Wisdom of Nym: Predictions for Final Fantasy XIV’s fan festival

    
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Sing a song of madness.

Well, here we go again. This Friday is time for Final Fantasy XIV fans to sit down and find out what the next expansion will look like. Sure, we haven’t technically been told that we’re getting a new expansion at all, but we all know it’s happening, it’ll release some time around mid-to-late June, we’ll be ready for it as 4.5 rolls around, which will probably be split into a two-part patch… you get the idea. It’s predictable.

What’s less predictable is where we’re going, what new jobs we’re getting, and so forth. That’s actually part of the fun of this last ramp-up. We know it’s approaching and we know some of what’s going to be contained therein, and now we get to make our real guesses about what’s happening and where we’ll end up. So what comes next? I don’t know. But I’ll guess about it, and then we can all spend next week either congratulating me on getting things right or laughing at me for being so desperately, desperately wrong.

New jobs

New job: Chaos.First things first, I fully expect that we’re getting a tank and healer this year. In fact, I would only expect that we’ll get a DPS job if we get three jobs instead of just two… which I would honestly give even odds of at this point.

We’ve never actually been told that we’ll get the same number of jobs every year, and the workload for how many jobs we get has varied wildly from year to year. When Heavensward was approaching, it combined the launch of Ninja with three jobs, and that was obviously far too much. Stormblood gave us two new jobs, which seems to be fine. But with only two jobs for this expansion and time to work, are three jobs in play?

Possibly. But my minimum prediction is still for a tank and healer, with another DPS job as a possibility but not a certainty.

My personal favorites for this year include something hammer-related (especially after Nero’s little stint with his gunhammer) and Geomancer, although whether Geomancer would be a healer or a DPS could really go either way. Curiously, nothing else stands out to me as actually hinted by the game or the lore up to this point; we certainly don’t have someone like Alisaie hinting at a new job in a roundabout fashion. We probably won’t know all of the jobs we’re getting after this festival regardless, though; Yoshida’s shirt will just give us an idea of what the right track looks like.

If he’s wearing a Peter Gabriel, Rhianna, or MC Hammer shirt, I’ll feel good about my chances. If he’s wearing an Eiffel 65 shirt, that lends some credibility to leaks. And if he’s wearing a Coldplay shirt, well, then I won’t know what to believe.

New regions

I may be in the minority here, but I still don’t feel like we’re heading toward the heart of the Empire. At the same time, my personal feelings about Meracydia don’t have any textual support either; it’s just a feeling without any actual justification, something I feel is going to happen based purely on a gut reaction.

I absolutely refuse to claim that this is a good way to run predictions, though. “I’ve just got this feeling” is the equivalent of concentrating really hard in the hopes of becoming a psychic while looking at a slot machine. If I can’t explain why it feels right beyond it feels right, I don’t have much ammunition.

There is a lot of musical reference in this article.

That having been said, it still feels like we’ll not be going into the heart of the Empire. So my predictions are gently split. It’s totally possible that we’ll be running along the southern edge of the region, in places like Ivalice and the like. While it would be odd to go to Ivalice as a zone right after raids in the area, it’s certainly plausible; it’d give us an opportunity to use Thavnair as a home base.

It also seems possible that the expansion will be more metaphorical and offer a different experience; exploring new regions or new versions of regions rather than traveling far afield in Hydaelyn proper. Along the lines of Wings of the Goddess, albeit hopefully without the time-travel nonsense that expansion used for a plot.

Regardless, I feel like Radz-at-Han will be the new city, and I also feel as if we’ll not be confined to just one new region; Ala Mhigo and Othard added a lot of diversity to the game, and it wouldn’t surprise me to do the same again. I do expect we’ll stick to about six zones, though, so more than two continents feels unlikely in the extreme.

Personally I actually really enjoy DRK's kit this expansion, but it does lack the punchy utility of the other tank jobs.

Additional levels

Yes, I expect another ten levels with five new traits and/or abilities for every job. Probably leaning a bit more heavily on the trait side of things, barring another purge of unused abilities. (And we’re low on particularly unused abilities at this point.) This is mechanically just a thing that we’ve come to expect by now.

