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  1. #1
    Community Rep Voltenyne's Avatar
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    Letter from the Producer LIVE Part LXII Digest (02/19/2021)

    We are pleased to present the full digest of the Letter from the Producer LIVE Part LXII!
    If you missed the live stream, or if you just want to watch it again (and again), check it out below!



    * Don't forget to select the 720p option to watch the video in a higher resolution!

    Patch 5.5 Special Part 1

    We covered some of the upcoming content that will be implemented in Patch 5.5.

    At the beginning of the broadcast, we also went over information regarding the new expansion, FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker, which was announced during the FFXIV Announcement Showcase on Friday, February 5. Visit the special site for more details.

    Patch 5.5: Death Unto Dawn

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    (00:08:05)

    Patch 5.5 will be released in two parts. Part 1 will be released on Tuesday, April 13, and Part 2 is scheduled for the end of May.

    Additionally, the open beta test for the PlayStation®5 version will also begin on Tuesday, April 13.
    Details on how to participate in the beta test will be announced on the Lodestone.

    New Main Scenario Quests

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    (00:12:22)

    The main scenario in Patch 5.5 is highly relevant to the events that lead up to Endwalker, and thus will be released in two parts. The first part will be added in Part 1 and the second part will be released in Part 2 as a finale to the 5.x story following the Digital Fan Festival in May where we will be revealing new information.

    New Dungeon

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    (00:14:01)

    A new dungeon, “Paglth’an,” will be made available by progressing through the main scenario and will be compatible with the Trust system.

    The ominous structures that appeared at the end of Patch 5.4 can be seen off in the distance. Where could this location be, and what business does the Eorzean Alliance have here?

    New Chronicles of a New Era Quests

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    (00:15:23)

    The final chapter of the Sorrow of Werlyt will be added in Patch 5.5 along with the new trial, the Cloud Deck.

    YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse Chapter 3

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    (00:16:54)

    A new alliance raid will be added, but its name remains a secret for now. Be sure to experience the third chapter in this series by YOKO TARO for yourselves!

    Job Adjustments

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    (00:19:00)

    Adjustments will be made as necessary for both PvE and PvP. Further details will be provided in Part 2 of the Patch 5.5 Special.

    We also showed an illustration of the reward attire for the upcoming season of the Feast.

    Upgrading Resistance Weapons in Patch 5.45

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    * Please note that two bullet points have been updated from the original broadcast and highlighted in yellow.

    (00:20:00)

    We reviewed the steps to upgrade the Resistance weapon in Patch 5.45.

    First, completion of the Save the Queen story quests is required to upgrade the Resistance weapon. But in the context of Patch 5.35, upgrading the weapon through the Bozjan southern front would be difficult if you couldn’t start the upgrade process until you completed the story quests first, so we made it so players could work on their upgrade steps as they progress through the Bozjan southern front.

    However, as mentioned earlier, after finishing the steps for Patch 5.35, completion of Save the Queen story quests is required to proceed with the upgrade steps added in Patch 5.45. The Resistance weapons are intertwined with Save the Queen after all, so we recommend going through the story. It’s also worth noting that completion of the story quests from Patch 5.45 will be required for the final upgrade steps that will be added in Patch 5.5x.

    On a different note, we’ve noticed that many players are working on Resistance weapons for multiple jobs since the steps in Patch 5.35 were made relatively easy. As such, we'd like to make the following adjustments:

    ・Adding additional rewards to Castrum Lacus Litore
    We understand that Castrum Lacus Litore has become a bottleneck of sorts as it has become increasingly difficult to find participants.
    Since it isn't a duty you can commence at your own leisure, we’re working on adjustments to make it appealing for players to join Castrum Lacus Litore when it is available.

    We also received feedback that repeatedly going through the alliance raid duties to upgrade the weapon is a daunting task. However, the Resistance weapon is intended to be a powerful weapon that is obtained through long-term effort, so we’d like to remind you that it will take quite some time to obtain. With that said, we are aware of other feedback as well, such as requests to make the Resistance weapons easier to upgrade through the Bozjan southern front, or that upgrade items drop too infrequently from FATEs, so we’ll be implementing a hotfix to make adjustments where possible.
    (1)

  2. #2
    Community Rep Voltenyne's Avatar
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    Save the Queen Update

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    (00:29:58)

    In this section, we went over what’s coming with future Save the Queen updates. These updates will not be implemented with Patch 5.5 and instead will be released sometime later during the 5.5x patch series.

    The story of Save the Queen is reaching its climax, and a new exploration area, “Zadnor,” will be added.
    Matsuno is working hard on the story, and popular characters will be making an appearance, so please look forward to it.

