Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has been doing well recently, and with patch 2.1 coming out soon, players of Eorzea will have plenty more to look forward to. Producer/Director Naoki Yoshida recently spoke with Dengeki about catering to MMORPG beginners and veterans, and what his team borrowed from World of Warcraft.
Now that Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has over 1.5 million registered users, Dengeki asks Yoshida if he had expected this to happen all along.
“I more or less thought that it wouldn’t be too strange for it too happen,” shares Yoshida. “Previously, it was as if the customers didn’t have many other MMORPG choices, so they continued paying for services. According to recent MMORPG data, those who continue with the monthly subscription after purchasing the game are roughly around 30~35%. That means that each person’s retention rate gets shorter and shorter, so being able to keep them is an advantage for us.”
“Most of [our] players are originally loyal fans of the Final Fantasy series, so I believe the majority of them purchased the game knowing it’d have a monthly subscription,” he continues. “From this point on, if we want to expand our subscribed members, we’ll have to earnestly sell packages to increase newcomers. Of course, this doesn’t mean we’ll be ignoring our current players. After releasing patch 2.1, we will carefully be providing more information through our PR for those who’ve purchased the game.”
Dengeki also asks Yoshida if there are any differences between the upsurge of games in the west, compared to Japan.
“Rather than comparing it to North America and Europe, I believe the difference lies within those who’ve played MMORPGs before and those who are playing them for the first time,” answers Yoshida. “Those who’ve been playing globally-standard MMORPGs for a while, and those who’ve been part of Final Fantasy XI’s community, have a different approach.”
One example of this, Yoshida says, is Final Fantasy XIV’s Duty Finder feature, which allows players to find others to play with. This is a feature that different kinds of players react differently to.
“To put it simply, the Duty Finder is a system that might be familiar to those who’ve played World of WarCraft, but those who aren’t familiar with the game might find it very useful,” Yoshida says. “Due to this, we’ve had some people who felt that it might be difficult to create a proper community under such circumstances.”
“Again, there are many players from the west who look at the Duty Finder and say ‘why isn’t there a kicking function?’. It was quite normal for those who’ve played World of Warcraft to have the option to kick people who are harassing, or simply just not geared well enough. On the other hand, had we implemented from the start, I believe we’d also hear people say, ‘Why do we need a kicking function? Wouldn’t it only be abused?’”
“Those who are new to the Duty Finder system, most likely find it more convenient than anything, and probably wouldn’t expect harassment from other players,” Yoshida emphasizes again. “So if we were to add a kicking function, there’s a chance they would see it as something like, ‘So we’re allowed to keep kicking whoever we don’t like, right?’”
“To an extent, things such as kicking functions are there for the player’s needs, but if we focus only on their needs, then there’s a chance that a feature could lose its original purpose,” he continues.
“So depending on the difference of [MMORPG] experience between players, we’re controlling certain parts on what to implement and what to leave out.”