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  • Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

    We finally compiled the answers from some of the questions asked from the users at FFXIOnline.com, and here we provide you with the answers with their corresponding questions.

    This following question was NOT answered during OUR personal Development Team interview slot, because it was answered prior in one of the presentations made publicly. As such, it will be covered in our Fan Festival 2007 update thread (or other places).
    Originally posted by Question 1
    Since the ToAU update, many xp parties have adopted the "Melee Burn" style of fighting enemies in the higher levels and because of this, there is no real benefit to skillchaining and magic bursting. In the lower levels, most players do not see much benefit from skillchains and magic bursts so they generally do not do them. Are there any current plans to encourage tactical coordination between players in a hunting party through the use of skillchains, magic bursts, and other cooperative battle features such as expanding the damage or benefits via skillchains and magic bursts? Or is there a possibility of adding an entirely new cooperative battle feature?
    This question was also misplaced on the list (by accident) and was missed during the interview and was not asked:
    Originally posted by Question 3
    How will PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 support be addressed as PlayStation 2s are phased out with the PlayStation 3 becoming dominant?
    The Development Team interviewed consists of the individuals shown in the picture (including the Translator):

    From left to right (in English style family name last): Hiromichi Tanaka (Producer of FFXI), Michael-Christopher Koji Fox (Japanese-English Translator), Mitsutoshi Gondai (Planner of FFXI), Kouichi Ogawa (Director of Wings of the Goddess & Treasures of Aht Urhgan), Akihiko Matsui (Battle Director of FFXI), Kenichi Iwao (Planner of FFXI), Sage Sundi (Global Online Producer)
    So on with the remainder of the questions!

    Q:There has been long standing difference between the interest of the player base in playing certain jobs and roles, and the perceived need for those classes for forming successful parties and alliances. Over time, this has caused many players and jobs to become pigeonholed or stereotyped into roles that are less enjoyable to play.
    For example, many red mages and summoners feel their jobs uniqueness is eclipsed by their ability to perform the critical healer position in a party; Many players who have leveled bard feel trapped by the demand of their job into never getting to play anything else, and there seems to be a strong sentiment of there not being enough tanks to go around what solutions are you considering to make more necessary roles more attractive to players?

    A:(Misutoshi Gondai, Hiromichi Tanaka)
    Now that we have 20 jobs altogether each one has its main concept and what it had designed between the roles. One of our jobs is to try and not to make the jobs overlap too much, because then the single job loses its color. If all the jobs can do the same thing, what’s the point of having all of those jobs when you can just have one? So with more jobs, the more customized they will be, and in those cases, the jobs fall into those stereotypes. For example the Bard will be there for the Bard’s role.

    While players might want to have different play styles with that bard, the bard has its specific role which puts more emphasis and importance upon the job. By having these jobs becoming more specific, it better enhances the color of that job. But as you say there are play styles where people want to do different things and not just be placed in those roles.

    And so one of the things that we are doing is we are making adjustments to the jobs, like what we said about the adjustments with the warriors and beastmasters about making them have more tanking capability; and with dancers’ ability to able to provoke using one of the abilities. So by expending this way and giving players more ability, they will have more options, so they won’t be as restricted for what they do in a party.

    Also one of the other things we are focusing on with the new expansion is creating opportunities for smaller parties to go out and earn experience. Especially the dancer, it’s good for parties of about 3 or 4 players, because they can do many different things. So by having more opportunities of having smaller parties go out than it leaves more options open for what they can do in those parties.

    Q:What plans are being made, if any and how, to improve the search function to allow players to seek on multiple jobs or otherwise make it easier to find XP parties? How will any new adjustments work? Is there a time frame for the improvement to be implemented?

    A: (Hiromichi Tanaka)
    It goes back to the previous question in that if players are able to see all of the jobs that are available, then they can always say "Oh, he has a bard, please come as a bard." when he might want to only play as a red mage, as his ninja, or as his paladin, or whatever. So by making it so that you can only search by the job that the person is, that is the job that the person wants to play it, take it or leave it. And then if the person wants an option to play as his other jobs, then that is what the search comment is for.

