With Dawntrail, FFXIV has something to prove in 2024
4 mins read

With Dawntrail, FFXIV has something to prove in 2024

I’ll never forget the thrill of playing the Final Fantasy XIV beta in 2013 and then diving into the full game on my PlayStation 3, all while shamelessly using my neighbor’s Wi-Fi (apologies, neighbor!). This incredible MMORPG came into my life at a crucial moment, providing a bright spot during a tough time. Over the past ten years, it’s been a constant companion through many ups and downs, and now I’m eagerly anticipating the FFXIV Dawntrail expansion in 2024.

As we near the launch of the fifth expansion, Dawntrail, I find myself torn about Final Fantasy XIV in a way I haven’t experienced before. I believe Yoshi-P and the team should have stuck with the initial plan we discussed during the releases of Stormblood and Shadowbringers. Endwalker would have been a two-expansion conclusion to the story in that plan.

FFXIV Dawntrail

While Endwalker may have felt rushed, it still served as a compelling conclusion to the game and set the stage for the next big Final Fantasy MMO. However, Dawntrail seems to deviate from that plan. Instead of concluding the story, it appears to kick off a new narrative arc in 2024, and I’m not entirely convinced.

The initial trailer showcases an intriguing region, but I can’t shake the feeling that it might be filler. Although Square Enix will likely introduce a new villain or captivating threat in the latter part of the expansion, I have reservations. There’s a concern that the potential twist might be underwhelming or feel like filler in some way.

The central theme of the expansion, involving a battle for the throne and the Scions competing against each other, feels like a contrived conflict. It doesn’t seem like it will be overly serious, and even if it is, the plot will probably conclude with everyone sharing a laugh, as tends to be the case in Final Fantasy XIV.

DawnTrail

Since the conclusion of Endwalker, the overall feel of Final Fantasy XIV has been somewhat lackluster. The Golbez arc, in particular, has been bland and forgettable, with only a few standout moments. It marks a low point in the game since Stormblood. While it’s understandable to have a dip in quality after the high of the previous expansion, it raises the question of whether anything can or should follow up on the core story of Hydaelyn and Zodiark.

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While I don’t mind a more lighthearted tone in the upcoming expansion and its beautiful new region, if I’m looking for something more adventurous and a natural shift in the grand ebb and flow, I’d prefer to experience it in a new game, like a potential Final Fantasy XVII MMO. The prospect of a brand-new game with a fresh setting, style, cast, and classes would be an exciting adventure.

Given Square Enix’s decision to continue Final Fantasy XIV with Dawntrail, there’s a significant expectation for the expansion to demonstrate why this approach is better than introducing a completely new MMO. Offering a lighthearted adventure in Tural with fan service and familiar faces, even with tacos, won’t be sufficient. Dawntrail needs to provide a serious glimpse into what lies ahead in the next era of FFXIV. The plan for FFXIV in 2024 and beyond must feel natural and not forced to capitalize on the massive player base.

Crucially, a fresh perspective on dungeons, trials, and endgame content is essential. The repetitive gameplay cycle that worked in the past won’t be satisfying anymore. This is FFXIV’s first opportunity to explore something entirely new, and it should seize it without playing it safe. Ideally, players should see a bold new direction for their characters and the Scions they’ve invested a significant portion of their gaming lives with. Otherwise, come 2025, there might be lingering questions about why Dawntrail was even released.

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Final Fantasy XIV is available for PS4, PS5, and PC. It will also be released for Xbox sometime in Spring 2024. Dawntrail will be launched in Summer 2024.

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