PAX East 2017: Final Fantasy XIV's Q&A panel

At the time of this writing, there's just over a hundred days until Stormblood launches, expanding the world of Final Fantasy XIV for the second time. We'll no doubt learn more about the expansion before that launch happens, but the second day of PAX East gave players a chance to ask about the game directly from the producer and director himself, Mr. Naoki Yoshida. He's kind of a big deal.

Much as the team has done with previous PAX East events, Yoshida took both pre-written questions from fans on the show floor and live questions taken directly from the audience in attendance. While there were no huge revelations, there were plenty of tidbits for players to chew on as the game moves along through the remaining months until the launch of the second expansion. And, of course, there's plenty of stuff to speculate about, but isn't there always?

Yoshida started the panel by recapping important information about Stormblood for those who had missed out on the fan festival coverage, as well as a reiteration of his interview answer yesterday about the level 280 weapons available from the Diadem. (If you missed the interview, you may wish to catch up, as there's interesting stuff there as well.)

From there, he jumped straight into controversy. "I hate Cleric Stance," he said in response to a question about healer DPS. He did, however, state that Cleric Stance is not going anywhere, because it's become a vital part of gameplay for healers. That having been said, healers are first and foremost there to heal people, so you should focus on healing. "Please do not DPS while the rest of your party is dead," he notes.

Of course, he also confirmed that the player joke about Ala Mhigo and Doma falling to the Empire is entirely accurate. Neither nation has any tanks or healers; they're all DPS! That's why Eorzea is still around. Be attentive.

Weekly loot restrictions for Dun Scaith and the like will be lifted "soon," although there is not an exact date, which should help alleviate any issues with the increased Diadem loot level.

The next two questions confirmed additions to the games from a cosmetic viewpoint. He was rather coy about the possibility of a Cruise Chaser mount (the penultimate boss in Alexander) as well as getting the aetherometer goggles used by the Scions. That one prompted a question of whether or not we really want them, as well as a note that those are very Sharlayan in their origin; perhaps when/if players wind up in Sharlayan, along with a winking nod to 6.0.

Seeing aether has not made anyone happier, that's the takeaway.

It should be noted at this time that the game's main scenario, as mentioned previously, has been planned out at least to 5.0. Whether or not Yoshida is legitimately hinting at a future destination is highly ambiguous. Please look forward to it.

On the topic of White Mage class identity and balance, Yoshida stated that he could not go into detail, but he is certainly aware of those who have stated that White Mage is lagging behind Scholar and Astrologian. An oblique hint was dropped to tuning down Astrologian, but beyond that players will have to trust in the developers and that more will be revealed regarding changes as we draw closer to the launch.

Eternal Bond systems are also going to be getting updated; while nothing's ready to be shared yet, there will be something coming, perhaps in 4.1 or 4.2. More information when that happens.

Obviously, this expansion will feature another increase in jobs without any alterations to the crafting or gathering jobs. The actions for those jobs will be reviewed once again with the new level cap, however, and there is certainly the possibility of more crafters or gatherers. The oft-hinted shepherding job was brought up as a possibility, although it may have been a joke as well. It's surprisingly ambiguous.

The Krile outfit does appear to be getting worked on for player characters, so if you find her particular style adorable, you may be able to wear it sooner rather than later. Similarly, the male version of the Gold Saucer's bunny outfit has two of the six races done, but it's had to be paused for a bit while working on Stormblood. (Although Yoshida hopes that this question will inspire the team to work a bit more enthusiastically on getting it done sooner.)

If you enjoyed the Halloween event's haunted house, the development team enjoyed making it and would like to do something similar for another event. Not the Halloween event again, though; they don't want it to become predictable.

A question was asked about the reworking for Enochian for Black Mages, to which he answered that he could not yet really answer simply because not everything was finalized. The current plan is to have it be passive but also still pertain to skillful play; everything will be explained before 4.0 launches. You shouldn't lose DPS compared to the current state of the game, so its final implementation will not force you to be weaker or accept a sub-par rotation.

You're playing a Black Mage, so it's kind of whatever, but it should be more interesting than Monk.

When asked about things which players might overlook, Yoshida noted that Kugane is filled with spots for players to climb, although some of them may be tricky. There may also be diving logs and the like for various underwater spots, although he also advises players not to complain if those spots wind up being out of the way.

Want to listen to your own choice of music while you're searching? He said that some sort of "Orchestrion pod" would take up a lot of resources, but it's still a wonderful idea. Across the ocean, the sound team was probably screaming. (In Yoshida's own words.)

There are currently no plans for high-end sets to have tier bonuses, although it's something that might be considered for the future. There are also no plans for large new sorts of savage-level content; he notes that the team might be able to put twice as much top-end content with twice the team size, but that content is not played by everyone, and it's important to strike a balance. While the developers want to ensure that top-end players have interesting things to do, that can't come at the cost of players who aren't engaged in savage content, although they are still looking into ways to give those seeking a challenge new ways to test themselves. Although you shouldn't complain if that winds up resulting in particularly hard content...

Yoshida also noted that there will be new lore in the expansion and focus on new things which may have not been in focus in the past, although he can't confirm that it will necessarily be your favorite clans or lore areas. It's always something to consider. Perhaps another lore book is called for? The room erupted in cheers at the suggestion.

On a question about displaying gear and/or weapons, Yoshida noted that the issue of including mannequins or weapon racks was just discussed the other day, and it will likely be implemented at some point in the 4.x series. Last but not least, the mentor program will no doubt receive updates for the increased level cap.

Players will also want to note that the North American data centers will be moving to new and upgraded locations at some point, most likely in May. This is being done well ahead of the Stormblood launch to ensure that everything is set and ready by the time the expansion launches; more details will be revealed as the date comes closer.

This panel didn't finish off with quite the same sort of explosive news that frequently ends these panels, but then, the team is hard at work at delivering the game's second expansion. We can all live with a bit less information now in exchange for a better experience when it launches on June 20th.

Massively Overpowered is on the ground in Boston for PAX East 2017, bringing you expert MMO coverage from ZeniMax, Square Enix, Funcom, and everything else on display at the latest Penny Arcade Expo!
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