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Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida hates that people think his game surpassed World of Warcraft, "WoW was the game we constantly looked up to"

May 9, 2019
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Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida doesn't appreciate people dunking on World of Warcraft, saying that his game "wouldn't exist" without Blizzard's MMO and that comparing the two is "the wrong conversation to have."

With World of Warcraft taking a few hits recently, including its reviled treatment of Sylvanas, a lot of players have been making the jump over to Final Fantasy XIV, including popular streamer Asmongold. It's seen the scales tip in Square Enix's favour, with the game recently smashing its concurrent player count on Steam. It's also created a bit of a narrative about which game has 'won' the MMO crown.

It's a conversation Yoshida doesn't appear to be too keen on. The director gave a rather thoughtful speech about the perceived rivalry between the two games in a 14-hour livestream earlier this month, which has very kindly been translated by blluist on YouTube. When told that Final Fantasy XIV had been more popular than WoW this year, Yoshida quickly clarified that he didn't believe his game had "beat" Blizzard's.

"Blizzard is definitely aware of this, but without World of Warcraft, A Realm Reborn wouldn't exist," Yoshida said. "WoW was the game we constantly looked up to." He also showed his disapproval for the conversation surrounding which game is doing better, saying "our goal was to recreate a Final Fantasy version of WoW, so saying we won or lost to WoW is off-base to start with, because they were the game we aspired to be."

Yoshida also touched upon the subscriber counts of both games a little bit. When discussing World of Warcraft's peak of 12 million paid subscriptions, he said "there's no way" Square Enix could compete with that. Yoshida compared WoW to Everest, saying that such a high number "is completely beyond reach." He did express gratitude for Final Fantasy XIV's own growth spurt though. "We're growing at a rate that even I'm surprised by," he said. "It's kind of scary."

"The hard work we've been putting into Final Fantasy XIV did pay off," Yoshida continued. "But this whole conversation about surpassing WoW is the wrong conversation to have and it's honestly irritating." When the interviewer chimed in telling Yoshida he was hoping he would have said "we're the best," he responded, "if I was that type of guy, we'd miss our footing on the way and XIV wouldn't be loved by so many people."

It's hard to deny that Yoshida is such a large reason for Final Fantasy XIV's success. He's a likeable personality, one that has commanded a ton of respect within the community and his hard work doesn't go unnoticed. While it certainly isn't the first time he's showered praise on WoW, it's nice that he's continuing to emphasise the importance of its existence.

The livestream also had Yoshida detailing plans for making in-game house hunting easier, as well as a bundle of other goodies in anticipation of Final Fantasy XIV's Endwalker expansion, due to release November 23.



 

Revolutionary

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It's important to note that this interview was several weeks BEFORE Asmongold and other WoW streamers started jumping ship to XIV.

It'd be interesting to see what he thinks about surpassing WoW now lol. Probably still isn't there, but the gap is getting closer by the day I'd say.
 
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eyesabitdull

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The fact that they looked up to Blizzard and WoW is EXACTLY why they succeeded.

They didnt try to hide themselves away from the competition, they studied then.

Blizzard on the other hand refused to acknowledge FFXIV's existence, and see where that got them.
 

Plantoid

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Never underestimate the power of wow, I've played it for more than 10k hours, I don't play it anymore, but if wow 2 gets announced with console support then maybe I will be back, the feeling you get while playing it for the first time is unmatched.
 

CGiRanger

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Again a stark difference between Eastern/Japan creatives and Western creatives.

Western creatives these days would brag endlessly even beforehand how they want to surpass something. Here the guy is practically begging people not to think that way. Such a stark contrast to treating the community.
 

Thabass

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Well... IF they had made FFXIV 1.0 like XI. It might have been ok but the lack of respect for player time have no real time and space in current market. 1.0 is so different from XI it was not funny.
I mean they have stuff like XI with Bozjan Southern Front, but it's nowhere near level of XI.
 

Clear

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They did, that's why they had to redo it and now we have A Realm Reborn.

Actually not true, OG 14 was very much Tanaka regretting the life-destroying grind of FFXI! It was designed specifically to disincentivize that sort of obsessive play.

Honestly, the sheer ruthlessness of early XI was what both made the game special and a truly unrepeatable thing. I doubt people would stand for it these days.

The battle mechanics and job-systems however are still brilliant, and that they didn't really build out from there is a bit disappointing.
Yoshi-P is a good dude though, he's made sure the lights are going to be kept on until FFXI hits it 21st Birthday.
 
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Sub_Level

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Easily put 40 hours into FFXIV the past couple weeks, with likely put another 30 by the end of next week. Its been a fantastic experience and I'm happy that some WoW players are making the transition. Never played WoW but it was obviously one of the most influential games ever made. Its product life cycle is past its prime, but its not like its influence will ever go away.
 
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Actually not true, OG 14 was very much Tanaka regretting the life-destroying grind of FFXI! It was designed specifically to disincentivize that sort of obsessive play.

Honestly, the sheer ruthlessness of early XI was what both made the game special and a truly unrepeatable thing. I doubt people would stand for it these days.

