We're proud to announce that the "Letter from the Producer LIVE Part II" video has been released!

If you weren't able to watch the live stream, or if you just want to watch it again, take a look below.


http://www.youtu.be/n1auK6EYTvQ?t=1m52s

Since the video is nearly 90 minutes long, feel free to peruse the text below if you don't have the time to watch it now!

Q&A

4:39
Q: Could you tell us about why you decided to commence billing at this time?
A: In the previous live letter, I mentioned that standards-wise, I felt the game was only 50% complete. My stance hasn't changed since then. For patch 1.19, the programmers did their best to lay the foundation for content to be implemented continuously.

At long last FF-like content, such as chocobos and airships, are in the game as I really feel mounts are a necessary element for MMOs, and the Ifrit battles were introduced, so I feel the game is getting closer to the where we want it to be. But, despite these things, FFXIV is still missing a player search feature and the ability to search for items at the market and directly purchase them. There isn't even a system comparable to the FFXI auction house where purchase histories can be viewed.

In light of what is expected from an MMOs as a whole, the fact that we are lacking these two things is big drawback. But they will be implemented in patch 1.20, and this is the reason why we decided to commence billing. We hope you'll all give 1.20 a try and come to your own conclusions. Those who continue playing can experience the live event called the Seventh Umbral Era which will usher in new content such as battles and quests in each patch.

As producer, I needed to make the call to commence billing due to the costs involved in creating and running the game: the hard-working development and community teams, round-the-clock GM service, and other support staff.

There were comments saying that the billing and Version 2.0 announcements could have been made separately. From a business stand-point, we could have done just that: announce 2.0 and drop the bomb on billing later – this option was certainly considered.

But the announcement of 2.0 was expected to receive considerable media coverage. And so we decided to take this opportunity to ease the concerns of those who bought the game but have since quit, and might be wondering whether or not billing would commence automatically for them. I concluded that, rather than quietly releasing the news about the billing later, it would be better to include it with the main announcement. Ultimately, we want to you try the game and decide for yourself whether or not to continue playing.

I don't think I need to mention 1.20, but 1.21 will see jobs introduced. A lot is planned for 1.22 as well. Take the opinions of your fellow players into account, and arrive at your own decision. As for us, we'll continue press forward.

9:18
Q: How much character data will be transferred over to Version 2.0? For example, quest and company history, achievements, etc. Also, will my character data still be preserved even if I haven't been paying subscription?
A: For character data, basically everything: levels, EXP, gil, achievements, quests, and history will be transferred, so don't worry.

However, I'd like to warn you about two things. In the case of quests, those you've just received or completed will be carried over properly. But for the steps in-between, there is a chance that progress will be lost.
The other thing I'd like to mention is the inventory. Inventory space was expanded in 1.19. However, in 2.0 we will be introducing the mannequin system where players can store their equipment, so we are thinking about reverting to the 100-slot inventory in the future. We won't be deleting the items—they'll instead be stored with NPCs, and players will have to retrieve them once Version 2.0 arrives. We'll announce details as they're ironed out, so please don't worry.

With regards to the subscription fee, if you bought the game in the past and played at some point, we feel it is our responsibility to preserve your character data, regardless of whether you're paying a subscription. So please rest assured, it'll still be there in 2.0.

12:00
Q: After 2.0, will it be possible to fight as a Disciple of the Hand or Land?
A: The FINAL FANTASY that I envision is one in which the player is an adventurer who saves the world and to make a progress in the main scenario, battles are going to be necessary. So if you level up a battle class for end-game, you can enjoy the game as any of the classes. There are a lot of things to do, and no need to rush. Give everything a try. Once you have maxed out all classes, you might think that a Disciple of the Hand/Land-class is your main class after all. Or you might decide that battles are where it's at. We are in the middle of preparing content related to housing which we will be focusing on as one of the “LIVE” categories. I'm sure that crafters and gatherers will be able to really flourish here.

