My original plan for this particular column was to just write the title “The Final Fantasy XIV announcement showcase is on Friday” over and over until I hit the required word count for a column-length feature. That idea didn’t pass the basic litmus test of “explaining it to my boss,” who noted that I already have a column where I get to indulge my stupid pseudo-Dadaist humor in my own way. I tried to counter by explaining that this wouldn’t be a joke; it’d be an expression of excitement. She countered by explaining that my job consists of more than using copy-paste a hundred or so times.Final Fantasy XIV showcase! That should still be fun and relevant. It’d be an absolute lay-up to predict what the expansion’s title is going to be (we’ve known that for months), but we can still make guesses about the actual content revealed at the big reveal itself, so let’s do that.
I don’t expect any chicanery with this one this time around, simply because Shadowbringers was a big surprise for very good reason. It had to remain a surprise so that it could be, well, surprising when it happened; this time, we have at most one more reveal event to draw it out for. The most likely and obvious locations are all ones that wouldn’t be good to leave vague. And frankly, not everything even needs to be a mystery. Even “we’re going to the Void” wouldn’t be a surprise after we had an expansion about the First, after all.
Long story short, I think we’ll know about this pretty much right away. That doesn’t mean we won’t get a surprise akin to Stormblood‘s second location, but I suspect we’ll have at least some knowledge of where we’re actually going right away.
Our first new job
Yeah, I don’t see this one being teased so much as stated. Yes, I know, there is still another fan festival event planned in May; even with that having been said, we’re not likely to get two jobs allocated to a single fan festival. Think of it just in terms of economy of reveals. It makes more sense to spread these out so it’s one per event rather than none at one event and two at the next event, doesn’t it? And it still lets Yoshida troll people with his outfit choices.
The real question here is whether the new job revealed will be the new healer or the new something else. I suspect new healer, but it’s up for debate.
Our second new job
Having said that, hey, it’d be wrong to not acknowledge this as a possibility. I don’t think it’s very likely, but we might find out that the expansion is further along than we think and learn about both new jobs with this event. That being said, I consider this one a bit of a long shot. After all, if I were in charge of the messaging I’d probably want more than just the actions and systems rundown to draw people in for whatever is coming in May.
Then again, maybe that allows May to just be focused on nuts and bolts instead of big reveals, so… yeah, it’s a possibility.
A new limited job
This, on the other hand, I consider a definite potential shoo-in at the end, maybe even wrapped up in the 5.5 live letter. That’s not to say that I think we’re positively assured of a new limited job, just that if we were going to get one, it’d be the logical place to slot it. Especially since Blue Mage is, effectively, done for this expansion with the next patch.
I don’t think it’s absolutely certain we’ll get another limited job, but I think it’s reasonably likely as a design goal. And if we do, we’ll definitely be learning about it here, not later.
The new normal raid
We usually learn about this fairly early on, so odds are good that this will be included with the big plethora of reveals coming for the event. We probably won’t learn much beyond the name itself that gives us an idea of what major franchise summon it’s going to be appropriating, which itself brings up the question of how many more of these are out there to be mined now that Bahamut, Alexander, Omega, and Eden have all had a go at it.
Ragnarok, I suppose? Wait, that would be kind of awesome, you could do a lot with that. Whatever it is, it’s going to have to be less nostalgic than prior ones… unless it’s taking on the whole “Lunar Bahamut” angle and we’re going to be fighting through dark versions of old Primals with new models in the vein of Final Fantasy X-2.
Darn it, now that sounds awesome.
The new alliance raid
This one is another strong possibility, especially as the alliance raids have increasingly become where the designers opt to put collaborative stuff. Whatever collaboration is being worked on has likely been under discussion for some time, and I honestly consider that some sort of crossover is more likely here than not.
Of course, the obvious question is where that collaboration would come from… but about all we could be certain of in that regard would be something that Square has the rights to, since it’s clearly a wide-open field based on the NieR: Automata crossover. As much as I would like more Yoko Taro, that seems unlikely, and I already got my Matsuno crossover so nothing is going to make me this happy again. I’ll retain an open mind.
New content to ogle
I wouldn’t be surprised, just for example, if the showcase also included confirmation that we’re getting housing in Ishgard after the expansion launches. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised by a lot of potential things that might not be show-stopping features but would still earn more than a little bit of attention, like lady Hrothgar and male Viera, or Ala Mhigan restoration, or other big expansion-wide features that provide a little more value for players who are already invested in the game.
Obviously, there’s a point where all of this stuff starts getting overstuffed into one event. But there are a lot of potential announcements we can guess at, and beyond even that, there’s…
Let’s face it, a lot of this stuff is all predictable. We all know that we’re going somewhere new, for example. Two new jobs feels like a shoo-in. There’s going to be a new alliance raid and a new normal raid. Again, all of this stuff is just the stuff that happens when you sign up for this game, period end.
But there’s also the room for something surprising to happen at this particular announcement. And let’s not forget, all of these announcements were originally planned to have a pretty epic backdrop in the form of three fan festivals with the first at the San Diego Convention Center. Don’t be surprised if at least one of the reveals is, well… surprising.
I mean, do be surprised, but don’t be surprised that you’re surprised.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, it’s time to… react to what we actually learned, obviously.