Wisdom of Nym: Thoughts on Final Fantasy XIV Newfound Adventure’s storyline


The most interesting task that Final Fantasy XIV had set for itself with the launch of patch 6.1 was storyline-related, let’s be realistic. Sure, there was stuff to get from the mechanical standpoint, there was the reworking of PvP and so forth, but at this point we know that the developers can deliver a really fun dungeon. This is not news or even necessarily an accomplishment in the strictest sense. But the story… that was going to be tricky.

We had three major storylines that needed to work right from the start. The MSQ had to start a new adventure while still feeling like it was a natural extension of the stories we had already sought out, like we were going somewhere novel and yet familiar. The alliance raid had to start answering some interesting questions while also providing a story that wasn’t just some of the obvious beats about what we would be facing off against. And the role quests needed to wrap up a lot of story threads in a satisfying way. So how did they work out?

Also, please note that this column will contain spoilers for all three storylines. It won’t recap them in total, but spoilers are contained herein. Fairly warned be ye.

Tataru and her muffin adventure.


It’s void time, people. That’s the takeaway from this particular story and a clear setup for the next stretch of storytelling. We have what appears to be at least one and possibly two major antagonists being set up, we’re figuring out how to explore the Void, we have stakes for the Void and what happened to Azdaja, and so forth. If you’ve ever wondered “why is it so easy to go between the Void and the Source,” well, an answer is promised!

Our big evil guy in black armor is either Golbez or Garland, that much is obvious. Both of them had big threatening armor and an array of fiends, which are clearly being set up with the story so far. Supporting Golbez is that the design looks very much like some Golbez art and the sheer number of Final Fantasy IV references in this expansion; supporting Garland is the simple fact that he strictly fits the criteria. However, I don’t think either one is going to be the main villain over the longer term, simply because… well, we’ve never had a main antagonist moving forward that’s been a specific past reference like these two would be.

Instead, I suspect our bigger threat is the strange reaper-related thing that shows up at the beginning and the end. I’ve seen speculation that this might be Zenos, which seems… let’s just say unlikely. For one thing, we’ve just been told that Zenos is trapped with no way to get back even if he weren’t dead, implying that he’s gone for good. Moreover, the void-thing’s dialogue doesn’t really line up with anything Zenos has said or done. He wouldn’t be returning to the Void, and he never sought it in the first place.

Could it be his voidsent partner as a Reaper? Possibly. But it’s more likely that this is someone we just don’t know about yet, possibly another Ascian that’s gone in a very, very different form than we have seen in the past.

Regardless, I think this opens up interesting possibilities for the future. I don’t think right now that the Void is our destination for the next expansion, but we’re starting to have the stage set for new stories to be told… and keeping in the spirit I mentioned, the new story is familiar and related to how things used to be, but still feels novel all the same.


All those deities

Here’s the thing about Aglaia’s storyline: It seems to spend the vast majority of its runtime this patch either setting up the cast or establishing what we’re not doing. We’re not fighting primals again, we’re not fighting unsundered ancients, we’re not dealing with a lot of stuff. And yet at the same time, we also are almost definitely not fighting what seems most obvious: material deities that are a root cause of the shape of the planet at this point.

What’s interesting at this point is both that the first four deities we face are at once very open about what’s going on and yet clearly deceitful at the same time. They make it clear that they do not actually want to hurt us (thought they do need/want to fight us) and that they view us benevolently, and they’re quite clear about answering some questions. But they also dodge any explanation of why they’re doing anything or what they actually are beyond “we’re the Twelve.” It’s kind of weird.

Especially odd is the fact that they basically drop their aggressive charade immediately after you clear the first quartet. It’s not a late reveal that they weren’t actually trying to hurt us; it’s right away. We’re not going to believe that the next group of deities is fighting us out of some goal of conquest, even if they say otherwise. Nor does it seem that we’re capable of actually harming them in any way, since none of them seems in any fashion even inconvenienced by the fights we took part in.

So what’s their deal? I have no idea. I can’t even begin to guess. We just had physical gods show up and outright say “yep, we’re your gods” and fight for reasons that are not in any fashion clear just yet. It’s weird. I’m looking forward to more.


Not so blasphemed

If one of the stories here works well and the other one is weird but leans more toward working than the other, well… the role quest wrap-up kind of doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for a variety of reasons, and the worst part is that it doesn’t work while making a real good-faith effort to wrap up one of the existing plot threads that we needed to see addressed in some way.

A lot of players, including me, figured that the lack of a clear ending for Nerva and the Garlean military as a whole meant that we were going to have to deal with this more. Instead… nope, we’re wrapping that up here; Garlemald is really wrecked. And that’s a perfectly valid storytelling decision, we do not need another Garlean arc at this point to feel satisfying and so forth. But it does mean that the wrap-up to this plot thread happens in something of an anticlimactic rush of wind.

The wrap-up quests also just belabor the same point the main story had already made about the difficulty involved in finding new destinations for the Garlean people. It’s not bad storytelling, but it’s also… wrap-up that we already had and didn’t really add much? It made the whole thing feel just a little overwrought, spending time establishing things we already knew. Not as good a wrap-up as I was expecting, and sort of a limp conclusion.

Ah, well. Not everything can be equally satisfying.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I want to dive a little more into the game’s reworked PvP structure – what works, what doesn’t, and what might be an issue in the future.

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.
Previous articleArcheAge opens a cherry blossom festival, adds a little witch house, and releases Charybdis on new server
Next articleNeon multiplayer shooter Splatoon 3 previews gameplay ahead of September 9 launch

No posts to display

oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments