Komoto's Official Explanation on Surplus Points

Square Enix's latest MMO has earned its status as a "Final Fantasy" this week with its first huge controversy: Surplus points and the fatigue system.  Fan communities are torn amongst conflicting news reports and waves of speculation, but Director Nobuaki Komoto has come to bring us all together again.  In a post titled "Regarding Character Growth Balance in Beta 3" on the Japanese beta site, Komoto sets out to explain the controversial system in detail and put the rumors to rest.  Unfortunately, controversy exists in overseas countries as well, as Producer Hiromichi Tanaka was quick to note, so we have provided an English translation below.

The translation of Nobuaki Komoto's comments begins here!

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We'd like to thank all the beta testers for their cooperation during the closed beta test.  We have received your valuable opinions and feedback and will do our best to incorporate them into the open beta and official release versions of the game.

Now, we have received a lot of questions and opinions from everyone today, and we would like to give you some answers regarding character growth balance in beta phase 3.

First, the concept was to achieve a balance which would allow those with little time to enjoy FFXIV to get more out of their play time, and above that, create a game that does not force you to spend long hours playing it.  To that end, we implemented Guardian's Favor, which adds a bonus to Guildleve, and makes it easier to level in shorter amounts of time.

To balance this out, we came up with a hypothesis regarding what amount of skill points and experience one was likely to earn in an hour.  Think of this as a rate at which a player can fight battles, do Guildleves or skill-up.

Then, using that supposed amount, we made it so you can earn 8 hours worth of skill points and experience at 100% of this rate.  The subsequent 7 hours' worth will gradually see one's attainable skill points and experience points fall to 0.

The limitation on the amount of points you can attain is set on a weekly timer.  Once it passes a week since you first began leveling a particular skill, the limitation resets to zero.  After it resets, it will come into effect again once you begin work on that skill once more.

Even if you are hit with this limitation during a one-week period, its detrimental effects decrease if you do not level that particular class.  You can even recover back to the full 100% rate of point acquisition, so you do not always have to wait the full week for the limitations to go away.

The skill points you do not gain are instead saved as Surplus Points.  Each class has its own amount of surplus points, so you can try out a new class if surplus points begin appearing in your log window. 

However, each class does not have its own amount of experience, so playing a different class will not mitigate the declining experience point rate. 

This is the system as currently implemented.

In truth, this system was not just put in during phase 3 of the beta, but has been implemented from the start.  However, we have received many opinions saying the system explained above is not what actually appears in phase 3 of the beta.  There are several reasons for this.

  • Around the time of beta phase 3, it became possible to play for longer periods of time, thus increasing the amount one could play in a single week.
  • In beta phase 3, Guildleves received a boost in skill points and experience points awarded to encourage party play.
  • The skill points and experience gained from defeating enemy parties as well as weaker single enemies was lowered, though due to a bug, did not take affect initially in beta phase 3.  This was fixed during beta phase 3.

The biggest culprit behind this issue was that last bug, which allowed players to gain more skill points and experience than we expected, causing the limitations to come into effect much quicker.  Of course, not adjusting the limitations in accordance with the boost to Guildleve was a problem as well.

The lack of explanation regarding these adjustments was a mistake on our part for which we sincerely apologize.

The numbers behind these limitations are all still under development, and we plan to adjust them according to player feedback in an effort to make them less severe.  In particular, we are considering making the decline in points less drastic and are already hard at work on it.  Also, as the limit on experience carries over through class changes, we plan to lessen its effect compared with the limit on skill points.

At the very least, we promise players will not be hitting the limit as quickly as they did at the start of beta phase 3.

Also, I would like to address one other thing below:

The reduction in what you acquire from gathering is based on the actions of that particular class and is unrelated to limitations on leveling.  We are also in the process of adjusting this and plan to make changes based on player feedback.

Surplus points currently have no use.  However, there are opinions saying preparing some kind of reward would be good, but that's just giving people something else to strive for, which misses the whole point of this system.  We want to take our time and thoroughly investigate this issue. 

Now, the open beta test will include more than just the above adjustments.  As we stated before, awarding more skill points for party play is also an important topic we plan to address, so we hope you enjoy testing out what we come up with.

Lastly, as director of this title, I wish to deeply apologize for the lateness of my comments due to my absence while attending Gamescom.  In addition, articles written during my trip contained much speculation, outdated information and mistranslations which only invited more confusion.  In the future, I will do my best to make direct, official statements in a timely manner.  I humbly ask for your understanding regarding this matter.

See you in the open beta!