16:21
Q: Will the overhauls to the maps involve changes to the areas in-between? Also, are there any measures in the pipes to deal with the chat log being cut off during loading?
A: Area transitions won't be 100% seamless, so there'll be a loading screen. You don't need to worry about frequent area changes and loading, though, as the areas aren't going to be small. You'll be able to traverse large distances within the same map.

In regards to chat, we'll be making sure that chat is displayed after areas have loaded.

17:27
Q: Will it be possible to play with only a keyboard in the future?
A: We will be making it possible to fully customize your keyboard with keybinds, so you can move your character with WASD and rotate the camera with the cursor keys. So yeah, there won't be a problem playing with only a keyboard.

18:10
Q: When will it be possible to check bazaars without your character stopping?
A: As we are currently changing the servers, problems are arising when accessing them. However, with the 2.0 servers the problem where you stop when accessing bazaars will disappear. This applies not only to bazaars—all similar actions will be fixed.

18:58
Q: Beginning with housing, exactly what kind of “live” content will there be besides battles?
A: First, focusing on housing, we're thinking not only about the interior, but also the garden and exterior and also the appearance of the building. From 2.0, you'll be able to form free companies and decorate your home with crests, install new roofs, renovate of your building, put up a fence, and place objects in your garden. One idea was growing Gysahl greens in the garden. Additionally you could build a stable and raise chocobos. We're planning various ways to expand your home.

It's not like battle classes won't have anything to do. For example, if you defeat an extremely strong monster and get a drop, you can give it to a crafter, who can then make for you a trophy that can be used as a home decoration. It's in these ways that we are formulating the “live” feel with housing. We will be updating these things a lot once 2.0 comes out, so I hope all you crafters and gatherers out there look forward to it.

20:50
Q: It seems like with FFXIV 2.0, you will be changing the game engine and changing other core aspects of the game. But will movements and such be as laggy as the current client? Will we need to upgrade our PCs?
A: Currently, the game can only display 40 characters on-screen no matter what kind of PC you have. However, with an MMO engine, people expect this to be dependent on hardware—a high spec PC should be able to display a large number of characters. That's why we're changing the graphics engine.

So come 2.0, people with the recommended PC setup will be able to display far more characters without any performance penalty. Conversely, you'll be able to reduce the number of characters displayed, so even players with lower spec PCs can play. It'll be possible to adjust these setting on the fly.

You'll be able to optimize the settings for your PC with the flip of a switch. This way people with low spec PCs will be able to play, while those with high spec PCs will be able to enjoy the full richness of the FFXIV world. And neither will experience any lag.

22:38
Q: I have a question for you Yoshi-P. What are those photos on the wall below the world clocks? I don't remember seeing them in the previous LIVE broadcast…
A: When I traveled to the four countries I mentioned, it wasn't just for interviews. I also went to the Square Enix group regional offices to have discussions about marketing and PR.

From the right: France, Germany, Japan, and England. I took pictures with everyone at each of the offices and put them up. Though you won't be able to see them, I'm going to put up the pictures I took with my interviewers as well.

23:49
Q: With the launch of 2.0, will we be able to change our character's gender? What about names?
A: We've had a ton of requests for race changes, so I'm thinking that it's a good idea. But are you all really okay with gender? For example, if your friend changes his gender, that may be quite shocking. System-wise it's no problem at all, so it's really up to you. It's not like you have to change gender if you don't want to, so please let me know your feedback.

With name changes, from a UI standpoint there would be problems with names being too long. So if we were to make it possible to change names in 2.0, we would most likely have to adjust the maximum length. I'd like to make this decision based on how many requests we get as well as how difficult it would be to implement.

So, if any of you have feedback, please submit it on the forums and let us know.

25:55
Q: Chocobos are way cute, and I'm curious when equipment will be implemented for them.
A: Actually, designs of chocobo equipment for each city-state are finalized. How to obtain them can be guessed if you think along the lines of how you obtained your personal chocobos. Special equipment can be attached to a chocobos owned by a player in high rank in a Grand Company.
* Finalized designs of chocobo equipment are shown at 26:26.

