naoki yoshida « AstralCandy

Paranoid Thoughts

07 December 2011

Last week the guys from the podcast and I talked about FFXIV’s 2.0. A reboot of sorts for the game and all that shiny jazz, but I couldn’t help but be troubled somewhat. I’ve been very pessimistic and paranoid lately, so I know this isn’t helping matters at all. My main concern was and also is my greatest fear: what if 2.0 doesn’t really change the entire scope of the game. We know what is being revised and what is going to come since it is on paper. However, what is on paper doesn’t always translate well when actually executed. I am even further worried by the upcoming changes to the classes and what the battle system will look and play like when the dust settles after the updates.

The changes made to the mage classes aren’t that exciting to me. Hell, as of now the mage classes in general aren’t that exciting to play. Yes, I can do a large amount of damage. Yes, I can do AoEs and stuff. But honestly speaking? The job is frustrating and a bore. With bugs on recast timers, I end up mashing buttons to get abilities and spells to execute properly. Because I can no longer queue abilities and spells, I have to wait for one to completely finish before I am able to attempt a different spell or ability. Trying to get magic up before a DoW can mow down the mob is incredibly frustrating and slow. Mage jobs in general is slow, but the idea of having it be slower AND getting little to no graphical change of spells? Can I have a pillow? And a blanket? Cause I’ll be snoring here in just a moment.

I know other games have such a feature where the spells and abilities get incremental upgrades and have no changes to their graphical look, but… for me the best part of being a mage was seeing those graphical changes as you gained each higher tier of magic.

I am probably crazy. No, I am crazy. I just can’t help but fret and worry. I blame SWToR and other games that have grabbed my interest more firmly at the moment.

Yoshi-P, things will get better– right? I’m already anxious 1.20 is coming out around the same time as early access to SWToR. My plaguing pessimism at the moment will hopefully go away in the near future, but right now I’m troubled and am in dire need of reassurance I know I won’t get.

Opinion: Dragoon Pets Can GTFO

07 November 2011

This was originally posted on Zantetsuken.net, but I’m reposting it here since it was originally intended to be posted here anyway. <.<;

I love Dragoons. Final Fantasy IX is one of my favorite games and I really adored Freya Crescent both on the battlefield and in the story. I’ll even admit to having a childhood crush on Kain Highwind from Final Fantasy IV, and thinking how awesome he was with his Jump abilities. So when I say I don’t want to see a wyvern as a damn pet for Final Fantasy XIV’s Dragoon, it’s for a damn good reason.

The aforementioned Dragoons are especially strong characters, and even the current LNC abilities in XIV is powerful enough to warrant some players to employ tactics that include a party largely made up of Lancers. Their Jump abilities is where they especially shine, allowing them to leap up into the air to great heights, avoiding their enemy’s attacks, and come crushing down on their opponent with great damage. In these games prior to XI, none of these Dragoons or Dragoon-like equivalents (more akin to being just a LNC or hybrid) had a pet. They didn’t need it! So then now comes the question regarding XI: But why did DRG in XI have a wyvern!? I’ll be frank; I have no damn clue and I won’t try to play it off like I do. I do, however, remember the time early in a DRG’s career when they were nerfed in the world of Vana’diel. The Dragoons had suffered in its reputation due to the fact their Wyvern easily fell in battle and could not be summoned again until after the two hour ability timer had refreshed. It had gone from awesome to lol to awesome again, but a lot of that took time for SE to fix the reputation that it had given DRG during its dark era. Time that I’m not very confident SE should devote to using for a pet job at this time.

Now some will bring up the argument for the Dragoon in FFXIII and that Fang herself is a Dragoon and has a “pet” and thus creating the argument that Dragoons for any game hereinafter Final Fantasy XI should have a pet. Why? Because Fang is apparently able to summon and use her Eidolon Bahamut in battle! First, let’s look at a few things here:

Eidolons. Typically in the Final Fantasy universe they are magical beings summoned by practitioners of the Summoning class. Its etymology is listed being a Greek word for a phantom image and Latin uses the word Idolum from which Idol is taken and is defined as a image or representation of something typically used in areas of worship. Both definitions seem to largely make up what we know about Eidolons/Summons/Avatars/Aeons/Espers/Guardian Forces. In many cases these creatures are typically summoned in times of great need; it’s not often you get to summon them nilly willy like it is in Final Fantasy XI.

