FFXIV Fan Festival 2018: Shadowbringers promises new story, new regions, and new jobs

Recapping the FFXIV expansion keynote at the 2018 Fan Festival in Las Vegas

    
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The plan was to fan a spark into a flame, but now it’s getting dark, so who’ll remember your name? (Apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda for that.) Yes, it turns out that we are indeed getting another new expansion for Final Fantasy XIV (not a surprise) called Shadowbringers (also not a surprise), but the keynote for the 2018 Fan Festival still featured tons of surprises and excitement.

The whole thing kicked off with the Shadowbringers trailer, too, and that right away built excitement. A flashback to the adventures of the generic Warrior of Light, showing off every change in jobs, every shift, from the 1.0 trailer as an Archer to the Samurai of 4.0… followed by a transformation into Dark Knight. There were also signs of ruined flags, wreckage, and Thancred with a mysterious girl in white and a gunblade on his back.

So we’re covering a lot of ground.

Of course, we didn’t get anything held back shortly thereafter; we were immediately told that the expansion is planned for release in early summer of 2019 as version 5.0. From there, we moved into a discussion of the transition; starting in 4.5, we’ve got the obvious tension of six nations standing against Garlemald and bringing the fight to the Empire. Until, that is, a fateful confrontation takes place between the Warrior of Light and Zenos yae Galvus, or more accurately Elidibus using his body.

Elidibus and Solus yae Galvus (the first Emperor and confirmed Ascian) are both playing a crucial role in what unfolds. And we’re told that much of this will be coming to a head in 4.5. (Pay close attention; this may be very important.) Because the trailer alone makes it clear that the Warrior of Light will no longer be, well, the Warrior of Light. To avert a potential catastrophe that might bring about the eighth Umbral Era and the end of the world, we must become the Warrior of Darkness.

What does that mean? We don’t know. We know that it involves learning the truth behind the Ascians, behind Hydaelyn, and behind Zodiark. But we don’t know if we’re going to truly be storming the Empire’s gates just yet… especially when the emphasis was so frequently placed on these conflicts in 4.5.

Beyond that, we started to have the expansion laid out in ways we know. Multiple new jobs, although exact numbers and nature have not yet been disclosed; Yoshida stated that there may be a hint in the trailer, but his customary shirt was teasing something else. (A close look revealed motorcycle logos and Bugs Bunny.) The level cap will raise to 80, and the battle system will be reorganized, re-examined, refined, and improved.

Perhaps most notably, Yoshida promised that in 5.0, MP and TP will be merged into MP as a single resource. No word on how this will affect jobs which use both, but it may simply be that TP in general is being deprecated. (It’s not much of a cost for most jobs who use it in the first place.) Healers can also look forward to a visual display of the remaining barrier strength in 5.0.

Of course, there will also be new areas… but curiously, unlike the first two expansion reveals, there was no new continent specified. This could be quite relevant, as it seems to be a deliberate omission of information.

Players will be exploring the Rak’tika Greatwood, which has a very different visual feel and some settlements nestled in the treetops. (There are also some trees reminiscent of Sephirot’s furnishing decor, for what it’s worth.) Players will also explore Amh Araeng, featuring the ruins of a heretofore unknown civilization.

There will also be new beast tribes, and the first one revealed is an old favorite, the Nu Mou of the Ivalice games. Yoshida also mentioned pixies and dwarves, though it seems those are meant to be categories rather than race names.

Nine new dungeons are planned for launch with Shadowbringers, along with plans for anew high-end raid and Alliance raid (neither one was revealed today). There are also plans for new endgame content for crafters and gatherers, focusing around the Restoration of the Holy See of Ishgard; the developers know players want to go back to Ishgard (and, he teased, even live there), so crafters will be responsible for helping to reconstruct the city following the end of the Heavensward story.

Of course, there will be new recipes and gear. And new systems, starting with the new “Trust” system. This will not be exactly the same as Final Fantasy XI’s system of the same name, but it will allow NPCs to team up with players to take on story content. The twins (Alphinaud and Alisiae), Y’shtola, Urianger, and Thancred were all pictured for this, but an exact list was not revealed.