27:29
Q: What's that gear that looks like a crown?
A: The crown is an achievement reward that will be in 1.20. The achievement system is coming in 1.20, and certain feats will earn you various rewards. Let me say, though, that it won't be that easy to get the cooler achievements.
* Designs for reindeer and crown gear are shown at 27:51.

28:49
Q: Are you looking into implementing mini-games like what is in FFVII's Gold Saucer or Triple Triad from FFVIII?
A: First, in regards to the Gold Saucer, the casino. It's actually among our plans, but it will be further down the track. Player housing is highest priority right now, but we think it might be a good next step. Since it's a casino, there might be certain rules and laws imposed depending on the country you're in. We'll be looking into this, but we do have plans for a little further in the future.

For the card game, it is surprisingly quite difficult to do. With enough resources, we could come up with a fun, balanced card game. But since it's an MMO, people would expect rewards for their efforts. I think it would be difficult to sustain interest in the card game itself, so we need to think about what kind of rewards we can offer.

I've actually received a couple of ideas for card games from developers, but I'm really looking for the perfect one, so I declined them all. I said that if they brought something really good, I'd consider it for the game.

30:53
Q: Are you looking into adjusting the drop system for the Ifrit battles? I have fought Ifrit 45 times and still haven't gotten what I'm after. If I continue to keep fighting I am going to lose motivation to play.
A: Yes, we're looking into this. We'll continue to add primal battles from here on out. Originally we prepared a need/greed/pass system for items, but since there are unique/untradable items in primal battles, we're looking into making adjustments. We'd like to add this in 1.20 and are doing our best to make it happen. Please hang in there just a bit longer.

We're also thinking about players who have done these battles over and over, yet aren't getting their items. For example, a system that takes the number of battles into account—we‘re looking at it from both angles. Once we decide, I'll be sure to let you know.

32:23
Q: Do you have any plans to give a special item to players who continue to pay the subscription from now until 2.0?
A: First, you'll be able to enjoy and participate in the Seventh Umbral Era event. There'll be achievements related to that which won't be available later. There'll be achievement rewards, battles with the Garlean Empire, and other items that will be exclusive to that period.

On top of that, since we introduced the mount system in 1.19, we're looking at whether we could gift players with special mounts. The development team is performing a bunch of tests for various mounts. Among them, however, we're thinking about giving away a goobbue as a special mount for those who play the current version. He won't available later, so don't miss it.
* Work-in-progress videos of the mounts are shown at 33:50.

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-Intermission-
Following are the slides that were played during the intermission. They explain the UI widgets on the image art that was revealed in the announcement of the Version 2.0 in details.

(38:09)

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44:17
Q: This wasn't mentioned in the FFXIV 2.0 announcement, but are there any updates on jumping and swimming?
A: Let's start with jumping. Since we're completely renovating the map for FFXIV 2.0, we'll have to perform a lot of tests when implementing jumping. We've debated waiting until Version 2.0 to do so. We are currently running various tests on it actually.

For swimming, we're looking at implementation sometime after 2.0. We think that being able to swim wouldn't be much fun by itself, so we'll also be adding areas that you can explore underwater, temples and the like. Please keep in mind that we're still in the very early stages of development.
* A work-in-progress video of jumping animations was shown at 44:52.

46:19
Q: Will level sync be implemented so that higher level players can still enjoy low level content?
A: We're definitely looking into this, but it will take us some time to determine what content is appropriate for which level. We also need to consider how gear can be switched when syncing. It's very difficult for us to maintain a proper balance with regards to levels and content, but this is something we're working hard on.

47:10
Q: In 2.0, will head and face gear slots be separated so that players can equip a hat and glasses at the same time? Also, will back gear and dual wielding be available?
A: Regarding separating head and face gear slots, this may be a bit tricky due to memory restrictions. This is not in our plans for the release of version 2.0. However whether it is doable or not in the long term, it's a bit hard to confirm at the moment.
The problem with capes is deciding what quality to settle with. In a FINAL FANTASY world, both we and our players expect the highest quality in graphics. This means that if we do decide to implement capes, we have to make sure the animations are as smooth as possible. Honestly, implementing capes in that manner will be a very, very difficult task for an MMO. This might be a little technical, but if we create high quality animation using shape animation, the CPU will end up taking a hit. Even if we do decide to go with rods, who knows how many rods it will take to achieve our goal. If everyone can settle for a stiff board-like cape, then we can do it.

