Wisdom of Nym: The first reactions to Final Fantasy XIV’s fan festival

    
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Deep cut.

Well, gosh. That was sure a lot of news for Final Fantasy XIV over a weekend, huh? Expected news, sure, but therein lie some of my positive feelings, as the big announcement reveal on Friday was something we all knew was going to happen, with a title that we had found out months earlier, and with a dearth of actual details (as remarked below)… and yet we were all still on the edge of our seats when it happened. This was a master class in how to structure reveals and delight your audience, and anyone else trying to do so should be taking notes.

There’s also material for malms that’s ripe for discussion, so I necessarily have to narrow my focus. Therefore, this column is going to focus on the three “biggest” announcements from this particular fan festival. The existence of Shadowbringers, the plans for Blue Mage, and the upcoming data center reorganization. And we’re going to be hitting some quick high notes rather than dissecting each one in depth because I’m writing this in a hotel room before a flight. We’ll have time to talk more about all of this; don’t worry.

The third expansion is Shadowbringers

Oh, the hype. The hype for something we pointedly know almost nothing about. And that is not a complaint.

I put the trailer front and center because, well, the trailer alone is something that defies expectations. Not only does it feature a very different composition from the trailers before Heavensward and Stormblood, it also features a totally different feel. This feels raw, endangered, even broken. It’s the kind of pained energy we haven’t seen since the end of 1.0, and it has me rapt.

This makes it easy to forget that as of right now, we actually know basically nothing about the expansion. We don’t even know where we’re going; when I asked Yoshida if he intentionally omitted the name of the region, he had a smirk on his face like he was pleased someone picked up on that. For those of you following along, that means everyone concluding “we’re heading to Garlemald” is being misled, and intentionally.

This is not a bad thing. It’s playing that red herring and drawing in assumptions, but we can already draw some conclusions from the trailer alone, some of which I’ll be detailing in future weeks. For now, however, it’s enough to note that it seems unlikely we’re actually going to Garlemald.

In fact, about the only thing we know pretty much for sure about the expansion is that it will feature Viera, something that was “teased” in the same way as Dark Knight and Red Mage. We know that we’re getting multiple new jobs (but nothing about what they’ll be) and new areas (but not the new region), so we’re left in a place of wondering right now. The hinting about Thancred’s gunblade definitely opens the door for speculation, but it’s hard to be sure how much of that was Yoshida trolling people by saying there was a tease of a new job in the trailer.

It’s a bit of a bastard that we need to wait until February to find out more. Luckily, there’s plenty of stuff to talk about before then, including getting 4.5 in January. And hey, on that note…

hey jude

Blue Mage, limited jobs, and perspective

Yes, we’re actually getting Blue Mage! That’s the good news. The bad news, of course, is that it’s not quite what some people wanted from the job. But considering the reaction on the show floor, this reveal was handled well enough that even the grumbles were minor. This was, in fact, treated as a good piece of news.

Long-time readers will know that one of the things I brought up repeatedly whenever Blue Mage was a topic of discussion was that this job didn’t work within the structure of the game’s jobs, barring a unique and different way of handling things. And you know what? That is exactly what happened. Yoshida’s description of the job even focused on the fact that Blue Mage, as known, simply doesn’t work in the context of the game.

The developers had two options more or less from the start. They could make a job called Blue Mage that wasn’t really Blue Mage, which covers most of the suggestions of “well, you could have job quests where you learn the ability!” that people came out with. Or you could have an actual Blue Mage that doesn’t work in the structure of the game’s normal jobs. All of that remains true; the developers found a solution by making a different structure from normal jobs.

Put it another way, this is a job that is also a new form of open-world content. This is not without precedent; Miners, Botanists, and Fishers are also jobs with their own open-world content. Blue Mage is another one that opens up that field to include combat jobs rather than just gathering. And that is fascinating. You level differently, you play differently, you get to explore the game in a whole new way and with new objectives.

No, you don’t get the existing endgame structure… but you get a different one in the form of the Carnivale, and that’s fun in and of itself. We don’t yet know what rewards will look like for that, and it seems plausible that those aren’t set in stone yet either, hence starting with a cap of level 50. But this is still a good thing; it lets players have the Blue Mage they envisioned and it’s still a Blue Mage, and the balance concerns are handled by producing a different sort of challenge. Some people will no doubt be cranky that the job wasn’t just turned into generic magical DPS using Aqua Breath instead of Fire III, but that seems like taking the wrong message away from all this.

What’s that? Talk about other matters of perspective? Well, all right.

In a world of human wreckage.

Yes, this is good news for data centers

I was surprised to learn that some people were actually upset at the idea that Balmung was being moved off of Aether and onto the new Crystal data center, as if that was literally ever in doubt. The addition of a new data center was announced on Friday during the keynote, and let’s be real, that announcement was always going to involve two things: all servers having fewer neighbors on the data center, and either Balmung or Gilgamesh moving there.

That’s it. That was simply always going to happen. There wasn’t any alternative. These two servers are stuffed to the brim, and while it’s impossible to force people to move, I seem to recall mentioning back at the launch of Stormblood that they need to not be in the same metaphorical room. If you think the developers don’t know what they’re doing, well, note that Mateus is still on the same center as Balmung.

