New Final Fantasy XIV Expansion, Job Classes, and More Announced at FanFest
Final Fantasy XIV Fanfest kicked off this past weekend in Las Vegas with a ton of exciting announcements regarding the future of the MMORPG. First up, and most notably, was a trailer for the next expansion (5.0), entitled Shadowbringers. “The time has come, once and for all, to take down the Garlean Empire,” said Naoki Yoshida, Producer and Director of FFXIV, known to most fans as ‘Yoshi P.’ After uniting the city states in A Realm Reborn, bringing Ishgard into the fold in Heavensward, and liberating Doma and Ala Mhigo in Stormblood, taking the fight to the Empire is the logical next step in FFXIV’s story. Shadowbringers will also finally shed some light on the motives and origins of the mysterious Ascians, who have been manipulating events behind the scenes since 1.0.
On the gameplay front, Shadowbringers will be implementing a host of new features. Multiple new jobs will be included with the new expansion, but only Blue Mage was officially named(which will actually be included in Patch 4.5). Yoshi P. was also mum on the addition of a new playable race, but given the attention paid to his Bugs Bunny t-shirt, along with concept art we’ve seen in the past, it’s all but confirmed to be the Viera, a rabbit-like race originally seen in Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy Tactics.
Just like in previous expansions, the level cap will again be raised by 10, this time to 80. As the level increase brings more abilities to each job class, the FFXIV team will be reviewing and streamlining class actions to avoid overwhelming players’ hotbars (and as someone who plays with a controller, this is very much appreciated). TP and MP will be merged into a single pool, so all jobs will use the same resource to execute their skills.
Also coming in Shadowbringers is Trust, a system that allows players to build bonds with certain NPCs who can then accompany them during quests and dungeons. While it’s not meant to supplant questing with other human players, the Trust system will allow those who’d prefer to play solo an opportunity to clear content on their own (and avoid the dreaded 40 minute DPS queue).
Another new system for Shadowbringers is New Game Plus, which will allow players to revisit their favorite story moments and quests from A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, and Stormblood at their current level and gear, without needing to create a new character to start all over.
Finally, server and data center adjustments will accompany the new expansion, largely in hopes of preventing the congestion and massive wait times that plagued the launch of Stormblood. These changes include the addition North American and European data centers, a reorganization of the servers therein, and cross-server play within your data center.
In addition to the above, Shadowbringers will of course include all-new locations and dungeons, alliance raids, primal battles, crafting and gathering quests, gear, and everything else we’ve come to expect with a new expansion. One of the things I love about Final Fantasy XIV is the way that Yoshi P. and his team really listen to and address fan feedback, without being beholden to it. So many of the announcements out of this year’s Fanfest feel like they were born out of player critique, and it’s so refreshing to see a development team who views their players as something more than a number.
I took a break from Final Fantasy XIV after finishing Stormblood to jump back into some single-player games, but the announcements coming out of this year’s Fanfest have me itching to get back into it. Fortunately, I won’t have to wait too long - Shadowbringers is slated for early summer 2019.
Special thanks to my friends and fellow Warriors of Light, MrMcfeely and EmpyreanTurtle, for their live updates from Las Vegas!