Page 1 of 7 1 2 3 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 67
  1. #1
    Player
    EmiliM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    ウルダハ
    Posts
    174
    Character
    Emilia Marseilles
    World
    Behemoth
    Main Class
    PUGILIST Lv 50

    What's makes an MMORPG fun? - 4Gamer chats with the Producers of FFXI, FFXIV, and DQX

    http://www.4gamer.net/games/139/G013991/20140307079/

    Not directly related to FFXIV contents, but sheds some light on backgrounds of Naoki Yoshida (Director/Producer of FFXIV), Yousuke Saito (Producer of DQX), and Akihiko Matsui (Producer of FFXI); as well as what life's like in each of their shoes as a producer of an MMO.

    Fun little thing I translated during my downtime at work over the past few days. Hopefully it'll help people understand a bit more about what Yoshida's (and his colleague's) background is like and the challenges of running a game like FFXIV.

    PS. It may be of interest to note that Matsui was previously the Director of FFXI, then he was brought on as the lead battle system designer for FFXIV:ARR. After this, he returned to FFXI as the Producer. So Matsui is directly responsible for much of the battle system we see in the game today.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No set boundaries between Dragon Quest X and Final Fantasy XIV
    4Gamer:
    Today, we invited those of you who are responsible for the creation of the biggest domestic MMORPGs to chat about the topic of MMORPG. First off, please give us a status update on the game each of you are responsible for.

    Yoshida:
    To start with me (FFXIV), we're currently sitting at just over 1.8 million players (accounts). Total in-game character count is 6.75 million, and we've just reached over 400 million hours played by our players.

    4Gamer:
    1.8 million already? Now, about how many daily active users are we looking at?

    Yoshida:
    Well, the number for daily active user count can be misleading.... The peak time for Japan and oversea countries are different, for example. But if we simply look at the number of people logging in every day, I'd say we have about 500,000 people world wide. There are people who log in once every couple of days or so, so if we include those people then the number would be higher. As for a breakdown by countries... (*looks at the PR person also in attendence*) I'm sorry, but I can't say anything about that. And besides, a producer in charge of managing a global MMORPG would usually wait until their service starts in China before mentioning any statistics (wry laugh).

    Saito:
    It'd literally add a digit to the end of everything (laugh).

    4Gamer:
    And what about the Dragon Quest X?

    Saito:
    Since we currently only operate in Japan, we only have numbers for the Japanese player base, which is around 300,000 active customers a day. We just released version 2 at the end of last year, and thanks to that we've been seeing more active users. We were actually kind of worried at first if we would lose customers when version 2 came out.

    4Gamer:
    You mean like people treating it as a good cutoff point to stop playing.

    Saito:
    Yes, but luckily there was no sign of that so it's a relief. It is unexpected though that there are still many people who bought version 2 but never visited the new continent.

    4Gamer:
    Really? What's everyone's doing then?

    Saito:
    They're all in the casinos... I guess. Everyone seems to be playing at their own pace.

    4Gamer:
    How about FFXI?

    Matsui:
    Well, it's a bit hard for me to compare ourselves with the other two titles. We've seen a fair bit of players return after we released Seekers of Adoulin last year, but at the end of the day we've still had a lot of people move on to FFXIV.

    Yoshida:
    But if you say that to other companies running MMOs around here they'd probably get upset at you. I know what the actual numbers look like and I can say there's still quite a lot of players in this game. Considering how it's had to compete with big titles like DQX and FFXIV, I think it's impressive that it still manages to pull in as many players as it does.

    Matsui:
    That's true.

    4Gamer:
    This is something we wanted to ask straight up, but has Square Enix ever held any formal internal discussions about making sure games like DQX and FFXIV should each cater to their own niche (in terms of target audience)?

    Saito:
    Not at all.

    Yoshida:
    That was blunt (wry laugh).

    Saito:
    'Cause, if you worry about that then you won't be able to make the games fun. And besides, I think people play each game to do different things, and expect different things as well.

    Yoshida:
    So even though we don't really discuss about it, in the end the games still end up with their own niche market.

    4Gamer:
    Do you guys ever feel like you're competing with each other?

    Yoshida:
    Not really. Why do you ask?

    4Gamer:
    Well, I remember Saito-san said "we won't lose to FFXIV!" at some point in the past.

    Saito:
    That wasn't me, that was (version 1 director) Fujisawa (laugh).

    4Gamer:
    It just left a really strong impression on us.

    Yoshida:
    I'm actually planning to go drinking with Fujisawa after this. I'll remember to tell him to keep his mouth shut in the future (laugh).
    (35)
    Last edited by EmiliM; 03-13-2014 at 08:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Player
    EmiliM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    ウルダハ
    Posts
    174
    Character
    Emilia Marseilles
    World
    Behemoth
    Main Class
    PUGILIST Lv 50
    MMORPG: a genre that used to be a gamer's dream-come-true
    4Gamer:
    Now, it's difficult to decide where we should start, but when MMORPGs first appeared, wasn't there a feeling like "this is the game of my dreams" in the gaming community?

