Wisdom of Nym: Story beats that I’d like to see explored in Final Fantasy XIV

    
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Wisdom of Nym: Story beats that I’d like to see explored in Final Fantasy XIV

There’s a wide-open space for storytelling in Final Fantasy XIV with the conclusion of the 5.0 MSQ, a lot of different ways that the next installments could go. And hey, I could speculate about where it will go pretty easily, but at the moment it feels very much like wild speculation not grounded in anything beyond what I personally think would be neat and fun.

So if I’m going to be going down that road anyhow, I may as well go a different route and talk about silly things that I’d like to see explored that are probably not meant to be explored any further.

First and foremost, let me just start off by saying that none of these things is some huge dangling thread. There will be some spoilers in here because there sort of have to be given the subject matter, but if none of these story threads get explored further, it’s not really an earth-shattering loss. These are just question marks that I would personally like to see crossed off. So let’s take a look at some threads that are probably done but that I would personally like to see expanded upon.

This guy.

What’s the deal with Ran’jit?

On some level, this is a question that doesn’t actually need to be asked, and I freely admit that. The deal with Ran’jit is explained in the story: He’s a general in the Eulmore army, he’s trained a very specific set of people, he’s incredibly powerful, and he really believes in Lord Vauthry’s overall ethos. But it’s that “incredibly powerful” part that seems like it’s sort of in need of some elaboration, even above and beyond the usual boss conceits.

See, Ran’jit doesn’t just fall into the header of being very skilled the way we see with lots of other antagonists we fight; in fact, he slots more into the realm of Zenos in that he fights with the implication that he does things human beings should not be capable of. (Yes, everyone does, but the game is pretty good at signaling the difference between someone displaying a human level of power and someone who is incomprehensibly strong.) And he’s also got that semi-draconic companion who seems to empower him along the way.

We get no explanation for any of this. By contrast, we learn that Zenos specifically has been given an artificial form of the Echo, granting him even greater ability than his existing abilities would imply, so we know full well why he’s so inhumanly strong. Ran’jit is just… a normal human, but he has some symbiotic bond with a dragon-thingy, can see through pixie magic, and can survive a fall that should have killed him to show up later apparently none the worse for wear.

Does any of this need an explanation, exactly? No, all of those things stated as fact could be all of the explanation we need. This is what a crazy advanced monk looks like; that’s valid. But it still feels to me like there’s more explanation there that we could get, even if we don’t need it.

I have to chop SO MUCH right now.

What are the jobs in the First?

Fighting Ardbert in 3.4 contained a little hint of how different the First is from the Source; while the jobs might be familiar, their names at the very least are not. His party consisted of a Knight, a Ranger, a Magus, and a Devout alongside himself. In short, just because they may be the same jobs in mechanics, they’re not given the same names, and for that matter they don’t even quite seem to have the same roles.

To some extent, this is probably irrelevant. NPC jobs have never been exactly firm or ironclad in any way, and the reality is that it doesn’t matter what the First calls a Ninja if the job works exactly the same. It’s also partly an outgrowth of just wanting more lore and information; we by necessity have something a pinhole looking into the world of the First, and while there might be some curiosity about how seemingly identical jobs are visibly different on this world, it ultimately doesn’t dramatically alter the story.

Still, it’s a point of curiosity for me personally, and it’s one of those things that I’d love to know more about. It’s probably not even going to come up whenever we get to our equivalent of relic weapons, but it matters at least intellectually to me.

Now don't kiiiiiiiss

How does the aetheric imbalance work, exactly?

Finishing all of the role quests actually does provide more information on the whole mechanism regarding the Flood… to an extent. We find out exactly how the Ascians did intend to set the world up to be right on the boundary of the Flood, and that the Flood wasn’t exactly their intention along the way. But the whole point was that they wanted to bring things right to the boundary of the Flood without it actually happening, and that’s where things get a little more complicated.

