Since there were so many early access issues with Stormblood, I figured I’d try to give you Final Fantasy XIV players a little something to chew on while Square-Enix smooths out the rough edges and handles today’s launch. Building on Massively OP’s Eliot Lefebvre’s recent interview with Naoki Yoshida/”Yoshi-P” at May’s Final Fantasy XIV event, we sat down again with him for a chat at this year’s E3. And while I haven’t personally spent nearly as much time in the game as a vet like Eliot, I’d heard that Yoshida was very much a gamer’s developer, so I was looking forward to talking with him about not just the game, but game design.
He did not disappoint.
There have basically been two attitudes throughout the past weekend with Final Fantasy XIV’s early access to Stormblood. Here, we’ll run it like a Tumblr meme; tag yourself appropriately in the comments:
- “Wow, all of this stuff is really cool!”
- “A system error occurred during event movement.”
I spent Friday and Saturday stuck in the latter, but Sunday I moved on the the former. But I can’t really talk about this early access period without talking about the server errors, what may have been causing them, and what should be considered when discussing them.
Because, make no mistake, this was not a fun weekend to be trying to play FFXIV much of the time. It was often dizzying in its frustration, and it was made all the worse because there’s always a communication gap with the game despite the best efforts of the staff. This in and of itself is something I really should write a column about, but that’s not today’s column.
Everyone knows there are going to be issues with an expansion on launch, and Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
is no exception. Players have hit up against a pretty nasty one, however, even beyond the usual matters of queues and server loads; something seems to be causing issues with instanced content, including a very early part of the main scenario that’s causing huge population bottlenecks around one questgiver.
Producer and director Naoki Yoshida has been doing his best to keep players updated, but at this point getting past this early instance is largely a matter of clicking for entry repeatedly and hoping to not get the now-dreaded error message stating that the instanced battle could not be started. It’s not exactly surprising that the game would have some issues with early access, but players are left unable to progress beyond the first two areas of the expansion without some appreciable luck (and the instance servers aren’t at their most stable even for other purposes). The issue is being addressed, so keep your eyes peeled for updates when the logjam is finally broken.
It would be wrong to say that Final Fantasy XIV
is the work of Naoki Yoshida
alone, but it’s sure easy to make the mistake. The director and producer of the game has a near-legendary status among fans due to his intense personality, his friendly demeanor, and the single-minded dedication to the game. In the time since the game’s relaunch, he’s become the face of the entire development team, and that seems unlikely to change any time soon with the release of Stormblood
Obviously, my focus during the media event was finding out as much as I could about what was going on with the actual mechanics of the expansion, but I also got a chance to pick Yoshi-P’s brain a bit regarding more specific reasoning behind existing changes and what changes were yet to come. But as someone who played Machinist extensively, my first question was both obvious and straightforward: Why the big change to castbars just to revert it in the very next expansion?
Yoshida laughed and said he was quite familiar with the associated “Bard Mage” jokes, lest anyone be unsure.
It’s almost time for E3 2017
, and there are going to be all sorts of new and exciting games on display. Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
is going to be there as well, although at that point it’ll be close to heading into early access for pre-order players on June 16th. But there’s still new stuff to reveal on the show floor, like giving attendees the first look at the Susano trial
. Which may be a bit of a letdown if you want the “I Beat Susano” shirts as a reward without being able to attend the show, but you can’t have everything.
The show floor will also see a special eve-of-the-expansion Live Letter from producer and director Naoki Yoshida, so players will have one last chance to watch details and get hyped about the upcoming expansion. Fans, if you hadn’t already marked your calendars for excited whimpering for June 13th through June 15th, you can do so now.
For those who’ve somehow missed it, Final Fantasy XIV
producer and director Naoki Yoshida
regularly does live letters for the community. We don’t usually liveblog them because, well, most of them take place at a time of day many people are aware of only by rumors. But this time the letter is in English and happening right now, so we’re going to go ahead and liveblog it for your viewing pleasure.
We’ve included an embed past the break, but if you can’t watch the video or would prefer not to, worry not; we’ll be updating you on the progress of the letter right in the comments. This is the first time we’ve done the liveblog with the new comment system, so we’re eager to put it through its paces. What things will be revealed? (Stuff related to Stormblood. We all know it.)
