Massively OP Podcast Episode 213: FFXIV’s first world problems

    
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On this week’s show, Bree and Justin tackle the controversial FFXIV expansion revelations, debate World of Warcraft’s level squish proposal, look at Albion Online’s free-to-play version, talk about gaming with your children, and we learn a surprising revelation about the site’s editor-in-chief!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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Bereman

1.) So what usually happens with reveals from Yoshi-P in Fanfests and Live Letters and such is that he ends up answering more in interviews later that shed light on what they are doing and what they are thinking. Par for the course, it happened here as well.

Sidenote: the previous instance of gender-locking was a bit of a different beast, in that the decision to do so was apparently because FFXI had done it, and they were just following suit with what that game had done (which was kind of the modus operandi at the start of 1.0). Still a good thing that they addressed it with 2.0, and I’m hopeful that they plan on redressing the imbalance they are about to create as soon as possible.

A known YouTuber from the community got to sit down with him for an interview and here are the two answers related to the decision to do one male and one female (and thankfully it’s not “the lore says so which means we can’t” lol). Major apologies for the wall of text incoming:

Many western players were surprised when it was revealed that Hrothgar and Viera would not have both genders available, especially after the efforts the team went through to provide more options with Miqo’te and Roegadyn in 2.0. Why did the team decide to do two different races with one gender each instead of one race with both genders?

A.) The timing of the game launch, the races needed to have each gender counterpart for ARR. When I took over for ARR, I wanted to fill the missing gender to make those races seem complete. What is different now compared to then. After multiple expansions, the situation isn’t the same as when we released the base game. My answer will be quite long…

This game has been launched for 6 years currently. It has tens of thousands of armors available. We have to make sure every race can use every outfit correctly. The more unique the appearance of the race, the more difficult these adjustments are to make.

When we create one gear, we have to make adjustments so it fits all these different races. So when we add new races, we have to adjust how to approach this process. The development cost for making a new race is very intense because of how much work we put into the graphics of the game. We also have to make sure these things all work properly. Thats why we are saying these may be the last races because of how taxing it is on the development team.

We wanted to give players options and freedom to choose more races. We envisioned adding a new race, but people really wanted the Viera to play in-game. So if we add another new race that isn’t Viera, people might wonder why we didn’t do Viera, so we had to add them for sure.

We had a big discussion back when we added Au ra in Heavensward about whether to add Au ra or Viera. We knew we only had Female Viera for reference, so we had no idea what to do for the Male variant. We would have to use our own imagination for that. There was fear about how we would approach that. Perhaps an elezen body with a miqo’te face and bunny ears. Would this be the right way to add this race to the game?

When we create a fantasy game, especially for FF14. We have a good variety of races. We don’t really need any more cute or sweet looking characters because we have so many as it is.

Especially for FF14, we have many symbols of power or strength such as Highlander and Roegadyns. We wanted something more animal like. Its not that we wanted to create a wild west of characters, but we do need a good variety. So the simple answer is: Viera was sought after so we had to add those. To expand the game and its options, we also wanted to add Hrothgar.

2.) As a follow up, is the team considering adding the other gender for these two races in future expansions?

A.) Short answer is we haven’t made a decision on that. The reason why we can’t say for sure. We need to optimize our work flow with the existing races and the new ones. After that, perhaps we do the other gender. But we don’t know right now.

We did consider Male Viera instead of adding an extra race, but we tried to take player feedback on adding a more beast like race as well as the strong desire to receive Viera. We did expect strong feedback on the gender lock. It was a tough decision, but we decided to do our best to meet both the player feedback and our development team’s vision. It will be very costly to add a new race or genders. So I won’t say no, but I would not like to set expectations high.

We haven’t had time to look at all of the feedback since this is our first day back at the office after the Tokyo Fan Festival. What was the general feedback from NA based on your experience? Were they upset about no Male Viera, no Female Hrothgar or both?

Me.) It has been a heated topic. Some players are okay, while many players are upset about the gender locking. Many are disappointed about no Male Viera, but with the Female Hrothgar I’ve seen some people be even more upset. This is because in The First Shard they are called Ronso, and in FFX there are plenty of female Ronso.

Also in that interview was asking about the decision to do a physical ranged dps versus a healer, and here was the response:

3.) The reveal that Dancer was a ranged DPS caught a lot of players by surprise as well. Why did the team decide to add another DPS to the game as opposed to a new healer?

