The Allakhazam team had the opportunity to speak to the developer team for 20 minutes about the game to ask questions from our community. Developer team members included Final Fantasy XI Producer Hiromichi Tanaka, Wings of the Goddess Director Koichi Ogawa, Battle Director Akihiko Matsui, Final Fantasy XI Planner Kenichi Iwao, Job Designer Mitsutoshi Gondai, and Global Online Producer Sage Sundi. The interview was translated by Koji Fox. We'd like to extent our sincere thanks to the developer team and Koji for taking the time to meet with us and answer our questions.
Pikko: Everyone was very excited to learn more about the new jobs. Can you tell us anything about other jobs that you tested but did not make it to Wings of the Goddess?
Actually there were a lot of jobs we were proud of that ended up being cut for various reasons. One of them that we were thinking about having was a Viking job. Another one which didn’t really have a name was one that used a lot of different, what we called arts, and so the arts eventually became the Dancer. But there were a couple of ideas before it became the Dancer. And actually one that was pretty much set before it was taken out was the Mimic. But they decided to take it out because it would basically limit other jobs and party members, so they decided against it.
Exodus: Currently we have an overwhelming amount of Rare/Ex armor that we can’t trade, barter, nothing like that, so when you switch out of a job its dead space in your Mog House. That said, it really affects people who level multiple jobs, but outside being able to store relic and artifact we have no way of storing this. It would be a great help if most of the armor, not just Rare/Ex was storable. Are there any plans of expanding this and relieving some of the tension we get out of this?
Yeah, we’ve got that opinion from players in all regions and they’re always thinking of new things to do to alleviate that problem but one thing that we have planned for an immediate fix is the expansion of the Gobbie Bag with this next version update in Wings of the Goddess and so there’ll be more spaces there. As for maybe having someone that will hold onto sets whether they’re Ex/Rare or not Ex/Rare, yeah we’re thinking about that as well and maybe some other ways to alleviate the problem as well, not just the people that have Ex sets. So yeah, we are thinking of new ways.
Pikko: (BlueGartr question) When I interviewed you at E3, I had asked about Einherjar and back then it was still a new battle system and you had said you were going to watch the trends and how participation runs. How has that been going and do you see any adjustments coming to the existing system?
Right now, the overall difficulty we’re pretty much pleased with that so we don’t really have any plans on changing the overall difficulty. But one thing system wise that we’d like to change is right now you have to do each floor in order to get to the final floor and if you miss one you’re pretty much screwed so we’re gonna think about something to alleviate that.
Imperial Ninja: You’ve stated in the past that the same team that works on Final Fantasy 11 is going to be working on the new MMO and players are concerned that the new MMO as it grows the attention will shift from this new MMO away from Final Fantasy 11 and slowly get neglected. So how are you planning to split your time between both MMOs to ensure that they both get the same attention?
It’s not necessarily that the members of the 11 team are going over to the new project and leaving the FF11 project it’s that they’re working on both of them at the same time so there are members that both work on the new project and FF11 as well as new members are always being added to the FF11 team. As well as new members from other teams (they’re head hunting from other teams) to get them to work on new projects as well. And so the team sizes haven’t changed at all so even though there is some moving around the FF11 team size is still the same.
Pikko: Do you anticipate being able to maintain that balance as it progresses more into production?
We hope to maintain that balance as long as possible, we’ll just keep getting new people. However, the main programmer that’s on FF11, Mr. Yamamoto, he’s also the main programmer on the new project so his job has been pretty difficult because he’s been going back and forth doing everything on both of them. But other than that we don’t see any problems with that.
Exodus: While we’re on the subject of the new MMO, any new information on it? Anything? Anything?
Exodus: It was worth a shot!
Tanaka-san: The one thing and it’s not really specific to the new project but as we mentioned before, the new MMO will be also using the new engine that’s going to be used on FF13 and a bunch of other projects and because that new engine is almost done (it’s in it’s final stages right now) teams are starting to customize their projects for the engines and so once everything gets finalized probably the progress on each project will start going quicker than it is now. Things are happening. Hopefully we’ll have more for you next time!
Pikko: Crafters have long felt that they’ve leveled their crafts in vain. You add new recipes each time and players feel that does very little to help their craft and we were wondering if you had any plans or ideas to make crafting worthwhile to players again?
One of the things we’re always considering is whether to raise the level caps. But we’re still in the preparation stages for that. We’re not saying that we’re never going to raise the cap again, we’re saying it’s still in the works. One of the things that we are going to be doing for crafters is that now with players being able to go into other people’s Mog Houses we’re going to provide certain types of furniture that crafters can use to make their Mog House like a store. Like sign boards for like smiths or goldsmiths and they’ll figure out ways that they can put the things that they sell within their house so it’ll be like a store and people can come in and check out things like that so those are the things we’re considering for that.
Imperial Ninja: On the same note about crafting, people have expressed concerns that crafting is stagnant as far as durable items are concerned. Do you plan on introducing new features into the game that could get the durable market going again?
As for the durable items, we don’t have any plans per se of making those break because that’s one of the main things of 11, that the items that you have will not break. However, we realize there is this problem with there being all these items that never break and somehow there’s only a certain amount of people so they can’t sell them anymore and so instead of changing those items we’re going try to add new types of items maybe more of the items that need to be charged so that you can use them a certain amount of times and then you’ll have to go back to the crafters to get them recharged. So, we’ll have something for the crafters to do.
Exodus: In Goldsmithing, you can actually use a high quality item in a synth and make an even better item but you can’t do that in any other craft. Are there any plans to implements it in other crafts?
Yes, that’s one of the other things that we’re also considering.
Exodus: Going back to Wings of the Goddess, you brushed up on all the jobs that decided not to use. What were the defining points of Dancer and Scholar that made them the jobs that you were going to put in?
First of all for Dancer, this is one that I mentioned before, but they knew this was probably going to be one of the jobs from the start. They had the ideas ready. They wanted to make a job like they said earlier in the presentation that was a frontline job but also a healer. Also, the motion team had made motions they wanted to put dancing in there and it seemed to fall together that ok we have this front line healer and we have these dancing motions, Dancer it is.
After designing the jobs for Aht Urhgan, we realized that we didn’t have a pure backline player like the white mages and the black mages of the originals and so we wanted to create one that was just a regular pure backline player but not something that was just 100% focused on magic like the backline players we have now and that’s why we focused on abilities so yes magic, but also the abilities with that magic. So that’s where something new came in.
Pikko: People want to know how to pop Almighty Apkallu, can you give us any hints on that?
Koji: He didn’t know it was so popular.
Pikko: No one can figure it out. People aren’t even sure he exists.
(clarification on location and name)
Koji: He doesn’t know! He said he’s going to have to go back and find out if he does exist.
Exodus: This actually came up because players actually went through all the files of Final Fantasy and actually saw the file for that mob in that zone and that’s where all these internet conspiracies popped up.
It could be one of many things so we’re going to go back and see if we can find it. And if we find it we’ll contact you guys.
Pikko: People think he drops the Birdman Cape.
Birdman Cape? Do you know what the Birdman Cape does? They don’t know the names that are actually given to the items, they just have the developer names that they use. Then when Iwao-san gives them the names, they don’t know the new names. If you know what it does he’ll probably know..
Matt Hilton: Charisma 7, MP 30?
(discussion about it)
We’ll check that out as well.
Pikko: Just one last quick question. I just want to know (I know the expansion comes out next week) if there is going to be added to gardening?
For this expansion there is nothing for gardening but we are considering stuff for version updates next year. The more people that say we want more stuff, the more they’ll do.