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Final Fantasy 14 announces its third expansion, Shadowbringers

At Final Fantasy 14‘s fan-festival today, Square Enix announced the third expansion for their increasingly popular MMORPG. Shadowbringers ups the ante, story-wise, promising players the chance to finally take on the technologically advanced Garlean empire directly. Of course, there’s yet another world-ending threat to contend with too. On top of the usual new classes and a raised level cap, Shadowbringers is also introducing the “Trust” system, bringing NPC party members outside of dungeons. Check the cinematic trailer and a peek at the Blue Mage side-class below.

There’s lots of stuff coming this expansion. Multiple new classes, a new playable race (strongly hinted as the Viera, Fran’s rabbit-eared amazons people from FF12 et al), and the option to visit other region’s servers so you can play with friends around the world. There will of course be a bundle of new zones – I’m eager to see some Garlean cities up close – and new Beast Tribes introduced to do god-slaying and side-quests for. The first will be the Nu Mou, the adorable floppy-eared, long-tailed Moomin-like folk from the Tactics Advance series, who I cannot wait to see in 3D.

Story-wise, it sounds like the Scions (the player’s band of heroes) are cruising for a bruising, and another tragic fall before putting themselves together again. Building on the episodic post-Heavensward, the player – the Warrior Of Light – will apparently be called on to become the ‘Warrior Of Darkness’ in order to take down some new divine threat.  JRPG boilerplate, granted, but FF14 has been consistently well written so far, so I’m still on board to see where this is going. ‘Killing god’ loses some of its narrative edge when you’ve already killed about twenty already though.

On top of all of this is the Blue Mage, a new ‘limited class’ that will be launching sometime before Shadowbringers in a free update for all. Initially capped at level 50 (presumably due to their complexity), they offer a very unique play-style, learning new abilities from monsters and bosses they’ve studied while defeating. There’ll even be an ‘All blue, all the time’ duty-finder, so an entire party of these oddballs can rampage through a dungeon together and learn how to (literally) throw down like a boss. Eventually their level cap will be raised, allowing them into later expansions.

Shadowbringers is due to launch “Early Summer 2019”, preceded by the fifth and final episodic update to Stormblood some time in Spring. More details are to be announced over the weekend. Check out the official Shadowbringers page here.

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