Final Fantasy XIV Director

Nobuaki Komoto


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FFXIV staff post official translation on NA beta board
# Sep 09 2010 at 7:04 AM Rating: Decent
Official translation on the official North America beta boards:
Once again, we would like to thank you all for your participation and support during the Closed Beta. We will continue to take your valuable feedback into consideration as we develop the game during Open Beta and even beyond the official release.

Now I would like to take a moment to respond to the many questions and opinions regarding the manner in and rates at which experience and skill points are obtained in Beta 3.

Firstly, the concept for FINAL FANTASY XIV was to design a system of character progression that offers meaningful advancement for those with limited time to dedicate to playing. We did not want to create a game that forced people to play for hours on end to see their efforts rewarded. To that end, in addition to the Guardian's Aspect and guildleve systems, we introduced a means of apportioning swifter advancement to shorter periods of play.

In order to achieve this balance, we calculated a value for the amount of skill or experience points that could be earned in a one-hour period. This theoretical value represents an hour spent engaged solely in combat, levequests, or any other activities that earn skill or experience points, and sets a threshold delimiting how many of these points can be earned in a period of play.
Based on this, we have implemented a “threshold value” concept. These thresholds are regulated by a one-week timer that begins counting down the instant you earn skill/experience points. After a week has passed, the thresholds will reset, and the moment skill/experience points are earned again, the timer begins counting down anew.

For the first eight thresholds during this week-long period, players will receive skill/experience points at the maximum rate possible. The actual amount of time spent reaching these thresholds is not significant. That is to say, a player who exceeds eight hours of gameplay will still be rewarded the maximum amount of skill/experience points, so long as the total amount earned is below the eighth threshold value. For the subsequent seven thresholds, players will earn skill/experience points at a gradually decreasing rate, eventually reaching a rate of zero.

It is worth noting, however, that the reduced rate will also gradually recover while players are engaged in activities that do not yield skill/experience points. In this manner, it is possible for the threshold value to reset completely, even before the completion of the one-week timer.
Any skill points earned in excess of the threshold maximum—that is, at a rate of zero—will be stored as "bonus skill points." These are specific to each class, so players limited to earning bonus skill points still have the freedom to change classes and begin earning skill points again at the maximum rate, allowing their reduced skill rates to recover in the meantime.

The experience point threshold, however, is unrelated to class, and switching classes will have no effect on the decreasing rate of earnable experience.

This is how the progression system currently works.

This system was not introduced in Beta 3, but has been in place since the beginning of beta testing. There are several reasons why many people believe that these features were only recently implemented:

- Leading into Beta 3, operation hours were extended, making it possible to play more often during the span of a week.
- To encourage players to form guidleve parties in Beta 3, skill and experience point rewards for guildleves were significantly increased.
- The process that reduced the amount of skill/experience points awarded for weak enemies attacking in groups was unintentionally removed at the start of Beta 3. (This issue has been addressed.)

That last reason in particular was the biggest cause for players running up against the threshold penalty, with characters earning far more skill/experience points than we anticipated. We also faced an issue where we were simultaneously unable to adjust the amount earned for guildleves as well as the effects of crossing each threshold.

We sincerely apologize for the lack of explanation and our failure to make the necessary adjustments in the game.

The threshold values are being reexamined, and we plan to further adjust the different rates of earnable points based on feedback from our testers. One of the top issues we are looking at right now is fixing the excessively rapid drop after crossing the eighth threshold. We also plan to improve experience point reduction rates, even more so than for skill points, considering the threshold is unaffected when changing class.

At the very least, we can promise that players won't be running into the threshold penalty in the same short time span as they did in the beginning of Beta 3.

We would like to take this opportunity to also explain the following issues.

The diminishing results experienced during gathering are a function related to that class alone, and have no connection to this progression system. We are in the process of adjusting this system, and plan to make changes based on tester feedback.

We are currently in the process of considering the means in which bonus skill points can be used. There have been suggestions for various types of incentives, but as encouraging people to play with that in mind defeats the purpose of this threshold system, we will be examining this issue very carefully.

These are not the only adjustments we have planned for Open Beta. As mentioned previously, we are looking into increasing the amount of skill points earned when fighting in a party, and we look forward to seeing your input on these changes.

Last of all, I would like to apologize for the delay in releasing a developer's comment due to my recent attendance to Gamescom. The article based on my interview during that trip, coupled with conjecture, outdated information, and some misunderstandings on overseas websites, only added to the confusion. In the future, I hope to avoid similar problems by responding directly through official developer's comments as often as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

See you in the Open Beta Testing!

Nobuaki Komoto
The final straw?
# Aug 31 2010 at 9:09 PM Rating: Good
37 posts
I'm honestly starting to get real pissed off at SE. When I first saw the announcement trailer for FFXIV, I was ecstatic. Sure, the graphics requirements looked high, but I was still psyched for what would be an awesome storyline, and hopefully a slue of improvements over FFXI.