    Matsui:
    Rather than the game, I remember the monthly phone bills feeling more like a dream...

    Yoshida:
    And then you wake up when you saw the numbers.

    Saito:
    It's not an MMORPG, but I remember when I was addicted to Diablo and got a bill for tens of thousands of yen, I thought "holy crap!" so I just played it at work instead.

    All:
    (Burst of Laughter)

    4Gamer:
    That's because internet service wasn't on a fixed monthly rate yet back then. Although we did had some stuff like unlimited late night plans.

    Yoshida:
    I was still working at Hudson back in the Diablo era. Since you could play that game on LAN, I just mostly played on LAN at work instead of connecting to Battle.net, so my phone bill wasn't that much. But it got really bad when Ultima Online came out. I remember getting a bill for about 120,000 yen (about $1,150 USD today) a month. Back then Dial Q2 (a tolled "infoline" service in Japan that quickly became popular for adult/sex-related services) was trending too, and my mom was super worried that maybe I was addicted to something like that (wry laugh).

    Saito:
    With Ultima Online, I remember taping the keys on my keyboard so it can automatically keep hitting the training dummy (to increase attack skills) for me. This is with my PC at work, of course (laugh).

    All:
    (Burst of Laughter)

    Saito:
    I'd tape the attack key down when I was going home, and then when I got back to work the next day I'd quietly peel the tape off. That was the life I lived.

    Yoshida:
    I did that to my keyboard too with toothpicks!

    4Gamer:
    This is probably a topic that's hard for people other than 4Gamer readers to comprehend (wry laugh).

    Yoshida:
    What about you Matsui?

    Matsui:
    I played Ultima Online, EverQuest, and Asheron's Call back when FFXI was being developed. I think it was around the time when the world in Ultima Online was being split into PK On and PK Off worlds.

    Yoshida:
    Yes, Felucca and Trammel.

    Matsui:
    Yes yes. But while I wasn't that into Ultima Online, I got really addicted to EverQuest. Since the world and system of EverQuest was based on the "Advanced D&D" ruleset, it was something I was more familiar with.

    4Gamer:
    Looking back at it now, EverQuest was a pretty brutal game too, wasn't it?

    Yoshida:
    You basically just die a lot.

    Matsui:
    When you first start playing, there were times where you could just die from drowning because you got stuck in a ditch on the side of the road or something.

    Saito:
    If you started as a Wood Elf, you'd die as soon as you started walking because you just fell off the tree you spawned on (laugh).

    4Gamer:
    Dying as a Wood Elf was like a tradition back then.

    Yoshida:
    In the starting town of Wood Elves you'd see tons of dead bodies everwhere, and you'd be like "why are there all these dead bodies?" at first, and then you'd understand why once you became one of them. If it was a Japanese game, people would expect some kind of collision detection on the tree paths so it'd stop you from falling (wry laugh).

    4Gamer:
    Was EverQuest popular with people in Square Enix back then?

    Yoshida:
    It was more like people were ordered to play EverQuest when we were just about to start developing Final Fantasy XI.

    Matsui:
    Yeah. We were told to "just try it" before we started development. So we all played it even while at work in the name of research. But well, let's just say it kind of backfired.....

    Saito:
    People stopped coming to work, for example.

    Yoshida:
    You'd have people like Aoki-san, who is the head of the world design team in DQX, almost not showing up at work at all so we'd end up having meetings with him in Norath (the EQ game world) instead.

    Matsui:
    That's a true story. He wouldn't answer his phone or e-mails but you could catch him if you sent him a tell in-game.

    4Gamer:
    Were there any parts of your games where you felt you couldn't move ahead with the development until you played the game yourselves and grasped something from it?

    Saito:
    I don't know about that. I think whether you were developing an online or offline game, your goal is always to make something that is fun.

    Yoshida:
    But in an MMO, having experience as a player does help you become better at being able to tell where the "landmines" (poor game design) are and avoid them. So if you ask me whether having experience as a player helps with game development, I'd say definitely yes.

    Matsui:
    For example, you wouldn't really be able to understand "what's the purpose of this thing?" without having experienced it as a player first.

    Yoshida:
    Exactly. If you look at it from the player's perspective, even though people might sometimes go "why did they make it like this?" In most cases, there is a perfectly good reason why the creators made it that way - to state the obvious.

    4Gamer:
    So to wrap this up, is it correct to say that all of you here first experienced MMOs through titles like Diablo, Ultima Online, and EverQuest?

    Saito:
    Yes. Personally Final Fantasy XI has had a lot of impact on me too. It has become one of the references I take into consideration when making decisions.

    Yoshida:
    Saito-san played quite a bit of it, I think.

    Saito:
    Yes, I did (laugh). Well, I played a lot of World of Warcraft too, but it was still nothing compared to FFXI. And even before that I played a lot of domestic MMORPGs that most people probably don't even know about.

    4Gamer:
    Like Life Storm (very first Japanese MMORPG), for example?

    Saito:
    I played Life Storm, and Dark Eyes (another early Japanese MMORPG) too after that, for example.

    Yoshida:
    Dark Eyes, that's a nostalgic name.

