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New Info on Character Growth from FFXIV’s Beta

August 29, 2010

This might be old news for some of you out there, but well, it’s news to me. Nobuaki Komoto, the director of Final Fantasy XIV recently addressed the beta-playing public with some new details on the character growth system (That sounds much better than my previously used term, “leveling system,” which is inaccurate) that will be used for Final Fantasy XIV.

Komoto explains the character growth system they’re implementing in FFXIV, as well as an oversight they were unable to rectify in time for Closed Beta 3, in this following post from taken from the beta site by FFXIVCore:

Once again, we would like to thank you all for your participation and support during the Closed Beta. We will continue to take your valuable feedback into consideration as we develop the game during Open Beta and even beyond the official release.

Now I would like to take a moment to respond to the many questions and opinions regarding the manner in and rates at which experience and skill points are obtained in Beta 3.

Firstly, the concept for FINAL FANTASY XIV was to design a system of character progression that offers meaningful advancement for those with limited time to dedicate to playing. We did not want to create a game that forced people to play for hours on end to see their efforts rewarded. To that end, in addition to the Guardian’s Aspect and guildleve systems, we introduced a means of apportioning swifter advancement to shorter periods of play.

In order to achieve this balance, we calculated a value for the amount of skill or experience points that could be earned in a one-hour period. This theoretical value represents an hour spent engaged solely in combat, levequests, or any other activities that earn skill or experience points, and sets a threshold delimiting how many of these points can be earned in a period of play.

Based on this, we have implemented a “threshold value” concept. These thresholds are regulated by a one-week timer that begins counting down the instant you earn skill/experience points. After a week has passed, the thresholds will reset, and the moment skill/experience points are earned again, the timer begins counting down anew.

For the first eight thresholds during this week-long period, players will receive skill/experience points at the maximum rate possible. The actual amount of time spent reaching these thresholds is not significant. That is to say, a player who exceeds eight hours of gameplay will still be rewarded the maximum amount of skill/experience points, so long as the total amount earned is below the eighth threshold value. For the subsequent seven thresholds, players will earn skill/experience points at a gradually decreasing rate, eventually reaching a rate of zero.

It is worth noting, however, that the reduced rate will also gradually recover while players are engaged in activities that do not yield skill/experience points. In this manner, it is possible for the threshold value to reset completely, even before the completion of the one-week timer.

Any skill points earned in excess of the threshold maximum—that is, at a rate of zero—will be stored as “bonus skill points.” These are specific to each class, so players limited to earning bonus skill points still have the freedom to change classes and begin earning skill points again at the maximum rate, allowing their reduced skill rates to recover in the meantime.

The experience point threshold, however, is unrelated to class, and switching classes will have no effect on the decreasing rate of earnable experience.

This is how the progression system currently works.

This system was not introduced in Beta 3, but has been in place since the beginning of beta testing. There are several reasons why many people believe that these features were only recently implemented:

– Leading into Beta 3, operation hours were extended, making it possible to play more often during the span of a week.
– To encourage players to form guidleve parties in Beta 3, skill and experience point rewards for guildleves were significantly increased.
– The process that reduced the amount of skill/experience points awarded for weak enemies attacking in groups was unintentionally removed at the start of Beta 3. (This issue has been addressed.)

That last reason in particular was the biggest cause for players running up against the threshold penalty, with characters earning far more skill/experience points than we anticipated. We also faced an issue where we were simultaneously unable to adjust the amount earned for guildleves as well as the effects of crossing each threshold.

We sincerely apologize for the lack of explanation and our failure to make the necessary adjustments in the game.

The threshold values are being reexamined, and we plan to further adjust the different rates of earnable points based on feedback from our testers. One of the top issues we are looking at right now is fixing the excessively rapid drop after crossing the eighth threshold. We also plan to improve experience point reduction rates, even more so than for skill points, considering the threshold is unaffected when changing class.

At the very least, we can promise that players won’t be running into the threshold penalty in the same short time span as they did in the beginning of Beta 3.

We would like to take this opportunity to also explain the following issues.

The diminishing results experienced during gathering are a function related to that class alone, and have no connection to this progression system. We are in the process of adjusting this system, and plan to make changes based on tester feedback.

