Editors’ Choice: FFXIV Shadowbringers Requires the MMO to New Heights

 

I started playing five decades ago and was immediately hooked by Square Enix’s innovative strategy to controller-based MMO combat, Masayoshi Soken’s intoxicating soundtrack, the fact that I was able to level up each class and job to precisely the same character, and the far-reaching — yet amazingly friendly and welcoming — community.
But you have likely already heard the narrative of the game’s metamorphosis into one of the most respected MMOs on the market, so I will not get into this. What I will get into is why ffxiv world status latest growth, Shadowbringers, catapults this fourteenth mainline entry to the top echelons of Final Fantasy history. Put plainly: Shadowbringers is among the best Final Fantasy games. Yeah, I said it.

Try to watch any FFXIV opening cinematic without getting goosebumps, I dare you.

The story of Shadowbringers sees your hero teleported to a new measurement (a Shard, in the game’s parlance) called the First. It seems their version of the Warriors of Light did perhaps too good a job eradicating the forces of darkness, and their world was all but swallowed by a torrent of unceasing, fatal light.

FFXIV world status
This assumption sets some intriguing narrative bets: while you’ve built a reputation for a god-slaying, regime-toppling hero back home, this new dimension’s citizens have never heard of you. This really is a refreshing change of pace from the borderline deistic reverence by which NPCs usually cure you, and it lets the story perform at a more personal level. Rather than just nodding together as the story occurs around you, your character’s personal desires and motivations finally come into play.

A few shots I snapped using ffxiv data center split rugged photo style
Your longtime comrades — that the Scions of this Seventh Dawn — have now been summoned into the First, too, and they have their own struggles to overcome. One seeks to uncover the sordid secrets of a too-good-to-be-true utopian city. Another finds himself at odds with all the conflicting ideas of living up to the responsibilities of fatherhood and ensuring that his the woman he is sworn to protect is able to fulfill her destiny.
The narrative of Shadowbringers performs over around 50 or 60 hours, and can be punctuated by appearances from a number of the most”Final Fantasy”-ish villains the series has seen since the silver-haired Sephiroth graced our CRTs. One in particular — no spoilers — is written so effectively that it’s hard not to feel a feeling of compassion for them from the time things comes to a head… I still feel a tinge of sorrow that we could not have ended our time together on more amicable terms. Sigh.

Watch More Editors’ Choice Picks
While the narrative is what impressed me most about Shadowbringers, the center systems in play continue to give a solid foundation that could support the dozens (hundreds (thousands?) ?) Of hours you’ll spend experiencing these tales. Many of the playable jobs have been changed, ranging from small tweaks to full size overhauls, and they’ve been received well by the ffxiv data centres community (especially after the recent 5.05 patch, which addressed a few balance issues between the three available Healer tasks ). The new Dancer and Gunbreaker tasks are highlights, supplying the game’s most support-based job nonetheless and a surprisingly busy tank job, respectively. I first Dark Mage and I’m over the moon with my level 80 spinning — it’s not a massive departure from the level 70 apparel, but it’s been smoothed out and optimized in enough ways that it feels substantially stronger. Explosions everywhere!

A mythical Guardian Force from Final Fantasy VIII creates an impressive return in FFXIV’s latest raid.
Two weeks after Shadowbringers started, the new”Eden’s Gate” raid was unleashed upon gamers who’d completed the expansion’s main story pursuit. I won’t get in the story information of the raid here, but there is one particularly breathtaking order in its very first fight which I wrote about here, if you do not mind being spoiled on it. The loot method for this raid was corrected, too: long story short, drops are more plentiful so it’s much easier to get your hands on the specific item of gear you’re chasing. There is also a new 24-player raid on the way, which is based on the area of NieR and NieR Automata, and has been developed in cooperation with Yoko Taro and Yosuke Saito. It is gonna be bizarre.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

The drastically different setting for this expansion gave Soken an chance to branch out and choose the game’s soundtrack in some intriguing new directions, masterfully invoking myriad genres which match their respective areas and experiences like a glove (or, more appropriately, a very comfy pair of cans ). He also continues to finely harness the psychological power of leitmotif, intending to jerk a tear out of all but the driest eyes.
Semi-related notice: Square Enix recently made a lot of the soundtracks available on streaming services, such as Spotify. The OST for Shadowbringers is not out yet, but you can listen to hundreds of earlier FFXIV tracks there right now.
It has been a part of my life for nearly 30 decades, introducing me to the idea of role-playing games for the very first time. Never did I imagine the story of almost any MMO would endure toe-to-toe with people of FF’s 16/32-bit golden age. However, Naoki Yoshida and staff are not content to construct only the best MMO on the market. So far as I am concerned, Shadowbringers is the new closing word in fantasy.