A couple of weeks ago I attended a media event for Stormblood where we got to spend the day playing some parts of the new expansion and going over the upcoming changes to the game systems. The following covers the info we were presented with and which was in the Letter from the Producer on May 22nd. However, there is also some extra info which I gathered from Naoki Yoshida (Yoshi-P) during my interview with him.
Battle System Changes
Expansions are often a great time to assess the fundamental basics of how a MMO works and adjust systems as needed and that’s exactly what SquareEnix is doing with Stormblood.
In addition to the large changes like overhauling the skills of each job they are also making some smaller Quality of Life changes. One such change is the fact you’ll no longer need to put the upgraded versions of skills on your hotbar. Just put the first level you learn on there and then when you learn an improved version it will automatically replace the lower level skill on your hotbar.
Also, they are removing the need to level up a different class to acquire skills which are needed in your role. For example, it didn’t make sense for Warrior, which is a tank class, to have to level up Gladiator just learn the “Provoke” skill which is a core skill to the tank role. Now every job will learn the skills needed to fill their role without needing to level up a separate class. You might be thinking this change seems silly because before learning any job you had to level the primary class to level 30 and the secondary class to level 15 anyway, but this is another huge change. Now players will only have to level their primary class to level 30 to learn their job.
This change is a huge change especially for new players who can often be confused when trying to figure out how to learn their chosen job. The current system is just needlessly complicated and needing to level two unrelated classes to get one job didn’t make much sense. This is certainly a much simpler system and should help newer players not experience as much confusion when it comes to figuring out what they need to do to learn a specific job.
Each job is also getting a resource gauge which is tailored to the flavor of each job i.e. the Bard’s gauge looks like a staff of music and Samurai features a katana blade. This new display puts a lot of emphasis on visual feedback rather than focusing attention on numerical information. This change should refocus the player’s attention from staring at status bars to paying more attention to the actual fight. This should not only help players perform better but also should increase general enjoyment of the fights themselves. These gauges will also help to narrow the now very wide gap between hardcore players and more casual players by helping casual players to perform better.
Currently there are very limited changes which can be made to the gauges, just moving their location and resizing them. However, Yoshi-P also mentioned they are currently working on more options for players to customize the gauges a bit to better fit their needs. For example, they are working on simplified versions for players who don’t need all the information the current gauges give.
One of the biggest changes to PvP is the reduction of the required level to participate is being reduced to level 30. This will allow players who are mostly just interested in PvP to get in there more quickly and will also give them time to get to know how the systems function in FFXIV. Yoshi-P also mentioned they had considered removing the level requirement entirely, and they still might do that at some point in the future. The main reason they did not choose to remove the level requierment at this point is because of the job system. Players will get their job at level 30 so they should be at least introduced to it before joining PvP for the first time. If there was no level restriction at all a level 5 Archer, who hasn’t even been introduced to the Bard job, could be confused when they join PvP and suddenly are a Bard instead of an Archer. Overall that wouldn’t be a very good experience for new players.
The standardization of stats and attributes in PvP is honestly something which really needed to happen because the more inflated stats get the more daunting playing PvP becomes to new players. Over time this can really stifle a PvP community due to less players coming in to replace older players who quit. The same issue is also why action points really needed to be removed in PvP. Hopefully all of these changes will help PvP to be a thriving part of the game over the long term.
One thing I was concerned about with these PvP changes is while being able to balance PvE and PvP is a good thing for each, down the road it can get to be a bit confusing for players when a skill functions one way in PvP and then functions completely differently in PvE. I asked Yoshi-P if he thinks this will be a problem and if so how they plan to combat it. His response was there may be some confusion initially but as people get used to the systems everything should fall into place pretty easily and players will relearn any differences between the skills in each area. Also, one of the reasons they decided to make the differences in the PvP and PvE UI is they wanted to make sure it is always clear which mode they are currently in and should help reduce the confusion players experience.
Here’s also a quick rundown of information about the Scenario Shortcut and the Job Level Boost and how they work. Again there is some information included here which wasn’t talked about during the Live Letter because I asked Yoshi-P about it specifically.
- Clears Main Scenario and select side quests
- No job level restrictions
- Chocobo will be automatically assigned
- Free company assigned based on home city
- All cutscenes will still be available in the room
Available starting June 16th
- Tales of Adventure: A Realm Reborn
- Completes all the ARR main story
Tales of Adventure: Heavensward
- Completes all the ARR story and Heavensward through patch 3.56
Job Level Boost
- Will be available June 16th
- $25 per job
- Can only use one job boost per account until after patch 4.1
- Different boost will need to be bought for each job
- All job quests will be flagged as complete
- Will be given a full set of level 60 gear (including weapon)
- All actions learned
- Will be given access to the Hall of Novices
- Cannot be used to level a Red Mage or a Samurai