Video Game Tuesday: An Amazing Community Project

Hey all I’m back with a more brief article than usual for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about An Awesome Community Project!

What project?: Well user Aelrindyl on the Final Fantasy XIV subreddit had made a post asking for the game’s community to send in images and birthday wishes for the games director, Yoshida Naoki. They’d be professionally bound and printed and sent to him for his birthday. I sent in a submission myself, although I made a mistake on the email address so it didn’t get to Aelrindyl for the project. Nonetheless the book was over 250 pages of printed birthday wishes, thanks and many, many screenshots from the community. It was an awesome project and frankly I don’t remember anyone doing something as awesome as this for a game’s director.

Why not?: Most game directors tend to be reviled or tolerated at best, but Yoshida is universally well liked and is best known in the community by his nickname Yoshi-P. The time he gives the community and the humble and eager manner with which he deals with all issues is frankly amazing. He took a game that was universally disliked and remade it into one of the most popular MMORPGs in the world. Despite all that he still gives nearly monthly broadcast sessions he calls “Live Letters”. These Live Letters often touch on upcoming features for Final Fantasy XIV, or things that people are asking about. Are people upset with a certain game design choice? It’s most likely going to be discussed and explained in the next Live Letter.

So special shout out to Reddit user Aelrindyl on making such an awesome community project, here is the link to the thread where Aelrindyl relays the dev team’s thanks and messages after Yoshi-P got his birthday present. And once more a Happy Birthday to Yoshi-P!

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Video Game Tuesday: Stormblood and PS3 Support

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m turning my attention to the big news that came from the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest in Las Vegas a week and half ago! It’s all about Stormblood and PS3 Support!

Stormblood?: Stormblood is the next expansion for Final Fantasy XIV and will take us to Ala Mhigo and give us two new Jobs in addition to raising the level cap to 70 and giving us tons of new things to do. Speculated Jobs at the moment are Red Mage, Samurai, and Dancer. Personally I’m betting on Red Mage (as a Melee DPS) and Samurai (Also as a Melee DPS). Dancer isn’t very likely to be implemented until they fix the current tanking and healing classes. Red Mage being a sword user who also uses close combat versions of magic elements is the reason why I see it being a Melee DPS. It’s always had a focus on melee damage and DPS is the most logical choice because there isn’t a pure support class type, and never will be, and there will never be a hybrid class or talent tree system either by the way.

Yoshi-P has shot down any hopes for those who wanted them. Personally I’m happy they won’t ever be in the game, as FFXIV doesn’t need either a pure support class type and definitely doesn’t need a hybrid class and/or talent trees. Samurai is my second bet for the last job, and like Red Mage will be a Melee DPS class, FFXIV doesn’t need any more tanks until they can fix the current stat system to make our current tanks not just glorified damage dealers with really heavy armor. Healing is obviously out of the question for Samurai. Dancer was hoped for because of what appears to happens in the trailer, which is awesome by the way, but the Lady in Red isn’t a Dancer she is most definitely a Monk. Also the same goes for tanking and healing as I mentioned for Samurai, the stat system needs some serious reworking before we get any more of them.

What’s this about PS3 Support though?: What was met with the biggest cheers after the announcement of Stormblood as the next expansion is the fact that FFXIV will no longer support PlayStation 3 after 4.0 drops. In fact they won’t even be able to play according to Yoshi-P. Frankly this has been a long time coming and I guessed that this would happen a year ago. The PS3 was holding back the game in every aspect and was a serious pain to play on, with loading times being unbearable and it affecting newer boss fights. With the PS4 Pro and price cuts and Stormblood coming out in Summer 2017, 4.0 is the perfect time to drop PS3 Support like the dead weight it is.

Every aspect?: Yes from inventory space, to zone sizes. The PS3 had serious issues that held back the gameplay for the rest of the player base.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: Community Interaction Revisited

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Hi all I’m back with a topic that I’ve covered before, but it really needs to be said again since people seem to forget how important this is, for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! It’s Community Interaction Revisited!

What do I mean Community Interaction?: I mean how a developer and their players talk about the game, it’s problems and various things they’d like to see added. In games where things are expected to be changing regularly (I mean every couple of months at most), players want to know why things are being done. Almost nobody likes being hit out of the blue with a change that completely changes the way they play the game. So having proper interaction between developer and players is vital to keeping a game successful.

What’s a Good Interaction?: Take Final Fantasy XIV, it launched and was terrible. The game looked amazing, had great voicework, but it played terribly. So when they changed game directors to Naoki Yoshida, or Yoshi-P to fans, he started doing these regular updates that would address concerns and feedback and upcoming changes. He called them Live Letters from the Producer. He just did one last week, and every FFXIV player looks forward to these interactions greatly, with people staying up till 3AM Pacific Time to translate directly the announcements. It’s huge and it’s very successful. That isn’t to say people are always happy with all the changes, but they are all happy to know why these changes occur.  There was a Live Letter just this past weekend and it gave a general game plan and outline for the next few months. It also gave reasons why and announced many things. It was wonderful in that it doesn’t tell us everything, gotta leave some surprises for players to find, but it gave us a solid feeling of what we can expect in the future without going crazy speculating and getting hopes up.

