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Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Confirmed To Be a World Hopping Adventure

Posted on March 23, 2019 by Rae Michelle Richards

Last night Final Fantasy XIV: Online Producer & Director Naoki Yoshida took to the main stage in front of 15,000 in-person attendees and the world via livestream to reveal even more information about the MMO’s third expansion, Shadowbringers. Confirmed during the 90 minute presentation were the location for the expansion, the highly rumoured Dancer job, several major cities to be featured in Shadowbringers, not one but two playable races and finally the theme for the 8-person end game raids.

A World Flooded By Light: The First Shard

Future Warriors of Darkness will be headed to a region known as Novrandt but that players will better know as the First Shard, the reflection of Hydaelym where Heavenwards Warriors of Darkness came from. It is a world of perpetual daylight, where “the sun” never sets due to the overwhelming imbalance of the Light aspect Aether that has enveloped Novarandt.  During the MSQ we’ll have to restore the aetherial balance, welcome Darkness back to the First Shard and bring night upon the Shard for the first time in who knows how long.

Now that we know that The First is where our characters will land in 5.0, it also confirms that the previously revealed zones of Il Mheg, The Rak’tika Greatwood and Amh Araeng are not on the Source world where the Warrior of Light originates. Yesterday’s KeyNote address revealed an additional area called “Lakeland” which is where our adventures on The First Shard will begin. If you’re looking at the architecture featured within the city screenshots in this article and feel that they are familiar, don’t be alarmed, the designs take a lot of influence from previously revealed FFXIV concept videos and even the original 1.0 release!

Civilization within The First Shard is nothing like that of Hydaelyn. Facing the pressure of a looming Calamity of Light that could wipe out the entire Shard, the people of The First struggle to survive within two large city states that act as their last bastion.

Known city locations include:

The Crystarium – Home to the First Shard’s Crystal Tower, The Crystarium takes a lot of design cues from a 2005 tech demo called “Rapture” and 1.0 Limsa. Surprisingly, this area was also featured a piece of concept art released for the Red Mage job in 2017.

Eulmore – An alternate version Ul Dah, this brightly coloured purple & yellow city houses the affluent and politically powerful who are sheltered from the horrors of the Calamity of Light while the majority of the population live in shambles outside of the city.

New Job – Dancer

Previous leaks pointed to Dancer being the new job revealed for Shadowbringers and this turned out to be 100% correct. While many in the community expected Dancer to be a healer, similar to how they were in Final Fantasy XI, given XIV’s delicate healer balance and how gameplay mechanics for the role alternate between shielding / healing, it does make more sense for Dancer to be a DPS. Dancer will join Bard and Machinist in the category of Ranged DPS, it will utilize “throwing weapons” and like the previously revealed GunBreaker will start at level 60.

Raid Series: “Eden”

A new raid series was announced for the expected 8 person raids that are one of the key features of the “even numbered” patches (5.0, 5.2, 5.4). Previously we ‘ve got raids for The Binding Coil of Bahamut, Alexander and The Bend of Time: Omega and now we’ll be visiting “The Garden of Hope: Eden”. Right now we don’t have much to go on in terms of tangible story details or even the bosses that we will be encountering. It was revealed that guest creator Testsuya Nomura (Final Fantasy VII:R, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Kingdom Hearts) will be designing an original character for the Eden series of raids alongside the monster designs.

As for Gaia (Nomura’s character) – well she has a very intricate outfit (as to be expected of Nomura), that I instantly want as a glamour, and weilds a really big hammer.  As fellow FFXIV players know – there isn’t a “hammer job” within XIV currently, nor has one been announced. The closest we’ve ever come is the “Magitek Hammer” that villain turned comedy relief Nero Tol Scaeva uses in combat, so chances are we won’t be getting a hammer job any time soon.

New Race – Hrothgar

Viera aren’t the only new race that will come with the release of Final Fantasy XIV 5.0: Shadowbringers. Revealed during the Keynote, a new male exclusive race known as the “Hrothgar” will make their presence known across Hydaelyn and beyond. Featuring a large bulky stature, similar in size it appears to the Roegadyn, and with more beastly features than the existing Miqo – the Hrothgar bring a more feral and animal like appearance to the denizens of FFXIV’s world.

