Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s pre-Shadowbringers roadmap

    
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Sing a song of madness.

We’re almost done with the fan festival hype cycle, and to be honest, that’s kind of a relief. Not that I don’t enjoy looking forward to new things, of course, but the hype cycle for Final Fantasy XIV expansions runs for a long dang while. It’s a slow tease of information that leaves planning and so forth up in the air, keeping us all just waiting until we slowly find out what the new jobs are, where we’re going, and so forth.

And that’s not even counting those of us anxiously awaiting Viera naming conventions.

Of course, the second fan festival gives us a pretty clear picture of the state of play over the next few months, which is a good thing. So while we’re going to have to wait some 40 days more from the time you read this to finish out the fan festival trifecta, we don’t need to wait that long to know when we’ll know what we want to know. Let’s pace through all of those timing elements, shall we?

YOU HAVE TO FIGHT (guitar chord)

Tomorrow: PvP and Eureka

Yep, this is tomorrow. Want to finish up your Eureka weapon? Like the look of the high-end armor from the content? Hoping that we’ll be surprised with some new PvP armors? Just hoping that people will be playing Rival Wings again, even if briefly? All of that will be happening tomorrow, so that should be fun.

I’m not sure if this timing is quite filling the need for content across the board, of course; however, it’ll probably bring in other changes to make the prior stages of Eureka a bit easier to explore, so that will give players something new to clear through if they’ve largely held back. (Such as me.) It’s a stopgap in some ways, but it’s also a way to give players something new to do in a half-strength distraction before everything comes crashing down.

March 23rd: The fan festival conclusion

Yes, the last festival technically lasts for two days and will still be going on March 24th, but the reality is that the big news we’ll be getting will drop on March 23rd. Our keynote, the last job, announcements about male Viera, in all likelihood our final destination, all of the big reveals happen then. What follows is going to be about answering specific details and filling in the blanks with things that aren’t automatically revealed during that hour and a half, like unlock details and mechanical shifts.

Worth noting here is that anyone still hoping for a reveal other than Viera men might want to check the expansion’s pre-order page, which lists the new playable race as Viera while listing the new job as Gunbreaker and more. It’s a little more evidence in the same pile, a conspicuous lack of evidence to refute a logical conclusion that would require conspicuous evidence.

AND THEN THEY ALL DIED

Late March: The conclusion of the MSQ

Ah, this one is still a little up in the air, and I love that. The date being quoted by some sources for the end of the 4.5 MSQ is March 26th, which you’ll note is after the Japanese fan festival. That’s pretty significant, as one of the reasons stated for not revealing our destination yet is that it would qualify as a spoiler. In other words, either the keynote reveals our destination and spoils this piece of information, or it doesn’t reveal it and thus the developers are denied a chance to have a big reveal of where we’re heading at the fan festival. Both feel sort of weird.

Other people have speculated that March 26th is inaccurate and we’ll be seeing the end of the MSQ on March 19th, the week before. That’ll still be late enough in the month that it is, in fact, late March, but also means that there’s time to wrap up the story and be ready to find out where we’re heading.

Which one is accurate? We don’t know just yet. My personal suspicion is that the 19th feels better because it solves the problem of spoilers, and it’ll be a little over a month after the last patch (which, you know, is coming out a little over a month after the first part of the 4.5 series). At this point, we just don’t know. I will say, though, that if it does come out on the 26th we’ll need to have an absolute statement of where we’re headed.

Mid-April: alexa play low rider

Ah, that long-delayed Final Fantasy XV crossover, the one that lots of people (myself included) had sort of just assumed wasn’t happening. But it is happening, and it rewards a really nice car. And some crossover with FFXV, I guess, I don’t care about that at all.

I don’t know yet how in-depth this feature will be, of course. This is getting into the span of time when we’ll need to be finishing up with the big structural changes like World Visits, data center moves, and so forth. We know that it won’t be a full-scale update, but it looks from the trailer alone that it’ll have a fair number of moving parts, so I wouldn’t count on logging in and clearing it in five minutes.

Like this, but darker.

Late April: Benchmark, probably

This one hasn’t been announced, to my knowledge; it just tracks with around the time when we usually get the benchmark program. And even though the benchmark isn’t exactly content, it’s worth some play as we all make our Viera, check out the movie contained therein, and assure ourselves that yes, we can play the game with our system setup as we already knew.

Of course, there’s the argument to be made that the benchmark is unnecessary. But I would be surprised not to get one this time because it has been a fixture for some time. So I’ll go ahead and predict it here.

Mid-May: System changes in detail

We’ve been told that this will be coming in May, which also tracks with the last expansion launch pattern. At the time, it came along as part of an elaborate media preview event for Stormblood, in which those of us in the industry got to check out an early build of the game, look through early parts of certain maps, and otherwise explore the expansion before it went into full launch status. Will that happen again this time? I don’t know, but I do know we’ve been told to expect this preview here.

Obviously, this is not going to involve quite the same degree of re-writing as we got with Stormblood, which introduced the idea of job gauges and swapped to Role Actions over Cross-Class Actions. This isn’t a complaint, though; the fact that there were such big changes for the second expansion, however necessary, made things feel just a little more disjointed as we moved into it. I’m sure that we’re going to see refinements and changes, and some of the nature of role actions may change, but it’s going to be an evolution rather than a revolution.

As always, feedback is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I want to take advantage of the lull here to talk a little bit about what I’d actually like to see in terms of system changes for Shadowbringers without fretting over the exact new abilities we might get.

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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Sorenthaz

I managed to get caught up with Pyros today, completing the story so I’m good to go to Hydatos, buuut I still need to beat Penny one more time in order to acquire the two flames I need for my final weapon upgrade (sadly the weather she spawns in wasn’t going to happen again before maintenance).

