Details on the class change:World of Warcraft 5.4 patch

It's a patch!  Hide your class abilities quickly!

It’s one of the last patches of World of Warcraft’s Mists of Pandaria expansion, and that means one more set of adjustments to the game’s classes. You could, naturally, assume that all of the changes are being made because Blizzard hates your favorite class and loves your least favorite class. Or you could take a look at the most recent development post detailing why class abilities are being changed for better or worse.

While the changes for each class are different, all of the classes have had several unappealing talents improved and a few overpowered talents toned down a bit. There are also several changes based on situational power — Holy Paladins, for example, had too much mana when able to get into melee and too little mana when forced to stay at range. If you want to see how your class fared in this round of rebalancing, take a look at the full rundown before posting your rant about being horribly nerfed.

Do you want to learn more about Wow Power leveling ?

Sexism!Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Passive sexism is a big deal to me. If it isn’t a big one for you, it should be, because at some point high heels and metal bikinis became something passively accepted in games as a whole and that’s not all right. MMORPGs on a whole do better than single-player titles, but you still have games like TERA that stick every female character into gravity-defying heels and the legal minimum required for clothing, or Scarlet Blade and its outfits made entirely out of electrical tape and fishnet.

Some games are better or worse about this than others. The Secret World allows you to dress up either gender to be as sexy or as casual as you like, and Guild Wars made a point of keeping skimpy armor as skimpy armor for both genders in most cases. (Although not hardly all.) But the question that’s actually relevant to this column is how Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV stack up, and the answer is that they acquit themselves remarkably well. So much so that they’re among the most even-handed games I’ve seen, if not at the top of the list.

ffxi moglog sexism 2 epl 129 Final Fantasy XIV and sexismJudging sexism in MMOs is a tricky thing, partly because pretty much every MMO ever allows you to play as either gender without any penalties. (Disregarding momentary weirdness or accidents). So it comes down heavily on the side of incidentals and clothing. What are outfits like on both genders? What do the female models look like compared to the male models? What sort of role do female NPCs take, and how are they treated in dialogue?

Let’s start with the first point — clothing. Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV both have some armor that’s clearly sexualized, with Harnesses in particular leaving little to the imagination. But that works both ways, looking equally skimpy on male or female characters. Heavy metal armor is pretty much equivalent for both genders, avoiding the tendency to hug a woman’s chest despite being made of metal. Far from TERA’s high-heeled plate, the armor that you wear is practical and functional.

The one weakness that FFXI had in this department was giving women trousers instead of varying degrees of hot pants. It’s nice that I don’t have a low-cut metal corset instead of heavy plate, but the effect is somewhat undercut when my plate armor has a gap to show some thigh. FFXIV does not share this problem.

FFXIV also features a few more options for sexualized armor, but it’s also even-handed in its approach there. The summer swimsuits were skimpy on women, but they were just as skimpy on men, and you could earn the same cheesecake character portraits by unlocking them. About the only thing that shows more skin when worn by women are the various coatees, and considering that they turn into form-fitting dapper tuxedos on the men, I think it’s more a matter of different kinds of eye candy.

This wouldn’t mean a lot if the games featured proportions that would make Barbie dolls look realistic, but the female models in the game are among the best I’ve seen. Having some motion-capture work here no doubt helps, but even beyond that characters of both genders are proportioned nicely and posed naturally. The posing in particular is nice, with none of the extended sway-backed look-at-how-sexy-I-am animations you find in all too many games.

More points are due to FFXIV for the upcoming Highlander and Roedagyn women, both of whom look excellent as well as being very representative of the other half of the gender. Highlanders and Roedgayn men are clearly large and muscular, and I was worried that the women would be much leaner and closer to an arbitrary ideal. Instead, both look to be just as muscular as their distaff counterparts, which marks one of the rare occasions that players really have an option of playing a large and muscular woman.

ffxiv moglog sexism 1 epl 129 Final Fantasy XIV and sexism

So that just leaves us with the stories and NPCs of the game, which really serve to reinforce the obvious theme I’m getting at here. Major NPCs can easily be found of both genders across a wide range of personalities, and about the only role that seems to favor men is that of the villain. (Which, considering my opinion of the online villains, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.) Only Curilla seems to have her gender merit a special mention, and none of that takes away from her position.

