FFXIV Fan Festival Tokyo 2019: Travel to the First with Hrothgar and Dancers

    
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Well... whoops.

The third and final Final Fantasy XIV fan festival for Shadowbringers kicked off on Friday evening in by North American time schedules. We even liveblogged it! But some of you would prefer to read a summary rather than a stream-of-events format listing all of the things that were being shown off, so let’s do the full recap to show off what seems to be the last major set of revelations for the game’s third expansion.

The keynote started off with the full version of the expansion trailer; significantly longer than the prior expansion trailers, it turns out that we hadn’t seen the full trailer before now. While many elements are the same, it made it very clear that this indeed was not as simple a story as going into the past; instead, it indicates that the conflict that players will take part in will actually have a much more expansive scope than previous conflicts.

New Region: The First/Norvrandt

So, where are we heading on Hydaelyn? We’re not. The expansion doesn’t take place on the shard we exist upon; instead, it takes place on the First.

Back about 10,000 years in the lore of the game, the cosmology of the universe that we experience in FFXIV split into 14 different divergent but closely parallel worlds. All of these worlds started from the same place, but they developed into very different worlds that all are a part of the struggle against Zodiark. The game takes place on the core world known as the Source, and we’ve had frequent encounters with the Thirteenth, better known as the Void; a world now devoid of aether entirely, seeking to drain the essence from the Source.

In the final patches of Heavensward, we explored and dealt with the Warriors of Darkness, refugees from a world in which light has all but blotted out existence in favor of unerring, perfect light. Our journey in Shadowbringers is to this world, bringing darkness back into a world of perpetual light, a world so suffused with light that night no longer falls and the forces of the light manifest as monstrous Sin Eaters (the light-aspected equivalent to Voidsent). The portion of the world we’re exploring is Norvrandt, the last region not completely suffused with consuming light.

New City: The Crystarium

The Crystarium is the last bastion of defense against the encroaching light and the new hub for the expansion, a self-contained city struggling to avoid annihilation at the foot of the Crystal Tower. (Yes, it’s here as well. No, it’s not the same as the Allagan one; that’s an intentional tease.) The city looks large and multi-layered, with a number of examples of high technology, domed regions, and an aesthetic somewhere between Sharlayan and Bastok from Final Fantasy XI.

Worth noting is that the gear on display and many of the locales are reminiscent of the tech demos before FFXIV version 1.0, a tie back to the origin of the game itself.

New Job: Dancer

Our second new job for the expansion (and presumably the only other one) is Dancer, a ranged DPS job using thrown weapons such as chakrams, boomerangs, and so forth. Yes, that means Shadowbringers contains no new healers. A lot of people are disappointed about this, but don’t let that detract from Dancer itself.

Dancer will use dances to both buff allies and deal damage, although the specifics of how its dance steps will work has not yet been revealed. The current plan has the job starting at level 60 in Limsa Lominsa, and as with the additions from Stormblood you’ll have access to the job so long as your character is level 60. No worries about getting into an expansion city for it.

New Race: Hrothgar

And now for the most controversial revelation of the entire keynote. Viera will be gender-locked to only permit female characters, while a different male-only genderlocked race is being added in the form of the Hrothgar. If they look somewhat familiar, that’s intentional, for reasons that will become clear on the next point.

Yoshida explained that while this will likely be the last time new races will be added, the team wanted to explore two different aesthetics, and thus created two gender-locked races to do so. Both races are meant to have a wider range of customization options to compensate somewhat for the gender locking.

New “Beast Tribe”: Dwarves

We also got our first look at the second new beast tribe added, the Dwarves. This race is never seen without its helmets and beards, and they serve as known experts in both metallurgy and mining, you know, as Dwarves are wont to be. And gosh, they look a little familiar, maybe if you take off the helmet you can see…

Wait, that’s a Lalafell!