    4Gamer:
    Was this for work?

    Saito:
    No, I was just playing for fun.

    4Gamer:
    Why was Saito-san so into MMOs right from the start?

    Saito:
    'cause I was a reclusive loner.

    All:
    (Laugh)

    Saito:
    No seriously. Back then I lived in a tiny apartment unit that didn't even have furnitures. All that was there was my water tank and my PC, both just sitting there on the floor. That was how I lived.

    4Gamer:
    Wow. And what did you have in the water tank?

    Saito:
    I kept clownfishes in there. Anyway, I had my desktop PC on the floor, the monitor was on the floor too, and I just lied down on that cold wooden floor with no covers whatsoever and played all kind of MMOs like that.

    4Gamer:
    So Saito-san was one of those type of people...

    Yoshida:
    Really, it's pretty amazing you managed to get to where you are today from that kind of lifestyle.

    Saito:
    I know. It was a close call eh?

    4Gamer:
    By the way, we hear that Saito-san plays a lot of DQX himself too, but just how much are we talking about here?

    Saito:
    On a normal day about 3 hours I guess. During off days... probably more than 10 hours (wry laugh).

    4Gamer:
    T, that's quite a lot....

    Yoshida:
    I've been thinking about it recently whenever I see you, but you're leaning pretty heavily towards being dysfunctional, you know. Have you tried FFXIV?

    Saito:
    If I wasn't working, I'd probably be playing FFXIV too. But with a job, it's pretty tricky to juggle 2 MMOs at the same time (laugh).
    (28)
    Last edited by EmiliM; 03-10-2014 at 08:09 AM.

  3. #3
    Player
    EmiliM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    ウルダハ
    Posts
    174
    Character
    Emilia Marseilles
    World
    Behemoth
    Main Class
    PUGILIST Lv 50
    Events that led up to each person's start in MMO development
    4Gamer:
    So from the Japanese MMO development's historical point of view, Saito-san is one of the most senior developers out there, correct? Can you explain to us how you got started working in MMO development?

    Saito:
    Yes. I was involved quite early on with early MMOs like "Mail Quest" and "Cross Gate", but I never really felt they were a genre of their own. At the time I was also working on games like "Murder on the Eurasia Express" and "Astronoka" at the same time, so I never really thought of them as being in separate genres, but more like simply different ways to play.

    4Gamer:
    I see. So it wasn't as if you had some kind of special interest in MMOs or anything then.

    Saito:
    Of course, I was really attracted to the MMO idea, or rather the idea where everyone could play together, and I really wanted to make something interesting like that as well. But back then, Enix was strictly a single-player focused game company, so it was really hard to get a business case organized to make MMOs.

    4Gamer:
    And prior to 2000, the PC game scene was still pretty minor too, so something like an MMO must've been especially hard to do too.

    Saito:
    Yes. That's why it was really hard to get the company to understand the business model like how we'd have to spend this much money to run the service, and make this much income from the monthly fees. Plus back then the service scale was small too, so you'd have to a lot of things on your own. I've done a lot of stuff like going to a data center and plugging in the server machines manually myself. Back then, I had guys like Nakajima-kun of Community Engine helping me out too. It really brings me back.

    4Gamer:
    And these experiences got you to becoming the producer of DQX?

    Saito:
    Well, the fact that I just happened to be around and free when the company decided to do a Dragon Quest MMO had a bit to do with that too... But if this was a regular game in the series instead of an MMO, I don't think I would've taken on the producer job. There would've been someone else better suited for the position, I think. However, if you're talking about making an MMO set in the Dragon Quest world , and creating a place where DQ lovers can come together and play, then that's something exciting for me. That's why I took the job. Of course, there were plenty of headaches, but I had a lot of fun making the game. And as a game developer, the most fun part was being able to work together with Horii-san (Juuji Horii, the creater of the Dragon Quest series) and figuring out what we wanted. This is true even today. I'm really happy I made the decision to take on this job (laugh).

    4Gamer:
    And Yoshida-san was also part of the DQX development team as the Chief Planner under Saito-san prior to moving on to develop FFXIV, right?

    Yoshida:
    Yes. Before that, I was actually working on an MMO idea that I had brought to Enix with me. But while I was working on it, Enix merged with Square and by the time things settled down, that idea ended up getting shelved. At that point, Saito-san called me and when I went to see him, I saw him standing in front of the white board in the meeting room writing the words "Dragon Quest Online" on it. And then underneath he wrote "Yoshida", and basically turned to me and said "so there you go!"

    4Gamer:
    And so did Saito-san make the offer while pretending to not realize that Yoshida-san had just bought a house in Hokkaido at the time?

    Yoshida:
    Yeah, I was living in Hokkaido at the time, but he told me "why not come back to Tokyo and give things another try". So I ended up joining Dragon Quest Online - or Dragon Quest X - as the 4th member of the development team. And while I was working on the DQX game scenario with Horii-san, I also worked as the game designer and director for Dragon Quest: Monster Battle Road. And then one day, around the time that DQX entered Alpha, the company suddenly told me "ok, now go start a new project".

