But even 1.21 isn't the big end goal of the game; that's the 2.0 relaunch happening in November. We had a chance to ask a few questions of the game's producer, Naoki Yoshida, regarding both the updates coming with patch 1.21 and Final Fantasy XIV's ongoing road of improvement as version 2.0 draws nearer. So what can players look forward to when they download the patch? What's coming before the relaunch? And how fashionable will your new armor make your chocobo look?
Massively: Patch 1.21 contains many of the features that we've seen on the roadmap up to 2.0's release. How many more large patches can players expect before 2.0?
Naoki Yoshida: There are two more large patches planned before the release of version 2.0: 1.22 and 1.23. Of course, there will probably be a few smaller, incremental patches, such as 1.21a and 1.22b, in between. Upcoming content includes a battle against the primal Garuda as well as battles leading up to the Seventh Umbral Era event, not to mention the debut of Hamlet Defense, too!
Patch 1.21 contains further adjustments to individual class abilities. Which class does the team feel is in need of the most adjustment?
We've actually adjusted each class quite extensively, so from here on out, I think it will be up to the feedback provided by players who spend the most time playing the classes to determine which classes need adjustment. Personally, I would like to focus on debuffs and crowd control, but there are only two classes and two jobs that use spells, so I would like to add another caster-type class to address this issue. I feel that each job is unique and interesting, so you should try them all!
Will the content for unlocking various jobs require a full party?
This depends on the level of your character when attempting to unlock a job. The job quests begin at level 30, but you can certainly still tackle the quests at level 50. Of course, if you're level 50, it will probably be possible to solo some content that was originally intended for light parties of four players. However, the final quest may require a full party of level 50 characters to complete as I would like players to work together to obtain their jobs.
There's been a mention of new gear slots for job equipment; can you tell us anything about how that will work?
When you finish the quest to obtain a job, you will receive an item called a "soul crystal" that is unique to each job. A designated job slot will be added to your available gear slots so that you can change jobs simply by setting the soul crystal of the desired job.
Is chocobo barding meant to be a solely cosmetic upgrade or will it have a gameplay effect?
The objective of the current implementation of chocobo barding is intended to allow for customized appearances. There will be no effect on gameplay, such as armor with increased speed or the addition of utilities while in battle. We simply wish for players to be able to run around freely on their personally customized chocobos. Following the 2.0 re-launch, it will be possible to level up chocobos and equip them with gear that will feature their own unique stats.
With the reworking of how food and medicine buffs function, is there any concern over making medicines less useful in the long run?
While the duration of medicine effects are short, they contain extremely useful effects such as healing abilities and the ability to instantly boost stats, which make them very useful in a pinch. They are being created with the idea that they will be used strategically while adventuring. Therefore, the short effect-duration is a trade-off for their strong effect. Of course, we'll continue to look into adjustments based on player feedback, but for now, I believe we were able to accomplish what we wanted to with the adjustment.
Considering the experience adjustments and the new food buff to experience, should players expect an overall increase or decrease in leveling speed?
Food effects have always contained an EXP bonus, so I don't believe that the adjustments will result in any changes in the overall leveling speed. I believe that the rested benefits from inns will be more significant. Many players may cut down on their playtime until the launch of version 2.0, so with that in mind, I wanted to slightly increase leveling speed in order to decrease the level gaps between players and at the same time allow new players to get a chance to catch up and play with current players. This does not mean that the leveling speed will remain higher after version 2.0, but we decided on this adjustment for now to make it easier for players to invite friends to over to FFXIV.
Will rested benefits apply to Disciples of the Land and of the Hand?
That's right, the rested benefits will apply to all classes.
Last but not least, what's the feature you and the team are most proud of in 1.21?
I'd have to say that would have to be the difficulty of the two new instanced raids. Two dungeons that are much more difficult than Dzemael Darkhold are going to be implemented, so give them a shot because plenty of awesome rewards await! The job-specific gear looks amazing, too! We're very confident that players will feel the Final Fantasy vibe by equipping a complete full set of artifact gear!
We'd like to thank Mr. Yoshida for taking the time to answer our questions.