Players can also re-challenge old content with the New Game+ system, revisiting old scenarios at current strength. There’s also a new world visit system to alow you to hop to another world on the same datacenter if you’d like to adventure with friends elsewhere. And speaking of datacenters, the North American and European regions are both having another datacenter added, with servers being reorganized and regrouped accordingly. (Yoshida apologized profusely for issues with the centers and with Stormblood’s launch.)

The launch of 5.0 will also bring an end to 32-bit Windows support. And Yoshida made it very clear that his shirt was hinting at the seventh (and probably final) new race to be added to the game, which all but confirms fan favorite Viera being added. (There should be hints in the last part of Return to Ivalice, which makes it even more clear.)

With that, the keynote drew to a close… before CEO and president of Square-Enix Yosuke Matsuda hollered at Yoshida from offstage and marched out in a blue cape and blue mask. The presentation here was, as always, high-energy; it turned into a little skit with Yoshida protesting that he couldn’t reveal any more and Matsuda outright stating that as president, he can do whatever he wants. Like revealing Blue Mage right then and there.

Blue Mage will be a new limited job releasing in… patch 4.5, not Shadowbringers. What’s a limited job? We’ll have to find out tomorrow, which will offer more details, but we know that when the job is added it will be capped at level 50. We also know that it will have no associated class and no actions learned via leveling, so you’ll have to seek out and learn everything to expand your lineup. There will also be a new BLU-only duty introduced in 4.5, The Masked Carnival.

To speculate a tiny bit, it sounds with the Trust system and the nature of BLU that this may very well be a job intended for solo players to party with NPCs via Trusts if it wants to engage in proper duties. It obviously is going to be limited in some way, hence the name, but more details will be unveiled during the live letter on Saturday.

As in previous years, the keynote managed to drum up lots of energy and excitement while also offering teases about things left unsaid. We’ll learn more about 4.5 over the weekend, but likely we’ll have to wait for the next installment of the festival to learn more about the expansion… but there’s a lot being hinted without being said. So we should keep an open mind.

Massively Overpowered is on the ground in Las Vegas for Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2018, bringing you expert coverage on your favorite Square-Enix MMORPG!
Lodging and transport to this event were provided by Square-Enix for the purposes of covering the event. That having been said, if you’ve paid any attention to my love of this game over the past several years you know that I would have been hyped about almost anything revealed here. Unless it was a mobile spinoff defended by asking if I did in fact own a cell phone.

CATCH UP ON ALL OUR FANFEST COVERAGE!

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Eamil

Between Blue Mage coming in a patch, not the expansion, and the completely unsubtle Viera teasing, it looks like the Blufever leak was legit all along. Looking forward to the increasingly-likely Dancer announcement.

Alyn
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Alyn

Hmmmm, Summer of 2019. Verrrry interesting, isn’t it? Classic WoW and possible WoW 8.2 release? Seems like an interesting summer ahead folks, buckle up!

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Patrick Dougherty

Pretty much every new detail in this got me more and more excited, but I think the New Game+ feature (in an MMO!?) is what intrigued me the most. I wonder what is included in the “revisiting old scenarios at current strength.” Single-player duties and possibly open-world quests that can’t be repeated without rolling a new character seem the most likely, but what if this results in level scaling of multiplayer duties? Run Sastasha without being scaled back to level 18? What if your party consists of characters leveled 18, 35, 70, and 80? Does it attempt to balance those out a la BfA’s scaling? Even if it’s just the former, it at least partially resolves the issues of level-boosting players not experiencing the previous story, as they can now go back and experience the story at their leisure instead of being forced into literally weeks of playing through it to reach the endgame.

Graphiknight
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Graphiknight

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Think Im gonna have to sub again despite the price increase on my country.

The worriors of darkness were the most mind blowing thing Ive seem in FF XIV.

After the warriors of darkners appearence, I susppected all final fantasy animations were in fact theirs story (wich we are repeating). The main character is not “the generic warrior of light” but a guy named Arbert, the leader of the warriors of darkness. They were from the First Star, a world where they (warriors of light) won every fight that stand upon them and as a result the world was wiped out in a flood of light.

