Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Its pre fan fest expansion predictions time! again!

 Is it really that time again? so soon after the shitstorm of nobody's paid stream working for the last one? boy how time flies eh?

 Naturally of course this means its time to speculate our hopes, dreams and far less exciting expectations for the next expansion in what at the time of writing appears to be Square Enix's only ongoing Final Fantasy project thats not some form of burning trash fire. No pressure Yoshi.

 So this time around i'm basically listing things two ways: What i want to see and What i expect to see. One is my personal wants no matter how unlikely and the other is what i honestly expect based on the games support up to this point. So lets cut to the chase and jump right in!

What i expect to see:

New Job GEO/Geomancer: Will be a melee ranged magical dps with support elements like BRD. With positional effects added to moves right out of FFXI. You hit from the north and a move adds a fire dot, hit from the south and the same move gives your nearby allies a small attack speed buff. Positionals have had a bit of a rocky history in this game but i dont see how else you use the job without making it just another mage -or conjurer for that matter. But the entire SB expansion has been dropping strong hints and while i can't consider any expectation set in stone this certainly feels like a job in XIV's future even if its not in this particular expansion

New Job SLD/Soldier: Not a personal want but something a lot of people are expecting and i can see why. In working with Garlean rebels -gunblade users included- we have an already very fleshed out set of flashy moves and story connection. If MCH's can make artificial job crystals in some sweaty workhouse in Ishgard is it so unlikely the Garleans havent made similar? Folks seem to be expecting Squall: the class, personally i'm expecting a tank like FFVI's magitek knight as a defensive equivalent to Machinist. Things like the SMN questline in SB in particular has started pushing the idea that allagans pre collapse were beginning to augment weak magical abilities with technology and that sounds like something Garlemald would dig up and learn to use doesnt it?

New Playable Race Viera: Its been in high demand forever, they have been namedropped in the Ivalice storyline and most importantly they modelled a woman with bunny ears for the Tsukuyomi primal fight. They know people want it and some measure of the works done already. I could see them before something like Bangaa or some form of beast tribe.

New Regions: Now personally i don't think we are heading right to the empires front door with this expansion. I think they are intending for rebellions and internal struggles to push Garlemald over the course of the next story arc to become the big bad. Perhaps in reference to FFXV they are put so far on the defensive they do something unspeakable to weaponise the innocent civilians to turn them into some monsters or resort to summoning like beast tribes? i think they are going to be pushed to cross some line and have yet to reach the point to be desperate enough. We need to fight back and break down their expansion for a bit longer to rationalise that i think.
 Instead i think we are going to head south to southern Islabard, Thavnair -with the expansion capital in tropical Radz-At-Han, home to the morden Eorzean school of Alchemy and the only nation to trade with Garlemald- and perhaps the end of Erueka will lead Krile and Alphinaux back west to the 3 island chain of Old Sharlayan?

Class changes: Instead of something like another meter i imagine upon hitting level 80 our signature skills will change. They started to implement this in SB. If you hit the right level of Summmoner Bio II becomes Bio III automatically for example. It scales down for level synchs but at max level is a stronger, more flashy version. I think thats the direction in general for lvl.80 abilities.
To use Summoner as an example i think we will finally see Egi changes with max level changing them so Titan Egi becomes Sephirot Egi for example. Its not as exciting to some as straight up new moves but it allows your character to feel more powerful without buttonbloat. You might hit lvl.30 and get your carbuncle replaced with an Ifrit Egi as a new player and then see a lvl.80 summoner with a Ramuh Egi replacing it and go "oh man, i want to get to that level of power!"
 I also think we will see a couple of class revamps. Not as dramatic as PLD and WAR have had in the past but i firmly think DRK, NIN and WHM are all going to get some form of soft rework as their participation numbers have dropped dramatically in Stormblood and the sentiment seems to be DRK is mindlessly easy and NIN/WHM are either boring or their new SB mechanics made them actively less fun to play. I think 3 jobs being left behind is something Yoshi and the team wont want to see left to sit and thats going to change.

Theming: I think, based on the writers past ebbs and flows and the current state of the MSQ while writing this that the next expansion is in some ways going to be a lean back to ARR in some aspects. I think Ascian influence and Allagan tech causing trouble will come back to the forefront. Perhaps as some kind of arms race, perhaps as Garlemald is put on the defensive it simply gives others more time to dig too greedily and too deep but i think 'digging up forgotten secrets' is going to be the active theme of the next expansion and theres nothing that represents that better than stuff like the Allagans. Maybe we will even get a new zone by Mor Dhona? Beyond that i think they can't leave the idea of 'overwhelming light destroying the world' to just sit. Something has to give and i think thats going to start happening soon. Something is draining aether out of the land and if its not Zodiark then perhaps its actually Hydaelyn? What if the 'Shadowbringers' rumour is true and we have to end up taking a role more akin to the warriors of darkness?

