Wisdom of Nym: What I definitely do not want to see in Final Fantasy XIV Dawntrail

This is some Michael Bay contrast.

We don’t have very long left to go before the next Final Fantasy XIV fan festival; there’s even a countdown clock on the official site that’s ticking down pretty steadily. And we already know some of the things that we’re going to get with this particular expansion because they’ve already been announced. If you were hoping not to have Moblins in the game under any circumstances… well, I’m sorry, the ship has sailed on that. We already are getting Moblins.

Now, there are always plenty of uncertainties going into expansions and new patch cycles, and this one is no exception. And there are already things that we do know about this expansion, but there are also question marks. Usually, I’m all about new content, new things, and just generally being an upbeat person. But for this column, I wanted to break in a different direction. What am I hoping won’t be in Dawntrail ahead of this last fan festival?

Complete with strong eye contact

A treasure trove of old Final Fantasy references

First and foremost, I want to make something clear: This is not because of how many Final Fantasy IV references were in Endwalker. Or more accurately, not because they were FFIV references. I would feel the same way if they were Final Fantasy VI references, which are also in the game. And Final Fantasy III references. And… yeah, actually, it’s hard to find a mainline series title that doesn’t have major references sprinkled throughout.

Obviously we know that the alliance raid series is already going to be a whole lot of Final Fantasy XI references because that’s kind of the whole premise. And yes, I get that references to the past games in the franchise are part of the game’s appeal and something that it’s clear the writers and designers want to be in the game. But I think parts of Endwalker went overboard, and when a good chunk of the plot is about how a character from Final Fantasy III erected structures from Final Fantasy IV to reach a villain from Final Fantasy XII, part of me starts getting just a wee bit cynical.

Yes, I am aware of these games, I’ve played them; most of them I love. But I’m playing FFXIV because I like this game. I want to experience what’s here, and while there’s a momentary amusement in realizing that the Automatic Death Machines are Final Fantasy I’s Warmech, it also feels weird how much of Garlemald is a callback to other games. So while I know the alliance raid is going to be awash in references and a lot of people are expecting plenty of Final Fantasy X references, I’m kind of hoping to be surprised here.

Does this remind you of anything?

Too much emphasis on variant/criterion dungeons

Aside from having a weak opening act, variant dungeons have a big problem: Once you have all of the paths cleared, there’s not much reason to go back. That hasn’t actually changed. Yes, I think Rokkon and Aloalo are more fun, but they’re still fundamentally experiences you’re done with once you’ve run them a dozen times.

However, while I think these dungeons need more reason to exist beyond “here’s some content, so do it,” I also worry about potentially overcorrecting because it’s very possible to tie these to relic assembly and make them just plain exhausting and mandatory, which will not be good for anyone, least of all the people who enjoy this content specifically.

I am all for the next expansion making these dungeons better and more fun, giving players access to more unique actions for running these dungeons, and tying them into relic progression in some way. And I like the idea that this expansion was kind of a dry run, a test to make sure the mechanic and idea worked all right before iterating more. What I do not look forward to is the part where we start gaming out the fastest and most efficient way to get through this content and thereby turn it just into slightly slower regular dungeons with more wild ability setups. That doesn’t sound fun to me.

Now, to be fair, we don’t yet know how these dungeons will be used in Dawntrail beyond being there; I’m just extrapolating and guessing. But I feel at least reasonably confident they’ll have a bigger role than they did in Endwalker, when they seemed like an idea that never quite had a place to fit in the endgame structure. It’s unusual for that to happen, especially if it persists through multiple patches like this.


Another restoration project

Ishgard Restoration was a really neat project. I never want to do it again.

It’s not that there are no places that could be potential targets; Garlemald and Ala Mhigo immediately spring to mind, for example. And it was neat how both the Doman Enclave and the Firmament went through their own restoration processes. I liked how they took something that had been happening in both Idyllshire and Revenant’s Toll in the base game and made it a game mechanic. That was neat and it was fun, and we got two expansions out of it.

But in Endwalker, we didn’t get that anywhere. It actually does feel sad that there was no region being built back up over time, and I would like that to come back, but if I have to go through Ishgardian Restoration again, I think I will actually be kind of fed up. The competition between servers, the amount of work required, the sheer effort was just… unique, and special, and not something I want to do again with any sort of eagerness. Once was enough.

We know that whatever sort of casual lifestyle content is being planned for Dawntrail is not going to look like the Island Sanctuary, and as someone who really liked the island, I say good. It has been fun, offered neat rewards, had its ups and downs, but is ultimately an idea that can rest. But I’m worried that we’ll just go back to rebuilding something as we did with Ishgard.

And the thing is about these building projects is that they’re a part of experiencing the patches as they happen. It’s a moving target. It’s an experience you have and then it fades away. I really hope that whatever we get for a community project next time is of a different sort… and I also really hope that we do get some sort of building project around the periphery, too.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I want to go ahead and be ridiculous and write out my wishlist for Viper ahead of the next fan festival. It will be very self-indulgent.

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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