The games don’t even fall into the all-too-common trap of having supposedly competent women constantly unable to achieve their goals; Merlwyb in particular comes across as frighteningly capable, and the only reason she isn’t taking over the entirety of Eorzea is because the continent is facing bigger problems.

In truth, the most arbitrarily sexist thing I can find in either game is the fact that female summons always appear in a vaguely humanoid shape, while male summons can look like more or less anything. And considering Phoenix’s gender in FFXI, even that’s not entirely true. (Although you only deal with Phoenix in a roundabout fashion, but now I’m splitting hairs.) Even that is almost more a matter of tradition than actual bias, since Shiva and Garuda both have an established look from previous games.

You can argue that the game isn’t perfect, and I’d agree with that. There are ladies plying the oldest profession in Ul’dah who will proposition either gender, but there are no men doing the same. But out of all the MMOs I’ve played, FFXI and FFXIV frequently do some of the best jobs of being fair to both genders from creation to level cap. So points to both games for that.


If you chat to learn more about FFXIV Gil message.

New Final Fantasy XIV Shows: Gilgamesh

FFXIV Gilgamesh 670x446 New Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Render Brings Forth Gilgamesh

 Do you want to learn more about FFXIV Power leveling ?

Gilgamesh is one of the most beloved characters in the Final Fantasy series, even more so because he appears in almost every numbered chapter, with varying roles ranging from a villain to a NPC or even a summon.

A few months ago we saw a piece of artwork showing his appearance in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, but today we got something a lot more substantial: the actual render of the textured 3D model. You can check him out above.

Looks quite imposing, doesn’t he? Can’t say I’m not eager to cross swords (and gunhalberds, axes and maces, apparently) with him in the game. Luckily, the open beta is going to start soon (on August the 17th for everyone and on August the 16th for those that took part in the closed beta) to ease everyone’s withdrawals.

Still no spectator mode in the works for World of Warcraft arena

Still no spectator mode in the works for WoW arena

If you chat to learn more about honor points powerleveling message.

While there are many changes in store for the arena in patch 5.4, there are still no development plans for a spectator mode according to EU community manager, Nakatoir.

The latest blue post on the matter reiterates much of what we’ve heard before — that yes, a spectator mode would be awesome but would require great number of resources to develop. Thus it’s not currently in the cards.

Nakatoir — Spectator mode and the esport scene in general

I don’t deny that getting a working spectator mode would help with community ran competitions and tournaments and it’s one of the reasons that we would like to have one. Understand that this is something we know that players want and it’s something that we would like to provide to you. We simply have no plans at this time to implement such a feature, but when we are able to implement this feature we’ll be sure to let you know about it.


Given the incoming arena and PvP changes slated to arrive in patch 5.4, one might expect the demand for a spectator feature to increase, but who knows for sure? What do you think? Would having spectator mode increase your interest and participation in arena? Do you think the WoW eSports community would grow if there was a dedicated spectator mode like the ones found in StarCraft 2 or League of Legends?



You all seem to forget to remember that they could add Spectator Mode for ALL instanced content. So when what ever top raiding guilds has the latest raid on farm mode, they can allow people to spectate them to see how they are handling the encounters. Would be good for those guilds who cant clear a certain boss etc. Specator Mode shouldn’t be restricted just for Arena.

I see no harm in adding a specator mode to the game. It would only do the game good.


It’s a pity that they have no plans to implement this / tackle the technical challenges involved.

If it was implemented in such a way that you could actually go to an arena, be in the stands with a whole bunch of other players (ie brawler’s guild) and watch the world’s best together, it could be a completely revolutionary way to watch e-sports and while it would be limited to the player-base of WoW already, that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering how many players there are.

A big problem with competitive arena is how hard it is to follow the action, especially for people who don’t already play, but if it was purely presented in-game for people who already play WoW, with a UI made for it, it could be absolutely amazing.

World of Warcraft microtransactions


At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you’ve come to the right post.

World of Warcraft already offered an external cash shop; it sold character transfers and sparkleponies and similar mundanities for years. But this week, Blizzard confirmed that the almost-nine-year-old MMO will soon receive an in-game cash shop. Though it’s called a Pet Store, the shop hopes to sell subscribers more than mere minipets; Blizzard also wants you to pay for cosmetic gear and TCG-inspired toys. Is Blizz double-dipping or just aligning with the times? Like it or not, it’s probably both.


