Wisdom of Nym: What I’d like to see (and probably won’t) in the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion

One of the things I do in this column, at times, is stomp on dreams. It’s not really an intended function, but it’s one of those things that I can’t help but do by the nature of the column. As I’ve said before, speculating about Final Fantasy XIV is about guessing what will most likely happen rather than what I necessarily want to happen, and that means sometimes that I have to say what you really want will probably not come to pass. Blue Mage? Probably not. No level cap increase? Unlikely to happen. Five dungeons per patch, completely new rather than hard modes? Yeah, I think the development team would die.

But I am not insensitive, and I am a creature of my own wants and wishes. My gaze of “unlikely to happen” does not solely extend to things that other people want. So here, then, are some things that I’m really hoping for with the next expansion that smart money would put in the “not going to happen” category. Fair’s fair, after all.

I feel like the birbs wore out their welcome pretty quickly.

Gigas beast tribe quests

I think good speculation on the next expansion puts it in Ala Mhigo, based on all of the story hints we’ve had thus far. And that’s fine; much like Ishgard, that’s pulling a trigger that’s been there for quite some time. Heading to Ala Mhigo has always been on the table, much like heading to Northrend or Tokyo in other games. But there’s one beast tribe that we know of that’s been wandering around Eorzea without the slightest exploration, and I’d really like a chance to learn more about it.

The Mamool Ja and the Qiqirn have been around for some time, but both of them are implied to be imports to the mainland, so it makes sense that we’ve never really explored their lore; Goblins are more native, but they also have had lots of quests exploring who they are by now, thanks to Alexander. But there are three different sub-types of Gigas, they were all but forgotten before the Calamity, they have a tie to the Crystal Tower, they’re intelligent, they’re there, and we know nothing about them — just vague hints here and there about what their deal is.

Seriously, two dungeons have been devoted to fighting these guys, and we know only the tiniest bit about who they even are. I’d like to explore their culture, and it’s not unreasonable to assume we might find some more answers up in the mountains.

So why will we likely not? Well, the fact is that the Gigas tribes are imports from Final Fantasy XI, and thus far the designers have seemed disinclined to explore beast tribes that have direct equivalents in Vana’diel. (It’s worth noting here that the Sahagin appear in both games, but they’re significantly different.) Furthermore, the emphasis in Heavensward was on new tribes, not representing ones we’re familiar with. They’re also very tied to the Crystal Tower, which is already a past-tense bit of content. All in all, I think it’s going to be some time before we explore these guys in any more depth… if we ever do.

And now you put them in a blender.

Melee Red Mage

All right, this is just stupid. But it has some precedent.

We’ve heard from Yoshida a few times that Red Mage is on the table, and obviously, Red Mage needs to be sufficiently different from Black Mage and White Mage. It also has the unusual distinction of not really slotting into its traditional role in this game; after all, a job here is not going to be a healer and a DPS. The closest we get is Arcanist, and that has two separate jobs (and separate gear sets) to fulfill the role.

But Red Mage, traditionally, has not just been good at using both kinds of magic. In its first appearance in Final Fantasy, it was decent at everything. Heck, if you wanted to be mildly obnoxious, it was better than Black Mage; it could cast the important spells that Black Mage had access to while also having some healing spells and actual melee capabilities.

That’s what usually bolsters the Red Mage wheelhouse: It has some melee capability. And there’s definitely a niche for it in FFXIV as a melee-oriented spellcaster. FFXI‘s history of the job being used as a dual-wielding melee solo machine with the use of its signature enhancing spells doesn’t hurt, either.

Of course, this is unlikely in the extreme; it’s far more likely that Red Mage would have a pure spellcasting role, and the idea that the job would actually be based on weirdos playing RDM/NIN or RDM/DNC to solo things is kind of ridiculous. It’s a hard sale to me, and I want that to happen. I think it’s far more reasonable to assume that when we get Red Mage, it’ll be a pure caster DPS with a non-staff weapon and perhaps a touch more defensive capability than Black Mage. There’s space to hang an argument here, but I don’t think it’s very likely.

It's not exactly a stretch.

The Ishgardian Grand Company

All right, it’s time for a very minor spoiler, everyone. By the end of Heavensward? Ishgard is back in the Eorzean Alliance. I know, you’re stunned; that’s only one of the huge goals of the expansion and several of the quests leading up to the expansion. Take a deep breath and try to stabilize yourself if you haven’t finished the MSQ yet. We’ll get through this together.

Logically, this should mean that Ishgard is also fielding a Grand Company. As it originally existed, the Alliance was between the companies first and foremost, hence why you saw a lot of Immortal Flames dying at Carteneau and not so many Brass Blades. It’s also why the Crystal Braves were significant as a Grand Company not specifically beholden to any nation. Yet at this point, there’s still no suggestion of any sort of Ishgardian entry into the Grand Company sphere, as much as I’d like a snazzy new color scheme to go along with the existing uniforms.

The reason for this should be immediately clear with the slightest consideration. All of the game mechanics built on Grand Companies rely on having the three different factions, and the companies have otherwise been largely irrelevant since the game’s launch with a minor choice of cosmetic gear when Hunts first game around. So of course there’s no space for an Ishgardian company. Even if it existed, players joining it simply wouldn’t work, much like why players couldn’t sign up with the Crystal Braves after their founding. It throws the balance of the game off.

A glance at 3.4 suggests that we’ll be getting more Grand Company stuff going on then, so there’s always a chance it’ll get a nod. But I sincerely doubt players will ever be able to sign on here, just like I doubt players will ever get access to those snazzy blue Crystal Braves outfits. This is a shame. That blue is really pretty.

Feedback, as always, is welcome down in the comments or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next time around, we’ll be fast approaching the third anniversary of the game, so ahead of the anniversary livestream I’d like to look back on the past year with a wistful smile.

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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