Wisdom of Nym: What happens next in Final Fantasy XIV?

It’s pretty clear that the Final Fantasy XIV team (and the localization team specifically) are pretty huge fans of Hamilton, to the point that I’m surprised that the Emperor didn’t specifically burst into a song from the musical in the ending sequence. Especially because it’s… kind of a relevant question at this point, once you’ve seen the end of the MSQ.

So what does come next?

Obviously, this column will feature spoilers, so consider yourself fairly tagged. But I think this is a relevant question to ask because this expansion is, in its own way, a very different animal from its two predecessors right out of the gate. The relaunch ended its story in a place so open that it could really go wherever without a problem, while Heavensward ended the 3.0 MSQ with obvious points for continuation. (It helped that the obvious thrust of the expansion took a sharp left turn around level 55.) In the case of Stormblood, though…

Yes, I’m avoiding saying more before the cut. Spoilers down below, people.

Raise a glass to lizards, something they can never take away, no matter how much lore they lack.Once you’re done with Stormblood, you’ve accomplished the goals of the expansion. Heck, not only that, you’ve accomplished the goals no one ever specifically gave you. Ala Mhigo is free, Doma is free, Zenos is dead as dead can be. There are a few antagonists still out and about, but they aren’t plausibly the sort who can threaten what’s been accomplished.

There is, in fact, some fascinating storytelling done with implication in Doma specifically, how the Empire relied so long on letting the nation largely govern itself with Lord Kaien as viceroy. When Yotsuyu took power and came down harder, they lost support of the native population and no longer had people who could or would support their status. Unlike Ala Mhigo, the Empire never really dug in throughout Yanxia, and you see how unsteady it makes them in the end.

But the result is that we don’t have antagonists like we did in Heavensward, nor do we have the wide-open field of establishment as we did in the reboot. It’s obvious that we’re going to be dealing with more issues in Ala Mhigo and Doma, and the couple of remaining antagonists we have are not capable of summoning the help they would need to be formidable forces on their own. Omega is off being dealt with in a totally different storyline.

So what comes next?

I think one of the hints to that comes when we actually look at what the Empire has been doing and the hand it has been dealt during the game’s timeline. We’ve been told, over and over, that the Empire is huge and scary and can easily crush Eorzea… but what do things look like from the Empire’s perspective?

Three legions lost, one badly damaged. Four legati killed. At least one flagship destroyed, with another damaged at least and crippled at worse. Two decades of trying to take this region, and not only has the Empire made no actual inroads whatsoever, it has now lost the one territory it did hold. And it conquered that in the wake of a tumultuous rebellion when it faced four sharply divided remaining nations in Eorzea, not four members of the Eorzean Alliance with the tacit backing of Hraesvelgr’s brood and the newly liberated Ala Mhigo clearly poised to become another member of the Alliance.

At the very end of the MSQ, we see one of the Ascians again, and that offers us a hint of what might come next. Because it’s clear that the Emperor still has goals. He could devote all of the legions of Garlemald to crushing Eorzea, yes; even if we mark the sixth as tacitly lost, that’s four lost out of 14 in total, and that’s more than enough military might to slowly roll over Eorzea and crush opposition. But it would mean devoting all forces in one direction, and it would be costly, and there’s an easier option.

Why not sue for peace?

Imperial forces and Eorzeans have been at odds for a long while, and while open war has not existed there’s a tacit state of conflict that could flare up at any moment. Yet it’s easy for Galvus to declare that those elements still fighting against Eorzea are rogue elements, not representing him or the will of the Empire. Why not stop fighting the Eorzeans but actually work with them?

I want to be in the room where it happens.It provides a plot to set things in motion. It provides a good chance to sow immediate political unrest between the Eorzean Alliance and the newly freed Ala Mhigo; after all, does Ala Mhigo want to join forces with a group willing to talk peace with the nation’s former oppressors? It creates rifts, sows discord, and immediately gives the Empire a different means of acquiring what it wants.

And let’s not forget that working with the Empire was a major plot point in Final Fantasy VI… a game that many parts of this expansion have worked overtime to echo. (Castrum Abania, anyone?)

Of course, the other possibility is that the Empire is going to just come down with a great and furious anger… on Doma. Both Doma and Ala Mhigo have a lot of rebuilding to do, but Ala Mhigo has four other nations on hand to provide assistance. Doma is a long way away, and there would be some muttering about whether or not it’s a worthwhile investment to spend that much money on something so far out of their way. Sure, Doma helped liberate Ala Mhigo, but is it still equally important?

I think it’s interesting to wonder about. The possibilities are wide open, but it seems foolish to assume that the Empire is just going to sit around and do nothing. And in the back of my mind I worry that we’re going to fill out the rest of the expansion with a more mythical threat, that instead of fighting the Empire we’re dealing with some dark creature of the Void or something hidden away.

And that’s fine, but one of the things I like about the expansion thus far is that what we’re dealing with has been grounded. No ancient dragons, no Allagan ruins, no voidsent, nothing. It’s a match of politics and people with a splash of ancient power to spice things up, and that’s my jam. So I’d like to hope, however unrealistically, that this will continue along as we move into the patches.

Also, I want someone to suggest naming a patch “The Empire Strikes Back” before cooler heads point out that name is already being used.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next time around, I want to talk about the issues we’ll be facing in the next expansion. Yes, the next expansion. Yes, some of them are visible right now. No, I am not a crackpot. No, none of them are balance issues. (Hey, did anyone else see that progression thread discussing how Tenacity proves its worth in close runs? Boy, that seems relevant when talking about numbers, doesn’t it?)

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.
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4 Comments on "Wisdom of Nym: What happens next in Final Fantasy XIV?"

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Chris Moss

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Matt Redding

The thing about Doma is … it’s not as isolated as it once was. The player spends their time literally rounding up political alliances where there were none thought possible. The Steppes alone are … well it’s like having the GoT’s Dothraki suddenly show up with housewarming gifts. So Doma has naval allies both above and below the water, the Steppes are allied to them as Hien is tight with those people too. So they may have time to rebuild some.

Albert Guzman

Everyone I talk to keeps mentioning the Resistance and it’s implied factions. It’s mentioned a couple times throughout the storyline, though you never really see it come into play during the MSQ. With Ala Mhigo liberated, and several people, Raubahn included, stating that they’re not sure what’s going to come next, we have a pretty strong set-up for political bull$#!% and backstabbing as people argue over what to do with their country now.

Ugh, how far away is 4.1 anyway? I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been so impatient for a game patch to come out before. Why do they have to save their frickin release trailers for a week before release?!

To me, story is everything. And many stories often hinge on their characters, on the people involved in the tale. That, to me, is a great part of why Stormblood is a stellar expansion so far. There are quite a few cutscenes dealing not only with you and your friends, but also with Zenos, Yotsuyu, Fordola, and all the rest. Like with so many forms of media better villains make a better story, whether they be monstrous or sympathetic. That we have such great characters to watch in the coming patches is what makes me impatient. That, and…

In Heavensward, we lost a lot of good people. A Lot of them. And though we’ve gained some as well along the way, all in all it still feels like… I dunno. I still feel the loss. Haurchefant, Ysayle, Minfilia, Papalymo. Estinien is still out there, thank the Twelve. Krile… personally I don’t care for her too much, certainly not as a replacement for Minfilia. She’s…. ‘Eh’ to me. Alisaie has joined the troupe, glad to have her along. Now Lyse is taking a break as well, and…. I don’t know.

Super Spoilers

Fordola. Yotsuyu. Gosetsu. These are all Big characters in the storyline. They must have a part to play in the coming days. I both hope and dread what’s in store for them.

Ruby Lancer

I don’t expect the Empire to sue for peace. Even if they did, I don’t see anyone of the Eorzean Alliance actually believing for one moment that the Empire’s intentions are pure. As far as the Empire is concerned in general, anyone that isn’t a Garlean is a savage that doesn’t understand anything other than brute force.

I suspect the Emperor will let things stand as they are now, even if members of the court are demanding that they retake the lands that are rightfully theirs. Too many other areas in their control that have the potential to rise up against them right now, even more so as the Doman Ninjas spread word of the Imperial losses, something they said they were going to do after Doma was freed.

The wild card here is Aulus mal Asina, the scientist behind the changes to certain characters, and the second boss of Ala Mhigo. If he survived the encounter with the WoL and got out of Ala Mhigo safely, and with enough data on his experiments as well, I could easily see him getting more support now to continue them, and the results of such being unleashed on us.

Its through him and learning how Zenos actually KNEW what the Echo could do that I suspect we’re going to learn what the Empire is going to be doing next. Either Aulus is an Ascian himself, or the Allagans had surprising knowledge and notes on the Echo that he used.

With the success of being able to implant the power of the Echo into another being, followed up by proving that it is possible to use it to control a primal, I could see the Emperor removing the kill on sight command that his predecessor had put in place in favor of one that would have Echo enhanced Soldiers go in and take control. Zenos showed us that the Empire has the technology to contain a primal, so they could even just capture one and bring it back so that they could do similar.

Of course, we wouldn’t even know any of that’s going on, as we’ll be busy dealing with the aftermath of 4.0 ourselves, and working to keep the populace that only knows of Garlean rule and the like from trying to stifle our progress too much. Any inklings we might get that the Empire is planning something big will be small things here and there over the next few years, leading up to the ending of Stormblood and leading us into the next expansion, with maybe a final dungeon complete with a couple of primals to fight.

But this is just wild speculation as I don’t recall actually seeing anything that could lead us to this path, just questions left unanswered right now that I wouldn’t mind getting.