforward question; what will happen to our path companions?
A: During Nino’s portion of the 25th Anniversary talk session, we mentioned that parley would be removed from the game. We’ll actually be removing path companions as well. In A Realm Reborn, you’ll have your chocobo that will stay by your side and fight. However, for something similar to the adventuring fellows in FFXI, we felt that it would be better to create solid content where you can have a character to bond with and can change their equipment, so we will be removing companions from the main story. There will definitely be an opportunity to revive this feature, but for now we’ll be removing them.
Q: Will dated item data carry over to A Realm Reborn so that they’ll be equippable with the option of selling/trading them? Or will they be deleted?
A: Since these items could have some memories associated with them, such as being worn in battle early in the game, we’re not planning on deleting them. We’re thinking about making them unique/untradeable, so you won’t be able to trade them. You won’t be able to make or obtain these items anymore and they also won’t be listed in official databases or strategy guides for A Realm Reborn. But, no, we won’t be deleting them. We will be making a Topics announcement about this, so please wait till then.
Q: Will there be a gil wipe or changes to the currency in A Realm Reborn?
A: Well, we said before that we wouldn’t be wiping anything. However, we are thinking about reworking currency denomination. This is something we’ll be making a proper Topics post about, but the point is that ammunition is currently being sold from one gil each.
In the current version, the first digit seems to exist for the sake of arrows alone. Our plan is to reduce the denomination of gil by one digit. This reduction will apply to the entire game economy, from the amount of gil players have to prices. So, an item currently sold at 3500 will go down one digit to 350 gil etc.
This doesn’t mean that players will lose money. Rather, areas of the game with unnecessarily large numbers will be pared down and rendered more manageable. This is what I’d like to emphasize in advance. This will all be explained in full in a Topics post along with the fate of crystal shards.
Q: When will you implement musketeer?
A: Well, we haven’t really decided when. We’ve been talking a lot about samurai, ninja, ranger, and thief, etc. but first we’re looking to add the class that will be most interesting and effective from the perspective of battle balance. We still don’t know which one will be next.
For A Realm Reborn, we’re revamping everything. As you can see here, armor and weapon slots will be separated to be on the left and right of the interface. In the case of musketeer, a double-barreled gun is a weapon that requires both hands, so it takes up two slots. But sometimes you might want to dual-wield, so we’re making a more flexible system that lets players do this. Naturally, these changes will be introduced properly with major updates in future, so please rest assured.
Q: In the future, will there be any shields with primal motifs? There are weapons, so why not shields?
A: There are weapons, so why not shields? Hmm, was there a shield in here… Oh, here we go.
*An image of a primal shield is shown.
Here’s a set for gladiator. This is another weapon that transforms–Titan.
*An image of a weapon from the primal Titan is shown.
Q: Please tell us how crafters and gatherers will change in A Realm Reborn. If possible, we’d like to see it in the game. Could you show us?
(We recommend you watch the following along with the video)
For crafting, sorry, it’s somewhat hard to discuss and play at the same time. We have a recipe notebook here. The recipes you’ve learned are listed here. This character is actually level 10, but once you select the item you’d like to make, you can confirm what materials you need and what you have. You can pick to use NQ or HQ materials and then begin crafting.
We decided to base the crafting system on the already improved current version and polish it even more. The process will be very similar. The basic concept is keeping an eye on durability while improving quality and completing the item.
In ARR, there’s going to be a new element in crafting called CP. Players will be able to use actions as long as they have enough CP.
Like the current version, the higher the quality of the item, the more EXP you will earn. There’s also a feature to craft multiple items at once.
By the time they reach level 10, crafters will have learned the basic skills needed to craft items, increase quality, and maintain durability. As you continue to level, you will learn more advanced abilities, e.g. those that increase the pace of progress when you string together successful actions, those that greatly increase quality but sacrifices the rate of success, and more.
The goal will be to combine these actions to craft the item of your choice. In addition, crafters will learn an action that will let them create a lower-level item instantly. Progress will fill in an instant and the item will either be NQ or HQ, depending on quality percentage. This will be the basic flow of crafting.
In ARR, you will be able to choose whether or not you see gathering points via an ability. For example, you can opt to hide gathering points when walking through a low-level area. Gathering points will also appear on your mini-map.
Another thing that will change in ARR: you’ll be able to see what you can obtain at a gathering point. The range of items you can gather will expand as rise in level. They will also differ depending on the area you’re in.
Since my character is level 10, he can basically gather in any low-level area. As you can see here, players will be able to see the success rate for gathering an item. Just like crafters, gatherers will be able to use actions to increase their chance of success
There’s also an ability that increases the number of items that you can obtain per attempt but lowers gathering success rate. As for rare items, players will not be able to see what they are. There will be trends, though, so experienced gatherers will have an idea of what they might find.
Like the current system, you can strike at different heights at a gathering point. For instance, experienced miners may know that dark matter is usually found in the lower area. From this they can deduce that the unknown item is dark matter.
Since my character is only level 10, I don’t have many abilities to use GP on. Once you reach the higher levels, though, you will need to manage your GP as you gather. While a crafter’s CP recovers to full after each crafting attempt, GP accumulates over time like TP. So you probably want to avoid spamming your GP.
Over time, you’ll learn where to obtain the items you need, and your gathering efforts will become more objective-oriented. Design-wise, gatherers won’t be able to spam gathering points. Instead, they will have to wait a while between gathering attempts.
Class Selection for New Characters in ARR
Oh, there’s another important thing I should mention. In ARR, when you create a new character, you’ll only be able to start as a battle class. While the game gives you the choice of taking many paths, we felt that it’s important to narrow these paths at the start of the game so as to not confuse new players.
There will be tutorials on character and camera controls, buying and selling items, the workings of aetheryte crystals, etc. By the end of these tutorials, players will reach level 10, at which point the Armoury System will be unlocked.
From there, you’ll be able to try out different classes such as Disciples of the Land and Hand. Some players may not be happy, thinking that we’re turning crafters and gatherers into sub-classes, but this is definitely not the case.
We just want to make sure that players learn the basics first, after which players will have the freedom to do what they want. Also, as I stated before, I would like everyone to have at least one battle class leveled up. As you can see from what we just demonstrated, we definitely didn’t do a half-hearted job on the crafting and gathering systems.
We’re going to make sure both crafters and gatherers can be played as proper classes. As for fishing, we’re still working to improve it. Stay tuned!
Since we’re not able to show you how the fishing system works today, how about I show you some artwork of the upcoming fisher gear?
*An image of fisher gear is shown.
While I’m at it, here’s an artwork of goldsmith gear.
*An image of goldsmith gear is shown.
And here’s one for blacksmith as well. We’re putting a lot of work into everything we do, so please rest assured.
*An image of blacksmith gear is shown.
Q: Will we need to clean up our inventory because max capacity will be reduced to 100 slots.
A: We’ll be releasing a Topics announcement regarding this matter. Yes, the inventory limit will be reduced to 100 slots. In ARR, when you equip an item, that item disappears from your inventory. So when you put together all your gear sets, your inventory won’t be as full. As for current players who have up to 200 items in their inventory, all items over the 100-slot limit will be transferred to a NPC. Players will be able to reclaim these items by speaking to the NPC.
Q: Will we ever sell the “Meteor Survivor” polo shirts and t-shirts? We had a large amount of requests from English-speaking regions.
A: There has been a huge amount of requests for this. We actually have the product made and are now in the process of deciding how to sell it. Personally, I would like to prepare these for events and what not after launch. It might take a little more time, but we’ll definitely make it happen. Stay tuned!
Q: Will the new graphics engine be compatible with DX9, DX10, and DX11?
A: I’m pretty sure I answered this question at one of the previous interviews. At launch, the graphics engine won’t be compatible with DX11. We’re going to need time to make this happen with the new engine. However, there are plans to implement DX11 compatibility after the launch of ARR.
After launch, our next big milestone is DX11 compatibility. Once we achieve this, there will be a further improvement in graphics. Technical Director Hashimoto was recently talking to me about whether it’s possible to further increase graphics quality on the PC version, so we need to decide how ambitious we want to be.
Q: Can you tell us the minimum and recommended specs for the PC version of A Realm Reborn?
A: We’ve announced the specs on the Alpha test recruitment page, but these specs are for the Alpha only, and we’re currently thinking about what kind of line to draw for the minimum specs of later builds.
The game will run on specs much lower than you’re expecting, but please be patient for the post-Alpha specs. I find the word “recommended” rather difficult in the Japanese language. Are we talking about the recommended specs for a player to be satisfied with the game? Or the recommended specs for a player to run the game smoothly?
For the PC version, we want players to enjoy the highest graphics possible. However, if we set that as the recommended specs, it will end being way too high for most players. We’re currently discussing how we want to word it. We’ll be sure to keep everyone in the loop.
