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FF14 Dawntrail will make content less “repetitive,” Yoshida says

As FF14 Dawntrail approaches, game director and producer Naoki Yoshida says he wants to make sure content feels less “routine and mundane.”

FF14 Dawntrail will "spice it up" as Yoshida admits the mundanity of current content makes him "sleepy" - A sleeping Y'shtola, the Miqote poster girl of the fantasy MMORPG FFXIV.

With FF14 Dawntrail now firmly set in our calendars, game director and producer Naoki Yoshida, best known as ‘Yoshi-P’ by the community, has taken some time to talk about how he feels about the current state of the various content players have on offer in the critically acclaimed MMORPG. Echoing some community complaints that content and mechanics can feel repetitive at times, Yoshida says he hopes to “spice it up a little” in Dawntrail and beyond.

Along with his reveal of the FF14 Dawntrail release date, Yoshida (accompanied on stage by translator Aimi Tokutake) also took us on a little journey through the past decade of Final Fantasy 14, from the earliest days of its initial, failed launch through each of the expansions and its rise to become one of the best MMORPGs of all time.

During the panel, where Yoshida details the new expansion’s timing, along with the Dawntrail pre-order bonus items and collector’s edition, he also discusses his desire to bring players more gameplay variety moving forward. “There’s lots of content we’re trying to develop right now, some of which we’re not going to mention in today’s presentation,” he says.

“But we understand there are a lot of different values that people hold as they are playing Final Fantasy 14. So we also want to focus in on large-scale content, multiplayer content, as we go through 7.1 and 7.2 and beyond. Of course we’re not neglecting the solo or smaller-scale content like the variant dungeons – we will continue to update that. So this [new content] will be more in parallel to that.”

FF14 Dawntrail - Urianger holds a cocktail in a pineapple, looking at you over his shoulder.

Going beyond that, Yoshida addresses one of the more common complaints that surfaced repeatedly throughout Endwalker and the patches that followed: a feeling that content in FF14 has become slightly too formulaic, following a fairly rigid structure and often using mechanics that can feel a little too familiar and by-the-book even when they’re presented in new ways.

The phrase Yoshida puts up on screen is ‘A more fulfilling gaming experience,’ which he goes on to explain in more detail. “For example – and this is one of many pieces of feedback that we’ve received – the target circle of your enemy, the hitbox, is ridiculously large at this point. And in terms of your battle mechanics, they tend to be very similar from content to content, and some people might feel that it’s very repetitive, it feels like a pattern almost.”

That has certainly become a common complaint from players. While some of Endwalker’s raids and alliance raids have come up with increasingly distinctive ways of presenting the ‘move out of the orange zone’ format, a lot of the core mechanics used remain fundamentally quite similar across the whole game. “Of course, it might help if you’re trying to [improve] your gameplay and get the hang of it,” Yoshida admits. “But for some players – me included – I kind of get sleepy, because it gets routine and mundane. So I’m trying to see if I can spice it up a little, bring the excitement back.”

He’s quick to note that this doesn’t just mean things are getting harder. “When I talk about something like this I know some people might get a knee-jerk reaction of, ‘Oh no, Yoshida is going to make everything difficult again.’ For the most part, we’re not trying to trouble people, we’re not trying to make your lives difficult, we just want to bring a little bit more uniqueness, something that is unique and original into these battles. So rest assured.”

FF14 Dawntrail PAX panel - Naoki Yoshida spreads his arms wide on stage, with a slide that reads: "To the next stage of FFXIV: Refined multiplayer gameplay, More large-scale duties, A more fulfilling gaming experience, Improved rewards."

Yoshida says he wants players to have more content that challenges them to find their own solutions, rather than simply following an established guide. “In the Japanese language, there’s this word ‘kufuu,’ which loosely translates to ‘thinking with your own mind and figuring it out.’ So we want to encourage players to build their own strategies, to talk to each other in your party to strategize, and to try and encourage that kind of gameplay also.”

“I would like for my developers to be able to take on challenges, take risks, in creating their content. And of course we may screw up, we may have a misstep, and we might be up here apologizing to our players once again,” he smiles, “but we don’t want things to be mundane. We want you guys to be excited as you play Final Fantasy 14.”

So what does that mean for job balancing? Yoshida emphasizes that he’s not looking to make any dramatic changes there for now. “Because we’re reaching a milestone level cap, level 100, we don’t intend to upset everything again – we want to just continue updating the different jobs and add onto what we have already set up throughout the 7.0 and 7.x series. So we’re going to be focusing on the content itself to bring back that excitement.”

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Yoshida also addresses the rewards earned from content. He asks, “What’s in it for me? We are looking at improving rewards, so we can bolster that aspect of it. With the different expansions up to this point, we were unable to increase the amount of rewards we give in terms of things like gear and mounts.”

“The plans are in place” for that to change, he concludes. “Our goal is that by patch 7.3-ish we would have about 1.5 times more compared to the current [amount]. With your subscriptions and you continuing to stay with us, we have collected from you, so we want to give back, we want to continue looking into things like this.”

While we await our new adventure, you can catch up on all the details about the new jobs, the FF14 Viper and the FF14 Pictomancer, and make sure your FF14 Island Sanctuary is looking magnificent before we sail off to lands anew.

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