If you chat to learn more about valor points power leveling message.

Combat:Final Fantasy XIV beta two phase

I’ve mentioned in the past that sometimes plans get changed dramatically between when I plan my next column and when I actually write it. This week, it turned out that I could stop being mum about the Final Fantasy XIV beta. So that meant throwing out plans and starting back over. In fact, it meant starting way over, since I found myself with so many things that I wanted to talk about it was difficult to figure out where to start.

If you chat to learn more about FFXIV Gil message.

So I’m starting with the obvious. I’m going to talk about aspects of the first two beta phases in as much detail as I can realistically fit into a column starting with one of those obvious cornerstones of video games: combat. This isn’t meant to be about impressions so much as dissecting and analyzing what I’ve played to this point, what is working, and what isn’t. If you want to know my more in-depth impressions of killing things in Final Fantasy XIV’s early test version, read on.

ffxiv moglog betacombat 1 epl 425 Final Fantasy XIV beta phase 1 and 2   combatGeneral combat impressions

These early beta phases are not indicative of the game’s entire combat setup. Marauder, Pugilist, Thaumaturge, and Arcanist are all unavailable due to the way the Armoury System works, which means that it’s hard to get a clear grasp on how all of the classes will interact in the end. But even here there are some obvious differences, starting with the fact that some standby abilities just don’t matter any more.

Case in point: Cure. Cure has gone from being madly useful for every class to being borderline useless on most classes. I even went for broke on Lancer and pumped up my Mind only to find that it still healed for paltry amounts, meaning that I would need to look in other directions to avoid my health being whittled down in larger fights. This may have been neutered to make potions a more attractive consumable option.

This is not exactly a bad thing. It’s frustrating in places, but it does mean that certain abilities are no longer automatic additions to your skill bar. For the record, while Cure is pretty useless, Protect remains an excellent option.

Actual combat is mostly a matter of managing your cooldowns, resources, and combo attacks. At lower levels in solo combat, this is fairly brainless; since TP starts full and refreshes quickly, the first several levels require you mostly to just hammer out your weapon skills as quickly as possible. Once you get into the mid-teens, however, you have more activated abilities to manage to momentarily boost attack power or add an effect or whatever, and you probably have your first combo attack to spice things up.

The further along you get, the more it becomes clear that your TP is not nearly as unlimited as it looks. It does regenerate fairly quickly even in combat, but as you get out your higher-level abilities, you can also burn through it very quickly. Tanking in particular often forced me to be careful about which skills I used and when because I just didn’t have enough TP or MP to blast out with guns blazing at all times.

Having a global cooldown set for 2.5s seems a bit slow at first, but in practice it allows just enough time between abilities that your individual choices are a bit more significant. It doesn’t really have an impact on battle pacing overall; a normal fight was over about as quickly as a fight with a single enemy in World of Warcraft, for example. At higher levels, combat felt methodical but not slow — cripple the first target instead of using high-damage abilities to reduce incoming damage, set up a combo, then buff my attack power and finish that combo on the second target. It was strategic rather than frantic, if you will.

ffxiv moglog betacombat 2 epl 425 Final Fantasy XIV beta phase 1 and 2   combatClass by class

Gladiator: The class I played most in the original version of Final Fantasy XIV and also my preferred class in the beta phases, the Gladiator has taken its nature as a tank and run with it. The net result is a class that feels more cohesive but still has a few options for dealing damage, mostly for porting over to other classes or using while solo. It’s also got both a healing buff and the ability to use Cure with some utility, making it resilient even while solo.

Lancer: Of all the classes in 1.0, Lancer seemed to have the most issue with its overall identity; despite its unique Surge mechanics, it struggled to make a niche for itself. Here, as one of the two pure DPS classes, it’s taking the role of heavy burst damage to heart, inheriting traits from Final Fantasy XI‘s Dragoon. It also lacks much in the way of defenses, having grown a little more fragile than before even with a more reliable self-heal option. But at least you don’t have to worry about your wyvern dying.

