Earlier this week, Patch 6.11a released for Final Fantasy XIV. A number of players noticed that the patch was largely centered around balance changes for PVP Jobs and the new Crystalline Conflict PVP mode, with Black Mage overwhelmingly receiving buffs. Combined with the fact that FFXIV creative director and producer Naoki Yoshida was seen in Crystalline Conflict matches on his character Yoshi’p Sampo, a Black Mage, it’s not hard to see why players speculated that Yoshi-P was buffing his own Job.
Yoshida addressed this viewpoint in a blog post on the Lodestone blog. He admitted that perhaps the balance changes were a bit much. “We have received a great deal of feedback regarding these changes, and in hindsight, I believe we went too far with our adjustments. For this, I apologize,” he said. He also explained the general process behind the overall PVP balance changes.
To be fair, the PVP version of Black Mage was one of the least effective Jobs to play, especially in Crystalline Conflict. Even in our PVP Jobs tier list, we put Black Mage in the B- / C+ tier for being unwieldy and tough to play optimally in the PVP setting. But the development team has its own process for determining how Jobs should be adjusted.
Basically, the FFXIV team first takes a look at Job win rates and then overall Job usage rates. In the first category, the team looks for Jobs with a win rate much higher or lower than 50-percent, which is the baseline they look for across all Jobs. In the second category, they’re trying to glean which Jobs might be easier or harder to play.
“When a certain job seems significantly more or less palatable to players, we both review player feedback and engage in matches ourselves to investigate any issues present in action balance or the job’s fundamental mechanics,” said Yoshida. “As previously stated, we try to preserve each job’s individuality when applying changes, such as introducing comparable weaknesses to jobs that seem distinctly advantaged, while bolstering those that may need support.”
He also detailed the overall PVP balance change schedule, noting that most of these changes are made far in advance. Players noticed Yoshida on his Black Mage in the past two weeks, but that was actually after the balance changes were submitted. “For instance, players may have received patch 6.11a on Tuesday, May 24, but our developers had to finish their adjustments and implementation by Friday, May 6,” he stated.
Following the above information, which showed Black Mage lagging behind, Yoshida started checking the issue himself by playing the Job in Crystalline Conflict. Given the patch schedule, however, his personal feedback didn’t come until after Patch 6.11a was locked in.
“In the following days, I would have the distinct pleasure of battling against many of you in my personal investigation of the black mage’s issues,” he said. “Having said this, my personal impression after countless Crystalline Conflict matches is that, in the hands of a skilled PVP combatant, the Black Mage has more than enough potential to excel in battle. These impressions, however, were only gleaned after Patch 6.11a had been sent off for finishing touches.”
Ultimately, the FFXIV team will be rolling back some of the changes. Notably, the defense added to the Soul Resonance limit break will be reduced. We can expect some adjustments soon — Yoshida stated, “Please know that we have plans to address these concerns in Patch 6.15, which will be released on Tuesday, June 7.”
Finally, Yoshida addressed the other problem the PVP community has been discussing: that the balance changes were all aimed at Crystalline Conflict, as opposed to being shared with Frontline, the other PVP mode. Crystalline Conflict is small-scale PVP, while Frontline involves three sizable teams. The balance needs are different in each mode.
Yoshida said that Frontline-specific adjustments to damage dealt and the frequency of Limit Break usage will be done. Those adjustments should be coming in Patch 6.18, with further change coming in Patch 6.2. The team will also include functionality to allow more Frontline-specific changes in the future.
“I would like to apologize once more for how long it has taken us to address the state of balance in Frontline. Though it will take time, we plan to review play records, and once we have decided on appropriate adjustments, have them tested and implemented. Your continued patience is greatly appreciated,” he stated.
As always, the FFXIV team is listening to all our feedback, as long as it’s delivered in the proper manner. Make your voices heard, without abusing or harassing the developers!