Let me start with the most trivial question possible first: Does Naoki Yoshida have a calendar? He has to, right? Early January 2023 is not four months after the last patch; it’s more like four and a half. That’s fine; I’m not, like, bothered by it particularly. But if you’re going to make a big point of moving to a four-month patch cadence shouldn’t you actually, like… have a four-month cadence? It sort of works if you squint, and it avoids a patch over the holidays, but seriously, that’s just a bit off.
We have fun here. Anyroad.
So we’ve gotten our first preview of what’s coming with the next Final Fantasy XIV patch, and as so often happens very little of it lines up in any particular fashion. Let’s take a look at what we know so far, how it all ties together, and what it suggests about this patch based on the current limited amount of information. You know, aside from “cool, I want it.” That’s a given. We all knew that would be the case.
While we don’t yet know the details about the next dungeon, we have a couple of screenshots of what looks like the interior of the dungeon, and we have a name: Lapis Manalis. All of this suggests that rather than being another Void-related dungeon, this one is actually going to be related to Garlemald. But maybe these two things aren’t so dissimilar after all.
If you look it up, you’ll find lapis manalis is the name of a stone that was held to be a seal on what was believed in Roman mythology to be the gate to the underworld. We know that there’s a strong association between Garlemald and the Void; even if you don’t pay attention to the Ascian that founded the whole dang empire up there, Reapers alone have a big impact on Garlemald as a whole. It’s very plausible that we’re going to see more about exactly this.
And this guess is helped by the fact that we know we’re getting another trial, which implies another Fiend… and there’s another screenshot mirroring the end of the side quest from patch 6.2 in which we meet more fragments of a voidsent who knew the Fiends before their ascension. That all implies to me that either Rubicante or Cagnazzo are on deck.
Which one? Well, based on history, it would be Cagnazzo first, and we are going into a frozen area. On the other hand, the Tower of Babil is right there, and historically that’s where Rubicante is fought. Perhaps the whole plan is for both Fiends to make their way into the Source after all and we’ll deal with one while the other eludes capture… but that all remains to be seen.
It’s going to be an interesting structure no matter what, since traditionally the x.3 patch is the conclusion to the expansion story, not the midpoint of the next expansion’s prelude. But hey, that’s Endwalker for you.
Can we suss out more about the upcoming Deep Dungeon from its name, Eureka Orthos? Well… no. No, we cannot. Orthos is the two-headed hound that was a brother to Cerberus, but the name holds no particular connection to the franchise as a whole or even much in the way of mythical significance. It could tie back into Eureka, and that seems like a reasonable guess, but since clearing Eureka is not a stated requirement that seems like it’s of mixed impact.
Oh, and just since this is apparently Name Theater today, Euphrosyne is one of the three Charites or Graces, goddesses of humanity, beauty, and good will. That is also the origin of Aglaia, so… you know, expected naming scheme, the third part will probably be Thalia. Thank you for enjoying Name Theater, where we dig out our books on Greek and Roman myths so you don’t have to!
So let’s talk about something else: We’re getting tool-enhancing quests, and this covers something that I actually had meant to make a future column but is no longer necessary now. Those quests feature Grenoldt, meaning they take place back on the First and thus ensuring that the First remains relevant. This is, honestly, something that has always been a bit of a narrative issue for the game; with Y’shtola’s whole quest of traversing the shards being stalled as she focuses on her current void project and everyone’s new crush Zero, the First had a genuine risk of kind of being a content island for the game, something that has otherwise largely been ignored.
But no, we’re going back there for tools, and that means more space for stories about the First beyond picking up our idiot inspector. So, awesome! I’m happy about this plan and excited to be a part of it.
Aside from that, a lot of what we know right now feels like it is very much a set of quality-of-life features. For example, the portrait display for duty finder? Very welcome, very cool, not actually a major change in how the game works but a nice way for you to zap in and feel like people are going to immediately recognize who you are. Also a reason to actually update your portraits, so that’s cool, too.
The expansions for Island Sanctuary are at this point simultaneously very concrete – there will be new facilities, new animals, and new expansions – and very vague. Will these animals offer the same items, or new ones? Will they be vital to maintaining your cowries? Will we get more island spaces to explore? By the time you’re finished with your current space, there aren’t really any places left to be seen, no obvious lands left to explore, and none of it is really left unused. So either you’re going to travel to smaller islands off of your initial island or we’re going to have to hand-wave with “your island was actually always like that.”
I kind of prefer the former, but both are a little bit of a reach.
It’s also going to be curious to see how Paladin gets altered. Buffs and balance changes are, as always, an ongoing thing, and I definitely think that “trying to ensure melee can actually Do Stuff all the time” as a design goal is a good thing, but it does require some rebalancing. Paladin in particular, however, has long been balanced around offering its own range phase, so it’s going to be curious to see how the rotation changes up to keep the job distinct while also addressing any gap there.
Also, we can dive into the waters around Wanderer’s Palace. This makes me intensely happy as this has been something I’ve wanted since more or less the release of the relaunch, so even if I never spearfish there once, I’ll be happy to have this opportunity.
We are, as always, left with a fair number of question marks without firm answers, but that’s honestly all right. It’s par for the course and something that I look forward to learning more about before the next patch actually arrives. And hey, we’ll find more out when the next live letter occurs next month.
Feedback, as always, is welcome down below or via mail to email@example.com. Next week, since I no longer have to ask about the future of the First (as we’re getting that answered), let’s ask another question. What’s the future of FFXIV’s story arcs?