    Q:Is there a way to make a compromise between the two? So one side is not pigeonholed into a role while the other can say they want to play as all these jobs?

    A:(Hiromichi Tanaka)
    That is what the search comment is for, so while the people that want to play all these jobs can put additional comments to play additional jobs, others can simply not write anything and present only the jobs they want to play as.

    Q:Is there a way to then search the comments area for those extra jobs?

    A: (Hiromichi Tanaka)
    We did have an idea of doing that, being able to search within search comments. But again, for the same type of reasons that it would reduce the amount of freedom [to not show a job], we decided to not implement that.

    Q:The treasures of Aht’urghan expansion introduced familiar Final Fantasy activities such as Chocobo breeding, Racing, Hot-and-cold, and 100 Level dungeons in the form of Nyzul Isle Assault. What plans are there to include additional Mini-games or to improve existing interaction between mini-games?

    A:(Kouichi Ogawa, Akihiko Matsui)
    Well first of all there are plans of adding more types of activities such as that, but one thing that we need to make clear is that, we are not putting in mini-games because we want to put in the mini-games, its because things that we want to do are best presented in mini-games. So the mini-games aren’t added for sake of having mini-games, it just turned out that a lot of things we wanted to do in the last patch happen to be done through the mini games.

    Q:What are some of the difficulties or experiences of interest you have faced building a game for such a diverse audience and trying to have them play together?

    A:(Hiromichi Tanaka)
    Two main things. First of all, the main thing is the language barrier, because you are playing with people from all over the world and lots of different languages and how to break down all those language barriers as much as possible. One of the things we came up with was the tabbed dictionary, and we realize that the tabbed dictionary is not perfect. But if you try to make something perfect, then players end up spending alot of time trying to use this perfect machine to make perfect sentences. So its something the players need to be able to use quickly and maybe not perfectly get across the meaning, but get across enough of the meaning that it won't hamper their play experience. And so coming up with that system was probably the most difficult.

    Another thing that was difficult, that does not have much to do with the actual in-game stuff, but has to do more with the management, is the infrastructure, the internet and the network infrastructure in different regions were so much different. If we were just concentrating on Japan, where most everyone has broadband connection there is probably almost no narrowband connection in Japan, then we will be able to offer more types of content that could use those types of broadband connections. However, in other regions like Europe and America, some people will have these great broadband connections, but then the other people will still have these narrowband connections and we have alot of people still have dial-up, especially back when our service first started. So, by only offering content that are based for broadband users, then this leaves out the narrowband users, the dial-up users, and so we have to make adjustments so we can have things for everyone. So this is one of the biggest things, trying to get the infrastructure understood and working.

    Q:How often has the player community surprised you with the many feats done since the release of the game? What were some of the things that were most memorable to you?

    A:(Akihiko Matsui, Hiromichi Tanaka, Mitsutoshi Gondai)
    The first time that the Shadow Lord was defeated all the way back when the level cap was still 50, pretty much everyone at the dev team thought it was impossible for anyone to defeat the Shadow Lord, but when someone did it everyone was pretty much surprised. And when the level cap was raised there was someone who defeated [a particularly difficult NM] by themselves.

    **(FFXIOnline.com Staff Note: The recording did not come out well on this part due to background noise, and we thought we heard Te’Zha or Carthi [depending on which staff you talk to about what they heard], but we are not entirely sure.)

    Also when we had the first player to get all the jobs to level 75, and now we have four of those players…

    A:(Sage Sundi)
    I forgot which show it was at, but there was a person with actual Final Fantasy XI tattooed, that person must think of playing the game forever.

    Q:If you knew back in initial development what you know now, what would the Development Team have done differently?

    A:(Hiromichi Tanaka, Akihiko Matsui, Mitsutoshi Gondai)
    There are probably a lot of little things, a ton of little things that we would change, for example, all of the technological experience that we gained [in programming the game]. For example, things when they were designed 5 to 6 years ago, like the way magic is used and recast times and little things like that, things that was said we would like to do [one way], but we do not know how so we have to do it like [another way], the things that just basically stayed for the rest of the game. Now we know how to get around it, programming wise, so we would do a lot of the things we are doing now a long time ago. But in the whole picture, we believe things have gone well enough that the way we have done things [so far] is fine. We would do them again just as we have now.

    Q:What would the Community Team have done differently?

    A:(Sage Sundi)
    The one thing we would want to do the most is to start all the regions at once, rather than having Japan, and then America, and then Europe later, all staggered; we would do everything at the same time. We knew it was going to be popular around the world.

    Q:What is SquareEnix’s stance on account sharing and some players’ request to have their “siblings’” (or friends’) Characters\Content ID separated from their account?

    A:(Hiromichi Tanaka, Sage Sundi)
    As you may or may not know, way back in the beta, in fact we had that feature. We had a parent account with sub accounts within the parent account. We have tried it out, but for number of reasons we decided not to go with it. And some of those reasons being security type of risks involved, and also people would buy just one account, and on the side, would sell their sub accounts out. And we wouldn’t want that happening, so the easiest way to get around that is just by having one single account.

    Q:What influenced each of you the most on your work on Final Fantasy XI?

    A:(Hiromichi Tanaka)
    The [Final Fantasy] Series in general was based off of the older games like Ultimate Wizardry. But [Final Fantasy] XI was based off of the original Final Fantasy I, II, and III, [for the] things that the planners and developers and I wanted to do back in those days; but because of the limitations of the technology we were not able to do, we are now able to do those in Final Fantasy XI.

    A:(Kouichi Ogawa)
    Because I am in charge of the maps of Final Fantasy XI for the whole period of ins and outs, I get most of my ideas and inspirations from lots of the movies that I see and also the games that I produce, and also the places I have been myself. But I also get a lot of feedback and inspiration from the players, so when I see that the players like [one thing] and don't like [another], I take a lot of [this feedback] and put it in my work.

    A:(Mitsutoshi Gondai)
    The game that got me into gaming was Diablo, so that is probably the game that influenced me the most with the biggest impression on me, and that is what makes me the gamer that I am. But for Final Fantasy XI in general, it’s pretty much that I get the most inspiration from the actual community, the player community.

    A:(Akihiko Matsui)
    Not just for Final Fantasy XI, but for my work in general I got a lot of my inspiration from board games. And another things is also from AD&D (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons), old school table top, I get a lot of inspiration from that. For my inspiration for working on a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), the first MMO that I really got into was Everquest, I got a lot [of experience] from that as well. Finally, for Final Fantasy XI, I get a lot of my inspiration from what I do by going in [the game] and playing [the game for] myself, and seeing other players in the game and watching how they play, learning a lot of things from that [observation].

    A:(Kenichi Iwao)
    Because I worked on the world setting and the background story of FFXI, I had to a lot of studying on ancient and medieval history type of weapons and I have a lot of books on armors and swords that gives me inspiration. And as a member of SCA (The Society for Creative Anachronism: http://www.sca.org/ ) I have learned a lot from it also.

    A:(Sage Sundi)
    What I used as a Global Online Producer is a book called MUD by Richard Bartle and basically it breaks the player community into 4 different groups and so when running the community, I use it as a bible. Another thing that really helps me is by knowing both Japanese and English, so I can go and find out what both English and Japanese players are saying about the game.

    Special Thanks to PiNG, and our Premier Site Community Manager of FFXI for making it possible.

    Other questions not asked due to time limitations:

    Originally posted by Question 10
    How do you keep track of all the various quests and stories as to ensure continuity and their relationships with each other during development?
    Originally posted by Question 11
    With world selection restrictions removed, are players from different physical regions mixing together more on each world, or are they becoming more segregated along world lines?
    Signature was intentionally left blank.

  • #2
    Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

    Only interesting thing here is that they thought SL was impossible. At which, wtf?

