FFXIV Letter from the Producer, I (1/21/2011)

The latest communication from "Yoshi-P" on The Lodestone gives us detailed results from the player survey, as well as a roadmap of what is to come for Final Fantasy XIV.  Discuss in the ZAM FFXIV Forums or read on for details!


FINAL FANTASY XIV Players' Poll the First — Results & Analysis 

The recent players' poll was available only to users possessing a Square Enix account. We received a large number of completed questionnaires from players in all regions—Japan, North America, and Europe. Here I would like to take some time to go over each of the questions and their responses, and attempt to explain what the results may mean. 

1. Which online games have you played before? (Multiple answers accepted) 

There is a large amount of data to go over here, so I suggest opening it here for ease of viewing. The majority of FINAL FANTASY XIV players polled have a history of playing FINAL FANTASY XI, which is a result we here at Square Enix were certainly happy to see. To us, this serves to illustrate the loyalty and passion of FINAL FANTASY fans, and both the development and management teams were truly moved by this result! 

This also tells us that the majority of responses to questions dealing with gameplay (from 5 onward) are the opinions of players with experience playing FINAL FANTASY XI. And so it will be operating under that premise that we will be examining the poll responses. 

By the way, questions 2 and 4 were included to provide referential data to the management team, and I will not post their results here. Suffice it to say, we are hardly in a position to be providing this kind of useful information to any would-be rivals...^^; 

As for the third question, the most common answer was fourteen titles, with roughly 2% of pollees having played over twenty FINAL FANTASY titles. There isn't much to say here other than thank you! 

5. How do you spend most of your time in Eorzea? (Choose only one) 

Much as we expected, the vast majority of players are spending most of their play time engaged in battle-oriented content, with synthesis activities coming in second. I cannot help but be concerned over the 4.6% result for socializing. This leads me to believe that in its current state, the game is lacking group-oriented goals and means of communication. Rest assured we will be addressing this issue together with the battle system. 

6. What is your biggest expectation for the newly restructured development team? 

7. Which of the following issues you would like to see addressed first? (Choose only one) 

8. Which of the following would you like to see implemented first? (Choose only one) 

Let's take a look at questions 6 through 8 together. 

An overhaul to fundamental aspects of gameplay was by far and away the most common response. But an accelerated version update schedule and increased player communication are certainly not to be discounted, as each comprises over 10% of the total results. The responses to these questions have left quite an impression on us, and we will continue to be making numerous improvements to these areas in accordance with your continued feedback. 

The issue that players would first like to see addressed is a general lack of game content, followed by changes to the battle system. Looking further, it seems that the type of content most strongly desired is quests and miniquests, accounting for about 40% of the responses. The auction house has also made a solid showing among the responses, no doubt due in part to the fact that, as previously mentioned, many of the pollees are or were FFXI players. My initial reaction was to interpret this as players stating that they want more adventures in Eorzea! More gil and loot! 

In line with this, I believe that significant changes to the battle system are necessary to create a style of combat that lends itself to the enjoyment of quests and miniquests. Following that logic one step further, it is equally necessary to bring about significant changes to the user interface to create a UI that lends itself to the enjoyment of the battle system. After all, there is no point in making thorough improvements to battle if the response and usability of the interface isn't capable of conveying those improvements to players. 

In line with the above results, we will be bringing quests and miniquests to Eorzea sometime after the beginning of February. Along with this, all of the changes being worked on during the end of last year and the beginning of this year to improve the games playability and user-friendliness will also be released around the same time. 

Though the next version update will introduce a relatively small number of changes, preparations are already underway to bring further improvements in the near future via a number of smaller-scale patches, including the release of quests and system-side adjustments. At present, we intend for something new to be released about twice a month. Overhauls to the battle system and user interface will also be ongoing, which will make it easier for the players to enjoy the new quests and content being released. The small-scale, system-oriented updates that will be carried out can best be thought of as the necessary groundwork for the battle system revisions. 

We will also be looking in earnest at the possibility of implementing an auction house, as well as continuing to improve the functionality of the item search feature. Once prioritized changes to the battle system have been made, we will continue to balance and adjust guildleve and behest rewards, as well as improve overall user-friendliness. I realize there are many things, but for me the first order of business is to create the FINAL FANTASY feeling. To have players take part in engaging quests that place them in a struggle against an impending crisis that threatens their world. To have those players combine their strength and fight alongside one another. I still can't help but wonder what that ominous four-line poem might portend for Eorzea in the coming year... 

