There’s a lot of stuff on the Source in Final Fantasy XIV. (It feels faintly wrong to call the place Hydaelyn now, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who has cleared through the Shadowbringers story.) And with the announcement of the next expansion happening in less than two weeks, now seems like a fine time to start looking at the one thing we can be most certain about seeing in that expansion beyond any speculation of new jobs: New areas to explore.
This one comes first because, well… we’re definitely going here. Maybe not with 6.0, but there’s been so much buildup over the continent that’s home to the Garlean Empire that it feels like a foregone conclusion. Eventually, yes, we’ll be venturing into the heart of Garlemald because there’s been too much darn narrative buildup to ruin it.
Ilsabard is, by far, the most well-known of the regions listed below; we’ve approached it from both sides at this point, as Othard and Eorzea lie on opposite sides of the continent. The real question about the Empire is just when we’ll visit it, as stated.
There are other names for this region, but I’m going with Sharlayan for the general area because I have a strong feeling that we’ll ultimately wind up here no matter what as well. Again, there’s been enough buildup about Sharlayan as a city and a nation that sooner or later, it seems all but inevitable that we’ll be going to the city proper. Lying north of Dravania and south of Aerslant, this island nation and its outlying landscape is well-known as a hub of scholarly knowledge.
The biggest issue with Sharlayan is that there’s not really enough space around it to carry an expansion wholly on its own. While the city is an obvious capital location for players to explore, it seems all but inevitable that we’d be using it as a pit stop heading somewhere else.
There’s not a whole lot known about Meracydia simply because whoever is living there really does not welcome visitors. What we do know is almost entirely secondhand, though. We know that it was the one region the Allagan Empire couldn’t quite manage to conquer, but they did manage to kill Bahamut there and claim quite a lot of primal force from the region. We do know that there are still people living there who are disinclined to see anyone from outside of the continent.
What we don’t know, exactly, is why. It seems unlikely that the Calamities which befell the Source somehow missed this continent, but it’s also clear that no one here really wants any intruders coming in. It’s obviously a fine place for an expansion, since all we’d need is an explanation for why the region is no longer blocking itself off from any would-be explorers.
The New World
Off to the west of Eorzea, this region is one we actually know a fair bit about… but most of it seems to be drenched in uncomfortable early colonialism. The Mamool Ja around La Noscea originally hail from this area, as does the art of the Blue Mage, and it’s clear that the nations of Eorzea are starting to make inroads and settlements in the continent. Fortunately for the native peoples, those inroads are quite slow, owing to the fact that Eorzea obviously has much bigger issues to deal with on the regular.
The biggest argument against going here, aside from the fact that no plots really lead this way, is the simple reality that we already have done the sort-of-colonial thing back in Final Fantasy XI and thus far there does seem to be a gentle embargo about trying to go back over trodden territory, so to speak. That being said, it’s gotten a lot of hints dropped over time, and if we do wind up heading to Sharlayan it’s not out of the way, exactly.
Much like Sharlayan, I don’t think Thavnair would be big enough for a full expansion, but there are definitely hints about us heading there at some point. For one thing, we’ve heard about Thavnair since 1.0, with Radz-at-Han being well-known among fans of the lore. For another, there’s an embassy for the nation sitting right in Kugane, hinting that at some point this is going to be relevant to the players in ways that it thus far has not been.
At the same time, the biggest issue is that it’s not an expansion by itself and the simple reality that nothing has ever really foreshadowed this one. Like, we know that this is a thing, but there’s nothing hinting that we’re going to wind up heading here sooner or later or much that couldn’t be written off as just general world-building. I have a feeling that we will wind up here at some point, but I’m hard pressed to make much of a case for it beyond vague feelings.
The ancestral home of the Roegadyn, this is where we’re getting into the weeds. Certainly the region is still there, but there’s very little implying that there’s really anything to do if we ever went back up here. There’s nothing implying that this region even has a society that’s still actively in contact with anyone, much less an active concern.
If we did ever wind up going here, it’d more likely be as an additional destination while we were already up in, say, Sharlayan. I could see this being a locale for relic quests or something along those lines, but it just seems unlikely to be a focal point of an expansion. As much as the region is relevant in history, it’s not really relevant now.
There are two parts here. The first is regions of the map from 1.0 or just clearly blocked-off areas that we still haven’t explored, which includes regions of Thanalan, the Black Shroud, Coerthas, La Noscea, and Mor Dhona, the majority of Hingashi, and so forth. These areas feel possible but unlikely; we’ve even been told that part of the reason we focus on the newer maps in expansion content is to keep the current expansion as the central feature. Still, since we just got flight, seeing new areas like Inner Thanalan, the Western Shroud, and Southern Mor Dhona isn’t out of the question.
The other possibility? Regions we’ve yet to hear about in lore at all. This is not out of the question, but it seems highly unlikely, simply because it’d be weird to go to a new continent no one had ever discussed when there are already several continents we know about that we have yet to visit. But hey, that is kind of what happened with Shadowbringers.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, I was discussing locations on the Source. The moon isn’t on the Source; it orbits it.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, let’s speculate about the announcement showcase!