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Final Fantasy XIV

FFXIV's Yoshida on successful relaunches, switching from sub to F2P

Fantasy, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

FFXIV NPCs
Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida speaks from a unique position, both because he's responsible for an ultra-rare triple-A MMO relaunch and because Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn debuted with -- and continues to sport -- a subscription model.

Gamasutra recently interviewed Yoshida about FFXIV's success, whether or not he feels any sort of vindication, and his thoughts on the future of future subscription-based MMOs. While Yoshida says that there are pros and cons to both subs and F2P, he ultimately prefers subs, and he believes that most other MMO developers do as well.

"Some titles have to make the hard decision to switch over to free-to-play and try to gain a quick buck, pretty much, and raise their ARPU, and try to gain revenue in that manner," Yoshida explains. "I feel that they're not flipping over because they want to; sometimes, they're forced to go into that because they need to update."

Final Fantasy XIV surpasses 2 million registrations

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

A rare screenshot following the addition of the Fat Chocobo which does not contain Fat Chocobo.
There are two million people playing Final Fantasy XIV right this second. All right, maybe not quite that many, but it's certainly possible. The launch of the game's PlayStation 4 version has seen the game climb to surpass two million registered accounts, an increase of 500,000 over the 1.5 million stated in November.

No hard data have been offered on how many of those accounts are subscribing to the game at this point, although an interview with Naoki Yoshida in March stated 500,000 players were logging into the game daily. With a recent patch and a new platform, the revitalized game seems to be doing quite well for itself as it approaches the one-year mark for its relaunch.

[Source: Square-Enix press release]

The Mog Log: More time in Final Fantasy XIV's 2.2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons, Subscription

Writing ahead to not get blindsided by PAX, it's witchcraft!
I was pressed for time when Final Fantasy XIV patched at just the wrong time. I'm on a schedule, you know. My first impressions of the patch were far less comprehensive than I would have liked, although I did try to fill in the blanks as best I could down in the comments. But that was two weeks ago, and you doubtlessly expected that by now I would have gotten through the rest of the patch for more impressions.

Honestly, I could probably spend quite a bit of time talking about all the various aspects of the game altered by this particular patch, but I'd prefer to narrow my focus slightly and zoom in on the most immediately relevant bits. So let's talk a little bit more about 2.2. Let's talk about the dungeons I didn't cover last time, the quest lines, the big battles (sometimes on a bridge), and a couple of problematic elements that have cropped up.

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Here's FFXIV's PS4 launch trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Final Fantasy XIV cutscene
It's Final Fantasy XIV's launch day... on the PlayStation 4. Square's fantasy MMO reboot -- and Massively's 2013 MMO of the year -- has been dazzling gamers on the PC and the PlayStation 3 for some time now, but a new trailer reminds us that next-gen console owners can now join in the fun.

You can view the clip in its entirety after the break.

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Final Fantasy XIV teases human-NPC relationship system

Fantasy, Humor, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

FF14
Well it's April 1st already, at least in Japan, and Final Fantasy XIV has something to contribute to this off-beat day: a Favour system for the game.

Allegedly, this system will help players curry favor with NPCs and develop relationships with them because that's not creepy at all. To build an NPC's affection, players will have to perform certain tasks, hand out gifts, and even sport a particular look because that's not demeaning at all. As a player rises in affection, he or she will move to later "phases" and have access to new features (such as minigames) and interactions with the NPC.

So if you've ever wanted to start a relationship with a cute NPC that will result in an over-possessive, jealous lover who will deny you the ability to group with members of the opposite sex, here you go. Because that's not bizarre at all.

The Mog Log: A couple of days in Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.2

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons

I can't say a week, that would be a lie.
After a couple of weeks of a break from Final Fantasy XIV, I happily patched up and got back into the mix on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, I'm writing this up on Sunday morning, and honestly there's too much for me to have a firm grasp upon the entirety of it after three days. Due to schedule weirdness, I haven't even finished my usual dungeon diving. There's a whole lot to see, and I've been able to get only a top-level overview.

That having been said, I've assembled a nice new outfit via Glamours, I've tired the most brand-spanking-new dungeon, I've started in on questing, and I've submitted myself to challenges. I don't think I love this patch quite as much as its predecessor, partly since this one is more heavily focused upon the endgame portion I'm not fond of, but there's still a lot of great stuff buried in there and plenty of elements to love.

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FFXIV's Yoshida on the business benefits of the subscription model

Fantasy, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Final Fantasy XIV beholder mount
Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida recently expounded on the benefits of the subscription model in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz.

While he acknowledges the popularity of F2P, he also says that it's not necessarily the best choice for every MMO. "With the subscription model, you have that constant flow of revenue. As game developers, creators of games, we want to be able to continue providing the best gameplay experience and sustain that," Yoshida explained.

"Of course, the initial subscriber numbers might not be as many as the free-to-play model, but we have that constant stream. We're not thinking just about the business of the moment. We want to think about the long term and being able to have the funding to continue making updates. Some people might be focused on quickly gaining revenue, but you have to think about the long term."

Final Fantasy XIV offers more retainers for a price

Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

You'll need more people to store the crap I drop!
A new patch for Final Fantasy XIV is out and playable today. It's full of stuff to do, things to craft, and of course, items to acquire. This might not be a welcome bit of news to players already struggling to fit items into their burgeoning banks. But help is here, after a fashion. If you truly can't reduce your items any other way, you can now buy more retainers to take care of the many things you've still got kicking around in your inventory. The downside? It'll cost you real money.