We are currently in the process of considering the means in which bonus skill points can be used. There have been suggestions for various types of incentives, but as encouraging people to play with that in mind defeats the purpose of this threshold system, we will be examining this issue very carefully.

These are not the only adjustments we have planned for Open Beta. As mentioned previously, we are looking into increasing the amount of skill points earned when fighting in a party, and we look forward to seeing your input on these changes.

Last of all, I would like to apologize for the delay in releasing a developer’s comment due to my recent attendance to Gamescom. The article based on my interview during that trip, coupled with conjecture, outdated information, and some misunderstandings on overseas websites, only added to the confusion. In the future, I hope to avoid similar problems by responding directly through official developer’s comments as often as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

See you in the Open Beta Testing!

FINAL FANTASY XIV Director
Nobuaki Komoto

—–
Thoughts:

It takes guts to admit an error or oversight, especially a big one that has far-reaching effects on the perception of a game that’s in development. While the damage has been dealt, hopefully the explanation given above can pacify some of the folks out there who have begun to grow annoyed with FFXIV.

Of course, none of the above apologies will change the fact that they are trying to put in effect a system that rewards casual, balanced play more than a hardcore style of overnight gaming binges, but I’m looking forward to knowing how people will react to the nature of the character growth system once they’ve implemented the actual, complete version into the game and fans have gotten more data from their own play sessions and written about it online.

I’m just hoping people won’t rage over the way the game system, seeing as it’s trying something a little different which, depending on the person, can be a boon rather than a bane.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2010 01:00

    Of course they’ll rage! And they’ll rage about all the cut scenes and the lack of pointers to quests and quest objectives and travel times and lots of other things.

    My plan is to turn off chat and just enjoy the immersive storylines and the salty language of the denizens of the starting city. 🙂

    • August 29, 2010 01:32

      I want to hear an official Final Fantasy voiceover of the “You Spoony Bard!” moment. 😀

      That should appease all the raging FF fans.

      It’s too bad some gamers have trouble voicing their displeasure or opinions diplomatically.

      By the way, I’m currently part of a Linkshell/Guild thingy. We’re waiting for the server names and descriptions so the head of the guild can choose a server for the group. If you’re interested, why not join our Linkshell-Guild-thingy? The website is thestaronions dot com

  2. August 29, 2010 02:33

    I’m excited to see how this pans out. I’m a pretty hardcore gamer and I’d like to invest as much time into XIV as I did XI. Unfortunately with my current situation in life that won’t be possible. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to invest perhaps half of the time that I invested in XI. This being said, I’m excited to know that my situation is being catered to in terms of benefits of casual play. I totally understand how many of the gamers may find this annoying and perhaps even be angry towards this idea of essentially penalizing the people who have more time to play.

    I don’t believe this idea will work for the simple fact that we are paying a monthly fee to play this game. People don’t like to be told how to use a product that they legitimately purchase. It’s like buying a new high definition television set and you are only allowed to watch it at full 1080p resolution for 2 hours a day. Once you exceed that 2 hours, the quality drops to 720p then to 480p then it becomes so distorted that you can’t watch it anymore. only when you let the TV rest for 24 hours since you originally turned it on will t be full resolution again. That’s totally not gonna fly. Just my thoughts.

    • August 29, 2010 02:43

      I like the TV analogy you used though it doesn’t seem to be completely accurate since you’re referring to a one-time purchase as compared to monthly sub.

      That said, I would imagine much frustration on my father’s part if the TV had to regenerate resolution all the time.

      I do, however see your point with the analogy, and find myself thinking of an internet connection as an analogy instead. Imagine having your connection throttled down after using up a certain number of hours until it becomes dreadfully slow past a certain usage point or, as the article would have us use perhaps, threshold.

      Thanks for commenting! 😀

    • August 29, 2010 04:40

      Yeah but, extending your analogy…

      If you knew that a TV worked that way, would you rant and rave about it, or would you just shake your head and buy another brand?

      It isn’t like Square Enix is adding this as a change after people have purchased the game, y’know?

      As I said, I get why some people would choose not to buy the game because of this system. What I don’t get is the total outrage over it.

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