Biggest Changes Coming To FFXIV: 5.1 Adds Nier Raid, New Game+, And Duties
Final Fantasy XIV is thriving due in no small part to its recently launched and critically acclaimed expansion Shadowbringers, and there's even more in store for the MMORPG as it's getting its first major update since the expansion. It's right around the corner, going live on October 29, and Square Enix has given details in the lead-up to patch 5.1. This update is a big deal considering the roster of new features and the start of a high-profile collaboration. Patch 5.1, called "Vows of Virtue, Deeds of Cruelty" (a direct Nier reference), will premiere the first part of the Nier Automata crossover raid. You can get a taste of it in the trailer above.
The update includes a new dungeon, a handful of story quests to push the narrative forward, and the first iteration of the New Game+ feature. Patch 5.1 isn't solely for those who have finished Shadowbringers and caught up on everything; there will be some mechanical tweaks to classes/jobs and more side content. A follow-up patch is scheduled for November 12 as well; update 5.11 will introduce an easier way to find groups called fellowships, Ishgard Restoration with crafting/gathering changes, and more.
Below, we outline many of the additions coming. We'll be updating this story as we parse more of the new details that came out of the latest Letter From The Producer Live stream.
What We Know About The Nier Automata Raid - YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse
It's been talked about for quite some time, but we will finally get part one of the Nier Automata crossover raid in FFXIV. This will be a 24-player Alliance Raid, and while we don't know exactly how it's going to play, we're certain it'll pit you against multiple tough bosses with some surprising mechanics. That's what you usually expect from Alliance Raids, but in talking with Yoshida-san and from what he's previously said, these raids will lean heavily toward themes and gameplay mechanics from Nier Automata. You can catch glimpses of the action that takes place in the first part of the raid series.
At Tokyo Game Show 2019, Nier series creator Yoko Taro and producer Yosuke Saito took the stage with FFXIV director Naoki Yoshida to talk about this collaboration project. Thanks to Fire Sanctuary, we have detailed translation of that stage show in which Yoshida-san and Yoko-san recalled funny moments developing the raid, as well as what they did to write the raid's story elements. And if you're a fan of the Nier Automata soundtrack, you'll be pleased to know that the game's composer Keiichi Okabe also composed the score for this raid series--you can hear the powerful remix of the song "Weight of the World" in the trailer, which samples Final Fantasy's iconic theme.
Part One: The Copied Factory
In FFXIV, Alliance Raids are traditionally doled out in three parts in approximately six-month increments through patches x.1, x.3, and x.5. This being patch 5.1, we're getting the first part called The Copied Factory. For those who have played Nier Automata, you may recall the Copied City in which machines tried to rebuild humanity's city-like structures, and the Abandoned Factory which pivotal moments took place. So, the Copied Factory, being an all new location, is likely to have a place in the Nier lore as well.
Judging from the screenshots and trailer, the Copied Factory has Nier Automata's rusty, overgrown aesthetic with familiar robot enemies that litter the game's world. It looks like we'll have another daunting encounter with the massive rusty bot Engels, and have pods flying you across different parts of the map. We're excitedly hoping for narrative implications and character cameos from one of Platinum's best games, and to see what 2P's place is in it all.
Meet The Newest Nier and FFXIV Character: 2P
We're introduced to the newest character in Nier lore who is your companion during the raid. Her name? 2P. Sure, she may look like an inverse color swap of Automata's android protagonist 2B, but she's the key to navigating The Copied Factory and fights alongside the group. 2P uses similar weapons and abilities as 2B and even hops into a YoRHa Flight Unit at some point.
The official website for YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse describes 2P as, "An android in white, awakened within the excavation tunnels near Komra. Her knowledge of the ruins and their machine lifeforms could be an invaluable asset..."
How New Game+ Works
Another feature that's been talked about for a while, New Game+, will get its first iteration. You'll be able to replay story quests from Heavensward, Stormblood, and Shadowbringers. You'll maintain your character's story and job progress, though you will not receive EXP, Gil, or the quest's item rewards. Rather it's the system for which you can experience the story again.
Both Heavensward and Stormblood quests will be divided into four parts--we're not entirely clear which exact quest or story beat each part starts. However, we know that Heavensward, for example, will have Part 1 and 2 covering the main expansion story while Part 3 and 4 cover the post-release quests. Shadowbringers on the other hand seems to be divided into two parts. You won't be able to freely jump between quests as each chapter must be played from the beginning, and you'll have one auto-save slot for your New Game+ journey.
It's an ambitious system for the MMORPG, though it is not yet incorporating anything from the base game, A Realm Reborn, though it will come in a future update. Considering that the team is currently tweaking A Realm Reborn to condense its questline and make it a better experience for new players, we may have to wait for the revamp before New Game+ incorporates the original story.
New Main Scenario Quests And Dungeon: The Grand Cosmos
Patches x.1 to x.5 also include new quests in the main story. Not only do they give you additional activities, but they push the narrative forward in the lead-up to the next expansion. And in 5.1, that means we're getting a new dungeon, the Grand Cosmos. It'll be a normal four-player instanced duty and it looks to be a beautiful, fancy mansion with flower gardens and decadent interiors. It was a luxurious palace built by elves that was abandoned as it was overtaken by the Flood.
