Wisdom of Nym: What we still don’t know about Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers

    
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Kershadow

Ah, the grand world of the known unknowns! We’re only one patch into this particular expansion, but there’s still plenty of stuff to speculate about in Final Fantasy XIV, and that’s good news for those of us who write about this speculation for a living. And anyone who enjoys reading about it! Which I suppose includes anyone reading these lines in the first place, so we all win in this scenario.

In this particular case, though, I’m not just talking about the things we don’t know but also can’t really start to guess at. We don’t know where the story is going to end up, but that’s because we haven’t seen most of it just yet. No, I’m talking about the things we know are going to be coming based on history and the structure of the game but are also currently without even the broadest hints about what comes next. So let’s talk about the stuff we know we don’t know even as we know it’ll be there.

le roar

The next Trial series

The bright side with dungeons is that we have a steady stream of them to turn into new hard modes so that the team can always just keep bringing out new ones for the endgame. This is a reliable thing. We get a new stream of dungeons through every expansion, and we’ve got four more totally new dungeons and two new hard modes on tap, in all likelihood. (Not that the developers can’t surprise us with more.) But Trials… Trials we get the harder mode at the same time as we get the normal mode, with only one exception in the last boss of the expansion.

Since I don’t have much interested in Extreme fights, the new series for me will mostly be about lore. And we’re following the same pattern we have in the past by having the first patch give us an Extreme version of the last boss, with the new series of trials not kicking off yet. (Odds are also decent of having a new Trial boss in 5.3, for those tracking.) But my point here is mostly that the team can’t just go back to Heavensward and Extreme up those bosses. We’re going to need new fights, and thus far we’ve gotten no hint of what will link them together.

That’s not to say we have to have a link between them, of course; the mechanics work fine if the trial fights are just a sequence of fights with no overarching narrative. But partly due to the limited nature of the First, we still don’t have a hint of what we’ll be facing off against, and there’s nothing that jumps out as a good set of enemies.

Internalize this deep wisdom.

The next Relic series

I’ve talked about this one before. There’s nothing saying we won’t get Eureka 2.0, but there’s nothing saying we will, either. There’s technically nothing even saying we’ll get a new set of relic weapons outside of getting our artifact gear in Weathered state, and that’s kind of enough to imply something for upgrades… and in all likelihood we’re not going to stop there.

Here’s the thing, at least for me: I feel like the trail series could conceivably take place on the Source instead of the First. It would make a certain amount of sense. But our new Relic weapons kind of feel like they should be on the First, and I’m curious about where we’ll go with that one. The First has some hard limits on the space it can explore, and I’m continually eager to see where we bump up against those boundaries.

We know something will happen here, but thus far we’ve gotten no real hint of where or how.

FIRE ELEMENT

The next big quality-of-life push

You might think that Fellowships and New Game Plus fill this particular void, and to a certain extent you’d be right. Those two systems need a fair bit of expansion compared to where they are at the moment, but they both work and exist mostly as fun ways to explore the content already in the game. But this one is right up there with the expected addition of Ishgard housing in the Firmament as one of those things that feels like we’ll get something more but haven’t heard of it yet.

Quality-of-life is one of those things that’s shot through every single expansion, but here I’m talking about updates or additions to things that are currently underused. We don’t know, for example, if this is when we start getting more egi glamours and get that expanded into a better system overall. More visual customizations in general would work (the addition of the 2B coffer to the Copied Factory feels like a hint about that). Or maybe it’ll be more social features, or more changes to how housing can work, and so forth.

Most major patches seem to feature at least one new feature that’s mostly about making our lives easier and improving our overall gameplay experience, in other words. And while we know about the ones that we’ve gotten so far, there’s not much hinting at what the next one will be, or even what form it will take. Unlike story or system updates, it’s an unknown, but a welcome one.

There's a lot of ground to cover.

The next destination

To a certain extent, yes, this is tied to the fact that we don’t know where the bridging story is going because it has just started. I expect we’ll learn a lot more about it in 5.4 and 5.5. (I imagine 5.2 will build up more stuff about bringing the Scions back to the Source, and 5.3 will likely be the big climax to all of that, possibly opening a more permanent bridge between both worlds.) But some of it is also a known unknown because we know we’re getting another expansion, but the obvious next destination feels like it can’t be our goal.

See, there has been plenty of build-up about Garlemald over the years. Ilsabard as a continent sits right in the middle of the map. People predicted it after Ishgard and after Ala Mhigo. But the thing is that as of right now, we don’t know what’s happening with the Empire… and there’s more possibility than ever for the Empire to go in truly weird directions because its two biggest influences are just gone.

Emet-Selch is no longer around to direct the Empire according to his whims, and the Emperor is dead. And it seems that the killer of the Emperor has no interest or intention of ruling despite having an open space to step into. That was the biggest surprise I found from 5.1’s story, that we had someone who could take over but seems wholly uninterested in the notion.

Obviously, this could lead to the next expansion sending us right in to help establish a new government and aid the rebellions cropping up there… but then, that would also be an obvious red herring to show off early before the story moves off in a different direction. Heck, we could be done worrying about the Empire for a while after everything that’s happened. We actually won and held them back! And now things are moving an entirely new direction.

So I find this an equally known unknown, especially now that the gates have been thrown wide and there’s nothing stopping the next expansion from sending us to the Thirteenth or something similar. And I don’t think we’re getting hints for a while longer, but it’s fun to ponder.

Feedback is welcome via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com or in the comments, of course. Next time, let’s talk about Blue Mage in advance of its first big update.

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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hurbster
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hurbster

Think I’m going to spend a tenner and get the starter edition of FF15.

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Danny Smith

’emet selch is dead’ eeeeh, technically yes but he also has a warehouse full of clones back on the source, outright says he had a hand in allag that perfected the technology of copying memories to clones and his dying words were “remember us, remember that we lived” which could quite easily be a double meaning. Its very easy to be content with being defeated when in the longrun its proving your theory of “more reunified more capable and therefore valid as a person” as well as knowing theres a few dozen other emets ready to show up as a long lost relative of solus to take the throne.

Honestly i could totally see a de-powered none ascian emet in charge waiting for us when we storm the throne room fully welcoming to the heros he wants to aid in what is probably going to turn out to be Zenos planning to kill Hydaelyn AND Zodiark and trigger a second Terminus Event. It would be the sort of Gundamesque “are we really just letting bygones be bygones and being teammates now?” kind of thing i could see Yoshis team pulling.

Bereman
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Bereman

The end to Emet-Selch’s narrative has a definite sense of finality (for him) to it that I just don’t see them going back on.

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Sorenthaz

I’m also convinced that the Shoebill who has been watching things for awhile now (even in The Tempest) is Emet-Selch, though the question is which Emet-Selch.

Reason I say that is because it’s very possible that the Emet-Selch from G’raha’s future snuck inside the Crystal Tower before it went to The First. That Shoebill spotted in multiple bits is too coincidental to just be an easter egg imho, especially since the pet for it drops in Amaurot and everything about its pet description and the way it looks down on everything screams Emet-Selch. There’s also the question of how they were able to do the Crystal Tower shenanigans without ever being spotted or foiled. That could tie up some possible loose ends.

Also could make for an interesting twist since we’d basically be getting an Emet who’s been able to potentially witness his past self’s failure in a different timeline. As such he may just continue observing for some time, thinking of what to do next to “fix” history.