@reinheart Translates – 2013-09-18 #FFXIV Game Watch Interview translation – Part 1 of 2

Source : http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/interview/20130919_615981.html

Q: You mentioned with this maintenance the amount of simultaneous connection is going to increase but what was the maximum amount of simultaneous connections so far?
A: The amount announced, 325,000 people is the maximum capacity, if we go over that amount it will cause failure. I believe, potentially it came near 400,000 people, but to avoid overall failure we have made this decision.

Q: What was the max potential when adding up individual peak times.
A: During the first two week from service start was probably around 600,000 people.

Q: About how much of the capacity will increase with the upcoming server update on overall worlds?
A: If we push it to the max, I believe we can probably get about 500,000 smoothly.

Q: 500,000 people! You expanded the equipment that much with this maintenance?
A: Yes. The back end capacity is fine, now we need to observe the memory performance for the contents world. But like I mentioned earlier the 325,000 simultaneous connection is the number generate from those who also kept their characters logged in because they were worried they might not be able to login later, this number should start calming down. Thanks to the maintenance on 09/04 the NA/EU side is pretty stable, thanks to that one we have less people who keep their characters logged in the whole time, it’s running pretty smoothly.

I believe this same thing will start for the Japanese datacenter as well. People will gradually get away from the mentality for the need to keep their characters logged in at all times. I hope they will start experiencing that they can login anytime without worry. Overall simultaneous connection will come down a bit but it will be a much more reasonable number, at same time this will allow those who couldn’t login to login now. So the simultaneous connections amount will be just right.

Q: With this times maintenance, how much capacity increased for one world?
A: At 09/04’s timing, Carbuncle world was increased to 8,0000 people, and it felt like that’s the maximum amount, so 8,000 people.

Q: Why is it 8,000 people max?
A: That is because it will hit the zones cap. Currently one world is build from 30 zones. Most of the zones aren’t affected but the starting cities and the neighbor zones is reaching the limit. New players and monsters, high level players traveling through all go through this zone, and once the zone goes over 800 people there is a high chance for lags to occur. To make it comfortable for all we have set this limit.

Q: Up till 09/12’s maintenance we had login restrictions and people couldn’t even get in the login queue being rejected intermittently, why was that?
A: I just posted an explanation regarding that one today on the forums, when you see the queue that’s when the login restriction is lifted. Login server hold a purpose to connect players to the worlds, when you have enormous amount of people trying to login simultaneously, it needs to process that. At same time it also needs to process those players trying to log out as well, if the server tries to do everything at the same time it will go over it’s processing limit. That’s where the queue comes into place to put players in login orders.

When login queue is made, it keeps a session live on the login erver, if we have this refreshed every second it will cause stress to the server, so it’s set to once every minute or 30 seconds. For example we are updating the information such as “Nakamura-sans status is updated” or “You were able to login” is being processed in order. We also don’t know when we can life the login restriction for the worlds that currently have it. It all depends on the player so this could be a minute later, could go on for 6 hours.

Q: I see, so the world is full, so if someone doesn’t log out it can’t even get into the queue.
A: It’s physically possible to get into the queue, but doing so could end up requiring to post sessions for few thousand players. If that’s just one world then it’s not a big problem, but if this happens in every world, the numbers can bump up to hundred thousands, now when that happens, it’s like the server is constantly getting hit by these players waiting in line, and in the end it’s possible for the login servers to go down.

Q: So can we think that with tonights (09/12) maintenance all these issues will be resolved?
A: For really populated world there is a physical limitation, so there is a possibility for us to once again place restrictions.

Q: There is a impression of new servers being more crowded than the Legacy servers, why is that?
A: I believe that is simply because new players are playing on the new worlds (laugh). However, there are a lot of new players created on Ridill or Durandall than we expected, so there isn’t really much difference. I believe it’s the legacy players bringing in their friends. Currently Carbuncle world has the most number of players. Out of all servers, it’s number 1.

Q: Why is that? Was there a influential community or something?
A: Probably the world name.