It should be noted that the Hrothgar will be gender locked to males only while the bunny-like Viera are locked to female only. Gender locking races is something that the 2010 version of Final Fantasy XIV did with Female Only Miqo and Male Only Roegadyn before Yoshida’s team reversed the decision with the release of A Realm Reborn.

Speaking about the races of Hydaelyn and The First, all of the races that we’ve come to know actually have different names on The First, since both societies have evolved since the split. For example the Hyur are known as the Humes while the Miqo are known as the Mystel. Oh, and the Lalafel are the First Shard’s Dwarves – who are also a Beast Tribe.

My Thoughts

As longtime player of Final Fantasy XIV who started in Patch 2.3 it is always exciting to see where we will be going with the major content updates that expansion launches bring. I am really excited and pleased with the choice of The First Shard as the location for Shadowbringers. All of the zones revealed thus far feature really vibrant colour pallets and oh my gosh – all of those early development and 1.x callbacks within the city designs. I never got to experience the pre-calamity version of Eorzea but FFXIV’s lore, Main Scenario Quests and world is something that has had a huge impact on not just myself but family and friends. My spouse and I always look forward to “patch day” when we have new trails, raids and main story content to make our way through and digest. As a Machinist Main I personally can’t wait wait for the job changes, 4.x MCH really solidified that it’s my favourite role – utilizing turrets, flamethrowers and jumping around feels awesome. I’m personally disappointed with the decision to gender lock the two new races, especially since this is something Yoshida’s team has been working to move away from all the way back in ARR. It won’t personally affect my enjoyment of Shadowbringers since Reka is a Miqo and I’d never use a fantasia on her, but other players being upset about the gender locking is understandable.

Before making our journey to The First Shard several patches are expected between now and the official July 2nd release. 4.56 will launch this coming Tuesday to wrap up the Main Scenario Quests until Shadowbringers launches. 4.57 will bring the “World Visit System” allowing Warriors of Light to visit any world on their datacenters, it will also bring a reshuffle of the North American and European servers – including my home of Balmung.

Further details about Shadowbringers, combat changes, the Dancer job and The First are expected to be revealed later this weekend throughout the Japanese Fanfest and at various Media Tours in North America, Europe and Japan sometime in mid-May 2019.

Reka Ai’a of Balmung


Everything Talked About During The Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest Q & A

Posted on November 19, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Over the weekend Square Enix held the biennial Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest in Las Vegas. Expectations were high, and honestly it feels like Naoki Yoshida and co delivered with the debut trailer for the game’s latest expansion ShadowBringers. On Saturday Final Fantasy XIV Producer / Director Noaki Yoshida sat down with Sound Director Masayoshi Soken along with a translator. The pair took questions from curious Warriors of Light who traveled from all around the (physical) world to ask the pair questions about Eorzea, its lore and what the future had in store.  Topics ranged from how the developers plan to balance Tank accessories, to the stability of servers and how they’ll bring new accessibility options to FFXIV.

Below is a complete transcript of the Q & A. Please note that this transcript was typed in real-time during the Q & A so there may be minor typographical errors and wording may not be exactly 100% accurate.

Please Look Forward To It!

Q: Lots of players need to use VPNs to connect without disconnecting it lag. Will be talking to ISPs about routing?

A: this is an issue we are constantly tackling. We strive to provide the best service but the ISPs are their own company and sometimes they are cooperative. Sometimes they push back about accommodating for our needs. We will continue to reach out, we are not giving up.

Q: I was curious, do you have any plans for realm vs realms open world PvP content with siege weapons?

A: To be honest we do not have any plans. We did hear that applause, we acknowledge that – no need to exert the opinion that we only want PVE content but thank you.

Going back to the original question, we don’t have plans currently – we have done tests where we take certain worlds where we turn on the PVP flag and have Grand Company battles in the public space. It is possible – if we were to do something like this we would still make it a PVP realm. We are continuing to monitor if this is content that is wanted.

