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E3 2014: FFXIV's Yoshida on 2.4, 3.0, new classes, and more

MJ Guthrie

After the recent E3 2014 announcement that Final Fantasy XIV was getting a new class and a marriage system, fans have been understandably eager to learn more. And the best way to do that is go to the source! We sat down with producer Naoki Yoshida to discuss the content slated for upcoming patches and expansions.

Before delving into the new, Yoshida spoke about the old. He noted that since last year's expo, FFXIV has enjoyed a successful relaunch, added a couple of major updates, and given millions of gamers around the world the opportunity to play. He then led into the new by saying, "We want to continue to grow the game from here. We have a lot of exciting content building up to 3.0." Part of said growing includes expanding the availability of the game by getting it into even more regions; this summer, for example, FFXIV will launch in China. Another part of the growth process is expanding the content and introducing new features, which is where patch 2.4 and the 3.0 expansion come in.

Massively: Any chance we can find out about what equipment Rogues/Ninjas will wear so we can prepare ahead of time?

Naoki Yoshida, producer: First off, because the class is going to be a melee DPS-type class, that gear that you have for other melee DPS classes and jobs is probably something that you'll want to hold on to. On the other hand, weapons are all going to be new because it's going to be a special type -- the dual wield. While you can use existing gear, the weapons will be all new and players can have fun collecting them. As for the special and Primal weapons, there will be rogue and ninja versions.

[Edit: We received this additional information from Square Enix. "The dev team is still determining what the final gear and stats that the rogue and ninja will utilize in the future, so we'd recommend that readers and fans wait a bit further until more detailed information is released."]

Are we still going to hear about that gun-using class that was hinted at?

We talked about it, and I'm not one to lie to the fans, but it's still a little bit early to talk about it. When I can talk about it, I will.

Is patch 2.3 still on track for a July release?

We want you to watch the Producer Letter Live that's going to go on tomorrow [June 12th] and we can give you an actual date for 2.3. Hopefully everyone will hear that date and go, "Wow! That's sooner than we thought."

What will personal chambers cost in 2.3? Will that be indicative of the cost for personal housing, or will that be higher?

The room will be cheaper than a full estate. [Referencing a gil balance of 98K], that character probably could not get himself his own private chambers. It's not as expensive as players would think, but it's not cheap. We're still working on balancing; we'll probably be balancing -- checking out economies and checking numbers -- right up until the very end. It's one of those things we can do right until the end. So we can't officially say how much, but it's going to be far, far less than owning an actual house.

Are Hunts meant to be instanced or open-world content?

Open world.

Will players moving over to playing the Ninja need to re-do the entire Relic/Zodiac line from the beginning?

Yes. They should probably start collecting their Atma now.

When was the decision made to add a class before the expansion?

We do have plans to release new jobs and new classes at the expansion; it wasn't like we took a job and class from that expansion and decided to release it early. We've always planned to release a new class and new job at a patch.

We've always thought that we needed a scout or a technical type of class. It's one thing that we didn't have in FFXIV and we wanted it, especially with the release of the large scale PvP. We wanted a class or a job that could do the scouting and stealth type of actions, so it was just natural to bring in that type of class to coincide with PvP and that type of content. The fact that the players have been begging for a thief-type class or a ninja-type class for a long time, we're happy that we can bring that to the fans ahead of the time that they expected.

So with more classes coming in the 3.0 expansion, can you tell us which ones?

New ones are coming, but we can't say anything. But not just one.

Can players expect to see marriage in 2.4 or before?

We are aiming for a 2.4 release of a system where the people living in Eorzea can pledge their love and/or friendship for each other with another player. And because you are pledging love and friendship we don't want there to be any barriers that prevent people of a certain age or race or gender from being able to pledge their love for one another.

Will chocobo raising include breeding options?

We are planning it, but that will be after we release our first installment of the chocobo raising. The current system that we have for release will be about your current companion with a focus on powering up and raising that chocobo companion, giving him different types of food and raising him, and changing his behavior in certain ways. In the future, maybe [we'll] offer some different types of options. We're going to have the Gold Saucer, and maybe there are going to be some events with chocobos and gold saucers, and players are going to need certain things... and that's all we can say about that right now. We'll just leave you with that.