Q: Aside from this, there was an issue where teleport was a one way ticket, when you tried to move to a different area using teleport it logged you out. Is that being fixed also?
A: That was actually due to the bug when zoning, if the bug was pulled it caused players to get disconnected. We apologize for this bug, repairs for this one is completed.

Q: Was this due to some type of relationship with the server stress and login restrictions?
A: No, it’s not directly connected. We placed one patch in previous maintenance and the reports have lessened. We also placed another fix in 09/12’s maintenance so I believe this should get rid of the problem.

Q: You split the DutyFinder (CF=ContentFinder) into two groups, and this time into 3 groups, wasn’t this decision hard for you?
A: If you know Japan’s online gaming, you would understand that the current amount simultaneous connections is something we couldn’t predict, if it was within our estimate it was right on the line where we need to or don’t need to split. But because the all world capacities are in current state, we didn’t expect this much people to concentrate within a small timeframe.

Our original plan was to split the group into two, and once the stress is lower to place a mechanism which matches from both groups. However, even before the server capacity, it was more problem to have one group for 25 worlds, so we had to split it into two groups, and this time into 3 groups.

So honestly, it was just as what I expected. World of Warcraft works that way. I believe I mentioned “Cluster” in the past, what I’m thinking is a world-less inside those clusters. Overall structure is worldless, so this grouping is just matter of figuring out what to do with the list. Once the servers starts opening up we can make it where it can match with several groups, that is what worldless structure means.

Q: I see, I see
A: The real worldless feature is Dragon Quest X. In FFXIV ARR you start from a home world but it still uses the similar worldless structure so I believe it can be flexible.

Q: Currently even during hours with less players, the matching doesn’t match from several worlds?
A: Yes. As of 09/12’s point, we haven’t done that yet. I don’t want to see any trouble occurring because we tried to do all three things at once. When problem occurs, it will require longer time for investigation to see if the bug is caused by A, B or C. We are taking the same steps we did in the previous FFXIV. We’re handing players user data so we can’t just go ahead and do something drastic, I want to avoid that as much as possible. First I want to make sure the matching is working correctly within the group, make sure it’s working stable even after splitting into three groups, we’re going from there.

Q: While the DutyFinder is going through the grouping, the DutyFinder itself seems like it’s taking longer to match, specially for DPS. First off, is it harder to match because of the grouping that was done this time for DutyFinder, or is that completely different story?
A: Yes, that’s completely different story.

Q: Okay, then why is this occurring?
A: Simply because there isn’t enough Tanks.

Q: I see Tanks huh, not Healers?
A: For Healers, there is the fact that you can obtain the Unicorn from Conjurer quest, and also since it’s Final Fantasy the image of White Mage is pretty strong. Since there are lots out there wanting to play White Mage in FFXIV, we have more Healers compared to other MMORPGs.

When looking from previous FFXIV’s viewpoint, we added a pet class called Arcanis, and one of the jobs from Arcanist is Scholar. Scholars are bit technical and it’s a job that wasn’t introduced until now, for that reason there are lots out there wanting to try out Scholar, so as a result we were able to dodge the lack of Healers.

Q: For Tanks, talking Final Fantasy, knights are pretty popular so you would think there would be enough, maybe the responsibility for knights in FFXIV ARR is heavy.
A: It was just as I predicted, in any MMO’s there is shortage on tanks. We’re looking into add a bonus for those roles we are short on in patch 2.1.

Q: Can you please explain some more regarding the bonus for those roles in shortage?
A: In the finders display it will display what roles are currently short, so if you que in with that role you’ll get exp bonus or gil bonus.

Q: Sounds similar to blood donation. Like we’re short on blood type AB. So that’s going to show up on each DutyFinder category?
A: Yes it will. We are short on these people, it’s a feature we can do because we have the Armoury System.