Raiding: This is a bit of a muddy prediction but i think something is going to chance. Again. People are getting very vocal about missing something like Coil and having "the baby raid where everyone wants a carry and wipes all the time" or "savage with the perception that its only for the hardcore" which completely ignores normal modes as anything but a training mode and ultimately hurts the raiding overall. Back in ARR we went into Coil for the story and the fights. Sure there was gear but it wasn't seen as a pinata like alliance raids but nor was the early coil seen as the hardest of the hard stuff like savage that drove people away. Anyone who was playing at the time remembers the huge crowds at Wineport as pick up groups got ready to take their first steps into the Binding Coil of Bahamut and while few got to the end it was a memorable experience for all. In the current system it seems like the options are brainless loot farm -though i think the last Ivalice raid that released was a nice balance in terms of difficulty- or savage that people view as the elitist content and by and large dont bother with.
I'm not sure what the easy remedy is to be honest but i feel like the raiding model is going to change once again. Raiding proved far more popular in its domestic market than anticipated and they want that draw to still be there. But if you arent a savage raider it seems like the overwhelming majority see extreme primals as their endgame and for one item per job. I just dont see them settling on that as the happy outcome. I dont know what the change will be but i predict there will be one.

Gimmicks: The little things, the quality of life changes, the things you use to sell the casual player. These aren't the big sweeping changes but the things that add a little something to the core to expand upon it. We've had flying, swimming, diadem, eureka, treasure maps, squadrons, housing. What do they do next?
 Personally i don't think we see a new transport gimmick. Flying is already suffering from 'the warcraft problem' where upon its introduction it was like getting the Zoras Flippers in Zelda. Now places you could never reach are easily accessible and thats great. Its feeling like you reached a new tier and all these new secrets are waiting to be found. Then in SB i'm basically using it to reach mining nodes and otherwise just to skip gameplay just like modern WoW and to be frank that sucks. Swimming even more so. Without underwater combat swimming only serves to collect items for quests and thats so bland. So i think they have no ideas for them as gameplay ideas and probably wont try new ones anytime soon. Perhaps bring back real time airship rides and have them fly over zones with the option to jump off to get to out of reach places or something instead?
 I imagine housing might get a new area or simply new wards but i would love some more interaction with them. Technically you can make your house a item shop, blacksmith or cafe but why would players go there and how would they even know it exists? that needs work.
As for another Diadem/Eureka? ehh i think its been a failure as an experiment. Personally i think its more rational and logical to expand on successful systems like the Hunt or Khloe's diary instead. It just feels like time to revamp and improve existing systems instead of another time consuming experiment and while SE is not exactly doing so hot nowadays it makes sense to improve your core rather than waste time on another risky potential for failure.

Now thats all i expect to see. There may be more stuff i havent mentioned or maybe less stuff changed with more dramatic changes but what would i actually want to see but dont expect?

-Puppet Master as a job. Some kind of pet using tank that has constructs hold aggro while you lay traps and use the puppets to bring them into their path. With some kind of gothic/baroque aesthetic like the clowns/jesters from devil may cry.

-2 announced jobs and a 3rd kept secret. This would never happen with dataminers but i love how in FFXI there were times i just want into the quest to unlock a none starting job like DRK and it was a nice surprise to show my friends i was this new job they didnt even know was in the game yet. It would be spoiled in hours for most of us that keep up with the game news of course but i still love the idea of finding some old dude in trouble and getting a BLU job crystal as a reward and freaking out.

-Replace triple triad with an ingame version of the FFTCG like Hearthstone but for XIV. I like triple triad, but i love the physical card game, my XIV deck in particular. Trouble is finding people to play with is a hassle but if the ingame card game wasn't a 30 second steamroll i would be more inclined to play it and collect cards. Will never, ever happen but i can dream can't i?

-Give us a reason to fly and swim. Underwater combat, High up villages like some native people that live off the land you can only reach via flying for new endgame content. Stuff that makes us use the mechanics as something to move from A to B to collect something and avoid the mmo gameplay we pay a sub fee for. Give me adventure and a reason to explore!

-Highly unlikely but with the Ivalice stuff in game i would love one of my favourite underrated games to get some love with Vagrant Story's Sunk City of Lea Monde as an underground, inside based quest zone. We've had a sky zone, a sea zone and deserts, forests and more. Why not underground? and why caves when ivalice has a perfectly explorable buried ghost town right out of demon's souls?

But these are things i want that i also know are never going to happen. Its now a couple of days to the US fanfest which will at least be an expansion reveal and a trailer, maybe they will be kind and give the Americans a job reveal or something for once but who knows. For now we can only wait and dream of what new jobs and adventures we will be getting in the next major expansion pack to our mmo of choice. What are you expecting? What do you want?

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