The Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is here – in early access, anyway – the third expansion to the heroically-revitalised MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Following in the footsteps of Heavensward and Stormblood, Square Enix is adding a whole host of new content to the game when Shadowbringers releases in July.
Shadowbringers will continue the game’s Main Scenario Quest with a story that sends players on a journey to become Warriors of Darkness. Considering that we’ve spent the entirety of Final Fantasy XIV so far as Warriors of Light fighting off forces of darkness, it must mean some serious stuff is about to go down in order for us to maintain balance in the world.
Part of that adventure will take players to the First World. This marks the first time the 16 million souls that make up the impressive FFXIV player count will travel beyond the world of Hydaelyn, where the rest of Final Fantasy XIV has taken place. The latest trailer also reveals the return of Minfilia, a young girl under the protection of Thancred. A number of recurring characters will also be taking on new jobs or intriguing new titles. So, let’s get to it: here’s everything you need to know about Final Fantasy 14: Shadowbringers.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers release date
The Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers release date is July 2, 2019. Each copy will include the Heavensward and Stormblood expansions, but you’ll need to purchase a copy of A Realm Reborn separately.
If that’s too long to wait, the FFXIV Shadowbringers early access release date is June 28, 2019 at 10am BST (5am EDT/ 2am PDT), which is today! Naturally, to be eligible for that you’ll need to have the expansion pre-ordered.
There are three versions of Shadowbringers available to pre-order:
- The Standard Edition will cost $39.99, €34.99 or £29.99.
DIGITAL COLLECTOR’S EDITION
- The Digital Collector’s Edition will cost $59.99, €49.99 or £44.99.
- It includes a number of in-game items such as the Grani Mount, Wind-up, Fran Minion, and Revolver Gunbreaker Weapon.
- The Collector’s Edition will cost $199.99, €199.99 or £179.99
- It includes the above in-game items, plus a Special Art Box, 23cm tall Dark Knight Figure, Shadowbringers Art Book, Shadowbringers Logo, Sticker Cling, and Final Fantasy XIV Playing Card Deck.
All Shadowbringers pre-orders come with the Baby Gremlin Minion and Aetheryte Earring (which offers a 30% EXP bonus up to level 70). You’ll also get early access to the expansion, which is scheduled to begin on June 28, 2019.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers trailer
The Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers trailer above was shown off at Square Enix’s E3 2019 press conference. In it we get a taste of the expansion’s story and gameplay as part of a hefty four minutes of footage.
Longer still is the full trailer for Shadowbringers. Released in sections following the expansion’s full reveal at Las Vegas Fan Fest in 2018, if this live action video doesn’t get you hyped for the Shadowbringers release date, we don’t know what will.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers new jobs
We’re expecting two new jobs to be added to Final Fantasy XIV with the Shadowbringers expansion. The first one, Gunbreaker, was revealed at the European Fan Fest in Paris. A few months later, Dancer was revealed as the second at Tokyo Fan Fest.
FFXIV SHADOWBRINGERS GUNBREAKER JOB
- Role: Tank
- Armour: Plate armour
- Starting Level: 60 (subject to change)
- Starting Location: Gridania (subject to change)
The Gunbreaker is the master of the gunblade – a ludicrously improbable but effortlessly cool weapon most famously wielded by Squall Leonhart in Final Fantasy VIII. The job sits alongside Warrior, Paladin and Dark Knight as the game’s fourth Tank class.
Having had some time with the role in our FF14 Shadowbringers impressions, it’s clear that anyone who has played one of the other Tank jobs in FF will find playing Gunbreaker immediately familiar. You’ll have a single target and area of effect rotation for tanking, in addition to other damage mitigation skills.
One of the job’s unique mechanics is the ability to load cartridges into your Gunblade after completing certain attack combos. These can then be unloaded to weave in a number of special attacks during combat to dish out more damage or help you hold aggro better. Overall, the Gunbreaker doesn’t drastically change the tanking routine in FFXIV, but does offer some variety for those who have already mastered the role.
FFXIV SHADOWBRINGERS DANCER JOB
- Role: Ranged DPS
- Armour: Unknown (Likely to share ‘Aiming’ gear with Bard and Machinist)
- Starting Level: 60 (Subject to change)
- Starting Location: Limsa Lominsa (Subject to change)
With the Dancer’s rich history as a healer in Final Fantasy V and XI, many expected the FFXIV Dancer job to become the game’s fourth healer. Instead it’s a ranged DPS, alongside Bard and Machinist. However, Dancer also boasts a support role, too. By throwing sweet shapes during battle you can not only buff yourself but empower your allies.
This is performed through amusing little Guitar Hero style mini-games that tasks you with matching dance moves on the screen in order to activate your buffs. By assigning a party member as your dance partner you can share these benefits with them as well as other temporary boons that can improve damage, defense, and more.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers new races
FFXIV SHADOWBRINGERS VIERA RACE
Shadowbringers adds the Viera as a new race to Final Fantasy XIV. This lithe and rabbit-eared humanoid race will be familiar to anyone who has played Final Fantasy XII or Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Fran, who was one of the main party members in the former release, popped up in the recent part of the Return to Ivalice raid, suggesting that the Viera race would be coming to the game soon. Viera are a female-only race.
