For a lot of people, patch 5.1 felt sort of like a breather. Obviously, it had a bunch of new stuff in it, but I feel like everyone would agree that the story was a touch perfunctory and most of the content was… well, good, but in that much more general sense of good. Outside of Copied Factory, none of it really stuck to the ribs. But based on the latest trailer for Final Fantasy XIV’s next major Shadowbringers patch, I feel relatively comfortable saying that was chiefly due to having a breather between big moments.
Finish your Alliance Raids
I’m going to be honest, I figured that the teaser at the end of Return to Ivalice was something meant for much further in the future. Like leaving an out in which they would like to bring Matsuno’s work back around, but it may or may not happen. But nope, here we are diving right back in with a sequel, something confirmed even further by the fact that the new relic line requires finishing Return to Ivalice.
Doesn’t exactly fix people being dumb as hell in Orbonne, but it’s a fair attempt.
Regardless, this does seem to be the home of the mystery additional trial, which is apparently more akin to the Hydra/Chimera duo from back in the day in that it’s a fairly basic boss you take on at one difficulty. It’s also interesting to note that the initial weapon just comes from finishing the quest, but the overall focus from the translations I’ve seen hints that the whole thing is going to be much more solo-focused. While I enjoyed what was being attempted with Eureka, I don’t think it worked all that well; it’ll be interesting to see how well this version works.
We’ve got until 5.25 to wait for this, though, so there’s not too much in the way of details just yet. I am curious as to how this’ll interact with our artifact weapons and armor, though, since last time the relic line was how you made those dyeable.
Bare fangs at God
I may be in the minority here, but I have never believed that Shadowhunter (whose actual name I am still obscuring here for some reason) is actually on our side. FFXIV doesn’t really do re-alignment, exactly; we have former antagonists who work with us, but never because they’re secretly fine people. Instead, it’s almost always because they’re just no longer working at cross purposes from us.
This seems relevant as we move into the new trials, which clearly have the new Weapon (and likely subsequent Weapons) as what amounts to new mecha for the Empire and with Shadowhunter having a personal stake in taking them out. This is interesting to me on several levels; it gives us a look at some of the things going on in Garlemald as well as a clearer picture of what the state of the nation is after the events of the story to date.
See, it seems obvious from the cutscene alone that Garlemald is still functional. This was somewhat ambiguous after the end of Shadowbringers, for obvious reasons, but rather than this new Weapon firing to life on its own, it seems clear that this was being launched for a distinct reason with an overarching purpose. This implies that there’s something very specific at play with the state of affairs in the Empire, that the current situation translates to a lack of upper leadership but not stagnation.
In other words, the chaos right now explains why the legions aren’t sweeping into Ala Mhigo effectively, not that the Empire has ceased to be a threat. It’s just not the threat it used to be.
It’s also interesting that both of the two pushes we have active right now for content on the Source are shoving us into Garlean territory. We don’t know how far we’re going with the Weapons, but it feels like it’s something else being deployed to Ghimlyt from the trailer; by contrast, the relic weapons appear to be heading in from the Othard side of things. A preview of coming attractions? Or simply a way of keeping multiple parts of the world relevant? Both sound plausible.
Pity the trial is probably going to be pointless in normal mode again. Oh well.
And now, primal doubling
All right, for those of us who thought we could set our clock by the rest of the Eden fights, things aren’t going to be that simple with both Garuda and Ifrit as a single fight.
There are two possibilities here, but it’s hard to be sure which one is correct. The first possibility is that this is setting things up so the next tier will feature one more primal fight with the elemental force of ice, and we’ve got one more unknown fight in this tier that’s going to be more Final Fantasy VIII-themed. The second possibility, though, is that we’ve got that ice primal as our last fight this time around, and that means the next tier is going to be wild in terms of where it goes narratively.
Of course, it’s going to be weird when we get there anyway because our historical ice primal is different from the others. Ifrit, Garuda, Titan, Ramuh, and Leviathan are all primals coming from outside sources in a way that Shiva is not; Shiva is specifically a part of Ishgardian history, and our memories of her tie directly into Ysayle. That could go in a lot of directions, from a version of Shiva divorced from Ysayle to a draconic version of Shiva to even Gaia being invested with that power to properly set up the parallel.
That last one feels like it would dovetail nicely with a need to have Gaia be a part of the story while also tying together the two obvious threads that will be going on, setting the elements into place and whatever Gaia’s arc is. Plus, having all of the elements theoretically be in harmony only for things to not be working correctly would properly set the false high that usually accompanies raid arcs – the first stage is establishment, second stage is when you think you’re going to wrap things up, the third is when you actually solve the problem.
And, you know, it’d give her a place when we already have one magical waif in the equation.
Beyond that, well, your guess is as good as mine. The new gear looks all right, but we’re all used to the mechanics of these things by now. You may or may not want to plan on getting your Eden weapon for your main job, depending on when we get 5.25 if you want to go for the relic. You do you.
As always, feedback is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, I want to actually talk a bit about the fan festival now that it’s been properly announced.