Hello again, all you FFXIVers out there! Today I’m sending you my 29th letter, which doubles as the second half of my analysis of the third Players’ Poll. There’s a lot to get through, so I’ll jump right into it. (In case you came in late, here’s the first half of my analysis.)

To begin with, let’s take a look at the Battle System and Combat Classes section.

Q1. What type of jobs/classes would you most like to see added? (Up to 2 answers allowed)

An assassin-type class that uses lethal and stealthy attacks. (ex. Ninja, Thief, etc.)21.7%24.9%22.0%21.0%19.8%
One that controls and fights alongside a pet or avatar.(ex. Summoner, Puppetmaster, etc.)24.4%26.6%30.7%34.6%31.5%
A new type of magic-user that uses enfeebling magic and close-range attacks. (ex. Red Mage, etc.)15.6%15.0%15.1%14.6%16.3%
A new type of fighter that uses enfeebling attacks and inflicts special damage. (ex.>Dark Knight, etc.)10.6%8.9%8.8%9.9%11.2%
An original class unlike any of those described above.(ex. Musketeer, Arithmetician, etc.)27.7%24.6%23.4%19.9%21.2%
First up, we have the players’ wish lists for new classes and jobs. A pet class took the top honors, with an original class and an assassin-type class trailing not too far behind in that order. This data will be very useful to us for version 2.0—it’ll be interesting indeed to see what gets implemented!

Q2. What do you think about the combo system that was released in version 1.20?

It’s great.6.2%21.1%21.0%17.0%18.5%
It’s good.19.4%20.8%26.8%33.8%34.0%
I’m looking forward to new actions and combos (including job actions).47.7%40.1%37.8%41.5%36.5%
Meh, it could be better.19.2%15.9%12.7%6.4%7.7%
It’s terrible.7.5%2.1%1.7%1.3%3.3%
As you can see, player opinion on the combo system is quite spread out. Those who indicated dissatisfaction were asked to elaborate in question 3. Many of you said that combos are too restrictive, and we’ll be taking this along with the most prominent response, “I'm looking forward to new actions and combos,” into consideration as we move towards version 2.0.

We also received many comments that character positioning is bothersome and difficult. Such comments often go on to add that server delay and UI issues also have a big impact. We’ll be sure to keep these points in mind when making adjustments in the future!

Next, we have the Synthesis section.

Q1. Do you have a Disciple of the Hand class at level 40 or higher?

I have no interest in synthesis.26.8%29.3%31.7%33.6%33.3%
This section of the poll measures players’ familiarity and experience with crafting. Around 20% of poll participants indicated that they have a Disciple of the Hand class at level 40 or above. 30% have no interest in crafting, which leaves 50% of players somewhere in between. With these figures in mind, let’s take a look at the results for the next few questions.

Q2. What bothers you most about the current synthesis system? (Up to 3 answers allowed)

The process is complicated and too much of a hassle.11.2%14.2%13.0%18.7%10.7%
The process is too difficult to understand.3.8%4.1%3.4%4.5%4.5%
Synthesis abilities don’t seem to have much impact.12.1%13.0%12.8%12.3%14.1%
Recipes are complicated and too much of a hassle.11.5%10.2%9.6%8.5%8.3%
There aren’t enough recipes.8.7%7.2%7.0%6.2%7.6%
It’s too hard to level up.13.8%18.8%19.7%17.4%19.6%
I want to make more powerful items.12.1%11.8%11.8%10.1%9.8%
I want to make items exclusive to Disciples of the Hand.4.9%4.4%5.3%6.5%2.1%
I want to make items exclusive to Disciples of the Land.2.0%2.3%2.7%2.5%0.9%
There isn’t enough game content for Disciples of the Hand.19.9%14.0%14.7%13.3%22.4%
This question identifies the various complaints players have with regards to crafting. With up to three answers allowed, the result is somewhat divided, but it’s clear enough that the criticism is centered on process, abilities, content, and recipes. We began implementing measures to address these issues back in patch 1.21, and are looking to overhaul the system for version 2.0 based on your feedback.

Q3. Right now, only the class used to craft an item can repair that item. What do you think of this?

I think it’s fine as is.71.5%77.2%77.8%80.6%85.0%
I think any crafting class should be able to repair anything.28.5%22.8%22.2%19.4%15.0%
I found the result here quite intriguing. From the standpoint of convenience, it’s clearly better to do away with class restrictions for repairs. However, an overwhelming number of you—nearly 80%—said that you’re fine with things the way they are.

