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Naoki Yoshida on the Heavensward Expansion

Chris Marlow Posted:
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MMORPG.com:  Okay, first things, can you give us an overview of the expansion, Heavensward? What goals did you have in mind for the first expansion to Final Fantasy XIV?

Naoki Yoshida:  So overall through 1.0 we had a hard launch, and in 2.0 we had the goal of regaining the trust of media and fans, and so with ARR I feel we’ve now gotten to the starting point of the game, and we’ve tried to get as many players around the world to get into the game, and feel like we have achieved that goal where we’ve gained peoples trust back, and have people coming on and more and more people joining us in A Realm Reborn. So with this new 3.0, or Heavensward we’re thinking of bringing about this new Final Fantasy that we envision, bringing that to our fans and that’s one of the major things we wanted to put our focus on. Something we really want to focus on, of course the new graphics and the quality of that is first and foremost there, but we also want to bring about, quality-wise, something that’s high in quality and has a sort of dark matureness to Final Fantasy, and emphasize more on the fantasy elements and bring that to our audience.

MMORPG.com:  What does the new level cap mean for players? Can we look forward to a new suite of abilities for each job? What sorts of new recipes can crafters expect?

Naoki Yoshida:  In terms of level cap, we’ll be releasing 10 more levels above what is already the cap. So of course, we’ll be having new actions being learned on top of actions already in place. So if you compare the Knight and the Warrior jobs, with the Warrior, you’ve got your very diversified, complex actions, and with the expansion, we’re going to diversify it even more, and give you a very rich and robust set. With the Knight you have your stability in that, and we’re going to explore that even further. We’re hoping that with the expansion it’ll be a new gameplay experience and be very refreshing, a renewed experience with the expansion.

As for crafters and gatherers, Disciples of the Hand and Land, its not only new recipes that are going to be added in, but also new actions that they can take and new recipes that incorporate those actions as well. So, you’ll be able to enjoy different techniques that you can use in your crafting and gathering as well. Our goal is to bring you a gameplay experience just like you’re playing a brand new game in this expansion.

MMORPG.com:  What can you tell us about airships?  How will players build them and what sorts of functionality will they have?

Naoki Yoshida:  We’re currently planning for patch 2.5, not this next one, but the one coming after that, we’re planning to incorporate a mechanic for free company crafting. So if you have free company housing, you can set up a basement shop where you have your own crafting room for your free company where your members can do your activities in that space. So one of the first items you can make with your free company crafting is the Aetherial Wheel, it might not have been announced just yet, but that’s the first thing you’ll be able to build with the free company crafting, and so you expand on that and in the expansion one of the recipes will include having your free company build your teams airship. So once you build your free company airship you can select which players can board that and you would access certain areas that only your airship can access and go into battle and explore that area.  That’s the gist of it right now.

MMORPG.com:  Is there anything you can share with us about the new race and jobs? Like, how many there are?

Naoki Yoshida:  So we did briefly touch on this at the announcement, but we do have plans for multiple jobs. We will have the London Fanfest next week, we briefly mentioned about Batman, but that’s about as far as we can say, and even that Batman stuff was totally unexpected. Do understand we have listened to the player’s voice, and feel we have achieved what the players wanted. We hope that you’ll look forward to further announcements.

As for the new race, there was a character that made an appearance since like patch 2.2, Yugiri, the woman with the hood and the mask, but she holds the key to the new race. Whenever we get to the timing where her identity is revealed, where her mask comes off, that’s going to be a very crucial point that relates to the new race.

MMORPG.com:  The Frontlines have been a well-received addition to the game. What are you looking to do with large scale PvP going forward, through possibly new modes, improvements or additions to Frontlines? I’ve heard mention of a new map with different rules and systems.

Naoki Yoshida:  In patch 2.5, we’re planning to put in new rules. With 2.4, we’re still making adjustments to the existing games, the rules, and then making tweaks to balance and whatnot. So with the following patch, 2.5, we’re planning on implementing new rules. With 2.4, we’ll be raising the upper limit for PVP Rank, which entails additional rewards, and then we also have the Ninja being added to the mix that will add a different facet to the PVP as well. We’re hoping players can enjoy those. So with 2.5 we’re going to implement a new rule, and with Heavensward, we’re going to have a new map for our Frontline with new rules as well.

After all that is implemented we’re going to work on the Wolves Den map, with the large scale PVP we’re trying to get as many people to come in contact with that type of content. A lot of Final Fantasy players have never played PVP or just hearing PVP makes them hesitate on trying to play so we’re trying to get as many people used to that type of content and once we have that in place, then we’ll expand on the Wolves Den so it’s a more intense PVP experience, where it runs in parallel to how the large scale and the more hardcore stuff develops, expands and progress in their own ways.

MMORPG.com:  That actually was my next question, what are your plans for the Wolves Den to make it a more interesting experience?

Naoki Yoshida:  One of the reasons why we haven’t implemented many changes for the Wolves Den since 2.4, 2.5, and 3.0, is because as you have noticed it is more for the core players, who are very intense in their PVP. Frontlines just started as of 2.3, and people are getting interested in it, but when they hear that Wolves Den has been updated and they try to go and play it while still having just started out they’re literally going to be torn apart by these Wolves that are in the Wolves Den, and we don’t want people to get scared and stop playing the PVP content. So that’s why we wanted to focus more on the larger scale and expand on the Frontlines content, have people take their time and get used to the mechanics of it. Increase their skill level, so there isn’t such a gap between the general players versus the really hardcore players, and once we’ve seen that’s balanced out that’s when we’re going to transition.

We have our 4 player versus 4 player, but we’d like to expand that to 8 versus 8, add a new map, and in the future we’re hoping to have season matches, where we can do like a World Championship where people can compete for who is the strongest Free Company, or who can get the most points as well.

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Chris Marlow