Q: So for EXP bonus it’s going to be like 1.1 times more?
A: No, I believe it will be somewhat better than 1.1 times. Also, we’re going to start random matching. Not sure if we’re going to separate the story primal battle and non-story primal battle from category but for categories are split into categories such as “Leveling Dungeon”, “End Dungeon”, “Guild Order” and if you press the “Random” button to que in, DutyFinder will automatically and randomly choose a dungeon. For those that que in with this random matching will also get a bonus. However this is once a day feature.

Q: Once a day, what do you mean once?
A: The bonus you can obtain from doing it random.

Q: I see, so you can play the random matching as much as you want in that one day, however the bonus will only apply to that first time only?
A: We are still looking into either making it once a day, or one bonus only. When we say bonus, it’s not experience points or gil, you will be able to obtain tokens needed to obtain gears. You will be able to obtain tokens from this random matching. Merit in doing this is that high level players will come in together with new players to fill in the roles that is short. Also we’re looking into a feature where you can submit a vote for MVP. When queuing in with random matching, players can submit a vote for another player as MVP. By collecting those MVP points you will also be able to trade with items. We are already listing up the rewards, but you can get mounts, or chocobo specific gears and such are being looked into.

Q: Ohh, that’s nice, is that also coming in patch 2.1?
A: Yes we are planning to implement this in patch 2.1

Q: Once those systems are in place, it looks like it will resolve the current problems around the DutFinder.
A: We’re finally able to give players global MMO experience in FFXIV ARR, so once they understand the systems usage, we’re heading into the next step in patch 2.1. This also goes for the item level requirement for end contents. If we placed this from the beginning there was a high possibility that it will just put the Legacy players on the other side and new players on the other. Where players item levels don’t come near each other and never mixing in together.

We don’t want to close the door on them making it where players with low item levels can’t come over, we wanted the players to go in together with the players with high item levels and understand after fighting together that they need to increase their gear levels, making them want to get gears before entering those dungeons, and for that build a community, we wanted to create that type of flow. This is where the previous FFXIV players and new top group players mix in together, creating the top group for the FFXIV ARR. We wanted to resolve this issue earliest as possible.

Q: I see. For end contents you have already announced that there will be a feature that will require itel levels to enter.
A: Yes. We will put this in patch 2.1. Now that players understand the concept the top players that invite new players in there free company can help them explain the item level and hopefully result into members trying to help everyone to gear up so everyone can go together. If we didn’t have this type of experience first, people will be confused why they are suddenly being cut off, so I believe we needed to implement these in order.

Q: So the contents were purposely released in order.
A: Yes. this was something that troubled me till the end, but the reason why Bahamut’s Labyrinth not being listed on DutyFinder was done purposely. Content’s after that can’t be completed with group matched from DutyFinder, we made it where anyone can experience the hard primal battles. However if they don’t have the gears they won’t be able to clear, that’s how it was set up. With that people will start understanding that they should start building a community rather than going through using DutyFinder. We wanted players to start shouting for parties and gathering people. I think it’s more interesting to make the beginning of MMORPG’s more open rather than having strict rules, where it creates some confusion when using the matching system.

Q: I just wanted to confirm, for the end content “Bahamut’s Labyrinth” you can’t use DutyFinder, so the developers stance on this one is you want the players to build a community and build a team where they can trust each other to challenge right?
A: Yes. Bahamut doesn’t even show up on the Duty Finder, so far in current patch 2.0 we have Bahamut’s Coil with 5 levels, so far there are only few parties that passed stage 4.

Q: Only few party out of all the worlds? Is it NA players?
A: Legacy players, the fastest was famous guild from XI “Order of the Blue Gartr”. Currently there are few parties challenging the boss on the 5th level.

Q: They are already doing multiple runs?
A: No, you can’t do multiple runs for Bahamut, once you clear the first stage, it saves at that point, so it’s not possible to do that first stage over and over.

Q: Ohh, so you can’t even help?
A: It only checks the leaders flag, so it is possible to bring in those from 1st stage to the 2nd stage but most likely it’s impossible (bitter smile). Each stage clear really checks the players abilities, once you clear stage 2 you move onto stage 3. This flag is gone after one week, so after a week you’ll be able to go back to the stages you cleared before.

