This year, I attended PAX East 2020 with the hope that I was going to have a chance to sit down with Naoki Yoshida, better known to Final Fantasy XIV fans as producer Yoshi-P. Unfortunately, due to the breakout of COVID-19, all of the Japanese staff from Square Enix as well just about every other publisher had to unfortunately cancel their plans of coming to Boston, which was extra painful due to the planned Final Fantasy XIV fan party and developer panel that was scheduled to take place. Thankfully, we were able to send off a few questions and Yoshi-P got back to us with some answers, so without further delay, here's my short interview with Yoshi-P from "PAX East".
MMORPG: Are there any plans to expand on the player experience when leveling alternate jobs? Like many MMOs, FFXIV thrives on end game content, and there's very little reason to level alt jobs by doing anything other than running the deep dungeon and various roulettes to get from 70-80. These are generally considered the most time efficient methods to leveling, and rewards from other methods don't feel like they outweigh this.
Naoki Yoshida: No, we have no plans to make it any easier to level up alternate jobs.
They are called alternate jobs for a reason—a player has their main job, so naturally when leveling up a new job, players aren't necessarily used to playing as that job. However, we understand that players playing alternate jobs are knowledgeable with FFXIV gameplay. To balance both of these points, our hope is for players to gain a deeper understanding of these alternate jobs through leveling, while also supporting new players along the way.
Having all veteran players concentrated in endgame content would bring noticeable obstruction within the community, specifically to newer players, and would ultimately shorten the lifespan of the game.
MMORPG: Shadowbringers has scaling quest options so you can do any of the side quests at level 70, regardless of where you are in the expansion progression. This is a great idea, but the rewards for doing these quests feel lackluster, especially when completing these for EXP. Are there any plans to increase or scale the rewards and experience gains in order to make these feel more worthwhile?
NY: The upsides of side quests are that there are an abundance of them, players can also gain EXP by doing them, and they can also get to know the FFXIV world and lore. Increasing the amount of EXP earned would turn these quests into a simple leveling tool, and I feel that the current balance works best.
When thinking about the previous question as well, I believe it would be less stressful for players if they are patient and take their time with their leveling...
MMORPG: Trust dungeons are a nice touch for people who want to play dungeons solo. Are there any plans to update the AI for Trust NPCs so that they can better handle larger groups of mobs? Currently the Trust AI does not utilize AOE abilities in the way that most players do in dungeons, and even if there are multiple mobs, companions will still use single-target attacks.
NY: That might be what it looks like from the outside, but even with single-target attacks, the AI calculates the overall damage inflicted on monsters as well as the overall pace of progression through the dungeon, constantly making adjustments to damage output based on these variables.
Although the NPCs use single-target attacks, they will inflict the same amount of damage that they would have with AOE attacks, if the AI deems it as necessary. To put it simply, the AI is making internal calculations and adjustments to ensure that the dungeon is always completed in a certain amount of time. It's not important whether the NPCs use AOE attacks or not specifically because of this reason.
I'm assuming people are thinking they could clear the dungeon faster if the NPCs used AOE attacks on large pulls, but we've put limitations on the system by intentionally controlling the clear time. The reason for this is we want to ensure that it is more efficient to party up with other players from a time perspective. Shortening the clear time of Trust dungeons runs the risk of making partying up with other players meaningless, so we have no plans to make it any faster than it currently is.
MMORPG: Are there any plans to expand command missions to go above level 60? I'd love to level my squadron to 80. I'm a big fan of using command missions as an alternate way to level jobs, and I'd love for those missions to be a viable way to reach level 80.
NY: Yes—the person in charge of this is currently busy with creating other content so they haven't gotten to it yet, but we of course plan to update squadrons in the future. In those updates, we would like to upgrade the system into something more versatile and accessible, although the timing is still undecided. We hope you’ll look forward to that update!
MMORPG: Monster Hunter as well as NieR:Automata were very well-received events that the FFXIV community love to participate in. What other types of non-Final Fantasy collaborations would you like to bring to FFXIV?
NY: I may cause some commotion if I say anything, so I won't answer explicitly, but one of my dreams is to work with Blizzard on a collaboration one day as I am a big fan of their games!
Yusuke Mogi: From an artwork perspective, I would love to collaborate with NIOH by Koei Techmo Games or Dark Souls and Bloodborne by From Software. Maybe the game systems wouldn’t be a perfect match, but I believe FFXIV and these games could co-exist in the same realm.