A few jobs are due for some rather thorough reworking and improvement with the expansion; we’ve had it hinted that Dark Knight, Machinist, and perhaps Summoner are all being closely examined for some major gameplay changes. Personally, I think that Monk is overdue for the same, and both Ninja and Scholar could stand to have some tweaks. And that’s not counting the fact that White Mage still has a pretty useless job gauge…

Having said all of that, I don’t think we’re going to see the same level of top-level sea change that we saw with Stormblood. That was, in part, a rewriting of every job to work with job gauges; while I imagine that will still be addressed and expanded, it seems unlikely that they’ll be getting so widely rewritten one expansion later. So while the aforementioned jobs will probably see some adjustment, a lot of the tricks will probably be later abilities, like giving Paladins more tricks for the Oath Gauge and so forth.

It really does smell like lore.

Other novelty

Yes, I say this every time, but I really both hope and wish that this will be the expansion when we get a little more character customization added into the game. It’s still upsetting that any given Ninja plays identical to any other Ninja, and while the different jobs all play well it’d be nice to have some tweaks and customization along the lines of what was done with Merit Points. (Not quite the same as Merits, of course; that would be kind of pointless, as Merits were added to deal with an unchanging level cap and make you perpetually level.)

We’ve gotten a lot of good systems and updates with this expansion, so there are fewer elements that are transparently in need of good updates or something to address obvious deficiencies. It seems likely that things like the Deep Dungeon will carry forward, while I doubt that we’ll see another segment of Eureka in the next expansion. But I also expect something to be teased as a big new change, some form of content that’s different from what has come before, just like exploration missions and Eureka.

My other big guess is that we’ll see at least some conversation about housing and availability, which has been a consistent issue as well as a flashpoint for this year. I don’t expect an entirely new housing district, but something new in terms of housing systems would be welcome, even if it feels a little bit overly optimistic. After all, they just added a bunch of additional wards all over again…

Feedback, as always, is welcome down in the comments or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, we’ll be reacting to what we learned and we can all laugh at what I got wrong, so that’ll be fun.

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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Koshelkin

Beast Master and Blue Mage… Jokes, FFXIV is way too simplified to include Blue Mage and probably too narrow in design to allow for the Beast Master.

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hypefordays

Most modern themepark MMOs are. While XIV’s class design and combat are generally more complex than most games of the same tree, it could also use some extra features and roles such as Support. You may be right when it comes to Blue Mage — I recall them saying that they were having a hard time trying to figure out how to implement red mage way back due to it being a support class.

Though when it comes to BST, the current way it’s handled in FFXI is that you don’t tame beasts in the world anymore. That’s inefficient and slow — though it’s still possible. You carry specific food (or buckets with food) that calls, say, a level 119 beast to fight beside you. It won’t suddenly turn on you, either, and it doesn’t zap experience for you or the party, so BSTs are viable for some parties now. The bucket is consumable unless you use a 5 minute ability “Loyalty” (or some such) that allows you to summon the beast without a treat. Though there’s a “reward” ability that gives it a treat for other things, as well.

Though a level 119 beast will likely get decimated in most end game content unless you beef it up with your items and such. I believe BST mainly changed during its last expansion, with some more buffs and balancing issues handled during Rhapsodies of the Maiden in 2015 — of which Yoshi-P was an executive of for FFXI.

In essence, level 99 in FFXI is the new level one. Easier to get there than the old days, but you have months if not years of grinding to get AF +3, Relic +3, EMP +3 and maximize your sets / unlock ultimate weapons. That’s just for one job. Eureka is a blessing compared to it.

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Koshelkin

That most modern themeparks are like that doesn’t make it better, it actually makes it worse. The way they implemented RDM in FFXIV was the final nail in the coffin for me, as an avid RDM player in both FFXI and most of the singleplayer titles. Queue random DPS.

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hypefordays

S’fine to not like something.

RDM in FFXIV follows the single player version moreso than the FFXI one. Though RDM hasn’t been relevant since Seekers of Adoulin, as it’s all about Geomancer nowadays. Some friends might let a RDM in a group, but they have to work 5x harder and work to gear 5x more just to be as good as others. Just isn’t worth gambling that you get one worth its salt.