The class system took me a while to understand. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but once I figured it out I could see it had a lot more flexibility than the job/subjob system. I was even more psyched for what looked to be a fun gameplay experience.

Then I saw the combat system. Feedback was generally negative, but it certainly looked more engaging that simply engaging auto-attack like in FFXI. I felt uneasy, but still hopeful.

Then I see this. Instead of allowing casual players to keep up with the more hardcore players, they force EVERYONE to play at at some arbitrarily assigned speed. I don't care if this "you're only as strong as the weakest link" principle is similar to real life; If a person can't play more than an hour or two a night, that's their problem, not mine!

One of the core aspects of any game is to reward the player for the time they put into it. The fact that we're receiving the opposite here makes me wonder if SE still knows what it means to be a game development company.
love this!
# Aug 29 2010 at 5:38 PM Rating: Decent
I wasnt going to play but this idea sold me! cant wait!
# Aug 29 2010 at 6:28 AM Rating: Good
As simply as I can say this... I think this idea is total BS
# Aug 27 2010 at 11:13 AM Rating: Decent
117 posts
Director Nobuaki Komoto:
To that end, we implemented Guardian's Favor, which adds a bonus to Guildleve, and makes it easier to level in shorter amounts of time.

It is my hope that the fatigue system is not required but optional. For those that have limited time, who would like to invoke a bonus to xp, they can keep up with friends that have more time to play. But SE has implemented a fail safe that protects from abuse.

To stop anyone from abusing the system (those who turn on the bonus but end up playing for more time than SE believes is casual) they hit a wall in xp gain. That fatigue xp would to be saved for later date. Players could then have the opportunity to cash it in for a later date when you cannot even play at a casual pace.

Consider this: You sign up for Guardian's favor, last week you could only play for a total of 8 hours. This week you got a day off of work. You could play for a total of 16 hours. Some of the lost xp is saved for later use. Next week, you will be swamped again but you have the option to use some of the fatigue xp at the cost of a shorter bonus time.
thank you
# Aug 27 2010 at 1:31 AM Rating: Good
2,102 posts
Thank you very much for your efforts and communication with the playerbase. Often an explanation of 'why' is a huge relief and all we really need. thank you for your hard work on this game!
Server: Bahamut

Choh Moui | Rongo-Nango | Lhu Mhakaracca | Lungo-Nango | Nyumomo
--Beastmaster Forever--
Thank U for making a adult MMO
# Aug 26 2010 at 9:01 PM Rating: Decent
After FFXI the released of Dancer & Scholar jobs, there was a 75 dnc on the Titan server in 4 days. Considered

1. 2 people have died from gaming for 50+hours.
2. "Pandemonium Warden" sickness
3. The hundred if not thousands of parents that neglected their children
to play games 10 leading to the death of children.
4. The tens of thousands of parents complaining about how much time their
children play MMORPG.
5. Tens of thousands parents canceling their children accounts.

I can actually see why Square Enix has took this step. People have shown that the cant play in a responsible way. A mature person doesn't see this as much as a issue. Because the fatigue system should be lifted for those of use how can only play on the weekends & looks only effects "out of city lvling". I was in the middle of trying to figure out if i was going to skill Pugilist or Armorer. now it looks like i am skilling Armorer & play Pugilist on the weekend.

P.S. To all those who said Onion Helm > Garlond Goggles . . .HA HA
# Aug 26 2010 at 8:11 PM Rating: Decent
Just let me alt-tab from fullscreen, please.
Good god...
# Aug 26 2010 at 7:03 PM Rating: Default
I'm really bummed out... I have been so excited and waiting for this game so long. I have made it a point to get all of the pre-order items (Minus Goggles) just to get that extra edge in the game. 20 Minutes ago I canceled my reservation and washed my hands of this game. If SE wants to target the casual gamers who typically don't keep their accounts more than a year anyways and punish the people that actually want to play the game, then they can do just that. As for myself, I am going to put my faith in Mistwalker. Granted, I hope they never release an MMO, but another game like Lost Odyssey would be nice! :) Sakaguchi will always be the only one worthy of the title Final Fantasy.
Dont like one of the limits
# Aug 26 2010 at 4:13 PM Rating: Decent
The skill points dont bother me that much but only 15 hours of play time gaining xp per week is really stupid and will make a lot of people not want to play the game.
8 hours "worth" of EXP?
# Aug 26 2010 at 3:37 PM Rating: Decent
Then, using that supposed amount, we made it so you can earn 8 hours worth of skill points and experience at 100% of this rate. The subsequent 7 hours' worth will gradually see one's attainable skill points and experience points fall to 0.

