Balancing challenge and collaboration in Final Fantasy XIV's raid battles
"Omega had another rare occurrence: for the first time in FFXIV boss history, we had to do a major overhaul of much of this fight."
- Combat Designer Yoshito Nabeshima explores the process of designing (and later overhauling) a Final Fantasy XIV raid boss.
The PlayStation blog has shared an interview with one of the devs behind Final Fantasy XIV that traces the steps the team goes through when designing raid encounters in its online Final Fantasy title.
The interview itself is an interesting read because it explores both the early design process behind the raid boss Omega and also walks through how the team altered the fight after feedback from FFXIV producer and director Naoki Yoshida forced them to do a major overhaul of the encounter itself.
As explained by battle content designer Yoshito Nabeshima, the original version of the fight had two “level checker” phases that, among other things, tasked two players in the raiding party with moving to specific locations throughout the level to create what Nabeshima describes as a sort of jump rope-like mechanic.
“The way it works is that two players are marked with a debuff called 'Chains of Memory.' These players need to move along the edge of the battlefield opposite each other in an arc–they’re essentially drawing a circle,” says Nabeshima. “Handling this mechanic isn’t as easy as it sounds, as these two players are linked by a kind of particle beam which rotates with them as they move. It gets pretty hectic since the other players in the raid not only have to deal with avoiding this beam, but also pay mind to other mechanics at the same time.”
But, in the later stages of playtesting, a review from Yoshida resulted in what Nabeshima described a “major overhaul” of the encounter altogether. One causality in particular was the second part of that level checker phase detailed earlier on. The image just below is a snippet from the game’s design document that illustrates the different positions players would need to move between to complete the phase.
“Looking at this now… I’m actually glad I was able to rethink this phase,” said Nabeshima. A handful of the other changes the team implemented in order to make the fight more intense and climatic are detailed in the full interview over on the PlayStation blog.