The lore in Final Fantasy XIII regarding them is that they appear to I’Cie who are in deep despair to give the person hope and test their willpower and determination as evident of their ability to push them in a crisis situation with Doom. It is not to be confused with a pet that is a tamed creature that is kept as a companion and cared for. Beastmasters care for their pets and keep them as companions, and DRG in FFXI keep the wyvern as a companion that they care for and have are cared for in return. Summoners, on the other hand, do not keep their Eidolon as a “pet” and may only summon them for assistance. Even at that point, the Eidolons are not capable of always being with you and have to return to the astral plane at one point or another. And if you still want to argue that Bahamut is a pet, try imagining yourself telling that to Bahamut’s face and tell me if you honestly think you will walk out of that conversation unscathed.

That all said and done, I don’t believe that Dragoon can’t walk away with at least something here; I just firmly don’t believe that it has to come in the form of a pet. As Yoshida has mentioned, if they give the Dragoon a pet then something will have to give since they are now trying to balance two forms of damage into one without making it either too weak or too strong. However, if FFXIV dev team decided to take upon the route that they did for FFXIII with PSICOM Dragoon’s, then that is an altogether different story.

The PSICOM Dragoon ascribes to the original definition of what a Dragoon is; a mounted infantryman. They don’t use pole arms and instead use guns, but they are mounted fighters and work on perfecting their mounted fighting abilities. This is typically hard to implement in a game, and I can imagine why Final Fantasy XI took the idea and instead made it into a pet. Does that mean XIV should have a pet? Heaven’s no! Pet jobs are a mess. Final Fantasy XIV is still in a state that it has to prove itself to a largely skeptical community; adding in a pet job that could very well not be properly implemented the first time around like it was in FFXI could be disastrous for the game’s environment. Getting the job right the first time around and not turning it to another scenario of loldrg is what needs to be focused on. The inclusion of a pet and more specifically the wyvern is a superficial add-on that doesn’t necessarily add much to the game and adds more complexities where none need to be added.

As of right now, there is no good reason to allow Dragoons to have a pet that could potentially do more harm than good in the overall scheme of things. Arguments for its inclusion are non-existent to weak at best, with one primary one being, “Final Fantasy XI had it, so why can’t XIV?” Final Fantasy XI and XIV are two separate games now being directed at two entirely different people. Each Final Fantasy itself is different and right now XIV is hurting the most. If inclusion of the pet means that either: a.) DRG is pushed back or b.) DRG’s more deadly and more characteristic move Jump is nerfed then the addition of a wyvern is for naught. I’d rather see DRG kept to how it is at this time (without the inclusion of a wyvern or a pet of sorts) and see more focus placed on game mechanics and balancing of other current jobs in the game vs. implementing a pet system that is troublesome to begin with.

The Future of XI and XIV

21 October 2011

I know it has been a terribly long time since I have last updated, and I deeply apologize. Things have been crazy. With my cousin visiting, going to PAX (I never did make my write up, did I?), and then changes here and there in my personal life… its been busy at best and downright crazy at its worst. During the time of being back in school since 2006, studying math after a ten year hiatus (hello rationa-wha the hell is that!?), and being sick here and there… I have managed to squeeze in time to play a little but not as often as before. But today’s entry isn’t so much as to talk about my adventures or lack there of, but to talk about my thoughts on the future of both games I have grown to love and hate.

First off…. Final Fantasy XI! I have actually deactivated my account for a few reasons:

a.) I wasn’t as interested thanks to the cooling off period from my cousin visiting
b.) I was more interested in games such as LoL, XIV, and WoW.
c.) The updates have been lack luster at best.

Since the last patch, I have found little to no reason to log on. Leveling to 95 seems like a chore, as does the prospect of obtaining the spells I had been so previously eager to learn. Then there is the road map that was released earlier this week; was it really something worthy enough to post? Maybe to show that, yes, they do have something planned and are working on something, but overall the reception the road map was given was lukewarm at best. Even I couldn’t help but look at it and go, “That’s it?” I know the game is aging and I know that the PS2 limitations are probably rearing its ugly head even more right now, but its frustrating that we aren’t given any hint of an expansion or something more meaty to sink our teeth into. No, not rehashed areas with an ugly filter on it or even just a few new places. Something bigger and more interesting that will make me go, “WOW! This is COOL~!”

FFXI feels dry and stagnant and I can’t help but feel like they are running out of really cool ideas to implement into the game. Reiokyu mentioned interesting battles with different usage of tactics, but that’s not enough for me. I want content. I want meat. I don’t just want different flavored potatoes! Which brings me to…

Final Fantasy XIV

Being a young MMO, it is understandable that it will probably be the opposite of FFXI. There are updates, there are changes, and they are coming… in a little over a year. Ok, so that was the catch. Though we can anticipate updates every so often (about 2 – 3 months apart from each other), it is still a long time to wait for every single update and promise to be delivered to us.