    Saito:
    If you listen to this from a bystander's perspective, you'd think our company is pure chaos (laugh).

    Yoshida:
    I know right? It was around that time that Fujisawa-san returned after wrapping up the development of DQIX, and people basically figured we only needed one director around, so for some reason it ended up being "Yoshida go create a new IP". But I never left a project in the middle of development before so I resisted. Still, I did say something like "if this is company's order then I'll do it". So while I was away on a business trip, some talks happened amongst the DQX team and by the time I came back it was basically decided I would start a new project.

    4Gamer:
    Uhhhh (laugh).

    Yoshida:
    But I know that was Saito-san just trying to do what's best for me, and he knows in reality this was a big opportunity for me as well. So he kept saying stuff like "don't worry, you've done enough, we'll figure out the rest", and "Yoshida you go on ahead over there".

    Saito:
    Well, I never thought I'd be sending him to FFXIV though.

    Yoshida:
    Yeah.... While we were working on this new project, all those issues happened with the original FFXIV. So then I ended up getting dragged into, or rather, I just dived into the whole thing head first.

    Saito:
    And we talked a lot back then too.

    Yoshida:
    You were the only one, Saito-san, who told me "don't worry, you can do it" when it came to remaking FFXIV. Everyone else was like "why would you take that on!?" But Saito-san was the only one who said to me "You can do it Yoshida. No matter what happens, our whole team's got your back".

    4Gamer:
    And now we can look back and say everything more or less turned out ok. But as a career choice, it must've been an extremely risky decision at the time.

    Yoshida:
    I think so. And Fujisawa-san was the complete opposite. He basically said "what were you thinking!? This is not the time to be trying to show off!" as he was completely against the idea (wry laugh). But I know that's just Fujisawa-san's way of showing he cares too. At the beginning, Fujisawa-san was also called in to work on the development of FFXIV so it must've been really tough for him too.

    Matsui:
    Yeah......

    4Gamer:
    And how did Matsui-san get involved with MMO development?

    Matsui:
    Prior to FFXI, I was involved in the development of "Legend of Mana" for the Playstation. Around the time when the development was wrapping up we started talking about moving on to Playstation 2, and it was around at point when huge amount of resources began to go towards creating the visuals during development of new games. And personally I felt there was something not right about that, and really felt like I was stuck in my own career path. But with the MMORPG genre, there are a lot more to things than just visuals, you see.

    Saito:
    That's true.

    Matsui:
    That's why I felt "well, at least gameplay is still central in this genre". So I was able to transition myself into its development relatively easily.
    (27)
    Last edited by EmiliM; 03-10-2014 at 08:16 AM.

  4. #4
    Player
    EmiliM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    ウルダハ
    Posts
    174
    Character
    Emilia Marseilles
    World
    Behemoth
    Main Class
    PUGILIST Lv 50
    Purpose of a "Heavyweight Game"
    4Gamer:
    While the topic of today's chat is regarding MMORPGs, I'd like us to look at the so-called "lightweight games" such as mobile phone games, which has become really popular recently. Considering this, what does everyone here think about "heavyweight games" like MMORPGs?

    Saito:
    Personally, I think it's a matter of where your preference lies. For example, the way you spend your time on a mobile phone game and an MMORPG is completely different. One of them you can play quickly while on a train, the other you won't really be able to enjoy without sitting down in front of a monitor and spending a good amount of time playing.

    4Gamer:
    That's true.

    Saito:
    Each has its own attractions, so I think people should just play what they want to play. Even I play "Puzzles & Dragons" on the side while playing MMORPGs too.

    4Gamer:
    However, when it comes to money and time spent, aren't people's preference today trending more and more towards things that are "easy to pick up and play"? So there's some concern that as a result of this, "heavyweight games" will no longer be able to have a business case in the future.

    Yoshida:
    There are too many choices today, and too many games. At the end of the day, the main reason why Ultima Online became famous was because it was the first MMORPG in the world and there was nothing else like it. Of course, it was a good game in itself. But when people heard "you can share this world with 3,000 other people!" they were like "no way!" and that's what caused people to jump into the game. It was the only game of its kind, and the first game of its kind, so the impact was extraordinary. Nowadays, people have different preferences and have plenty of choices too.

    Saito:
    I think there are definitely attractive points in a heavyweight MMO. So even though there may be some parts that I like or don't like, I still want to give them a try. But yes, the "easy to pick up and play" aspect of mobile phone games is something I'm really envious of. After all, you could play almost anywhere anytime whenever you feel like it.

    4Gamer:
    Compared to that, MMOs on PCs takes time to get started.

    Saito:
    Of course, it's gotten a lot easier today compared to the past. In the past, you'd have to go to a PC shop to buy the game off the shelf, and if it was a foreign game, you might not even find it in the store so you'd need to import them through shops like PC Wakayama (specialty store for imported games).

    Yoshida:
    PC Wakayama, there's a nostalgic name (laugh).

