New FFXIV Quest Has Big Gundam Energy, Which May Play Into Future Content
The latest in the optional Sorrow of Werlyt questline has you piloting a big, agile mech to fight the even bigger Sapphire Weapon.
Final Fantasy XIV's latest update has a ton of new content that I'm still just trying to process myself, even after extolling the virtues of FFXIV 5.3's main story events. But the update isn't all about MSQ since there are some substantial optional quests, one of which is another chapter in the Sorrow of Werlyt questline. And the latest mission has you piloting a Gundam...I mean, G-Warrior.
Previously in Sorrow of Werlyt, you had to fight Ruby Weapon in an 8-player trial boss fight, which was introduced in patch 5.1. Here in 5.3, you face off against Sapphire Weapon in a solo duty, but as the pilot of a G-Warrior flying mech engineered by Cid and his crew at Garlond Ironworks. A bombastic cutscene, with some cheeky dialogue options, plays before the battle like it's straight out of a mecha anime, too.
The G-Warrior has its own moveset such as a powerful sword slash, ranged beam, speed boost, protective barrier, and restoration spell. You need to manage your EP meter in combat--similar to managing MP as a spellcaster--and learn when to execute certain actions so you're not left vulnerable, as was the challenge in different phases of the Sapphire Weapon fight.
It's likely that G-Warrior combat missions won't be a one-off thing in FFXIV either; it's a fairly intricate system that should probably be used again, but there's a pretty clear indication that there is more in store. After the Sapphire Weapon fight, you arrive in a small town called Terncliff and if you speak to the Ironworks Technician at the hangar bay door, you can go inside to inspect your G-Warrior. There, you can ask the engineer to examine different parts to get details on them, and the dialogue hints to possible upgrades in the future. If I had to take a wild guess as to what this means, perhaps some customization is in store for the future. But at least it's highly likely that we'll have more battles to fight using our shiny new mech.
Even the story behind the Sorrow of Werlyt questline draws some Gundam influence (spoilers ahead). You find out that the Garlean Empire is creating dastardly machines like Ruby Weapon and Sapphire Weapon--which are also references to Final Fantasy VII's series of tough bosses of the same names. And in order to operate the weapons, someone needs to pilot the thing but ultimately sacrifice themselves since they have to merge with it and the neural data of the old FFXIV 1.0 villain Nael van Darnus. These weapons are products of the past work by former Garlean commander Gaius van Baelsar, another old villain.
It seems that Gaius trying to atone for his dark history since defecting after you kicked his ass in A Realm Reborn. Under a watchful eye, he's cooperating with you in order to destroy these weapons. Turns out that the ones piloting the weapons and sacrificing themselves are the former children Gaius took in as orphans who now serve the Garlean Empire. There's a lot of political and family drama, and more to unfold as hinted by cutscenes at the end of the quest.
If that narrative set up doesn't scream Gundam to you, then at least the dang name and stylings of these agile mechs you pilot should be enough to make it clear that FFXIV is paying homage to the classic manga/anime.
For more on Square Enix's MMORPG, be sure to read all about what FFXIV patch 5.3 offers, or what happens in the latest Nier Automata crossover raid. If you're all caught up on the main story, don't miss my feature on how FFXIV 5.3's storyline inspires hope. But if you're considering giving the game a shot, remember that the FFXIV free trial includes much more content and you can use my beginner's guide to FFXIV before you get started.
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