Question 1 under the Synthesis section revealed that around 70% of players are interested and/or involved in crafting. On the other hand, 80% indicated that they are fine with the current class restrictions for repairs. We can take this to mean that a third of the 30% who have no interest in synthesis prioritize immersion over convenience. We were thinking to do away with class restrictions depending on demand, but in light of this result, we’ve decided to stay our hand and keep an eye on trends for a while.

Q4. Right now, only the class used to craft an item can affix materia to it. What do you think of this?

I think it’s fine as is.65.1%64.2%66.2%70.7%75.8%
I think any crafting class should be able to affix materia to anything.34.9%35.8%33.8%29.3%24.2%
The result here is similar to question 3, though slightly more players would prefer greater freedom. Materia melding is an elaborate process compared to repairs, and so I think it’s natural that convenience is given emphasis. Apart from obtaining materia, players must also consider gear compatibility. Then there’s the challenge of attaching multiple materia to an item. We’ll keep an eye on trends for now, with a view to improve usability.

Q1. Do you have a Disciple of the Land class at level 40 or higher?

I have no interest in gathering.7.3%9.4%9.0%8.1%10.1%
Q2. What bothers you most about the current gathering system? (Up to 3 answers allowed)

The process is complicated and too much of a hassle.8.2%9.3%9.3%15.2%8.4%
The process is too difficult to understand.3.8%2.8%2.7%4.9%4.1%
Gathering abilities don’t seem to have much impact.11.1%12.8%12.7%10.4%9.0%
There aren’t enough materials to gather.6.8%6.5%6.3%7.1%8.9%
There aren’t enough gathering locations.15.7%14.9%13.4%15.9%17.7%
I don’t have enough time to gather.7.4%15.7%15.7%3.9%6.4%
It’s too hard to level up.12.6%14.0%15.8%16.5%15.6%
Enemies cause too much trouble, even when using Stealth.14.0%7.9%7.0%8.7%8.7%
There isn’t enough game content for Disciples of the Land.20.4%16.1%17.1%17.4%21.2%
As with question 1, here we wanted to identify trends in gathering. There’re more gatherers than crafters out there who are level 40 or above, with almost 30% of you answering in the affirmative to the question. On the whole, more players have an interest in gathering than crafting.

Riding on the above result, player response for question 2 is all over the place. The most common complaint is lack of game content, with lack of gathering points and difficulty in leveling rounding up the top three.

Being the sector of the game economy focused on obtaining natural resources, gathering is classified as primary industry. It’s simple by nature, and is reliant on the existence of crafters in order to thrive. For this reason, it’s very difficult to create standalone content for Disciples of the Land. I’d like to assure players, though, that we intend to secure a place for gatherers within the circle of contents the game has to offer, both pre- and post-version 2.0. In particular, things are set to change dramatically system-side when version 2.0 arrives. Please look forward to that.

The next section of the poll takes us out of the game and into the Lodestone and the official forums.

Q1. Do you read player blogs on the Lodestone?

Every day.27.3%8.3%10.4%3.9%2.9%
Q2. Do you keep a blog on the Lodestone?

Yes, I often make posts.4.0%1.5%1.8%0.6%0.9%
Yes, but I rarely make posts.26.2%11.2%11.1%7.6%14.3%
No, I stopped posting.16.2%8.2%7.8%11.6%10.9%
No, I never felt compelled to.53.6%79.1%79.3%80.2%73.9%
In question 1, more than 30% of players answered that they never read player blogs on the Lodestone. I must say I’m concerned with this result. I make it a point to read anywhere from 20 to 30 blogs daily, and believe that we need to put effort into boosting visitor numbers to the Lodestone. Players will also note the disparity between Japanese figures and those of other regions.

Likewise, the result for question 2 is a cause for concern. In this day and age, there’s no end to the number of channels through which people can disseminate information, and specialized blogs like FFXIV’s face stiff competition in the form of Twitter, Facebook, and the list goes on. This is especially true outside of Japan, where these two social networking services are dominant.

With the arrival of version 2.0, the Lodestone will undergo full renovation. We’ll be exploring ways to tie up service with Twitter and Facebook as well as the game itself. Keeping our players’ feedback close to heart, we will strive to deliver a more user-friendly and accessible community site!

Q3. Do you view the official forums?

