The Final Fantasy XIV team conducted the 37th Letter from the Producer Live program this morning, a broadcast that features director/producer Naoki Yoshida sharing current and upcoming details to the game. The topic of today’s letter is a delve into the recently-released Stormblood expansion; and includes art director Hiroshi Minagawa as a special guest.
If you want to catch the archive of the broadcast, click here.
Job Adjustments & Balancing
Regarding i270 Strength accessories that tanks have been using over Vitality-based accessories for additional DPS, the team feels this would create additional stress for healers as a lack of Vitality may be problematic in the upcoming Deltascape (Savage) raid. Adjustments will be made to add a “minimum” of Strength to the Vitality accessories. Job adjustments will arrive in Patch 4.05 (Tuesday) and more will be planned for Patch 4.1.
According to the team, Paladins feel like the best tank at the moment — in both tanking and damage-dealing ability — so adjustments will be made to increase the damage output on Warrior and Dark Knight to compensate. Nerfs to Paladin’s Holy Spirit cast time are incoming, and switching Oaths will no longer consume part of your Oath Gauge Warrior‘s Inner Beast will no longer halve your Beast gauge when changing stances and Shake it Off will also see damage adjustments after Patch 4.05. Adjustments to several Dark Knight abilities are forthcoming, specifically potency increases in combo damage. The team is looking for your feedback on this when the Savage mode difficulty of Omega is released.
There aren’t any plans to buff Tenacity, as they feel tanks would only stack this attribute. They encourage you to see how it affects the upcoming Deltascape (Savage) raid.
Players have commented that healers have a lot of useful Role Actions like Protect and Esuna — some have trouble choosing the best ones. Yoshida elaborates that this is intended to make you choose carefully, and adding more role action slots would defeat the purpose. Regarding a White Mage’s Confession stack, a Scholar’s Aetherflow stack, and an Astrologian’s drawn cards no longer being displayed in the party window — players feel it’s harder to communicate this. The team is planning to adjust this for Patch 4.1.
Currently players have felt that Scholar feels less effective as a healer than White Mage or Astrologian due to the removal of Damage-over-Time effects and a nerf to Bane. Starting with Patch 4.05, Scholars will have Miasma II back as a Job-specific skill. Emergency Tactics will have a cooldown of 20 seconds and Indomitability will also see adjustments, and they will be strengthening Excogitation. The range of Fey Union will be 15 malms. Aetherpact has been changed to increase Faerie Gauge even when Aetherflow actions don’t inflict an effect on the target, and a trait will be introduced that reduces the cooldown of Aetherflow.
Astrologian will gain the ability to toss Arcana and Royal Road cards via an action and adjustments will be made to the rate White Mage Healing Lilies are granted. Plenary Indulgence will also see major adjustments.
As for DPS classes, they currently feel Dragoon is a bit weak currently, so adjustments are coming to several abilities. They feel it takes too long to get into Life of the Dragon. Including shortening Mirage Dive’s animation, increasing Dragon Sight’s range, and adjusting Sonic Thrust’s damage.
For Monk, they don’t want people overwhelmed weaving abilities into Riddle of Fire buff. It’s pretty powerful because the effect increases the global cool-down. There were plans at one point to include a Greased Lightning IV, but they were scrapped because it felt like it made the job too fast and would widen the gap between player DPS. However they feel that it will make more sense in longer fights, like in the new Deltascape (Savage).
Machinists will see a base damage increase and the Heat Gauge will be easier to maintain. Bishop and Rook turrets will also see their damage boosted. Samurai won’t see any adjustments as of right now. Ninja‘s Gust Slash will have a potency nerf as it was resulting in an unintended skill rotation.
Some players feel Summoner‘s Demi-Bahamut is too big and gets in the way, so there will be a feature — a text command — to adjust the size. It won’t be ready until after Patch 4.05. They cannot adjust the opacity as if transparent objects collide it causes the game a lot of problems. As for Sustain, it was removed in the Stormblood action pruning, and Yoshida wants to read more feedback from players on this decision. Red Mage having Vercure be affected by their INT is one of their unique class flairs, and allowing Summoner to do the same feels as if it homogenizes the jobs.
Yoshida admits that content is a bit unfair to Black Mages currently, so adjustments are coming to their MP usage — Foul will no longer require MP to cast. The Triplecast recast time will be reduced to 60 seconds and Fire IV and Blizzard IV from 3 to 2.8 seconds. There aren’t any major changes in the works for Red Mage currently either.
The team will look into adjusting Sprint’s duration when you are out of battle, but it will take some time.
Content and New Features
An Alliance Raid Roulette is currently planned for Patch 4.1, and the team is currently planning the ability to create the ability to create cross-server groups like other content. They may also go back and adjust Labyrinth of the Ancients so that only one tank is needed per party but that may not make it in time for 4.1. The team understands that with Level Sync and the Stormblood action adjustments, going back to do older dungeons in Roulettes may be underwhelming — so they may make adjustments to certain dungeons to make them faster experiences.
Discussions are underway on what to do with EXP earned in PvP — specifically when players use it to level a job they don’t play. A PvP Roulette is planned where a duty is featured each week.