9. What do you find most appealing about FINAL FANTASY XIV? (Choose only one) 

I'm personally of the opinion that the two most popular responses, graphics and the game world, are the main attraction for all FINAL FANTASY titles. I also believe that the number of players who chose the game world option is a strong reason for the aforementioned demand for additional quests and miniquests. 

11. Would you welcome changes to FINAL FANTASY XIV that would drastically alter the rules already set in Eorzea? 

It seems this question started a wave of panic among players about whether or not character data would potentially be wiped. For the definitive answer on that, please see my response to a player's letter below. As for the results, 85% of players answered in the affirmative. This is something that will be in the forefront of my mind when making decisions concerning future updates to the game. I promise to do everything in my power to address as many of the players' demands and desires as I can. 

Thank you again to all those players who took the time to complete our poll. I hope that I've been able to appease those of you thinking, "Come on, Yoshi-P. Give us some specifics!" (Sorry, the fact that I haven't up until now is probably more a personality issue than anything else...^^;) Below is a list of changes and additions, some of them already underway, that will be introduced to the game in future version updates. And for those of you who might have been wondering, this list is by no means comprehensive. 

Forthcoming updates: 

Currently, the above changes, together with other adjustments and additions I have planned, are at about a 30% state of completion. There is still quite a lot to be done, especially when considering that more things will be added to the list. These posts that I will be making will continue to contain a list of planned changes, as well as updates on their current status. 

Items on the above list will be removed once implemented, with dated notifications being given in separate posts. Changes that have been newly planned or are currently undergoing testing will be added as they arise. 

By no means have the changes announced by the team up through the end of 2010, including planned adjustments and additions to the Lodestone, been abandoned. I will personally be determining which of these are necessary, and when an implementation schedule becomes clear, I will add it to the list above. I'll have to ask you all to make due with these posts of mine until the official forums are up and running. I'd very much like to be able to put the official forums and further community-based changes on the list by the time of my next post... 

As I mentioned previously in the poll analysis, examination and planning of changes to the battle system, and related changes to the Armoury system, are proceeding at a very rapid rate, as we would like to implement them as soon as possible. In particular, I would very much like to continue incorporating player feedback into the adjustments being made to the claiming/engaging system, and finalize it it the near future. 

Also, please look forward to further news regarding the public company system (not the official name...), as I will be releasing more details on it soon! 

I realize that this is already a lot of text, but bear with me just a bit longer... Putting aside any news of changes to the game, I'd like to share with you a bit of an update on the FFXIV team. Enjoy! 

I'll begin with a recounting of a visit we paid to Sensouji in Asakusa to offer our first prayers of the new year. 

Somebody needs to learn to focus a camera... I made an offering of ¥10,000 (roughly $122 at the current rate), but whoever was snapping the photos at the moment I placed it in the collection box managed to take an even blurrier photo than this one. I know it looks like I roll with a somewhat unsavory crowd, but the entire FFXIV team numbers about four times the people shown here, are there are plenty of good and gentle souls. The unsavory ones are just those pictured in the front here. 

And, partaking in the Japanese new year tradition of drawing paper fortunes, the gods saw fit to grant me a daikichi! That literally translates as "big luck," and is the best fortune possible for the coming year. Well, I didn't draw it per se... Actually, Suzuki-san spotted it crumpled up on the ground, so I grabbed it. No sense in letting a perfectly good daikichi go to waste! 

But the true treasure of the evening is this masterpiece... 

I like to call this, "Now this is the new FFXIV!" Pictured are lead developers Akihiko Matsui (left) and Nobuaki Koumoto (right), and the expressions on their faces are simply priceless! Don't worry, they are actually very close fiends...really. 

Again, I apologize for the long post, but thank you to those of you who have stuck with me this far. I'd like to close by making a response to an inspiring piece of fan mail I received from a certain player. 


Dear Kenneth, 

I received your air mail, all the way from California. Your letter made me extremely happy and I would like to thank you for encouraging the development team in our efforts. 

You expressed concern over whether one of the four keywords I introduced at the beginning of the year, namely reboot, meant that we would be wiping character data. I apologize for any confusion that this choice of terminology may have caused, but rest assured that character data will not be wiped. 

This decision was in no way influenced by your letter, but is something that I have been adamant about from the onset. As a personal policy, I would simply never allow it. 

Our characters are us, complex collections of memories and emotions, and nobody has the right to take them away from us. 

I will be more careful in the future when choosing my words, and regret any anxiety I may have caused among players fearing for their characters' safety. 

Please tell everyone on the Kashuan World that Yoshi-P says hello! 

I'm already looking forward to writing my next letter! Until then! 