Players are allowed to purchase up to two additional retainers for their characters at the price of $2 per month for each. The extra retainers are available to all characters on your account and will not be deleted if you discontinue the extra monthly fee but won't be accessible until you pay again. For more details on signing up and interacting with your normal retainers, check out the full update.

Final Fantasy XIV releases the first half of patch notes for 2.2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

These kobolds do not care about your patch notes.  They're like honey badgers.
Final Fantasy XIV is dropping its next major patch on March 27th. Are you ready? Have you been relentlessly following news on the coming content? Then you'll want to get an eyeful of the first half of the patch notes for patch 2.2. Yes, it's only the first half. And it still outlines a number of huge changes, not the least of which are the addition of a new primal fight, three new dungeons, more main story quests, and two new beast tribe reputations.

Philosophy tomestones are no longer being distributed -- everything that used to award Philosophy will now award Mythology, with Allagan tomestones of Soldiery taking Mythology's place as the limited-per-week currency. Existing dungeons Amdapor Keep and Pharos Sirius have both been toned down, as well, with the former easing up boss fights and the latter reducing the challenge of both bosses and enemy groups. There are also details on the new Venture system, new items available from the Grand Companies, and plenty more to be seen even in this first (partial) list of changes.

GDC 2014: Final Fantasy XIV's Naoki Yoshida explains what tanked it and what saved it

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Interviews, MMO Industry, Patches, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

FF14
There are many theories about what contributed to the spectacular crash-and-burn of the original Final Fantasy XIV, but perhaps the most insightful is the one from current Executive Producer Naoki Yoshida, who pinpointed the critical flaws that proved Square Enix's undoing.

At GDC this week, Yoshida said that the team had an "unhealthy obsession" with graphical fidelity above anything else and was stuck in the development mindset of Final Fantasy XI even as the genre had progressed. He said that A Realm Reborn's saving grace was the team's effort to establish an "optimal design flow" allowing for a rapid overhaul of the title.

It's also notable that Final Fantasy XIV has a new dev diary out today covering new gear and visual customizations called glamours that are coming with Patch 2.2.

Final Fantasy XIV half-off on Amazon

Fantasy, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV, Promotions, Subscription

Get Final Fantasy XIV half off on Amazon
If you've been waiting for a reason to grab a copy of Final Fantasy XIV, we have 15 of them for you! Those are the dollars you'll save by purchasing the game on Amazon right now.

FFXIV's standard edition for the PC is currently priced at $15.00 for the digital download (half the original list), and $24.27 for a boxed version (a savings of almost six bucks). The price on the collector's edition, however, remains unchanged. Those who nab the game now will be ready to enjoy the upcoming 2.2 patch with all its crafting, gathering, fishing, and adventuring updates.

Final Fantasy XIV shows off crafting and gathering improvements for 2.2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Crafting, Subscription

I guess FC housing just got... crafty.  (Cue The Who.)
Final Fantasy XIV's second major patch is bringing plenty of things for people to fight and kill. But what about players who would rather gather and craft? They haven't been forgotten in the slightest. The latest development blog shows off what the Disciples of the Hand and Disciples of the Land are getting up to, starting with the inclusion of new crafting stations for housing. Crafters below level 40 can earn bonus CP from these stations, making it that much easier to produce high-quality items as you level.

A plethora of new crafting recipes have also been added, including new crafting books that the most experienced crafters will be able to decipher and use. New main-hand tools will also be available in exchange for crafted goods and gathered materials, while gatherers will have access to new resources. Fishers aren't left out, either -- there's new sea life to be caught, fish so rare and unexpected that they were thought to be only legend. So if you don't want to start the next patch off with some fighting, you can take the time and just craft your days away.

The Mog Log: The last stretch before patch 2.2 in Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log

Me, I'm on a bit of a low pulse for the game until 2.2 comes out.  Not for lack of love, but you know, you can't run the same things forever without getting a little bit tired, you know?
The past week has brought up an interesting problem regarding the timing of this column and upcoming releases. On the one hand, I had planned to talk today about why there aren't more tanks in Final Fantasy XIV. On the other hand, we also have received a lot of news about patch 2.2, which is launching in a little over a week. Do I push back discussing the patch previews in favor of talking about a larger structural issue?

I don't think I can, especially when the reason there aren't as many tanks is one that's been explained dozens of times in other games whilst still being applicable here. Instead, let's talk about 2.2. We've got a week and change until this drops, and while I've already discussed a good portion of the endgame elements, we've got a clearer picture of what's coming out other than that. So while we'll doubtlessly learn more during the next live letter, let's talk about what we've got now.

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Here's Final Fantasy XIV's 2.2 trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Final Fantasy XIV, Dungeons, Crafting, Subscription

FFXIV's Whorleater
Square has released an eight-minute trailer for Final Fantasy XIV's 2.2 patch. Titled Through the Maelstrom, the clip shows off a boss fight with The Whorleater along with new hairstyles, gardening, a fishing update, hard-mode versions of existing dungeons, and more.

Click past the cut to have a look!

[Thanks zengar!]

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Final Fantasy producers talk player numbers, what makes an MMO fun

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Final Fantasy XIV finger wag
An enterprising user on the Square-Enix forums has translated a lengthy interview with Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida, Final Fantasy XI producer Akihiko Matsui, and Dragon Quest X producer Yousuke Saito. The piece originally ran on 4gamer.net, and it focuses on everything from the three developers' backgrounds to what makes an MMORPG fun.

Yoshida also drops a few hints about A Realm Reborn's player numbers, which include approximately 1.8 million accounts and 500,000 daily active users worldwide.

[Thanks Rohan!]

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