I have some good news regarding two-handers and dual-wielding. Regarding two-handers, we're currently discussing a system where a gladiator can swap between one- and two-handed swords depending on the situation. Regarding dual-wielding, we're discussing whether we want to implement a class that branches out from the gladiator, or implementing a stealthy scout-type class (e.g. thief) that can perform sneak attacks. If we decide to go with the latter, we may set the job as ninja. The only problem is that gladiators are currently able to equip daggers, but not many rely on them. What we might end up doing is making the dagger available only for the scout-type class and make it able to dual-wield daggers. We have been discussing additional classes, but looking at the current roster, there's a lack of casters. Therefore, we're going to prioritize implementing a new mage class before we implement anything else.

50:34
Q: Will there be any other use for guild tokens? Any chance we will be able to trade them for equipment or Grand Company seals in the future?
A: In patch 1.20, as part of class revision, we're going to change the system so that every action/ability will be obtained through gaining levels. And with these changes, the use of guild tokens will become increasingly scarce. We're actually considering completely doing away with guild tokens. If we do get rid of them, we need a way for players to trade their current tokens for gil, items, Grand Company seals, etc. We haven't yet finalized how we're going to handle it, so we'll be temporarily suspending guild tokens in 1.20.

After we suspend the system, we want player feedback to know what you'd like to trade the tokens for. The specifics should be finalized before 1.20, and we'll be sure to release that information.

51:53
Q: Any chance chocobos will be able to swim and/or jump in the future?
A: First off, let's start with jumping. I've told the team that jumping while riding a mount is not a good idea. I see a lot of problems happening so I was very hesitant about that idea. However, there are many of us who'd like to see jumping chocobos. We're still in the middle of discussing the matter.

Next, swimming. Implementing swimming mounts will be very challenging. We will definitely have to get creative with how the animation will work in the water. If we do implement this, we might make it so that players will be able to swim only on the surface, but not dive under.

52:40
Q: Currently, there is no gear boasting enchantment effects. Are there any plans to implement enchantments in 2.0?
A: Yes, we do have something like that planned for 2.0. Equipment may have an enchantment effect that can be activated by players, and be subject to a recast timer.

53:18
Q: When will a FFXIV smartphone application be introduced?
A: While we were creating the server structure for the new client, we made sure the system can have character data pulled from an external source other than the client. What we have in mind right now is an application where players can view their inventory and organize it. Also, an application where players will be able to search the market and purchase items directly.

Eventually, we're aiming for an application where our players will be able to access their housing. Either way, if we're going to do it, I want to make sure it's perfect. However, we hope to be able to share information with you by the six-month mark after the launch of 2.0, depending on progress.

54:59
Q: I'm having a hard time collecting Grand Company seals. Are there plans to make them easier to obtain?
A : 1.20 will see the addition of higher-level caravan defense and more company leves. Basically, we'll be adding more venues for obtaining Grand Company seals. Rather than increasing the amount of seals obtainable at once, we'll be offering players more ways to contribute to their Grand Company. So yes, we'll be making Grand Company seals more obtainable.

55:38
Q: What exactly do you have in mind for community-generated add-ons? Also, how much game data will we be able to utilize?
A: The type of add-on I have in mind are those of the UI persuasion. For example, we can have players customize the UI with a skin of their choice, have enmity displayed graphical, and add windows to view useful information so players will be able to separate information that is otherwise displayed in one large, single window. Add-ons will then become active once they are downloaded and placed in the custom folder. As for the PS3 version, we'll make sure it doesn't trail behind the PC version.

58:12
Q: Will the names of NPCs including monsters be displayed in English? This will make it a lot easier to communicate with foreign players.
A: Yes, names can be displayed in English from 2.0 onwards. There will be an option to toggle between the display languages.