Yes, the Lalafell are known as Dwarves on the First, and they’re classified as a beast tribe instead of a spoken race. All of the races we know on the Source are present on the First, but they all have different names (and, presumably, different societal and cultural roles). As revealed in the keynote:

  • Hyur = Humes
  • Lalafell = Dwarves (and a beast tribe, as noted)
  • Elezen = Elves
  • Miqo’te = Mystel
  • Roegadyn = Galdjent
  • Au Ra = Drahn
  • Viera = Viis
  • Hrothgar = Ronso (oh, there’s why they look familiar)

New City: Eulmore

While not the new hub, this city is seen in the opening trailer hosting the exceedingly corpulent miqo’te (well, mystel) with Thancred in the lower levels. Eulmore is in many ways the opposite of the Crystarium; while that city is fighting against the destruction of the world and seeks to ensure that light does not blot out existence, Eulmore is basically in the throes of a never-ending party ahead of the end of the world. But, as you can see from the slums on the lower level, there are plenty of people getting stepped on in the process.

We’re not sure yet what will happen in Eulmore, but it’s supposedly a major part of the expansion storyline. It sure does look like Limsa Lominsa, though, doesn’t it? And there’s a reason for that.

New Region: Lakeland

It becomes very clear when you look at Lakeland that this is a great deal like Mor Dhona, which was Silvertear Lake before the Imperial battlecruiser crashed into it and Midgardsormr’s death radically altered the world. This is a big element of the storytelling; many of these regions bear at least some resemblance to the areas that we know on Hydaelyn, but they are still different places with different histories. No Empire here, different developments, and now Lakeland sits just outside of what appears to be the Crystal Tower (and the Crystarium).

It’s well worth taking a look back through and seeing if some of the other regions we’ve already seen remind you of something else; Il Mheg looks like it could easily be Coerthas, the Rak’tika Greatwood similar to the Black Shroud, and Amh Araeng is similar to Thanalan. But it’s not as simple as, say, “Lakeland is alternate Mor Dhona” or the like. These are places that looked the same 10,000 years ago, but that’s a lot of different history to go through.

New Raid: Eden

Finally, we had our new high-end raid content revealed in the form of Eden, which shares the name of the “ultimate” summon in Final Fantasy VIII. Eden’s storyline is centered around the restoration of the elements to the world of the First beyond just bringing back the darkness, with Tetsuya Nomura serving as boss and character designer.

There’s very little shown just yet beyond that statement and a character from the storyline named “Gaia,” who appears to wield a rather large hammer. A lot of attention was drawn to the hammer, although at this time there’s no announcement that this is or will lead to a new job in the future. There was definitely buzz.

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Leviathonlx

This fanfest did a bit to disappoint me. I honestly wasn’t that concerned about getting male viera but understand many wanted them and in general feel it’s unacceptable laziness from a company like Square to release 2 half races that won’t even be able to wear helmets at release. I could just imagine the blood in the streets if another multi billion dollar company like Blizzard were to say the KT and the updated worgen model this Summer couldn’t wear helmets.

It also doesn’t help that the hrothgar look horrible as their faces look like they’re wearing masks (first thing that came to mind were the Kyojin in SB) due to the little to no emotion or mouth movement shown in the preview video.

I’m iffy on this going to another shard thing and the first thing that comes to mind is Warlords of Draenor. Instead of building up on the base game world we’re going to get world building that, while it may be neat and interesting, will be absolutely meaningless after this expansion is over (and at the very least WoD built up on the lore of a place that was meaningful in Warcrafts history). So now we’re apparently going to put our war with Garlemald on hold and become realm hoppers but I guess the zones at least look pretty and more detailed than the zones in HW and SB.

We’ve also been given little in actual gameplay changes but given how Square always plays it safe I’m already going into ShB expected HW 3.0 in that department.

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Toy Clown

The Dancer looks like a good companion to the Bard. And the Hrothgar a good companion to the Viera – like lions and rabbits.

I’m looking forward to rolling up a Viera Dancer…. or getting a fantasia on my current main. Probably the last. That’s probably the one bad thing FFXIV has going for it is what a pita it is to roll up a brand new character.

It all looks so pretty, like the graphics have been revved up several notches.

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styopa

Well if the trailer’s not a tease, then we should be getting the ability to change jobs in combat, no?

I kid, I kid.

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blahlbinoa .

I’m not a fan of the Hrothgar, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be playing this game, it means I won’t be playing a Hrothgar. I’m hyped for the game, but the Fan Fest didn’t hype me into a sub. I will be re-subbing when the 4person car mount shows up though.