The video reinforces my teory since we see a destroyed world colored in holly white/yellow and light creatures attacking the main character. At the end of their quest arch, Arbert gives an adivice to our character “from a fool to another” saying that “light or darkness doesn`t matter”.

Seeing the next expansion may be about them is AMAZING!

Hype is on!

Vexia
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Kickstarter Donor
Vexia

I was really impressed by day 1 of the fan fest livestream! It seems like one of my wishlist items is going to come true, too. While I don’t think I’m going to fantasia my current character, I will for sure be making an alt. For me, FFXIV keeps delivering a consistent base of content I love while adding enough new systems and types of content to shake things up.

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Koshelkin

It seems my assumption that they wouldn’t bring BLU was slightly wrong. A “limited” job apparently. Let’s see which variation of the standard class a-c they’ll make out of it. Tank, Dps or Heal?

hypefordays
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hypefordays

I’m actually worried about it, though I understand there are other classes yet to be announced. It would be sad if Blu can’t be a main for someone who likes to do end game content. Seems impossible when it’s released at 4.5 due to the level cap, and they weren’t clear on the new cap when Shadowbringers comes out.

All the monster abilities might make it OP, which is why the limited class thing… but it would be good (well, “better” than the alternative) if they nerf the class when it comes to group content and allow it to be played in raids in addition to being OP in its own custom made content.

But that would still leave the question on where it would fall. Likely DPS, unless they somehow allow every role to be used and you have to pick between a set of monster abilities learned that are grouped together. We’ll just have to wait and see for more information.

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Koshelkin

I think the reason is that it needs time, and I’m guessing alot of time, to integrate the various skills needed to make BLU work. Imagine all the hostiles up to now and their skills and the nightmare of introducing them into the framework of a new class with accompanying animations and effects. And balance? another problem, of course, entirely. It’s probably smarter to do this step by step and observing if and when problems crop up, before “unleashing” them unto endgame activities. Honestly I didn’t think they’ll have the guts to do this with all the possible problems and caveats the class brings, not to mention the need continually upgrade it when new hostiles are released.

hypefordays
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hypefordays

Some pretty good thoughts and theories on the matter. It does seem like a nightmare, but they clearly wanted to not only bring in Blu, but also try to remain as faithful as possible to it. Deserving of some recognition, even if the end result isn’t what I’d want it to be. If it’s limited to specific content, I’d rather they just keep using the trinity for future classes.

But who knows: As you said, they probably just want to see how it interacts with things, fix problems and so forth. Unleashing a beast of this magnitude will likely wreak havoc on the meta even when most of the kinks are taken out and things are working.

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Danny Smith

Common assumption is theres no point planing it out for everything, including balancing and cross class synergy one patch before a major combat revamp so its going up to 50 so its not a huge balance nightmare.

Or its only for certain content. It could be only to be played solo with trust npcs as the ‘i want to farm X’ go nuts berserker EZ mode.

hypefordays
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hypefordays

If the latter was the case, it would most likely resemble a new system rather than a new class. Similar to the Squadron System whereby we level our army and fight with them in dungeons. Or send them out to do their own thing. Or PoTD or Eureka, but with a dedicate class.

But that would lead to problems of not being able to walk around the world or play in FATEs or be in town as a Blu. Which would be unfortunate. I don’t know why they’d call it a class to begin with, even if they add limited, if it can’t be used in the world.

Though I hope the former is the truth, as well as what Koshelkin surmises.

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Danny Smith

I do too but limited could just mean limited. I mean technically FSH is limited compared to most gatherer/crafter jobs but with stuff like big fishing there are enough unique things some people love it like the crazy people that love Lords of Verminion. I’d rather BLU be the monster magic using tank its been in the past but If its a fun new way to play i can’t complain too much as long as it IS fun.

hypefordays
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hypefordays

Blu has kind of taken a back seat in FFXI nowadays when speaking of tanking. Still fairly popular class as a whole, but PLD is the hot stuff (as it was in the early days as well). Spell Interrupt Set, Phalanx Set, Damage Reduction Set (I just got my Su3 Arkes), etc. And they can pull dozens of level 125-130+ Apex monsters in cleave parties. There’s pretty much no other tank that exists for farming groups if you see a paladin wanting to do it.

