Wisdom of Nym: Analyzing the last pre-patch Final Fantasy XIV producer’s letter

    
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So... we cool, huh? We cool?

Well, it looks like we’ve got no actual new information on the next expansion. I’m not sure how to feel about that. I mean, sure, I didn’t really expect to hear about it when this live letter had other things on its mind, but at the same time it felt plausible. Are we really going to have an entire expansion shown off to us in February? Is that the cleaner and more straightforward route Final Fantasy XIV is taking this time?

Eh, no time to think about that, there’s a new patch to analyze!

I’m not really surprised to learn that we’re getting the patch on December 8th, which places it at a rather nice juncture from the last patch; it also shows that the team has clearly adapted to necessary changes and we’re back on a more usual update cadence. This letter was a bit lighter on details and more about showing things off, but there’s still information to pick at just the same.

Blue Monk

Blue Mage is getting new artifact gear and another level bump! I’m going to be honest, I didn’t see this coming but it honestly makes me feel like another limited job is more likely before the next expansion. After all, I don’t see us getting another level boost, and we didn’t get these on a particularly tight schedule overall. That’s hardly certain, but my guess is that the experiment seems to have largely worked. And if you’re still mad about Blue Mage… hey, a lot of people do like it and it seems to have worked out. Sorry, guy.

Of course, there’s not much more to say other than to hope you’ve got yourself up to date before the midpoint patch, likely sometime in January. But I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we’re getting BST or PUP as a new limited option.

The more meaty changes we were told about, of course, are the changes being made to Monk… and honestly, they’re changes that make sense and make the job less annoying. Rebalancing will be the key to this, but just giving the job a flat high speed takes away the Greased Lightning maintenance that really defined the job for far too long. It does lessen the buildup, but I think it’s a worthwhile loss for Monk being made more consistent. It also makes things like Tornado Kick actually useful in combat.

I’m a bit surprised we’ve seen two jobs majorly rewritten mid-expansion, which is unusual. Both Monk and Ninja now have gotten some pretty notable overhauls, and while the end result has played more similarly than MCH has, it’s still a big set of alterations. Still, I don’t want that to sound like a complaint; I think it’s to the team’s credit that these aspects are considered worthy of major changes even mid-expansion.

Hand.

Here come the new challenges

So our next trial is indeed Emerald Weapon, and we’re wrapping up Eden as expected. The first two bosses we know of seem like they’re another trip on Final Fantasy III, which is odd in the extreme… but it does make a bit of sense, since the full trailer for this expansion included a very notable leitmotif from that game’s overworld but is otherwise unconnected save for the prominence of the Crystal Tower in the Crystarium.

Seriously, there’s the Cloud of Darkness, and the other boss looks like it could be either Cerberus or Scylla. The real question is why we’d be summoning memories of these bosses, which do seem like they’d be remixes of past fights like what happened with the primals.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that in the footage we have, the wolf-monster seems to be fighting out in Lakeland or something like it. That would be interesting, to say the least.

Emerald Weapon, meanwhile… well, it’s taking place in a castrum we’ve long seen without visiting, and that’s kind of nice. I’m still curious about where they’re planning to go with this one, although it also seems highly likely at this point that we’ll finish things off against Diamond Weapon. There’s no doubt going to be some interesting lore here, which is something worthwhile.

As always, I find the normal versions of these fights to be a bit perfunctory, but I do like seeing the attached story. I just wish they’d make the fight themselves a bit more relevant, you know? Ah well.

Not birb.

Drag-on

It’s always difficult to get a sense of what’s coming next in the MSQ from the trailers. Trailers deceive, trailers tease, and trailers deliver something that’s not actually as clear as you think it might be. So it’s too early to be sure about anything. But I think there’s at least one interesting thing to unpack about that quick dragon shot we get in the start of the trailer.

Here’s the thing – that is not a boss in anything we know about. It’s not a trial boss because we know who that is. It’s totally unconnected from anything else. And while it uses the same model skeleton as Bahamut… who could it be? What is it?

Well, I have a thought on that: We do have two wyrms of the First Brood unaccounted for, Vrtra and Azdaja. We know that they’re out and alive, and we don’t know anything beyond that.

Both Vrtra and Azdaja were notorious monsters in Final Fantasy XI, it’s worth noting, and both of them had a similar black-violet sort of color scheme. It’s entirely plausible that this is a major introduction as one of those wyrms joins into the main story… especially since said dragon appears to in some way coincide with the scene of Fandaniel walking toward what is presumably the WoL.

What does that mean? I don’t know. It could mean that my prior theory about where we’re going next is wrong; the presence of dragons might well hint at Meracydia, which was the ancient home of the First Brood before some of them moved north. It could also mean that one of the wyrms has also sojourned and now occupies space in Ilsabard. Heck, it could just be a tease of something totally unrelated and be a wholly unreal dragon in some way.

But the trailer definitely feels a bit scattered and like it’s promising big things. I don’t know what’s coming next here, but it seems like there’s a lot going on with the overall story. There’s a lot of content where I can’t begin at guessing what it’s teasing. Stuff with Lyse, stuff in Ala Mhigo and Limsa Lominsa aside from Sharlayan, all sorts of vague hints and teases about where the story might be going next.

I don’t know what happens next, but there sure is a lot to chew on and wonder about. And thankfully, we have just about a week left to wonder before we start getting some answers.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in mail form to eliot@massivelyop.com or in the comments below. Next time, I’ll be talking about the patch notes before the patch itself. You know how these go.

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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