Twinfinite is at E3 and we had the opportunity to sit down with FFXIV director Naoki Yoshida to chat about the recently revealed job action changes and some of the finer details of what playing FFXIV: Stormblood will be like. There’s only a few days left before the early access begins and the team is definitely in crunch mode, but Yoshida-san was still able to provide some pretty exciting details and explanations. Without further ado, let’s jump right into the full Q&A!
Note: Yoshida is being translated by an interpreter and the content has been very lightly edited for clarity.
FFXIV at E3 2017: Job Action Changes and Feedback
Ed McGlone from Twinfinite: Recently, you finally revealed all of the major job action changes that are going to be implemented with the release of FFXIV: Stormblood. Some jobs are slightly tweaked, while others, such as Bard for example, could be considered quite dramatic. Which Jobs are you most looking forward to seeing how players use in news ways in Stormblood?
Naoki Yoshida: I think Bard and also Machinist is dramatically different. Especially with the Machinist, you might think that it’s like a brand new job.
In terms of the Bard, it’s almost as if your playing field has gone back to the good ol’ days. You may feel a bit of nostalgia from handling the Bard [if you’ve been playing since A Realm Reborn].
Going back to the Machinist, it was introduced at Heavensward initially and had that cast time that was required for some of the actions, and now we’re taking that away and we’ve implemented the new job gauge, the heat gauge for the Machinist and it will be a lot of managing that gauge, how do you maintain a good level on your heat gauge. So there will be a lot of technical aspects of trying to maneuver with that job. We’re hoping that players will try it out and see how it works.
On which jobs Yoshida-san is most looking forward to seeing how players use in new ways:
We don’t want to dictate like “Oh I’m looking forward to this specific job. It’s more about we want players to try out the job that they like, and see and discover for themselves and get a new understanding of what changes have been implemented and find it on their own.
With every job we have implemented unique features, and in regards to how you master your particular job is dependent on the players themselves, and we want for the players to [find] little discoveries within the changes we have made. So we’re anticipating players will play through to our new level cap of 70, and discussions will start about the specifics when they get to that point.
Twinfinite: Could you talk a little bit about the process into making these changes? Did you consider the endgame activities that players would face in FFXIV: Stormblood when designing the job action changes, or were they made independent of that with a different goal in mind?
Yoshida: So when the development team (including Mr. Yoshida), perform their balancing of the jobs they look at it from a two prong approach. The content that the players go into is actually irrelevant to this approach.
So the first prong would be, say for example you have your striking dummy. This job will continue to do their skill rotation for a straight two minutes, and see how much DPS is yielded from that timed measure. The second prong will be how difficult is it to control that specific job. Is it complicated to control? So those are the things that they (the development team and Yoshida-san) keep in mind when adjusting the balance of jobs. Raid content and etc. doesn’t necessarily matter in terms of that.
And so after the individual job balance has been performed, then we look at balancing the difficult for the raid content, and that’s when we make sure there’s no disparity with how these jobs are being utilized within that content. That’s when we go into the raid and make sure that the difficulty level is not so different no matter what combination of your party is going into it and then they would adjust the mechanics. If they find any actions that are OP they would adjust it from there.
Twinfinite: Some fans are very happy with their main job’s changes, but others are quite concerned. There has been a lot of feedback about White Mage in particular around the community, that the new actions don’t go far enough to allow it to compete for a raid spot against Astrologian and Scholar. That it might not be as desirable. Is this something the development team is looking at potentially changing before FFXIV: Stormblood releases or will they wait and see first?
Yoshida: So the information that are players are seeing being posted on articles and what not was information that was revealed during our media tour, that was actually based on a build that was latest as of end of April and since then we’ve still continued to make changes and updates. We first want to say ya’ll need to calm down a little [laughter].
But yeah if you’re just looking strictly at the actions, it’s very misleading. You still need to look at what your max MP is going to be, and how much MP you’re depleting using some of these actions. That will affect your DPS per your allocated time while you’re still healing. At this point all we can say is that there’re only a few more days until Stormblood is released so we encourage players to try it out for themselves.
Once you reach that level 70 cap, and you reach Savage Omega, there may be [new] discoveries that you make at that point. So we hope that the players do try it out, and provide feedback once you’ve experienced it first hand. As mentioned earlier, when we’re adjusting the difficulty for raid content and making sure things are balanced, we make sure that there isn’t a great disparity depending on what combination your party is going into the content. If there is any sort of disparity in the balance we will make sure to go back and address it at a later time. We want players to feel rest assured [about the previous statement].
Twinfinite: Many tanks have gotten used to switching stances without any major penalties in FFXIV: Heavensward. However in Stormblood this will be much more difficult since you have to consider how that will impact your job gauge. Could you elaborate on how you and the development team came to a decision on this change?
Yoshida: So first and foremost, for the three jobs within the tank role (the Paladin, Dark Knight and Warrior), our intention was to make the adjustments when you’re switching stances, that’s the foundation of the approach.
So for example, with the Warrior, they did seem to be more of the off-tank. It was easier to perform as an off-tank with the Warrior. While the Paladin was more about being strictly the main tank. With this adjustment, we wanted to make sure that situation is rectified. So with the Paladin we wanted to be sure it was capable of being both a main tank or an off-tank if they wanted to.
Twinfinite: For all of the actions that were removed, the development team clearly believed it was for the better that they were gone. However is there a job action that you will miss or something that you maybe tried to save from being removed but were overruled?
Yoshida: The opposite was true [he successfully saved one]. The Protect spell, there were talks within the dev team that “oh we don’t want this anymore” and he (Yoshida-san) felt that as Final Fantasy you have got to have that spell [Protect]. It would be weird if we didn’t have it.
But otherwise, each of the decisions we made were very deliberate. There weren’t [situations] where Mr. Yoshida’s ideas were opposed by the development team.