Final Fantasy XIV Tokyo Fan Festival: Pictomancer, lady Hrothgar, and release ambiguity

There is another shore, you know.

If you had been paying attention and looking forward to Final Fantasy XIV’s third and final fan festival ahead of Dawntrail, you probably had three major expectations going into the keynote: You would learn about the new magical DPS job, you would see lady Hrothgar, and you would learn the expansion release date. But you only got two of the three, as one of the first things producer and director Naoki Yoshida addressed was the fact that he would not be revealing the release date today, as he wanted to be absolutely sure he would not need to delay as happened with Endwalker.

That having been said, there were still plenty of revelations, as the keynote opened off with the full trailer… and as the audience no doubt expected, it included two of those three revelations right in there. So let’s recap everything that happened at the keynote, starting with the full trailer for the expansion which is still planned for Summer of 2024. Good place to start, just like the keynote did.

As you can no doubt tell from the trailer itself, the new job is most assuredly not Green Mage; it’s Pictomancer, a new ranged magical DPS that uses a brush as its primary weapon. The job is modeled after Relm Arrowny from Final Fantasy VI, right down to the design of its job-specific gear. The job will start at level 80 with no associated class, with the introductory quest in Gridania.

Thematically, the point of the job is that it renders imaginings into reality, including not only creatures and weapons but also landscapes. As you can imagine, this takes some time, so it also has instant-cast abilities and spells. While it’s not clear just how the job will play yet (which is unsurprising), we were told that the job will not be as attack-focused as Black Mage, implying that it’s going to veer more toward the support end like Red Mage.

Yoshida joked that the new NPC was “just a really fuzzy Miqo’te” before stating that players will meet her in the next part of patch 6.5, which is releasing on January 16th. Obviously, that’s not the truth, but it was also obvious that he was setting up for a later discussion of female Hrothgar later in the keynote.

An expended map made it clear that we would be seeing portions of Tural both north and south, with the capital of Tuliyollal serving as a bridge between the two halves of the continent. We’ve seen several of the areas already, with a trailer showing off several of the locales in real-time, along with concept art of a new area called Heritage Found which features an odd steam train and futuristic wall.

Of course, that wasn’t the biggest surprise… because it was immediately preceded by a tour of the other major player hub for the expansion. Veteran players will know that the expansion always features one new main hub city as well as another city for tomestone turn-ins and the like. Solution Nine is indeed the other hub city, but…

Well, it looks like nothing that’s in the game up until now, and unlike anything else in Tural. A lot of the specifics can’t be shown because they would be spoilers, but it appears that Heritage Found is nearby based on the aesthetics, and the city itself looks far more advanced than even the Allagan wreckage we’ve found scattered throughout Eorzea. Beyond every form of technology we’ve seen in the game, it’d seem like something completely unfamiliar… if not for posters displaying familiar races and faces on the walls.

Obviously, there are no answers just yet about what players will be doing in the city or even where it comes from. But there is room to speculate.

We also got a peek of new allies including the Hanu Hanu (which look like Vanu Vanu with new parrot-like coloration), the Yok Huy (trolls from Final Fantasy XI but by another name), and of course a wide variety of Mamool Ja. Interestingly enough, none of these groups were framed as primarily antagonistic, a far cry from earlier expansions where the non-Spoken tribes were framed as new enemies. We did get a preview of some new enemies, albeit in screenshot form.

There was also a preview of the new lifestyle content, which will be dubbed Cosmic Exploration; players will apparently be traveling to different planets (or “stars” to use the parlance of FFXIV) and working together to craft and build things up. Each patch will send players to a new destination, and players are expected to work together to build things once again.

The new alliance raid, Echoes of Vana’diel, got a piece of concept art showing off the Shadowlord and FFXI’s Burning Circle, although there were no substantive details (unsurprising, as it won’t be in-game until 7.1), and the new normal raid was teased with a building and a name: The Arcadion. We also saw a preview of several of the new dungeons which can be shown without spoilers.

Beyond that, players can look forward to a new Ultimate themed around Eden, more Blue Mage updates, another Deep Dungeon, Variant Dungeons, more Hildibrand quests, more PvP content, and more Gold Saucer challenges. Yoshida also stated that based on feedback, at some point during the 7.x series they will be introducing new field content akin to Bozja and Eureka. No details were shared at this time, nor were there any hints about what sort of content would serve as the core of the expansion’s relic weapons.

We also got the tiniest tease about the next limited job, albeit just in the form of the name. It is, in fact, Beastmaster. We were told there will be some form of collection mechanic, but any further details were not yet shared.

An extended portion showed off facial comparisons for the various races in the wake of the game’s first graphical update, along with a confirmation that players will receive a free Fantasia if they wish to alter their character looks in the wake of graphics changes. This will also be useful if you want your character to be a female Hrothgar… and yes, let’s show that trailer.

Yoshida joked that he’s said every time they’ve added a new race that new races are hard to do, and so every time he’s said that this one is the last one. Thus, he wishes to once again say that lady Hrothgar are really the last race… although he also acknowledges that maybe he should stop saying that altogether.

Beyond that, there were a couple of other important dates to share with the fans. The Xbox version of the game will be entering open beta in February, after the rush of patch 6.55 has died down but early enough that the new expansion will be ready for the platform. Meanwhile, the Final Fantasy XVI crossover is currently planned for April, so that’ll be a while longer for players to wait.

While some of the details players may have wanted were not included in this particular keynote, by and large this wrapped up the new features of the expansion and confirmed some suspected features while laying the groundwork for new things to be excited about. Tune back in Monday for further speculation and analysis in our regular FFXIV column.

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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