    Saito:
    People would be like "what the heck is PC Wakayama?" Compared to back then, when it was hard even just getting the game, things have become much easier today. So even though I'm repeating myself, I think it's worth giving them a try. I know there are definitely people who will not like MMORPGs, but I'd like let people know there are attractive points about them that are different from mobile phone games.

    Matsui:
    Yes.

    Saito:
    And recently, people have been asking me "is everything going to become online games in the future?" or "is everything going to become mobile phone games?"

    Yoshida:
    Yeah, that's not going to happen.

    Saito:
    Yes. Of course, I think our business model and game formats will continue to evolve, but there are charms to stand-alone games, and there's still a demand for those too. Even MMOPRGs have only just stepped out of a period of crowded competition, it is still a genre that people have demands for.

    Yoshida:
    On the other hand, even in the world of MMOs, the push for "casualization" has been really strong. Games like League of Legends and World of Tanks all focus on packing the most gameplay into short game sessions, to make themselves easy to pick up and enjoy. In today's world, everybody just don't have enough time for anything, so I can understand why people value such simplicity more and more.

    4Gamer:
    So these games meet people's need for something easy and quick to play, as well as the desire to have a fun-packed experience during that time.

    Yoshida:
    That's right. People want to play MMOs, but they don't have time so they want to be able to play casually. But at the same time, they want their experience to be packed with fun, so games like League of Legends - where the gameplay can heat up really quickly - become big hits. They're at the forefront of this trend, I think.

    4Gamer:
    If we look only within the genre of MMORPGs, the design of FFXIV also reflects this trend now, doesn't it?

    Yoshida:
    That's true. FFXIV has the notable trait of splitting off contents into instances, so it's basically like a theme park. So even though we have a massive world called Eorzea, each attraction within the world is separate.

    Saito:
    Well, most new MMORPGs today are like this too.

    Yoshida:
    Yes, but I know for people who migrated from FFXI, their impression would be "this is not a MMO game", "isn't this just a MO game?"

    4Gamer:
    Yes, I suppose those who are familiar with the older MMORPGs would feel this way.

    Yoshida:
    But on the other hand, for those people where FFXIV is their first exposure to MMO gaming, they would go "so this is what a MMO is like!" and feel perfectly normal about it. Being able to simply pick and choose what to play through instances is what I think helped these new players ease into the game.

    4Gamer:
    So as far as this goes, are we simply talking about a generational difference then?

    Matsui:
    Another example would be how younger FPS players would not think twice about the auto-matching feature in today's multiplayer shooter games, yet many veteran FPS gamers from the old days might still feel somewhat resistant towards it.

    Yoshida:
    Exactly. For example, we also have a matching feature in FFXIV too called the "Duty Finder". Before we implemented this feature, we got tons of feedback from people saying "if you put this in then no one will talk or make friends anymore!" I can tell that our players are very sensitive to the fear of losing the "MMO-ness" in their game.

    4Gamer:
    But that's a tricky problem, isn't it? You could try to put together a party through public chats and recruit people that way.... and while that would be "MMO-like" on one hand, on the other hand it's often really inconvenient too.

    Yoshida:
    And while we're on the topic, the whole concept of death penalty has changed a lot too. Back in the old days, dying often means losing many days worth of experience points, so you'd feel that tension and anxiety in every battle...... but in today's world, that's probably not going to work anymore.

    4Gamer:
    That's right. Whenever I listen to people reminisce about EverQuest, I often hear things like "so I died deep in the dungeon, and it was a huge pain going back to get my gears! (in EQ, dying requires players to go back to where they died in order to retrieve their belongings from their corpse)" Is that really something that people consider a "fun experience"? Maybe it's just glamorized today, but back then people were really just upset and angry while dealing with it. Of course, I'm sure people still feel like it is a nice memory to have.

    Yoshida:
    But nowadays, as soon as people experience something negative, they just quit and go play something else or move on to other forms of entertainment altogether. So it's becoming harder and harder to propose gameplay elements like that. Like in EverQuest, dying can sometimes mean losing not days but weeks worth of experience, people today would be like "how much f-ing time do you think I spent on this chunk of my exp bar!?"

    Saito:
    Yeah, back then it'd be like I'm getting my gears back even if it takes me 5 hours (wry laugh).

    Yoshida:
    I wouldn't be able to go to work with my gear left behind in the dungeon (laugh).

    All:
    (Burst of Laughter)
    (29)
    Last edited by EmiliM; 03-10-2014 at 10:54 AM.

  5. #5
    Player
    EmiliM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    ウルダハ
    Posts
    174
    Character
    Emilia Marseilles
    World
    Behemoth
    Main Class
    PUGILIST Lv 50
    What's makes a MMORPG fun?
    4Gamer:
    So when we're talking what makes a MMORPG fun, the experiences that you feel must be preserved, what do you think these are?

    Saito:
    I guess it'd be that feeling of "look at all these people!" when you enter the game world for the first time. In Ultima Online, sometimes you'd get mugged as soon as you logged in, but then you'd get that feeling there was another human being in this world with you.

    Yoshida:
    I was the one that always gets mugged.

    Saito:
    From a producer's perspective, that's the kind of unique experience with an MMO that I want our players to experience.