DD (Or damage dealers) with a mixture of Black and White magic is the foundation of a red mage. Some minor heals, fast cast and so forth. The only thing missing from some other games is a party-castable haste, and refresh (though this was given to ranged) when it comes to FFXI (as well as En-Spells/, though a version of that is still present with procs). As well as stoneskin/Phalanx, though that was a spell that was homogenized, and would have been in FFXIV as well if given to both RDM and WHM.

Single player RDM and FFXI are almost diametrically opposed when it comes to party play (mainly due to mob lifespan, so it’s a bit of an odd statement for me to grasp. My guess is that you don’t like the rotation as opposed to thinking it isn’t like a Red Mage.

Source: 75 RDM Prior to Abyssea, 99 RDM with 2100 Job Points / +3 / +3 / +3 (Seriously, screw this job in FFXI — RDM in FFXIV is so much less stressful).

Blue mage could be implemented via the questing system. To be perfectly honest, it was a needless chore to just stand there and let something hit you while you pressed a single macro every now and again and read a book. Having some actual story and guidance is a step up, if you ask me. There were reasons FFXIV 1.0 failed — it followed many ideas from FFXI.

I like Paladin better in FFXI, though. But that might just be because the 80% haste cap and I don’t have as much responsibilities. Thoroughly dislike the immersion breaking gear switches, however (a main reason RDM isn’t my main, but a guilty pleasure I did during capacity bonus campaigns).

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Koshelkin

I like stressful jobs in a party .Tank, Heal, Support. Depending on the design even DPS can have an interesting job but usually they need to pay less attention than the other roles. The RDM in the single-player games is more of a jack of all trades which can benefit the party in more ways than just plain DPS, just as the FFXI RDM, which also served as a wonderful complement for solo play. I did love FFXI back then but I concur that I wouldn’t touch it with 10 foot pole by now.

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Mr Poolaty

If it’s more Jobs we’re getting Eliot then maybe he’ll just wear a Trump shirt!

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Vexia

Here is my prediction/wishlist, however scant it may be

*One new tank OR healer and one new dps – Since DPS is the most played role, it makes sense for them to add one every expansion. If it comes down to it, I really hope we get a new healer because that part of the meta still hasn’t recovered from the addition of astrologian.

*Blitzball – Stormblood added swimming, but it’s honestly kind of lame. Blitzball would give us something to do in the water, and the concept has been bandied about in live letters in the past.

*South seas expansion – I have no basis for this; it’s just what I’d like to see. We could also have some new swimming-related activities as mentioned in the above point.

*Playable Veira – I feel like it’s only a matter of time before Final Fantasy’s most popular fantasy race makes its debut.

*Don’t split the story – My request because while the SB story was enjoyable and well done, Ala Mhigo was billed as our leading destination until Doma came out and stole the spotlight, both in marketing materials and each patch.

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hypefordays

Some good thoughts and estimates!

1) Though it’s hard for me to believe they’d pander to one community that was shafted and not the other when it comes to Tanks and healers. Though it’s as plausible as saying that they both will get something new. I’d agree with that healer would be the likely one if one had to choose, simply because tanks seem harder to balance and there’s always one that lags behind or is at the forefront.

I’m going to go the complete opposite route and say there will be four classes announced. Unlikely when compared to three or two, since Heavensward came out with three (technically four if you count they released ninja a couple patches before the release of Heavensward), and Stormblood had two due to them saying they were overworked when it came to making the four previously. It’s more wishful feeling in that we’d see a tank, healer, ranged DPS and melee DPS. In addition, the made a comment about the future when it came to the last Fan Festivals in that they “…heard feedback that one festival feels inferior to others if it doesn’t also have a class announcement”. Given that we’ve three, and there are three roles, I’d say that’s the middle ground between guesses.

2) When it comes to Blitzball, I believe they said they already pretty much finished making most of the systems for it a year or so ago. The problem was they didn’t know how to implement character interaction and leagues. If they wanted you to just recruit players and watch NPCs play, have you play with NPCs, have you play with players against NPCs, players against players, or one player and their NPCs and another player and their NPCs. Though an announcement regarding it is likely within the next three Fanfests if it is going to come to the game in the new expansion.

