Things move fast with Final Fantasy XIV, and we’ve already arrived at Patch 3.2, which will be hitting the servers of our critically acclaimed MMO in less than two weeks. More and more content is flowing into the game, but what’s great for our experienced players can be confusing for beginners, who may be daunted by the huge breadth of content they have to scale. To help them brave this challenge, Patch 3.2 will introduce the Mentor system – and we had the exclusive opportunity to ask Naoki Yoshida, the Producer and Director of Final Fantasy XIV, some questions about it.
Q: Thank you for taking the time for this Q&A, Mr. Yoshida. FFXIV is a global phenomenon with players in Japan, Europe, North America, Korea and China on PS3, PS4, PC and Mac. To support and offer players constant content updates, you must be a very busy man! Do you get any sleep at all?
A: Hello, PlayStation.Blog readers! I’m Naoki Yoshida, the producer and director of FFXIV. Luckily (?) I got the flu on 5th of February, so I’ve been stuck at home since then! :p But as we were in the middle of the final checks on Patch 3.2 content, I asked to be given access to the development servers from home and worked “comfortably” checking the new content from there!
Q: The mentor system is going to be introduced in Patch 3.2, which hits the FFXIV servers on the February 23rd. Can you tell us roughly what the mentor system is and why you have chosen to implement this feature?
A: “Mentor” is a special status for experienced players, who are only able to call themselves mentors after obtaining certain achievements and meeting certain criteria. Mentors are players who support beginners who have just started their adventures in-game and answer their questions from the standpoint of a seasoned veteran. Mentorship is also a new element to help those who role play and to further enhance the player community. With the arrival of Patch 3.2, a special chat channel called the Novice Network will be added to each world. This chat channel can only be used by mentors and new players who have played the game for less than 40 hours. The purpose of this channel is to offer a place for new players to ask mentors about the game and for mentors to give answers to their questions. To eliminate the prospect of any malicious RMT (Real Money Traders) from invading the chat channel, we made it so only mentors can invite new players into it. On top of that, when a mentor and new player form a party, they will both receive an experience point bonus. In addition to this, a special duty roulette called “Duty Roulette: Mentor” that is only available for mentors will be added. This roulette will grant a priority on matching mentors with new players or players who haven’t beaten the specific dungeon or trial yet.
MMORPGs offer a huge amount of content and gameplay systems, so I can imagine how playing one could potentially be overwhelming for some players, especially when they play an MMORPG or online game for the first time. However, the introduction of the mentor system with this new patch enables veteran players to proactively support those who have started the game recently, creating an opportunity for both veteran players and rookies to meet and get to know each other. Now is a very good time for anyone who hasn’t played the game before to begin! To any experienced players out there, I’d love for you all to support our new players. I’m also ready to be a mentor on my personal character.
Q: That’s pretty cool, and I’m sure many new players will appreciate this. So, how will I, as an experienced veteran adventurer of Eorzea, be able to sign up to be a mentor? Are there any tests or trials I have to master, to test my mettle?
A: As I mentioned earlier, players need to obtain certain achievements to be a mentor. Requirements for those who are geared towards battle content are:
- At least one level 60 job in each role of tank, healer and DPS
- To have completed a total of more than 1,000 dungeons and trials and…
- … to have received 300 or more commendations
If your expertise is more focused on gathering and crafting, your requirements will be:
- At least one level 60 class in both a crafting and gathering class
- To have crafted over 100 collectables, and…
- … to have gathered 300 collectables
By fulfilling either one of these two requirements, you will be able to become a mentor by speaking to a certain NPC.
Q: Sounds like quite a challenge! Will I get any benefits from becoming a mentor?
A: The basic concept behind the mentor system is to allow players the ability to volunteer their time, which can also be seen as a form of role-playing. However, mentors will also be able to get special achievements and titles after you use the mentor roulette at certain number of times. In the future, we also plan to add special rewards after obtaining certain achievements.
That being said, we made the amount of rewards for mentors small to reduce the number of players who may become mentors purely to get their hands on rewards. I think the biggest reward for a mentor is that they can see how new players grow and become fully-fledged adventurers! Well, at least I’m looking forward to witnessing these moments!
Q: Well, good deeds are best rewarded with a smile! Now, imagine I am a completely new player who has just logged into the game for the first time. Will the game introduce mentors to me? How will I find them?
A: Players out in the field or in towns have a name-plate above them and mentor characters will have a crown icon next to their name, so it will be easy to spot them. New players have a sprout icon next to their name instead. :) By just being in the Novice Network channel, you’ll see many mentors logged in so feel free to simply ask them some questions. They will answer your questions wherever they are and they may even run to your aid!
Q: Ah, easy to pick up then. So, now I’m a new player with a mentor. How does that influence the way I play? Is it possible to reward or rate my mentor for giving good advice?
A: If you and your mentor form a party and go into a dungeon, both of you will gain more experience than usual. This will also happen when you participate in Full Active Time Events (FATEs), which appear in the open world. Also, a lot of mentors will be knowledgeable about the combat basics of the class, job and role that you play, so just ask them if you are unsure of something and they’ll give you great advice. When you get closer to mentors, they may also invite you to a Linkshell or Free Company that they are already a member of.
If your mentor does a good job, please be sure to thank them! We believe your words of gratitude and encouragement will mean more than any in-game rewards, and make their mentor status something to be proud of.
Q: That’s awesome – will that work together with the recruit-a-friend program? If my friend is a mentor, that is. Can new players with the free trial use it as well?
A: If you are certified to be a mentor, of course. All players with a playtime of under 40 hours can benefit from the mentor system.
Q: Sounds like an impressive new feature that will make life much easier for new players! But that’s not the only thing which will help them that’s coming in Patch 3.2, is it? What exactly is the “Hall of the Novice”?
A: The Hall of the Novice is a place for new players to do some training and to earn knowledge of the game systems before moving on to dungeons. It features two elements: One is a series of challenges that allow you to train and play, and the other is a building packed with helpful NPCs that offer game tips. Both are available for players when they reach level 15, just before you enter the first dungeon while doing the main scenario. Just follow the main scenario and you will be guided there eventually. With the training mode, you will be able to learn the basics of playing in a party for each of the three roles: Tank, Healer and DPS while learning the ropes as you play. After completing the training modes, you will be rewarded with cool gear, so I recommend that you first clear all the content the Hall of the Novice has to offer before you enter the first dungeon.
Q: Well, that sounds like a fantastic addition to the game that will make it easier for new adventurers to find their way in Eorzea. Thank you once again for taking the time to speak to us. We’re looking forward to Patch 3.2 and beyond!
A: The development team is in the middle of making final adjustments to content ahead of the release of Patch 3.2, the first major content update in 2016. Our only enemy is influenza! :P We’ll do our best to get through this tough time and deliver the new update to you all. Thank you everyone and see you in Eorzea!
So, what did you think of that? As a veteran, will you be helping new players as a mentor? As someone who has never played before, do you plan on signing up for the free trial, or are you even considering buying the game straight away on PlayStation Store? Let us know in the comments!