It’s not exactly a secret to people who follow my presence on various feeds that I’m not doing great right now emotionally, but the prospect of Final Fantasy XIV’s patch 5.3 certainly does at least help take the edge off. And at the time you are reading this, the patch is going to be here in just over two weeks. (It’s a bit longer as I write this.) That means we’ve gotten our final preview of the patch, we know what’s coming, and all that’s left to do is see how everything comes to an ending.
A frontal affront
It’s kind of a shame that the Bozja battlefield isn’t actually going to be present in the patch until partway through the cycle because it’s clearly one of the main centerpieces of this particular patch’s contents. And I really think that’s noteworthy. This appears to be content that is both Eureka and the Deep Dungeon all at once, giving you a reason to go in there and try a new form of content to upgrade your relic.
Of course, you will apparently have alternative options to upgrade it as well, so I suspect this is going to be something of a weekly quest; do X amount in the Bozjan Front or do Y in terms of other content, with both available chiefly if you want to have two relics to work on. Or maybe it’ll just be one per week through either means, I’m not sure. (I do expect there will be some sort of weekly gate on these things; it’s just the way the game works.)
As for what we’ve actually seen of the Front, I’m curious about how it will play out. At a glance, it seems like something of a combination between a few pieces of familiar content, and in this particular case I’m not talking about the leveling boost that it seems to be baked in to make it the new Deep Dungeon. It has shades of Eureka and the Baldesion Arsenal, but it also seems to have notes of some content styles from Final Fantasy XI (especially the territory control) and a few other concepts bouncing around.
I do wonder how friendly it will be for lone people wandering in. There doesn’t seem to be the elemental level grinding we saw in Eureka, with players instead seeking out the specialized extra actions that come along with the zone. That having been said, it’s an open question how much grinding is needed and how hard most of the enemies will hit. All of which are variables we won’t know for a while.
Still, it’s definitely a centerpiece of the patch. It’s a shame it’s not going live on day one, in a way, but that’s probably also a good thing to give people something to do after a few weeks. It’s the obvious “let’s see how this works” new addition to the game for the expansion, in other words.
What the heck is next in the MSQ?
As frequently happens, the trailer gave us a whole lot of images, but it didn’t give us a very clear picture of what’s happening next. It’s clear from the bosses and enemies that we have seen that players will be fighting in both Il Mheg and Lakeland, but it’s also not clear in exactly which parts of these zones… and we also still don’t have a clear picture of what we’ll be fighting.
But we can make a guess because we now know that the gear coming from the dungeon looks like Ascian robes. That probably means that whatever we’re facing off against is not going to be Elidibus at the end, simply because we very rarely have our big show-stopper dungeon that leads into a trial fight against the exact same enemy.
I’ve gone on record as saying that what we’re going to face is ultimately going to be directly tied to the Crystal Exarch. There are a few reasons for this, and honestly, the description we do have of the mystery trial seems to support it. What we know is that it’s supposed to be a fearsome new foe and that it will test us as we have never been tested before. Both of these statements rule out a lot of the obvious potential enemies.
Elidibus? Not a new foe, and in fact an enemy we have fought repeatedly who tests us in a rather familiar way. Cloud of Darkness (that’s been tossed around as a theory)? Also not a new foe. But the Crystal Exarch in some form would not only be a new foe, he’d be a test we’ve never had to face before, killing someone who we do genuinely like and who is our ally.
For that matter, we also know that sending the Scions back via his death has always been a possibility. He even says as much at the end of the initial expansion MSQ before discarding the idea. It’s very possible that this is going to be a situation wherein he has to take action now because he – and the Scions – are out of time otherwise. A last-minute tragedy in which you have to do something you don’t want to do.
Of course, it’s also all but certainly going to tie back into the whole Crystal Tower series as well. And considering how tied to that set of events he is… well. Suffice it to say that I feel at least reasonably confident in this one.
This will continue
It appears that Yoko Taro wants players to assume they have a clear picture of what’s happening next based on NieR: Automata. This does not mean that these raids will play nice. Indeed, the teases and glimpses we’ve seen of the bunker here implies that while we’re still getting a healthy dose of nostalgic bosses, much like Return to Ivalice, these raids are not only unafraid to surprise you but actually eager to do so.
I rather like this fact, truth be told. While some people are going to always be upset if they expect A and are eventually told B, it’s entirely in keeping with the spirit of this crossover to gently trick the audience into thinking that one thing is coming when it’s actually something else altogether.
And for my money, what’s most interesting here is what new things Yoko Taro intends to use the crossover to say. After all, that is also his brand. That’s what the previous games he’s made have been all about, and that’s not exactly something that FFXIV shies away from in the first place. That means that all bets are off for the wrap-up here… but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if 2P herself turns out to be a more enigmatic figure than we have seen thus far.
As always, feedback is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, let’s talk about the challenge of dungeons and what it means to be good at content. It’s more complex than you might think.