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rafael12104

Thanks for the coverage EL. It’s like grandmother’s night shirt, it covers everything.

Meh, I’m not a fan of gender locking, but in looking at it as a totality, it does not diminish what is being delivered here.

What do I mean? Well, think about what is going on at SWTOR HQ right now.

“and if you play with the contrast you can make every thing brighter. We can add that as a feature on our roadmap!”

Chestnut Bowl
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Chestnut Bowl

I’m looking forward to exploring all of this.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Like I said before – it’s fucking stupid that they did this genderlocking stuff. There’s no excuse for it – this is a video game, not a static book, so it should allow anyone be all they want to be in terms of character gender and change the lore to accommodate that.

And yes, they should’ve skipped the Hrothgar – they look ugly and will become as popular as Roes now.

And of course it was really idiotic to add another DPS class. Some healers were getting very tired with current jobs and were looking for something different to play. Since the “different” being DPS now – you can easily imagine that the queues times will get worse with more DPS and less healers. They should’ve just reworked Machinist to make it more fun for everyone who likes ranged DPS (like me, who liked Engineer classes in many other games but really disliked what SE did with it in FFXIV). Instead of that, we get this:
comment image

I guess all they need now is add Disc Wars minigame to Golden Saucer…

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Vincent Clark

There is more to it than lore restrictions–which they’ve already stated. You can either accept their decision or keep calling it “fucking stupid”. Your call. I’m not necessarily trying to stop a discussion about it, but at some point you’ve just got to pick your battles.

Also they are reworking the MCH job. Plus, we’ve only seen a 30 second video of the Dancer animations–are we seriously going to come to a judgement about the job before we even play it? That is just silly.

Lastly, the Trust system will negate any DPS queue time issues (for the most part).

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

I’ll keep calling it “fucking stupid” because I see no good reason for not adding gender choices to Viera and new Roe races other than a surprise announcement later about actually allowing male Viera and female new Roes (Hrothgar).

And yes I am aware of the new Trust squadrons. I prefer to queue with live players, not bots (I’ve queued up with plenty of them already) and I highly doubt they will be available in more difficult dungeons.

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Vincent Clark

Like I said, your call.

/shrug

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cursedseishi

Lastly, the Trust system will negate any DPS queue time issues (for the most part).

… You do know what the trust system is, correct? Because that isn’t what it will do. The way it’s literally been described by the developers is a set of training wheels of sorts to work people up to the point where they may feel more comfortable playing with other players. You aren’t going to see a “Trust” system implemented for the Final Steps of Faith most likely, or even the initial 2.0 Main Scenario quests. They are going to do absolutely nothing to the queue for dungeons or the like, because it is a stopgap measure.

And because the class starts at 60? All of the roulettes will be available, and none of them will likely even begin to be functional synched with trust NPCs.

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Vincent Clark

It literally says the Trust system is an alternative for players to use when doing the Main Scenario Dungeons. That is the where a large portion of dps queue issues will be when the expansion launches.

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cursedseishi

https://www.thesixthaxis.com/2018/11/17/final-fantasy-xivs-trust-system-brings-a-single-player-experience-to-the-mmorpg/

“Main Scenario Quests”. You know what is included in that? Dungeons like Satasha, Tam-Tara Deepcroft and the Copperbell Mines are all part of the MSQ, there has been no guarantees that it is meant for the Main Scenario roulette. And, most likely, you only trigger it by going through the NPC/Starting point for them, not the duty roulette. The Trust system is intended to allow people to progress through the main story without relying on people completely, yes, but even Yoshida has gone on record to say that the NPCs will be limited. Halatali is a mess to run with the Squadron system, for instance, and that is a level 20 dungeon. And half the reason it is even successful to do so is the NPC party is immune to everything environmental.

Just like he’s gone on record saying it isn’t a replacement. Problem with the Trust system is though, that they’ve literally talked nothing of it pretty much since its announcement. I’m making assumptions as to how it works, just like you are. And loathe as I am to say this, but the argument of ‘it literally said’ with FF14 hasn’t always panned out. Such as “Guilds and Players won’t pay the same price for housing” when housing was introduced initially.