3) Your guess for an expansion is as good as anyones that doesn’t have a connection to the dev team. We only have a couple “leaked” names regarding shadows and the void. Plus whatever will come in 4.5 and what has happened in the last patch that was implemented. I’m thinking we’d be going to a different world or dimension in general, with the Empire maybe being a hub since we’re getting a motorcycle with the expansion’s reveal. Previously they did not want to release it due to it A) Not fitting the theme, and B) mounted riding being too slow (new tiers of speed were introduced). Though both would have been rectified if the expansion has machinery somewhere in it. My own theory is that they’d revisit the Warriors of Darkness and Minfilia at some point, as they traveled to a different world to combat the light.

Given that we also had FFXI characters in every expansion (including ARR) so far, and the increased focus on it in the last couple patches in particular, in addition to Vana’diel having most indications that it was becoming a Lightvoid by the end of Adoulin and Rhapsodies (with us totally banishing the darkness and there being an absence of a dark god)… Well, it very well might be us going there as a cameo or a main theme. Balamor and Altana also alluded to Eorzea in some ways, and showed a map of the cosmos where the Cloud of Darkness was (the cloud of darkness being an all consuming void that spans countless worlds in multiple galaxies — and something that appeared in FFXI Rhapsodies and FFXIV ARR).

4) I voted Veira back when they asked what race should be implemented in a 1.0 survey way back when. They have Veira and a few other races, including a lizard like race. Veira had about 90% of the votes (definitely exaggerated due to the passing of time, but it was at least 3/5th among the seven or so options). Lizards were probably second with like 12-17% of the vote. Heavensward released what could be viewed as lizards. Though knowing this, and the fact that Yoshi-P said that he probably ruined the voting by mentioning a popular character that was a Veira when the voting was taking place, it puts me at around a 50% chance that Veira will be a playable race, if there is a new one this expansion. It would’ve been about 20-35% if not for us seeing FFXII races in Stormblood.

5) If they do split the story, it will hopefully be done with this experience in mind. I’m fairly sure they will do it in some way, but probably not in the same extreme. At least not initially. Maybe 5.0 focusing on an area, and the patches focusing on an entirely different place… though that would be increased workload as they’d have to release half an expansion’s worth of content in patches on top of what they already do with patches. Which leads me to believe, if that occurred, that the patches would revisit old areas for the story. Though the much more likely thing is that they will have different themed areas that we travel to with a focus on something more grand than just an area — aside from exhibiting the new main player hub and its natural importance.

All in all, if they do a “we go do a different world thing”, regardless of where it is… they will likely have something where our souls leave our bodies and get transported there. That or some device in Garlean territory after some cataclysmic event. Perhaps even fan favorites Shantotto, Balamor or Iroha will appear again. As two of those there were already confirmed in lore to have visited Eorzea from Vanadiel, and Balamor has went to countless worlds to watch calamities happen.

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Vexia

If we did do any offworld traveling in the next expansion, that could be a good way to balance the fresh feeling of completely new areas, hopefully without one completely overtaking the other in terms of story patches. If they take lessons from SB and handle it well, that’s something I’d be very excited to see.

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hypefordays

These are my thoughts as well. Though I suppose my “ideal fantasy” version of the events would be for them to:

-Announce FFXIV Expansion with the theme mentioned above.

-Announce a FFXI Expansion after all these years, with the twist that while the stories will be unique of each other, they exist alongside one another. Kind of a what the other side did while you did your thing, while you work towards the same goal.

– Mention having 3 or 4 new classes this time around (My ideal bunch would be from Time Mage / Beast Master / Druid / Dancer / Blue Mage since people seem to want it, even though I don’t like it much on FFXI… and Geomancer on FFXI is just a glorified bard / buff class). We don’t have any animal focused classes as of yet.

They may also have some information on FFVII since they’re giving the bike at the festival. Perhaps FFXI mobile since it’s been a long time that we’ve had any information — but I can seem them pushing that back to the next festival due to the heat the outlet is getting. Though FFVII may be unlikely as well as they’d want to keep the hype on their MMOs.

Something I just figured out:

In 2015 Yoshi-P worked with the FFXI team to create Rhapsodies of the Maiden, the newest storyline in FFXI. This is while he was working on FFXIV and probably how he set up Iroha to come to Eorzea during that event (since Iroha is the main character of such). There were a lot of things about voids in it as well and how you banished the darkness completely and there was no dark god equivalent for Altana.

