Wisdom of Nym: What we should (and shouldn’t) expect from Final Fantasy XIV’s next expansion

    
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The future is dragons, as is the present.
We all know that this year’s Fanfest is going to include an announcement of a new Final Fantasy XIV expansion. “Know” might be too far, admittedly (“expect” is more accurate), but there’s every reason to expect it. That’s why I’ve already done a bit of speculating about where we’ll go and what we can expect in terms of new jobs.

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

At least we got this one, that was welcome.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 still wonder what's behind here.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 eliot@massivelyop.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?

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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JoshuaMcKenrick
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JoshuaMcKenrick

TBH I’m mostly looking forward to when they stop supporting the PS3… There are so many improvements that could be made to the game but the strict memory limitations that come with the PS3 are constantly holding them back. Yoshi-P said they’d examine the idea for 4.0 but even if it’s not in 4.0 it’ll definitely be in the following expansion.

Eliot_Lefebvre
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Eliot_Lefebvre

tumtedum Let’s not and say we didn’t, because those days were annoying. Not to mention that tanks who try to do so slow a run down immensely, especially since AoE power scales down based on enemies hit.

tumtedum
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tumtedum

Loopstah I miss chaining pulling the entire dungeon section ala AK and just spam AoE.. those were the days…

They need to stop adding invisible walls in dungeons! Pull it aaaaaaalll~

Raging Berserker
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Raging Berserker

Personally, I feel they need to stop having currency to buy crafting and gathering equipment.  Maybe this has changed a bit since I left with recent patches, but there is no greater feeling of accomplishment than making the best crafting/gathering set with your own skill, instead of being used as an item factory to get currency.

Leviathon_lx
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Leviathon_lx

Honestly I’d prefer no new races unless we were to get an actual beast race. The Au Ra were a cool idea for example but in the end they felt like modified versions of races we already had. I get that the armor system for FF14 makes them want races that are all similar in body shape but I’d still love to see an actual beast race that’s not just a human with a tail and horns/ears attached to the head.

Gameplay wise I’d want to see them taking more risks. I love the world and lore of FF14 but in the end it feels like my only options when I log into the game are to queue into a handful of dungeons and a few quick raids unless you’re in a guild doing hard modes (2 max level dungeons and a small raid at release is something that Blizzard would have been torn to pieces over) or to do dailies that aren’t very much beyond kill and collect quests. The biggest issue they seem to have is that they take a cool idea for a side thing then kinda just go halfway with it. Chocobo Racing, Triple Triad, and the Pet Battle minigame were all just thrown into the Gold Saucer with very limited play styles and not much else when they could have been much greater in scope. Alt leveling in Heavensward is just awful as well. 1-50 felt reasonably quick after you got your first 50 due to the xp boost but the amount of grinding involved for 50-60 just burns me out when it comes to alternate jobs.

Loopstah
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Loopstah

Eliot_Lefebvre Loopstah The primary job leveling process was indeed relatively smooth with a few hiccups here and there, but my points was more-so for the alt leveling. I agree with you that FATEs should not be the sole substitute, and with a scarce amount of leveling dungeons (one every 2 levels) it really slows down the progress. Temple leves were a good source of exp, but their cost quickly burns through the allowance.
As for the combat, I agree it’s a tuning thing and again – this could be just my personal preference. I disliked spending so much time fighting one mob and having to blow all my cooldowns just to survive a lone straggler that happened to walk into range. With 3 mobs, you’re pretty much stuck with trying to run away, unless you’re a tank (and even then). I would rather have a bit of slack when it comes to picking up additional mobs. If you want challenge – pick up an extra group, otherwise, stick with normal difficulty. Handling an extra group should not be such a stressful task.

Eliot_Lefebvre
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Eliot_Lefebvre

MrPoolaty The affordability of the housing isn’t as much of a problem as the availability of it; that’s already on the list of things to address.
As for crafting, the high-end side of crafting is already fairly exclusive; having materia slots makes crafts that much more valuable. There’s an ongoing balancing act in place for crafting, but it’s ultimately no less distinctive than FFXI’s “craft and pray” system, and at least under this system you don’t just have to pray for that Scorpion Harness +1.

Eliot_Lefebvre
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Eliot_Lefebvre

Loopstah Heavensward had a fairly good flow for leveling if you did all of the side quests as they came up; I imagine it’s much improved now that you can pick up the two beast tribe lines as you level. I think it’s something that could be addressed in 4.0, but I figure it’s kind of a given. As for side content, well, I’ve railed about the lack of that before and haven’t changed my feelings on that; FATEs as a substitute for sidequests doesn’t sit well with me in the first place, regardless of tuning.

I would like to see more leveling dungeons, but then, I can kind of accept the number we got. As it stands, the game has 30 dungeons if you don’t count hard modes and 43 if you do (and I do, since hard modes are basically entirely new dungeons in most practical senses) after three years, while World of Warcraft has about 84 after 11 years.The sheer pace of those dungeons means that it’s going to be easy to burn out on concepts and pacing, so I can’t exactly complain about numbers in that department. Since the leveling roulette opens up a big chunk of dungeons anyhow, it seems fair.
As for individual enemy fights in the open world, it’s one of those tuning things. In the base game it was very easy to fight your way through huge swarms of enemies without much fear for your safety; Heavensward makes that far more dangerous and sometimes downright suicidal. Whether or not that’s a good thing is variable; it works out fine for jobs like Ninja and Dragoon and quite badly for Black Mages. We’ll see how things are tweaked in 4.0; I’d prefer a bit less enemy durability myself in the open world, possibly with a bit more variance in some areas designated as higher difficulty.

Loopstah
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Loopstah

Couple of things i’d like to see in the expansion:
1. More storyline quests during the leveling process. Heavensward was very stop-and-go when it came to progressing the story. I think we need a shorter lull between storyline quests, less reliance on side quests. Definitely less reliance on running dungeons.
2. More side quests for alts. While the original game was relatively rich in quests for leveling alts, Heavensward was completely bare. Side quests were very much exhausted during the primary leveling due to main questline gating, which left you with pretty much running dungeons and hunts ad nauseum since FATEs were useless post-50
3. More dungeons. Heavensward blessed us with 1 dungeon per 2 levels, which is a super small set comparing to vanilla. I know that more dungeons opened up later on as hard/expert modes (and possibly even more with additional patches), but i would like to see more leveling dungeons to break the monotony.
4. This might be a bit of a paradigm shift, so it could be a bit controversial, but i’d like to see the game move away from super tough trash mobs where extra pulls mean having to run away, to maybe more squishier mobs in a single group. I think the gameplay would be a lot more dynamic and less tedious than 40-sec-single-mob fights, especially as tanks. It would alleviate the stress of “is there anything else approaching me while i’m fighting this single mob, and still retain the difficulty level by ensuring that prompt dispatch of squishier mobs means less damage directed at you.

Those are some of my thought from the top of my head.

MrPoolaty
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MrPoolaty

Affordable housing for non no-lifers as they’re called these days…
A better specialized crafting system like FFXI where not everyone and their brother are making the exact same shit. Geezus as a crafter this just drives me nuts. I know people can make alts so be it. When 95% of people are making the exact same thing how does that help the economy.
And um Samurai maybe would be nice I’d come back for the life of the game!!