Wisdom of Nym: The implications of Final Fantasy XIV Forspoken

    
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Wisdom of Nym: The implications of Final Fantasy XIV Forspoken

So we do actually know the title of the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion now, even though we don’t. Technically this has not yet been announced, but it matches literally every other bit of timing we’ve ever had regarding expansion titles, and it just has the right mouth feel, you know? We don’t yet know if we’re going to hear the formal announcement this month or if it’s going to be delayed, but we are all pretty confident on this one, yes?

Naturally, I have speculation. It is literally my job to have speculation about this stuff. And it’s interesting to speculate about always, but this time even more so than usual because Forspoken has an advantage over the three prior expansion titles. While Heavensward is sort of a word, Forspoken is absolutely an archaic word with a very specific meaning that could give us some hints about where we’re heading next.

First and foremost, I’d like to note that as with anything else, I am speculating about a possible title for an unannounced expansion based on a story we do not yet know. It is entirely possible that I will be wildly off base here, and as I have always done, I will be right here to announce that I was wrong and own it if that takes place. Still, I am also making reasonable guesses off of very limited information.

With that out of the way, what do we have here? Well, let’s start with the obvious. “Forspoken” is the adjectival form of “forspeak,” an obsolete English word. While “forspoken” simply states that it means “bewitched” or “charmed,” forspeak itself has a slightly wider meaning. Yes, it can mean to bewitch or charm; it can also mean to slander, to forbid or prohibit, or to cause bad luck through insincere flattery.

We also have a few pieces of information regarding the next bit of the MSQ. It involves Ishgard, at least, and we’re exploring a dungeon called Matoya’s Relict. We also know that it involves the Scions once more. And in a touch of meta-knowledge, we know that the most recent addition to the game’s cosmetic shop was the ARR attire for Alphinaud and Alisaie.

At the intersection of all these pieces of information is Sharlayan.

Dragons really wrecked up the place, huh.

No city-state in Eorzea is as close to Sharlayan as Ishgard. Literally, in a physical sense; Ishgard is close to the site of the former city in Dravania and not terribly far from the original home island. Of the major Scions, all of them are either from Sharlayan or students of Sharlayan, whether they were expert apprentices (Y’shtola) or idiot cigarette boys gouging drawings into desks with compass points (Thancred). Matoya’s de facto job was just keeping half an eye on the stuff Sharlayan left behind in the Hinterlands.

You know what Sharlayan is big on? Magic. You know what else they’re big on? Forbidding the knowledge of that magic. The original Astrologian quests go into more details, but it’s a known fact that Sharlayan keeps a lid on a lot of knowledge that is considered somehow dangerous or best kept obscured. Sound like a bit of relation to a word we’ve heard, hmm?

So all of that is a hint that Sharlayan will be involved in the next expansion. Fine, but that doesn’t tell us a whole lot beyond a city, does it? Well… it does, but for that we have to do a bit more speculating, by which I mean that we have to take a closer look at the map of the world that we currently know.

Sharlayan is located on one of two archipelagos in the Northern Empty. Northeast of it lies Aerslant, the ancestral home of the Roegadyn people. Northwest, meanwhile, is wholly unknown. Somewhere west and somewhat more south is the New World. And to the east lies… Ilsabard, the last region left to be explored within the single contiguous land mass comprising three continents.

Also, you know, home of Garlemald and the main might of the Garlean Empire.

Fanadiel certainly does love offering up overwhelming and insincere praise, doesn’t he? We know that Zenos yae Galvus (possibly now Zenos zos Galvus, if we’re being honest) is willing to slander and lie as it suits his purposes. And while neither of them appear to be tempered or even influenced by Zodiark at this time, it is hard to discount the possibility of something bewitching taking place within this area. Heck, it’d be the ultimate irony if the Empire formed to rid the world of Eikons… was itself in the thrall of one.

And that ties into a whole lot of plot teases that we’ve gotten about what’s taking place on the Source all the way through Shadowbringers.

Weird dog.

Obviously, there are some holes in this theory, even when you step away from the fact that it’s a theory based on very limited information being arranged in sequence. The most obvious one is that it doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense to go to Ilsabard from Sharlayan based on what we know now, especially when there are more reasonable routes. (You could claim that both of the land routes are impassable and that makes this a necessity, but if Ghimlyt is still at a fighting stalemate, moving around it doesn’t seem to be a smart tactical move.)