The Warrior of Light / Darkness From The ShadowBringers Trailer

Q: it’s clear that time is progressing in the expansion trailers. We don’t know much time has passed. Since ARR how old have our characters grown?

A: That might not be something we want to touch upon. We don’t want to specifically answer it or make it canon so to speak.

That being said, since 1.0 and looking at Shadowbringers we do notice that our warrior of light has aged. We hope that you can imagine or speculate how this might be. Maybe it’s static party breaking apart and disbanding (referencing a reddit post).

Q: Everyone here appreciates all of the work that you do. We have Hilda who is half elezen half human. I’m Stormblood a half human half Raen is mentioned. Could we get to play as these types of character?

A: *laughs* That’s why I told you not to bring out those characters so many times! It’s Oda-san! I do believe we would have the possibility of more NPCs like that appearing but having them playable….

Say for example a half Miqo’te, half Roegadyn, what kind of voice would it have?

Sokken: I have no idea!

FFXIV Producer / Director Naoki Yoshida Presenting The FFXIV Fan Fest Keynote

Q: I’d like to thank you for making one of the greatest games I look forward to every day. My question is. – there are 15 classes in the game and rumours for more. In terms to glamour plates, can we have them linked to class or more plates? I could be a MNK or SMN but the weapon would be different but the gear stays the same.

A: I believe we do have three major tasks in regards to the Glamour Dresser and plates. We want to increase the number of sets you can store in the dresser. Another task we want to look into is the number of available plates. Third would be increasing the number of Locations where you can use these plates.

We do have these three tasks identified. We are still investigating which task to take on, and what’s feasible technically. Updates on this may come in spurts. In terms of your question you’re asking about tasks 2 – increasing the number of plates. Technically speaking increasing the number of plates and recognizing a job is possible. This brings up a great opportunity – by show of applause which would be your preference, we will name out the three tasks we are looking at.
Sound director please be the judge.

Sokken: Number 4 – I get less work.

Q: New races are exciting but I wanted to ask about the existing character models. Like Male elezen looks a little weird around the neck with some gear. Are there plans to polish up existing models?

A: Technically speaking it’s not impossible to do but say hypothetically speaking at the launch of Shadow Bringers you see Elezen have very compact neck, people familiar with existing characters would say “why would you do that!” It’s a very line. If it isn’t too much trouble – if you are experiencing these issues please post a screenshot on the official forums and we will look into it. Please mark the posts as (Fanfest QA).

Sokken: I have a request for the sound team and QA for this. Something I always get asked about the Waring Triad mounts. A lot of time people think ur music is the latter half of the battle but I The Sephorot case it is the music from the first half of the fight. People say “change it!” But if we do change it people will say “why did you change it!”.

Yoshida: If we did change it we wouldn’t have the first stage music would not be on the mounts. As a development team people say “you could just change it” – as a development team if it were that simple we would have already done it. Everything in the game has an ID and there are no more IDs.

Q: Thank you for making Ultomate and Savage. We love directing how the mechanics how they work. In Omega 3 Savage the big fists chose players in the light Partyand we can’t figure out how this works. Could you shed some light on this?

A: *everyone laughs* According to the person who handled this (Omega S3) – I had actually asked how are people being picked? And I think I remember them saying that may be a bug…

*crowd erupts in laughter*

Depending on which jobs make up the party there seems to be a pattern. I’m so sorry! Just to add to this – it is not a critical bug where you can’t clear the content. But we don’t want to go in there and make things worse, we are still in the monitoring phase. I’m so sorry!

The President of Square Enix comes on stage dressed as a Blue Mage during the reveal of the Job at Fanfest.

Q: Showing my friends End Game raids from HW and SB a lot of my friends love it but when they start they get to 2.X quest chains and they stop playing. Is there any plans to condense that so that maybe players who left will come back?

