Wisdom of Nym: How long until Final Fantasy XIV’s next expansion based on patch 6.57?

This is some Michael Bay contrast.

I wasn’t really thinking about Final Fantasy XIV‘s patch 6.57 in any real detail because… of course I wasn’t. There are some things I just do not think about all that deeply even with this game, and a small patch abolishing some of the limitations for gear and the like happening when I have accomplished most of my major goals is on that list! I noted “oh, hey, we now have our tomestone limit increased, that’s nice for alts I guess” and moved on with my life.

It wasn’t until kind of late in the week that I started wondering… how long does that usually take, anyway? It’s hard to say an absolute number for anything based on the fact that we know the patch cycle has been slightly extended, and both Shadowbringers and Endwalker were affected by the fact that there was, you know, a global plague (which didn’t just evaporate into smoke when we beat the raid boss, for the record), but I felt like doing some investigating and thinking.

And what I found was… well, not completely shocking! But it did stand out to me.

First and foremost, I would like to state that despite my best efforts, I did not find a solid point of data for the transition to Heavensward, and if someone has it – or if it did not happen and I’m just thinking it did because it has for every expansion subsequently – feel free to chime in. This is not a rigorous data analysis like what I’ve done for other game’s expansion patterns simply because in this case, we are looking at three confirmed data points and one ambiguous one. Not something you fit to a curve.

For everything we do have data for, however, a pattern does emerge. Heavensward doubled the tomestone limit in patch 3.56 at the end of March 2017; Stormblood released in mid-June, so about two and a half months later. That expansion doubled the limit in patch 4.56 in, once again, the end of March; Shadowbringers released at the end of June. Then the tomestone limit was doubled in patch 5.57 at the end of June, with Endwalker arriving in the start of December.

So that’s two and a half months, then three months, then five months. Looking at a pure average we could predict three and a half months, which would be the start of June; looking at the pattern we should predict more than five months, so at bare minimum early August. But I don’t think either one is particularly accurate.


What we have to be cognizant of when looking at this data are two important facts. First of all, the first two expansion of this game were in no small part produced while the team was absolutely going insane with its production speed. It makes sense, too; this was absolutely a point when it was not altogether clear if the game would succeed or continue succeeding. There is no doubt in my mind that Naoki Yoshida was aware of exactly how much random chance had to go right for the game to get over well when it relaunched, and I also do not doubt he was was very aware of his odds moving forward.

Second, we have to realize that the COVID-19 pandemic and the delays it wrought upon the game extended well into 2021. Endwalker was delayed even further at pretty close to the last minute, in fact, but it was coming out later than planned anyhow just because everything had been delayed. I would not be surprised if some of the lengthier patch cycle and general shift of content has been an effort to get things back on schedule after things got derailed and kept derailing based on earlier derailments.

In other words, I think that at least in terms of intent, Endwalker is an outlier. Not in the Spiders Georg sense where it ought not be counted at all, but in the sense that we should look at it being later than it would have been otherwise.

Let’s also note that we have some idea about what the coming months will contain. There’s going to be a second moogle event at some point, but the first one is ending in early March. The Final Fantasy XVI crossover is taking place in April. That means that we don’t have a clear picture of anything else taking place,q but we also have what is currently a rather spare layout for most of March and even April, but one that can be filled in with the job action trailer and more tomestone hunting pretty easily.

In other words, is it possible that we are actually targeting a late May release for Dawntrail as some have speculated? Would that line up reasonably well? It’s not really out of the question!

Complete with strong eye contact

Now, I obviously am a bit reluctant to make a firm prediction on the release date for Dawntrail because… well, if I were confident I would have already done it. I am clearly not super confident in my predictions and am still in lightly speculating mode. It has always seemed to me like a date somewhere in June is the most likely area, probably later in the month, but I also find myself somewhat doubting even that simply because a firm date was not announced in January. Maybe it’ll be July, which wouldn’t be great, but it wouldn’t stun me.

However, if the expansion release target were the end of May – let’s say May 31st for early access, which would place the main launch into June which is unambiguously summer – a lot of things would make lots of sense. It is definitely an aggressive schedule in terms of getting things back on-track for a schedule, with patch 6.5 lasting about as long as patch 5.5 did despite a slower overall patch schedule. But it doesn’t seem impossible, and it would give us the increased tomestome limit for about three and a half months before the expansion.

It would also explain wanting to keep mum on the timing for now because between other projects being managed over at the unit and the possibility that something in the Xbox testing or the graphical update could go wrong is potentially non-zero. Plus, y’know, I do believe that Yoshida felt really shaken by having to delay Endwalker’s release. He’s a bit gun-shy now.

The only real counter-argument I can think of is that this would mean a rather tight schedule for the media preview event if they’re doing it in person again based on prior years, but that’s far from a guarantee. Heck, maybe they have decided it’s easier to do it digitally or they just don’t want to do those any more because people leak info and that’s not cool.

Put it another way, I don’t think that patch 6.57 plants a firm timeframe for patch 7.0 landing at a specific point; I just think it does go a way toward supporting the narrative that Dawntrail may be sooner rather than later. Whether or not you’re willing to lean in to hope on that particular facet is going to come down to personal preference.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I am actually going to get to that darn monster allusion column! Probably. Things keep happening.

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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