Final Fantasy 14’s next major expansion, called Shadowbringers, was just announced live during the annual Final Fantasy 14 Fanfest. Coming in the summer of 2019, Shadowbringers will add a much darker story, a whole new zone to explore, and multiple new classes (called jobs)—including the Blue Mage, one of FF14’s most requested.
Shadowbringers' title is evocative of an expansion that will darker in tone, with players finally taking the fight to the evil Garlean Empire that has been the chief villain of FF14 since before it relaunched back in 2013. Promising answers to many of Final Fantasy 14’s biggest questions, Shadowbringers will see players turn from the light to "become the Warrior of Darkness"—a title that bears significant weight to those familiar with FF14's complicated (and awesome) lore.
Players won't have to wait until summer to experience this new questline, however. Patch 4.5 (which should come sometime in early 2019) will bridge the gap between the current expansion, Stormblood, and Shadowbringers. As a great surprise, 4.5 will also introduce the Blue Mage job, albeit with a very different rollout than normal jobs. Unlike other jobs, the Blue Mage will "provide a unique solo experience" and only learn abilities from other monsters, which is how the class traditionally works in Final Fantasy games. While details are scarce, it sounds like Blue Mages will be a class that you primarily level in solo dungeons designed exclusively for Blue Mages. This new job also will be capped at level 50 to start, with future patches gradually increasing the level cap. That means Blue Mages won't be endgame viable for quite some time, as currently the level cap is 70, with Shadowbringers bumping it up to 80 when it releases.
One other job teased in the trailer appears to wield a gunblade in combat. This shouldn't surprise anyone, as gunblades are the preferred weapon of Garlean Empire soldiers. It makes sense that an expansion that directly involves Garleans would, in turn, include a job styled after them too.
In addition, game director Naoki Yoshida teased a new race but wouldn't specify what it would be. As is tradition at each Fanfest, Yoshida's shirt, which had Bugs Bunny on it, offered a clue. The popular theory is that FF14 will add the Viera, a race of rabbit-like people that are most prominent in Final Fantasy 12 and Tactics. Both games are set in the world of Ivalice, which FF14 players crossed into earlier this year.
Of course, that's just the major additions coming in Shadowbringers. The expansion will also include a host of new features, including a New Game+ mode where players can replay the main story quests but at a much higher difficulty. A "Trust" system will also let more solo-minded players experience group content by recruiting NPC characters to fight alongside them. Shadowbringers will also add nine new dungeons as well as an endgame raid—but that's all typical of an expansion release.
Final Fantasy 14's Fanfest is just getting started, and more details will be arriving over the weekend via panels with various developers at Square Enix. To catch up and get more info on everything released so far, you can check out this live thread of the keynote.
We'll have more information as it arrives. Shadowbringers will be release in the summer of 2019.