I've been reading quite a bit (some on BluGartr, and some on the official forums) about some of the changes lined up in the 2012 Roadmap.
All I have to say is three things in general:
1) This game better hope they're holding something back (of the level of the cap increase or Abyssea, at the least) for VanaFest next month.
2) Tanaka does not trust the American style of gameplay one damn bit.
3) They're trying to blow up Windower.
Hiromichi Tanaka is probably the bane of most American players' experience, at least by what I'm reading in the discussions about some of the changes, especially to the UI.
Tohihroyu (the Galka stalker) and I have talked about this a bit in the last few weeks, and she immediately (and I today) came to the conclusion listed in #3.
And this comment from Tanaka is what did it (quoted from the forums, much to the consternation of at least two posters):
To this request:
increase the number of lines for macros. There are 16 locations that
gear can be equipped, so more lines are necessary. I would be happy with
about 20 lines."
"We have received this request many times before, but there are
many issues with this, so we cannot look into this at this time.
Similarly, we have no plans to transmit additional data besides what is
currently being transmitted between the server and client. Our goal is
to improve the operability of what is currently displayed in the current
UI. We appreciate your understanding."
That second comment, which I bolded for emphasis, is what makes me certain that this is a targetted attempt to scuttle Windower and force the players to use the first-party client.
It really is down to either that (and possibly lose the US Windower cheats) or abolish all console support and make the game PC-only (which probably takes out much of the remaining JP playerbase).
I believe that decision has already been made -- in favor of the Japanese.
I believe that the developers have largely spurned (and correctly so!) the American player-base. Much of the legitimate (such as it was) US player community has gotten bored/moved on/banned/sick of SE dicking around with XI and XIV/etc.
Final Fantasy, as a series, is a brutal grind for completionists. Always has been.
Tanaka, I believe, is fully intent to make sure that the elite of the game effectively demonstrate the complete ignorance (and consequence of such!) of the "Get a life!" statement from every time you enter the game.
1,500 Heavy Plates (and not even for the last tier) at 1 at a time or 3-19 if you get a pouch on very high level or > 100K each in bazaars to get to completing your 99 Empyrean?
Are we trying to promote an RMT approach to this?
I also believe that, when Tanaka was (pre-XIV) in charge of this game, there were at least two elite bosses that were specifically designed that they could not be defeated (by a 75 alliance) legally. PW and AV. Tanaka's modus operandi is exactly what I believe most of the BG community does: That he openly creates material to fuck over the players.
Now, I'm going to give you an opinion as to why, and it has two parts:
1) Unless SE is holding something back hyper-seriously for this VanaFest, we are at the final amount of meaningful content we are ever realistically going to get.
2) Final Fantasy XI, in it's present form at ten years, exists ONLY as a revenue-generating stream for the boondoggle which is Final Fantasy XIV.
Ergo, his open plan would be for people to go 0/200 or more on the meaningful Voidwatch body drops. Why? $12.95 a month, bitches!!
And that's it. There's nothing more to it. I do not believe the SE brass in Japan has one remaining ounce of respect (nor should it!) for it's American players. Their money, another matter. The players themselves?
Personally, FWIW, I don't think the quality-of-drop cells do a damnated thing to actually help the quality of the drops, IMODO. It's all about getting you to come back.
"ronin sparthos" on BG:
"What SE eventually did was create weapons that were deceitfully easy to
get to 90 and then kicked everyone in the crotch with an arbitrary 1500
item slog just because they regret making Abyssea too simple. I always
just took it as Tanaka coming back and doing what Tanaka does best -
fucking everything up."
It's now more expensive to get that ONE step than to get a Relic.
1500 Heavy Metal is at least 150,000,000 gil, and that's the cheap end
About 5M for step one.
About 17M for step two.
About 49M for step three.
About 75M or so step four.
That's about 146,000,000 gil. Cheaper than 1,500 Heavy Metal.
But they need the revenue stream -- they're already (by most player accounts) on a shoe-string budget.
Of course, Apelia then speaks for the Windower apologists:
That if they actually did break Windower:
"Or as I would call it: Hey, I wonder why half the playerbase stopped logging in?"
My position on that is clear: If that's the case, shut it down and be done with it.
It's obvious (to anyone who cares) that my fears about XIV have been completely realized. They can't do one MMO right, so what makes anyone think they can do two?
If they are seriously going to go ahead with XIV 2.0, they need to shut down XI. Soon.
One or the other has to go. It's clear, though, that the money is not coming in as "Corporate" would like, so they stick the remaining (shrinking, again) playerbase (so much so that I think it's clear we get Server Merge Round III at VanaFest 2012!) with such a colossal gil-sink (both in bazaars and in Voiddusts, for which my bank account thanks you!) that they can't complete it.
Or is that the intent, Tanaka-san?