But all of that may be pointless because no one has ever promised us new jobs with every expansion. Or even new areas. Heck, we had a Final Fantasy XI expansion that added only frustrations and nothing else if you couldn’t hack through an incredibly difficult set of storyline missions.
So for today’s column, I want to look at what we are likely to get in the next expansion, in loose order of likelihood and why. It’s all well and good to make predictions about X, Y, or Z fitting into the game, but you can come up with a very convincing explanation for something that’s unlikely to happen in the first place.
New areas: Pretty much certain
There is how much of Eorzea still out there that we haven’t seen? And there are what other lands that we know of out in the world which we also have not seen? Yeah, new areas seem like a given to me. It’s not definite until it’s announced, but without new places to go, I think it’s going to feel like a very constrained expansion; even the most feature-poor expansions I can think of feature a few new places.
It seems likely these new areas will feature flight, since FFXIV has developed a system for gating flight that I think still serves as a very effective mechanism; the aether currents allow flight to be gated and sectioned off on a zone-by-zone basis. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have another mount type joining the chorus as well, but I also wouldn’t necessarily be shocked if it’s just flying from here on out. Both could work.
New jobs: Very likely
While I’m generally not fond of using FFXI as a basis for future FFXIV development, in this case I think it’s appropriate. The older game had one expansion without new jobs, and it received a lot of criticism for… well, many things, but the lack of new jobs was a big one. I tend to imagine that the lesson was learned.
I’ve already discussed what I suspect those new jobs will be, of course, so there’s not much more to be said on the subject. There are vague hints that could be expanded upon, but we didn’t get many hints about the Heavensward jobs before the expansion, either.
New jobs for the base classes: Pretty unlikely
As much as I like the idea of the whole class/job split, I really don’t think that we’re going to see more classes split off from the same base. If anything, I think this is the expansion wherein classes are going to have something done to them; they’re kind of outdated at this point. I’m not happy about that, but the paradigm for further jobs has been established now; I don’t see us retreating from where we are now, I see us continuing on in the same direction.
New content styles: Reasonably likely
Heavensward has introduced one really “new” style of content on the PvE side with exploratory voyages, a new PvP mode, and a new endgame setup for crafting and gathering. That’s just thus far; there are hints more is coming. So the next expansion may be reasonably assumed to add other elements into the gameplay on top of everything that’s already there. I don’t expect it’s going to work like FFXI‘s ongoing assault of new content types with each expansion, but I’m reasonably sure we’ll see more new stuff to do.
Heck, we already know that 3.3 will likely contain something very new. I’m willing to wait partway through expansions to see what develops.
New mechanics: Quite possible
I’ve said frequently that players need more character customization options and that classes are kind of a relic; I fully expect both of these aspects to be addressed in the next expansion. (Merit Points!) Considering that Heavensward built on the mechanics established with FFXIV, it’s reasonable to assume that we’ll get new things built on what we already have.
However, I think it’s also important to note that these elements are likely rather than certain. I would place better money on getting new jobs than I would place on getting more customization options. These things would fit in the expansion, but we haven’t heard much in the way of rumblings about them yet.
New races: Unlikely
The Au Ra were seeded a long time before we actually got to play them; it was an established fact that they were there thanks to Yugiri. We haven’t had anything like that in 3.x yet, and we’re already further along in the story. Right now, there’s just no hint of any new races existing in enough quantities to make another playable race plausible.
There’s also the fact that we know of two other spoken races, neither of which are likely to be playable in the near future if ever. While I don’t want to say we won’t get any more races, I don’t think new races are high on the priority list.
New classes: Probably not
I can quite easily tell a story where new base classes in FFXIV lead to the new jobs and the next expansion has an explosion of jobs based on alternate routes for base classes. It’s not difficult. But I don’t think any of that is likely; I think it is quite explicitly unlikely. We can only dream about when we might finally find ourselves pacing out the halls of the Musketeer’s guild, but it’s likely to not be soon.
Just as an aside, though, I’d love to be wrong.
Paradigm shift: Doubtful
I make no secret about the fact that I like FFXIV quite a bit, and the reality is that the next expansion is more likely than not going to be more of the same. If there are any major content shifts being made in 4.0 and beyond, I honestly expect that they’ll move away from the current structure of savage rewards, but even that seems pretty speculative from where I’m sitting right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if it does happen, I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t.
My point here is that while there are lots of options for what you like doing in the endgame right now, if you’re hoping for some fundamental shift in the way the game handles endgame activities, you are likely to be disappointed. At most, new types of activities will lead to different priorities. The big sea change where everything is suddenly different and the entire endgame structure revolves around dance fights in the open world could happen, but it’s not where I’d put my money.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to email@example.com. Next week, thoughts from PAX East, depending on what I see there. It might be a lot; it might be just a little. Who knows?