Interview: "Pan-Pan"

The Best of Series wouldn't be complete without a member of the Japanese community. Due to the cultural differences in the west and east, this is a translated document by a third party for the conversation between Yunmi and a person who wishes to be anonymous. They want to be known as Pan-Pan during this interview.

Also, note that Pan-Pan is a top player on all three of the JP datacenters. The interview gives some good insight from the other side of the globe. We hope you enjoy it!

Q: With Heavensward we had four feast seasons. Which season was the most fun / challenging, why?
Pan-Pan: S1 was most fun, S2 most challenging.

I find getting used to the new Feast system in S1 with old PvP players also just starting out was best point of time. There weren't many new PvPers who played as often as now so it gave me the ability to practice against familiar Fold players. A new mode, a new style of play, the same faces from before... it is what made it special to me. It is also the time I met most of the newer PvP community for my DC whose friendships I have managed to maintain to this current season.

S2 was most challenging because of matchmaking and new players joining the game because of seeing the reward from S1 on players who qualified for Top 100 had interested them. They were not getting a completely identical item to S1 but it was similar enough to motivate them to play the mode. It was very trying having to give your utmost best in all matches, and twice more if you want to make up for a lost opportunity for a KO due to experience gap of the players in the team.

Yun-min: Is experience gap the true challenge of S2? It is understandable if yes, but I can't help but feel new players are seen as weight stones by many players for the duration of this season.

Pan-Pan: I do not mean that I am blaming them for lost games or that I dislike new players! Through S2 I have made new friends and we formed our own linkshells as well as Frontline parties.

It was both challenging and a way to expand our social circle... but I will not pretend as though inexperience is not the cause of game losses. At the same time, I will not fault them solely for being new and paired with me. It is not as though we have a mode for 4v4 Feast that I can find fault in beginners for not attempting to practice there beforehand.

Q: Thoughts on the rewards? (Mounts, minions, glamour, housing items) / Q: What other rewards would you like to see?
Pan-Pan: For S1 and S2, gear reward made me want to play often and work hard because glamour can last for long time. I am not a minion user and housing items were easily forgotten because it is clutter in a corner. Mounts are easily replaced as well which is why I chose not to be too serious in S3/S4 and simply played for the feeling and thrill factor.

To expand on it, my opinion is that minions, housing items and mounts only appeal to certain groups of people whereas Glamour appeals to a larger majority simply because of what it is.

Yun-min: I have the same feeling about the rewards not being very interesting to me. Then the best reward to you is gear, can you tell me more?

Pan-Pan: I would say gear is the reward I would like to see because even if you will not use the full set, we can mix the items with any future released items to create something unique. Yunmi-san changes glamour every few weeks, I am sure you understand!

Yun-min: Glamour is timeless... {╥ω╥}

Pan-Pan: I would also say that mounts change many times and Stormblood will introduce new favorites for us. It will look like the only reward that will last is a set of gear for glamouring.

Yun-min: The same can be said for gear...

Pan-Pan: We will leave it at personal preference then!

Q: Thoughts on the addition of the Wolf’s Heart?
Pan-Pan: Can I not answer this seriously? wwww

Yun-min: Answer!

Pan-Pan: It is a mistake to have put the buff into the game because of how powerful it makes a player. If the person who takes it is a WHM or SCH, it gives a considerable advantage and lasts for too long in a mode where timing, and time itself, is everything that matters.

This can of course be overcome, it does not mean whoever gets it will definitely win a game, but every player can agree that it does help a tremendous amount in bringing back a win for the team from a loss. Coupling an overall speed increase statistically for healers is a significant step upward for them, and the only other way to handle it is through CC or defeating the healer in a Limit Break to remove the buff.

Yun-min: What does it represent to you, though? A step forward in helping weaker teams? A step back in overall gameplay?

Pan-Pan: It represents a mistake.

Yun-min: At least consider the questions and how it involves the Wolf Buff! (ノД`)

Pan-Pan: I have considered it, I consider it a mistake. ヾ( ̄ω ̄||)

Q: Thoughts on the two current maps?
Pan-Pan: Lichenweed is a nightmare map when you are being pushed back constantly, because there is no way to hide the moment people run past your billboard and up the steps to the spawn platform.

The Feast Grounds map has stairs and boards to protect you, as well as a quick way to jump off and continue running away if it really comes to that. Lichenweed is basically you running into a sandbox where people are free to use the BLM/SMN LB to hit everyone for spread damage and you are basically caged in there to desperately fight them off.

The wooden bridge where boxes spawn is also a good location for ranged to stay at. Overall, it was in good taste since it changed your gameplay completely but it does not mean it was not a nightmare to play in given certain matchups and circumstances.

Yun-min: If you could choose to play on Lichenweed, The Feast Grounds or Both - which will be your choice?

Pan-Pan: I will choose Both. Both maps have their advantages and disadvantages and I prefer the diversity of difficulties respective to both maps!

Q: Any ideas for new additions to the Feast game mode?
Pan-Pan: I would ask for a revamp of the medal system and also a closer look at balancing the classes which are often chosen by certain players. Find out why this is so, and take a look at class performances talked about by the community that has shown interest in PvP. You can work hard for every minute of the game and still lose at the very last seconds, and for such a thing to be possible makes it more stressful than fun at times.

I would appreciate more maps being made and possibly a practice mode for 4v4 which is similar to 8v8. Preseason does its job of allowing us to practice, but sometimes we want to play 4v4 setups without the need to risk our ranking when we do not want it to be.

Yun-min: Some community members are of the opinion that an unranked 4v4 mode will take away from the ranked PvP queue times. They have also mentioned that Preseason queues were slow due to lack of interest and therefore the practice mode should not be introduced. What are your further thoughts on such opinions?