What’s a Bad Interaction?: Pretty much any interaction from Bungie regarding their games is a good example. Destiny had great promise, but months before and after the launch Bungie’s interactions with their playerbase has been terrible. They don’t give concrete detailed reasons for changes almost ever, and it takes months for them to even talk about basic things. Take their update last week about Destiny’s April Update as an example. They gave us a few bullet points of information, showed some gameplay, and were mysterious and vague about almost everything. No solid information was really given about anything specific other than Light Level. Compare that to FFXIV’s Live Letter this weekend and the difference is incredibly outstanding.

So what can I, the player, do?: Get active on the community forums of your favorite game and ask for more proper interaction. Hell point them to this article if you want. Make suggestions, ask for proper explanations, but make your voice heard. Yoshi-P said he’d add region specific items from China and Korea if the western players wanted it badly enough. Guess what happened in the few hours after that? A single forum thread on the official forums was started asking them to do just that and showing people saying they wanted those items. My guess what will happen?: Give it a few months and they’ll be added, even if it takes a while and for these it really shouldn’t, they’ll be added. It’s a wonderful way for players and communities to interact and it actually works.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: FFXIV vs P5000

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering the stupidity that was the uproar over a piece of music last week. It’s all about FFXIV vs P5000!

What’s this all about?: Well last week Final Fantasy XIV had their patch 3.2 launch with a new boss fight, Sephirot (no, not the long white haired dude), and some random YouTuber thought that the second phase of the fight’s musical score sounded familiar. Well it turns out it did sound familiar to some song by a band I hadn’t ever heard about, nor do I even care about still, Powerman 5000. The band in question made inflammatory remarks on their Facebook page.  The game’s director Naoki Yoshida, Yoshi-P to players, responded the next day with the remarks that he had heard about the uproar here in the States and said flat out that the sound director had not copied it.

My take on it?: It’s utter bullshit. It might have sounded similar, however it also wasn’t copying the song in question and it sounded similar to every other song in that genre of music. Another thing that I’ll point out and I’ve done so before, is that Plagiarism is the basis for all artistic activities. No one reinvents the wheel unless they are beyond stupid, and using musical techniques that others have used before isn’t stealing from them. It’s a technique not an IP that you can copyright. Powerman 5000 has no right to even bitch about this, let alone even pursue legal action (which they’d lose).

That all being said I actually enjoyed the hell out of the boss fight in question, it’s quite fun and the music is enjoyable, but I’m not going to go downloading Powerman 5000 because it’s in the same genre, I’ve never heard about them prior to this.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: Proper Interactions

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about something I participated in last week. It’s all about Proper Interactions!

Background: An In-Game Event started on August 27th this year to commemorate the 2nd Anniversary of the launch of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. This was the relaunch of a game that was universally criticized so badly that the director was replaced and the new director, Naoki Yoshida, strove to remake the game to be so much better.

What Makes This Event Special: Normally this would be a great time to show off some things, hint about upcoming things and just have fun with your player base. Instead Naoki Yoshida, or as he’s affectionately called by the FF14 community Yoshi-P, and his team at Square Enix took the time to not only do all that, but included an incredibly heartfelt letter to each player in the form of a special room where key staff members are all NPCs and talk to you about what they do and how they interact with you specifically. There are also lots of cool little in game nods to upcoming things, and teasers to unannounced content. However at the end of your time in this room you are treated to a scene where your character is surrounded by each of these staff members, including Yoshi-P, and they all thank you for continuing to give them the support and criticism that made A Realm Reborn so successful. This isn’t the first time I’ve been made to feel like the center of the story instead of some hapless lunk who get’s told to do the dirty work for NPC leaders too lazy or weak to do it themselves. However it’s the first time I’ve ever been treated this way by a game developer and been made to feel special not only in the continuing storyline of the game itself, but in the making of the storyline and many other things as well. It made me and many other’s cry at the simple honesty that we as a consumer so rarely get from the developers.

Why make a big deal about this?: Because it’s all too often that a game developer loses their connection with their player-base and starts to lose their faith. It’s been steadily happening to even giants in the field like Blizzard, who I still can’t believe is being this stupid about flying in their upcoming World of Warcraft expansion. Despite all this Yoshi-P and his team at Square Enix continue to make their customer’s feel appreciated in countless tiny and smaller ways and that’s why they’ll be getting my business for the foreseeable future.  It’s why they’ve almost reached the same subscriber amount as World of Warcraft, who has continuously been losing subscriptions for years at this point.

Thank you Yoshi-P and your team for making us as the player feel special.