Archer: At low levels, Archer is simply unbelievable. Ranged attacks, plenty of TP, and the ability to chain out weapon skills means you kill things very quickly. At higher levels, the class seems to be more about being the utility sort of DPS class, something that matches the fact that its associated Job is Bard. The change from “crazy fast killing” to “buff, debuff, and harm” is going to throw some people off, but the actual mechanics are still fun, and they give Archers a unique niche compared to Lancers.

Conjurers: Clearly slotted into the healing role now, Conjurers do get a self-buff that allows them to increase magic damage and decrease healing done when they’re out and leveling solo. That having been said, most of the class’s really neat abilities now are focused toward heals and buffs, getting most of the usual White Mage tools along with the lesser-used elemental magics. Those who have played similar classes will feel right at home.

Overall feelings

The biggest weakness of FFXIV’s combat in the beta is that it doesn’t come out of the gate at its full strength. You have to level and explore the game for a while before you can really start to feel what the designers were going for. This isn’t to say that the system is bad, but it means that your first impressions might not line up with what you’ll actually be playing.

Once you get past that hump, though, the combat system is a joy to play. It feels very similar to games like World of W

arcraft without quite falling into the trap of being identical. Some people will call it a thinly veiled clone, but some people will call Defiance a thinly veiled clone of WoW, so that isn’t entirely indicative. It takes pages from WoW’s playbook while remaining distinct.

And it’s fun. The combat system had to try to retain the baroque sensibilities of its predecessor while being faster and more strategic, and it managed those changes quite well. Not perfectly, but the design document was pulling in a few dozen directions.

Quests:Final Fantasy XIV beta two phase

We know now that the next test phase for Final Fantasy XIV will not be until June. This is good insofar as the next test will contain a lot more stuff and bad insofar as I want to play. Those of you living vicariously through impressions articles such as this one probably have less of a struggle with this scenario. And there is still a chunk of the first two phases to be discussed, obviously.

If you chat to learn more about FFXIV Gil message.

If combat is the usual “how” of MMOs, quests are the usual “what.” Final Fantasy XIV started out with a handful of quests and gained several more during Naoki Yoshida’s tenure, but quests still weren’t the main leveling content in version 1.0. That was a function reserved for guildleves, which have taken on a new role in the beta phases just as quests are enjoying an expanded importance. But it’s not as simple as that change might imply.

ffxiv moglog betaquest 1 epl 502 Final Fantasy XIV beta phase 1 and 2   questsIt’s a complicated scenario

Not all quests are created equal in FFXIV. This was true in the first version, as well. You had your main scenario quests, your grand company quests, your guild quests, and so forth. This has not changed in the beta, which still features main scenario quests, guild quests, and regular side quests. What has changed is the frequency and purpose of these quests.

In the launch version of FFXIV, there were three quests for each guild. Not three main quests — three quests, period. Each one covered a small amount of backstory for the guild, gave you a tiny bit of flavor, and then left you high and dry without further content. You couldn’t even join the guild until level 20 or so, by which point it was an amazing coincidence that you were up to the standards that a guild had set for membership.

By contrast, in the beta phases, you get your first guild quest at level 1. Literally one of the first quests you are given sends you to the headquarters for your guild to pick up the associated quests and hunting log entries. And the story unfolds from there in five-level intervals, with a new ability awarded for the level 15 quest and plenty of story development in each guild.

The main scenario quests are similar insofar as they are clearly handed to you with reliable frequency. You won’t always be on one, but you’re always given a sign of when you can pick up the next one, and there are no longer long stretches when you’re without any direction. Sidequests are more numerous and spaced to ensure that if you want to level your first class almost entirely through quests, you have more than enough options.

Not a revolution, not an evolution

So what are the actual quest mechanics like? For the most part, they’re like literally any other quests you have ever seen.

I’m not distraught about this fact, but there’s nothing to gush over when it comes to the raw mechanics of questing in FFXIV because it’s stuff that I’ve seen before. The quest dialogue is well-written and gives a good sense of the word; it’s helped along by the fact that you page through dialogue boxes instead of just having the text vomited at you in a single blurb, but… you know the deal. Go out and kill X number of Y and so forth.

