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 Letter from the Producer, XII (27/06/2011)

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Shu
Celestial Council
Celestial Council
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Number of posts : 10802
Location : Singapore
IGN[Game NickName] : Ashura/Iori Yagami
Current Status : Busy at Work
Registration date : 2008-03-31

PostSubject: Letter from the Producer, XII (27/06/2011)    Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:43 pm

Letter from the Producer, XII (27/06/2011)
Hello again, all fans of FINAL FANTASY XIV!

Information on 1.18 has recently started popping up on Topics, and today
I’ll touch on some details about this patch as well as talk about our
balance reform plans. In particular, I’ll be casting the spotlight on
guildleves. Now, to give you due warning, this letter is going to be a
wall of text. This isn’t without good reason, though—the content can
only be described as pivotal, and I ask you to bear with me to the last
word.

FINAL FANTASY XIV Balance Reforms
In
order to keep up with the times and cater to changing lifestyles,
large-scale MMORPGs such as FINAL FANTASY XIV need to offer a more
casual playing experience than before. Mind you, that’s not to say that
the entire game should be casual. Rather, there should be elements that
can be enjoyed in a lighthearted way, for example, after coming home
tired from work or school, with mobile phone or refreshing beverage in
hand. To elaborate, content that can be enjoyed with little fuss, that
doesn’t demand large time investments—up to an hour, say—or require a
party to be formed.

But come weekend, players have the choice of undertaking more elaborate
adventuring, forming parties with linkshell members and/or likeminded
adventurers to accomplish mutual goals. Light parties can exploit the
versatility offered by classes to conduct forays into beast tribe
settlements, something that a lone adventurer would find grueling. Full
parties, on the other hand, can immerse themselves in fine-tuning job
configuration in preparation for their bid to obtain rare items in
advanced battle content. Disciples of the Hand can outfit the
battle-inclined with equipment boasting the requested attributes. And
last but not least, Disciples of the Land can set about gathering
ingredients based on current class and materia crafting demands.

We still have some ways to go, but FINAL FANTASY XIV will gradually
shift from being a grind-centric game to one that offers enjoyment for
all playing styles and circumstances with its ever-expanding variety of
content.
Patch 1.18
As
part of the reforms based on the above direction, 1.18 will see the
introduction of instanced raids along with the first stages of the
battle system reform. In addition to these two areas, which have been
discussed in some detail in previous letters, we’ll also be carrying out
major revisions to guildleves.
Guildleve Reforms
When
FINAL FANTASY XIV was launched last September, it was stated via
official channels that guildleves will form the heart of the game.
Today, I’d like to officially retract that statement.

Guildleves will no longer be central to FINAL FANTASY XIV.

In my mind, central content isn’t a static thing. Rather, it’s new
content that we continually develop for our fans’ enjoyment, with no one
item indefinitely bathing in the spotlight.

  • Guildleve Repositioning
    We will reposition guildleves as content catering to solo adventurers,
    which can be enjoyed repeatedly and with minimal time investment and
    fuss.

    Large volumes of quests are being added—now and in future patches—which
    require adventurers to interact with an NPC. Until you do so, you won’t
    be able to gauge the quest’s difficulty level. In contrast, Guildleves
    can be initiated simply by visiting guild counters and aetherytes.
    Bone-tired after a hard day’s work? Got only a bit of time to spare?
    Then guildleves are just what the doctor ordered. Being able to get
    started without delay is without a doubt the biggest selling point of
    guildleves.

    Having said that, we want to avoid boring players to tears with
    monotony. We recognize the need to add a pinch of spice to the mix, such
    as a system in which special levequests can be triggered, that borrow
    inspiration from guildleves.

    Based on my rationale above, 1.18 will see the following changes made to
    guildleves. This marks only the beginning, mind you. Further revisions
    are in store for future patches, all driven by the same overarching
    goal.
  • Imbuing Rewards with Regional Identity
    Guildleves won’t simply offer fuss-free adventuring. We also intend to
    make it so that through guildleves, adventurers will be able to
    experience the richness and diversity of the world of Eorzea. To achieve
    this, we will accentuate the uniqueness of rewards for each region. For
    instance, if it’s metal armor or Blacksmiths’ Guild marks you’re after,
    you’ll want to make a beeline for Limsa Lominsa.