The Grand Cosmos will be compatible with the Trust system, where you can take on the main story's instanced dungeons with NPCs and let the core characters take on the supporting roles necessary to complete the run. In the trailer, you can see Y'shtola, The Crystal Exarch, and Alphinaud as party members.
A Wolf Pack Of Glamour
Along with the upcoming dungeon in The Grand Cosmos, new gear will be made available as loot. If you ever wanted to glamour-up in wolf pelts, you can soon do that. The screenshot above showcases what the full gear set looks like for each race.
Reworking Jobs: Ninja's Huge Overhaul
Change is constant within the classes and job in FFXIV, and update 5.1 delivers several tweaks and a few major overhauls. Arguably, the most significant alterations are for the Ninja job, which should make life a bit easier. (Though I'm oddly attached to how it currently works since I put in a lot of effort to understand a rather complicated job.)
Ninja's mudra/ninjutsu abilities are core to the attack rotation, and have operated on their own cooldown timers--you'd have to juggle these alongside your normal weaponskills. Impeccable timing and positioning have been key, but higher-ping players normally encounter clipping, where mudra/ninjutsu wouldn't activate at the right time and ruin the rotation.
With 5.1, mudra/ninjutsu will be incorporated into the same global cooldown as weaponskills and get potency boosts. This is a dramatic change that will make Ninja players rethink attack rotations. The Ninki gauge has been readjusted--it now caps at 50 while the three Ninki skills (Bhavacakra, Hellfrog Medium, and Bunshin) cost 50 as well. Ninki accumulation has also been adjusted accordingly.
And that's not all. Trick Attack (the reason anyone wants Ninjas) no longer requires a back attack to inflict its vulnerability effect. The effect now lasts for 15 seconds but now inflicts a 5% defense reduction (down from 10%). Shadow Fang no longer requires a combo to induce its damage-over-time effect.
Reworking Jobs Part 2: Samurai, Summoner, And More
Samurai will get some much needed tweaks, too. The Meditation status effect can stack to three and won't expire, while the Shoha ability will require Meditation to have three stacks. However, Shoha will be usable more frequently since Meditate, Iaijutsu, and Tsubame-gaeshi will now create stacks of Meditation. For Summoners, Egi Assault and Egi Assault II will become spells and part of global cooldown, but get potency boosts. Tri-disaster will change to deal damage directly, but ditches the Ruination status effect.
A Rematch In The New Extreme Trial
While we won't be getting a brand new trial boss, we are going to have a huge challenge with an 'Extreme' version of Shadowbringers' final main story trial. It is the Minstrel's Ballad: Hades' Elegy which matches you up against Hades again from The Dying Gasp trial, except it's going to be a lot more difficult. You can watch Yoshida-san try to run it solo during the Live Letter, though it didn't end well.
The Ultimate Challenge: Alexander (Patch 5.11)
What will probably be even more challenging than the extreme trial will be the upcoming boss fight, which takes us back to Alexander raid series from the Heavensward days. The Epic of Alexander is an 'Ultimate' level battle (the highest difficulty duty level), and the intro cutscene and the first form was shown off during the Live Letter. It'll be available in the 5.11 follow-up patch on November 12.
What Are Fellowships? A New Way To Build Community (Patch 5.11)
Fellowships are a new feature that lets players group up and band together outside of free companies. It seems to be an easier way to maintain friend groups, organize events, or make announcements without having to commit to any one free company. You can set fellowships to indicate up to three specific interests such as housing, events, and/or casual, for example, and it'll have message board-like features and voting. Players can be a member of up to 10 fellowships with each one being able to hold 1,000 players--fellowships will be restricted to the data center they're created on.
Crafting And Gathering To Restore Ishgard (Patch 5.11)
Quality of life changes are coming to crafting and gathering jobs such as a streamlined user interface to help track recipes and a consolidation of seemingly overlapping abilities. Both Desynthesis and Byregot's Blessing will now have a 100% success rate as well. These changes come in patch 5.1 while you'll have to wait for 5.11 to jump into the Restoration of the Holy See of Ishgard.
The Restoration of Ishgard is going to be a project for crafters and gatherers to rebuild the Firmament, which has been a long time coming considering that the city has been in shambles since Heavensward. Players on the same worlds will be working together by taking on tasks and deliveries necessary, and it looks to be an exciting addition for Disciples of Hand/Land enthusiasts. Future updates are planned to further flesh out this feature.
Blue Mage Gets Special Treatment (Patch 5.15)
Those who enjoy playing the special Blue Mage should be excited to know that there's a lot more on the way for this limited job, including a level cap increase to 60 along with core adjustments. There will also be new job quests and Masked Carnivale stages, which put your Blue Mage skills to the test and grant rewards. These additions will come in patch 5.15, scheduled for a later date.
Other Changes: PvP, New Tribe Quests, Housing, and Gold Saucer Activities
If all the previous content explained up to this point wasn't enough, FFXIV players will also get new stuff through PvP, Tribe Quests, and Gold Saucer activities. PvP is adding another frontline battle called Onsal Hakair which pits three teams against each other in an objective-based fight themed around the Nadaam battles in Stormblood. Major overhauls are also coming to PvP movesets and rules.
The upcoming Pixie Tribe Quests are a sight to behold; they'll have their own dedicated area that looks like an amusement park meets Candyland. New housing lots are going to be opened as well, which are going to give priority to free companies. And frequent visitors of the Gold Saucer will have new activities (aka GATEs) where you'll avoid fast moving attacks.