Simply put, the explanation we get seems to imply that a handful of people being decent is enough to push things toward an imbalance of light, something that comes really close to tying morality in to the elements. Disregarding the fact that this runs counter to the rest of the expansion’s themes, it also doesn’t really align with what else we’ve been told about the Calamities. How do mortal actions lead to an imbalance of water aether, for example? How can you have a lightning morality tied to your behaviors? Was the Thirteenth just full of utter jerks and that’s why it was suffused with darkness?

The answer to that last question is almost certainly no. Obviously, we don’t need to know the mechanics here. The Ascians work over a long and steady path to unbalance worlds and force the Calamities to occur, and it’s enough to understand that Ardbert and his party wound up tipping the balance completely to Light; from a thematic standpoint there are more important elements.

Still, considering that we now understand how Calamities happen and the role of tipping the balance, it would help if we understood a bit more of how and why that balance gets tipped. What we do know seems to go back and forth between the idea that dark is not bad and light is not good… and then the idea that Ardbert and friends were so good they accidentally doomed the world.

Like these guys.

Where are the remaining beast tribes?

We know the status of several of the beast tribes from the Source on the First. The Amalj’aa are the nomadic-but-de-facto-Lakeland occupants the Zun, the Kobolds are the mercantile Zun, and the Sahagin are far more reclusive in this world as the peaceful but standoffish Ondo. We also know full well where the Ixal and the Ananta are; they don’t exist, because both races are derived from Allagan bioweapons that never were made on the First. All well and good.

But what about the Qiqirn, the Gigas, the Mamool Ja, the Sylphs, the Kojin, the Vanu Vanu, the Gnath, and the Namazu? Heck, are we to assume that the Hobgoblins are the same as the Goblins? It seems rather unlikely; they don’t have the same features or quite the same gait…

Again, this is easily written off by just shrugging and saying that these tribes were occupants of lands destroyed by the Flood before our arrival or that they were more Allagan constructs we just didn’t know about yet. That’s fine. But I do wonder what happened to my idiot fish children, for example, and the fact that the beast tribes aren’t sectioned off from the rest of the people the same way means that there feels like more potential for storytelling there.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. If you feel I missed something egregious in the story with all of this, feel free to say that, too. Next week, let’s talk about where we’re at after the weekly tomestone patch in terms of balance and the state of play.

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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Chosenxeno .

Ran’jit story does need a much deeper delve. I can’t believe how little interest there is in the comments. Especially, when you hear his final words… Which if you can remember them is proof that he really did care for Ryne.

The dragon thing is also interesting but I can’t believe you guys aren’t curious about his last words(not going to mention them here).

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Steven Williams

Here’s my list. Now that Thancred has, for the most part, finished his multi-expansion character arc (including ARR, which continues the story that started during the Ul’dah questline in 1.0), I’m excited for the prospect of continuing other characters’ questlines, once they return to the Source.

A certain salmon-haired girl:
What will become of her, after everyone returns? Will she come with us, or stay in Norvrandt? This, of course, brings up a bigger question on how/if the Norvrandtians will reach out to the Eorzean Alliance and contribute to the bigger plot like Ala Mhigo/Ishgard/the Othardian Alliance. I think they’ll need a much bigger table next time everyone meets.

Darevil, but can shoot magic missiles: Will she be able to cure her eyesight? I want to know more about her past, her relationship with her mentor, how she became a Scion, etc. This can tie into the next idea:

The wonder twins: There is so much we have to explore… less about the twins themselves, but where they come from. I want to finally meet their father, Fourchenault. We could explore more about Sharlayan culture and politics, their big move back to the motherland, etc. I want to learn about F-shizzle’s relationship with L-rod and his kids. Also more froggies. Just give me a Sharlayan expansion, damn it!

Just a few ideas. Also I want to go to the moon. Lunarians pl0x

JonBuck
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JonBuck

I wonder if, at the end of the ShB storyline (5.5), we’ll “throw wide the gates” between Source and First and allow travel between shards. If not that, then do we tell the denizens of the First about the Source, the shards, the Ascians. We promised Emet we would remember them, after all.