Pan-Pan: That is indeed true, but that does not mean the practice mode should then never exist. It is possible to also say many people do not feel confident to queue for ranked with no prior practice in a 4v4 environment and that this takes away from ranked queues. It is important to give the same reasoning for both sides of the coin.

Have the preseason queues been slow? They did not seem so for me when I was actively practicing different classes during the most recent preseason. The game is ever growing in population, and having more resources available for potential interested PvPers will always be a benefit than a crutch in attracting said players. You will not know if you do not try, and we have yet to try.

Q: Which job or role plays the biggest part on your datacenter?
Pan-Pan: Melee is needed to KO enemy players, Tanks are needed to protect the party or assist for KOs to be made, Healers are needed to keep party alive.

I think all roles and jobs matter if played the way they should be, and all that matters is personal level of experience and team synergy. All roles play the same big parts and in perspective, there should be no order of importance in a setting where everyone is important.

Yun-min: My melee LB is very important during culling time.

Pan-Pan: Until I stun you before it fires off! (^ε ^ )♡

Q: Which roles have the longest queues? Shortest queues?
Pan-Pan: Range longest, Tank would be next, followed by Melee, with Healer shortest in wait time.

I believe this has to do with meeting expectations more than anything. Ranged does not have much pressure on the role to perform as Melee does, healer as the toughest job with the least allowed mistakes. The question is one of confidence that you have playing the role and how familiar you are with it. Some players just feel more comfortable with certain toolkits for one role that they do not want to try any other for their own reasons.

Q: During Heavensward Feast, were all jobs viable at one point?
Pan-Pan: Absolutely, except DRK.

Yun-min: It was a serious question! Please do not bully DRK (U/ω\)

Pan-Pan: The reason I have chosen DRK is because it required much higher skill to play and not everyone can do it depending on the kind of people you play against. Many of their abilities are circular AoE with not much range and they did not have the raw damage of WAR or protection utility of PLD. They relied on a slow, bind and debuffing which is less of a safety net than two Berserk Fell Cleave critical hits or 3-stun bash, Clemency, Cover and Testudo.

I am not saying DRK is weak or unreliable, but such a class requires something less straightforward from a person who wants to treat it like a main. It is as though the community eventually settled on what classes are PvP classes and brush aside the others. Good players can play any role if they put their mind to it, but even if some classes can be played by them, it does not mean that it will be.

When push comes to shove, a player will want as many advantages and chances as he can get, or provide, for his team. This makes most less wanting to main a class which can be seen as having too many wildcards as its strength. It is better to put faith in something solid if you are serious about ranking.

Q: Was any job in need of rebalancing during Heavensward Feast that did not get changed? (Either buffed or nerfed)
Pan-Pan: Machinist.

I would mention about PLDs stun duration when paired with BLM/WHM combination of two different DRs, but will forgo it because nothing compares to the threat level of a good MCH with awareness of his game.

Machinist is the only class that really stood out based on how dominant it was, and having a good MCH will easily combat a good opposing MNK within a game of reasonably equal players. It was on the rebalance path correctly at first with their BTE potency nerf, but the second nerf it required was one to its silence and utility on overall, not the BTE multiplier of 0.5.

Yun-min: Some argue that MCH is not that much of an issue compared to MNK who was widely overlooked for their short burst windows, superior sustained damage and lack of damage downtime.

Pan-Pan: MNK is not a ranged DPS so I will not compare apples to oranges. MNK should be compared with DRG and NIN, but for this question, I will mention MCH. Even if I were to compare on a big picture of which class makes the most difference on an equal playing field, it will undoubtedly still be MCH.

Yun-min: Why have you chosen MCH, then?
Pan-Pan: Inside of Feast, your strongest team asset is your DPS synergy. In Solo Queue if this is not an option, you will rely on your ability to CC at key points of time for high skill and experience matchmaking games. The fact the MCH has a large pool of CC except sleep, physical damage UP which is not a -Vulnerability- debuff, an AoE stun with instant root unlike BRDs which has a wind-up time/landing delay AND a short CD silence which lasts longer than that of BRD... MCH is one of the few classes that turn calm fights into massacres simply from using his toolkit to the fullest. This is not considering they have their own combination of DPS abilities which can readily KO anyone, including the 4 medal Tank.

Their silence when macro'd to focus the healer at key intervals will turn any weak attempt at bursting into a strong one. Few classes can claim the same flexibility and opportunity chances that a MCH can give.

Q: Are there any PvP resources to train new players in the JP community?
Pan-Pan: Yes. Whether they are widely known in the ENG community is another question with another answer.

People do use them but sometimes there are also players who want to learn though the hard way of experiencing it firsthand and managing themselves with experiences they get the more they play the mode.

I think whichever way was chosen, it worked well for them.

Yun-min: Thank you for answering the questions! As an ending note since this will be posted for people to read, is there anything you want to say?
Pan-Pan: I want to thank all PvPers who have played and are continuing to play PvP. I hope to see everyone in future seasons. It was especially enjoyable to watch the Aether Cup which was hosted by people from the ENG PvP community, as well as everyone who participated in it, thank you very much! Also, thank you for choosing me for this interview.

Yun-min: I actually threw 10 names into a hat and picked yours out of it randomly... but you are welcome!

Pan-Pan: The same way you pick Feast targets ('ᗒᗜᗕ)՛̵̖

Yun-min: I will remember to pick you specifically in future games. Until the next time, then! Good bye!

We really appreciate Yunmi for helping us get an interview with a top JP player. Also, Pan-Pan for agreeing to do it.