For now, please don’t assume that the specs for alpha apply to the final release version. I remember one of the vendors talking to me about how the minimum specs were going to be raised for ARR and I was like “Huh!? Where did you hear that from?” So if you work for one of our vendors, please don’t get the wrong understanding of the minimum specs.
Q: Are there any plans to increase the level cap? If so, when?
A: At the launch of A Realm Reborn, the level cap will still be 50. We’re already planning to implement a lot of content specifically for level 50. If we decide to increase the level cap at the time of launch, we’re going to have to implement additional content before we’re able to launch ARR.
The current plan is to increase the level cap with the next major update after launch. We will also be updating the content to reflect the increase in level cap. So the level cap increase will happen. It just won’t be happening at the launch.
Unfortunately, I’m not able to give you a time frame on when it will occur. Please note that the battle system is completely different in ARR, so even if your character is already at level 50, there’s a lot to re-learn.
Q: What will you be doing to fix congestion in instanced areas?
A: That’s a tough question. In the current version, we have servers for the instances. What we did was physically assign popular content to these servers. Unfortunately, the system made it hard for us to control the congestion.
However, with the new server structure, we’ll be able to monitor the congestion level of the instances and reallocate resources on the fly.
For example, if there’s content that is fairly empty, we’ll take the resources from there and allocate them to more populated content. There are also other systems in place to alleviate congestion, such as the matching system and the revamped reward system. With the revamped reward system, players won’t be spamming the same content over and over.
With the current version, we couldn’t implement a large amount of content at one time. So every time we added something new, it got congested. In ARR, there will be many different types of content available at launch so everyone won’t be focusing on the same thing.
Q: In the current version, it’s a hassle to type out the character’s name if I wanted to send a /tell. Will you be doing anything to make it easier to /tell people?
A: In our current internal build we have implemented a feature where you can click on the character’s name in the chat log and send that character a /tell message. The feature is currently turned off because it’s buggy.
Don’t worry though–players won’t have that problem once we implement it properly.
Q: In an interview, you mentioned how monk will be changed in ARR. Could you go into more detail?
A: Of all the classes and jobs, pugilist and monk will undergo the most change. Currently, monk is more of a hybrid style, but in ARR, it will be all about chaining skills endlessly.
Normally, a character’s combo comprises three weaponskills. Monks, however, can keep on going beyond that. The more they chain their attacks, the more damage they’ll deal. This will be further bolstered by the increased pace of battle in ARR.
They still have their stances, but it’s more of a self-buff in ARR. I remember the time when the battle team brought me a huge list of changes they came up with. Both Gondai and the battle team apologized because they wanted to change monk so much. Not only monk will change, mind you–all classes and jobs will be different come ARR.
Since we’re playing on the Alpha, all the cool-down timers are in place. Let’s continue with the questions while we wait for the timers.
Q: Speaking of stress in instances, will you improve the stress related to retainer placement in the markets and the constant crashes in Ul’dah?
A: That’s basically what we want to test in the Alpha. Speaking of the Alpha, I think some people are expecting way too much. It will consist of stress tests, for example, we’ll ask players to gather at 6pm in a specific area, and fight solo all at once. We’ll be asking this frequently throughout the Alpha testing period.
In regards to the towns, we totally rebuilt the servers, so we won’t know how many people can fit into the zone until we actually verify it through stress testing. When I spoke to the lead programmer, we discussed that we would like to see in the Alpha test if there are hundreds or thousands of players that cannot access a single zone, and decide whether or not it will be necessary to create multiple layers to disperse them and then ultimately bring them together. So depending on what we see during the stress tests, we will be making changes accordingly.
The market is basically revamped as well. As for retainers, it’s impossible to make all of them appear at once. Instead, we want to implement what’s called a market street and have players decide on what they want others to see.
It’ll work kind of like an instance, but you’ll be able to see them out in the open. Each retainer you see will look different. The search feature has also been revamped. Searching will take place through a board. We’ll probably be able to show everyone what it looks like during the beta phase.
Also, players will be able to perform more precise searches. Currently, players can’t search for HQ/NQ items or for items with/without materia attached, which is quite frankly ridiculous, but with the new search feature this will all be possible. We can’t wait to show everyone how much it has improved.
Q: Can you explain housing in more detail?
A: The image that we just showed was concept art for the Limsa Lominsa housing area. We’ve been working on mock-ups, and you can see a dummy house right here. This house is just a placeholder we’re using to check house sizes and such, and it’s not an actual design. In this picture, you can see a wider view of the same area. There are several areas where players can build houses, and a large open area. Basically, there will be three different types of housing areas areas: desert, forest, and sea. Here we have the concept art for the forest housing area. This isn’t finalized, of course. We’ll publish more information as soon as we can.
