Amidst all the news last week, the live letter for Final Fantasy XIV kind of got shoved off into the corner, didn’t it? Partly because… well, there’s not a whole lot to this particular live letter that qualifies as a surprising revelation. Like, it’s hard to top “we’re going to the moon” as a reveal anyhow, but “we’re going to an obscure part of Thanalan non-lore-nerds probably have no idea even exists in the first place” is not what I would consider trying.
At long last, Paglth’an
All right, to start with: If you don’t know, Paglth’an is the area just east of Thanalan and south of the southern Shroud. It’s the main region occupied by the Amalj’aa, and it’s probably big enough to be a zone on its own, so much like Xelphatol this is a case where the dungeon is named after a region as something of a shorthand so no one asks why we’re not ever visiting the place in more detail.
The reason I say “at long last” isn’t because I’ve long been eager to visit it (although… well, sort of) but because we actually never had an Amalj’aa dungeon, and it was kind of the most conspicuous missing dungeon. We’ve had multiple dungeons with giants, but not a single one with what most people think of as the “main” beast tribe of Thanalan. It’s somewhat overdue.
This is as good a place as any to talk a little bit about dungeon cadence, though, because I’d argue this is one area where Shadowbringers has fallen down.
We were told ahead of the expansion launch that, essentially, we would be getting just one dungeon per patch instead of even alternating in hard mode dungeons in order to free up the dungeon team for other stuff. Now that we’re on to the absolute last dungeon of this expansion, I feel pretty confident in saying that the exchange we offered doesn’t really stand up to what was lost.
The “extra” dungeons we’ve gotten like Bozja’s Castrum and Delubrum Reginae aren’t all that substantial compared to what we already had from Eureka. The Unreal trials basically just mean that there are two EX trials rather than one per patch. The extra stuff doesn’t seem as if it’s balanced out by the loss of seeing old dungeons again in an updated form. I am honestly not all that impressed by the trade.
I get that it’s trying new things, but this particular change hasn’t worked very well. Not that I imagine it’ll change in the future, even though it seems as if it’d be the perfect time to switch back over in Endwalker.
At any rate, Paglth’an feels like it points to more of the fixing tempering story moving forward, since tempering is a major plot point when first dealing with the Amalj’aa and Ifrit in particular. That’s not inherently surprising, since that’s what was set up ahead of time; it’s likely that more of the things burning and End Times nonsense will kick off in part two of the patch.
Finishing the side upgrades a bit
Looks like we’re getting a little more action in the Firmament with the next patch, which is welcome. While the Firmament is still going to be useful for basically anyone who wants to level up their crafting or gathering jobs (and thank heavens for that), it’s going to be less relevant at this point, and it’s nice to have more stuff to do there just to make it feel slightly less like a dry run for the housing district. I know, that’s arguably what it was (and we all knew it to begin with), but keeping it more than just a footnote is a good thing.
I do wonder what the little parties are going to look like in terms of activities. Probably similar to the restoration FATEs, yes, but will they still award scrips? There’s no reason to assume they won’t, but there’s also no reason to assume they will either. That… may be overthinking things.
We also know that we’re getting one last area to finish off the Resistance weapons, with this particular stage of upgrades being a bit onerous and running into the simple problem that people are only now realizing Bozja was never optional in this process. To be honest, I have a certain amount of sympathy for people who thought it was, somewhat to my surprise.
It’s hard to know exactly what the thought process was with the Bozja upgrades, but the fact of the matter is that it’s been made way easier to upgrade your weapons through non-Bozja means than by spamming relevant content. If all you cared about was getting your weapon, it was way easier to dip into Bozja and then completely forget about it while focusing on other means to upgrade your arsenal. Having that suddenly reversed and leaving you with a requirement to go through Bozja content when it’s been the slow path to upgrades feels counterintuitive.
We’ve got a little while before those last installments crop up, of course, so there’s time to finish up the rather lengthy grind for the 515 relic beforehand; I know some people screamed through it at lightning pace, but it thankfully wasn’t necessary. That hotfix in the middle of the week might change some elements, too.
Along with all the other conclusions, we’re seeing the end to the Sorrows of Werlyt line, and I honestly don’t expect this to end well for anyone involved. Least of all our favorite gross Legatus, who I had thought previously was being set up as more of a long-term enemy. Considering what we know of the state of Garlemald itself in the next expansion, it seems unlikely he’s going to keep being a prominent feature in the game for all that much longer. I can’t speak for everyone, but I will not be sorry to see him reduced to a smear on a wall somewhere.
We’re also wrapping up the NieR raid series, which still has the rather unenviable task of producing the explanation for how all of this ties back together with the First in a way that doesn’t feel cheap. Or it might just not bother, but I’m already a bit weary of people complaining that the lore of these raids doesn’t really match the rest of the game. I’m hoping to be surprised here.
It’s a whole lot of stuff we did honestly know was probably coming already. I don’t dislike any of it! But it honestly hasn’t lit me on fire, at least not yet. Endwalker was a hard act to follow.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, let’s talk a little bit about the potential speculation for the new melee job based on the limited information we have thus far.