    Yoshida:
    We held an event at Osaka recently, and I remember talking to someone whose first experience with a MMO was through FFXIV. That person told me "I never thought there was such an awe-inspiring form of game". And it really reminded me of how so many people felt the same way when they first tried out a MMO, just as I was when I first started.

    4Gamer:
    And that's the part of a MMORPG that you feel must be perserved.

    Yoshida:
    I believe so.

    4Gamer:
    Now, let's go back to what we were discussing earlier. But this time, tell us if there are anything that you left out of the game on purpose because maybe you felt it didn't fit in today's world?

    Yoshida:
    That'd be stuff related to PK (Player Kill), I think, as far as things that probably won't work anymore today.

    Saito:
    Well, it can depend on the attitude of the player base in each country.

    Yoshida:
    But nowadays, even in countries like Korea and China, PK is becoming a pretty hard sell too. Your average new generation of players don't repond very well to being suddenly killed by random strangers. That's why even though I would love to make an every-man-for-himself type of game similar to the early era Ultima Online, it's probably not gonna happen unless you have realistic expectations about the response you'll receive.

    4Gamer:
    I suppose it was something that people back then enjoyed as part of the game they loved.

    Yoshida:
    I thought it was fun for what it was..... At the beginning when I saw a red-named character show up on my screen, I just figured "huh he must be a strong player".

    Saito:
    Well I guess you could call him strong in a way.

    Yoshida:
    And then suddenly I just got wiped out by a barrage of magic arrows. That was really a shocking experience for me (laugh).
    (24)
    Last edited by EmiliM; 03-10-2014 at 07:54 AM.

  6. #6
    Player
    EmiliM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    ウルダハ
    Posts
    174
    Character
    Emilia Marseilles
    World
    Behemoth
    Main Class
    PUGILIST Lv 50
    The fun and challenges of running a MMORPG
    4Gamer:
    Let's change the topic now. What is the most difficult thing when it comes to running a MMORPG for all of you?

    Saito:
    Hmm, I guess it'd be the fact that you can't argue with your customers. In a MMO, you very often have customers who go back and forth discussing various topics. And a lot of times, you'd have people tell you stuff like "you should've done this" or something.

    Yoshida:
    You mean the whole "I know, I totally understand what you're saying! BUT..." thing.

    Saito:
    Exactly. "I know, I understand what you're saying, but there really is a reason why we can't do that......" And you really want to tell them the reason but you just can't.

    4Gamer:
    Yeah, and if you try to give a poorly crafted response, you'd just end up with people saying stuff like "don't make excuses!" or "go do your job!".

    Saito:
    Of course, we really appreciate our customer's feebacks, and I believe it is our job to listen to our customers too. But since our solution to their feedbacks can only come in the form of (updates to) the game itself, we'd need to ensure that we address as much of our customers' grievances and demands as possible before we can release it. I'm sure this sounds obvious to you.

    4Gamer:
    Well, yes.

    Saito:
    But then, if you look at it another way, this also means that you will never be able respond to at least some customer's demands. That's why there are situations where even though we fully understand the true meaning and intention of some players' feedbacks, as well as the core issue they're trying to address, we simply could not say to them "you're right, we'll do that right away". And this really kills you. There are times when I got drunk and really just wanted to spill everything to everyone out there.

    Matsui:
    Be careful about that (laugh).

    Yoshida:
    It's the same with me too. Many people recognize me as a "hardcore player" to begin with, so it's really upsetting when people say "Of all people, I thought at least you would understand this, Yoshida!"

    4Gamer:
    Do you have an example of this that you can share?

    Yoshida:
    For example, I get a lot of people telling me "why do you set limits on items you can get each week?"

    4Gamer:
    Ah.

    Yoshida:
    And I understand how they feel. They're thinking "this part of the game is actually fun, so why would you make it so we can't get the item we want?" However, let's say if we try to control the distribution of rare items not by a lockout, but via drop rates instead. If you do this, then the game will simply become one-sided favoring those who can play longer.

    4Gamer:
    So it's a choice between having the drop rate being 1% but unlimited, versus getting a 100% drop only once each week. And having to decide which one serves the players better. It must be a hard question to answer.

    Yoshida:
    And having a drop rate of 1% does not necessarily mean you'll get 1 guaranteed drop out of 100 tries. It's simply an expected rate. So for example if you have a player who does nothing but play 24 hours a day, it can actually be a pretty high drop rate for that person. But then if you end up with a ton of these rare items in the game, it would cause problems with the game balance too, so then you'd end up having to make adjustments, so you reduce the drop rate to something like 0.1% because there are too many of these items, and now you just made it impossible for people who don't have a lot of time to play to get that item.

    4Gamer:
    This was exactly the kind of problem Diablo III had when it first started, wasn't it?

    Yoshida:
    Yes. Of course, we don't want to turn our backs on players who play a lot. We have players who play a lot, and players who can only play a bit, and many other customers each with their own play style. What we tried to do is to launch with something that we feel was "the best choice that appeals to everyone". Beginning with patch 2.2, we will try to include more contents for those customers who tell us "I want to spend more time playing" and "we want to see more useless/trivial things". We do want to have something to address both of those needs. But these kind of intentions can sometimes be difficult to get across to our players.

