Wisdom of Nym: What happens at the end of Final Fantasy XIV’s The Dark Throne?

She's got a gun! I mean a scythe.

So here’s the situation as we know it right now: Either on May 23rd or May 30th, patch 6.4, The Dark Throne will release for Final Fantasy XIV. As part of that story update, players will be facing off against Golbez in the culmination of a master plan that has been brewing for… well, it’s been brewing for a while in-universe, but as far as we as players know it’s just been since patch 6.1 showed up. We will inevitably kick Golbez so far into negative hit points that he will loop back around to positive, because… come on. It’s a given. And then…

Well, then what?

I think there are a few potential scenarios, and at the moment it’s genuinely unclear how things are going to shake out after we’re all done. So for this week I wanted to take look at the possibilities about what will happen after the dust settles. There are actually more possibilities than you might have thought of, but let’s start with the most obvious ones and move on from there.


Golbez was just a summer romance

So we go fight Golbez, everyone feels very good about beating him, Azdaja comes home, and then… well, that’s it. Whatever happens next is a direct result of something else happening. No matter what, the relevant problem has already been resolved and we can all stop thinking about Golbez altogether.

This isn’t to say that nothing that happens here will ever be relevant again. The Warriors of Darkness showed up in Heavensward in a couple of patches but then ceased to be an active going concern until the end of Stormblood, and they became relevant then only because we traveled to the First. It just means that Golbez’s plot is wrapped up and we all go back to just gently forgetting about the Thirteenth for a while until we have more things to do there, somewhere down the line.

Since I’ve stated before that I don’t think we’re going to wind up going to the Void with the next expansion, this has a certain amount of merit in that it would explain why we’re not doing that. That’s worthwhile. But there’s also a flip side to that insofar as it makes everything we’ve done for the past four patches feel kind of like a narrative cul-de-sac. Not truly pointless, but a bit lighter on point than perhaps we want.

That throne could be better illuminated, let's not even front.

Golbez is more than he seems to be

We know very little about Golbez’s overall plan, but we also know very little about Golbez himself. Heck, we don’t even know for sure that Golbez is his actual identity. Let’s not forget that he would hardly be the first person to show up with an identity tied to a classic franchise villain who turns out to be completely his own person with a very different agenda and identity; heck, Venat falls under that exact same header.

The implication here is that whatever we manage to do in patch 6.4 doesn’t so much stop Golbez as plays into his plans, which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to be our next arc villain but does line up well with the things that he’s done before now. It’s clear that he’s a big-time plan-for-things-going-wrong sort, and while he doesn’t always know exactly what we’ll do, he can make a reasonable guess.

So while we’re going to kick Golbez around, he’ll be down but not out at the end of the patch, and 6.5 (and the next expansion) will be dealing with the aftermath of what we accidentally set into motion. Not ideal!


Our next arc is about the Void, but not Golbez

While I still don’t think we’re going to the Thirteenth, it is very possible that this kicks off an arc that is much more focused around figuring out how to deal with the Void. This makes a fair bit of sense; between Zero and the amount of time we’ve spent dealing with Void creatures, there’s definitely a sense of narrative build. Maybe Azdaja is corrupted and remains a problem even afterwards, or maybe Y’shtola learns something that means we have to start figuring out how to undo the damage that the Ascians caused to that shard.

I think there’s a certain strength to this by turning an obvious threat (Golbez and his minions) into a backdoor pilot to move us further along a larger arc. To fix the Void we need Plot Coupons X, Y, and Z; to find out where the Plot Coupons are, we need to get A and B, we know A is located here, let’s get going. The down side, of course, is the structure I just mentioned above. Even if it’s camouflaged better than that, and it probably will be, there’s a certain degree of just… obviousness in its mechanical approach. It’s functional and the structure works, but you kind of want the emotional arc to be more than just structure.

It also would feel weird to have Golbez built up as this big threat for an extended period of time, but as it turns out the majority of our void arc doesn’t actually involve him. Again, it doesn’t strictly not work, but it feels weird.

Tataru and her muffin adventure.

Something completely unexpected leads into the next major arc

This is the wild card option, and I think it could just about work. But I’ll need to explain a little bit.

So we know that we’re going to fight Golbez, we’re going to win, and then a couple months after the patch will be the first Fan Festival of the year. So far, so good. What could easily happen, however, is that we beat the snot out of Golbez, that situation is resolved, we’re all congratulating ourselves… and then something else happens. Maybe Azdaja has an old score to settle. Maybe no sooner does that happen than a new and bizarre Imperial legion shows up from down in Meracydia. I can only speculate about what it is, but the point is that it feels out of left field.

Now… this can backfire. In some ways, Shadowbringers was totally out of left field when everything had been set up to make people think that we were heading toward Garlemald. But it can also lead to a great moment of “I did not see that coming.” And if done correctly, it feels like something that you could have seen coming. All of the signs were there; you just hadn’t put them all together. Understandable, but also perhaps a bit detrimental given the circumstances. You get what I mean.

How does this differ from the first possibility? Well, in the first possibility things wind down at the end of 6.4 and then ramp up in 6.5. In this possibility, things seem like they’re winding down… but then they pitch right back up and we get a hint of the shape of what comes next. And it seems like the sort of thing that Naoki Yoshida would get a kick out of. You thought the next expansion would be the Void, but it was really me, Dio!

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, we’re going to obviously be talking about the revelations from the live letter on Friday. What else would it be?

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.
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