I’m gonna go ahead and throw myself under the bus here and give my predictions (most of which, I’m sure, will be incredibly wrong) for what we’ll learn about FFXIV’s 4.0 Expansion at the upcoming Fan Festivals. What info will be given at each one is hard to know, but I think we can anticipate at least some of the major highlights of what we’ll get from the three events on the whole.
The Expansion Itself
Not long ago, around the same time of year two years ago that Square Enix filed a trademark for “Heavensward,” they filed one for “Stormblood” this year. That’s almost certainly going to be the name of the expansion, which I’m sure we’ll learn in Yoshi-P’s keynote address in Las Vegas on Friday. With the focus most likely being on Ala Mihgo, the name is most likely a reference to Rhalgr, who’s associated with lightning. But given some of Yoshi-P’s comments about an aquatic expansion, I also wonder if the storm aspect may also have something to do with storms at sea. Heavensward referred to both the Heavensward in Ishgard and also the general idea of us taking to the skies, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar here.
We’re definitely looking at a lot of Ala Mihgan and Garlean stuff, and I suspect we’re going to see the story come back full circle, with a much heavier emphasis on Primals than we’ve had in Heavensward.
A New Race?
I don’t think we’re going to see a new race at FanFest this year (and next, since the one in Frankfurt isn’t until February). Prior to Heavensward, the team sprinkled small previews of a lot of 3.0’s new content in the Main Scenario for A Realm Reborn. We saw Thancred in combat with daggers (foreshadowing Rogue and Ninja, over-emphasis on Merlwyb’s gun (for Machinist), and we also had Yugiri running around as an Au Ra for awhile, too, before we knew her race.
We’ve not really seen any hints that lay the groundwork for a new race in Heavensward except for maybe Hilda, but after how similar Au Ra already are to Miqo’te, I can’t see them going with a race that would be even more like existing ones than that.
Classes and Jobs
We’re undoubtedly going to get a bunch on this topic. I’ve already speculated before on what we’re going to see in 4.0 generally for new jobs, and since then I’ve refined my thoughts quite a bit. Given the difficulty the team had in balancing the new jobs in Heavensward and how rushed some of the class design in general seems in retrospect, I have a feeling they bit off more than they could chew with three new classes on top of expanding the old ones.
So now I feel like we’re going to see just two new jobs, Samurai and Red Mage. They’ll probably announce them in a similar fashion as they did for Heavensward’s jobs, with Yoshi-P doing some kind of silly teaser at the end of his keynotes. My prediction is that Samurai will be a Strength-based melee that shares Maiming and Slaying gear with Dragoon, while Red Mage will be an Intelligence-based melee (falling into a more support-oriented role sort of like Ninja), which will have its own left-side gear, but share Casting accessories with Black Mage and Summoner.
But in place of a third job, what I imagine we’re going to learn is that they’re going to do at least some overhauling of the existing classes and jobs. We already know they’re looking at reducing some of the rotational complexities and the like from earlier interviews. But I think they’re going to take this opportunity to both reduce button bloat and also handle fundamental problems (such as the strength of SCH and WAR relative to the other jobs) while hopefully differentiating the jobs more. However they go about accomplishing all that, I’m relatively sure it’s going to involve some larger changes to the classes pre-60.
This month, at least, I think we’ll get the full reveal for Samurai, the announcement of overhauls for the existing classes, and a teaser by the end of the event that will hint at Red Mage, which will probably get its full reveal in December.
The New Raid
We won’t see anything massively surprising as far as content goes, but I do think they’ll reveal a bit about the new 8-man raid. So far, the raids have been the “big name” primals/summons from past Final Fantasy games. With Bahamut and Alexander out of the way, I suspect, if they continue the pattern, we’ll see either Hades or Eden as the next big raid. Hades probably wouldn’t fit in very well if there is an aquatic theme to the expansion, so I’m putting my bets on Eden (again, assuming the pattern continues, anyway).
Eden also has the benefit of not really being all that well-defined: it’s only shown up in FFVIII that I can recall, so they would have room for interpretation in this new incarnation. Eden also works well because it doubles as the name of a location: perhaps it will take the form of some sort of sunken, but living city off the coast of Ala Mihgo or something. Of all my guesses, this is probably the one that’s most likely to be wrong, but I think it would be cool at any rate!
What else we might see is up in the air, but if we don’t have info on these things by the end of the Fan Fest in December, I’ll be pretty surprised. How accurate some of my guesses are is another thing entirely: and for these kinds of things, it can actually be pretty fun to be wrong!