A: To be completely honest with you. I would love to go into ARR to rebuild the story quests – and there are a lot of quests in that narrative. We have looked into the quests in there and not cutting out quests but making adjustments to what is necessary to progress. When we evaluated previous quests in previous expansions we decided we would have to dedicate a lot of resource too. Now that we’re moving into development of Shadow Bringers it is something we could look into post 5.0 launch.

Q: In the trailer there for 5.0 it sounds like they’re saying “Warping Shadows” what are the lyrics?

Sokken: Warping Shadow! It’s me! It’s a secret!

Yoshida: I wanted to add if you hear a male vocals on a song it’s usually one of those two – Sokken or Koji Fox. The sounds of the gremlin are one of the sound design team.

Q: White Mage is very maligned right now and we won’t find out any changes until 5.0. Is the team looking into this a the Lillies and other mechanics make it difficult to raid. Scholar and AST are the main picks in Omega.

A: Let’s look at it from the timing perspective first. At the time of the release we will adjust each of the jobs within their role. With certain mechanics of these jobs – we heard a lot of feedback, certainly MCH, we will have to take a hard look at them for rework. I’m so sorry! We are going to look into making adjustments into the fundamental mechanics of these jobs – we’ll make sure to communicate this before the launch. Please look forward to more information as it is to come.

In terms of the immediate Patch 4.5 – we are looking at the numbers and deciding amongst the development team whether or not we make any adjustments to WHM or MNK. We will had a second live letter before the launch of the patch.

Blue Mage Strikes a Pose In The Reveal Trailer

Q: Thanks for adding Blue Mage to the game. I’m a big really fan of the instances content like the haunted house mini game. As an homage to FF7 could we get a haunted house game in the golden saucer?

Sokken: There’s this memory problem.

Yoshida: *contemplates* First and foremost letting us know you enjoy the Seasonal Event. Any sort of instanced content we try to add several of these within the year. We are at our maximum workload when we are introducing those within our upcoming Starlight Celebration this winter. Considering have that kind of content to the Gold Saucer we’d have to consider what do we do with the following years mini games and seasonal events. It is tough to consider these events from a development perspective. In the live letter we will be introducing two new games for the Gold Saucer later this afternoon!

Q: As a player with near nearsightedness, colorblindness i would like to thank you how accessible you’d made the game. Could it be possible to change the color of damage indicators for AOEs on the floor on the client side as they tend to bleed into the floor.

A: We have done our due diligence to research accessibility and that there are differences depending on the individual. If we were to have to adjustments on the client side – we would have to prepare different types of assets – in our accessibility settings we do have color adjustment to filters has that helped?

In this case but if you could post this on our forums. We would like to get information about what content and where you have trouble recognizing the AOEs so that we can consider the color variations and patterns we use on our floors within our content.

Q: Warriors has shifted to using crafted accessories that make only a few 100HP difference but our DMG can make the difference in the situation of a 1% wipe. Are there plans to address this?

A: This is an issue that has existed for a while. There are lots of issues why can’t revert to the calculation used in the Midas era. At that time Tanks had a lot of DPS and we felt this was an issue. From a game balance perspective despite being a tank role the damage dealt is increasingly close to that of a DPS role Job. ATK power is consistently high. At the same time in order to raise the damage dealt we do have to rely on crafters and there are players considering the raid drops being inferior to the crafted alternatives.


SEGA Reveals TwitchCon 2017 Lineup

Posted on October 17, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Publisher SEGA announced that they will be attending the annual video streaming convention TwitchCon from October 20th through the 22nd in Long Beach California. SEGA will be bringing two of their biggest Fall titles with them for attendees to play: Sonic Forces & Total War: Warhammer II.

Total War: Warhammer fans can get a sneak peek at the upcoming Mortal Empires add-on which merges content from both the original game and its sequel for a truly epic new campaign. Mortal Enemies brings the starting faction count to a staggering 117 and is only a small part of Creative Assembly’s vision for a Trilogy of Warhammer strategy titles that will intermingle via free add-on DLC.  Mortal Enemies will make an appearance both on the show floor as well as on SEGA’s official Twitch.tv channel.

