Everyone is going to main samurai.
Why is he so handsome?!
The arrival of the Final Fantasy XIV EU Fan Festival meant the arrival of the last big reveals of the new Final Fantasy Stormblood expansion before it releases this summer. Many things were unveiled at the event, but what I want to talk about specifically is the trailer, and the content tied to what was shown. Keep in my mind that I absolutely love this game and I am legitimately excited for this expansion. Saying all that however, this isn’t a gushing fanboy-esque post, this is an objective look at what was shown in relation to the current state of the game. So let’s talk about the trailer!
For first half of the trailer we are greeted with what was the original teaser Square Enix showed last year. For those who haven’t yet watched the teaser trailer I have placed it above. And I highly encourage you to watch it. The teaser was noted for highlighting a couple of important things, such as the focus on the Monk job class and the region of Ala Mhigo in the game’s world. This was done in Heavensward as well, with the focus being on the dragoon job, and the setting being focused predominantly on the city-state of Ishgard and its surrounding zones. Now to be fair, a lot of people weren’t surprised by this, many players expected the focus on Ala Mhigo due to the increasing prevalence of characters and conflicts regarding that location. Overall the teaser was fairly standard and expected given what was hinted in game with the latest patches, as well as how Heavensward was announced. I always found this rather strange considering how the game’s director, Naoki Yoshida, has stated that they were going to take more risks with the next expansion. He played it safe with Heavensward because the game was still recovering from the failed launch of the vanilla version of Final Fantasy XIV. What has been shown so far seemed like a mirrored version of Heavensward with a new coat of paint, and by that token at the very least we would get a solid expansion. However, the second half of the trailer caught many people by surprise, including myself.
So many were aware that the expansion would take place in Ala Mhigo, what couldn’t be expected was that it isn’t going to be the only new area in the game. As the trailer progresses we see a shift from a view of Aldenard, the game’s main setting and continent, to a view of the continent of Othard. Othard is only vaguely mentioned in game, one of the characters in game, Yugiri is originally from Doma located on the continent. From the trailer we get a glimpse of a city that distinctly has a traditional Asia-inspired aesthetic. This isn’t surprising given that Yugiri and her race, the Au Ra, are dragon-esque humanoids whose naming convention is inspired by Japanese and Mongolian dialects. Her people specifically are responsible for the addition of the ninja job in the game. Moving forward we get more shots of the city and eventually catch a glimpse of the most anticipated and requested new content coming to the expansion, a new job. The highly requested anime sword! Excuse me, the new job is actually the samurai. The samurai has been a popular job in many Final Fantasy games and many people have been requesting for it since the announcement of Heavensward. The trailer does not disappoint either, making the job look as cool and as deadly as people had hoped for. With that, the two possibly biggest pieces of news from this Fan Festival have arrived, and man did it deliver with style. Now that I’m done recapping, my thoughts?
Samurai waifu, *heart emoji*.
Let’s start with the big sword in the room, the samurai job. Now as someone who plays the game, the samurai was more or less leaked because of people finding certain files in the game’s latest patch hinting at job called SAM, which is similar to shortening of jobs in the UI, such black mage being BLM. This is still rather large news however because of the popularity and demand for the job to be in the game. The biggest question however was the role of the job in game. With the announcement of red mage being a ranged DPS, many pondered what role would the samurai fill. Square Enix have announced that the samurai will indeed be a melee DPS, meaning that in the new expansion there will be no new healer and tank jobs. This bothers many players as most know that DPS has the most jobs in the game, with the added new jobs there will be a total of nine dps jobs in FFXIV. This is massive compared to the three jobs for healer and tank respectively. The biggest concern is that queue times for instanced content is already significantly higher for DPS than other jobs, mainly due to the disparity between the amount of DPS compared to other jobs. Queue times will no doubt get much larger for dps with the added jobs as well as the need for new leveling content in the next expansion. This is a legitimate concern and I do agree with it. With that being said, I believe samurai being DPS is the best direction to take the job, and I thought what they have shown for samurai to be rather impressive.
The fact is that Samurai has always been a heavy hitting job in the Final Fantasy series, making it a DPS-focused class probably the most thematically and lore-appropriate way to represent the job for a Final Fantasy game. The Final Fantasy XIV team has always strives to represent these job in a way that respectfully captures how they functioned in their previous iterations. When I see the direction for samurai in FFXIV, it does truly feel like the way samurai felt thematically in previous games in the series. As for the job disparity the real issue is the balance between jobs, which they have stated they are working to fix in the upcoming expansion.
I can’t wait to spend many virtual hours here.
The last thing I would like to discuss is the added region of Othard. To me this was a pleasant surprise and many people have responded positively to this new development. I have not seen much of the new region other than what was shown in the trailer, which I must say looked amazing. My main concern regarding this new development is one of story more than anything. While I do like the idea of exploring outside of the main continent, I am concerned with how the focus of the game will be handled. The FFXIV team has shown that a lot of the focus will be centered on Ala Mhigo, and the eventual conflict to come. What I’m concerned how will they handle the pacing given that now our focus will be on two regions. I believe that Final Fantasy XIV has one of the best ongoing stories in an MMORPG, so I’m not too worried, but I do hope they are not spreading themselves too thin. I would rather have a very good focused story on one conflict, rather than multiple mediocre conflicts. Now we won’t know till the expansion comes out if these are legitimate concerns, but it is something to be cautious about moving forward.
Now these are my thoughts on the trailer, and probably more so the two biggest pieces of news to be shown in the trailer. I have posted the trailer down below, and I highly encourage you to watch even if you are not a fan of the game. The direction and production values alone make this worth watching. For more Final Fantasy XIV news and opinions as it comes check regularly here at Hey Poor Player!