The main scenario and class quests are frequently more inspired. There’s a Lancer quest in which you face a huge horde of wolves with a time limit; you can’t possibly kill them all by rushing in, so you have to pick off stragglers, thin the group, avoid links, and make strategic approaches to your target. But the core of the quest mechanics are going to be familiar to almost anyone who has played an MMO in the past five years.

They work, and for my money, the actual meat of the game is entertaining enough that I’m not bothered by the unoriginality of the mechanics. But the quests do work in a very pedestrian fashion, without a doubt. They scratched an itch, and I enjoyed them, and I’m not going to claim that they tap into some deep vein of novel design. It was the setting and the mechanics around the quests that impressed me.

Leve it all behindffxiv moglog betaquest 2 epl 502 Final Fantasy XIV beta phase 1 and 2   quests

Guildleves worked for their purpose in 1.0. They were meant to pad out the bulk of leveling content, and they did that. They did that over and over, as it happened, since leves stretched for 10-level bands and there were about six or seven in any given list. So bringing Lancer from 30 to 40 generally meant seeing the same handful of quests repeatedly, with a flow that looked something like this:

  •     Go to a city.
  •     Pick up leves appropriate to your level.
  •     Travel to the Aetheryte.
  •     Fight through those leves, traveling back to the aetheryte each time you clear one.
  •     Repeat.

In the beta phases, the flow was slightly different.

  •     Go to a level-appropriate levemete near the area of the leves.
  •     Pick up your leves.
  •     Travel to the area where those leves take place.
  •     Clear the leves and then return to the levemete.
  •     Repeat.

The shift is subtle but significant. Before, you would have to travel back and forth a lot to get even a quartet of leves done; here, you have a new set every five levels, and the travel time is not significant in any direction. You go to the relevant area, clear something, and then zap back to the same person who gave you the leve in the first place.

Again, the mechanics aren’t terribly different, so veterans of 1.0 will be very accustomed to the core concepts. (The betas did have several leves introducing more advanced concepts early on, rather than straight pursuit or engage leves until your 30s.) The difference is in the details of execution and the sidelining of leves as a whole. You can take part in several leves instead of quests, you can use them for classes after your first ones, and you can use them as sidelines instead of hunting log entries and the like.

Direction unknown

While neither guildleves nor quests have revolutionary mechanics, the layout of the content is refreshing because it’s not a straight line. There are loose pointers, but if you decide to strike off in a different direction, the game officially does not care. Want to just fill out your hunting log? Go nuts, man; you’ll know when there’s another main quest to do.

It’s refreshing. The seasonings of a quest-driven game are there, but it lacks the pressure.

exploring microtransactions in World of Warcraft

And here comes the frothing rage.

Microtransactions are nothing new for World of Warcraft, but the game has never had an actual in-game store. You’ve had pets and mounts that toe the line, but the line still existed. Then a bit of datamining turned up an experience boosting item that looked as if it might be tied to an in-game store. But datamining isn’t the same as actual confirmation, and thus much nervous hand-wringing ensued… until community representative Zarhym confirmed that yep, this is a thing that is happening.

Zarhym’s posts specifically state that Blizzard is “exploring the possibility” rather than definitely adding a microtransaction store, but it seems the most likely outcome. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but sooner rather than later. No word on what this means for the future of the game’s business model or how much will change from the game’s current system with an online storefront, but it’s certainly surprising to see one of the last games without an in-game store taking steps toward adding one.

Do you want to learn more about valor points power leveling ?



All the jealous hate-filled basement dwellers are rubbing their hands together as we speak, declaring how they were right all along and how they said years ago that it would go F2P, when it fact all it probably amounts to is the ability to buy non-gaming affecting potions and pets, or a feature for the MT-loving Asian market.

I wish they could see themselves through the eyes of normal people, bitter and pathetic.


I’m assuming like most things like this its something being caught by dataminers we wont see implemented- at least not here. I would bet good money this is something in development for a new model for the asian market wows been in heavy decline with.

Not that it hasnt stopped the usual official forum dullards catterwauling about the sky falling and “pay to win”.

What you exactly “win” by buying experience buffs they can’t rightly say. But they are still very sure wow is dead because there is SOMETHING being won via payment, they just havent figured it out yet.

WoW player levels Pandaren to 60 without picking a faction

WoW player levels Pandaren to 60 without picking a faction

As we all know, when a baby panda grows up to be a big-boy or big-girl panda, he or she leaves the roost and sides with either the Horde or Alliance. It’s just the way things go. However, World of Warcraft player Doubleagent said “nuts!” to that and has refused to leave home.

Since 2012, he’s slowly but surely leveled his Pandaren Shaman from 1 to 60 without leaving the Wandering Isle. Once he finished the starter quests and outleveled the mobs, he’s had to rely completely on herbalism and inscription for his XP influx. He isn’t using heirlooms and said he won’t play the character unless it has rested XP.

The end result is a level 60 Pandaren that’s completely faction-neutral — and can talk to both sides.

Do you want to learn more about honor points powerleveling ?

Retrospective:Final Fantasy XIV:A Reborn Realms

A Look at the Razed and Reborn Realms of Eorzea

It’s amazing that the team was able to turn the original game into something worth checking out. Even in its original state, I was able to see a kernel of something interesting there, but everything surrounding it repelled me — a feeling I’m sure many people had about its predecessor, FFXI! I actually started to play the game a scant few months before its closure and found myself enjoying it, though it was still a flawed experience. What are your thoughts on the game, post-updates?  

Do you want to learn more about FFXIV Gil ?

Essentially, the game came a very, very long way since release, and a large portion of those improvements have come while the development team was simultaneously remaking the game. AV and CC were interesting and fun up until the thousandth run of each dungeon; the structure of that content was torturous in how it played to our worst tendencies as monomaniacs. Garuda was a glimmer of hope, even though we destroyed that content. Hamlet was a serious misstep, but we’ll call that a mulligan. Ifrit (Extreme) would have been great if not for the game’s engine. Rivenroad (Hard) is, fittingly, close to the apex of what I imagine was possible with 1.0′s engine in terms of fight complexity and design. Knowing that the engine has a hard cap on mob HP, that hit detection is poor and the degree to which latency affects actions even worse, that fight was pretty good, which is why we spent so much time trying to break it apart. (We succeeded in our goal of beating it in under ten minutes, but we have a lot of respect for the Japanese group that beat our time.)

ff3d3fead58c9c7d2edfc8610ddfd842 Final Fantasy XIV:A Reborn Realms Retrospective

Combat is obviously a very large part of any MMORPG and, while some elements of 1.0’s combat system will carry over into A Realm Reborn, it’s still going to play very differently. Why don’t you tell us about the combat system in 1.0?

FFXIV 1.0′s combat system was bizarre because, for most of the game’s lifespan, everything just felt way too slow. By the time AV and CC came around, with the addition of jobs and various rebalancing changes, there was this cool intersection for physical DPS jobs. On the one hand, you had the mechanical skill requirement — mostly figuring out how to counteract the engine by sliding through weaponskills or mashing out the /facetarget command to force position checks — and then the preparation requirement, which involved playing around with the different weaponskills to see how they fit together perfectly in a given timeframe.

Probably the most fun any one of us could have in 1.0′s combat was to play Dragoon in the Rivenroad (Hard) encounter: the player had to dodge lasers, deal with teleports and knockbacks, gauge enmity against the tank’s enmity (usually the easiest part, given how good Paladins were by that point) and adapt a DPS rotation based on cooldowns, positional requirements and the phase of the fight. When all was said and done, the Rivenroad (Hard) fight wasn’t as hard as most people made it out to be but, at the same time, it was an amazing achievement of fight design considering the limitations of the engine. And it was probably a skeleton crew that did it, or just one or two people really, since 2.0 was already well into development at that point in time.

For 1.0, when we recruited someone to fill a DPS role, quite often we asked that person for any footage he or she might have of MNK gameplay on a fight like Miser’s Mistress, where it was mostly tank-and-spank. That kind of fight was a perfect showcase of how a player approached the game, because it was very simple, but the difference between a bad player and a good player was colossal, and the difference between a good player and a great player was still very substantial — in terms of the DPS numbers, but also just how the player moved his/her character, pushed the buttons, etc. What’s even better for us, looking ahead to 2.0′s combat, is that the speed requirement — the mechanical skill requirement — is going to be much higher. People talk about RTS or MOBA players in terms of their APM (“Actions Per Minute”); to be considered decent or good at an RTS, you probably need an APM of around 100 at bare minimum, and the pro-level players usually range from 200-400. That’s 400 clicks or key presses per minute. FFXIV is never going to approach that, of course, but I’ll be very disappointed if the game’s APM ceiling is 24 (2.5s Global Cooldown) or 30 (2.0s GCD) instead of 40 (1.5s GCD) or more.