58:37
Q: Will artifact armor and tools be implemented for the Disciple of the Hand and Land?
A: Since not a single artifact exists in FFXIV as of yet, this all depends on how you define artifact. But I do certainly understand the need for class-specific gear to boost class identity, so we are definitely talking about adding as many of these items as possible. In particular, we're trying to work out the stats so that gatherers and crafters equipped with certain items are more proficient at their roles.
* An in-development screenshot of class-specific gear is shown at 59:23.

1:00:11
Q: I'm not too sure how the job system is going to work. Is it correct to say, for example, that the gladiator will be renamed paladin and we'll be able to change modes?
A: First of all, there's a series of job quests in the pipes. For example, to become a paladin, you'll need to be at least a level 30 gladiator and complete the first paladin job quest. After which, additional job quests will be unlocked every 5 levels.

As you complete these quests, you'll be able to learn more abilities and gain equipment specific to a paladin. Basically, rather than leveling up, you rise through a job by completing quests. The fundamentals still lie with the level of the gladiator, so experience points will be attributed to your gladiator even as you fight as a paladin, meaning that you won't have to redevelop your paladin from scratch. As you have pointed out, a gladiator will change to a paladin and as a result his HP will be lowered but his DEF will increase considerably. This means his ability to tank will be enhanced by no small amount. Paladins will also have the ability “Cover” to shield his party members, which would make him the ultimate tank.
* A finalized illustration of paladin-specific weapons is shown at 1:01:18.

1:02:26
Q: Are there plans to make a free trial version available at the time of the 2.0 launch?
A: I think it will be a bit too early to release a free trial version at the same time 2.0 launches. Having said that, there are plans for it post-launch. Countermeasures are being planned at an early stage to avoid the manipulation of the economy by RMT.

1:03:33
Q: Can you talk more in detail about the "combos" that you mentioned in an earlier interview?
A: Regarding the “Self Combo” within classes, we are currently planning to provide the details on the class system revision next week. The concept of the combo system, the list of weapon skills that can be used in a combo and the effect of combos are also planned to be covered there. For example, special effects such as a DoT or temporary paralysis will be added when an attacker uses weapon skill A on an enemy and then immediately runs to its flank and land weapon skill B.

Furthermore, you can inflict massive damage by moving behind the paralyzed enemy and striking it with weapon skill C. Basically, you will be required to maneuver around the enemy and timing will be key. Also each class will benefit uniquely from its combos, such as lancer or dragoon for example. Despite the hit rate being low, the impact of each one will be critical hits. Other than that, we also have an idea for archers where they'll be able to fire arrows from the hip and your shots will inflict blind or shadowbind. In addition, combos will grant a bonus to TP. This way we hope there'll be less monotonous punching away at an enemy from the front.
* See here for the details on the Class Reforms.

1:05:53
Q: What class will white and black mages fall under? Conjurer or Thaumaturge? Please tell us!
A: The conjurer's job will be white mage, which leaves black mage for thaumaturge.

1:06:21
Q: The weapons obtainable from achievements look very appealing, but wouldn't this kill the demand for HQ items made by crafters? What is going to happen to HQ crafting in the future?
A: We are reworking HQ including adjustments to parameters. That alone will not make HQ items competitive with the latest end game drops. However, that is where materia crafting comes in. By combining different materia, HQ items superior to end game drops can be produced. Also, HQ is designed so that item base stats and growth potential increase proportional to quality. So I don't believe that the demand for HQ items will ever die out. That is also why rare drops are designed so that they cannot be melded with materia. These items are very powerful but there is no room for growth. On the other hand, crafted items have a weaker base but are wide open for upgrades. That is how these two are balanced, so there is no need to worry.

1:08:07
Q: You're displaying concept art in the slideshow behind you. I noticed that the white mage was shown with her hood both up and down. Will players be able to toggle between these looks?
A: We're nearly at the final stage of implementation. Testing continues, but we've been informed that this will be very difficult to implement.