In Omega‘s story, the players enter the Interdimensional Rift which allows them to use themes from past Final Fantasy games — the Deltascape featuring bosses from Final Fantasy V for example. What other games could appear there? It is a mystery. For those of you who beat the Savage mode of Deltascape 4.0 arriving on Tuesday, the team has prepared a higher difficulty encounter.
With Stormblood, the number of Jobs has increased to 15, so the team has made it easier to obtain equipment.
When you clear each floor of Deltascape Savage, gear will appear inside a chest. Everyone will also obtain tokens that can be exchanged for equipment.
Clearing Deltascape 4.0 (Savage) will give you an item that will transform into your current Job’s weapon. The gear is based around the “Genji” style of gear prominently featured in the Final Fantasy series.
The Lost Canals of Uznair
Aquapolis-style content arriving in Patch 4.05 (Tuesday), The Lost Canals of Uznair will have an interesting lore tie. When asked why the gold coins weren’t falling into a bucket, the team designing the content told Yoshida “they’re chocolate coins.”
Yoshida responded to requests to make the Naadam (a battle-based event in the Azim Steppe) replayable. Yoshida says if they do it, people will ask for other previous MSQ duties to be playable — but they’ll think of something. Regarding the blowdart mechanic that is used in various quests, Yoshida shares that there aren’t any plans to include them in battle content at this time, but they wanted a way to mix up the variation of quests you were doing.
Regarding the final trial of the Stormblood main scenario, Yoshida he lost a lot of play time to this boss in Final Fantasy V as did Takai from the design team. While the debug team suggested to tone down some of the mechanics like the first Tidal Wave, Takai told them he “fell into this trap before as well” and they decided to leave it alone. They were worried about the trail’s difficulty but since it is the last boss they wanted it to be strong. However, future MSQ bosses may not be as strong. For players that want to return to the area before you fight the final boss, the team has plans on having you return there at some point. Since the areas are locked to a time of day and weather, they’ll need to consider that first, along with areas like the Archbishop’s room.
Will Magnai ever find true love? Will it be Sadu? Cirina? It seems players are interested in more story content in the Azim Steppe, and it looks like that’s in the works.
Special Guest: art director Hiroshi Minagawa
Final Fantasy XIV art director Hiroshi Minagawa is this letter’s special guest. Previously, he was responsible for the game’s UI, but with his new job he is responsible for the background art, lighting, the look of the new zones, and managing various art staff. Minagawa says that adjustments will be coming to the Job Gauges so that they display more information easily. Buff and debuff icon trays will also be split. In Patch 4.1 they plan to add the ability to adjust the transparency of UI elements.
Minagawa was part of the Final Fantasy XII team and returned for The Zodiac Age to design a new logo and work on the game’s UI. He has been working with Yasumi Matsuno on the Return to Ivalice alliance raid scheduled for 4.1. They’ve been out for beers after work.
They’ll look into the ability to reorder your linkshell lists, but priority right now is adding cross-world linkshells. When asked if they could increase the font size of the NPC names, Minagawa says the markers on them would also increase in size — so if players want that they can do it. Adjusting nameplates individually would be a harder task. They may also make a history list for your previously-used glamours — but it’d only be available in certain places. They may also look into having the chat window disappear when inactive.
When asked about his biggest failure and how he overcame it, Minagawa said he lied to his parents about being in college when he was actually working part time in games.
— The team doesn’t think they can add more inventory slots to your personal inventory or armoury chest. Other factors are being considered, like managing your inventory through the upcoming app and this will take more time. It’ll be difficult to implement by 4.1 but it’s not long into the future. The team is also observing the use of retainers so that important data isn’t lost or exploited.
— Some of the mounts look weird using their abilities underwater. Answer? It’s magic!
— Why does Zenos’s katana scabbard spin? Answer: it looks cool.
— More jumping puzzles are being thought up — but they won’t be higher than the tower in Kugane. Probably in Gold Saucer.
— Will we see Estinien again? Perhaps. Maybe if Alphinaud is in trouble.
— Zone instances are gone, but will return in Patch 4.05 as needed.
— An upcoming glamour dress:
— An additional show for the Final Fantasy XIV Orchestral Concert has been added for September 24th. Pre-sales go live on July 22nd.
— Final Fantasy XIV Orchestral Mini Album 2017 announced, includes a selection of songs from the concert. Conducted by Hirofumi Kurita and performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. It will go on sale September 20th for 2700 yen ($26.99). Songs include: Painted Foothills, Heroes, Revenge Twofold, Ultima, Calamity Unbound, Serenity, Rise of the White Raven, Ominous Prognisticks.
— Final Fantasy XIV Four-Year Anniversary 14-Hr Broadcast will air Friday, September 1st; includes appearances from the development team and special guests.
— Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood: Official DoW/DoM guide book goes on sale September 8th for 1730 yen.
— The Eorzea Cafe three-year anniversary campaign begins July 20th and the Akihabara and Osaka locations. New menu items and a new placement. Yokohama will have new food.
— Pre-orders for the Plush Cushion Fat Chocobo begin on July 25th for all regions.
— Final Fantasy XIV manga “Kimi no Kizu to Bokura no Kizuna ~ON (THE NOVEL) LINE~, illustrated by Yu Fujiwara.