Players will first choose an area they prefer and then purchase land there. Kind of like “I like this spot!” Once they purchase the land with gil at the signboard, players will buy the right to build a house there.
Once players have constructed a basic house, they can open a special housing widget to browse and purchase housing materials, such as roofing. You could also commission crafters to build roofing, which could then be equipped, in a sense, onto your house to change its external appearance. You can even hang tapestries on your walls. So that’s basically how you can change your house.
The yard… I shouldn’t show anymore actually… As I mentioned previously, houses will also have yards where you can place objects. For example, if you place a chocobo stable in your yard, you will be able to raise several chocobos there.
There will be updates dedicated specifically to the housing system. Content won’t end with a single release; we plan to introduce new features, such as additional ways to play with your yard. Additionally, players will be able to drag and drop objects within their house easily, in both the PC and PS3 versions. We’re working hard to create a very flexible system.
Houses can be used as headquarters for linkshells and Free Companies, and they can eventually be expanded to allow individual rooms. To prevent disputes over land, housing areas will be instanced. After the maximum number of houses are sold in one instance, players will be asked to purchase land in a different one. More instances will be added as necessary.
Also, land will be available in small, medium, and large sizes. Certain structures will require huge tracts of land to build.
We should be able to provide more details near the conclusion of the Beta Test.
Q: Can we see the PS3 version?
A: We’ll be releasing the initial information around mid-October.
We’re busy optimizing the PS3 version and, when we think it’s good and ready, we’ll show everyone how it looks, along with the user interface. First we’ll show some screenshots and afterwards, just like with the PC version of ARR, we’ll release videos to show how it actually looks in motion. We’re working on a really tight schedule, but we’ll deliver what we have as soon as we’re ready,
The game is looking beautiful, but I had a word with Akihiko Yoshida during the break and he said “The picture during the show looks so grainy on a TV screen! We have great graphics to show off so why can’t you broadcast a detailed image?”
He also scolded me about the water. He said “Don’t show the surface of the water yet! We’re still working on it” Well, the quality isn’t perfect as it’s a live show, but we wanted to show everyone more in-game footage. We’ll be revealing more info about the PC version first, but we’ll tell everyone more about the PS3 version once we’re ready.
Q: So are we going to get a benchmark sometime soon?
A: We’ll have two benchmarks. The first will be available before the Beta test starts so that players can see if their PC specs meet the requirements for FFXIV:ARR. The second one will be released just before the game launches and will be bundled with character creation software.
In other words, you’ll be able to make characters to use in FFXIV:ARR before launch. If you’re wondering what character creation will be like and are thinking about what kind of character you want to make, you can check this out.
Unfortunately we can’t show the character creation system today, but there will be a tremendous amount of freedom for players to create original characters.
Q: Will I be able to use the same gear in multiple gear sets, or will I have to equip these items from my inventory when I change to a different set?
A: You will have to create different gear sets for each class and, if you wish to use the same item in multiple gear sets, you’ll have to obtain multiple copies of the same item. We believe that this system, which players will see in the Alpha Test, will be easier for players to use and understand.
Another approach we might use involves “aliases,” in which one item can be registered to multiple gear sets. This is possible to implement, but tracking what items are equipped in which locations can make for a very confusing UI system.
That said, we definitely want to hear how the players feel about this. Ideally, we’d like to implement macros that players can create and use to assign gear to different sets. This way, players can easily assign gear to a set without manually equipping each piece.
The macros will be simple enough for beginners to use, but technical enough that advanced players can customize their gear sets quickly and easily. I think this system would best suit everyone, but it’s really difficult to determine what the players would prefer. We’d like everyone to experiment with these systems as much as possible and tell us what they think.
Unfortunately, we won’t have the macro system ready for the Alpha Test, but we hope to receive plenty of feedback during the Beta Test.
Q: So, for now, players will simply take items from their inventory and equip them to individual gear sets, correct?
A: Yes. So, if you wish to equip the same gear to gear set 1 and 2, you will have to obtain two of the same gear, or equip the gear from your inventory manually, or use macros to switch. Again, we want to hear what the fans think about these methods.
Q: For Disciples of Magic, will casting be performed like it is in the current version with the player in passive mode?
A: When casting, you will draw your weapon.
*Casting is demonstrated in the video
Q: Will we have more options for customizing faces, height, body type, hair style, voices, and so on?
