Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV Dawntrail release dates, event dates, and philosophy

    
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Well let me be the first to say that I can most definitely live with this particular set of revelations from PAX East, so well played to the Final Fantasy XIV team! I apparently should have gone with my gut over the more negative voices in our fandom because if I had, I would look like a dang predictive wizard. Instead, I hedged my bets and erred on the side of caution when it looks like my gut was closer to right than I had dreamed. Although I suppose my yearly 2024 predictions turned out to be right when it comes to “June or July.” It’s both! Whee.

Now, this particular panel was not the densest in terms of information; it was sort of split between a couple of important dates to remember and some philosophical musings. All of this makes sense, and thankfully all of it is worth talking about. So let’s start with the firmest information out of the whole affair by looking at the concrete dates announced.

When we first heard “summer 2024,” my prediction was actually right around the end of June. Looking back now, I wish that I had put that down publicly, which I usually do; it would have actually been within a week of being right. It seemed like maybe it was a little bit of wishful thinking, but quite the contrary. But when we didn’t hear a firm date at the last festival, I got cold feet and found myself thinking that maybe I had been planning too early.

That being said, why didn’t we get an announcement at the fan festival? No, it isn’t because of Elden Ring DLC; I hopefully don’t need to explain “jokes” to you. But it definitely does raise the question of how fluid the release date could have actually been. Was it really not decided until now?

My suspicion is that this has actually been locked in for a while; Yoshida just wanted to be a bit closer and a bit more certain this time around. It’s not necessarily a choice I agree with, but it is one I can at least understand. Especially with a large-scale graphical upgrade, a new version to support, and a number of moving pieces… there is, in fact, a whole bunch of stuff that could actually go wrong along the way. Kind of best to err on the side of caution under the circumstances, especially after Endwalker did wind up delayed.

Loungin'

Beyond just that, we also know for certain now that the expansion is pretty close (a bit over three months away), and we have a relatively clear idea of what’s going to be happening. April is the Final Fantasy XVI crossover, May will probably be when information comes out from the media tour as well as when the tour happens, and then June will be high-intensity vibration waiting for the release to actually happen. Weave in another Moogle event along the way and that’s probably enough, especially with the Xbox sprouts in the mix.

I’m also happy to see that the April release for that crossover event is on the earlier side rather than the later one. Both were eminently possible, yet instead we get one that’ll happen pretty soon. All of this is good news and gives players new things to look forward to.

Moving on from that, though, let’s start by looking at all of the Final Fantasy IX influences that we’ve got in the CE. What could this mean? What does this hint at for the future?

The obvious answer is “not necessarily much.” FFIX currently doesn’t have a whole mess of references in the game, and with FFIX already built on the back of at-the-time recent series references, it’s hard to really make distinct callbacks to the game. Usually the prior game being referenced by bonuses is not a preview of coming attractions in any detail. But I do think there’s something to consider when you take into account that we’ve got some weirdly outside technology bumping around in Tural alongside a major plot point from FFIX.

In that game, the core of the conflict revolved around supplanting the planet’s native population with the populace of a dying planet. We are, of course, just coming off of an extended portion of story about cosmic import, and we know that dragons come from another star. But what if our would-be colonists come not from another star but from another shard?

Sure, that was part of the idea behind the post-Endwalker story beats, but that just means there’s all the more reason to explore it further. We saw one group of interlopers, but what if a previous Calamity on the Source actually included that? It would certainly raise some questions and give us a new potential source of antagonists that are sympathetic even if, y’know, dangerous.

I think it’s worth considering, flatly. Obviously there’s more going on than just trying to figure out the plot of a story before it has started, but it does offer some hints about where we might be going.

Colorist.

We also got some philosophical musings both in terms of building out the multiplayer component of FFXIV‘s gameplay and reward tracks. The thing about these statements is that they’re difficult to really evaluate outside of results, but they’re also easy to morph into something Yoshida didn’t actually say. What he said wasn’t that the game’s reward structure needs to wildly change (he actually cautioned against that) but rather that more that players need more rewards to work toward and that it’s important to have group-focused content as well as the more solo-focused projects in Endwalker.

To me, that just sounds like an acknowledgment that Endwalker’s goal of making it possible to run every dungeon with Trusts and the like was time-consuming, but now that it’s done, the next expansion can focus on more options for playing together and experiment more with mechanics. It also acknowledges something that I’ve been saying for a while now that while the game’s gearing model is solid, it does run into problems when it comes to accounting for more content. You need more rewards and reasons to facilitate things like larger field content and Deep Dungeons and Variant Dungeons and so forth.

And yes, all of this is a good thing. I would be interested to see what an alternate progression track looks like akin to how tomestones and savage rewards current work; imagine upgrading alliance gear, for example. I sincerely doubt there will be a large-scale rework of the game, especially when Yoshida was talking about things like mounts, minions, and cosmetics. But I do think there’s always room to expand, improve, and try new things. That’s what we’re being promised. Which is really what we’ve been promised all along, but it’s still nice to hear it.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I want to talk about a different comment made by Yoshida about managing stress and take on an interesting question along the way: Has FFXIV actually gotten easier over the years? (The short answer is “no, but also yes, but mostly no, but the yes is important too.”)

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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