A.) Out of curiosity why was the community generally expecting it to be a healer?

Me.) Mostly because we really expected it to be both a tank and a healer for the expansion.

A.) Simply we only had two ranged physical DPS so we wanted to add another. We have 4 tanks and 4 melee dps, 3 casters and 3 healers, and yet there were only 2 ranged dps. We wanted to balance the number of jobs across the board.

We also really wanted to add another tank to balance the tanks more. With 4 tanks, we can better balance the tank role, with two main tanks and two off-tanks.

When players decide which role or job to play. Even a small difference in abilities and attribute make a big difference. People like to take Paladin as an off-tank thanks to abilities like Cover, so the Warrior and Dark Knight are fighting for the main-tank spot most commonly.

So hypothetically speaking, if we rebalance things and put Warrior as MT, then the Paladin and Dark Knight would be fighting for off-tank. No matter what we really needed to balance this with two and two. Its much more fair this way, so its two jobs between main tank and two between off-tank. This is very tentative so please convey this is no indication at all of our final plans.

When looking at this history of healing jobs. Making strong balance between three jobs it has been tough. With three its been tough, so with a 4th the balance might get even worse. Instead of doing this, we want to prioritize balancing them better this expansion so we didn’t want to add a new healer at 4.0 or 5.0. We really think we need to restructure the way healers are handled. We can’t keep this strict division between pure healer and barrier healer. Something needs to change here so we can maintain good balance. Thats the main reason we didn’t have a healer. First priority was to add a 3rd ranged, then a 4th tank while we balance the healers better.

We need to maybe change the way to present new jobs at Fan Festivals. Perhaps reveal the roles first and then reveal the job later to subvert expectations.

Some interesting comments from Yoshi-P in there. It doesn’t mean they made the right decision, per say, but it does show that the decision was deeper than a strict adherence to lore.

As for WoW – I’d rather see them find a way to address the significant gaps between when you get abilities and talents, as well as what basically turns into practically a stoppage of new abilities past a certain level, without shrinking levels.

The level squish is the easy way out and has the same issue with an ilvl squish – unless they plan on finishing up with expansions soon(ish), they will run into the same problem. They need a more permanent fix, which definitely means being willing to KEEP things instead of tossing them after an expansion. Absolutely agree with ya’ll’s assessment of how they’ve been handling things.

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Pandalulz

Bree’s description of her daughter is exactly my daughter. She used to play on the PS4, but only if we were couch co-oping. If I got up for any reason, she would instantly lose interest and go do something else. Mostly she will only play things on her tablet. Although, currently, I’m convinced she doesn’t do anything but Tik-Tok. If you think current pop music is annoying, just listen to the same five seconds of it over and over and over again while the kid attempts to make the perfect video out of it.

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Person Dude

*raises hand*

xpsync
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xpsync

Second that!

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NeoWolf

I enjoyed the challenge of LOTROs staying alive titles back when it was new, but when it went easy mode with free to play it made it almost impossible not to get them, literally anyone dying before level 40 in that game now has either ridden of a cliff by accident (been there, done that), or tried to raid solo lol

On the Gender locked races issue I don’t really have an issue with them when it is “by design” i.e the race only has one gender.. but when its just laziness i am not a fan. Now gender locked CLASSES however, that sh** I am completely against.

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Jesse Wan

Rock(hus)band.

Jersey
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Jersey

Here’s one more raised hand in favour of the piccolo!

*wanders off to go get a nap*

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BalsBigBrother

Naps are one of the best things about getting old. Its even better when you are old old because if relatives are boring you to death just pretend to nap and folks seem to think its just an old person thing so excuse it, not that I would do such a thing honest!

So um …. *raises hand* for piccolo podcast and / or livestream and where do I sign up Bree family Rock band patreon? I looked and can’t seem to find it.

Oh right mmos yeah those are fun too :p

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Eliandal

YAY naps !!! Err what were we talking about?

xpsync
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xpsync

lmao dunno? forgot, i just got up.

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Minimalistway

– napping is important for the soul, otherwise i’ll spend the day grumpy and tired.
– I raise my hand here, i want to hear the piccolo :-D
– For WoW levels, i hope Blizzard will just copy GW2, or other games, but do not add more levels.