Last Sunday I finally finished Shadowbringers. What a journey it was! I said this in my "Shadowbringers First Impressions" post and I will say it again, this is the best expansion that Final Fantasy XIV had so far. I am even kinda afraid that they won't be able to top this one with the next expansions but if they get close that will be good enough for me. 🙂
Anyway, now that I finished the whole expansion here are some more thoughts about it. Consider it as a kind of addendum to my previous post about the expansion.
Again, I will try to not spoil anything for those who didn't start playing through it yet. I will also try to not ramble too much. XD
More thoughts about the story
Probably one of the aspects I liked the most in this expansion's story was that the Scions felt like actual friends in this journey. What I mean by that is that in "A Realm Reborn" I felt more like I was their errand boy and primal killer. Which is par for the course for MMOs but still....
Then in "Heavensward" and "Stormblood" most of them were absent due to story reasons. This time though all the active Scions (minus Tataru (and yes I count her as a Scion too, fight me!)) were here. They all got their time to shine, to show why they were part of the group and above all, genuine friendship towards us.
I guess what I am trying to say with this is that I wish they were handled better back in ARR and we could have spent this kind of time with them earlier. But maybe with the introduction of the Trust system this means we'll continue to spend some time with them in future storylines.
As for the villain, just like the Scions he spent just the right amount of time on screen. His motives and goals were also pretty clear, relatable even. In fact, if I were on his shoes I am not sure I would have done things different.
Learning more about the Warriors of Darkness (aka the First's original Warriors of Light) was another thing that I enjoyed a lot. To be honest back in the Heavensward's patches when they were introduced I thought their whole concept silly and it felt more like a weird side story.
But now that we can learn more about them through the Main Story and Role Quests they became some of my favorite characters in this game. I even feel bad for the fate that befell them and feel like they deserved better.
The only thing I didn't like were that the story felt like it dragged a bit near the end. I don't know if it felt like that because I was doing every side quest or if people who leveled through fates/dungeons felt like that too.
There were also a few things I didn't feel like the story addressed but maybe they will explain in the patches. It is a minor thing though and I am completely fine with doing some headcanon if they never touch on the subject.
Oh, and that end felt so epic and deserved after the Journey we went through. Again, nothing in Final Fantasy XIV that came before felt as good as this. 🙂
Overall I am pretty satisfied with the story in this expansion. Now looking forward to see what they add in the patches!
Further thoughts on the Trust System, Dungeons and Trials
I can't say enough how much of a blessing the Trust System has been. Not only it saved me time on the Duty Finder queue, it allowed to do all the dungeons in this expansion at my own pace and figure out the boss fight mechanics by myself.
There is one thing that changes with the Trust System after the story is done though: they won't scale up to the dungeon levels anymore. They will start at level 71 and each member will have to be leveled individually through dungeon runs with them.
If you are familiar with the Grand Company squadron system it is pretty much the same. Whoever you bring with you to the dungeon is the one who will earn XP. I might be wrong about the numbers but it might take about 5 runs to get them from level 71 to 72. I am not sure if this number will remain constant or if it will require more dungeon runs as the levels go up.
So if you were afraid this would mean people wouldn't queue up for the Duty Finder anymore, this should put those fears to rest. Only the most dedicated people will keep using the Trust System to queue for the dungeons.
Personally I will keep using it to level up Jobs I am not too confident with like Tanks and Healers as well as to make sure I am got the boss fight mechanics down.
As for the dungeons themselves none of them felt particularly hard. I was able to clear all of them in the first try with just some deaths here or there due to some dumb mistake or not understanding a mechanic the first time. But overall they were enjoyable.
I will admit though there are a few mechanics I am still not entirely sure how they work and I intend to try those dungeons again as soon as possible to figure them out. But those are the exceptions rather than the rule.
The same goes for the Trials. None of them felt particularly hard or complicated. The only one I heard gave people some trouble was Titania. I was lucky that a tank friend offered to help and I guess some of the other players did the fight already too. So we were able to clear it in the first try.
Since I got Machinist to level 80 I decided to level Monk next. Right now it is at level 71 so this will be a "First Impression" as it gets. Also, I am not one for numbers so if you want the nitty-gritty about the numbers or abilities I haven't been able to unlock yet to comment on, I will point you to Larryzaur's Media Tour video on the subject.
The feeling I got is that is a very polished version of the Monk we got in Stormblood. If you hated Monks during that expansion then I doubt there will be anything on them in this expansion that will change your mind.
One thing that is gone is One Inch Palm. Now I don't have to worry anymore about what kind of rotation or situation to use it in. Actually, pretty much all the stuns we had are gone. We only have the same ones as other melee DPSes have which works for me.
Yes, that means Shoulder Tackle doesn't get an extra effect depending on what kind of Fist we have active anymore. It also now has charges, up to two.
One nice addition is "Four Point Fury", an AOE that requires us to be in raptor form to use. With it we finally have an "AOE combo" as it sits nicely between "Arm of the Destroyer" and "Rockbreaker".
One thing I am curious to see how it will work is Riddle of Wind, a trait that unlocks at level 76. With it we'll be able to get a four Greased Lightning if we have "Fists of Wind" active. It is an interesting way to make "Firsts of Wind" useful since before then I never really found an use for it. It will be interesting to see how it will be to switch from "Fist of Fire" (while under 3 or less Greased Lightning) to "Fist of Wind" mid-combat (for the fourth Greased Lightning).
All in all, I am pretty satisfied with the tweaks to monks. Will I change back to make it my main? Unlikely. I still love the Job and I still love melee. But I had so much fun going through Shadowbringers as Mechanist that I honestly can't see myself making any other job my main one. 🙂