    This could very well mean they think AV is impossible too.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

      What's up with Sage Sundi's head?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

        Originally posted by Feba View Post
        Only interesting thing here is that they thought SL was impossible. At which, wtf?
        This could very well mean they think AV is impossible too.
        No. They specifically stated they did not think AV was impossible during the time they discussed their plans for the AV secrets video.
        Wii Number - 2810 2423 4673 3261 - Please PM me if you add me!
        How to ask smart questions: catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

        Boom! (On SCH75/RDM)

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        • #5
          Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

          Originally posted by Tsrwedge View Post
          No. They specifically stated they did not think AV was impossible during the time they discussed their plans for the AV secrets video.
          You mean the video that comes conveniently before a version update?
          Originally posted by Armando
          No one at Square Enix has heard of Occam's Razor.
          Originally posted by Armando
          Nintendo always seems to have a legion of haters at the wings ready to jump in and prop up straw men about hardware and gimmicks and casuals.
          Originally posted by Taskmage
          GOD IS MIFFED AT AMERICA

          REPENT SINNERS OR AT LEAST GIVE A NONCOMMITTAL SHRUG

          GOD IS AMBIVALENT ABOUT FURRIES

          THE END IS COMING ONE OF THESE DAYS WHEN GOD GETS AROUND TO IT
          Originally posted by Taskmage
          However much I am actually smart, I got that way by confronting how stupid I am.
          Matthew 16:15

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          • #6
            Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

            I personally feel that the whole lowered resistance to skillchains idea will help, but not enough to let meleeburn and SC+MB be balanced with each other. It's a start, though. If it is indeed not enough, I hope they actually make the relative XP per hour connection next. Maybe through a question asked at our next opportunity? -- Pteryx

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            • #7
              Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

              Way to miss arguably the most important question on the list...


              and lol @ the Avesta inuendo.
              sigpic


              "BLAH BLAH BLAH TIDAL WAVE!!!"

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              • #8
                Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

                You guys dont realise how hard he was when the cap was 50 back in those days =P(Old timer)
                Kelenae - Ramuh - Mithra Female - Windurst Rank 10 - Gone?
                Dirtha - Taru Taru Female - Windurst Rank 2 - Gone?
                www.twitter.com/kelenaev (|Please check it|)

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                • #9
                  Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

                  What a jip ; ; so much for duo boxing the same account =/
                  Though, that shadowlord tibit was fun to read o-o;
                  Adventures of Akashimo Hakubi & Nekoai Nanashi


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                  • #10
                    Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

                    Anyone traveling through Castle Z, even at 75 should be able to imagine just how hard it was pre-zilart. I'm sure the only way to even reach the SL was with at least 18 people storming the place. Must have been epic ; ;
                    sigpic


                    "BLAH BLAH BLAH TIDAL WAVE!!!"

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                    • #11
                      Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

                      Yeah, I've often wished to be able to voluntarily level cap for fights like the shadow lord. It's just not right having a level 75 smash him possibly before the opening cutscene is even over.
                      lagolakshmi on Guildwork :: Lago Aletheia on Lodestone

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                      • #12
                        Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

                        Originally posted by Malacite View Post
                        Anyone traveling through Castle Z, even at 75 should be able to imagine just how hard it was pre-zilart. I'm sure the only way to even reach the SL was with at least 18 people storming the place. Must have been epic ; ;
                        Yea... the good old days =P
                        Kelenae - Ramuh - Mithra Female - Windurst Rank 10 - Gone?
                        Dirtha - Taru Taru Female - Windurst Rank 2 - Gone?
                        www.twitter.com/kelenaev (|Please check it|)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

                          You guys dont realise how hard he was when the cap was 50 back in those days =P
                          Nobody here doesn't realize that. We just think the way SE looks at it is silly.
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

                            You didn't follow up with "What if I wanted to search with a lvl 75 job, a lvl 50 job and a lvl 20 job? The search function does not help at all in this case."

                            Failure on a massive scale.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Development Team Interview Questions.... Answers.

                              talk about complete and utter buzzkill :s

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