The biggest culprit behind this issue was that last bug, which allowed players to gain more skill points and experience than we expected, causing the limitations to come into effect much quicker. Of course, not adjusting the limitations in accordance with the boost to Guildleve was a problem as well.

Am I missing something? They came up with an estimate of what we should gain in 8 hours and are using that number rather than an actual time limit? So if you find a good EXP spot or somehow manage to hit that unknown number, you start declining well before 8 hours...
# Aug 26 2010 at 1:56 PM Rating: Decent
I just don't understand why this system is being implemented. Do they see many people risking their lives, addicted to mmorpg play? They explain they want a fatigue system, because 'like real life' if you spend time and considerable effort getting better at something, you need a rest. This sounds like bs to me.
So, what's the real reason for a fatigue system?

Is it to prevent people from falling over dead because they have been so busy playing, they've forgotton food and water for a week?
Is it to sell more alt accounts?
Is it to put a dollar sign on level 80? 16 hrs a week of xp per week X Y number of weeks = Z$
Is it to stall so they have time to add more content and not go AION?
I'm sure 'making it fair to the average, casual gamer' is NOT the reason.

So, what's the real reason? If i'm paying 18 bucks a month, I'd like to get more than 16 hrs of xp time per week and I consider myself a casual.
# Aug 26 2010 at 12:27 PM Rating: Default
I was not going for this game anyway i dont like chinese productions in mmos

I think rift planes of telara will be the one that will succeed
# Aug 26 2010 at 11:16 AM Rating: Decent
This fatigue system thing has made me not want to play this game, at all. I'm not even interested in the beta anymore, really, I don't even care to try it. If I want to play more, I should be able to because I PAY MONEY TO PLAY THE GAME, and I should gain from it as much as any one else gains from any of their. If I do not want to play the game a lot, it is my fault and you should not punish other people because I don't have much free time. This is a poor decision, and one that turned a game I was very excited about into something not even worth playing.
# Aug 26 2010 at 10:03 AM Rating: Good
7 posts
"Lastly, as director of this title, I wish to deeply apologize for the lateness of my comments due to my absence while attending Gamescom. In addition, articles written during my trip contained much speculation, outdated information and mistranslations which only invited more confusion. In the future, I will do my best to make direct, official statements in a timely manner. I humbly ask for your understanding regarding this matter."

No word about getting that news out to the non-JP community. Fat lot of good it does to release statements in Japanese about things happening in the non-JP community.

Who thinks it's right that SE relies on fan and community sites to translates its press releases, at no cost to them, and then complains when they write things they don't like?

Elmer, Corinth and Co. have done more to bring Final Fantasy news to the non-JP community than SE have ever done. Massive thanks to them.

Edited, Aug 26th 2010 12:05pm by dibblethewrecker
# Aug 26 2010 at 9:41 AM Rating: Decent
I get that SE wants this to be "different" from XI.. BUT restricting play time or what we can play ect.. pushing it.. I mean don't get me wrong I love multi play I had 5 75's on XI. I quit XI last March to take some time away from my addiction.. well now I want it back. Also if what is said above by imaboomer about dam=exp then wtf do tanks and healers get for being the backbones of parties? I was sooooo excited for this; built a new PC preordered Limited addition the day it hit stores ect.. but if i paid an extra 25 dollars to get it 8 days early but i can only play for 8 hours then i want my money back. and at 8 hours a week i feel the monthly rate should be less as ill need other money to spend on other games that will take up my time like a mmo should lol. Is XI not one of the most time consuming games and still is in the top 10 best mmo's. SE thinks there going to reach a new marketing peak by advertising to the ppl who have limited play time at the cost of the thousands of hardcore gamers that already play mmos in the first place?

as ive said b4 i know its just beta for now but seriously!
Somewhat understandable...
# Aug 25 2010 at 8:49 PM Rating: Decent
With adjustments and new limitations set into place making it much harder to attain that point of diminishing returns as well as bonuses to party play the system would see significant improvement. However, the overrall player feedback and consensus has obviously been heard and trying to fix this poor idea will not bring people to as understanding of a point as me. This still will cause a signifcant amount of issues such as parties disbanding because certain members reach their surplus and have to go level a lower class. SE do you not understand? Your players do NOT want to be told how to level and this is going to ruin this mmo if this system is implemented whatsoever, count on it.
# Aug 25 2010 at 8:07 PM Rating: Decent
Increasing skillup gain in partying won't fix the fact that the amount of exp gained per member is based on their damage. I really hope Tanaka listened to party-based battle feedback on beta forums so the amount of exp is evenly distributed for each member.
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