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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.