    Unreal Trial Update

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    (00:31:25)

    The Navel (Unreal) will be replaced with a new Unreal trial in Patch 5.5. We aren’t revealing what the new trial will be yet, but we hope you’ll look forward to it.

    Crafter and Gatherer Update

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    (00:32:21)

    More challenging expert recipes will be added for endgame crafters.

    As for gatherer updates, maps opened through the gathering log will indicate where gathering points appear, which makes them easier to track in-game and should be especially helpful for new gatherers. We’ll also be making an adjustment to make the fisher action Release easier to use.

    Ishgardian Restoration Update

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    (00:34:46)

    With the Restoration completed, the Firmament will periodically hold celebrations that will reward participation. We’ll be going over this in more detail in the next Letter LIVE.

    New Custom Delivery Client

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    (00:36:24)

    Please look forward to who this next client may be!

    Triple Triad Update

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    (00:36:56)

    We’ll be making adjustments that will allow more 4-star cards in decks. The acquisition rate of certain hard-to-obtain cards will be adjusted, and a reward will be added for obtaining a certain number of Triple Triad cards.

    We've received feedback regarding NPCs that ignore the match restrictions that players have, but this requires changing the algorithm and will not be ready in time for Patch 5.5. Adjustments will continue to be made, so we ask you to wait a while longer.

    Explorer Mode Update

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    (00:38:24)

    We are working on adding level 70 dungeons to Explorer Mode. Although we’d like to add more, this will depend on Furthermore, level sync and item sync can be disabled to allow the use of level 80 actions in Explorer Mode. You’ll also be able to access the Performance feature in Explorer mode, so we’ll hope you enjoy that as well.

    Miscellaneous Updates

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    (00:40:31)

    New indicators will be added for bonuses while ocean fishing.

    During the broadcast, we also showed the mount reward for collecting all trial mounts from the 5.x patch series.

    Regarding the New Ultimate Trial

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    A new Ultimate trial, Dragonsong War (Ultimate), is currently in development.

    It was originally planned for release in Patch 5.55, and development was about 70% complete. However, the development schedule was greatly delayed due to COVID-19-related complications, and we decided to delay the release of Ultimate to prioritize other major updates. We would like to apologize to our players who have been looking forward to a new Ultimate trial.

    Balancing checks are heavily required for Ultimate trials, and without these meticulous adjustments we wouldn’t be able to create a challenge worthy of the “Ultimate” difficulty. By our estimates, we may have been able to complete it if we had two more months, but this would have impacted the development schedule for the upcoming expansion. In the end we made the bitter decision to delay the Ultimate trial, and Dragonsong War (Ultimate) has been rescheduled for release in Patch 6.1. The Development team will be working their hardest to make the wait worthwhile.
    (1)

  3. #3
    Community Rep Voltenyne's Avatar
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    Special Talk Session "Ask the Devs!”

    Guest: Lead Project Manager Shoichi Matsuzawa

    (01:07:08)

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    Our special guest, Lead Project Manager Shoichi Matsuzawa, joined us for the latter half of the broadcast to share how project management works within FFXIV.

    Duties of an FFXIV Project Manager

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    (01:09:09)

    Project managers have a wide range of responsibilities, such as schedule management, budget planning, and negotiating with platform providers. It’s also their job to direct and oversee the progress of matters involving different departments and development team sections. Examples of this would be YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse and Save the Queen, which are created with assistance from both internal and external teams.

    Finally, project managers were recently in charge of organizing a remote development environment so team members could continue to work remotely while adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines.

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    (01:12:23)

    For reference, we went through a simplified explanation of how Doman mahjong was implemented into the game.

    First, Yoshi-P and the development team came up with an outline with details such as how mahjong would be incorporated into the lore, and how the mahjong tiles should look. While this was going on, the project managers researched whether it’d be suitable for FFXIV’s content rating and looked into various mahjong game engines that could be adapted for the game.

    Although the character in the image looks quite troubled by the daunting number of tasks, coming up with ways to get them all done is part of the fun, and makes the job worth doing.

    Development Made Simple: The Making of FINAL FANTASY XIV

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    (01:16:24)

    Many of our players have some familiarity with FFXIV’s updates, and we went into more detail about how these updates are implemented. Updates can be grouped into three major categories:

    Major Patches are the largest updates (aside from the expansions that are essentially the backbone of the series). Main scenario quests, dungeons, raids, trials, and more are often added through major patches.

