If I've learned one thing from FFXIV: Shadowbringers so far, it's that sometimes good things come to bad people. After two expansions spent being a goody-two-shoes and saving three kingdoms from destruction, Shadowbringers lets players take a walk on the dark side while journeying across alternate dimensions to bring the fight to the evil Garlean Empire.
A new expansion means new lands to explore, new story quests to complete, new jobs to level, and so much more. It's a lot to keep track of, so we've created this handy guide breaking down the biggest features in FFXIV: Shadowbringers so you know exactly what to expect when it launches later this summer.
What is the FFXIV: Shadowbringers release date?
FFXIV: Shadowbringers launches on July 2, 2019, but if you preorder you can get in early starting on, tentatively, June 28.
Like previous expansions, Shadowbringers will cost $40 for the digital download, $60 for the digital collector's edition, and $200 for a cool physical collector's edition that comes with all sorts of neat goodies.
What are some of the big new features in Shadowbringers?
Shadowbringers, like all previous expansions, will come with a host of new features, group activities, raids, and more. To start, the level cap is increased to 80 for all classes (except the Blue Mage because its special). Along with 30ish hours of new story, Shadowbringers will also add nine new dungeons, a new 8-person raid along with a 24-person raid, three new beast tribe reputations, and several new zones to explore.
But that's all the stuff you'd normally expect from an expansion. Here's what's entirely new:
The Restoration of the Holy See of Ishgard is a longterm project for crafters and gatherers to contribute resources to rebuilding the capital city of Heavensward. Like the Doman Enclave in Stormblood, players can donate unwanted items for a small reward. Over time, those donations will slowly change the way the Holy See of Ishgard looks as it is slowly rebuilt.
Little is known about Farms but they were briefly mentioned, though it was made clear that farmers won't be a new crafting class. But, hey, who doesn't love growing stuff?
A New Game+ mode will let you replay story and class quests from A Realm Reborn but scaled up to your current level. This is a great way for new players who purchased level boosts to go back and finally experience all the old story they missed.
Trusts let you jump into Shadowbringers dungeons with a team of NPC story characters instead of real players. This might seem odd, but it's a great way to ensure players can always find a party to run dungeons with and to help with long queue times that some classes face when trying to find a party using matchmaking. Plus who doesn't want to fight alongside Thancred?
What's the story of FFXIV: Shadowbringers?
Well, you have to play the game to figure that out. But Shadowbringers is a direct sequel to the previous expansion, Stormblood, and picks up where Stormblood ended. If you're new to FFXIV, you're going to have to level a character to 70 and complete the entirety of FFXIV's main story and its two expansions, Heavensward and Stormblood, before you can start playing Shadowbringers. It's easily 200 hours worth of gaming (but it is worth it). If that doesn't sound like fun, you can buy a level and story boost that'll let you skip right to Shadowbringers.
As for the story, FFXIV: Shadowbringers picks up after Stormblood's post-launch updates. Zenos Yae Galvus, the big-bad of Stormblood, is back and all we know is that the battle between him and your character possibly triggers an apocalyptic calamity. During the events of Shadowbringers, you travel to the First, a kind of alternate dimension from Eorzea, where light has overcome darkness, throwing the necessary balance between them off-kilter. To save the First, you must become a Warrior of Darkness and restore that balance.
What are the new jobs?
FFXIV: Shadowbringers introduces two new jobs, both of which start at level 60.
Despite traditionally being a healer-type class, Dancers are ranged DPS who pair throwing weapons with stylish dance moves to damage foes. Like Bards, Dancers also bring some utility to group fights with abilities that can buff allies in a pinch.
Gunbreakers are FFXIV's fourth tank class, and as you can guess they wield fabled gunblades in battle, just like Squall Leonhart. Gunbreakers probably won't have many ranged abilities, as their gun is primarily used to enhance their slashing attacks. Unfortunately, little more is known about how they play.
What are the new races?
Shadowbringers will unlock two new races for you to play as.
The Viera are the bunny-people famous from Final Fantasy 12 and the Final Fantasy Tactics series. One of the creators of those games, Yasumi Matsuno, helped design a series of raids that officially tied the canon of those two worlds together. So it was only natural that characters and races from FF12 would eventually become permanent additions in Shadowbringers.
The second race coming in Shadowbringers are the mighty Hrothgar who resemble the Ronso race from Final Fantasy 10.
For the first time in FFXIV, both races are gender-locked. The Viera are women-only, while the Hrothgar can only be men.
Why can't I be a man-bunny or a lady-tiger?
That's a good question, and one the community has been asking ever since it was announced. But, essentially, it just boils down to Square Enix not realizing that gender-locked races would be such a controversy. Since the announcement and backlash, director Naoki Yoshida has said the team is closely watching the feedback and deciding what to do, but there is no chance that they'll add male Viera or female Hrothgar in time for Shadowbringers' launch.
What's this nonsense about a Nier: Automata crossover?
Yeah, so just like how Stormblood had a crossover raid with Final Fantasy 12, Square Enix is teaming up with fabled creator Yoko Taro and Yosuke Saito to make a new raid styled after Nier: Automata. Called Yorha: Dark Apocalypse, this raid will see a team of 24 players dive into the world of Nier to defeat bosses. With Yoko Taro at the helm, I expect it'll get pretty weird but we don't know more than that.
Okay, do you have some trailers I can watch?
Boy, do I...