Wisdom of Nym: Musings on Final Fantasy XIV’s last live letter before Dawntrail

It comes!

If you couldn’t watch the live letter because you were too anxious, well, I don’t know how you live your life, but also I can confirm right now that Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail has not been delayed. Yoshida did make a nod to that anxiety during the presentation, but honestly I was pretty sure we were full steam ahead when the illustration countdown started right on time on Tuesday. It didn’t before the Endwalker launch, but that was only one day before the live letter in question, so it was kinda easy to miss. Anyhow.

We didn’t learn a whole heck of a lot of totally new things in this particular live letter, but then, I wasn’t really expecting to. We’ve had the media tour, we’ve seen most of what we’re going to see, and when you mix in the launch trailer, it’s really all coasting along until the early access starts in less than two weeks. But there were some interesting things contained within, so I’m going to place the trailer again just below, and we’re going to start diving into what was contained therein as well as other previews.

Let’s start with something that I think is interesting and worth diving into from the trailer. I’ve speculated before that the “city of gold” would have something to do with Solution Nine and some form of sealed location, which this trailer definitely seems to back up. But there’s something else that I find interesting within the trailer. We definitely see a futuristic society in the form of docks (or a rig) and ominous airships, but what we don’t see is Solution Nine in any way, shape, or form.

We see various things that look distinctly Allagan, such as the chalice-like key (or what may be a key) heading into the city of gold. But what we don’t see is the city we have already seen a preview of! Which raises the question of whether or not the antagonistic tech-individuals we see are from Solution Nine or if Solution Nine might belong to a related group without being the same group.

Total speculation, of course. But then, it’s also speculation that this is going to end up tying into ancient Allag in some way, and I feel like the whole vault-door-thing implies even more strongly that this looks like what happens when Allag survivors got to keep building instead of hitting a hard stop along the way.

Here’s another bit of speculation to note: Yoshida mentioned that we should be aware of the members of the Convocation we haven’t seen. Pashtarot (the Arbiter), Altima (the Composer), Halmarut (the Sower), and Deudalaphon (the Innovator) are the four we are as yet unaware of, with the former two having spoken once and the latter having been wholly unseen. It’s also been confirmed that Altima and Deudalaphon were the two masks Gaius was carrying, although what that means for their status as living or dead is as-yet unknown.

Some speculation has noted that there’s a pattern on the Enigmatic Maiden’s clothes that echoes Pashtarot’s symbol, but I think it’s worth noting that Pashtarot is the one Ascian who has any physical properties we know about at this point from his one speaking appearance, wherein he had spiky blonde hair and was also, y’know, male. Good for her if she transitioned, but I feel like that’s not the connection to draw; rather, I suspect that if there is an Ascian influence it’s coming from the outside, not guiding our enigmatic opponents.


It also seems quite clear that the Arcadion takes place there, and this I am now excited for because based on fan translation of the duty list and the general appearance, it’s a wrestling raid. I love this. I am entirely on board for the idea that this is basically either entirely or mostly based around the states of larger-than-life personalities, especially since the mesoamerican influences would allow for a perfect spot to include luchadores. We’ve never actually had a lower-stakes raid, and this feels like the perfect time and place to have one, so I am already positively disposed toward this.

This does make me wonder at least a little bit how this will tie into older areas; something I’ve noted before is that we usually have at least one major gameplay element in the various expansion areas, and it feels like if both the alliance raid and normal raid are in Dawntrail regions… obviously our planetary expeditions tie back to Endwalker, but what about the other three expansions? Shades’ Triangle seems almost definitely not on the First, and that’s going to tie into the relic weapon this time around. I realize it’s a very low-stakes thing, but I still wonder.

I’m a bit sad to see that the face accessory slot, while it does offer a fair number of options, is going to be limited to face pieces you can currently obtain as fashion accessories. Yes, this makes sense vis-a-vis “it would be a giant pain to go through and find every single item that qualifies as glasses and set up a mutually exclusive system with them.” I get that. But it still is a little limited, even if I’m sure this will help incentivize getting more glasses converted over to being fashion accessories. (For my part, I already have some plans for eyewear.)


On the other hand, the new Extreme mount being wings? Good call. It’s not a thing that personally speaks to me, but it’s a nice change for roleplaying purposes. (And I can’t help but notice that Valigarmanda has the right coloring for that first set, but the other launch trial has been very deliberately kept a secret… sure, that might be the obvious weapon previewed as the Eliminator, but why is it being kept so secret? Does the location of the fight itself qualify as a spoiler? It might, but let’s also not forget that the Endwalker previews talked up the two Primals that wind up being not fought as trial bosses.)

By and large, the live letter was pretty low-key and mostly hitting expected notes. That might sound like it’s bitter, but it really isn’t. I am happy that we don’t have any sort of delay to deal with (and this year I really needed that not to be the case; I need something to cling to), but I’m also happy that most of the previews have simultaneously showed a real and tangible threat to contend with alongside a generally calm sense of stakes. I get the sense that what’s going on in Tural could affect the world, but it’s not “blow everything up” level by any stretch of the imagination.

And yeah, after having two expansions back-to-back with really cosmic stakes, this seems to be both a welcome step down and a careful management of the stakes as a whole. I’m excited to see where the story is going.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week is our last pre-Dawntrail column, so I’ll be going over your last-minute preparations – and while I’m going to put this in that column as well, remember that especially for leveling purposes you will want to pick up your Khloe book on Tuesday after the weekly reset and have it ready to go.

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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