It’s been a long time since I’ve done a more general post about FFXIV, but with my glamours all in a pretty good spot and no new dungeon sets for Shadowbringers to collect (for now), I’m thinking a lot about what Patch 5.2 will bring when it hits in late February. While, for once, I’m most excited about the continuation of the Main Scenario (which has been excellent this expansion), when it comes to gameplay content, nothing is more important to me than the Shadowbringers take on a longform weapon quest (which will probably include upgradeable armor, too, following after Eureka from Stormblood).
The initial 5.0 patch of Shadowbringers had what seemed like a fairly obvious setup for the expansion’s legendary weapons and armor—on the ocean floor, a peerless craftsman named Grenoldt has set up a submarine workshop, complete with Eureka’s field music, and all of this expansion’s initial Artifact Armor and Weapons. Though it’s been directly confirmed as of yet, Grenoldt is implied quite strongly to be the First’s reflection of Gerolt, the smith at the heart of each previous expansion’s legendary weapons. With his mentioning study of ancient construction and the recreated Amaurot nearby, it wasn’t much of a leap to think the relic of Shadowbringers would heavily involve Grenoldt and perhaps recreations of ancient, pre-Sundering weapons.
But the most recent Letter from the Producer LIVE threw us for a bit of a loop, offering up the first real scrap of information about the new content series for the latest expansion:
The new upgradeable equipment content will be centered around Bzoja [sic] Citadel, the home of the Hrothgar race. In 4.x, exploration and upgradeable equipment content were released as one, in the form of The Forbidden Land, Eureka and the Eureka weapon. While they were not completely separated in 5.x, we’re thinking of a design where you can progress one without the other. We’re planning to reveal the title of the series in Patch 5.2 Special Part 2!
While we don’t have a name for the content yet, we learned that it’s going to focus on Bozja Citadel, former home of the Hrothgar and the site of Garlemald’s Meteor project. Astute players will know, however, that Bozja Citadel is a location on The Source, rather than The First, which has thus far been the centerpiece of Shadowbringers. After the very telegraphed setup of Grenoldt in Patch 5.0, though, having the upgradeable weapon and armor quest focus on the Source is a pretty unexpected turn of events.
But in interviews over the course of last year, Yoshi-P gave us some context that might shed light on why we have Grenoldt on the one hand and Bozja Citadel on the other, both seemingly connected to the expansion’s relics. For example, in an interview with Destructoid,
Yoshida says that some people have reacted positively since they get “two times the value in one piece of content” now that Eureka is essentially a new set of zones, but for others, it felt like a “burden.” He explains that ideally, they wanted to have “multiple routes” for endgame weapon strengthening, but finite developer resources brought them back to Earth. As he’s reminded that the deadline to finalize Shadowbringer‘s relic system is steadily approaching, he calls it “quite the dilemma.”
Originally, it seems the the developers wanted to deliver more than just Eureka for the relic weapons in Stormblood but weren’t able to manage that. We also know that the team is looking, for Shadowbringers, to create something between a Eureka-style relic weapon, with its own dedicated exploration content, and the style of the Zodiac and Anima weapons from A Realm Reborn and Heavensward, which were focused on the open world and older content. In an interview with Larryzaur during the Shadowbringers Media Tour, Yoshida had this to say about their plans:
We had a lot of feedback of players enjoying the Eureka style relic quest, but at the same time we had an equal amount of feedback of players preferring the Zodiac and Anima relic quest. So, we’ve had a lot of internal discussion with where to take the next relic.
You mentioned the idea of merging the two concepts, having content that you can play through, but also having a separate method of powering up weapons. Burt that would mean that we still need to create both types of content anyway, so it’s difficult. We are going to try and find a good happy medium.
Given what we’ve already covered from the digest of the 56th Live Letter, it seems like the team is actually planning to move forward with something of a dual progression system for the Shadowbringers relic, with the Bozja Citadel exploration content being involved with the relic but not necessarily required for it. While it’s difficult to say exactly what we’ll see (with more info probably coming in the next Live Letter), I’d not be surprised myself if we’ll be able to progress either through a more traditional grind with Grenoldt or by partaking in whatever new exploration content comes along with Bozja Citadel.
We might also see the two intertwined in some way. The Anima weapon of Heavensward had a number of stages that tapped into a variety of content, letting players decide how they wanted to progress, and it’s possible we could see Bojza Citadel as simply one among many options for progression on a Shadowbringers relic (and associated armor). Shadowbringers has multiple currencies and systems in place that could work alongside the Citadel content, too, including the new Bicolor Gemstones for FATES. Tapping into these, in addition to the usual dungeons and other tasks, would hopefully be light enough on needed resources to allow multiple paths like the team wanted to include in Stormblood. Having Gerolt of the Source, stationed at Bojza Citadel, and Grenoldt of the First work together on the equipment, with the Warrior of Light as their go-between, would make plenty of sense, too!
As for what the weapons and armor might look like, I think it’s safe to assume the first few stages will be dyeable and perhaps glowing versions of the Artifact equipment introduced in Patch 5.0. From there, given Grenoldt’s proximity to Amaurot and Bozja Citadel’s association with Allagan technology through the Meteor project (which we now know has ancient associations too, by way of Emet-Selch), I’m still expecting equipment that’s pre-Sundering in theme, perhaps with a healthy dose of Allagan technology thrown in for good measure.
All of this has me pretty excited: while I enjoyed Eureka, its repetitive nature and narrow focus had me a bit tired of it by the time I had finished my first weapon all the way through. As a result, I only finished one weapon last expansion (as opposed to five Zodiac weapons and six Anima ones previously), and I’ve only lazily begun to work on a second one now that I’ve switched mains from Ninja to Dark Knight. Having more choices for progression on Shadowbringers relics will definitely increase the replay value, and hopefully make forays into Bozja Citadel far less of a chore. Depending on how the quest (or quests?) are set up this time, it might even be possible to work on two at once, one via the Citadel and the other with Grenoldt.
All of this suggests that I’m going to far more busy playing FFXIV during Shadowbringers than I was during Stormblood, when all’s said and done, and I couldn’t be more excited now that I’ve sat down and thought through some of the possibilities!