So what’s still on the table for Final Fantasy XIV’s third fan festival this cycle? (It’s not really this year; the third one is in January next year.) A couple of things are obvious. We’re going to almost certainly learn about one more zone, we’re going to learn our second new job, and we’ll learn the name of the new normal raid even though we likely won’t see much about it.[AL:XIV]
But there are things that we haven’t yet been told but might still learn in January.
Obviously, I can’t tell you what these things will be with any certainty. Sure, I can join with you and speculate over whether the new job will be named Pictomancer or Green Mage or something else altogether, but I cannot speculate about things that are otherwise impossible to forecast. However, there are some things that I think we can pretty well speculate upon whether or not we’re getting now, so let’s dive into that.
Are we getting lady Hrothgar?
Yes, almost certainly. You might argue that there have been no hints thus far, and that’s true, but there’s another piece of information that makes me feel very confident about this fact… and that lies in the end of the first part of 6.5’s MSQ.
Whenever something is not shown on screen in the game, there is a reason for it. As an example, Golbez’s helmet gets knocked off in the story at one point, but we don’t see his face; the reason for that is almost certainly that one was never modeled for him, and since the character is dead by that point, there wasn’t much point in giving him one when the point of the reveal was just that it’s not the same Golbez behind the mask. More often than not, it’s because of something the developers pointedly don’t want to reveal just yet.
At the end of the MSQ, we see someone approaching Sharlayan from the docks, and the model is… just a pair of legs. (Dataminers have extracted it; it’s literally just a pair of legs with no upper body.) There are two possible reasons to hide someone’s identity like this. The first is that it’s someone we know who is going to surprise us; the second is that the mere fact of the character’s presence will be a surprise.
The former can be pretty safely ruled out simply because there’s no major character like that who could be accompanying Erenville. We don’t have someone who has been missing-and-presumed or who would have gone to Tural; even the characters who might have a connection there from the Blue Mage storyline are fairly well accounted for. (And they’re not from Tural, either, so there’s little reason to hide them.) That only leaves the latter possibility, which is further supported by the devs making sure that there’s no way to suss out how the model looks otherwise.
So lady Hrothgar? Yeah. Pretty sure about that one.
Are we getting another second continent?
While I do not share people’s consternation about Stormblood splitting across two continents, I do understand it. And I can understand why people didn’t really want Tural or Meracydia to be relegated to a similar fate. Considering that Stormblood held its revelation of Othard until the last fan festival, I understand why people might think that Dawntrail is still doing the same thing.
But it’s not. Because there aren’t enough zones.
There is, as always, no law of nature preventing FFXIV from mixing things up in terms of zone structure, but after four expansions, we have a pretty steady lineup. There are six zones, one of them is not named or previewed at all prior to release, and the only real difference in Endwalker was just that Elpis was previewed but not named and the previews were kept obscure all the way through. This has been true every single time. We also know that the designers clearly believe three zones is kind of a minimum for a given major area; Gyr Abania and Othard both got three, and basically all of the subsequent zones in Stormblood and focused on Stormblood-era content have given us more region of Othard like Bozja and Ivalice.
As of right now, we know of four zones in Tural (Yak T’el, Kozama’uka, Shaalomi, and Urqopacha) along with the city of Tuliyollal. There’s still two more zones and one “secondary” city with tomestone vendors and so forth. That’s not really enough space for a whole new continent on top of what we already have. I could kind of believe if what the designers decided to do was hide the “secret” zone on an existing continent, like we had to go to some heretofore unseen part of Gyr Abania or Othard or even Ilsabard, but why would you not do that on Tural? There’s tons of space. It just seems superfluous and weird.
Basically, there’s no pressure to include Meracydia right now and thus no reason to assume it will be there. I have a fair amount of confidence that it will be a focus for a future expansion, but I don’t see it coming up for this one.
Will we learn about the new limited job?
It’s not certain, but I tend to doubt it.
While I’m glad to see that we are indeed getting another limited job, and I look forward to seeing how it will interact with Blue Mage and the possibilities inherent there, what we know now is that it will not be released until 7.3 at the earliest. Blue Mage was revealed ahead of Shadowbringers, but it was also released before the expansion. That was literally the whole point. We’re not going to get a surprise limited job in 6.55 or we would have heard about it back in the first fan festival.
Now, to be clear, there is certainly time for changes in the schedule and shifts in plans between now and Dawntrail’s launch. It’s not even necessarily out of the question for us to be told the new limited job and see some preview art of it. However, the fact of the matter is that even in Shadowbringers it was clear that the designers saw Blue Mage not as new expansion content but as new base game content. You unlock it in Limsa Lominsa, and it starts at Level 1. You don’t need expansions to play it.
So I don’t really think that’s a priority. Between hrothgals, the new caster DPS, another zone, and the release date, Tokyo has more than enough information to surprise and delight people ahead of time, and I don’t think that we’re going to see the release of the second limited job jump ahead half a year or more. We might get a little preview of the new relic line to top things off, but that’s about all I expect.
Well, and some cool music and such. But that’s just a given at this point.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to email@example.com. Next week, let’s take a look at the 6.51 content, which will mostly mean the third of the variant dungeons and that content roughly in review.