Letter from the Devs Vol. 8

Hello everyone, it's Ichikawa, producer of FINAL FANTASY VII THE FIRST SOLDIER, here. I know the first official tournament was held in Japan, so most of you wouldn't have been able to see it, but for those that did I hope you enjoyed it. It was quite nerve-racking during the livestream, but watching the heated battles play out in real-time was really exciting. I'd like to say a big thank you to all those who took part and all those on the sidelines who supported the teams. This is the 8th volume of Letter from the Devs and it has been a little while since the last installment, so there is a lot to get through and a lot to heat up this summer, so without further ado, let's begin.


On 7/10 in the THE FIRST SOLDIER CHAMPIONSHIP, the top FF7FS players from Japan duked it out in what can only be described as an epic showdown. I'm sure many of you are interested to know what the setups of the top players looked like when they went into battle. In this installment of Letter from the Devs, we will be looking at the styles and materia trends of players who participated in the championship tournament.

[Style Usage]

Rank Style Usage Rate
1 Ninja 27.3%
2 Sorcerer 25.1%
3 Ranger 17.0%
4 Dragoon 13.0%
5 Warrior 7.3%
6 Machinist 6.8%
7 Monk 3.5%

When looking at the usage of all styles, the first thing that stands out is the use of the Ranger style. In team matches, especially in close battles where understanding the enemy's location can give you the advantage, the Ranger saw a high usage rate among the top teams. On the other hand, the Warrior style saw a much greater reduction in usage compared to regular matches. This illustrates that the style of play for this tournament was focused on fighting mid-ranged battles with guns. Despite the Machinist style only seeing single-digit usage numbers among the top teams, we did see some players illustrate great skill and command over this style. The manipulation of the air gadget by some players was truly impressive and perhaps even a glimpse of the type of techniques we'll see more of in the future. Finally, the Monk class came in last, but this class has earned itself the menacing moniker "Red Fists" outside of Japan, so perhaps we'll see a higher usage rate in the upcoming North America tournament.

[Materia Usage]

Rank Materia Usage Rate
1 Fire 19.6%
2 Blind 16.5%
3 Aero 13.8%
4 Raise 11.4%
5 Thunder 9.1%
6 Water 8.5%
7 Cure 6.1%
8 Blizzard 6.0%
9 Bio 5.1%
10 Gravity 2.3%
11 Teleport 1.0%
12 Comet 0.6%

Blind held a really strong position in this tournament. Not only is this materia useful for moving and picking up items under relatively safe cover, it can be combined with the Ranger's "Assess" ability or "Sniper's Eye" skill to locate the enemy and deal damage from within the cover of the smoke. Raise also saw a high usage rate in this tournament due to its ability to quickly revive downed teammates so that they can get back into the fight in a timely manner and provide support at crucial moments helping turn the tide of a battle. In this next section, I will be covering the styles, materia sets, and guns used by the winning teams for each of the matches in the finals. Hopefully getting an insight into what the pros use can provide hints to you all.

[Finals: Winning Team Setups] 🔹1st Match

Style Ability Gun Materia
Ninja Hide ARLethal Gaze FireBlindRaise
ARLethal Gaze
Sorcerer Trance ARCombat Rifle Mod 2 WaterThunderAero
SGEclipse Eater
Ranger Assess SRMark 5 Sniper Rifle FireBlindRaise
HGWrath Revolver

◆2nd Match

Style Ability Gun Materia
Ninja Blade Shift ARLethal Gaze FireBlindRaise
SMGDissent's Bane
Sorcerer Arcane Field SRMark 5 Sniper Rifle ThunderBlizzardCure
Machinist Air Gadget ARLethal Gaze FireBlindRaise
SMGDissent's Bane

◆3rd Match

Style Ability Gun Materia
Ninja Hide ARLethal Gaze FireBlindCure
SMGDissent's Bane
Dragoon High Jump ARShinra Type B Assault Rifle FireBlindBio
SMGDissent's Bane
Monk Manawall HG87-Type Handgun BlizzardAeroCure
SRExecutioner Gamma

◆4th Match

Style Ability Gun Materia
Ninja Hide ARLethal Gaze FireBlindRaise
ARLethal Gaze
Sorcerer Trance ARCombat Rifle Mod 2 WaterThunderAero
SMGDissent's Bane
Ranger Assess ARCombat Rifle Mod 2 FireBlindRaise
HGWrath Revolver

◆5th Match

Style Ability Gun Materia
Ninja Hide ARLethal Gaze FireBlindRaise
ARLethal Gaze
Sorcerer Trance ARCombat Rifle Mod 2 WaterThunderAero
SMGDissent's Bane
Ranger Assess ARLethal Gaze FireBlindBio
ARLethal Gaze

Looking at styles, the trend is reflective of the overall usage illustrated above. However, when we look closer at the Ninja and Sorcerer abilities equipped, we can see a difference between the teams. This is particularly pronounced with the Ninja ability "Hide". This ability is very effective for evading tight spots when your team is half-defeated or you are left to fight solo. Although the ability "Blade Shift" is useful during fights or for rapid movement, opting for the alternative seems to have proved beneficial on many occasions. Looking at the guns used, we can see that most teams opted for the same type of guns with rapid-fire guns being the favored choice. Some teams chose single-fire guns to aid in the later stages of a fight where ammo tends to run down and single-fire guns come into their own. However, the trend among the top teams seems to be using two full magazines of rapid-fire guns to take the enemy down. As we saw above, Blind tended to dominate materia possession with all teams having at least two players with this materia. The usage rate for Water wasn't very high, but with its ability to be guided up and down, it proved effective in attacking from on top of Aero or other vantage points. Each of the teams displayed their own unique strategies for their setups. Analyzing the different style, weapon, and materia combinations gives a sense of how much thought each of the teams put into their choices in the hopes of coming out on top and just remembering them in action gets me excited. I hope this breakdown has been informative and can help you with your battles going forward!

