So after my long winding road of catch up, I have finally arrived at the culmination of 2 years worth of extra content.
Our poor Scions are all now trapped in slumber, the world of Eorzea is on the bring of a massive world war with the empire, and I am whisked away to some foreign land by a mysterious hooded figure.
The game opens in the new realm of the First. Bathed in a horrible unending daylight, a world that lost the battle between light and dark, when light won and destroyed everything in its wake. Wait what?!?! How can the light be bad? We are in fact the Warrior of Light, we fight for good, how could this be?
Well that brings us to the main hook of Shadowbringers, balance.
All this time we have been fighting to snuff out the darkness, all the while not realizing the world needs balance, for with the absence of darkness would mean another Calamity would overtake us, as the scale tipped too far in one direction.
That is pretty much the crux of the whole story in Shadowbringers, restoring balance to the world of the First, in hopes of staving off a full blown Calamity that would destroy both the First and Eorzea in one fell swoop.
What is sadly omitted here si the main struggle in Eorzea, what we have built up to over the last 2 years is the final showdown with the Empire, but due to our poorly timed abduction, things back home have to wait, and as time passes different in the First, us being gone for years is only a matter of days back home.
So it is a sneaky way for Square to not wrap things up back in the real world. This is both good and bad, on one hand, it allowed us to see a lot of places we otherwise could not have explained in Eorzea, on the other it seems like a bit of a cop out in story telling. Right when the central story was about to be finally resolved, poof you are taken to a place where time moves differently so it does not screw with the main plot.
But I digress.
The core of the game has seen a massive overhaul. From abilities changing, shared skills no longer being a part of the jobs, to the overall ease added to tanking (and from what I have read, Healing too)
What Shadowbringers has done is somewhat give us a FF14 casual edition.
Now on one hand, for someone returning to the game after 2 years, it is a welcome change. I was always scared to tank as I recall in v2.0 it was seriously hard to keep hate, you had lots to balance.
Now, you just pop a enemity stance and that is it, little to no effort to keep the hate.
Same goes for Bard now sadly. You used to have songs that buffed the party, you would want to pop them at the proper time. Now, your sweet music if for your ears only, nothing more than a button mashing dps, little to no skill needed.
What this did however was push me to seek out other jobs for a challenge.
I dove into my level 50 BLM and took her all the way to 80.
While that may sound like a daunting task, it really isn’t anymore. Exp is so plentiful in Shadowbringers, that just through the main story I was able to get 4 jobs (Brd, Blm, Rdm and Drg) to level 80 with just main story and side quest experience.
Everything over 70 sees massive exp in dungeons as well. So it is a pretty easy run from 70-80 now, which is also good and bad. Sure I can turbo through levels but it feels too casual friendly, like I have not earned it per se.
All in all though, Shadowbringers added some stellar story to the lore of FF14.
We finally understand Hydalean and Eorzea, from millennia of time, back to the very seeds of creation and how the worlds came to be, how the calamities happen, all of it.
This was hands down the biggest bump in lore of any FF14 expansion to date.
A lot of questions we have had for a decade got answered.
In addition to the new story, we also got 2 new jobs thrown into the mix. Gunbreaker and Dancer. A tank and a ranger dps job.
Gunbreaker is a bit of a mix of Pld and War with a side of Machinist thrown in for good measure. You have a gunblade like Squall from FF8. You build up a gauge for the ability to use magic bullets pretty much to deal massive damage.
In my opinion it feels a little too much like a DPS job and not enough support.
And that is a real downfall of FF14, there are no real support roles. I miss the days of FF11 where things like enfeebling were paramount in killing bosses.
Now it is just about timing and dps, the higher the dps, the better chance you have of winning.
The second job is a very convoluted dps job. To be fair I have not played it much outside of the initial unlocking story, but Dancer seems like ti has the potential for some real fun. Maybe I will take her for a spin in the next expansion.
All in all Shadowbringers adds a lot to the old world. I have put in about 300 hours into the expansion and it shows no sighs of slowing. With the new raid and the new alliance raid on the horizon, there is plenty of content to still master.
All in all well worth the price of admission.
A solid 9/10 and a must play for anyone interested in MMOs