Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Morning in Vana'diel: Do they know more than we think they know?

Morning in Vana'diel is your daily dose of FFXI and all things Vana'diel. Give us your thoughts on the interesting topics of the day! The FFXI community sure does love to bash the developers. We wonder why they do the things they do. But sometimes their goals and actions actually seem right in line with how the game should operate. Are we the ones that are fooling ourselves about who knows most about the game?

I have always wondered how the developers come up with some of the gear in the game. Some of the crap that we see makes me wonder what they are thinking when it comes to making gear. But there are times when SE adds things that make me think they have a very deep and robust understanding of what is available and how the players use it. I don’t know if it is coincidence, or if it’s intentional but I think that at least some one at SE has some idea of the greater ideal.

Let’s look at a few examples:

Store TP: This is the first place that I can see there is an obvious intention to keep the math for not just Samurai, but many different jobs to optimize the number of hits it takes to get to 100TP. It used to be that there was a very strict formula that Samurai had to use to get to 6-hit builds, and the other DD had a similar but more difficult situation most of the time. Then the Askar body was added that allowed a lot of other jobs to get a rather simple 6-hit build. Then Aurum body was added which freed things up even more, and now we have the Rose Strap. Each of these was added separately but progressively making it easier and easier for people to build and then tweak their builds to get a 6-hit build. Samurai now even has a relative cheap option for getting to a 5-hit build without having to use a rather to extreme Great Katana.

Haste: Haste is an even more interesting situation. The obvious place to look first is the Usukane gear. When it was first introduced the Usukane gear was amazing, but it was the first time after the general move toward haste gear that SE offered a tradeoff between the maximum haste that was available in that slot and a piece of gear with less haste but clearly better stats overall. There are other factors like Usukane gear fitting perfectly with the Black Belt to get to the equipment haste cap. As time has passed there have been more and more pieces that fit in this pattern, like Askar Head and Aurum feet. There are now more options to replace what used to be cookie-cutter pieces. This fits in well with the notion that is gaining greater acceptance that maximum haste is only especially good at very high accuracy levels and below that things are less clear.

This is maybe a little melee-centric but the gearing choices for gear for many different jobs are all becoming more complicated because there are varied and effective alternatives to the old “must-haves”. And I don’t think that is just because more gear has been added, but more because SE really does know what they are doing most of the time. Shocking I know, but it can’t just be coincidence.


targettio said...

I think they generally know what they are doing and think about where the piece of gear is going to sit in the hierarchy for that job.

Some times we catch them out and find a use for a piece of gear that they probably didn't think about, but generally they know how useful the new items will be.

What I think they get wrong is, the difficulty to obtain the items. Often they make 'bad' items hard to get, making them out of reach of the people that could benefit from them. So they just clog up the treasure pool on HNM shells that don't need sidegrade gear as they already have top tier stuff.

Anonymous said...

And then there's mage gear! Seriously, they still haven't topped HQ elemental staves? Not with Alkalurops (Tier4 ZNM), Dorje (Pandimonium Warden), or the SCH/BLM/RDM mythic weapons. They didn't even *try* with the Fey weapon quests. SCH gets a fast cast/enhancing magic staff, RDM gets meh, and BLM gets a stupid scythe that is so bad, I don't even know what to say.