Summer Event: Surf of the Water God

From today (7/19), we have a special summer event starting that offers a slightly different play style from what we're all used to.

Training Field Transformation

During the summer event, the training field will undergo two big transformations. The first is fountains. When you step onto one of these fountains, you will spring up into the air traveling in the direction in which you were facing allowing you to jump long distances. The fountains appear in various locations around the map and they change location each match. Until now, only certain styles or materia would allow you to take the fight to the sky, but during this event, everyone can use these fountains to mete it out mid-air.

The second transformation is the hazard zone. The hazard zone is usually a green mako mist, but during this event, it has been transformed into an ocean. At a glance, it just looks as if the hazard zone appears different, but slipping into special swimwear will reduce the damage taken from the watery hazard zone by half.

Locker System

This is one of the main features of this event. During the event lockers will appear in the different areas of the training field. Inside the lockers are items of swimwear that will help get you through this peculiar phenomenon. Locker keys needed to open the lockers can be found in chests and supply containers.

There are a total of 7 different types of swimwear each with its own unique effect.

When you open a locker, you will be assigned one of the items of swimwear at random. If you obtain another locker key and head to a different locker, you can change into a new piece of swimwear. Also, once you take a total of 300 damage, you will lose the swimwear you are wearing and return to your original appearance, so be careful not to take too much damage. *The locker system and event-exclusive swimwear are limited to standard matches only.

Water God Medals

During the event, Water God Medals will appear on the training field. There are two types of Water God Medal: regular green medals and special red medals. Special red medals are worth 5 regular medals, but due to their high value, they rarely appear on the ground. Jump into the fountains for a greater chance to get them.

The Water God Medals that you obtain during battle will be automatically taken out of the match with you, so save them up and use them to purchase the Water God's Pack to obtain event-exclusive skins and items. *If you are defeated during a match, you will take the medals that you obtained up to that point out of the match with you.

Limited-Time Surf of the Water God Event

During the event availability, claim Water God Medals just by logging in. Also, complete event challenges to get lots of Water God Medals and Special Shinra Pack Tickets!

Exclusive Summer Event Skins

Exclusive skins are available in the Specialty Shop! Event packs that offer a chance at special Leviathan-themed skins are also available!

Private Match Custom Rules

We apologize for the wait for this addition! Starting today, limited to ambassadors first, the following custom rules can be applied to private matches. (Expansion to general players is planned for mid-August.) ◆Turn On/Off appearance for individual items (guns, ammo, materia, consumables, accessories, orders, and summons) ◆Short Match mode in which the training zone will shrink more quickly We are also currently working on development of the below two points. ◆Ability to choose day or night map ◆Option to turn shrinking of the training zone off (the training zone will stay at its maximum size for the full 30 mins) We will continue working to develop the private match feature to allow for even more freedom and customization, so keep a look out for future updates.

7/19 Balance Adjustments

▼Ranger: Ammunitions Expert Adjustment → Reload reduction time increased from 20% to 50% ▼Machinist: Air Gadget Adjustment → Base speed increased → Maneuverability improved → Jump speed and height increased → Improvements to the air gadget getting stuck on objects ▼Improvements to Charged Dual Wheeler → Bullet speed greatly increased → Bullet range increased → Convergence rate of bullet spread greatly increased (improved even further for ADS) → Number of possible shots increased from 3 to 5

7/19 Improvements

- Ability to edit your online status You can now adjust the settings of your online status for more privacy and to avoid team invitations, etc. - Feature that provides suggestions when purchasing for items frequently purchased together

7/19 Error Corrections

- Unexpected errors were occurring frequently, so we have made it so that materia and abilities cannot be used after you push a button to perform a certain action such as opening a chest, supply container, vault door, or event interactions. - When you reconnect to the game, an error occurs with the amount of ammo in the Dual Wheeler preventing you from being able to fire it. - A marker is not shown to teammates for the Ranger's skill "Sniper's Eye". - When the emote "Misfire" is used, the display of certain skins becomes bugged. - At times the banner of a different player to the one that you killed is displayed on the screen when you kill a candidate. - The sound of certain V. Holo emotes is too quiet. - When you start matching and return to the title screen, the matching button is not displayed correctly when you return back to the home screen.

This brings us to the end of Letter from the Devs Vol. 8. We are getting deeper into summer in the northern hemisphere and the days are beginning to get hotter and hotter, so make sure to take good care of yourself and stay cool. In Japan, it has been so hot that sometimes I hesitate before leaving the house. If you feel the same, turn on the air conditioner (if you have one) and come cool down in the Surf of the Water God event! Putting the weather aside, we have a new mode lined up for the end of August and we are currently working on preparations for season 4. We hope to be able to provide a totally new experience to you all, so please sit tight for the next update info. As always, thank you for sticking with me through to the end. Until next time!