The third and final Final Fantasy XIV fan festival for Shadowbringers kicked off on Friday evening in by North American time schedules. We even liveblogged it! But some of you would prefer to read a summary rather than a stream-of-events format listing all of the things that were being shown off, so let’s do the full recap to show off what seems to be the last major set of revelations for the game’s third expansion.
The keynote started off with the full version of the expansion trailer; significantly longer than the prior expansion trailers, it turns out that we hadn’t seen the full trailer before now. While many elements are the same, it made it very clear that this indeed was not as simple a story as going into the past; instead, it indicates that the conflict that players will take part in will actually have a much more expansive scope than previous conflicts.
New Region: The First/Norvrandt
So, where are we heading on Hydaelyn? We’re not. The expansion doesn’t take place on the shard we exist upon; instead, it takes place on the First.
Back about 10,000 years in the lore of the game, the cosmology of the universe that we experience in FFXIV split into 14 different divergent but closely parallel worlds. All of these worlds started from the same place, but they developed into very different worlds that all are a part of the struggle against Zodiark. The game takes place on the core world known as the Source, and we’ve had frequent encounters with the Thirteenth, better known as the Void; a world now devoid of aether entirely, seeking to drain the essence from the Source.
In the final patches of Heavensward, we explored and dealt with the Warriors of Darkness, refugees from a world in which light has all but blotted out existence in favor of unerring, perfect light. Our journey in Shadowbringers is to this world, bringing darkness back into a world of perpetual light, a world so suffused with light that night no longer falls and the forces of the light manifest as monstrous Sin Eaters (the light-aspected equivalent to Voidsent). The portion of the world we’re exploring is Norvrandt, the last region not completely suffused with consuming light.
New City: The Crystarium
The Crystarium is the last bastion of defense against the encroaching light and the new hub for the expansion, a self-contained city struggling to avoid annihilation at the foot of the Crystal Tower. (Yes, it’s here as well. No, it’s not the same as the Allagan one; that’s an intentional tease.) The city looks large and multi-layered, with a number of examples of high technology, domed regions, and an aesthetic somewhere between Sharlayan and Bastok from Final Fantasy XI.
Worth noting is that the gear on display and many of the locales are reminiscent of the tech demos before FFXIV version 1.0, a tie back to the origin of the game itself.
New Job: Dancer
Our second new job for the expansion (and presumably the only other one) is Dancer, a ranged DPS job using thrown weapons such as chakrams, boomerangs, and so forth. Yes, that means Shadowbringers contains no new healers. A lot of people are disappointed about this, but don’t let that detract from Dancer itself.
Dancer will use dances to both buff allies and deal damage, although the specifics of how its dance steps will work has not yet been revealed. The current plan has the job starting at level 60 in Limsa Lominsa, and as with the additions from Stormblood you’ll have access to the job so long as your character is level 60. No worries about getting into an expansion city for it.
New Race: Hrothgar
And now for the most controversial revelation of the entire keynote. Viera will be gender-locked to only permit female characters, while a different male-only genderlocked race is being added in the form of the Hrothgar. If they look somewhat familiar, that’s intentional, for reasons that will become clear on the next point.
Yoshida explained that while this will likely be the last time new races will be added, the team wanted to explore two different aesthetics, and thus created two gender-locked races to do so. Both races are meant to have a wider range of customization options to compensate somewhat for the gender locking.
New “Beast Tribe”: Dwarves
We also got our first look at the second new beast tribe added, the Dwarves. This race is never seen without its helmets and beards, and they serve as known experts in both metallurgy and mining, you know, as Dwarves are wont to be. And gosh, they look a little familiar, maybe if you take off the helmet you can see…
Wait, that’s a Lalafell!
Yes, the Lalafell are known as Dwarves on the First, and they’re classified as a beast tribe instead of a spoken race. All of the races we know on the Source are present on the First, but they all have different names (and, presumably, different societal and cultural roles). As revealed in the keynote:
- Hyur = Humes
- Lalafell = Dwarves (and a beast tribe, as noted)
- Elezen = Elves
- Miqo’te = Mystel
- Roegadyn = Galdjent
- Au Ra = Drahn
- Viera = Viis
- Hrothgar = Ronso (oh, there’s why they look familiar)
New City: Eulmore
While not the new hub, this city is seen in the opening trailer hosting the exceedingly corpulent miqo’te (well, mystel) with Thancred in the lower levels. Eulmore is in many ways the opposite of the Crystarium; while that city is fighting against the destruction of the world and seeks to ensure that light does not blot out existence, Eulmore is basically in the throes of a never-ending party ahead of the end of the world. But, as you can see from the slums on the lower level, there are plenty of people getting stepped on in the process.
We’re not sure yet what will happen in Eulmore, but it’s supposedly a major part of the expansion storyline. It sure does look like Limsa Lominsa, though, doesn’t it? And there’s a reason for that.
New Region: Lakeland
It becomes very clear when you look at Lakeland that this is a great deal like Mor Dhona, which was Silvertear Lake before the Imperial battlecruiser crashed into it and Midgardsormr’s death radically altered the world. This is a big element of the storytelling; many of these regions bear at least some resemblance to the areas that we know on Hydaelyn, but they are still different places with different histories. No Empire here, different developments, and now Lakeland sits just outside of what appears to be the Crystal Tower (and the Crystarium).
It’s well worth taking a look back through and seeing if some of the other regions we’ve already seen remind you of something else; Il Mheg looks like it could easily be Coerthas, the Rak’tika Greatwood similar to the Black Shroud, and Amh Araeng is similar to Thanalan. But it’s not as simple as, say, “Lakeland is alternate Mor Dhona” or the like. These are places that looked the same 10,000 years ago, but that’s a lot of different history to go through.
New Raid: Eden
Finally, we had our new high-end raid content revealed in the form of Eden, which shares the name of the “ultimate” summon in Final Fantasy VIII. Eden’s storyline is centered around the restoration of the elements to the world of the First beyond just bringing back the darkness, with Tetsuya Nomura serving as boss and character designer.
There’s very little shown just yet beyond that statement and a character from the storyline named “Gaia,” who appears to wield a rather large hammer. A lot of attention was drawn to the hammer, although at this time there’s no announcement that this is or will lead to a new job in the future. There was definitely buzz.