Honestly the grind isn’t too bad for any of the first three parts nowadays. With Anemos you just want to do the elemental challenge logs and then farm NMs. With Pagos you just farm NMs. With Pyros you just farm Bunny Fates + NMs. Out of all of them I actually thought Anemos was the slowest, while Pagos (after the nerfs) was doable within a few days and Pyros was similar. At a casual pace of maybe 2 hour sessions or so a day, or binging on days off, one could prolly do each within a week or less.

While there are annoyances with it, it feels good to progress in them. I also like the sort of community that builds around them. You start to regularly see the same folks in the instances, and it’s fun seeing folks from a previous Eureka zone running alongside you in the next one, leading to some camaraderie of sorts. It feels quite organic in comparison to other content, and it brings back a feel of older MMOs that were more social and revolved around “open world” content. I’m looking forward to Hydatos and seeing how that public dungeon goes.

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Toy Clown

I’m surprised not to see mention of the data center mergers soon. That one I’m looking forward to since it’ll open the marketboards wide across the servers on a data center, which means cheaper prices. There are player-crafted things I’ve been wanting for awhile, but couldn’t justify paying 3 mill (for example) for a Hannish dress on my server, when it’s 500k on another server.

It’s a good time to put in new PvP armors. Even though I find PvP tedious in FFXIV, I do it on and off when neat items appear.

The thing I’m most looking forward to is the crossover event. A 4-person vehicle excites me.

Veldara
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Veldara

This would mark my very first post on a FFXIV article, and I can’t believe it took me this long to finally get into the game. I would have to thank the Viera reveal trailer for finally selling me on to this game.

Utakata can keep her pigtails, I have my bunny ears now!

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BigAngry

To be fair, you could have had bunny ears for quite some time from the prize vendor from the Golden Saucer casino!

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styopa

I think there’s going to be repercussions of the mp/tp consolidation. Ie it might bounce through a couple of weeks of fixes before they finally settle on something that leaves the least number of people screaming ‘unfair!’.

(Personally, I’d rather see them implement this BEFORE they add a bunch of new abilities and level growth, so they could end up balancing this impact before pouring in more potential imbalances of more abilities, etc. The playerbase of any MMO is *far* better at finding loopholes in such things than devs/betas.)

AFAIK TP management is pretty nearly not even a thing for melee classes today, while MP budgeting is very much a thing…where are they going to land on this? Are they going to make MP less of an issue? I doubt that, it’s a pretty serious component of most caster classes. So that suggests that suddenly now melee classes ARE going to have an energy budget that now matters which will certainly impact some more than others…I think there’s a big metabalance issue here that will end up being much more important than they’re discussing.

It might just be because I’m maining an AST right now but I’m acutely aware of which are and aren’t important, because I can’t think of a single time I’ve ever actually CAST a Spire instead of RR/redraw it. I’m very curious what they’re going to do with that card, actually, as it’s sort of handy having a default-RR choice in the deck…making it actually useful would actually ADD 0.5 (or whatever) seconds of evaluation that aren’t there now. :) Will Ewer suddenly now be useful to everyone as it will now buff everyone’s ‘energy’ resource and not just MP anymore?

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David Blair

They’ll add an animation of your character grabbing the Spire card, shoving it in his mouth, and eating it while looking around to make sure no one else saw…

As a PLD/DRK they could remove TP today and I wouldn’t notice. Everything comes down to managing MP eating abilities into the rotations.

I’d assume they’d just get rid of TP and TP costs altogether and rework existing spells that give TP regen to give something else like skill speed.

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cursedseishi

I don’t know if I’d say TP management isn’t a thing for melee… Or physical Ranged for that matter. AoE skills for the like of Dragoons, Bards, Machinists and Monks for instance are all 100+ costs. And for any dungeon area that tanks like to do MASSIVE pulls in and thus need all the AoE it can get? It is rather easy to hit the bottom, even if only for moments between the last skill and the next.

I’m honestly more interested though in seeing how a class like Paladin handles it though. Before the Cross-Class skills were nixed, there was a time where I leveled Maruader and added in Flash to help with aggro management before you got Overpowered, then kept it as a backup should I end up low on TP for one reason or another. For the Paladin though, where it is ingrained to the class? It’s a cheap skill for simple AoE threat build and with the benefit of Blind. How do you factor that into the rotation with the cost of MP then, if other skills end up taking MP rather than TP now? Or, likewise, without TP what of Warriors and the (over)use of Overpower for said sorts of massive pulls?

TP being a flat amount made it simple to budget. You’d get 10 uses out of a 100TP skill, 20 with a 50TP, etc. etc.. With MP though, those same skills would either need a flat rate (which could mean chaos on characters with naturally higher MP), or a percentage similar to how Magic jobs operate… Which hey, fine and dandy for strictly Melee classes…

But then you have, say Bard. Whose MP gauge is solely a Foe’s Requiem dump. Or Paladin/Dark Knight/Red Mage, who have to juggle both. And true, those 3 don’t necessarily have to worry about one side or the other… but then again that also means they’ve never had to balance out “do I want the party to do more damage” with “oh god, I can’t attack, I can’t do crap oh godohgod” that Bard’s currently used to the system will be hit by once the change goes through…

Of course, I’m assuming that the TP costs of skills will be converted to MP here. It may be like Blair said and they simply dump the costs out, and maybe work it into a short cooldown or something…

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Wendigo Runner

On my bard iLvl 380, going through expert duties, etc, I never see my TP hit 0. Between Rain of Death spam and Quick Nock there is no shortage of AoE usage. It’s pretty much constant.

If the change makes everything use MP then that will be the end of Foe Requiem.

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BigAngry

So Eliot, speaking of systems changes, what are your thoughts on how consolidating MP and TP will affect things?