The Final Fantasy XIV Fanfest is back in town - in Las Vegas at least - and naturally it's time for Yoshi-P to face an adoring crowd to announce that Final Fantasy XIV Immortal will be released for mobile devi [checks script] no, that didn't happen. They announced the MMO's third expansion, FFXIV 5.0 Shadowbringers. This expansion will follow the usual two-year rule set by the previous two expansions, so expect an approximate release window of June 2019.
[WARNING. THERE WILL BE STORY SPOILERS AHEAD FOR UP TO PATCH 4.4 OF THE GAME.]
Shadowbringers will at last see the Garlean Empire go on the defensive, as a united front of six nations rise up against this northern oppressor. Unfortunately for our heroes, this war is but a harbinger for an eighth Calamity, one that may finally cause the very collapse of the realm as we know it. Behind the veils of war against Garlemald lurks the enigmatic Ascians, whose sinister, manipulative presence have lingered from the very beginning, quietly serving as the unseen architects of cyclical disaster.
With the fall of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn — what will become of the Warrior of Light and the Allied Armies?
Former Garlean Emperor, Solus zos Galvus, will rise once again to play a pivotal role in Patch 4.5 and in the expansion story as well. Elidibus will finally play a central role while inhabiting the body of Solus's seemingly deceased grandson, Zenos zos Galvus. Shadowbringers will begin to seriously answer the question of who the Ascians are, what their motivations are and what can be done to stop their evil influence for good. Furthermore, gradual answers will soon come to light concerning the identities of the gods Hydaelyn and Zodiark. Is their existence really as it seems?
With this long prelude to violet, the Warrior of Light emerges from insurmountable defeat as the Warrior of Darkness. How and why this occurs will be revealed in Patch 4.5.
Thancred meanwhile wielding a very Gunblade-looking weapon and stance. Could this mean something? Like a new Job?
During the Fanfest keynote, just as it seemed like the event was about to wrap up, a curious middle-aged, bespectacled man waltzed on stage dressed as a blue magician. It was Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda, who was somehow coaxed out of his lofty Tokyo office to take a quick break to Las Vegas. What his presence signified was anyone's else. Perhaps he was setting himself up to be the next endgame raid boss, or he was here to mass hire new programmers for the FFVII remake project?
No, it turns out he was here to introduce us all to one of the new jobs soon to be available to Final Fantasy XIV. Salaryman! Blue Mage.
Yes, this very dapper Phantom Thief-looking new job will arrive along with Patch 4.5, meaning players will NOT have to wait until the release of the expansion itself to try out their hand at trying to learn Bad Breath from some particularly ravenous Morbols. You won't be stealing the hearts of corrupted cognitive versions of adults with distorted desires though. Instead you will be stealing enemy abilities. Like its counterparts in past Final Fantasy titles, the Blue Mage will have to actively learn enemy abilities in order to be remotely useful.
It will be called a “Limited Job” and will not be connected with a Class. A Blue Mage-only duty will also get an exclusive duty in Patch 4.5 called “The Masked Carnival”. The level cap will be set at Level 50 and this level cap is scheduled to be raised with subsequent Shadowbringers patches. This presumably means Blue Mage will be its own unique content that cannot be brought into raids like with other conventional Jobs. More details will be showed later, though they noted the art of learning every enemy ability (ranging from FFXIV to FFV enemies) will not be a casual walk in the park.
- The level cap for all Classes and Jobs except for Blue Mage will increase from 70 to 80
- A 'battle system maintenance' will lead to another revision of Job skills and abilities.
- MP and TP will no longer be separate resources. Both will be consolidated into simply MP (Paladin players may be confused right now)
- Nine new dungeons
- A new race is teased - Yoshi-P turns round and on the back of his short depicts Bugs Bunny and a motorcycle. Either this points to the Viera being a new race, or we'll instead see people buy Fantasias to turn into anthropomorphic sapient motorcycles. Which one seems more likely? Koji-Fox on stage has said this may be the final ever new playable race in Final Fantasy XIV.
- End-game content for the Disciples of the Land and Hand will include the restoration of Ishgard, because after 1,000 years of a Dragonsong War, the scars of a millennium-old conflict don't fix themselves quickly. The team heard calls from fans to see more of Ishgard. The team hinted content where you may have your own farm.
- The Nu Mou from the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance games will show up as one of many new non-playable races (think Beast Tribes). This means some naughtier Nu Mous will inevitably summon a Primal for you to take a whack at.
- A new high-level raid series will be added and will have a ‘very Final Fantasy feel to it.’
- Fans of Final Fantasy XI will recognise his one. There will be a 'Trust' system in place to allow players to recruit NPCs to accompany you into dungeons. This should not mean the end of having to party up with human players, and will serve only as an option for matchmaking. They have not said which NPCs can be recruited, though they showed an accompanying slide of Alphinaud, Alisaie, Thancred, Y'shtola and Urianger. More NPCs are said to be added after launch, depending on what players ask for.
- Curiously, a New Game+ function will be added in 5.0 for anyone who REALLY wants to replay the Main Scenario up to this point without creating an alt character. So if someone really wants to tackle that thrilling solo fight against Regula van Hydrus back in 3.0 at the strength of their current progress, they may soon be able to! There will be different modes to toggle.
- World hopping will be available sometime before 5.0. A new 'World Visit's system will allow players to hop to other Worlds in the same data centre from the Aetherytes in Gridania, Ul'dah and Limsa Lominsa. Players would be able to do main scenario quests in another World and this sounds more like a measure designed chiefly to ensure Balmung server isn't as strangled at the expansion's launch.
- NA and EU data centres will be regrouped in 5.0. North America currently has two while Europe has one. To avoid another repeat of the launch of 4.0 Stormblood where Raubahn and Pipin quickly became everyone's most wanted men due to intense server stress, each region will receive a new data centre. This will necessitate server regrouping and the team is planning free world transfers to accommodate this change.
- Oh, there will naturally be new zones. So far only two have been semi-revealed: The Rak'Tika Greatwood and Amh Araeng.