Q: Will there be new levels of Bahamut in patch 2.1?
A: Next update for Bahamut is coming in patch 2.2. In .2.1 we’ll be adding Crystal Tower. Both updated will be done alternative. Bahamut > Crystal Tower > Bahamut > Crystal Tower, in that order.

Q: I see. So it’s not like once you clear all of bahamut then you can challenge in Crystal Tower?
A: It’s not like that. Crystal Tower is alliance based end content while Bahamut is 8 player party based ultimate end content. We’ll update these in alternate.

Q: I see, so both contents are not related, they are two separate individual end contents. So it’s even possible to do play Bahamut only since your group can’t get 24 people?
A: Yes, you can play like that as well.

Q: There are couple of things that caught my attention when looking at the forums, firstly you mentioned you will be adding a “party recruitwindow”, what is this?
A: In the previous FFXIV there was a feature where you can announce what dungeon you want to go, and can join with roles xxx. For those that want to form parties will look at those and pick them up to build the parties. We first wanted players to use the DutyFinder and decided to release this feature in patch 2.1.

You said it before but in FFXIV ARR there is a community that was already built. When lots of new players come into the world, we didn’t want them to just stick together. The reason why DutyFinder matched legacies and new players was done purposely. By doing this we feel that the distance between them was shortened.

Q: Is the party invite window also coming in 2.1?
A: Yes it’s for 2.1. This was a system which we received lots of feedbacks in previous FFXIV. This is a brushed up version, so we’ll bring it back.

Q: But, doesn’t this party recruit window destroy the purpose for DutyFinder?
A: No, it’s balanced out. Even if there is the party recruit window, there will be other tasks such as running the DutyFinder once a day for random matching.

Q: Right now there are people shouting to gather members, so this will help them.
A: Yes. This was a system that was really welcomed during the previous FFXIV.

Q: Talking about shouts, there are lots of Real Money Trade (RMT) related shouts in town, are you planning something to address this?
A: Right now we are permanent banning them at really fast pace, that’s one, and also we are updating the chat filters daily. We’re making it hit the chat filter first so it doesn’t get to the other players. RMTs are fighting back against this and they are making it more code like……

Q: Yes. Specially when you play on NA server, there are messages in which I can’t even understand what it is. There are lots of irritating message flying around.
A: Yes. They are putting in greek characters, and stuff like that, we are continuing to take those down.

Q: So it’s kind of like Google’s spam filter, we shouldn’t be hearing much of these shouts over time?
A: Yes exactly. We are updating the chat filter in extreme speed.

Q: It’s not completely gone but the amount sure feels like it’s getting less, so chat filter huh, that’s an interesting idea.
A: By making it where they can’t even say it. Also when noticing them to permanent ban them, we are working on these thoroughly. Since we’re doing thoroughly, it’s to a point they of harassment. We receive over few hundred reports in one day, and the GM instantly investigates and goes into position to address the matter. As mentioned before we are dealing with them.

Q: So although right now it’s repetitive, the effect is getting greater?
A: Right now there is a lot going on in America. On the NA forums there is even a thread asking to sell the appearance changing potion with real money which is familiar in F2P. Looking at that kind of thread, I think to myself for RMTs they can’t do any business with increase of F2P MMOs. If world becomes a world where you can buy gold and experience points with real money, there is no way for RMTs to profit from. New big MMO titles using subscription model is FFXIV ARR and TESO so now I understand why they are desperate. Only thing left for us to do is to exterminate them.

Q: It is said that this will be updated on 09/12’s update but currently there is a method to run through specific dungeons using a player as a bait to avoid trash mobs.
A: Running past the mobs. They do it because the ratio for taking in tokens in short time is good.

Q: I was looking at it like, players are already coming up with extreme play method (laugh)
A: his method is used in other MMOs as well but, I apologize for this being overlooked.