Though that’s my experience from mastering classes (2100 job points). Might be limited to just the linkshell I run with.

Interesting thing I found out is that Yoshi-P worked on Rhapsodies of Vana’diel, which was released in 2015. Which also mentions the Cloud of Darkness, Voids, etc. In addition to having Iroha (who made a guest appearance in Rhapsodies of the Maiden in FFXIV and mentioned seeing us again in the future… and who is the daughter of Tenzen).

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Danny Smith

Man the difference between that and Blizzcon was staggering. Yoshi on his goddamn knees for “Raubahns Wall” a couple of days long instancing error and thats it and minutes later the crowd is giving a stand ovation and chanting his name and he goes “no not me, cheer the team”. Like night and day. Reminds you what it looks like when mmo devs still clearly give a shit about their game as a game and not a job to shift product.

Theres a lot to go through but i was left very excited. Not just for 5.0 but 4.5. Roll on BLU!

hypefordays
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hypefordays

Agreed 100% with what you said. Not everything they do is perfect, but there’s a lot of love and heart for both the fans and what goes into the game on display. That team has remembered 1.0 and learned from it.

I just feel like a cow when it comes to Blizzard games now. They want to milk me and then spit in my face. I prefer to be bought dinner and told I’m beautiful before they reach for my udders. It’s shows something how they still apologize for mistakes and even reverted an almost universally disliked change to the looting system three days after it was released due to feedback. Where as WoW just bunkers down and adds more rings and bandaids.

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Koshelkin

It’s the japanese way to do things and is typical for the corporate culture there. It doesn’t change the fact that the execs might not really care behind your back but that’s what Japanese want to see, humility is still a virtue in Japan as in most asian countries, including China. Not implying that SE doesn’t care, I wish my main MMO’s would get as much attention as FFXIV is getting from it’s devs. It sees more updates and improvements than WoW does. A pity that I’m not able to like the game despite several attempts at doing so.

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

YoshiP has more than earned his place in the FF hall of fame with FFXIV. And he remains pretty damn humble and still gives his team the proper praise they deserve for doing such fantastic work under his leadership.

Seriously, he’s one of the handful of devs I’d genuinely still love to meet in person nowadays.

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Danny Smith

He comes off like the Miyamoto of mmo’s almost. He’s not this massive over the top ego like cliffy B or the crazy autuer like Kojima or habitual liar like Molyneux. He just goes “okay this should be fun lets do this” and sure you get a Spirit Tracks/Eurka every now and then but all the other stories they put out make it worth sticking with their work.

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cursedseishi

I think Miyamoto is a poor comparison. He’s big sure, but he isn’t really ‘directly’ tied to the games Nintendo produces now like YoshiP is with FF14. Honestly? I’d go with Satoru Iwata. The man had an obvious passion, was responsible for helping to create some of the biggest games and systems we have or the most influential (i.e. Pokemon coming stateside, Earthbound, Super Smash Bros, the Nintendo DS).

That man was a god. And YoshiP’s arrival and subsequent turning the ship around from failure to powerhouse really resonates with Iwata’s effect he had in Nintendo.

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Toy Clown

Thank you for the write-up. I should have come here first rather than reddit, of which I had to skim the whole front page for the news!

This is going to be a content-rich expansion, and leading up to it. New housing area in Ishgard, new race, new class, and of course the other standard content. I’m pretty excited!

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Blue mage is cool and all but…playable Viera? Fuckin. Sold. Guess I’ll be jumping back in : |

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Danny Smith

2019: Year of the edgelord bunny girls. They want the Wildstar audience? :p

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Zora

Heh I was about to remark something along those lines… dammiiiiit!

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Vincent Clark

Consider me aboard the hype train #excited