To comprehend the sheer density  that is the content within Mortal Enemies here is how Creative Assembly’s official announcement describes it:

“In terms of content, Mortal Empires is way, way denser than we’d initially envisaged back in 2013, when we were in pre-production for the first game. That’s thanks in part to our New Content team, headed by the ever-cheery Rich Aldridge, whose small but insanely talented crew have contributed to massively more playable factions per-square-mile in the Old World (and therefore in Mortal Empires) than we’d originally imagined. New factions for all those original Old World races (Clan Angrund, Crooked Moon, Bloody Handz and all the rest) plus three new races in Bretonnia, Wood Elves and Beastmen, each with their own sub-factions and start positions. Factor in what the core Warhammer team has been working on for the last year and a half – four new races (that’s eight more Legendary Lords and start positions) with eye-poppingly different mechanics and playstyles for Warhammer II – and you’ve got quite a busy map to play on.”

Also coming to the show floor & twitch is brand new content from the upcoming Sonic Forces. Attendees will be able to check out 4 stages from the final game @ TwitchCon using either Classic Sonic. Modern Sonic or for the first time ever – a custom created character! Sonic Forces will be released on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 7th.


A Tabletop Focused PAX Event Is Coming To Philadelphia, PAX Unplugged!

Posted on January 29, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

PAX Unplugged

Do you enjoy table top gaming? How about vividly imagining you are a stealthy rogue or a super strong barbarian? Then you are going to love attending the brand new PAX spin-off event that was recently announced. PAX Unplugged. Taking place between November 17th and 19th this new convention focuses exclusively on tabletop roleplaying games and other offline entertainment activities.  All of this sword wielding, arrow slinging and backstabbing action will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center!

Unlike the gaming focused PAX East, PAX West (formally PAX Prime), PAX Australia and PAX South events PAX Unplugged focuses primarily on tabletop roleplaying, collectable card games, board games and other non-electronic / online entertainment activities. Attendees will also have the chance to check out concerts, panels with industry professionals and themed tournaments.

The official PAX Unplugged site has recommendations for hotels in Philadelphia that are close to the convention center. Tickets are currently no available for PAX Unplugged but they do offer an email blast to potential attendees as well as information for perspective exhibitors.


GaymerX 4 Convention Guest Speakers List Revealed

Posted on August 23, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

GaymerX, the LGBTQ2SA+ focused gaming convention, has announced a partial list of their speakers list for their fourth convention. Featuring more than 100 different diverse speakers, games and events there is a whole lot of stuff to do during the weekend of September 30th in Santa Clara, California.

This year’s speakers list include the writer of the Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age franchises David Gaider, Creator of the Fallout universe Tim Caine, Gamasutra Game critic and Culture Critic Katherine Cross and others will be speaking at panels during the convention.

Here is a partial list released by Midboss via press release:

*   David Gaider (BioWare)
*   Tim Cain (Bethesda)
*   Mark Barlet (AbleGamers)
*   Katherine Cross (Gamasutra)
*   Laura Kate Dale (Destructoid)
*   Dave Fennoy (The Walking Dead)
*   Brandon McGill (body artist and music video director)
*   Kitty Powers (drag personality and game developer)
*   Progducto (ESPN contributor and competitive gamer)
*   Karin Weekes (BioWare)
*   Patrick Weekes (BioWare)

What else is there to do at GX4? An entire expo-floor featuring some of the latest offerings from technology giants like Microsoft, Oculus, Harmonix as well as several independent developers. Folks from MAGFest will also be bringing several games & consoles for attendees to join in on the interactive fun with each other.

Here is an “at a glance” look at various GX4 activities provided by Midboss:

*   Talks and panels: Industry legends come together to discuss fun (or serious!) topics and share stories.
*   Parties and special events: Meet new people, rock out, play games, or watch a cool show!
*   Expo hall: AAA developers and indies are sharing their wares at G4X. Come for the tantalizing preview of games currently in development and stay for the obligatory swag!
*   MAGFest arcade: Play tons of arcade games (for free, of course)!
*   Games galore: Join the creators of board, card and tabletop games in unforgettable sessions taking place throughout the weekend.