Q: I believe people finding the best effective method is always true for MMO, however as a basic stance of FFXIV ARR, can you please explain what kind of tricky method/plays are allowed and what isn’t?
A: People normally think of “hourly wage” in a MMORPG. See how much they can earn in a short period of time. For us, we balance the game with the time needed to clear out the trash mobs, MP usage, HP, and how much of gear durability goes down. We have a reward that matches the amount of effort you put in. If people try to skip through this step it breaks the balance. When that happens we need to fix it. Right now the gil output is low, so we are planning to make a positive fix. This is our basic rule.

Q: I see. For dungeons, taking out all the junk monsters is part of basic play?
A: Yes. We placed them so they will be cleared out. That is why they do not repop and the exp being always the same, and you can calculate how much exp is for each pack of mobs.

Q: For detailed changes, you lowered the repair cost and dark matter price. Was there some kind of error on developers side?
A: That was our mistake. The dungeon was much more difficult that was we assumed. The amount of wipes is high, and due to that it ends up in the red. When we launched we alleviated the damage taken when wiping, but we should of alleviated the repair cost as well. Also the amount of gil output is too low, so we’re planning to increase this.

Q: What will change by increasing the gil output?
A: Because we carefully made this to avoid any inflation, we calculated too strictly without any surplus, so well increase the gil output some more.

Q: What kind of methods are you going to take for this?
A: I believe we’ll increase the amount produced from contents.

Q: Something like increasing the amount of gil earned from quest drastically?
A: No, basically dungeons, and we’ll increase the amount from repetitive dungeons and leveling dungeons. We’ll make sure keep it well balanced, and not where you just go to dungeons to earn money. For example earn gil while collecting tombstones. Also we’re discussing with the dev team, have gil output from F.A.T.E. while players collect Company Seals. However, if it’s F.A.T.E. you’ll be able to farm over and over, so we’re carefully looking into this. We are talking about at least adding some more bonus for instance based contents. Right now, I think most don’t have any flexibility.

Q: Yes, I really don’t have any flexibility (laugh) If I used teleport to complete a quest, my gil just keeps on going down.
A: I’m also being careful on using teleport (bitter smile) I use the Chocobo Porter, and when needed to go to other countries use the airship.

Q: Hmm, for you, regarding this field movement, do you think what we have now is just right?
A: For myself, I like it this way where you have to think what to do, however staffs are telling me they want some more luxury. I feel like I overdid it. In patch 2.1 we’ll have housing so we’ll start alleviating.

Q: Smartphone app was released. As you announced before, this has a lot of data, feels like official database. Aside from this you mentioned before that aside from the database you’ll be able to put items on market, or change gear, and other plans. When will those feature be available?
A: I just gave the GO after checking the milestone, which is set for March next year, for this year we are prioritizing to fulfill the database. Next is craft recipe, skill list, instance dungeon, F.A.T.E. information is priority. Our first milestone is to maximize the usefulness of the database. Once those are done, we’ll add features where you login to the server and use features, such as placing items on market, changing gears. You’ll be able to prep your character while outside and use your time efficiently, that’s our next step. For this one, it will require the server so we need to charge a fee.

Q: So up until March next year, you’ll be expanding the database, and that can be used for free, however post April’s additional features they will all cost a fee?
A: It’s not for everything, it’s something like if you’re going to download that feature, then it’s this much.

Q: So it’s not a monthly fee, but a set price for different features?
A: Yes. If you don’t need to use it, you don’t have to, that’s our thinking. We haven’t set the business model yet. This is just an example, but say you activate this under the service account then you can start using. We’re are still deciding on this one.

Q: So for the smartphone app, instead of a free service, you’re going to make it a business and offer services.
A: Yes. for the things where you can just look, we want those to stay free, and for the things where you actually touch and do something, not because we want to make profit, but because it involves server cost so we need to get the minimum payment to cover it, that’s how we are looking at this. We need to have a specific server just for this so, we need to cover that expense.

