I realize this means more to me than it does literally anyone reading this, but gosh, Square-Enix has gotten kind of terrible at dealing with its press site. It used to be that we’d get all of the promotional screenshots uploaded promptly within hours of the Final Fantasy XIV live letter, but now it’s a few days at best. I’m not sure what caused that. Re-assignment of priorities? Not wanting to provide them until the special site goes live? Specific spite aimed at me for some reason? Probably not that last one, but you never quite know.
Anyroad, we’re moving into the previews of the next patch now, and that means a whole bunch of revelations and facts being shared via letters. That means that, naturally, it’s time to analyze everything we know so far because that’s how we do things in these parts. There’s a whole lot we don’t know yet, but the parts that we do know are interesting enough to make a column’s worth of coverage out of just the same.
It’s Golbez time
So this time there’s no pretending that we don’t know who our next target is going to be for the MSQ trial. It’s Golbez. This is not exactly surprising on the face of it, since we were all pretty well set up to expect that he would be our next opponent, but it is surprising when you consider that thus far we’ve consistently been left in the dark about whom we’re facing up until the actual trial happened.
Part of the reason for abandoning the secrecy is no doubt that it persisted to keep people guessing about how the overall trial series would break down. It was kind of surprising that half of the fiends wound up being dungeon bosses rather than trials, and I think it was a smart move to kind of slow-roll that surprise until there was no way to hide it any longer. Now, of course, it’s pretty obvious that Golbeze himself wasn’t going to be a dungeon boss.
At the same time, I also feel like there’s a certain degree of confirmation built into announcing that Golbez is our opponent because it also tacitly clarifies that he will not be sticking around to the next expansion… at least, not as Golbez. And therein hangs a great deal of speculation because the idea that Golbez might not just be who he claims to be has been running around for a while.
I previously penned a piece about how it’s entirely in keeping with the source material for Golbez’s identity to be something of a red herring. I’m on board for the idea that he’s actually some new villain. But it’s also important to note something easy to overlook within that context: In order for the reveal to make sense, Golbez would have to be someone we already know about where it would matter. And that seems like it might be a bit heavier of an ask.
I mean, think about it. If he takes off his helmet and reveals that his real name is Steve, that’s not a reveal that means anything to us as players. He’s still just some guy we didn’t know before and have to fight now. So it would have to be someone we do know, and we’re a bit short on people who it could plausibly be. Maybe Golbez is… just a big dude in armor keeping Azdaja prisoner. It’s a little anticlimactic, but by definition everything aside from the climax is.
Never say no to Pandæmonium
I’ve made it clear before now that this raid series isn’t really working for me for a variety of reasons. None of that has changed with the promise of the third and final wing, but at least this has the prospect of having some actual stakes of any importance instead of trying to backfill some importance for Lahabrea after the fact. Fortunately, the actual fights have been consistently good for this series, so even if I’m far from convinced the story will finally work, the actual process will still be all right.
The continued week-long delay on Savage content seems like it’s still a net good for the community, creating just enough of a difference between patch day and progression day that people can breathe a little bit. I’m curious how it’s going to be handled when 7.0 rolls around, since this has generally been a success; obviously we usually have a slightly delay between the arrival of the expansion and limited tomestones, which is good, but I’m wondering if we’ll also have an additional week-long delay for the Savage launch. It’s stuff to worry about in a year or so, but it still gets me thinking.
Beyond that… well, there’s no real hint to what this will contain other than more of the same. Good fights, hopefully a story that finally starts to work. Better late than never, I say.
Qualities of life
Letting players drop outdoor furnishings into their Island Sanctuaries is not, in fact, full instanced housing. However, it is at least getting closer, and I both notice and respect the effort that is being placed into this particular content along the way. I’m glad to see that the effort is being made, and while we could still use more… like, this is clearly being set up as an option. Maybe it’s not the best option, maybe it’s not even an option for everyone, but it is making progress.
Now, of course, the question is whether or not the developers can build off of this for proper instanced housing. I am hopeful.
Fairy glamours seem a long time in coming and also a bit truncated; three options isn’t much, although it is strictly better than two. Then again, we’re also still dealing with the fact that Summoners place outsized importance right now on three specific primals after we’ve met a lot of other ones, and I’d kind of like to see that addressed at some point. Yes, even though we did just get a major Summoner refresh that at least changed the egi side of things fairly decisively.
Beyond that… well, most of this is new stuff we knew would happen and is exciting, but as of yet there’s not much more to say about it. New Blue Mage content? That’s nice, although we still don’t know what our new spells will be or what further developments the job will have. New Criterion dungeon? Again, that’s nice, but considering how short-lived the prior one was I’m hard-pressed to be too excited. You get the idea.
But hey, that’s just an early preview, and we’re not getting this until late May. There’s plenty of time to find out more, and of course I’m looking forward to it. It’s just nothing to yet make me lose my mind.
Feedback is welcome via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments down below, like always. Next week, I want to talk about something that’s at least in the back of my mind a lot of the time, and that’s the way FFXIV expects you to play it that might not have anything to do with actual mechanics. There are some subtle but pervasive elements there.