Newfound Futures: Final Fantasy XIV wants to change what it means to be an MMORPG

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Newfound Futures: Final Fantasy XIV wants to change what it means to be an MMORPG

Final Fantasy XIV's live letter gave fans plenty of details about the road ahead, including how the developers plan to change MMORPG's for the better.

Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida has once again blessed the community with one of his famed Letters from the Producer Live. And while they are usually about upcoming patch content, five hour marathons to go through all the content changes. This one was gonna to be a special one. After all, Final Fantasy XIV has just concluded its first major story arc and celebrates almost eleven years of service. And is now looking towards at least then more years worth of adventure.

Forge Ahead

Yoshida showed himself rather nostalgic for the days of old as he took a little stroll down memory lane. He took over the project back in December of 2010, reflecting and wondering how they managed to remake the of base game into A Realm Reborn in just two years. For an MMORPG that's a feat that seeks its equal to this day. He also thanked the players that have continued to support them ever since. And mused on how every year Final Fantasy XIV seems to only grow its player base.

While he said that those ten years went by in a flash, he also found himself excited for the next ten years. So after confirming, yes there will be a 7.0 patch in the future. We also got a roadmap of what players can expect for the 6.X cycle of patches.

Screencaps from the Newfound Futures: Final Fantasy XIV live letter, showing the developers improvement goals for the MMORPG genre

A Realm Reborn, Reborn

Naoki Yoshida has always been worried about the accessibility of Final Fantasy XIV. To his credit, the MMORPG manages the delicate balance between being easy to pick up, while also offering content for every kind of player. He also laments XIV's nature as an MMO. Since they have a little barrier of entry, there will always be players who are turned off by the elements. So to forge ahead, Yoshida looked to the past.

Final Fantasy XI, released all the way back in 2002. (And is still going by the way.) Over the years XI has managed to future proof itself by offering a myriad of accessibility options. One of them is the Trust system, which allows players to be followed by AI companions into dungeons or help out with several overworld tasks.

And while Final Fantasy XIV has a similar Trust system for dungeons, this is currently only accessible in Shadowbringers and Endwalker content. But that's changing soon. With the release of the 6.1 patch, A Realm Reborn will see even more revisions. Most importantly, players will be able to do all the Main Scenario related dungeons with these Trusts. And while in later Expansions, these Trusts consists of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. Yoshida promises we'll be able to go on adventures with them and other side characters throughout the story. Those Trusts will either be minor characters you've already met, or whoever makes sense for the given Scenario.

The goal is, that till the Release of 7.0. All Main Scenario related dungeons can be done with Trusts, so players that just want to experience the Story won't be forced into an online environment. This of course raises some concerns over the nature of this feature. But it's simply meant to ease players into the Final Fantasy XIV experience, instead of forcing them into scenarios they might be uncomfortable with. These Trusts are also planned to engage with the 4-player trials Final Fantasy XIV offers in A Realm Reborn.

Screencaps from the Newfound Futures: Final Fantasy XIV live letter, showing the developers improvement goals for the MMORPG genre

But it does not stop there, the Team also plans to remake some sections of the story.  For example the Trial Cape Westwind; which has been a Meme in the community for quite a while now. It's becoming a Solo Duty instead, to finally give poor Rhitahtyn the respect he deserves.

Further more, the Main Scenario dungeons; Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium will return as 4-player dungeons. Yoshida didn't mention however if that'll also mean players still have to watch all the cut scenes whenever they go through it. Similarly the Ultima fight will now be 4-player content, although there's no decision yet about if its going to be a trial or not. And the following fight with Lahabrea will be a solo instance.

But that's not all. While they go through the older content during the 6.X cycle they also plan to make some adjustments for it; not only visually by adding more shader effects but also removing some outdated quirks. Yoshida gave the example that the Heavy effect in the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak will removed. And that there may be possible adjustments to older Dungeon bosses. These adjustments will most likely aim to unify the visual language the game uses to communicate its mechanics. But we'll have to stay tuned for more on that front.

More RPG than MMO

With all of this, Yoshida aims to challenge what it means to be an MMORPG in 2022 and going forward. Since he believes that Final Fantasy XIV's greatest strength continues to be its lived in world. He wants to ease players into the experience without the pressure of other players expectations. And bringing older content up to the current standard of quality should make the current difference way less jarring. As these updates and adjustments continue, players will be able to enjoy the world of Hydaelyn and dig into the current ten years worth of content.

Screencaps from the Newfound Futures: Final Fantasy XIV live letter, showing the developers improvement goals for the MMORPG genre

But that's not the only update we got! Final Fantasy XIV will see a massive graphical overhaul with the release of 7.0, but we also have a great idea now what to expect for the 6.X series of patches.