1:09:02
Q: Can you give us more details on the next primal battle?
A: Of course, the actual battle content is something I'd like the players to discover for themselves. But, as you just witnessed, there're several classes among the moogles. Success in the moogle battle will depend on how your party tackles multiple enemies at once. Players can look forward to having their teamwork tested to the limit. The person who designed the Ifrit battle is also in charge of the moogle battle. He is trying his best to make it as hard as the Ifrit battle. So please look forward to an even bigger challenge than before.
* A short clip of the moogle battle event cutscene is shown at 1:09:25.

1:11:33
Q: You said that all dungeons will become instanced areas. Does that mean there won't be any public area dungeons?
A: Basically, you can consider that they will eventually be gone in the end. Though there is an issue on how the content in field areas should be handled. For example, the beastman strongholds that were introduced in patch 1.19. I'm considering keeping those sorts of elements in the game.

However, challenges that limit player number are easier to design if they're in a form of instanced area. Also it'd be easier for players to seek members using a party finder. Thus in general, please consider that many of them will eventually become an instance area.

1:12:28
Q: Will new players who start playing after 2.0 get to experience the current main scenario? Also do they get to challenge instanced raids and primal battles that are available now?
A: First of all, please be aware that the main scenario and the Seventh Umbral Era aren't really the same thing. Players who start after 2.0 should be able to experience the former.

Regarding instanced raids, they will basically remain as it is and they'll be carried over to 2.0. Now with the primal battles, some plots are connected with the Seventh Umbral Era. I say that there is a good chance their appearance may change in 2.0. Some will remain the same, some won't. So basically, the current game balance and the current reward will only be available now. Some of those items already exist.

1:13:42
Q: It has been said that "The bards will sing for an eternity of battles fought and foes vanquished during these dark days." But in what form will this be available in the game?
A: As I mentioned earlier, now is the only time where certain achievements are available. On top of that, we're currently working on something quite unique regarding the character's appearance. Please consider it a sign that the character has loved living throughout that era. And of course, they may be treated differently in game. For example, players' title may change as well as NPC reactions to them may differ.

1:14:53
Q: YOSHI-P!! I would like to take a ride on Magitek Armor!
A: We asked players on the forums what kind of mount they'd like to have, and Magitek Armor was the most popular. Even though the design is still rough, I'd like to work on it after 2.0. After the design work comes the modeling. So don't worry, we're working on it.
* Concept art of Magitek Armor is shown at 1:15:08.

1:16:28
Q: According to the schedule, the status of both player rooms and private areas are "In Discussion." But what does this mean?
A: I consider that in the world of MMOs, having your own private space would give the impression that they really live in that world. In other words, players get to have their very own headquarters. Players can log out of the game anywhere they want, but to some making a trip back to their headquarters just to log out is a form of role playing. At least, that's how I see it.

There's an inn at the Adventurer's Guild in the city-states where players can rent a room temporarily. We're still trying to finalize the system, though. For example, details like being able to invite other players to your room and summoning retainers. We're also trying to decide what to give them as a bonus by logging out in the private space.

Discussion continues, but as we're in the homestretch of the patch 1.20, it'll take a bit longer to finalize. But we do have the resources ready, so it shouldn't take that long for completion.

1:18:31
Q: I really would like to have this answered. Will dragoons get to have pet wyverns?
A: Actually, I did answer this question during an interview with the foreign media, and I've posed this question to them: “By having a pet, you wish to have them fight with you. That means that both character and pet must be taken into considering when balancing. This means that the attributes for dragoon will be weaker compared to non-pet jobs. Are you sure you want that?”

However, I understand what all of you're trying to say. Well, it's difficult with the current engine, so it might arrive in 2.0 in a form of a new skill. The idea we have is, while the dragoon is jumping, his or her wyvern will appear and perform a breath ability. So, at the moment, there are no plans for pet wyverns, but we're looking into giving dragoons skills that are related to dragons. Please look forward to it.

1:20:16
Q: Will the level cap be increased before the launch of version 2.0?
A: There is no plan to raise the level cap until 1.21, and this is because it will usher in the job system. Beyond that point up until 2.0, we would like to carefully decide what to do. Increasing the level cap will lead to wider gaps between players.