Shadowbringers is the new expansion for Final Fantasy XIV and as you may know, I outright hated Stormblood with a passion … which you may be surprised to hear I love Shadowbringers so far. While I am aware the next few patches will not be much of a story impact that I do hope they keep it up and they change the formulas a bit.
Naturally, this review will have spoilers so if you are reading this by email or a social network you will need to click the link to read it. You have been warned.
TL;DR Shadowbringers is an amazing expansion but it still has the gameplay flaws of the expansions that walked before it.
The story of Shadowbringers carries on from Stormblood with the Scions of the Seventh’s Dawn now trapped on “The First” which is a reflection of the Source which has shifted to the element of light. The expansion starts with the Warrior of Light crossing over to The Source (and then being able to jump back easily because this is an MMO after all) and then absorbing light and bringing back night to the world – thus us becoming known as the Warrior of Darkness.
I am not going to ruin the ending but they have gone into a lot of little details on how we can access retainers, use market boards and so much more than it actually felt like we went to another world but more importantly we learnt so much about what has been lost.
One thing I did enjoy as well as commenting about what we felt we were saying during the quests even if the outcomes was the same. It made us feel more alive in the world and comes across with that is how we always have spoken to people such as our friends. It was the little things such as being told off, agreed with or even have the scions play along with us with our options.
For those wondering the option that hit home with me was the one with Feo UI which you can see here: I think they’re mad at me.
Should you look at my screenshots, the option that is selected is the one I picked.
Role & Job Stories
The role stories I have done so far (and seen such as the tank) does seem to end the story of the Warriors of Light from The First but I was insanely disappointed in the healer one.
What does worry me however is the job quests. Each one I have done so far (or seen such as Paladin and Dark Knight) seems to be wrapping up the stories that I don’t think we will get any more job quests in future.
Dungeons & Trials
From my experience, I have much preferred the style of trials in Shadowbringers more so with the extreme trials. With extreme trials, I much prefer when failure is punished by making it hard for yourself rather than wiping the whole group and I hope this is something that carries over to savage raids. In other words, I find one-shot stuff boring and lazy design for when it comes to failure.
The actual fights themselves I am not going to spoil but the last one was beyond Shinryu and Nidhogg.
The dungeons themselves seem to have an overall improvement but I am not sure if that is due to gear scaling or not. I felt like I had to heal more but as I was levelling the other healers it felt like we were just being careful.
Gameplay / Jobs
This topic is now going to be a bit of a mixed bag for myself so I am going to try and be neutral with this. I am very disappointed that there were no new healers but I do understand the need to rebalance them. When it comes to the healers I do enjoy playing them all but White Mages need an OCGD to use Lilies on (even if they nerf our DPS a bit), Scholars need something to burn aetherflow on (a mini fester would be cool) and Astrologian needs a far shorter cooldown on divination.
Summoner seems to be in an okay spot but I do hate how it plays now. I do not understand why Dreadwyrm Trance is still a thing at level 80 and don’t just go right into Bahamut and then Phoenix but it just seems to make Summoner feel weird to play.
Red Mage seems to be the same but with some more QoL changes but what does annoy me is why Impact does not start the AoE rotation but instead ends it. I can not comment on Black Mage but it looks the same.
The rest of the damage dealers I can not comment on as I do not have much interest in them but I hear the tanks are all in a good spot so it might be good in the end.
I am now going to speak about a topic that is going to be somewhat sour to me. It seems that the end-game for Shadowbringer has not changed. We got tome gear that is coming out very soon and it seems we will be once again just farm expert roulettes to get the gear and have only one “hard” content which will be savage.
Honestly, I think I will have to stop after 5.1 but at least Shadowbringer is going in a better direction and with any luck, they change the endgame.
Music is something I am not going to speak much about as I can not show it but the music has been amazing and I have not yet to be disappointed in any of them (shame there is no title music, however).
I would suggest popping onto Spotify or YouTube and listen to it yourself – you will not be disappointed.
Gear is something that is going to change over the choice of Shadowbringers but so far I do have a bit of a mixed feeling about it. I do enjoy most of the new AF gears with most important being that I enjoy the White Mage set but most dungeon and levelling sets are just re-colours of gear with one set being a re-rel-colour.
I am hoping the tome set and raid set are far better but I am not going to assume anything there. I do hope as well the AF gear is upgradable but it seems we will be able to just dye it and call it quits there.
This brings me to a problem I see already – gearing has not changed. I worry that it will still be a tome grind and offer little else to go with it.
I am not sure if this is due to hardware or Shadowbringer itself but I been suffering a lot from frame rate issues.