Updated Thu, Feb 21, 2013 by Ethec
SquareEnix’s plans for crafting have been limited to commentary-free livestreams, so I asked Yoshida-san to highlight a few key points as to how the system is changing.
“The 1.0 system was too many items and recipes and wasn’t really friendly for beginners. With the ARR version, all recipes will be available from the beginning, so it will be much simpler. There will be two options . For players who don’t have much time, they can craft something of random quality. But if you want to make sure the item is of good quality, there’s another way of making it.”
Changes have come to the auction house as well. I asked about the new market board introduced to the players at around level two. “The new market board will allow players to buy and sell from wherever they are, not just the region they’re in, and allows improved search functionality.”
While a welcome improvement, changes such as this one highlight how painfully far FFXIV has been behind the curve over the past two years. Hopefully ARR helps FFXIV to turn the corner, but we shouldn’t discount the features that will linger from 1.0.
As essentially all of FFXIV’s sub-driven contemporaries have since converted to free-to-play, I admit I was a little taken aback when Yoshida-san revealed that FFXIV would be sticking to a monthly subscription. I asked if SquareEnix had any additional plans to add value to the sub model of a re-released game, and the answer came in three parts.
While Yoshida-san hinted at playing the same account on either PC or PS3 – “you can play on the couch, and when your mom tells you off, you can go to your room and play on your PC” – he noted that the primary value-added with ARR will be frequent content updates. “We have plenty of assets, so we’re confident we can bring enough content to make them happy that they’re paying a subscription fee.”
A third way that SE hopes to add value is through spontaneous in-game events that hearken back to the GM events of first-generation MMOs. “I’ve really enjoyed the concept of GM events stretching back to my time with Ultima Online, so I want to give a lot of power to the GMs to have a lot of GM events, just like we did with 1.0.”
A final thing that hasn’t changed is SquareEnix’s commitment to the Final Fantasy series. “Currently SquareEnix is putting everything behind Final Fantasy XIV,” Yoshida stated. “This may sound crazy, but SquareEnix is never going to give up on a Final Fantasy title.”
Many flt that the limitations FFXIV put on completing group content was a messy attempt at garnering more subscription money through timesinks. I asked if this would continue in ARR. Yoshida-san’s replied, “There won’t be any time limits in ARR. That being said, guildleves will be suitable for doing as a daily quest.”
Also, ARR will introduce a Duty Finder similar in concept to LFG tools in other MMOs that will hopefully reduce the time needed to find a group and complete content.
With ARR, players will also engage in public quests, called fates, which require players to work with each other and NPCs in real time. About 46 will be in the game at launch, and these events will appear on the map and via an announcement on the screen.