Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida really wants you to know he cares. Yoshida recently apologized to players for dramatically increased queue times brought on by a sudden and almost inexplicable explosion in the game’s popularity. Today, Yoshi-P announced his team is making a slight change to the sage class in order to ensure the comfort and happiness of all his players.
The change is regarding the special icon for the sage, a new healer job that will be added to the game when the Endwalker expansion launches in September of this year. Every job in Final Fantasy XIV has an icon that acts like a visual shorthand—something you can quickly glance at to tell who in your party is what job or what job a particular piece of gear is for. The icons are distinct and designed in such a way that makes it easy to tell what job the icon represents. Paladins are a tank class and are thus represented by a shield. Scholars are big nerds so they get glasses and warriors…actually I don’t know what the hell that’s supposed to be. If you do, let me know.
The sage icon took inspiration from its weapon, the nouliths, which are long skinny poles with openings at the end that hover around the player shooting lasers—you know typical healer shit. The sage icon was simply those nouliths grouped together.
To normal people, the icon might look innocuous but to a small subset of people, the icon could trigger revulsion or disgust because of the grouping of tiny holes.
“This aversion is known as trypophobia, and those who have it feel disgust and fear when they see clusters of small holes or bumps,” Yoshida explained in a post on Final Fantasy XIV’s website.
According to Yoshida, he didn’t think that the icon itself would cause problems. And though I myself have trypophobia—as this now infamous blog clearly explains—the little holes don’t bother me either.
But Yoshida explained that the reaction to the icon from trypophobia sufferers was so strong that he felt compelled to act.
“We soon received feedback from players all over the world, who told us that the sage icon made them uncomfortable or fearful,” Yoshida wrote. “You have given us your earnest feedback, and there’s still time to change things.”
The new icon isn’t a dramatic departure from the old one. It’s the same icon but the little holes have been filled in creating a solid, non-holey look.
Though the holes never bothered me anyway, I love this response from Yoshida. He did a thing, heard feedback about that thing, and though the thing was exceedingly minor in light of what must be a stressful time to get Endwalker out the door as polished as possible, he took decisive action to ensure that even the smallest subset of his players were taken care of.