News of Final Fantasy XIV’s fatigue system has hit the web recently, causing a firestorm of controversy. Translation issues and mass speculation served to light a fire in the community, and a vocal segment is demanding the system be removed. Such demands, however, stem from not thinking the system through.
When designing an MMO, one of the things that needs to go in is some sort of limit on the possible progression of players. Developers need to control the rate at which players can approach the endgame, and other milestones along the way. Usually this is done with an Experience Point (XP) curve.
Final Fantasy XI forums and fansites blew up yesterday with the translation of a developer update posted on the Japanese beta site that covered the “surplus system,” or as I like to call it now, the “xp threshold system.” People were going crazy with conspiracy theories and threats of “I just canceled my CE pre-order Square-Enix!” (Onos!)
Today Nobuaki Komoto posted an update on the North American FFXIV beta site addressing these issues directly to the NA/EU audience. No shoddy translations or guessing games. This is what he had to say:
Once again, we would like to thank you all for your participation and support during the Closed Beta. We will continue to take your valuable feedback into consideration as we develop the game during Open Beta and even beyond the official release.
Now I would like to take a moment to respond to the many questions and opinions regarding the manner in and rates at which experience and skill points are obtained in Beta 3.
Firstly, the concept for FINAL FANTASY XIV was to design a system of character progression that offers meaningful advancement for those with limited time to dedicate to playing. We did not want to create a game that forced people to play for hours on end to see their efforts rewarded. To that end, in addition to the Guardian’s Aspect and guildleve systems, we introduced a means of apportioning swifter advancement to shorter periods of play.
In order to achieve this balance, we calculated a value for the amount of skill or experience points that could be earned in a one-hour period. This theoretical value represents an hour spent engaged solely in combat, levequests, or any other activities that earn skill or experience points, and sets a threshold delimiting how many of these points can be earned in a period of play.
Based on this, we have implemented a “threshold value” concept. These thresholds are regulated by a one-week timer that begins counting down the instant you earn skill/experience points. After a week has passed, the thresholds will reset, and the moment skill/experience points are earned again, the timer begins counting down anew.