For this reason, I am siding with a lot of hesitant players. We are being asked to pay $12 for a subscription for a game that Yoshida himself has claimed that is only at 50% of its promise as of 1.19. He hopes that it will get even closer to 100% by a slight margin by the time 1.20 is released. But in these times? When I know money is tight for a LOT of people, it seems crazy to pay a monthly subscription of $12 for a partially finished game. It has and IS much better than its initial release, but even I am hesitant at times to really promote the game at its current state. I can get excited with the die hard fans, but for the players who feel spurned by SE and the initial release of XIV? I’m hesitant.

Not because I don’t believe in what Yoshi-P is doing or the progress that is being and WILL be made. I have seen it and played through it; I know it will happen and will meet and has a chance of exceeding expectations. However, I think the finicky players will be more critical of the game as it is and will still want that meat and potatoes I had mentioned I want from Final Fantasy XI. The meat and potatoes include key features that Yoshi-P himself has mentioned as well as the ability for people to adequately run the game on lower spec’ed PCs. There are also server issues that even make me cringe at times during my time playing the game.

Do I have hopes these players will return? Yes. Am I holding my breath on it? No. The updates and changes are massive and show that the only way to salvage the game is to do a near complete overhaul of many facets of the game, but a lot of people seem very set in their initial review of the game and very hesitant at best to be excited for the promises of 2.0. I am hoping that this will change by the time we come to the release of the PS3 and 2.0 release, because I would honestly like this underdog win.

Maybe because I am clearly taken by the charismatic and intelligent Yoshi-P, or maybe I am more of a XIV fangirl than I would like to admit. Whatever the reason and irregardless of the choices/thoughts my friends and acquaintances make of the game, I am hoping the best and brightest for XIV. It is coming out nicely onto its own and I believe that Yoshi-P and the XIV team is doing the best darn job they can to make sure that XIV lives up to expectations. Speaking to the community, taking their thoughts and suggestions (even as stupid as they are) into consideration, and showing exactly the progress they are making is leaps and bounds more than I would have ever expected from SquareEnix in the first place. While Final Fantasy XI seems like a sinking ship, Final Fantasy XIV seems more like the ship that is surviving the storm with the steadfast hand of its director, producer, and captain. Even if people think poorly of the game, they should at least give him and his team credit for trying so damn hard and doing what a lot of people thought impossible by delivering promises that never were to begin with.

Hey, Yoshi-P, here is my $12 monthly fee! I’m looking forward to the ride you are going to deliver from here to the land of 2.0!

Nice to meet you again, Eorzea!

22 August 2011

First of all, I apologize my updates are very sporadic. I haven’t updated in awhile and it hasn’t helped that most of the time I have been busy with other things. Hopefully things will level out by the start of September when things start to settle down a little bit for me. Sort of. Eep!

Playtime has been, unfortunately, been as sporadic as my updates because of my schedule and not being able to clearly focus on scheduling events properly. Despite that Team Derp has moved on and we have managed to pull through with podcast recordings and also playing a bit of XIV together this past week. Part of the reason is two fold: as it stands FFXI isn’t that interesting to me at the moment. The updates are lack luster and the sheer amount of time needed to put into things at this very moment is something I am lacking at the moment. The other reason is that updates and news for XIV HAVE picked up a lot of steam as noted in the recent podcast episodes for Go Team Derp! If you haven’t already heard/read about the upcoming changes to Final Fantasy XIV, I highly encourage you to check out the last Letter from the Producer or simply check out the updates posted on zantetsuken.net. Also listening to our podcast is a super bonus!

Playing FFXIV again has reminded me what it is good for: allowing you to get that same sort of feeling that you get in WoW by doing quests. What is that, pray tell? Doing something that allows you to get some sort of reward at the end even if its a short run. Of course, the rewards in WoW are usually greater and most of the time don’t require you to be on a 30 minute timer as is the case for leves. But! Hey! At least its SOMETHING. I’ve always been able to manage my time rather well on XIV vs. XI, and in crazy times like this such things is helpful and makes me more inclined to log on vs falling asleep exhausted.

