naoki yoshida

The Soapbox: What the Mass Effect Andromeda kerfuffle ought to teach us about games criticism

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.

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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?

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PAX East 2017: Naoki Yoshida on Final Fantasy XIV's new jobs, old jobs, and future patches

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: The skills on the chopping block in Final Fantasy XIV

When Stormblood launches, Final Fantasy XIV will be changing some pretty big mechanical aspects. First of all, we're going to be waving goodbye to our existing set of cross-class skills and having a completely different set of actions to deal with; second of all, we're going to be losing some skills outright. Naoki Yoshida has said before that we should have about the same number of skills at 70 as we have at 60, and that means that some of our tricks need to go away.

Personally, I'm happy about this. I don't have a single job without two full hotbars, one partially-full hotbar, and various side widgets. I can't fit another four abilities into anything. But the question remains about what we are losing, and how it's going to affect gameplay.

We should have a reasonably clear picture as we get closer, but what I want to do for a couple of weeks is look at the stuff that we're likely to lose. I can't speculate about what we'll gain, and I'm reluctant to draw too many conclusions about the cross-class system before it's live or detailed, but I think we can look at the game and say "yeah, this is probably going away."

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Wisdom of Nym: Predictions for Final Fantasy XIV's final fan festival

Boy, the wait for this one has felt long. It hasn't been any longer, and it's not as if we haven't had plenty to do in Final Fantasy XIV between the last fan festival and this one, but it's still felt long. Perhaps just because this, at least for me, is the time when I find out what my characters are actually doing post-expansion instead of just hopelessly speculating. I've got several alts hanging on the final job announcements.

There's some stuff we can reliably predict at this point, of course. There are no more patches aside from the last bits of 3.5 between now and Stormblood, and thus this is going to be our densest chunk of information about the expansion prior to launch. It's also impossible to predict everything that we'll hear about, since Naoki Yoshida loves to troll and surprise us. So this will, by necessity, be equal parts wishes, speculation, and prediction. Take it with the requisite grain of salt.

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Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival Tokyo 2016: Red Mage, swimming, and Stormblood's June 20 launch date

It's the holiday season here in the US, but in Japan it's just another weekend. Only it's not just another weekend; it's the weekend of the second of three fan festivals, this one in Tokyo and featuring exciting new information about Final Fantasy XIV's second expansion. So while you spend the day relaxing, you can also warm yourself up with some new information about the upcoming expansion.

If you don't care about the details and just plan to buy the game no matter what, though, that works as well. You'll be able to start pre-ordering the game on January 24th, 2017, and the expansion is planned for release on June 20th, 2017. That is currently a tentative release date, mostly because producer/director Naoki Yoshida is still apologizing for the fact that Heavensward came out in June instead of "spring" as originally planned. So get your motor running, and let's talk about some crimson spellcasters.

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Final Fantasy XIV discusses leveling and scenario bypassing items

Currently, if you buy a new copy of Final Fantasy XIV, you're going to have to level up to level 50 and clear all of the subsequent storyline content that leads up to Heavensward before you can, well, experience anything of Heavensward. Once Stormblood releases, you'll need to level up to 60 and clear all of Heavensward's content. You get the general idea. Producer and director Naoki Yoshida has talked about the potential to add in a "jumping potion" in the past, and he's laid down a clear explanation of how such potions work in the game's Chinese and Korean versions (i.e., the two versions not on the same global servers with the Japanese/American/European player base).

Yoshida explains in detail how the potions work in these two versions of the game, with two separate potions in place - one completes the main scenario quests, while another one simply lets your job jump to the start of the current expansion for leveling purposes. In both cases, you still need to hit level 60 and clear Heavensward content normally. He then goes on to say that he's considering when and if such potions will be implemented in the worldwide versions of the game, noting that he imagines it would be implemented between Stormblood and the subsequent expansion if he decides to go with it.