Yes, losing connections sucks, but that was going to happen no matter what. It is literally part of the assumption about adding a new data center. If you wanted to keep your connections with Balmung or Gilgamesh as a resident of one of those servers, that was never realistic; you’re getting free world transfers so you can hop about as needed, though.

It’s not confusing to me as to why there was some consternation about this; reaction to the announcement was mixed because of course it was. People wanted this in the vague sense of not having performance issues any more, not in the reality of putting fewer worlds on each center. But recognizing that the want was incompatible with the reality, again, means that you look at this as a matter of which want doesn’t get fulfilled. It was the right call.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, let’s talk about Blue Mage, new jobs, leaks, and what happens next. It’ll be a while before we’re off this topic.

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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Toy Clown

I’m hyped all the way around for the upcoming content, even the data server move. The Blue Mage sounds interesting and I love the idea of the Carnival.

The data server news has caused some people to be quick-minded, who set up discords for the data center we’ll be on. I’m happy to see they put Mateus and Balmung together, which has the RP community pretty happy. The RP events calendar is working to cover events for all of the RP community since we’ll be able to hop across servers. It’s also caused a mass moving of people heading off of Balmung. Lots of house plots opened. I guess people are heading to low-populated servers that will be on the Crystal data center to get their houses while they can.

And of course, the good thing is everyone gets an opportunity to move for free when this all goes down. People who want to stay together can.

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Sariel

My biggestt problem with Blue Mage isn’t its implementation, but the sheer fact that battle jobs have essentially jack-all to do in the open world. FATEs, which nobody does; Hunts, which very few people do (aside from the daily hunts which take 3 minutes per zone to complete), and… beast tribe quests, which take all of 3 minutes a day per zone.

BLU essentially has nothing it can really be used in. People in the Party Finder have trouble enough getting people for max-level dungeons or expert roulettes, let alone finding 3 other people for things like, I dunno, Aurum Vale or Stone Vigil (Hard).

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Yamael Angmar

Am I the only one thinking that the new areas are not in our shard, but on the first one, the one that was flooded by Light? Both enemies shown remind me of bosses from Lost City of Amdapor (Hard), which are light creatures, and the gremlin also appears there. It would be fitting then if the girl Thancred was protecting was Minfilia reborn, since she left for that shard with the warriors of darkness.

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Coldin Torrence

I’m feeling the same thing honestly. We’re going to head to another shard. Either one fallen, or about to fall.

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Eamil

The signs have been pointing to our world meeting the same fate as the first. The WoL is growing too strong, too fast, and the most recent patch is clearly warning against a calamity of Light. We have to become WoD because if we don’t restore balance now it’s going to be too late.

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Vincent Clark

Plus, Thancred looks different, like an alternate version of the one we have here now (no eye patch and looks…older?)

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cursedseishi

I love that, throughout everything… the world these trailers are showing–from the crashing of Dalamud and release of Bahamut, the retreat to Ishgard and even the duel between the Warrior of Light and our favorite puncher in red Lyse… It’s all likely happening in a world separate from our own. Because, I think it is safe to say this, this is the story of the Warrior of Darkness we had fought. A blasted land consumed with light, the framing of the monster coming down surrounded with feathers as wholly Angelic (similar to how Bayonetta loves to introduce its Angel enemies). It paints this trailer as a culmination of a story we already know the ending to. And as been hinted at and said before, there are other worlds… Worlds that run concurrently to our own, with similar histories and details. Worlds that have been consumed by the Dark… And worlds that have been scorched and burnt away by the Light.

As excited as I am for this expansion then? I am DYING to see how they’ll handle the expansion afterwards then if this is indeed the case. We’ve already been told our own Warriors of Light will have to turn… as well as the side effects to one side growing too strong. It also tickles my ‘Dark Souls’ loving side, as the games have a history of painting any ending or outcome as something horrible. Prolong the age of fire, and continue letting mankind be oppressed beneath the rule of their Gods. Allow the flame to die and let the world sink into darkness because of the possibility of new flames to come and man to flourish. It’s a duality where there really isn’t a “good” or “bad” outcome.

Also, I love how the progression of jobs practically matches the prior trailers.

And I know everyone is focusing on Thancred and his gunblade… but… I feel that is too obvious. He was already used, along with Yugiri, to tease the Ninja job during the 2.X questlines. Using him a second time seems too obvious. It also feels like anything to do with a ‘Gunblade’ or similarly styled weapon would have to have its basis in Garleand seeing how commonplace that aesthetic is to them. The lady in white Thancred is escorting, the same in the revealed CE cover art, could also be a hint. Or in that sweeping shot of a battlefield, there could be a hint or two tucked inside it.
And yes, a ‘Gunblade’ or “Soldier” class (SEED maybe? I dunno) could fill a physical variation of Red Mage… But again, that seems just a bit too easy. Maybe he just job-changed to Machinist, and it’s a fancy weapon for him? Or, yeah, I could be totally wrong.

bereman99
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bereman99

Because, I think it is safe to say this, this is the story of the Warrior of Darkness we had fought.

Not as safe an assumption as you might be thinking. Back when they first introduced the WoD in Heavensward there were a lot of questions about the identity of those in the CGI trailers and whether or not they were the WoD or not.

To sum up the answer, the trailer WoL serves as the visual stand in for our own WoL – the default in character creation, as it were. Unless that was all part of a misdirection years in advance, the CGI events are meant to represent what our characters have been going through, not an alternative universe version.