The battle mechanics and job-systems however are still brilliant, and that they didn't really build out from there is a bit disappointing.
Yoshi-P is a good dude though, he's made sure the lights are going to be kept on until FFXI hits it 21st Birthday.
Come on, when XV 1.0 launch, there are no story pretty much, no auction house, no over arching plot, no nm, not chocobo mount.
 

michaelius

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Pretty sure he meant old WoW. There's no way they're taking queues for the modern POS WoW is today. But we'll never really know. Shadowlands was the coffin, patch 9.2 was the nails. WoW is done.

Good content could probably ressurect it but I doubt whatever is left of Blizzard is capable of delivering it.
 

supernova8

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Pretty sure he meant old WoW. There's no way they're taking queues for the modern POS WoW is today. But we'll never really know. Shadowlands was the coffin, patch 9.2 was the nails. WoW is done.

Yeah I tried the new WoW recently and ... (excuse the pun) WOW what a hand-holding fest at the start. So fucking annoying.

It's almost like they're terrified that new players will quit the game if they die.

Give us a sense of adventure.

FFXIV? Meh.. it's good but it's no old WoW
 

iHaunter

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Yeah I tried the new WoW recently and ... (excuse the pun) WOW what a hand-holding fest at the start. So fucking annoying.

It's almost like they're terrified that new players will quit the game if they die.

Give us a sense of adventure.

FFXIV? Meh.. it's good but it's no old WoW
Depends what you mean by Old WoW. In many ways FFXIV is better.

Have you tried New World? Atmosphere in that game is the best I've seen. But it's not a traditional MMO.
 

Thabass

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Depends what you mean by Old WoW. In many ways FFXIV is better.

Have you tried New World? Atmosphere in that game is the best I've seen. But it's not a traditional MMO.
I tried it and it feels wonderful, but if you hate hand-holding, you will despise New World. It does a lot to hand hold you in the first few levels of the game.

But I think that's kind of necessary. These games usually have a lot of mechanics and some guidance is necessary to get the player acclimated.
 

supernova8

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I tried it and it feels wonderful, but if you hate hand-holding, you will despise New World. It does a lot to hand hold you in the first few levels of the game.

But I think that's kind of necessary. These games usually have a lot of mechanics and some guidance is necessary to get the player acclimated.
Yeah when I first tried FF14 (back before it was relaunched) it was super confusing and the menus were god-awful. WoW, in contrast, was always pretty easy to pick up. Menus were intuitive. Simple but not insulting.
 
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Stuart360

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Slightly off topic but i have watched CohhCarnage play a lot of FF14 the past few weeks, and i was surprised how many areas there are that still have no voice acting. Even areas where there is just music with no sound effect.
Are they ever going to finish this game, or is that just the way its always going to be?
 

Eddie-Griffin

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So that's why XIV launched broken and ignored fan feedback until the project was quickly turning into a cash catastrophy and relaunched it.
 

iHaunter

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I tried it and it feels wonderful, but if you hate hand-holding, you will despise New World. It does a lot to hand hold you in the first few levels of the game.

But I think that's kind of necessary. These games usually have a lot of mechanics and some guidance is necessary to get the player acclimated.
New World really doesn't hold your hand much at all. Just teaches you the game.
 

sackings

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Slightly off topic but i have watched CohhCarnage play a lot of FF14 the past few weeks, and i was surprised how many areas there are that still have no voice acting. Even areas where there is just music with no sound effect.
Are they ever going to finish this game, or is that just the way its always going to be?
And yet the story is still superior to every other MMO and most FF games. VA doesn't actually add all that much, imo. I don't need sidequest npcs with voice acting...
 

Reallink

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They did, that's why they had to redo it and now we have A Realm Reborn.
1.0 had absolutely nothing in common with XI, and its issue was that it was completely unfinished. What they released didn't even qualify as a pre-alpha. The retail version legitimately had no progression structure or gameplay loop whatsoever, it was just a bunch of Chinese asset farm assets tossed together with a pre-prototype combat system. HP, damage, abilities, exp (etc...) were all just placeholders, arbitrary values different coders chose for no reason in particular, it might as well have been randomly generated. Vanilla Realm Reborn wasn't much better, it was just an endless chain of menial fetch quests that acted like an 80 hour tutorial. They've actually removed most of it today it was so bad.
 
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dottme

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Esp plenty of new sprouts encountering the "fight is over by the time I finished the cutscene" problem right now lmao.
This issue was there from the beginning. I didn’t enjoy the end of the story because I fell I was running after everyone in the late dungeon.
 
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daveonezero

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Wouldn’t he have to be on top for 10+ years to surpass WoW? That game will probably never be surpassed in that capacity.

I think he is genuine though and shows respect where it is due.
 

YukiOnna

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This issue was there from the beginning. I didn’t enjoy the end of the story because I fell I was running after everyone in the late dungeon.
Oh definitely. I ended up missing a mechanic to progress in the final 2.0 dungeon and someone was nice enough to help me after they noticed I wasn't coming. Just with the influx of new players it's become even more apparent.
 

Boss Mog

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It shows because FFXIV is basically an FF-skinned WoW as opposed to FFXI which was a true online FF game.