So, hey, the moon! That’s a place we haven’t been yet, isn’t it? We’ve blown up a moon in Final Fantasy XIV (or had one blown up on us, same difference), but now we’re actually going to the moon… and that leaves me wondering how in the heck they’re going to make the moon interesting because even in the trailer it’s just walking across a barren surface of nothing. There have to be ways to make the moon interesting, right?
Well, interesting in intended ways.
First and foremost, I took a look back at my column before the reveal to check my aim, and it turns out I did… well, decently! We got the location (or some of the locations, at least, including the big “surprises” in the moon, Garlemald, and Thavnair), our first job revealed, our second job’s role revealed (and I’d been expecting melee DPS for a while), Ishgard housing, new content in the form of Island Sanctuaries. Not bad for a big set of predictions ahead of time.
The reveal of Sage already has some people freaking out a bit, of course, because that ties into the idea of having “pure healers” and “barrier healers,” to which I would point out that the current expansion saw the establishment of “main tanks” and “off-tanks” between the four tanking jobs. Have Gunbreakers and Warriors lost the ability to be main tanks as a result? No, they have definitely not.
In other words, don’t freak out about this if you’re an Astrologian. I have a feeling the goal here is more about distinguishing which jobs have sustained regen options in content and which ones don’t.
More importantly, though, is the actual meat we do know about Sage, and… yeah, that’s certainly a distinctive look for the job, isn’t it? I feel like we’re starting to move into the final batches of jobs as the game keeps going, and it’s definitely clear that we’re getting a variety of new ideas being thrown around in the process. Sage looks instantly iconic and distinct, and while it’d be wrong to treat Nouliths as if they have no other inspiration behind them from other media they are still a neat look for a new job.
More to the point, they’re a perfect addition in that they make a new healer look cool. That sounds minor, but when you’re dealing with the role that can frequently be the most backline supportive one I feel like it’s crucial to make healing look and feel neat instead of just tedious. Sage accomplishes that right away.
Interestingly enough, Sages are traditionally a bit like Red Mages insofar as they can cast both kinds of magic but tend to focus on casting without physical abilities, making them more reliant on spells but having greater spell versatility. There’s an interesting lineup between Alphinaud as a Sage and Alisaie as a Red Mage, that’s all I’m saying.
So what is the next melee job? I’ve seen lots of speculation, but there’s not much to hang the “Beastmaster” speculation on that I’ve seen beyond “but there are Garlean Beastmasters in Bozja and that should be a hint.” Actual speculation based on what Yoshida was wearing has gone toward Templar, Corsair, Rune Fencer, Necromancer, and Geomancer with varying degrees of support for each.
My personal bet is still pushing toward Rune Fencer, possibly with a more necromantic bent, but I haven’t yet seen anything that strikes me as a slam dunk. Templar seems entirely plausible, for example. We’ve come a long way from the Batman shirt, clearly, although I guess it’s pointless to wish for more information; at least this time the announcement just told us one of the new jobs instead of making us wait and guess about Thancred’s gunblade.
Either way, we’ve hit that sweet spot of giving players enough to anticipate and be excited about well ahead of the next big reveal, which is perhaps a bit further away than is usually true between Fan Festivals but should keep everyone engaged just the same. That’s probably a net win in terms of information volume.
I’m a bit surprised we didn’t actually hear about any new restoration projects with this particular reveal; while that doesn’t mean we won’t get them, the focus was clearly on Island Sanctuaries in terms of new big content, and that’s clearly got a more casual focus than the very competitive ranking going on in the Firmament. Maybe that’s intentional; I could understand wanting a break from the ranking system for an expansion or just not having the time to push that content out, or even wanting to leave it as more of a surprise for future patches rather than making it central. We’ve definitely learned from Bozja that not every feature needs to carry forward to every expansion.
What about the stuff we didn’t learn about? Well, we don’t yet know our next major city. I can think of three major possibilities. The first is that it’s Sharlayan, the other big city that would obviously work as a capital. The second is that it’s Ala Mhigo, explaining how it would be a spoiler if the city is being revitalized and rebuilt as we speak. Third and finally, it’s possible that the city is on the moon itself, and winding up on the lunar surface is where the expansion starts rather than where it ends.
Beyond that, it’s possible that some things got left out of this particular expansion because of the work difficulties involved in working from home (maybe there were plans for a new Limited Job but that also had to be pushed back) or maybe these things were never actually core parts of the plan. And that’s fine. What we’re getting that we already know about sounds meaty and fun and interesting, and while I wish it were arriving sooner than it is for obvious reasons (I want to play), I’m not surprised to learn that the delay extends to the expansion timing as well.
Now we just wait until May to learn more, it seems. All right, so I was a little off about the date, but I was right on the money about the principle of the thing, right?
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, I want to talk about what we learned about patch 5.5 in the producer letter, which kind of got short shrift compared to all of the big expansion reveal contents. It was largely inevitable, though.