I’ll be at GaymerX for the entire convention, mostly as a personal vacation to enjoy some gaming downtime but I’ll probably post at least a few articles about my experience. Tickets can be purchased on the GX4 website.


QuakeCon Event Schedule & Live-Streams Revealed

Posted on July 22, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Bethesda Software’s annual gathering in Texas to celebrate the various long-running id Software franchises, debut new titles and allow attendees to get the exclusive scoop on upcoming games kicks off in less than two weeks on Thursday August 4th and runs until the 7th.

The publisher is promising the world gameplay premiere of Quake Champions, which was revealed at last month’s E3 Expo. Two other large titles will also be demonstrated, however these demos are for attendees only – the rebooted Prey and Arkane Studios’ Dishonored 2 will have exclusive main stage demonstrations during the opening presentation.

Live-Streamed Events

For those of us who can’t be in Texas to join in the celebrations a number of panels from QuakeCon 2016 will be broadcast on Bethesda’s official Twitch channel. Multiple presentations center around various aspects of the critically acclaimed DOOM including a presentation about the game’s well documented development cycle, the technical prowess of the idTech 6 engine and a discussion of the art direction choices that lead to the creation of Hell.


Here are two of the live-streamed panels that I find the most interesting:

Panel: Creating Worlds: A Discussion About Bringing Life to Games, Movies, and Books
Moderated by Andrea Rene and Geoff Keighley
3:30pm – 4:30pm | Streaming Live from Topaz Room

Panel: Bringers of DOOM
Moderated by David Houghton (GamesRadar+)
3:00pm – 4:00pm | Streaming Live from Topaz Room

On-Site Activities

There are lots of other activities available to attendees who are going to be joining Bethesda in person: World famous speed runner Draqu is going to attempt to speedrun the Doom single-player alongside members of the development team. An entire Expo hall featuring 27 different vendors including high profile PC parts manufacturers like NVidia and chair manufacturer DX Racer will be on hand for all three days of QuakeCon 2016.

The Revenantt is actually a lot of fun to play as.

For complete details make sure to check out the official QuakeCon schedule page. Personally I am most hyped for the debut look at Quake Champions (will it live up to my memories of Quake III?) and the panel on Doom’s development – I wonder if they will acknowledge the scrapped “Call of Doom” prototype from a few years back?


GDC Survival Guide

Posted on March 12, 2016 by Renee Gittins

The Game Developer Conference (GDC) held in San Francisco is fast approaching. This will be the 30th year of the event, which is the largest game industry conference in the world.

While E3 is intended for press to connect with game companies and developers and the PAX conventions are for game companies to connect with their audiences, GDC is an event for developers to connect with each other, share their knowledge and expand their skills. There are countless talks, panels and roundtables for developers, all with their own areas of focus, from design and technical talks to postmortems and discussions about industry direction and culture. In the evenings there are all kinds of events, including dinners, parties and award shows.

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A Small Dev in a Big Industry: My Trip to D.I.C.E.

Posted on February 24, 2016 by Renee Gittins


Last week I crawled out of the cave that is my home office and traveled to Las Vegas to attend the D.I.C.E. Summit, an elite game industry conference where the biggest and most influential players in the game industry meet to network, receive awards, and enjoy some time away from work for a few days.

A ticket at the door will set you back $3700, which is far outside of my modest indie developer budget. Thankfully, I was one of five lucky recipients of the Intel Indie D.I.C.E. Scholarship, which Intel and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Foundation, who hosts D.I.C.E., sponsored this year. While this was their first year of sending indie developers to the Summit, they have supported a scholarship for game development students for a number of years.

D.I.C.E. was amazing. I have attended countless industry conventions and meet-ups, but the density of powerful members of the industry had me completely floored. It seemed like everyone I met was a CEO, executive producers or lead developers from one AAA studio or another. Truthfully, for someone generally so bold and outgoing at similar events, I also felt an unexpected twinge of shyness; My accomplishments are few and minor in this realm of giants.

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