It also means that we’re assuming a sort of inverse double bluff. In Stormblood, we had lots of things teasing Ilsabard and the Empire as the next destination, and that ultimately turned out to be a red herring because we had other places to go. This time, we’ve also had lots of things teasing Ilsabard and the Empire… and so the theory would necessarily go that we expect to be steered elsewhere, but now we’ve been tricked because it wasn’t a subversion!

Do I believe that Yoshida enjoys subtly trolling fans that much? Yes. Do I think it’s necessarily a great connection? No.

What this does do is at least hint at why that might be the title for our next expansion as well as giving us some motivation for a main plot. The great thing about the Empire is that we don’t really need much motivation as to why fighting it is important, just a reason for why we can now push forward into a new stage. And since Bozja is also showing how fractured the Empire is at this point, there’s some reason to believe now might be the ideal time for us to rush the place.

Still, all of this is very early and we don’t even yet have a picture of what the MSQ in 5.4 will actually entail. Once we have a clearer picture of that, we can… well, have a clearer picture of what we’re doing next, where we’re heading, and what we should expect from the ongoing storyline.

Which might make this speculation a little early, but hey, I don’t mind guessing wrong.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I think it’s time for the annual-ish talk about the problems with housing, yes? I’m going with yes.

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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Sajiri

I would just like to point out it’s not Fanadiel, it’s Fandaniel!

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Armsman

What do you have against Daniel? :P

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elenie

I really loved seeing even the Sharlayan ruins in HW (I still want a little house there), so I’d be really excited about going to Sharlayan itself!
As for the empire – not sure how many acts the MSQ still has planned. I wouldn’t mind starting to address the empire soon, but on the other hand I could see another “prep” expansion happening. I am a little ambivalent about an empire focused expansion because SB was kind of exhausting to me by focusing on the sort of oppression that’s a little too close to real life for comfort (mind you, I only recently played through SB so the real world timing isn’t helping).
Anyway, it’s exciting to speculate and I’m looking forward to learning more (and reading your articles about future reveals :-) )

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Danny Smith

Well there has been rumours its actually another Square Enix title but it does seem to fit. It means either ‘to be bewitched’ or ‘to predict something’ if memory serves and the next patch is about “futures rewritten” and involving Matoya. Considering the flagship character Japan loves is still dying but has yet to have the starring role for an expansion, the antitower is the only concrete -literally- lead to the rumble beneath the earth that caused The Terminus and Matoya has the keys and the patch name being very similar to the meaning of the copyright i would not be surprised if the expansion is the pre final story expansion expansion giving Yshtola time in the spotlight as the new Matoya and its about sharlayan, the antitower and the thing beneath silvertear lake on one side and garlemaldes civil war on the other to wrap up everything major before Zenos and Fandaniel can pull some horseshit for the final story in the expansion after.

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Armsman

Well…considering Master Montoya’s connection to Y’shtola; and the fact the latter is to many FFXIV fans the most popular NPC and ‘poster character’ of the game; I wouldn’t at all be surprised they’re building an expansion and storyline that makes her a real centerpiece to everything that happens; so yeah, you might be right.

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Jon Geier

I think you are missing the possibility of the title being an allusion to a claim of ownership. It could just as easily be a poetic way of saying SPOKEN FOR.

We haven’t heard much about the “presence” beneath Silvertear. There is the loose thread from Shadowbringers regarding what caused the original catastrophe of Amaurot, mentioned only as a sort of wave from within the earth. Then there are the two missing first brood dragons, the escapee from Azyz La, and the Allagan wreckage in the aery, which all might turn into something else.

The Tinfoil hat also suspects the Allagans went to space and might return one day, or that’s connected to the Nier aliens. Someone or something returning, laying claim to what they or it had Forspoken in the past.

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Eamil

The FFXIV writers use a LOT of archaic terms, and they use them correctly. I don’t see them using “forspoken” as meaning “spoken for” any more than they’d use “forsworn” to mean “sworn for.”

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Erika Do

For some reason, I think of voidsent when I hear Forspoken. Like we’re going to go to Sharlayan and uncover some magical knowledge that will let us safely go to the world of darkness to somehow save it from being the void?

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Sorenthaz

Eden series also seems to be using the 13th as a big element and from what I understand if you finish the different Job Role quests you get an additional questline that hints or mentions that the Ascians have looked to possibly use the 1st’s flood of light to try and recover the 13th so that they can then tilt it into a proper rejoinable state.

Delphos
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Delphos

With fan fest canceled due covid and all, when we should expect the exp to be announced? Do you think the next expac will finally bring th game to DX12 and consequently to Xbox?