Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Interview with Naoki Yoshida

During our time at the Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers media tour, we had a chance to sit down with Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida to ask him about the upcoming expansion.

We were joined by Easy Allies and the PlayStation Blog as well during our interview time. We’ve only included our questions here, but make sure to keep an eye out for their coverage as well!

Gamer Escape: Tanks seem to have been simplified a little bit for Shadowbringers. What did you consider when wanting to make the role easy to play, but also making sure that the hardcore tanks are still happy?

Naoki Yoshida: We didn’t give it too extreme of a thought for those that are just now jumping into the tank role, but placing our heaviest emphasis on how do we make the desires of the players who handle the tank on a regular basis—we have a lot of feedback on how they want their tank to play, so the focus was placed on how do we respond to that and how much of that we could address.

I think a lot of people who play the tank role have this sort of fundamental desire of wanting to deal a great amount of DPS, and do the maximum DPS they can while being a tank. They don’t like the fact that when they switch to a tank stance, their DPS is lowered and I don’t think that players dislike the fact that by turning on the tank stance they generate more enmity. It’s more about them lowering DPS by turning on tank stance, so people hesitate on utilizing it or actively trying to generate enmity because they’re worried about their DPS dropping. One of the first concepts was we wanted to remove that penalty of lower DPS when switching to the tank stance.

With the initial thinking of how we had both the offensive and defensive stances for our tanks, was meant to be something strategic. We wanted players to go into different encounters and determine when it’s a good time to switch stances. Looking at how players dislike the tank stance, we might as well just have a single stance. By reducing it to one and toggling it on and off, we’re hoping that will respond to the player feedback. With the update, it will just be a matter of switching the tank stance on or off and you don’t have to worry about turning it on the generate enmity and just worry about generating DPS and utilizing your skill rotations and if there are specific mechanics with the content, you would maneuver through those. We have simplified it definitely, but in turn with it being simple, that allows for it to be easier to grasp for new or inexperienced players as well.

Gamer Escape: Machinist has seen a lot of changes with Shadowbringers…

Naoki Yoshida: Yesss. Almost a new job!

Gamer Escape: What happened behind the scenes… how did you decide what to change with that job and how did that factor into balancing all of the ranged jobs?

Naoki Yoshida: When we were making the adjustments to the synergy between the different jobs and were looking at the Bard and Machinist, because we reduced the effect of the synergy between the jobs, we didn’t have to consider too much outside of the total DPS.

With the Machinist and trying to redesign the fundamentals of it, one of the major points we looked at was the heat gauge. Initially, the heat gauge was there, but it was hard to tell whether it’s a good thing to accumulate heat or how much is to much? Is it not good to have it overheat? It was difficult to understand that mechanic and it was hard to tell what the optimal level was for the maximum amount of DPS.

In terms of the different gauges that you see, not just Machinist, but all the jobs, we made sure that we’re changing the thinking of how they function. We want it to be a good thing if you’ve accumulated and filled the gauge. We wanted to remove the idea of maintaining a certain level, or decreasing the gauge, because it wasn’t easy to grasp. With the Machinist, the problem was especially prevalent in how you’re maneuvering with the heat gauge.

Another element we looked at… there was feedback that it wasn’t fun to play Machinist. People thought it wasn’t fun, people thought it wasn’t interesting. Throughout Heavensward and Stormblood, we were torn on how we should position Machinist. We thought it was all about utilizing the gun and giving it a strong position as a gunner and giving it stylish actions to execute their different attacks. We drastically redesigned it for Shadowbringers. We wanted to go back to the name Machinist and bring out that element of utilizing different machines and weapons or the mech, and have that visual representation of how it can utilizing those in their arsenal and bring that excitement of having the different elements available. The gun is now just one of many weapons the Machinist can handle. That’s the sort of redesign we went through.

With all of that going on behind the scenes, that’s how it came about, and it might feel like a completely new job at this point. We’re hoping that with these revisions that it will allow you to enjoy it more and that it will be a more fun job to handle.

Gamer Escape: This morning, you talked about the new rewards for F.A.T.E.S. I was wondering if this system is going to be brought into the older areas as well?

Naoki Yoshida: No, it will not. There’s just so many of them that it’s a lot to tackle. That being said, there are certain areas within Stormblood with the Notorious Monsters where there might not be enough people to get the achievement associated with some of them, so we want to adjust the difficulty level for that content.