    4Gamer:
    But if you just tried to explain your reasonings to your players like you did just now, wouldn't they understand?

    Saito:
    Yeah, but that's still really tricky. Even if we explained all of this to them, from the perspective of a serious hardcore player, all that person would hear is how we're still going to put a damper on their desire to play more. At the end of the day, you'd still need to look at the whole picture from the service provider's perspective in order to know whether or not you made the right choice. The wishes of each individual player does not always translate to merits for the game.

    4Gamer:
    And there's the fact that resources in the game such as items and experience points really only begin to hold value when the game is properly balanced.

    Yoshida:
    And even that balance too is subject to each person's perceptions. You have people who think it should be normal for someone to become stronger the longer they play, just as you'll have people who think it's discouraging to have a system where those who started earlier has an unfair advantage. Both are right in their own ways, and its ultimately a matter of how they perceive things.

    4Gamer:
    That's true.

    Saito:
    And this kind of stuff is one of the unique issues with MMOs where many different kind of people share a single world. If person A has a problem with something but person B thinks it's fine, then who is right? Well, both of them are right, so as the developer, you'd either have to choose between one of them, or find a different solution altogether.

    Yoshida:
    Exactly. It's really difficult.

    4Gamer:
    I see. Well, let's shift topic here and talk about what you think is the most fun part of running a MMO.

    Saito:
    This is kind of against conventional wisdom, but for me it'd have to be when you get to meet your customers directly. I really enjoy events where I can meet our customers.

    Yoshida:
    It really is fun. Everyone is so nice.

    Matsui:
    With FFXI, since the game has been running for more than 10 years now, we really get a lot of mature, grown up customers who come to our events.

    Saito:
    Other than that, it'd be when you log into the game using a private character and observe other people play. Sometimes I'd just want to keep watching instead of going to work.

    Yoshida:
    I feel the same way too. When I play with my own private character, I feel like I could just keep playing Titan Extreme with other people forever.

    Matsui:
    I know that feeling.

    Yoshida:
    As for that feeling of joy, I guess it'd be right before and after we release a new patch for me.

    Saito:
    It's that feeling of excitement.

    Yoshida:
    Yes. I get really psyched when I read people's tweets about waiting for the server to go back up. There's that undescribable feeling when the server's back up and you see everyone log back on all at once and sets off in-game all together. It might sound weird, but it feels as if we're launching a new service or releasing a new game every time we do it. This is something I would have never been able to experience when I was still making offline games.

    Saito:
    It is fun. But not when you have to do emergency maintenances.

    Yoshida:
    Yeah. If only we could leave out those 2AM phone calls that start with "Yoshida-san, we have a problem"...
    (29)
    Last edited by EmiliM; 03-10-2014 at 10:49 AM.

  7. #7
    Player
    EmiliM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    ウルダハ
    Posts
    174
    Character
    Emilia Marseilles
    World
    Behemoth
    Main Class
    PUGILIST Lv 50
    Both playing and creating a MMORPG is highly recommended
    4Gamer:
    We're just about out of time now, so let's wrap up our discussion here with this question: what do you all feel is currently stopping MMORPGs from becoming more widespread in Japan and what should be done about it?

    Saito:
    You could say this is the way the internet works, but for me it'd be the part where the negative opinions always tend to be louder than the positive ones.

    4Gamer:
    All the people who are having fun would be playing inside the game, after all.

    Saito:
    Exactly. People don't say anything when they're satisfied, but when they're not happy about something they'll speak up.... Well, it's all because they care, I know.

    4Gamer:
    Yes, all of you understand the idea that users complain about things because they care about the game.

    Yoshida:
    It's not that we don't want people to complain. It's just that we would be really happy if we could see a lot of comments from people who are having fun too. That way you'd get more people interested in playing, and at the end of the day the players could end up creating a better gaming environment for themselves too.

    Saito:
    Yeah, I really think so too.

    4Gamer:
    Now, it may not be my place to say so, but because MMOs require such a huge time committment, I think it's kind of hard to recommend them to other people. It's might sound extreme, but a lot of times I'd wonder if getting people to play MMORPGs will really enrich their lives.

    Saito:
    Have no doubt, it will! (laugh)

    4Gamer:
    I mean, in our previous interview, we learned a lot about how DQX incorporates a lot of things that tries to address people who may be playing too much, and I was really impressed about that (laugh).

    Saito:
    This will sound obvious to all of you, but the most fun part of playing an MMO for me is the part where you get to play with other people. In DQX, we put a lot of effort into making it possible to play on your own, but we really would like people to experience playing with others too and hopefully create some good memories 5 or 10 years down the road. Because of my position, I can't really attend gatherings or parties organized by normal players anymore, but in reality I would've really loved to go to those things. That's why I think it's important to create opportunities for people to get together like opening a real-life Luida's Bar (real-life bar in Roppongi named after the store in the DQ series) so people can go check it out together.