Q: What kind of additional features are you currently thinking?
A: Basically be able to sell items, and when buying item from market be able to withdraw the gil and give the item the the character, other than that a simple character transportation service. For example you log out at the inn, but you’re meeting up with you friends in a certain place so being able to move the character to where your friends are at. Doesn’t mean you can play fully but it’s features we believe would be nice to have, we want to be able to make it where you can prepare for adventure before getting back to your home.

Q: Would you be able to fish or cooking, gathering/crafting actions?
A: Haven’t thought about that.

Q: I see, so it’s for changing gearset, and use part of the system command from outside, something like that correct?
A: Yes.

Q: Just remembered when mentioning gearset, right now we can’t sort items. This is really inconvenient when bag is getting full. When is the sort feature coming?
A: This is coming in patch 2.1

Q: Item sorting is a must have feature and yet it’s taking long for implementation, why is this?
A: It is really complex, and it causes server load. If you tried to sort nicely it takes a lot of stress. For a stand alone game, everything is processed on memory side so you just need to swap the memory, however in this case you would have to replace servers data, to continuously do this on the server will cause a lot of load, so in honest we tried to avoid that issue.

However I talked to Mingawa (FFXIV ARR Lead UI artist/Lead web content artist) the other day if everything is in 2.1 it’s going to be a while, so we’re talking to see if we can get some parts in before that, and we were talking about at least having a order in there. We’re going to try our best to see what we can do.

Q: There was a comment on the forums as well, and I also felt the same but when is the server side save going to be available for cross hotbar settings, HUD layout, macro settings?
A: I get a lot of this request for media’s and people from other gaming industry……

Q: With work and home PC/PS3 I have 5 machines with FFXIV ARR installed, and having to go back and forth reregistering the settings is troublesome (laugh).
A: yes. We have plans for this so please hang in there.

Q: Is there a reason why you’re waiting for this one?
A: It’s dangerous. Writing information to the database causes extra load. When you save the data at the logout timing, maybe it will work, but we haven’t verified this yet.

Q: I believe you’re really busy right now with all the schedules but are you playing FFXIV?
A: Umm, I’m still level 18……

Q: I win! I’m over 30. You’re not playing hardcore (laugh)
A: Everyone is having login restrictions, I can’t do that. Even before that I don’t even have time to sleep……

Q: You commented that you’re gonig back to Haijin (hardcore/nosleep game w) so was looking forward to how much you would be into it.
A: was thinking I was going to be able to go back to Haijin after launch but…… We have had the major congestion, so I have been with sticking with the server deciding on investments to be made right away. As you know servers are basically a PC, so if the order timing is delayed it will delay others. At that time I would need to make a costly decision, so server team and I stayed over 24 hours. Other than that, I don’t think it’s right for me to be playing when so many players are out there saying they can’t.

Q: So you’re going to start getting into the game after the 09/12 maintenance?
A: Hmm, probably going to be busy until TGS finishes? So far it’s been nonstop for me since Gamescom in August.

Q: Last couple months were extreme.
A: But, 4 days ago I was finally able to get on the airship to travel through 3 cities so it’s hard to stop playing, it’s dangerous.

Q: You get pulled in. The beginning quest line is continuous so it’s hard.
A: It’s hard to decide when to stop, and when you stop by a town there are other classes, and when you start looking into other classes, class quest starts…… since you finally passed level 15, if you try to go to a dungeon, I end up going… what class what I leveling…!?

Q: That temptation is really strong with this game. But that’s what is attractive about FFXIV ARR.
A: That also leads to people staying logged in for long hours, personally I really want to praise the dev team for this one. As originally planned, I really believe that’s what is good about the Armoury System. It’s something you can’t experience in other MMO’s this is what the previous FFXIV should of been, and for people not used to MMO to be able to try out different things and enjoy. This is one of the things that makes me happy.

I have been playing in the development environment, but I’m always alone when checking through the quest lining. Now we have a open world with hundreds of players running around you. When I see a bunch of people running past me I think to myself, is F.A.T.E. going on? That feeling is really fun. I really believe we were able to create a strong tempting game.

-Continue to 2nd half -(It’s not out yet, maybe tomorrow or the day after)

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