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Wisdom of Nym: Thankfulness for Final Fantasy XIV

I haven't exactly made a secret of the fact that I'm on a bit of a low pulse for Final Fantasy XIV at the moment. Some of that is just me and being in a rough place mentally; some of that is the game being in a rather in-between place as it gears up for the still distant second expansion. But this is the week of Thanksgiving for those of us in the US, and let me tell you: Even if I'm not playing as much of the game at the moment, I'm still immensely thankful for it.

While I could talk about cool people I've met or nifty parts of the community, the fact of the matter is that I feel like the game only deserves peripheral credit for that; after all, lots of games (darn near all of them, even) have cool community stuff and the like. So instead, I want to talk about the cool stuff that's unique to FFXIV. What makes me thankful for this game in particular?

It's a big question to answer, but I think a large part of it comes down to an anecdote from liveblogging.

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Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival: Reactions to Stormblood

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood ought to have be the least interesting announcement possible. It was heavily teased before it actually happened, and we knew that there would be a next expansion. Instead of an insane half-court shot that has no right to exist, what Naoki Yoshida has set up here is a very predictable and expected shot well within established boundaries.

On the other hand... that doesn't even matter because that's actually a strength. The game is not trying to be something it isn't already doing; it's aiming directly at what it does well and staying the course. And considering how the convention hall lit up with people who already love the game, I'd say it was the right move.

It occurred to me only well after the fact that despite being The FFXIV Guy on Massively OP, I hadn't actually said anything about this expansion yet. So let's talk about Stormblood, even though we don't actually know much about it yet. Also, ogle some screenshots, why not?

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Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival: Please Look Forward To It Q&A recap

Naoki Yoshida's catchphrase to the fans of Final Fantasy XIV is pretty much the perfect way to label a live question-and-answer session. The community team collected questions from fans before the panel and selected fans asking questions on the floor to give everyone a chance to ask - and hopefully receive answers to - their most pressing inquiries about the future of FFXIV.

Of course, those inquiring were also warned ahead of time that their questions should not center around Stormblood, as Yoshida would not be answering questions about the next expansion. Aside from the ones he did, anyhow.

So what was revealed in the session? Not the next expansion, but certainly quite a bit of note just the same. Especially if you want to hear about all of the things that will be revealed when the PlayStation 5 comes out at some distant point in the future. It's only halfway to a joke, there.

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Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival: Recapping The Stormblood keynote

The second Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival kicked off with the announcement everyone was waiting for: Stormblood, the game's second expansion, bringing players to the embattled land of Ala Mhigo to free its citizens from the yoke of Garlean oppression. But it's never really that easy, is it? After all, as director and producer Naoki Yoshida pointed out, we never actually asked the Ala Mhigan people if they wanted to be freed.

Stormblood's release will mark the end of PlayStation 3 support for the game.
Let's step back a little bit. The show opened with Yoshida taking the stage as a fraction of the trailer played; much as with Heavensward, what we saw was not the whole trailer. Instead, it was just enough to give us an idea about what's coming next. We saw a woman who at first glance looked to be a dancer but quickly showed herself as a monk, sparring with the same generic Midlander hero from the launch trailer and the Heavensward opening. There are a lot of questions to be answered in the coming months, and Yoshida promised that we'll learn the answers before the expansion releases in early summer of 2017.

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Wisdom of Nym: Myths and misconceptions about Final Fantasy XIV

One of my favorite parts of the Transformers Wiki - which is already wonderful - is the myths and misconceptions page. It's really well written, and it covers a whole lot of things that dedicated fans see crop up time and again despite not having much basis in reality. For people with a longtime interest in the history of the brand, sure, a lot of it just serves as a reminder; however, there were things in there that I didn't know, bits and pieces of trivia that I had absorbed or assumed to be true without knowing better.

I don't have the same amount of history with Final Fantasy XIV as I do with Transformers, of course; there's no way that a game from a few years ago can gain three decades of history, after all.  But there are still some misconceptions that people have about the game that are, objectively, not true. You can argue over whether white or blue is a better color for a piece of armor, after all, but you can't argue that the white one is actually blue. So, in the interest of clarity, let's look at some of these misconceptions and address them in turn.

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