Naoki Yoshida, FINAL FANTASY XIV Producer/Director 



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keep playin?
# Jan 23 2011 at 1:51 PM Rating: Decent
should i just keep playin or wait till the update complete, i gotta feelin that after the update the game will run more faster, if that so i will regret myself for pushin so hard to play this dumb version lol.

Hurray to Naoki Yoshida! god bless u.
# Jan 22 2011 at 11:17 AM Rating: Decent
"Our characters are us, complex collections of memories and emotions, and nobody has the right to take them away from us." Is it only me that smiled when I see this?

Nonetheless, excited about coming up updates and I'm glad I didn't stop playing.
# Jan 27 2011 at 6:38 PM Rating: Good
427 posts
KrazeS7 wrote:
"Our characters are us, complex collections of memories and emotions, and nobody has the right to take them away from us." Is it only me that smiled when I see this?

You're not alone. Our characters are a major part of what makes us feel that we're part of a unique experience. Another major part of that feeling is the people with whom we interact in the game. The social aspects of the game are critical to me. While I find the current state of the game...ummm...interesting as a casual player, I very much miss the ability to log in and join a PUG while chatting to my friends on my LS. I miss being able to hunt down my friends in the world - finding them without their telling me exactly where they are and surpising them by sticking around for a while to PL them or even just to watch them fight.

While I do expect to experience new things in this game, there are aspects of XI that I sincerely hope they will carry forward and perhaps even improve upon.

I like Yoshi's direction and attitude and, while I'm not paying to play this game, I'm content to sit here and watch the game develop at whatever pace he sees fit. As a casual player, this situation suits me just fine.
Looking Forward
# Jan 22 2011 at 1:37 AM Rating: Decent
172 posts
I am very happy to see that the developer is listening to us. I am excited to see where this game will take us. More content, mini-quest and sense of community.
Great News!
# Jan 22 2011 at 1:36 AM Rating: Decent
I'm excited about the message coming from the FFXIV crew on the upcoming updates. Like many who started playing FFXIV I was disappointed when I realized that all of the things that made FFXI fun were missing from FFXIV. Not to say that there was nothing good about FFXIV. After reading this I'm glad that I have stuck it out and continued to play.

I give a "/cheer" to the FFXIV staff for taking the extra effort to make this game what it should be.

Edited, Jan 22nd 2011 2:39am by Gordo31

Edited, Jan 22nd 2011 2:39am by Gordo31

Edited, Jan 22nd 2011 2:40am by Gordo31
# Jan 22 2011 at 12:27 AM Rating: Decent
i found myself playing less and less when the game came out till they released the updates, after the updates i was impress on the little but good changes they made, it was good enough for me to play more often, after reading about the changes they was going through on the development team i was sad but happy, then i was back to playing less and less thinking they gonna revamp the whole game and everyone would have to start from the begining, but i was wrong when i read about the changes the new development team was gonna do, just like everyone else we all took the survey, today reading about the survey and the changes that are gonna be doing from here on out made me a happy camper, at least now i have something to look forward to and i can now enjoy playing the game more often and hope for may years to come just like how it was for ffxi, keep up with the good communications and looking forward to seeing these changes and make ffxiv a good solid game for many years to come
Hmmm sounds goods but....
# Jan 21 2011 at 9:05 PM Rating: Decent
Where are the CHOCOBOS and AIRSHIP?!?!?!?!?

In each citys we can see the vendor or stable boy but no annoncement yet.

As for the airship I was suprised to see them pass in sky from time to time in Coerthas. But where they come from since their is no dock in any city and where they going? they always seems to be heading north,
I'm Very Pleased
# Jan 21 2011 at 8:22 PM Rating: Default
He said 98% everything I want to hear. I'm happy and Very pleased with this info. All I want is to be able to save my macros on server and Amp up the animations we can't have XI Ancient Magic spells or any other spell in this case out doing the spells visually on XIV.

Thanks for Keeping it real Yoshi!
Dont forget
# Jan 21 2011 at 8:22 PM Rating: Decent
Woops-[Double post]