Every day.27.0%42.4%45.3%37.9%32.8%
Q4. Do you post on the official forums?

Yes, often.1.2%6.2%5.7%3.2%2.3%
Yes, but only rarely.14.2%38.2%40.2%39.1%39.8%
No, never.84.6%55.6%54.1%57.7%57.9%
In contrast to blog results, more players outside of Japan are making use of the official forums. 84% of Japanese players do not post on the forums, a much higher figure than the 54–58% of North America and Europe.

Taking your comments in question 5 into consideration, the most important element here appears to be atmosphere. By doing things like hosting forum events with our community reps, we hope to provide you with an atmosphere that is more conducive to interaction—a place where everyone’s opinion is valued. We hope we can rely on your cooperation in this endeavor.

Q1. What are your greatest expectations for the game's relaunch with version 2.0? (Up to 3 answers allowed)

The new graphics engine.12.3%12.8%13.1%12.5%9.4%
New maps and level design.15.9%15.4%17.0%14.7%13.1%
The new user interface.10.7%10.5%9.5%9.9%5.7%
Systems of communication such as mail and in-game post.9.5%4.3%3.9%6.4%9.3%
Community systems such as Free Companies and linkshells.3.7%2.9%3.0%2.4%4.6%
The housing system.10.2%6.6%6.6%5.7%9.1%
New dungeons and battle content.7.4%8.1%7.9%7.8%6.2%
Large-scale battle content.6.1%8.2%7.9%10.4%8.2%
Continuation of the main scenario.6.6%7.5%8.9%9.5%11.0%
New quests.2.5%2.6%3.0%3.5%5.8%
New classes and jobs.12.4%17.8%15.9%14.1%15.1%
PvP content.2.7%3.3%3.3%3.1%2.5%
Players are most looking forward to the new graphics engine, new maps and level design, the new UI, and new classes and jobs, and the ratio for each is roughly the same across all regions. Interestingly, Japanese players are the ones who’re most looking forward to the new housing system—a national trait, perhaps?

We’ll soon be releasing screenshots and videos showcasing the new graphics engine, which will be optimized to support both high- and low-end PCs. I trust you won’t be disappointed with that, nor the PS3 version.

With regards to maps and level design, both the art and modeling teams are working at full tilt to produce vast quantities of new material. We’ll be putting cool stuff up on the version 2.0 promotional site, so do keep an eye out for that, too.

Things are also proceeding well with the UI, which is being rebuilt from the ground up. I must say I’m anticipating the public’s response to the PS3 version’s action bar layout with equal parts excitement and dread.

Q2. What type of race or clan would you most like to see added in the future?

Reptilian beastmen (ex. lizardmen, draconians, etc.)12.4%8.3%6.9%18.1%10.4%
Mammalian beastmen (ex.) wolfmen, gnolls, etc.)3.3%7.3%7.1%6.2%9.9%
Reptilian demi-beastmen (ex. a race with demonic features such as horns, etc.)11.2%12.5%16.1%9.1%11.7%
Mammalian demi-beastmen (ex. a rabbit-eared race such as the Viera from FFXII, etc.) 24.9%27.7%26.1%26.6%31.0%
More clans for existing races (ex. greater variation in physical build and appearance)21.4%21.1%21.8%17.5%16.2%
Races of mixed heritage (ex. Elezen-Hyur, Mi’qote-Lalafell, etc.)26.8%23.1%22.0%22.5%20.8%
Mammalian demi-beastmen proved to be the most desired new race, though I wonder if they received an unfair advantage because I dropped the name “Viera.” For some reason, reptilians are relatively popular among French players, at 18%. On the whole, races of mixed heritage are equally sought after across all regions.

In contrast with other MMORPGs, I’m seeing a trend towards…shall we say, FF-ness? Ours being a Japanese game, the result seems to tell us that players are prioritizing cuteness, something which I noted with great interest.

As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, adding a completely new race is not a decision to be made lightly. But rest assured that your feedback will factor greatly into our consideration!

And that concludes the second half of my analysis of the third FINAL FANTASY XIV Players’ Poll. I’m sorry that it took so long to put together. We intend to keep on holding player polls even after version 2.0 is launched, and look forward to hearing more of your thoughts when the fourth poll comes around.

The next letter is scheduled for after E3, and I’ll be writing about patch 1.23 as well as version 2.0.

See you next time and/or on the forums!