The anticipation for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
is pretty high among the game’s players at this point. It’s just under two months away, and there’s still so much left to learn about what it’ll be like. The latest live letter
from producer and director Naoki Yoshida
certainly does answer some questions, though, like how much players can expect in terms of inventory expansion: Basic inventory will add 40 more spaces, and 10 more slots will be added to each Armoury Chest category.
Moving your housing (which will not be available at expansion launch) will be a matter of buying the new land and then indicating you wish to move; if you buy a larger plot of land than your existing spot, you’ll have your furniture stored for convenience. Players can also look forward to receiving the full set of artifact armor in a box for the level 70 job quests, and there should be a benchmark available in the near future… like, say, right now. There’s a lot to digest from the live letter, so feel free to take a look at GamerEscape’s point-by-point summary while you wait for the benchmark and figure out what to do with 130 new Armoury Chest spots.
I’ve mentioned many a time that I like Funcom quite a bit. I want to like Funcom quite a bit. Heck, I want to be excited about Secret World Legends, but every day or so I get reminded that such a course of action will be very difficult at the least. Because quite frankly, Secret World Legends seems to want me not to be excited about it, as evidenced by… oh, every single thing that Funcom is doing around it.
Which is odd, because Funcom literally has access to a playbook for a large-scale reboot.
Secret World Legends is coming off of The Secret World, which was a cult MMORPG classic with a mighty fan following. Final Fantasy XIV was coming off of… well, its initial version, which had a fan following full of people who admitted that it was halfway to Stockholm Syndrome. And yet that game managed to get people excited and earn fans, while Funcom seems dead-set on alienating people or making them just plain nervous.
The second expansion for Final Fantasy XIV
will be here in just about two months, and players are curious. Sure, we know a bit of the lore behind the new jobs, but what will their actual mechanics feel like? What’s happening to Blood of the Dragon? How often are we going to have to search for moogles? You can find out some of these answers (or perhaps none of them) by watching the next Letter from the Producer LIVE on April 28th
, with Naoki Yoshida
once again answering fan questions and discussing what’s on deck for the expansion.
Of course, if you’ve been away from the game for a bit you might be asking if you want to spend the next couple of months catching up. The good news is you don’t have to determine that just by speculation; another free login campaign has arrived, allowing former subscribers to log in for up to 96 hours until May 7th. So you can jump in, check out the changes, and then decide if you’d like to spend more time with the game as an informed player.
Today is the official release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which was preceded by the frankly baffling decision to allow people access to an early build of the game ahead of time. Or perhaps the final build without everything enabled? The point is that you could play a bit of it if you were willing to drop some money. That seems like a bad idea that we’ve been dealing with in online-game-land for a long time, but regardless, it gave people the opportunity to see some of this RPG ahead of time.
This, in turn, allowed the typical internet trolls to find any and all animation flubs and then happily declare that it was all the result of one woman working on the game and handling all of the animations. Which, you know, is a conclusion that would be helped significantly if the woman in question actually worked in that role on the game, which she did not.
Obviously, the game under discussion is not an MMO. But it is symptomatic of two all-too-common problems in gaming culture that are worth noting to people who do not have balls of spiders in place of a soul. So let’s talk about those.
We’ve finished rolling out all of our PAX East content this year, and we’ve put our MMORPG-addled noggins together to try to choose our favorites out of what we got to see in person and from afar. Read on, then vote for your own best-in-show!
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?
It would be fair to say that Final Fantasy XIV
fans treat Naoki Yoshida
like a rock star, and he carries himself like one: not with unnecessary swagger but with the smooth confidence of someone who has a lot going on beneath the surface and knows exactly what he’s doing. This is part of why it’s always a joy to interview him, as few other developers can (or will) provide such thorough answers to even the most incidental questions.
Obviously, sitting with Yoshida meant that I had to ask him a fair number of questions about Stormblood and what’s coming with the expansion, but I also had to ask about the last patches of Heavensward and quality-of-life improvements. So there’s a lot to chew on, some of which has been rumored before now, some of which has not, and all of which is highly relevant before the game’s community Q&A panel takes place at PAX later today.