Hello again, to all of you FFXIVers out there! It feels like it's been ages since I've put my virtual pen to paper, and I couldn't bear going another day without delivering my fifty-fifth Letter from the Producer.

We hit the ground running in January, sparing no effort to put the XIV in 2014, and it's as if we're preparing for launch all over again. I haven't had time to run the Binding Coil for two whole weeks now, and a full set of Allagan gear continues to elude me.

But enough about me, let's talk about what's going on with FFXIV. I'm sure many of you were happy to see the game made available via Steam on February 18, and with the Japanese release of the PlayStation®4 on February 22, we also began beta testing for the PlayStation®4 version of FFXIV. Looking to the near future, we're preparing for Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco, the F.A.T.E. in Sapporo event where we'll be broadcasting the next LIVE letter, and last but certainly not least, the upcoming release of Patch 2.2 - Through the Maelstrom.

Before I continue, I'd like to take a moment and thank everyone who participated in the first phase of the PlayStation®4 version beta test. We received an incredible amount of valuable feedback, particularly regarding key issues with resolution and UI size. The team is working hard to reflect as much of your input as we can, and we look forward to even wider participation in the second phase set to commence on April 4. Players looking to use their existing characters on the PS4 are sure to find plenty to enjoy.

To revisit an important subject, I realize that since patch 2.16, a number of Worlds on certain data centers have encountered problems with extremely high server loads, requiring frequent maintenances to improve stability. The server team continues to devote every effort to improving server stability and concurrency, in preparation for the future implementation of individual player housing. These server improvements will be implemented with patch 2.2, and we ask for your patience as we continue to address these issues.

Speaking of patch 2.2, I've just about finished my final checks, and the team is putting the finishing touches on the many new features being added with this update. As a matter of fact, I'd like to show you one of those new systems right now─glamours. By using a glamour prism, you can project the look of one piece of gear onto another, allowing you to freely change your appearance without affecting your stats.

Take this Lalafell black mage for example, sporting an Allagan Tunic of Casting.

As much as she loves her tunic, maybe she prefers the look of that Crimson Vest she picked up in the Labyrinth of the Ancients. That's where glamours come into play.

Just ready the proper glamour prism, select the Crimson Vest, and...

Presto! The appearance of the Crimson Vest with the attributes of the Allagan Tunic of Casting. Now all she needs is a pair of matching pants.


Wait a second... what is she doing now?

A Coliseum Shawl? She can't be serious... can she?

Oh goodness...

Wow, I'd say she just gained Sex Appeal +50!!! Wait, no... that's Dragon Quest VIII.

Okay, so that last one was just a joke─unfortunately, the glamour prisms aren't powerful enough to make you appear as a different race, so don't get any crazy ideas.

That said, glamours can be used as follows:
  • They can be used on all gear the same or lower equipment level than your current gear.
  • After using a glamour prism, the gear being copied can be entrusted to your retainer.
  • As long as the base gear and the gear being copied occupy the same number of gear slots, you can copy the appearance of any gear equippable by your current class or job.
It may seem a little tricky at first, but it's actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. You can even copy the appearance of gear that's been dyed. With this update, players will finally be free to follow the various fashion trends of Eorzea.

Other features coming in patch 2.2 include master recipe books for crafters, gardening for free company estates, new hair styles, retainer ventures, big fishing, a challenge log, new mounts, and more. Disciples of War and Magic may also want to dust off their relic weapons if they aren't still using them, as an opportunity to unlock their true powers will present itself.

We also have a trailer for patch 2.2 in the works, courtesy of Assistant Director Takai, and it should be ready fairly soon. I can't promise that we'll show you everything, but we're sure you'll enjoy it all the same.

I know you all are ready and raring to go, but we ask for your patience just a bit longer. I can safely say the patch is scheduled to go live March 27!

In the meantime, I'll be off to San Francisco on March 16. There I'll be doing interviews with several media outlets, to be followed by a presentation at Game Developers Conference 2014 on the 19th, and then it'll be time to hop on a plane back to Japan. As if one round of airplane rides isn't bad enough, I'll have only touched down for two hours on the 21st before my flight to Sapporo. But at least after I arrive, I'll get to spend time with fans at the F.A.T.E. in Sapporo event, and later that evening we'll broadcast the Letter from the Producer LIVE Part XIII.

Even with the long-awaited release of patch 2.2 on March 27, there will be no rest for the weary! On the 29th I'll be attending the Game Fan in Fukuoka event, and in April we have another Niconico Chokaigi event. As you can see, I'll be popping up in a number of places over the next two months, and I look forward to seeing anyone and everyone planning to attend these events!

As I near the end of the letter, I'd like to conclude by keeping the promise I made in my previous one─with a report of the FFXIV team's yearly hatsumōde trip to Asakusa. This year my wallet saw the loss of another 10,000 yen bill, a sum which might seem substantial, but which I feel is a small price to pay for the game's continued success.

As for this year's fortune...

I... I actually lost to Komoto... I received a blessing, and he received a great blessing

And here's what my blessing entails...

If this is just a regular blessing, I can only imagine what an amazing year Komoto's going to have. That said, I wanted to share the first line of my fortune, which I found particularly meaningful.

"When spring comes, all trees and grasses are in full bloom."

With the release of the PlayStation®4 version on April 14, not long after the arrival of spring, I see the blooming of grass and trees as our community of players growing and thriving as the year goes on. I couldn't have asked for a better fortune.

Spring is just around the corner, and we definitely plan to heat things up with patch 2.2 and the upcoming PlayStation®4 version release.

It's time for me to get back to work, but I'll see you next time, at GDC 2014, the F.A.T.E in Sapporo event, and in the next Letter from the Producer LIVE!