Thursday, September 28, 2023

Navigating A Change To FFXIV's Inventory

I am about to disclose a dirty little secret that a lot of people, based on the evidence, will not believe. Video game companies make video games to make money. Sure, the way some video game companies act could lead an objective observer to believe otherwise. Even Naoki Yoshida, the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV, wants his game to make a profit. The difference is that when it comes to MMORPGs, Yoshi-P often is playing 4D chess while others are playing Russian roulette. I want to look at one such decision coming in Endwalker patch 6.5.

Yoshi-P (right) looking much better than Xbox head Phil Spencer

No, this post is not about FFXIV becoming available on the Xbox, with testing beginning next week. Instead I want to discuss a potentially bigger decision I highlighted at the end of Tuesday's post. 
Ability to store optional items in the armoire
In a few games like EVE Online, inventory space is plentiful and cheap. To blow everyone else's minds away, EVE players have a base of 15,000 inventory slots, not including ships, in the game's main trade hub of Jita. But in other games, the purchase of inventory slots is part of the business model.

Let's take Guild Wars 2 as an example. Each character has up to 5 inventory slots. Using 32-slot bags, that makes a maximum of 160 inventory slots. But, players can purchase 9 bag-slot extensions for a total of 3600 gems. One can buy 4000 gems for $50, so getting another 288 inventory slots costs $45 if a player can fill all the bag expansion slots with 32-slot bags.

Now to return to Final Fantasy XIV. The basic number of inventory slots a player receives in the game is 1475.
  • Personal inventory - 140 slots
  • Armoury chest - 415 slots
  • Chocobo saddlebag - 70 slots
  • 2 Retainers - 350 slots total.
  • Glamour Dresser - 400 armor/clothing items
  • Apartment Storeroom - 100 indoor housing items
Players who are able to obtain a mansion receive an additional 300 indoor and 40 outdoor housing storage slots.

And yet, despite all this space, players always want more, especially where the items are related to glamour. FFXIV rents out NPCs called retainers for $2 per month, with a maximum of 7 retainers. Each retainer can hold 175 inventory slots. Personally, I rent 6 retainers for a total of 1050 slots.

How in the world can Yoshi-P  get away with renting inventory slots? Because retainers do more than hold items. With the proper care, retainers do timed tasks called ventures that can enrich their character. My 8 retainers bring in around 230,000 gil, not including all the items I use to make items to sell. Also, each retainer can list 20 items at a time. I don't use all my sales slots, but I routinely have over 70 items up for sale at any one time.

Up until now, I have not mentioned the armoire. The armoire is a storage space for unique items. The items range from rewards from seasonal events to veteran rewards to artifact armor obtained during A Realm Reborn. In patch 6.5, the armoire will expand to "optional items". What are optional items? Armor, weapons, clothing, and jewelry purchased from the cash shop. And items in the armoire are usable in the game's glamour system.

Peering into FFXIV's fashion and social seen from the outside, one might not believe that fashionistas wouldn't have enough space. I know when I first started playing I couldn't fathom running out of inventory space myself. But unlike what I understand about the transmog system in World of Warcraft, the player must have an item in inventory to transfer the look to the gear a character wears. And there are websites that collect fashion ideas.

By now, a reader might get the idea that Yoshi-P by giving away inventory space is not really giving away potential sales. By allowing the armoire to hold cash shop items, the hard core fashionistas will never have to worry about not having enough inventory space to buy the latest outfit. So the money lost by players shedding one or two retainers will be recovered in increased cash shop sales. And if the equipment in Dawntrail looks good enough, people may find they still need all the inventory space after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment