Through defeating monsters, crafting items, and completing quests, players accumulate experience points (EXP) which, when a certain threshold is reached, automatically increments the player’s level. The player’s level affects attributes such as HP (health/hit points), MP (magic/mana points), and the amount of abilities available to them. By wielding different weapons and crafting tools, players are able to change their class, allowing them to switch roles in the field. Compared to Final Fantasy XI, group play has been de-emphasised, and solo play can be equally rewarding.
So in my last letter when I announced we’d be prioritizing the upcoming seasonal event in 1.17, it didn’t clandestinely imply we’d be halting other tasks in other areas. No need for worry there. Some players are also voicing concern over the difference between patch content and the more fundamental changes planned. The latter, such as overhauling the battle system, are planned for the long-term and don’t coincide with the pace of our regular patches. They are designed in parallel with other large-scale changes, such as new events or UI revamps, and we only begin testing their implementation after careful consideration of both specs and cost. This is why the whole process takes time. Of course, that isn’t to say we don’t want you to see any visible changes during this period. We are implementing the things that can be implemented, and can be done so quickly. I hope I can squash these and any further misconceptions in future letters and forum posts.
The dev team is actually split up into a bunch of smaller teams, each dedicated to a certain facet of the game. Off the top of my head, there’s the scenario team, the world settings team (including seasonal events), the item team, the crafting and gathering team, the battle team, the level design team, the art team, the character team, the BG team, the UI team, and so on and so forth. Each team focuses on certain game content or a particular system, and all teams’ tasks are ongoing simultaneously. There are VFX, animation, and cutscenes as well, so quite a few teams. Within each, there are staff members whose job it is to carry out the tasks of each patch, and others who focus on the large-scale elements and core of the game.
This is why the whole process takes time. Of course, that isn’t to say we don’t want you to see any visible changes during this period. We are implementing the things that can be implemented, and can be done so quickly. I hope I can squash these and any further misconceptions in future letters and forum posts.
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To sum up, we’re updating those aspects of the game whose priority is high, and which can be updated relatively easily, while more radical and profound changes, such as those revolving around latency, auto-attack, battle, the Armoury system, the job system, dungeons, movement, modes of transport—these are currently under development on their own, completely independent schedules.