A: We’re currently adjusting the distribution of these choices between races. Also, personally speaking, I feel that Hyurs are too plain. We’re trying different things, like giving them more distinct hairstyles representative of FINAL FANTASY. I’d also like to tweak their faces, maybe give them more attitude.
Q: Will it be possible to visit Sharlayan, Ala Mhigo, Ishgard and the Garlean Empire from launch? Will new areas be added later?
A: Ala Mhigo and Ishgard won’t be available at launch. I know that people have been asking to see other new areas, since we’ve only shown Gridania so far, but we’ve completely remade all the maps. In that sense, all areas are completely new.
There are new settlements, monsters, and dungeons—some which are three times the size of current ones. Frankly, when you consider that it’s only been fifteen months since we started writing code and creating assets…if we wanted to include Ishgard and Ala Mhigo at release, it would take another year of work. The development teams wouldn’t like that very much.
Again, allow me to reiterate that all areas have been fundamentally rebuilt and should be considered new. We’d like players to enjoy this content first. We’re thinking of adding Ishgard, Ala Mhigo and other areas with our first expansions, so please look forward to it! In the meantime, I’m certain there will be enough content for players to enjoy.
Q: Will NPCs that appear in the current version, such as Yayake and Popori, appear in A Realm Reborn as well?
A: This is Minfilia, an NPC that appears in the current version of the game. We’re creating original gear for these NPCs, including Yayake.
*Artwork was shown in the video
Once the designs are finalized, we’ll reveal them to everyone. It’s going to take some time to completely re-design their gear and switch it out, and some NPCs won’t have new gear during the Alpha Test. Please look forward to the re-introduction of these characters, as well as the many new characters you’ll meet in A Realm Reborn.
However, we won’t be revealing information about the main story during the Beta Test.
Q: Will current players and new players be able to play together from launch?
A: First of all, we will definitely be increasing the number of worlds. PS3 players and new PC players will be able to select any world when making a new character, including currently existing worlds. So if your friend is joining after A Realm Reborn begins, they can choose your world. It will absolutely be possible to play together.
Q: Can you give us more details about Free Companies?
A: First, you’ll need a group of four people. Then, you’ll all need to join a Grand Company, whichever you prefer. Afterwards, you can form a Free Company under that Grand Company by visiting the Grand Company desk.
Free Companies each have a shared box for storing items and transferring them between members. However, imagine I’m the free company leader. If I want, I can configure it so that only I have the authority to remove items, and that the other three members can only deposit items.
We’ve created a very detailed system of permissions. Free companies will also have a point system that is similar to exp, which will allow Free Companies to grow. By completing quests, defeating monsters, and conquering dungeons together, the company can grow to level two and so forth.
Leveling allows for greater customization of your Free Company. Players will have more options when designing their company crests and decorating company headquarters, and they can even increase the size of their building. There are also special Free Company achievements. Unlike linkshells, which are more relaxed, Free Companies are more like organizations with shared goals.
Also, if you have a solid group of 8 people and there’s another Free Company you’re friends with, since it’d be difficult to merge Free Companies, we’ve designed an alliance system that allows Free Companies to work together. You’ll be able to utilize a shared discussion area on the Lodestone, and company leaders can control who has permission to post. It’s quite a complex system.
If you’re the type of player that doesn’t want to interact with people on a daily basis, but you have some interest in joining, you can join as a guest. Also, by inviting new people and helping them out, you will be rewarded with items that will help your free company grow more easily. We’re still considering how to implement this. We don’t want to make things too strict, but we don’t want to allow unrestricted access—especially since there is item sharing.
Q: Will there be a secondary job for each class? Such as gladiators becoming dark knights, or archers becoming rangers?
A: I spoke to the battle team earlier, and they said they will do it… when they find the time, that is. They’re currently focused on refining the new battle system, which has changed so radically that all classes are essentially new. When that’s finished, they’ll move on to secondary jobs, but I cannot say when that might be.
Q: During the 25th Anniversary talk session, you mentioned that the names of existing content would stay the same, but the content itself would change. For example, how will leves, behest, NMs, and hamlet defense change?
A: Leves won’t change much. They will continue to be simple, enjoyable challenges. We’re currently tuning them for the Alpha Test. Behests, however, will change significantly enough that we’ve considered changing the name. They will become more complex, puzzle-like contents.
As for NM battles, hamlet defense and caravans—we’re making content that encapsulates them and will be integrated into this. Also, while players will have to wait a bit longer for this… there will be opportunities to assist settlements under attack. This content will be easy to join and leave. Overall, we’re aiming to put plenty of content into each area to bring the game to life.