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Eamil

After five years I’m just extremely tired of their one-note endgame model where everything feeds into tomestones, and the alternatives they’ve tried (Diadem/Eureka) have been so poorly thought out that they’re dead to me. Eureka in particular was so close to being at least somewhat enjoyable for me, but because my friends and I have to only play with each other or one of us will get ahead and kill XP gains for the others, it’s just extremely frustrating that there’s no way to manually sync to a party member’s level when FFXI added that feature over a decade ago.

I hope they try harder to shake the game up with this expansion.

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hypefordays

I still feel they’re going to build on the connection between Eorzea and Vana’diel at some point. Rhapsodies of the Maiden, Shantotto, Iroha, Tenzen, Phoenix, etc. seem like a build up to something. As well as the first stating that that story isn’t quite over yet. Not to mention both games have the Cloud of Darkness and Adoulin / Rhapsodies in FFXI was big on the void and how there was an absence of shadow after Promathia and further elaborated during the fight with Hades. Altana herself made mention of that, as well as showing a galaxy with countless worlds that the Cloud of Darkness encroaches upon. Balamor insisted most worlds fell to it as he was traversing worlds and seem to hint at one that did not, but had other problems.

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David Blair

Non-Combat class: Chocobo Rancher. Raise and breed chocobo…

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hypefordays

You can already raise and breed chocobos. xD

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David Blair

Just the one… and I feel horrible about feeding him foods that change his feather colors…

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hypefordays

I didn’t think you can change the color of chocobos you breed (although I know you can with your battle chocobo via the stables). Though that may be an aspect of it that I’ve never used.

I have like a 15th generation, rank 10 Champion Pedigree chocobo on my main, and Rank 9-10ish champion on most of my alts. What’s heartbreaking is when they inherit a skill or stats from their parents that you don’t want to even bother with, and you send them out to the chocobo fields without doing many races or training. They just hang their heads and run off. Super depressing. Sometimes I feed them with high quality food just to boost their stats a bit before they’re retired so that they can be happy chocobos in the field. Trying to breed one with all max stars is equally annoying.

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David Blair

Oh, I forgot about the racing ‘bos. I was thinking stats for the companion bird or just a mini-game of raising them at a farm and selling them to NPC adventurers. Thankfully there’s no cinematic of the Chocobos being sent to the slaughter floor for processing…

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bobfish

I really something from this, I haven’t logged in for six months and desperately want to play this again, but can’t motivate myself in light of the non-MMO games that have been coming out this year so far.

I took a break after Heavensward as well and it was the announcement of Stormblood that spurred me and back. Hoping for the same levels of excitement, because it is a truly fantastic MMO.

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Utakata

They will announce a new Final Fantasy MMO exclusively for mobile client to a stunned audience…

“It’s not nice to troll, Uta.”

…yeah. And I don’t think SE would be that mean. >.<

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hypefordays

They may or may not advertise FFXI Mobile — they announced that some three to four years ago, though. The last we heard of it was early 2018 with a few additional screenshots. In addition, they’d have a FFXIV expansion to go along with it, which would be the main focus. Not to mention that FFXI is still available for play; the phone version is just a complete remake.

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Utakata

If they already have a mobile version XI and XIV that’s entirely fine by me. It’s when they promise an entirely new MMO and one that is exclusive to mobiles, that becomes a problem…hypothetically speaking of course. :)

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Sorenthaz

Didn’t they release FFXI on mobile? Maybe they’ll do a XIV one at some point.

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hypefordays

The mobile is still in the works for FFXI. As far as FFXIV goes, I highly doubt it will come out within the next decade, if there is one (excluding a possible switch version). We already go that companion app, which very few people use (mainly due to its lag).

Though my thoughts are like Utakata’s on this. As long as it isn’t something brand new and or there is some meat on other games / reveals to go along with it, it shouldn’t be a problem. Though there will likely be trolls that don’t take context into consideration whenever a mobile game is present to them from now on due to Blizzcon (which, to state my opinion on that matter so that it isn’t misconstrued, was totally the wrong place at the wrong time and upsetting).