Speaking of FFXIV 2.0’s combat, what do you think of it based on what you’ve seen so far? Based on my experiences, it definitely starts out a bit simplistic, but that’s par for course with most MMOs.

As far as 2.0′s combat goes, I like the general framework and I like the philosophy in place; even at this early point, it’s an improvement over 1.0′s combat, but there’s a lot of room for further adjustments. I still think it’s currently too slow, but Yoshida seems to agree with me on that point, so I’m cautiously optimistic. We’ve seen far fewer positional requirements, which could potentially lower the skill ceiling but, at the same time, dealing with too many positional requirements can limit one’s choices from a design perspective (fights would then need a ceiling on movement/positioning to avoid imbalance). If the GCD bottoms out at 1.5 seconds (or lower), and if we have enough choices to make every time we push a button, I’ll be happy.

Right now, it’s hard to tell how good combat will be at 2.0, but it’s easy to tell how bad it could be if it’s too simplistic, too rote. That goes for more than just DPS jobs, though; healing is a huge question mark for us, since we don’t know what the final ability selection is going to be like. From what we’ve seen so far, White Mage lacks granularity; a low-power instant-heal would be a nice way to fill some gaps. Black Mage was notoriously two-dimensional in 1.0, so we’re also hoping to see some dramatic changes to that job in particular.

488ba80bb0e9977d10fd39220531d503 Final Fantasy XIV:A Reborn Realms Retrospective

The rate at which new content is beaten typically vastly outstrips the rate at which it is generated, resulting in large lulls in activity for dedicated groups such as yours. During such periods, it’s typical for members to leave for other pursuits, either different activities in the same game or outside of the game altogether. In your case, though, all of you are on a forced hiatus from the game for at least a few more months, beta test phases aside. How do you anticipate that affecting your efforts once A Realm Reborn hits?

Things have been quiet around here since the end of 1.0, but we stay busy by playing other games, catching up on real life, watching Game of Thrones/Mad Men/etc, and posting random stuff for each other on our Guildwork feed or forums. We pushed recruiting pretty hard just before 1.0 ended, and we’re going to reignite that push before 2.0 starts. We want to make absolutely sure that we’re ready for Crystal Tower and the Labyrinth of Bahamut. Right now I’m happy with how far we’ve come since the days of camping Dodore, but we always have a lot of room for improvement.

I’m sure there will be growing pains; there’s no way around it with a transition from 8-man content to 24-man content. The first 1.0 content transition, from 15-man to 8-man, had its own challenges as well. But that was a trend toward exclusivity, rather than inclusiveness, so it’s something of a different story this time. And, as content updates have given us more means by which to test our members’ skillsets, our standards have grown tougher; our expectations for performance are higher. So we have to make sure that even though we’re going to be tackling content with 24 people instead of 8, we need to be able to trust each other even more than we did before.

Lastly, for people interested in hitting FFXIV’s end-game hard when it relaunches, tell us more about your linkshell’s schedule and philosophy.

Our scheduling is subject to change as we learn more about the raid structure for 2.0, but right now we’re tentatively looking at a 4-day/week schedule, running from 5 PM PST/8 PM EST to 9 PM PST/12 AM EST. When we’re pushing for world-firsts, we ask our members to take vacation/sick days, get notes for classes from someone else, and beg their significant others for some leeway, so that we can run for at least 12 hours a day. That kind of schedule is obviously unsustainable for very long, so we do our best to work around everyone’s real lives after the first few days. We obviously are very motivated to get things done and get the gear for our members, but we also try to stave off burnout.

I look forward to watching your linkshell’s exploits in the new world of Final Fantasy XIV. We’ll have to link up again in the future and exchange our updated thoughts on the game.

I’d be happy to follow-up sometime down the line. We are proud of what we’ve done, and we only hope to accomplish even more in 2.0.