FFXIV SHADOWBRINGERS HROTHGAR RACE
Square Enix is also adding the Hrothgar race to Final Fantasy XIV as part of the third expansion. These fierce beasts share a few similarities to the Ronso from Final Fantasy X, including the horns we can spot in the reveal trailer. The Hrothgar will be gender-locked as a male-only race.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers new areas
At the Paris Fan Festival, we can glimpse two new zones you’ll be able to visit in Shadowbringers: the Rak’tika Greatwood and Il Meng.
The first new FFXIV Shadowbringers location is a dense green forest full of spindly trees, old ruins, and thick bogs. The second is far more appealing as it contains a rich variety of strange and colourful flora, vast fields and lakes, and a grand looking building that looms over the area.
The cities of The Crystarium and Eulmore in the First World will serve as important player hubs and key locations throughout the Main Scenario.
The Crystarium boasts opulent glass dome structures surrounding an enormous crystal tower in the centre. Eulmore disguises its grand and lavish interiors amid the trash and ruins of a nearby shanty town.
Then there’s Lakeland, a more open field area with room for quests, FATEs, monster hunts, and more across its vast plains.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers raids
Final Fantasy XIV hasn’t been shy of hosting a collaboration event every now and then, yet it was still a huge surprise when game producer and director Naoki Yoshida announced that the new raid for Shadowbringers would be based on Square Enix RPG series Nier.
Previous raid content, such as the Return to Ivalice series or the original Crystal Tower, has plundered the depths of Final Fantasy history for inspiration. However, this is the first time an outside universe will be part of the large scale 24-man raid.
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Entitled YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse, fans of Nier: Automata, in particular, should be very excited for the new raid as Nier creators Yosuke Saito and the enigmatic moon-headed Yoko Taro are both involved in the project. Nothing outside of their attachment to the raid and a single piece of key art has been released so far.
Little of the Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Eden raid was revealed at Tokyo Fan Fest, but we do know that, like Omega and Alexander before it, Eden will represent the game’s hardest raid content for eight players. However, it won’t launch on the first day as the expansion: we’ll get the normal version with patch 5.01 on July 16 and, on July 30, we’ll get the savage difficulty variant with patch 5.05, which will also feature the Lyhe Ghiahl treasure hunt dungeon.
It also features a character designed by Tetsuya Nomura, who is best know as a Final Fantasy veteran and the director of Kingdom Hearts 3. Could we see more Final Fantasy XIV collaborations in Shadowbringers?
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Beast Tribes and Primals
Each Final Fantasy XIV expansion usually comes with a new Beast Tribe or two and Shadowbringers is no different with the introduction of the Pixies and their Primal, Titania.
As is always the case, the Warrior of Light and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn will have to step in once again when the Pixies gather up enough crystals to summon Titania. Before the Primal can unleash too much terror across the land she will have to be swiftly dispatched by eight players in a new FFXIV Shadowbringers Trial.
Much like many of the game’s current Primal encounters, we can almost certainly expect that a tougher ‘Extreme’ version of the fight will be added to the game as well, where players will be able to earn high-level weaponry.
The second of the expansion’s Beast Tribes, the Dwarves, will be found within the First World attempting to summon a Primal named Innocence. That may sound fairly benevolent for a massive magical being, but when you consider that they are also known as the “Sin-eater”, it definitely sounds like a job for the Warrior of Light and pals in an eight-player Trial.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers ‘Trust’ System
Expanding on a number of ideas introduced throughout the Final Fantasy XIV Main Scenario Quests and Grand Company Adventurer Squadrons, Shadowbringers will allow players to team up with familiar NPCs and tackle instanced dungeons together.
This system allows AI-controlled NPCs to tag with into any of the nine, four-man dungeons in Shadowbringers. This means you’ll be able to bring along the likes of Thancred, Y’Shtola, and Alisaie into dungeons instead of other players.
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Spending more time with these characters outside the confines of the main story gives you a chance to find out more about them and let their personalities flourish. With the AI’s slow and unpredictable tendencies in mind, the intention isn’t to stop your partying up with other players: it’s just an alternative, especially if you want to run a dungeon without waiting to queue for additional members.
Going by the name (and the Custom Deliveries for crafters and gatherers already in the game), we would also guess that completing dungeons with NPCs successfully will increase your reputation with them. Doing so could potentially unlock a range of rewards including items, loot, and cosmetic gifts while also improving the skills and abilities of your chosen teammates.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers gameplay changes
A handful of small to drastic gameplay refinements will also be introduced alongside the Shadowbringers expansion – read all about them in the official Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers patch notes. Most significant are refinements to existing jobs and the game’s battle system. Shadowbringers ushers in a reduction in of many job and role actions to declutter already overflowing hotbars, better streamline job playstyles, and make room for the new abilities gained in the climb from level 70 to 80. Every job has been looked at – Machinist is to be completely reworked, for instance – while all healers and tanks have been balanced.
Side quests in Shadowbringers regions will now be level-synced so you have more ways to gain experience when levelling additional jobs. Meanwhile, FATEs will offer extra rewards in addition to experience points. You can acquire unique tokens that can be spent at region specific vendors to purchase minions, items, crafting material, and orchestrion rolls.
The FFXIV gameplay changes are numerous and significant, including everything from tweaks to the UI, and better pet controls, to the removal of main attribute materia and the introduction of a better defined interrupt system.