There’s good reason they’ve barely mentioned the system far as I’ve seen. They don’t want to guarantee something they can’t deliver, and they aren’t wanting to set false expectations with it. You google “FF14 Trust”, and everything is all from around the initial date of its announcement.

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Kawaii Five-O

If the Trust system is their answer to negating DPS queues, I sure hope they’ve vastly improved the AI over squadrons and without making their stats so OP that they make the dungeons trivial.

Also, I think most people can at least agree that their decision to genderlock Viera was at least tone deaf. Players don’t even like genderlocked clothing–as we saw with bunny outfits.

I completely disagree with their justification for it beyond their nonsense lore reasons too–claiming they’d just be male miqo’te with bunny ears. How would that even be any different from female Viera? Among existing players, you will almost certainly see the bigger overlap between male Roegadyn and Hrothgar as far people fantasia’ing goes.

Meanwhile, they could have easily made male Viera really pretty, taller, and even a little effeminate along with thick, long hair like their female counterparts. That would be similar to one of the concepts they’ve previously shown and it’s a look we don’t really have for males currently.

I’d argue male miqo’te with their pronounced, furrowed brows are more roguishly handsome than ‘pretty’ (with the exception of maybe one face with the right combination of facial features), and they’re certainly not effeminate.

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Adam tecnavia

“Because lore” is an incredibly lazy argument that actually sounds a bit like a dog whistle. Lore is whatever they want it to be, and the devs are not shy about the fact that they change stuff they take from other games to give it an ffxiv feel.

I’d look closer at the fact that all viera are incredibly well modeled lingerie model fan service bots, and all hrothgar are poorly drawn blocky male somethings.

Call it what it is. There is no excuse.

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bakkahentai2600 .

The actual reason is because Hrothgar were chosen first but they caved to fan demand to bring in viera and it’s actually more complicated then you’d think to create a new race in the game so they ended up with female viera and male Hrothgar for now.

As for DPS – you can’t lump the group into one thing, they are actually divided into three sections – melee, ranged, and caster. Ranged DPS players have had only two to play with since Heavensward.

velimirius
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velimirius

Hrothgar looks totally shite to me…

hurbster
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hurbster

It’s all those steps to get there.

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Leviathonlx

Besides their inability to wear helmets their faces look like masks in general due to the lack of any expression shown in the preview.

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BalsBigBrother

As I mentioned in the live blog some good some bad but I am still excited for the new expansion. I am going to have to have to really buckle down if I want to get to play in the new expansion at launch. Even if I can’t manage that it will be nice to still have new places to explore and content waiting ahead of me.

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Sorenthaz

Honestly this last Keynote didn’t do much for me. It actually diminished some of my excitement from the previous keynote. Why? ’cause

1. Going back to genderlocking races with the same excuses used in FFXI for Male Mithra (“Oh the men aren’t warriors! They’re just the breeders!”) rubs me the wrong way. I don’t even care that much about the Viera as a race, but it’s the principal of it. This feels like they’re taking steps backward for no reason.

2. Hrothgar look butt ugly. Who is this race supposed to be appealing to? The small % of people who are both furries and into overly muscular men? The handful who are already playing Male Roeg? It’s not even aimed at fans of Khimari because those models don’t even look close to being similar to the Ronso from FFX. They’re so frigging chunky and they’ll look horrible as anything that isn’t a PLD/WAR/DRK. It was awkward as heck seeing the attempt to post a screenshot of a Khimari-lookalike only to have it look like Khimari really let himself go after FFX.

3. The jobs are interesting but it’s going to lead to a shortage of Healers starting off. Not only that but Dancer was overly predictable. Gunblader is cool but I feel the novelty will wear off since it’s a Tank job. Overall it’s kind of what you’d expect.

4. Nothing really mentioned about making BLU less of a mess.

5. Going to an alternate world or whatever is neat, but it also naturally invokes Warlords of Draenor vibes. It’s also pulling us away from Hydaelyn mid-fighting with Garlemald, so chances are whenever we get to go back things are going to be even more screwed up over there because we were too busy becoming edgelords in another world.