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Steven Williams

If not that, maybe some kind of magic looking glass to facilitate communication between Crystal Grandpa and the characters in the Source

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axemtitanium

The word “beastman” was invented by the Ul’dahns in order to promote nativism and trade protectionism in the face of these races’ threats to the Ul’dah merchant class’s monopolies. They basically coined a slur.

This didn’t happen on The First so therefore there’s no artificial distinction between races by subjective proximity to Humes.

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David Blair

I’d like to find out that Y’shtola is an aether vampire, stealing others aether to remain alive since like there was some plot thread 2 expansions ago about her using up aether to be able to “see”.

JonBuck
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JonBuck

I’d like to know more about Hydaelyn and the circumstances of Her creation. We know that after Zodiark was summoned, the Ascians had to sacrifice yet more of themselves to restore their planet to fertility. Then they were going to let life grow for a while before sacrificing it to bring back their deceased.

Some Ascians objected to this, probably seeing all the mortal races as living, thinking beings. We know Emet-Selch and most other Ascians didn’t. We were just insects. I suspect that the Sundering happened to protect the moral races, but that may not be it.

There’s more gray area in the Shadowbringers storyline than any game I’ve played. I truly understand what the Ascians are doing, and why. But you just have to oppose them. It’s them or us.

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Nathan Aldana

Sylphs at least we know exist on the First because the Triple Triad card for Storges , says Storges was probably originally a sylph or pixie that went under severe aetheric imbalance and became a Lightwarden

Bereman
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Bereman

A possibly important distinction, but the two creatures mentioned on the Storge card are sprite and faerie. The latter seems more likely, as sprites in this game have been defined as entities that come into being during certain aetheric conditions (so wind sprites during a particularly strong gale, for example) but are devoid of intelligence.

Not that such an entity can’t be corrupted and then “feed” on the memories from that realm, as the card suggests is among the legends of the creature…but a more sentient faerie seems more likely.

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Nathan Aldana

ah, fair.

Bereman
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Bereman

it also doesn’t really align with what else we’ve been told about the Calamities. How do mortal actions lead to an imbalance of water aether, for example? How can you have a lightning morality tied to your behaviors?

The act of some individuals being selfless (it’s more than just being a decent person) is only relevant to the situation on the First, which is predisposed toward Light anyway (otherwise we would have generated a Flood on our own when we collected six crystals by ourselves). And it’s only relevant there as it somehow ties into generating Crystals of Light (how being selfless ties into that is something I’d like to know, though I have some theories).

On the Source, that same effect is not generated by anything to do with actions of morality, but rather a chemical and arcane substance that mimics what happens when something is too far aspected toward the Light (it slows and stops)…which ultimately gives us a blueprint for how manipulating the elements on the other shards likely worked.

So there’s not a “lightning morality” or anything like that, nor morality tied to at least six of the other calamities (with Bahamut’s calamity, the 7th, being tied to Darkness, we’re mostly in the dark…though the manner through which the 13th fell does suggest that it may be also tied to morality via selfish acts, as the champions there began to fight each other for more power).

For the six elements, it’s simply generating a situation where that aether on the Shard becomes, overwhelmingly, the predominant one. For water aether, that’d be as simple as pushing that shard to rely on water-based magic or using aether related to water in technology or something to a degree well above the others (no morality required, just significant usage of some sort). Eventually it’s at the brink of becoming a flood of that element…

At which point they manipulate the Source so that a major event involving the same aether occurs. In the case of water, it was manipulating Amdapor and Mhach into fighting with White and Black magic, pissing off the Elementals, who decided flooding them out was a good idea (plausible that such an idea was suggested to them by an Ascian, but that’s just speculation). Without the tipping of the other shard toward the brink, this would have been a major flood but not one on the scale of a realm-wide disaster. In the case of earth, it was the surge of power from Dalamud into the Crystal Tower, which then caused an earthquake…which was then augmented by the on-the-brink shard tilted toward earth aether, causing it to be significantly more powerful as a result.