Epic stories require epic stakes all the time: evils to face, worlds to save, the chance for you to be, or watch or read with, a hero who takes it all and triumphs, to be called to life. action over and over again. again. Final Fantasy XIV does exactly that, but in its final chapter it also asks you to do something completely different: be a hero during their downtime.
This week the beloved MMORPG released its first major content update since the release of its latest extension, Endwalkerin December 2021. Patch 6.1, titled new adventurepicks up where the story of this expansion left off—a climax of a story Final Fantasy XIV had been building towards since its relaunch in 2013.
Endwalker carried the weight of eight years of storytelling on its shoulders, and for the most part succeeded in telling an epic, epic tale of apocalypses long in the making, bold, daring plans of sacrifice hatched through generations of time, love, of loss, and save not just a world, but a universe from utter devastation. It ends with a fight between you, your best friends and the magical embodiment of concept of existential despair transformed into an all-powerful being capable of drowning and dooming entire worlds with a song of terror. You know, big old fancy stuff. You are the hero. Hope and friendship defeat evil. The day is saved, you attack, and you dethrone closer to one capital-G-God you might get, which is saying something because you kill gods every two weeks in Final Fantasy XIV.
new adventure is the complete opposite of that. Your hero could be the ultimate hero, a warrior of light now known as the savior of not just your home but your entire existence, but times have changed for them. Their closest allies, their duties fulfilled, have taken a sort of retreat, disbanding their organization – the Scions of the Seventh Dawn – to pursue their own interests. You have also changed, your very relationship to the world as a former predestined guardian of its crystalline divinity now upended and transformed with your duty done, leaving you yearning for the simple life of being a wandering adventure, as you were. once when your journey was just beginning.
You may also have ceased to be a Reaper wielding the scythe Bunny boy, and changed class and appearance to a male Lion who summons primal deities for pleasure and large amounts of damage. But it could only being me.
Lion man or other, New Adventure opens a new chapter for Final Fantasy XIV– its developers teasing that it’s the start of another decade-long saga akin to the escalation of A kingdom is reborn, XIVis restarted, until Endwalker. But he does it in a deeply charming way: by not being the scene-setter for a great fantasy story about good and evil. Or at least not Again. Instead, he acknowledges that his world just reckoned with an escape from calamity, that your character just saved the universe as you know it, and asks instead: what if you just wanted to hang out with some of your friends?
Although there are a few set-ups here and there in new adventurenew story quests, its main narrative thread is about reuniting your character with a few of your fellow Scions – Estinien, the brooding dragon, and Y’shtola, the mighty mage in particular – as you try to rebuild yourself as an adventurer seeking rumors and earning coins, and also see what they are so far, they don’t have to run and fight like the world is literally at stake every day of their lives. Some of them are busy with relief efforts following Endwalker‘s of the devastation of the world, some, like you, pursue the life of adventure on their own. Some follow old hobbies and study ancient texts and magical items, for research and perhaps preparation if they need to help save the universe again. And some of them are either perfectly happy to drag you on an adventure for this research, like the aforementioned Y’shtola, or some are just eager to be dragged away from this research and do something exciting again, like your fellow scholar ally G’ ahh Tia.
It’s all very low stakes. There is hardly any combat in the story quests of new adventureexcept for a dungeon that you walk through, because, well, that’s new content in an MMORPG and you have to have a new dungeon to run through. you know it’s more for the player rather than your character ie. For the most part, they’re just buzzing around: empty-headed, having fun, going on little adventures for money, and chatting with old friends. That means you are too.
Endwalker was an incredibly cathartic outing on Final Fantasy XIVthe story builds. The path XIV is structured around strongly closed and linear story-driven content, playing through this culmination of hundreds and hundreds of hours of storytelling and character work is an emotional rollercoaster for even the least interested player . Throwing you straight back into the depths of things with high stakes and bigger evils to smack you of loot and emotional satisfaction would have cheapened both the dire stakes of this story you’ve just been through and any new threats that might ‘ was thrown on you. Final Fantasy XIV understands that you can’t just keep the dial always up all the way to 11, and for those stakes to be truly disastrous for you and your characters, there has to be that wax and decline in scale direction.
That’s often hard to come by in a world of seemingly endless franchises and sequels, where the stakes must always keep building and building and building. And admittedly, “hey, come back and play this game and hang out” might not be as big of an immediate sell as “you’re the chosen hero who has to save the whole universe.” But Final Fantasy XIVThe position of as an MMO, a living story that continues as long as the game, allows it to do something that few epic adventure tales rarely can: sit back and see what happens when a world must go on. , when the characters must continue, when the great threat of the end of the world will be dealt with.
At this time, for Final Fantasy XIV, what’s going on is hanging out with your old mates and chilling out a bit. There will be battles ahead: in this moment you have earned a rest, and it can be just as satisfying an experience as fighting gods and monsters.
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