Can you then put a fat chocobo on a diet? Or fatten up a little one?

He's beautiful because he's that big! That's an interesting idea: giving a lot of food to your fit chocobo and making him a fat chocobo, and the fatter it gets the more inventory slots it has.

Will Ninjas have an offhand slot for traditional throwing items such as shuriken?

No, we're actually not thinking about having something equipped in another weapon slot because it makes it kind of unfair to the Ninjas who actually then have to gather more items than another type of player, and then also have to start thinking about going into battle and deciding how many shuriken or how many daggers they have to buy. It just creates more work for that Ninja. We'd rather cover the throwing weapon in actions instead. We'll be able to talk a little more about it as we get closer to 2.4

How difficult are the 2.3 dungeons meant to be?

We are designing them to be around the same difficulty level as the hard-level dungeons that were released in 2.2. It's not something that is going to be overly hard for regular players, but the boss fights are going to feature different types of gimmicks and different types of tips and traps that players have never experienced before, so they're going to have to learn something.

Will we get any sort of roadmap regarding future development?

Right now, internally we have a roadmap that we're using. We're kind of on the fence as to whether to release it in full or not. We have so much stuff that's in the works right now; it would be hard to change things once you released that [and said] this is what you are going to do. By keeping some of it internal, it's easier to move stuff around based on feedback. There are merits and demerits to releasing, and that's why we're on the fence right now.

But that doesn't mean that we're not going to give any information at all. We're want to use opportunities -- events like E3, fan events, or the Producer Letter Lives that we have -- that are places in real time where we can release information about the patch we are working on and the patch that's going to come after. Using live events like this we feel is more exciting for players rather than just getting this big book and reading through that.

What is your favorite part about the upcoming content in 2.4 and 3.0?

They're all my favorite. If I had to choose one, it would be the large-scale PvP that is coming up in 2.2: the front line. Even though it's large-scale, we believe that it's very easy to get into for all types of players. And the big thing is that unlike a lot of MMOs where it is two factions fighting against each other, we're going to have three different factions in battle.

Of course, we're excited for things like the new classes and new jobs, but what's going to be coming up in these next few patches is how we move from this 2.0 story to the 3.0 story. If you remember back from 1.0 to 2.0, we had this great buildup with the coming of meteor and the destruction of the world. We threw in a lot of things that really surprised a lot of players -- a lot of things that hadn't been done in MMOs before. We want to do that same thing as we come to the climax of the 2.0 story and go into 3.0. We want to shock the players again, show them things they haven't seen, and get them excited for 3.0.

Can you give an example of content that didn't make the cut for the patches and expansions?

If you are talking about something that we actually started working on, it would have been a crystal tower we had ready for the launch of 2.0. But the tower was way too difficult so we decided to push it back, readjust it, and release it in 2.1.

As for something that's never made it in, there's actually really nothing. Once we've decided to make something, we've tried our best to get it into the game. Some things we've wanted to make but realized it would take too long so we've pushed it back to maybe an expansion. If it would take too much work or too much time we've moved it from a patch to an expansion or extended the development over two patches instead of one. As for something we've wanted to make but couldn't, that hasn't happened yet.

One thing that I've personally wanted to do but haven't had the opportunity is to create something for new adventurers, like a guild especially for the newbies. It's something where you are given simple tasks like maybe kill x amount of enemies in 15 seconds using three different actions. You'd have a lot of these little tasks where you have players level up [as characters] in the game and level up outside the game as a player. [The idea is] to have a special type of area or a special type of guild just for the new adventurers. The thing is, it is very hard to implement it into the game especially as we continue adding new content for players who have been here for a long time. So this idea keeps getting pushed back. Someday I want to get that in game.

Thank you so much for your time!

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 10-12, bringing you all the best news from E3 2014. We're covering everything from WildStar and Landmark to Skyforge and H1Z1, so stay tuned!

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