    Minor Patches are updates implemented between major patches. Although we refer to them as "minor,” our recent ones have included updates to larger content such as Save the Queen.

    Hotfixes are implemented to address critical issues, but aren’t limited to just fixing bugs. In some cases, we make hotfixes when players’ feedback and reactions to a particular content are very different from the development team’s simulations. Critical issues that require hotfixes are often reported through project managers to Yoshi-P.

    The above updates are implemented in a cycle of three and a half to four months, although this only covers the global version of the game. The Chinese and Korean versions are also being updated concurrently, so we’re often performing some kind of maintenance almost every week. On top of that, the upcoming patch is being developed at the same time these updates are being rolled out.
    (0)
    Last edited by Voltenyne; 02-20-2021 at 03:59 AM. Reason: Updated images (Thanks Kiwikopo!)

  4. #4
    Community Rep Voltenyne's Avatar
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    Major Patch Development Cycle

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    (01:28:39)

    We referenced Patch 5.4 as an example as we went into details about the development cycle of major patches.

    There are only about 80 business days between starting development on content until it’s released. We also need to implement content for the minor patch at the same timing, resulting in an enormous number of contents requiring implementation within this period. Additionally, 80 business days wouldn’t be enough time to prepare the necessary resources, so the requests to designers and programmers must be sent out beforehand. This means planners have to come up with the content and create the documentation over 6 months in advance.

    As we finally begin to approach the end of a development cycle, we enter the adjustment period, where we test how the completed result feels and make adjustments to parameters. Yoshida also conducts his check during this period, which takes about 70 hours total.

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    (01:36:53)

    During the broadcast, we took a peek at Yoshida’s schedule for one particular week. Multiple people are required for testing multiplayer content, such as raids, and so staff members from relevant departments come together to take a look at factors such as the difficulty or how players will be moving around. Changes and adjustments are then made based on the feedback gathered during the assessment.

    In the broadcast, we went over what was discussed and changed during Yoshida’s inspection of adding flying to A Realm Reborn areas.

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    (01:44:54)

    FFXIV is a global service, and naturally that means translations are necessary. The game is developed in Japanese and translated into English, French, and German. There are cases where dialogue adjustments are being made right up to the deadline.

    After about halfway through the development cycle, the QA checks begin. In the broadcast, we went over the number of bugs that were discovered during the Patch 5.4 development. During the final stages of development, there are some cases where minor bugs are left alone in order to release the patch on time, which are then listed in the "Confirmed Issues” section of the patch notes.

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    (01:53:51)

    Finally, there is a two-week review period we refer to as the "master check,” where the QA team tests for stability. For the most part, the development team can no longer make changes during this period, though there are cases where major issues are discovered and addressed.

    The data for the PC, Mac, and PlayStation®4 versions are all inspected during the master check. The upcoming addition of the PlayStation®5 version means that future checks will involve checking even more data.

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    (01:57:57)

    As the development cycle progresses, the patch notes are being created at the same time. The development team members create a draft based on the documentation, which the Community team organizes into a readable form for players to read. Although we weren’t able to go into much detail during the broadcast, we also go through the ethical review process to see if the implemented content will conflict with the game’s rating, as well as an inspection for copyright-related matters, both of which are also done concurrently.

    The patch development cycle we’ve shown here repeats one right after another with every major patch. (Not to mention we’re also preparing for the next expansion while we roll out the updates for the 5.x series!) It took roughly two years for us to this come up with this development cycle, but we are always going through trial and error to find ways to improve the efficiency of this process.

    Expansions

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    (02:04:43)

    We also talked about what’s necessary when releasing a new expansion.
    * There was an error regarding the number of SKUs listed in the above image. Since there are SKUs for certain digital download-only versions, the correct number of SKUs is 20.

    To make a long story short, the fact that these are larger than a major patch also means there’s a lot more involved! In the future, we are planning to shift to a digital download-oriented process for mastering.

    Global Management System

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    (02:09:51)

    FFXIV has several headquarters around the world to assist with global operations. Development is exclusive to the Japanese headquarters, but otherwise each region has their own QA, operations, marketing, and PR teams. We also have the Chinese and Korean versions, which we've licensed to our partners. Both of our partners have managed FFXIV with care, and we’re thankful for them.

    PlayStation®5 Version

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    (02:14:09)

    As a bonus topic, we talked about some of the features of the upcoming PlayStation®5 version. Details regarding how to upgrade to the PlayStation®5 will be shared at a later date.
    (1)
    Last edited by Voltenyne; 02-20-2021 at 04:09 AM. Reason: Updated images (Thanks Kiwikopo!)