    Levequests yielding guild marks will be limited to city-states hosting
    the corresponding guild only. In compensation, we will make it easier
    for players to amass the guild marks they desire.
  • Skill Points: Introduction and Balancing
    In light of guildleves’ repositioning as solo-oriented content, leve
    link bonuses will be reduced. To make up for this reduction, skill
    points will be added as a new reward for the benefit of solo
    adventurers.

    At the same time, the objectives of certain guildleves will be adjusted
    in order to accommodate a system in which difficulty and completion time
    influence your reward. For example, completing a high-difficulty
    levequest in a short amount of time will yield greater rewards. Through
    this we hope to encourage skillful adventuring.

    In addition to guildleves, sidequests will also be made to yield skill
    points upon completion, thus providing players with more avenues for
    advancement.
  • Regional Levequest Battle Rebalancing
    Given the tremendous amount of work required for instanced raids and
    battle reforms in 1.18, we weren’t able to allocate sufficient time to
    review balance for regional levequest battles. Rather than do a cursory
    job of rebalancing and risk making a mess of things, we decided to put
    it off for a later patch.

    A handful of levequests with peculiar demands, however, such as those
    that would send adventurers scrambling long distances, will be revised
    on a case-by-case basis. At the same time, we’ll implement a system that
    allows the same levequest to assign different routes, which should help
    to even out adventurer distribution.
  • Regional Levequest Usability Tweaks


    • Automatic updating of minimap marker position.
    • Pegging of enemy rank variance based on guildleve difficulty.
    • Revised menu position when cancelling within guildleve issuance window.
    We’ve finally gotten around to making the adjustments
    above, and a bunch of others besides. Adjustments like these will
    continue well beyond 1.18, with changes great and small to be
    implemented as required to improve user-friendliness.

    On a related subject, failing guildleve objectives due to disconnection
    is a major issue that many players have raised, and we’re looking at
    ways to tackle it. We’d been deferring work in this area due to concerns
    that the ability to resume a guildleve after disconnection may be
    exploited to unfairly obtain large amounts of skill points. But with
    rewards now undergoing adjustment, we feel this is a suitable time to
    put together a plan of action to address the issue.


1.18 and BeyondPhew, that pretty much sums up all the guildleve changes planned for 1.18.

Although guildleves are just one aspect of FINAL FANTASY XIV, they play a
significant role in the overall scheme of changes. And so in deciding
to carry out guildleve reforms, I made a pivotal decision that will have
a profound impact on the game. I wrote this letter while fighting
sleep, and hope I managed to underscore the importance of the
adjustments.

Though I’ve already buried you in a mountain of text, there’s actually
still a lot more that I wanted to write about, and many more tasks that
we have to complete. Here’s some of them, in a flurry:

Reforms to behest are still outstanding, and more new content is in the
pipes. We’re doing what we can to reorganize the opening stages of the
game, but progress is being made. A complete reworking of recipes is
planned for 1.19, with the goal of granting Disciples of the Hand and
the Land more power to invigorate the game economy. Likewise for the
materia crafting system. Disciples of the Land will benefit from the
addition of a stealth skill to their arsenal, and we’re prepared to
invest as much resource as needed to improve the map.

The team will keep soldiering on, working intently towards clearly
defined goals, and we ask that all adventurers keep doing what they do
best: adventure!

1.18 has proven to be a time-consuming patch, but there’s a good reason
for this. 1.18 is the momentous first bold step towards the ideal game
that we’ve envisioned, and we hope our fans will be able to feel and
appreciate the passion that went into its creation. We ask for your
patience for just a little while longer.

This letter ended up taking on quite a formal tone, didn’t it? I suppose
it’s only natural, though, considering the weightiness of the content.
Anyway, thanks for sticking with me and reading to the very end!

_________________
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Letter from the Producer, XII (27/06/2011)
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