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 9:31pm by KitIcarus
Dont forget
# Jan 21 2011 at 8:20 PM Rating: Decent
I agree with kaillou. Although I know there is a huge list of things to do. Somewhere along the way I would like to have the battle animations, sounds of all the skills re-done. One of the things I miss a great deal in MMOs is the feel of being overpowered. When I first played EQ1, one things they did right was at almost every other level you get a new skill that makes you feel so much more powerful. And when you use it, you would think.."OMG, I rock!" That's a huge thing missing in this game. Currently when I level up, I sometimes get a new skill and I use it, and it does the same damage that another skill did 10 levels back. A couple of examples of this problem is the skills Pounce or Follow Through. The description of these sound amazing, but when you use it... you'd think, "I'd rather use Concussive Blow II." I even mixed it up with blindside and other boosters. But ultimately, it was neither impressive or useful.
No chocobos still?????????
# Jan 21 2011 at 8:06 PM Rating: Default
Um why isnt chocobo listed in there im going to go nuts...
Makes Me Happy
# Jan 21 2011 at 6:42 PM Rating: Decent
Yoshi-P seems like a cool dude. I'm excited to see it all fall into place.
I remain faithful. :)
Immediate Changes I'd Like to See
# Jan 21 2011 at 4:19 PM Rating: Default
Although there are many issues that need addressing, the one's I'd like to see implement first would be:

1. Changes to the repair system;
2. A /assist command;
3. Chocobos;
4. Food efffects on the food icons (for the life of me I could never understand why they didn't do this in FFXI and now I am even more befuddled since you don't see the food effects on your stats.)
5. The "Gear" page to show the effects of the attributes you've set on DEF, EVA, etc., and any food effects in play. (As it now stands, even the effects of arrows is not shown). Of course, they may have to change the title from "Gear" to something else.

Other than Chocobos, it would seem to me that all the other items would be relatively easy to implement.

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 7:23pm by Phanatic
( "- o"-) Kupo!
# Jan 21 2011 at 4:14 PM Rating: Decent
( "- o"-) Happy! Kupo!

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 8:24pm by ZaGureiFokkusu
# Jan 21 2011 at 4:07 PM Rating: Good
101 posts
Yoshi-P is my homie! I hope everyone reads his letter

Edited, Jan 21st 2011 5:08pm by FinalSwag
# Jan 21 2011 at 4:03 PM Rating: Decent
I really want Chocobo's Tired of running around for 45 mins to go to one point to another.
# Jan 21 2011 at 1:59 PM Rating: Decent
I wish they would implement chocobo's atleast. Tired taking 45 mins to walk halfway across a map to the other lol.
# Jan 22 2011 at 8:44 AM Rating: Good
812 posts
Jesus, you guys will always find something to complain about. The lack of chocobos is the least of this games issues. We'll get them when SE is good and ready to give them to us. They said they are doing something special with chocobos, lets hope they give us something a little more imaginative than simply giving us mounts.
# Jan 21 2011 at 1:42 PM Rating: Default
If there's one thing that FFXIV has every other MMORPG beat in, it's the communication between the players and the developers. This is an overwhelming amount of things to think about and look forward to. It may take time and patience, but I believe that this player-developer relationship will steer Final Fantasy XIV out of the red and into the game that it's truly meant to be.
# Jan 21 2011 at 12:33 PM Rating: Excellent
41 posts
I like everything I read in his post. I am especially glad that he laid out a rough schedule of 2 updates a month. And also that he is going to continue these letters to the players.

# Jan 21 2011 at 12:00 PM Rating: Decent
56 posts
i have a little hope now...

anyway, back to FFXI :D
Great News
# Jan 21 2011 at 11:58 AM Rating: Good
38 posts
It was worth waiting for Yoshi to speak. He talks to us like people, like a fellow player and not cryptic crap. Awesome news, and thank you.

(Please dont forget Notorious Monsters at all levels, and a better Linkshell communication system ^^ /lsmes <Can I have it?>)
# Jan 21 2011 at 9:09 AM Rating: Good
Very happy about that post ....

But ...

PLZ ... Dont forget about Spell animation and graphic ... they are really terrible ... and those ancient spell .. omg .. Flare look like you scrath a match...

AND .. Transportation ..

ok .. i have to say Teleport are usefull ... BUT THEY SUCK ... it will be like wow ... everybody stuck in town and teleporting everywhere if they just raise the anima regen rate . I want chocobo, airship, so that we actualy keep roaming that world.
Sound like a step in the right direction
# Jan 21 2011 at 8:51 AM Rating: Decent
About time we hear something, I like what he has planned. But until the patches start rolling in I'm still hanging with Cataclysm for right now :/
# Jan 21 2011 at 7:36 AM Rating: Decent
Finally some articulate and comforting words to explain the direction this game is going. I personally will stick with it as long as I can. Thanks Yoshi!
# Jan 21 2011 at 7:24 AM Rating: Decent
Yaay~~ Yoshi-P I'm F@*@!& Love this Nickname of his <3 So kawaii :3 and amazing sound XD

As for changes WOAH! Nice :D
# Jan 21 2011 at 6:23 AM Rating: Excellent
762 posts
I for one welcome our new Yoshi-P overlord.
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