Yoshi-P has won our trust by adhering to his schedule and holding nothing back.
If you need further evidence that Naoki Yoshida is the right man to lead Final Fantasy XIV, then look at what happened during the past two weeks.
On Feb. 17, an update on the Lodestone Web site announced Patch 1.15b would be released the same day. Because Naoki "Yoshi-P" Yoshida told us to expect the first batch of quests to be implemented after the beginning of February, many of us assumed this would be the update that finally brought quests to the game. We were wrong.
Frustration, doubt and trolling filled the forums in the days following the anti-climactic Patch 1.15b, and who could blame us for feeling a little upset? Even those of us who are having fun playing the game are yearning for content to fill this beautiful, empty world. Getting nothing from what we thought would be a significant patch was definitely disappointing.
Yoshi-P needed just one week to restore optimism among the playerbase. Two weeks later, many of us are giddy with excitement over what’s about to come.
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First, he posted an outline of the upcoming Patch 1.16, which revved up excitement in the forums. The outline for the patch, which is schedule for release in early March, includes items such as world quests, storyline quests, magic point refresh, adjustments to item wear and improvements to the targeting system.
The next day, he posted the second FFXIV Players' Poll, this time surveying players about possible changes to the battle system. His poll delved into serious topics ranging from implementing auto attack to adding instanced battlefields.
Then, earlier today, Yoshi-P posted his fourth Letter from the Producer on the Lodestone Web site. He explained the implementation of side quests had been delayed "for a few days" to ensure quality in the North American and European versions of the game. Then he briefed us on the upcoming official forums, and he showed us concept designs of class-specific armor – strikingly similar to black mage and dark knight artifact armor – that will eventually be added to the game.
And in between those two postings, Yoshi-P swung through Europe and gave an open, informative interview to finalfantasy14.eu.
Some people still criticize Yoshi-P, saying he's all talk with no results. One poster labeled him as nothing more than a walking, talking ad campaign. To say he's accomplished nothing is not only short-sighted, but it’s also naïve. This man has single-handedly restored faith in Final Fantasy XIV. He has not only stopped the exodus of players from the game, but he appears to be bringing people back. And he’s done something nobody else at Square Enix has ever done – he's mastered the art of communication – and with that, he's given the playerbase someone to rally behind.
All talk and no results, you say? Please.
If you read back over everything Yoshi-P has told us so far, he hasn’t said anything that he didn’t follow through on. Trolls and critics will quickly point out that quests weren’t implemented in February as he originally indicated. However, he never said quests would definitely be released in February – we did – and secondly, if Patch 1.16 arrives as scheduled, the quests will only be a couple of weeks late. That’s pretty darn good, considering everything on Yoshi-P’s massive laundry list.
If you look back to Yoshi-P's first Letter to the Producer, you'll notice one of his top priorities is improving the game's battle system. In his letter (which preceded Patch 1.15a), he says, "Though the next version update will introduce a relatively small number of changes, preparations are already underway to bring further improvements in the near future via a number of smaller-scale patches, including the release of quests and system-side adjustments. At present, we intend for something new to be released about twice a month. Overhauls to the battle system and user interface will also be ongoing, which will make it easier for the players to enjoy the new quests and content being released."
Looking back, Yoshi-P is keeping his word of implementing about two updates per month. He’s virtually on schedule for implementing quests. He has overhauled, and is still overhauling, the battle system and user interface. And if the second Players' Poll is any indication, he’s still planning meaningful revisions to the battle system.
And through it all, the new producer continues to keep us apprised on everything being worked on by the development team, regardless of how close each feature is to being deployed.
It's time for us to stop being so paranoid about this game's future, and to start having a little more faith in this new development team. It's time to accept that Yoshi-P's promotion was more than a PR move (which, to be honest, is exactly what I thought when he was first promoted). For years, those of us who played Final Fantasy XI begged for a development team as open as this. Now, we've got it, and anyone who's not a troll should be thankful.
It's time to let Yoshi-P work his magic. For his first trick, he reinvigorated the playerbase of a game without content. I can't wait to see what he's going to do next.