There has also been many changes since XIV’s initial release, making it fun to learn what is new and what isn’t. Its fun having done a leve so many times in the past only to come back and that -for once- the location of the mobs isn’t where it used to be before or that the mob AI in leves is a little different than what was remembered almost a year ago. Even the inclusion of finding quests more easily is fun, although I am less inclined to actually read the quest log since its not as interesting when its mostly the same format as it is in WoW. I like my cut scenes, darnit! I’m hoping for more compelling quests as is found in XI’s Windurst areas, but I won’t hold my breath on it. I’m already satisfied with the fact sweeping changes are being made in the future and that we will actually see the vision Yoshi-P has vs. speculating on what it is or will be.

Most importantly I am looking forward to chocobos. Walking is a pain. No matter what game you are in! I’m hoping that chocobo raising and riding isn’t similar to XI, but its hard to imagine what it will be like and if its possible for it to be different than how it was executed in XI. Maybe I’m not imaginative enough, but I’m about 95% confident that it will be quite similar to what is in XI. Not that its bad, because at least I know what to be prepared for. I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t like it and its something completely different altogether, but no matter the outcome… I do want my own chocobo. A white or black one if possible.

Changing the Game — A New Direction for Eorzea

02 January 2011

When Square-Enix announced changes to its staff almost a month ago, its former Director/Producer, Hiromichi Tanaka, had left a message that left some people wondering if the game would take a complete overhaul in the stead of Naoki Yoshida. In fact, Tanaka had clearly stated:

We are aware, however, that in many cases, addressing these issues will call for a reworking of game elements.

At the moment, I never gave this much thought. I knew some were worried and some were excited, but it didn’t seem to really hit me until the clock had hit 12:00 on January 1, 2011 and I received the e-mail on my phone. I took the poll not too long after that and was floored when I read the very last question:

Would you welcome changes to FINAL FANTASY XIV that would drastically alter the rules already set in Eorzea?

Now, I was stumped for all of a minute. I was really torn on how to answer the question. Part of me was getting used to how Eorzea was. Yes it was clunky and frustrating. I don’t make it hidden my disdain on the targeting and how utterly useless and awful I feel as a healer in the game. On the other hand, I have also grown used to several things. I realize I am one of the few people who like the Market Ward system, retainers, and the like. I have a disdain for Auction Houses, and I can’t imagine myself liking the game any better when one is finally implemented in the game. I LOVE the crafting in this game despite a good friend of mine making constant complaints of wanting something to similar to WoW. However, if I wanted something like that then I would be on WoW and not on XIV. Soloing has never been a problem and party play? I get that with friends easily and have thoroughly enjoyed playing with them, and once in awhile the random stranger.

I know there are many other problems with the game that can’t go unnoticed. When retail version came out, I was puzzled beyond belief as to why my friends and other people couldn’t understand simple mechanics of the game. If one had actually read the dialogues it seemed easy to figure what to do or where to go. Then there is the biggest problem of the UI; targeting makes me want to pull my hair out, sometimes my own keyboard doesn’t respond in the game (it works fine in other games), and even the way macros work is slow and very clunky.

There are other numerous quirks in the game I know that could be improved upon or changed entirely, and no matter how much I loved the game… it could not get any worse than what is already set. There is a community that needs to be brought closer together, there needs be a clearer and more defined focus, and the rough edges need to be smoothed out and polished. It is with that thought, I clicked yes.

Do I regret this? No. Does it make me any less of a fan of XIV? I know supposed “fans” would argue that I am not. I am, after all, listing things that need to be fixed in the game vs taking it in for what it is. However, I want to see this game do better. I want the PS3 players to come and want to stay in Eorzea vs. saying, “I’ll come back when it gets better” or saying they don’t want to come back at all. I also want to see this game do as well as XI; a MMO I’ve loved for many years and have many cherished memories from.

Am I scared of what the changes could entail? You bet I am! Even the poem left to us at the end of Yoshida’s letter has left me wondering what would be in store for us:

Ne’er till land consumes sun can sea bear moons,
Heavens spew crimson flame, hells seep black dooms.
Stray seeds quicken in ash’s grey embrace,
Valiant blades forged under the Twelve’s good grace.

- Seventh Verse of the Divine Chronicles
Mezaya Thousand Eyes

If it were references to the in game atmosphere, I am all for nuking the Black Shroud and restructuring the place from the ground up. But even the keywords left by Yoshida’s New Year’s message (fun, live, reboot, and rebuild) has left me and others wondering if a complete overhaul of the game is in Eorzea’s future despite what our last answer could be on the poll. Even if this were so, I am eagerly anticipating what the future will hold for Eorzea. At the moment the only place to go is up and I am hoping Yoshida and his new team will take great strides towards that path.