    4Gamer:
    Well, friends that you make in "heavyweight games" such as these tend to be people that you get along with in real-life as well, I think. Not that we're trying to deny other social games, but this is not nearly as easy with simple lightweight games.

    Yoshida:
    Once you've played an MMO for a long time, the friends that you end up with tends to be those who share your values and way of thinking. And I think that's one of the most amazing and incredible things with a MMORPG. MMOs are basically a form of entertainment where everyone is provided with a common topic in the form of the game itself, and on top of that, the topic is constantly updated and refreshed for you. It's no surprise that you end up becoming good friends with those you play with.

    Saito:
    Sorry to keep repeating myself, and I know there are people who will try out the game and think "this is not for me". But for those who are like "well I don't know..." before they even had a chance to try, I really recommending them giving it to go. It really is fun!

    Yoshida:
    I mean, just on this one small island country, Square Enix has created three large-scale MMORPGs. We'd really love for people to give at least one of them a try.

    4Gamer:
    Completely agree there..... Well, in closing, can each one of you tell our audience what you gained from your involvement in developing MMOs?

    Yoshida:
    I might have lost more than what I gained.

    Saito:
    I added years to my age (got older).

    Matsui:
    What I lost, huh.....

    Yoshida:
    Wait wait wait, the question was what we "gained". I just said that I might have lost more than what I gained, that's all (wry laugh).

    Saito:
    People often say that in a MMO, 50% of the work is in development and 50% is in the operation. I think it's that operations part where you actually get to interact with your customers that is hard to come by for a game developer.

    Matsui:
    That's absolutely true. In an offline game, you feel as if your product is the only answer you have for your customers. But with MMOs, you'd have to preview things with everyone and it really changes the way you approach things. That part was a really valuable lesson.

    Saito:
    And well, this might be the same case as many mobile games, but the fact that you'd need to have completed development on something new in the span of every couple of months is something that's completely different from offline games too.

    Yoshida:
    It's painful to be in development for a long period of time. You'd always wonder when you'll finally be done and when you'd finally be recognized for all the hard work you put in, and it's hard to stay motivated. But with a MMO, you can finish development on something new in a relatively short time span and get to see your customer's happy reactions directly. Sometimes I'll have customer yell "Yoshidaaaaa!" at me, but then I'll still be on my pace and I'd be like "I'll get it right next time!". It's really something you don't get to experience anywhere else.

    Saito:
    In contrast, with an offline game, if you spent 2 years making something and it failed, you'd need to spend another 2 years to come up with something else to make up for it.

    Yoshida:
    Plus, I don't think there is any other form of entertainment where you get to be in such direct contact with your customers. It feels like a pro westling match or parade (where you're right up close to your audience). So from a game developer's perspective, I think MMORPG development is something everyone should try out.

    4Gamer:
    You recommend it that highly?

    Yoshida:
    Yes. That's why I'm always hoping for people to join the FFXIV team. Right now we would love to have more game planners and server engineers to join us so we can continue to expand our service areas!

    All:
    (Burst of laughter)

    Saito:
    I don't think that's what this article's for (laugh). I mean, I don't think you'll have that many people who's reading this right now and suddenly be like "ok I want to become a server engineer now".

    Yoshida:
    No no no, as long as it's someone who can write some codes and is like "I want to make a living doing server work", we can totally train you (laugh). Please, send us your resumes.

    Saito:
    Yeah, even people who's worked on developing banking computer systems are surprised at how complicated packet exchanges work in MMORPGs.

    Yoshida:
    Yes. So it could even lead you to new careers, please consider it. Still, I really do wish more developer and companies go into making MMOs. It doesn't even have to be MMORPGs specifically.

    Matsui:
    Well, it's difficult but rewarding (laugh).

    4Gamer:
    So to summarize, both playing and making MMORPGs are highly recommended.

    Saito:
    Yeah. Let's call that our conclusion today (laugh).

    4Gamer:
    Understood. Thank you all very much for coming today.

    All:
    Thank you.
    (43)
    Last edited by EmiliM; 03-10-2014 at 09:04 AM.

  8. #8
    Player Mogi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Limsa Lominsa
    Posts
    682
    Character
    Aria Tenma
    World
    Balmung
    Main Class
    ARCHER Lv 50
    Thank you for this was fun to read
    (16)

  9. #9
    Player
    Cons's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    204
    Character
    Larissa Blackheart
    World
    Cerberus
    Main Class
    ARCANIST Lv 50
    Quite sad to see Yoshida saying he would like more positive comments from players to counter-balance the mountain of poop
    (18)

  10. #10
    Player
    illuminapanic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    48
    Character
    Illumina Panic
    World
    Midgardsormr
    Main Class
    GLADIATOR Lv 50
    Yeah, that was definitely a great read. Yoshida definitely deserves more positive feed back from the community. Him and his crew did an excellent job at restoring FFXIV and bringing it to what it is now. It's sad some people in the community are too selfish about their own needs and don't understand what they are going through trying to please everyone.
    (25)

Page 1 of 7 1 2 3 ... LastLast