The Tokyo Fanfest for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is around 5 or so weeks away, and while I was doing my rounds for any significant updates, I chanced upon a Redditor’s translation of a Japanese GameWatch interview with Naoki Yoshida, that was held at the London Fanfest.
While there’s not a ton of new information available in the text, it did bring some questions to mind. Specifically, these questions involve me wondering, “Why am I imagining World of Warcraft expansion packs when I think about the implementation of Heavensward?”
Trust me, it’ll make more sense as you read further.
There are a couple of fun tidbits in the Yoshida interview that beg repeating here. Some concern the Samurai, a job class that isn’t announced for FFXIV, but is hoped will become a part of A Realm Reborn in the future. Others concern the reasoning for the Dark Knight’s existence as the first announced Heavensward job. Still others have to deal with the flying mounts situation for the game.
Regarding the Samurai and Dark Knight, it seems Yoshida feels the Samurai class might be better suited as a DPS in his mind. Two things – the Japanese-themed NInja class release, and the darker theme of the Ishgard expansion necessitating a darker sort of job class (literally a dark knight then) – meant Samurais didn’t get the pass for this round of job announcements.
Yoshida also reconfirmed that the second job of Heavensward will get a spotlight shone on it at Tokyo Fanfest, though he does also note that looking at the Final Fantasy series carefully will play a part in accurately guessing what this next class will be.
Most of the folks I know already have bets on this next class being a gun-toting spy type, but I wouldn’t put it past Yoshida to throw us for a loop with a flintlock-and-rapier-wielding Red Mage instead. Personally, I’d just love for the teaser to end up being a ruse, just to have many fans awestruck by the big reveal.
In related developments, the translation notes some 2.5 content is in the Heavensward trailer, so we’ll likely see things ramp up or climax in an ending that’ll tie into the Heavensward expansion, unless there are major post 2.5 patches. I’m assuming there are, but you never know.
Regarding flying mounts, Yoshida notes that while we can fly over the new areas mapped out for Heavensward, current game maps will not be flight-enabled. The translation also says rewards will be given so flying over the Heavensward landmasses should be simple enough to achieve, with no time limits for flying. Also, you can’t fight while flying, so no mounted jousting for anyone here.
Shades of Burning Liches? Don’t Mind That!
Now here’s the funny thing for me. I chuckled a bit in my head when I reread my notes for this column because these announcements above are reminiscent of some of the notes I wrote for some old blog posts I prepared for the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions for World of Warcraft.
Whereas Burning Crusade introduced the flying mounts business and the “you can’t fly across the pre-expansion lands” line, Lich King introduced their Death Knights and had the same icy, dark tone and feel of FFXIV’s announcement.
Personally, I like that it threw me back to something familiar, and at the same time I’m even more excited because this one expansion should be poised to deliver more than just one new class (or job in FFXIV’s case) and a flying mounts transportation mechanic.
My personal take: The Burning Crusade and Lich King expansions were nice for their time, but they did not provide a world for me to care about so much as more space to adventure in.
Heavensward, should the storytelling be tight and the connections to existing lands be strong, will mean that I will be exploring the world that lies beyond the realm that’s been provided by FFXIV so far.
Oh, and just so we’re clear, by realm, I mean a literal realm, as the realm of Eorzea is referred to as being a contintent – Aldenard – and its surrounding islands.
I doubt the implementation will be 100% perfect at launch, but if A Realm Reborn is any consideration, then I feel I can expect them to not reinvent the wheel of expansionism in games, but rather get it even closer to a well-rounded bit of perfection that provides content, alternative activities and, hopefully, some kind of affordable condominium space up in the air.
Ending with the End
To end today’s piece, let’s go back more than two years to a time not everyone remembers, but one many Final Fantasy fans will certainly not forget.
On November 11 (or 12, depending on where you live), Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 ended. The servers were taken offline, and we were left with a massive cliffhanger that led into A Realm Reborn.
Here’s the End of an Era, released back in 2012. Cheers.