Maybe I’m being too sour but the whole thing just kind of feels like a copout to dodge resolving the Garlemald stuff and we’re instead being pulled off to a completely different world/storyline because reasons.

I’ll probably warm up to it more as things launch/etc., but this really feels like they’re going off the rails story/setting-wise while also trying to play safe with jobs/races. It’s a really… underwhelming combo I guess. Especially after what we got with Stormblood and Heavensward, this just feels like kind of a weird cobbled-together mess of ideas.

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Kawaii Five-O

This succinctly sums up most of my feelings although there are a few points I’d like to elaborate on why it bothers me so much.

tl;dr: basically Sorenthaz’s post

I’ve been apprehensive about Shadowbringers ever since the first teaser trailer and the direction it hinted at. I had hoped the CGI trailers were a red herring, but here we are, and we are indeed going on a convoluted, dimension-hopping boogaloo that I expect will serve as a filler expansion a la Warlords of Draenor. Yes, we’ll explore a mysterious, yet vaguely familiar new world instead of exploring more of the Source, despite one of the three great continents still shrouded in clouds right smack in the middle of our map–not to mention the countless other places we know of on Haedalyn that are unexplored (to us).

What concerns me the most, however, is how that will pan out long term. I worry that it won’t make sense for anyone, including the WoL, to constantly be going back and forth between worlds outside of the specific context of the MSQ. Will it make sense or even be possible (lore-wise) to be going there all the time as you do your endgame activities and return back to the Source? Or is your time on the First always going to feel disconnected and remind you it’s very much a game world rather than feeling like a plausible, immersive world? And of course that’s not even mentioning how RP’ers (from the Source) will be able to rationalize going there.

I realize most people don’t care about that stuff and will likely be excited with the possibilities of what they can do with a parallel world, but it’s a big deal to me.

Then there’s dancer. It could have brought a really flashy and unique flair in a completely different form to the healer role (at the very least, visually), rather than just another magic caster (i.e. the popular alternative, Geomancer). However, it was not to be. Instead, dancer will just be a slightly different flavor of yet another DPS job. Like monk with the twirls, spins, and kicks, but now it’s from range. Neat. But hey, RDM was really popular, so why not give us another ranged DPS support job right on the heels of Stormblood?

Not only is Dancer not a healer, but we’re not getting a new healer job at all. I was really hoping to see the healer meta finally get a good shakeup with the addition of a 4th healer. It’s something I think the game desperately needs even though I understand that they’ve had a really difficult time balancing healers, but that feels like a pretty sorry excuse, and speaking of excuses…

I actually couldn’t have cared less whether or not Viera were genderlocked–up until they gave that pathetic excuse for their ‘reasoning’ and cited the lore. I found that really infuriating, because it didn’t stop them from adding male miqo’te, and it certainly didn’t encourage them to make any sense of Au Ra in HW; Xaela especially.

Moreover, Kojifox and Yoshi-P have both explained multiple times how they don’t let lore keep them from adding or doing things in the game, and they will make the lore fit whatever they want to do. So, the lore is not the reason they couldn’t add male Viera. The lore is written the way it is to excuse them for not adding males.

That kind of BS comment and decision is exactly the type of thing people have been dog-piling Blizzard for. It also doesn’t help that the Hrothgar look awful. If they were going for Ronso, they did a very poor job. I agree, that long term, their only appeal will mostly be to the “bara” crowd already playing male Roegadyn, which is a very small number.

This has been a really odd festival cycle for me. It’s first time I haven’t been excited for an FFXIV expansion right from the first announcement. Admittedly, the hype did get to me after the Yoko Taro and Yorha: Dark Apocalypse reveal, but the last fanfest has done a spectacular job of deflating that enthusiasm almost entirely.

I realize a lot of people are excited to travel to the First and many people are happy that Dancer is a DPS job. Good for them. Unfortunately for me, I can’t share in their excitement.

It’s definitely a weird feeling to be coming off the last fanfest and having zero enthusiasm for the upcoming expansion.

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Adam tecnavia

You’re first point about Miqo’te X10. Can you imagine what would happen if they released a race where the women are “worthless except for breeding”?
Decisions like that belong dead in the past for either sex. The no male viera thing is sheer sexual stereotyping and homophobia.