I’m both excited and nervous
Just last week Yoshida (Yoshi-P) provided some of the more granular details for the upcoming Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers expansion that the fans craved, and there’s been a lot of fruitful discussion already. The PlayStation Blog spoke to Yoshida to further clarify what’s coming in the shakeup, and while some of it sounds great, other bits really beg further testing.
For one, the narrative is going to have a more serious focus this time, and although there will be some nonsense, Yoshida states that there isn’t any “extreme humor or gags.” I’m into that if the story delivers, but it’s the gameplay changes that have me on edge. As a career tank (although I’ve raided with seven jobs), I’m anxious at the role shakeup, which will see tanks cozy up to a single stance: goodbye stance dancing.
In theory this is fine as hardcore players mainly only ever use the DPS stance, and as Yoshida puts it, “you no longer need to worry about turning on your tank stance to generate more enmity, you just have to worry about generating DPS and utilizing your skill rotations.” However, tanks will also have to deal with a removal of several helpful role skills (Ultimatum, Convalescence, Anticipation, Awareness), and in some cases, simpler rotations (for instance, many Paladin abilities have been removed and streamlined, like Sheltron, which now just blocks incoming attacks for six seconds), which could make each tank job less interactive. Either way, Gunbreaker is calling my name on top of the Paladin and Dark Knight jobs I already juggle.
Machinists (introduced in the first expansion) are also being heavily reworked, perhaps the most of any single job. Yoshida says that “In terms of the Job gauges — not just for Machinist, but for all jobs — the dev team wanted to change the thinking of how these gauges function. We want to make it a good thing to fill up your gauge. We wanted to remove the idea of having to maintain a certain level or decrease your gauge at certain points, because that’s not very easy to grasp. This problem was especially prevalent with Machinist and the Heat gauge.” Yoshida and his team were “torn” throughout 3.0 and 4.0 on how to handle the job, and eventually decided on going crazier with it. Their goal is to have it function as a “completely new job.”
As far as endgame goes, that’s one thing Yoshida isn’t changing: “If we feel there is a need to deviate or make changes, we would consider it. Right now, we feel like we have a good set of content for after you reach the level cap. But that being said, we have made adjustments and revisions to items that drop in that content. In terms of Savage drops, they aren’t going to be a direct form of a drop, per se — of course, Turn 4 of Savage content (where you get the weapons) might not apply to this — but whenever you open that coffer and obtain the item it should correspond to whichever job you are when you open it, so you won’t have to worry about item drops that are for someone else’s job.”
This actually lines up with what Yoshida told me just recently, so it seems as if he’s still going forward with that plan. There will be small tweaks though, as he puts it: “The overall endgame cycle will not undergo any significant changes, but we have identified stress points for players and tried to apply tweaks so we’re alleviating those frustration points. We’re hoping players will notice that while playing.”
Now all we have to do to see if this pans out is wait. Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers will arrive on June 28 for early access users, and July 2 worldwide.
FFXIV Shadowbringers: Q&A With Naoki Yoshida, Mini-Gallery [PlayStation Blog]