I first got into Final Fantasy 14 when WoW, a game I had been playing for basically a decade, was experiencing one of its worst expansions ever Warlords of Drainor… well guess what we got an even worse expansion called Battle for Azeroth that has terrible long term mechanics, a plot that shows complete contempt for the players and fan boys over the Head of the Alliance and a absolute refusal to fix core classes when they aren’t working very well.
While I sat with it at the start hoping it was going to get better, they just doubled down on the terrible plot that for me was the worst part of it.. GOD at least they realized how much they (profanities) up with WoD and worked to get Legion (which was good) out as soon as possible – but nope. Well as you can tell I abandoned WoW completely now (unless Blizzard come out and fix the horrible plot and apologies to the horde players, which obviously the Alliance fan girl writers won’t do) So I’ve spent much more time focusing on FF14 and hey a new expansion came out recently and man… this one blew me away.
So for catch up Sgathaich: Final Fantasy 14 with Stormblood ending with a mysterious ailment causing the Scions of the Seventh Dawn to all collapse, someone trying to summon us, an Ascian who really wants to kill us and Garlemald ready to unleash a deadly nerve agent killing countless, all after we liberated two nations from their rule (as well as a bunch of major shocking reveals putting everything into a new light)
So why am I talking about the plot of the expansion so far? (well what happens just before the new expansion anyway) that’s because this was one of the best plots I’ve ever seen in a MMO. You are summoned to one of the reflections of the world you are on (as was revealed earlier the post Heavensward plot) that has nearly been consumed by light, to the point the sky is stuck in everlasting light. The world is basically doomed and the people beset by nightmarish beings called Sin Eaters. The opening arc of the game shows just how doomed this world is. Some people choose to await lives of slavery as they feel there is no other option while others are attacked and transformed (HORRIFICALLY) into more Sin Eaters. At the end of the first arc is the very first dungeon and it is like a master class of integrating story into a game.
As the story progresses it adds wonderfully to the lore and we get what is probably the best Final Fantasy villain ever since FF9 someone who has so many layers to them that it pulls your heart strings by the end with his final moments, also this guy gives us some amazing lore bombs.
Other major pluses for the games story include elements that are years old from optional content that you probably forgot, yet weaved so well into the story (Square was rather sneaky and had a event before the release of the game that subtly encouraged people to see certain old content that turns out was important) Which given my discussion with how the lore was being handled in WoW was a massive change.
But let’s look at what else’s in the game (I don’t want to give spoilers to people) Implemented in the expansion are 2 new classes. The physical ranged dps class Dancer and the tanking class Gunbreaker which for you FF8 fans uses gunblades. Now I’ve not tried Gunbreaker (I have Dark Knight for my tanking class thank you) But I have enjoyed just how mobile Dancer has been. Other major new additions are the two new playable races of Viera (the rabbit people from FF12 and all games set in that world) and the lion like Hrothgar. It’s worth noting that Viera can only be female with Hrothgar are only male.
A new feature for the game is the Trust system that has you team up with NPCs (the prominent ones) to run the story dungeons with you instead of 3 other players (you can still do that though it doesn’t replace it it’s a option). This does add depth to the story as the characters will comment on stuff especially if it relates to that character. Downside is it does mean the dungeon will take longer and if you die its treated as a wipe rather than let the npcs ress you though you do get all the loots, whether you can use it or not.
Gathering and crafting is mostly the same from earlier but the change comes to the story. Much like the class story being replaced for the most part with a role story for your standard classes. The gathering and crafting classes are bunched together with their own stories, botany and mining for example share a story which once again I’m not going to spoil for you but it has me jumping about like a giddy child thinking about it. But outside of that the basic means are the same, leveling, get better gear and maybe work at getting rarer goods to sell to other people.
Now it’s still early stages in Shadowbringers with only the first part of the 8man raid available as end game content (minus your usual dungeons etc) and it was in the long term stuff that Stormblood fell apart as its main time sinc was Eureka which was a boring grind and left the rest of the game much more bereft of content (and that content that was there got old as it lingered too long) . I’m hoping Shadowbringers doesn’t fall into that. Still it’s still fresh and the leveling experience is amazing as you enjoy one of the best stories and soundtracks (I’ve listened to some of the tracks so much its annoyed people) Final Fantasy has to offer and definite the best in MMOS right now.
But remember as a MMO your experience will probably differ from mine. Maybe you will enjoy looking into areas of the game I did, focus more on PVP or crafting. Play classes I didn’t play or maybe you just want to get lucky with grouping with people and not get that shared bond you can get with MMOs. But for me there is still currently a good amount of GiL to make from mining and I’d love to upgrade to a larger house.