Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is FFXIV’s Best Expansion to Date.

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is FFXIV's Best Expansion to Date.

Lali-ho!

So I finished the main story for Shadowbringers 5 days after Early Access. I was there at launch and both my wife MrsStix and I took a whole week off work to play it.
Neither of us have ever been there for the launch of an expansion so this was a first for us.
We’d expected a lot of downtime, a lot of lag, errors, crashes and y’know, what you’d generally expect out of an expansion’s launch but honestly.. with the exception of a few hiccups, it went pretty well.
Kudos to Square Enix for making last week worth it.

Now to preface this entire thing I am going to say that I will do my utmost to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.

I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV for 7 months now and have enjoyed every moment of it. I even went as far as releasing a video titled “Final Fantasy XIV Is The Best MMORPG Right Now.”
As of recording this, that couldn’t be any more true. I- I literally cannot express how amazing Shadowbringers has been.
I played A Realm Reborn about 6 months before Heavensward released, and then dabbled in Heavensward somewhat around 6 months after its release, but didn’t play it full-time as a main game until 7 months ago.
I know that the base game, AKA, level 1 through 50 can be a little tedious to get through, especially with all the subsequent patches, but without playing through the story you won’t fully understand what’s going on.
I mean as an example… Ilberd’s fate is only satisfying if you know the history of the game and how he, along with certain other characters relate to the current story!
I know some people might pay to skip content or complain that the game sucks due to a lack of patience or understanding, but trust me, the development you see across the course of the game, especially moving into Shadowbringers is pretty incredible.

I didn’t think I could be this moved by an MMO. I played through Heavensward which had a fantastic story. Then I moved through Stormblood which was admittedly a little slower to start up but finished at peak hype for me.
So moving into Shadowbringers I expected it to start off slowly and build up over the course of the game and subsequent patches, but boy was I wrong.
Not only have I never been moved to this extent by an MMO, I would have never guessed it was possible to tell such a deep, rich, compelling story in the form of an expansion for an MMO!
Natsuko Ishikawa, you truly outdid yourself.
You have told one of the most amazing stories in a Final Fantasy game since the franchise was released, and the Reddit thread thanking you is proof that a lot of people agree with this sentiment.

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Of course we wouldn’t have been nearly as moved had the voice acting not been the quality it was and the music.. Masayoshi Soken, you sir are a musical genius.

The leveling experience has been an absolute blast. There has been so much content to consume, so much voice acting, so much emotion and at the same time – so many laugh out loud moments.
Each and every area has been packed with what seems like an endless supply of players. Every single FATE that spawned had upwards of 20 people participating in it.
People were just.. everywhere. Doing every single thing you could think of. It was unreal.
I know that due to the release of the Gunbreaker class queues for Tanks have been quite.. okay, significantly different to what we’re used to but thankfully MrsStix mains a White Mage, and healers are currently in demand.
That allows for tanks like myself to skip through to the front of the queue and get right in to what I need to do!
I’ll admit that I was a little taken aback by not only how beautiful the world was, but how beautifully crafted the dungeons themselves were.
We’re quite the dungeon-whores in this family. We love grinding outfits, we love grinding gear, part of the journey to us is the grind so seeing how detailed each and every one of them was.. Man.
I swear, and this is no joke, that we’ve run each level 80 dungeon at least ten times now to almost fully fill us out in item level 440 gear.
That way we can begin running the Extreme mode 8-player raids we’ve been looking forward to without dragging down our teams.

I could say so much about Shadowbringers. It is by far the very best incarnation of the game to have existed – for me – thus far.
The world that they built is beautiful. I ended up not wanting to go back to The Source at the end because I just fell so in love with The First.
I will admit that at first the pruning of my skills concerned me and I found it a little difficult to acclimate to the new style of Warrior, without having my “Oh shit, I’m dying, pop self-heals” button.
But I’ve gotten used to how this plays and I’m still in the process of learning. MrsStix on the other hand loves White Mage right now and doesn’t want it to change, even though healers will probably see a small nerf in the future.
I couldn’t have thought of a better story to be told. A better villain to grace our screens. A better end to another chapter.

I know that the following patches that lead us back through The Source and to our ultimate enemy will be good, but I don’t think they’ll be as good, honestly, as what we’ve had the pleasure of playing through.
So while I plan on playing Final Fantasy XIV indefinitely going forward into the future, I would like to say thank you to the team behind the game. You’ve made it into something amazing and I hope for the continued success of the MMO.

What do you guys think of the expansion? Of the villain? Of where we’re at in the story right now?